Trying to Walk into 2019 Like...


I love New Years Resolutions. I make them every year. There is one, specifically, I make that lasts about three weeks before it starts to fall apart. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I struggle being on time.


Every year I resolve to be on time, early even. So early that I have to get out my book and read while waiting. Every year I fail. But that’s okay! Not the being late thing… there I should get my shit together… but the failing thing. I think failure is important. It’s an inevitable part of all resolutions and of life. In fact, I failed gloriously in all the resolutions I set for myself last year.


After the Christmas break, when I returned to my apartment in Reze, France, I had four main goals for 2018. These goals were solid. They were smart, no no… they were SMART. They were Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely. They all had the time stamp of one year. They were all relevant to my life and goals. I had a way of measuring them, and I truly believed that if I stuck to it, I could achieve them all.


First was to send 300 query letters. I wanted a literary agent, and to be published by a publishing house. I wanted the “real deal” of being an author. Or the real deal as I thought it existed. I knew that getting a literary agent was outside of my control, so that couldn’t be my goal. Getting published the traditional way would take longer than a year, so that didn’t work either. But queries, that I could control. Thirty a month… ish… that was the goal.


I went strong for about two and a half months. I ended up querying every single female literary agent on QueryTracker who worked in my genre. Then I started to work through the men. Then… well, something distracted me and I can honestly say, I have no idea what it was.


In part, I think the rejection got to me. In part, I felt stagnant.


Second was to become bilingual by the end of 2018. This one started super strong! For a full month, the only media I consumed in English was the news. Movies, TV Shows, Music, and Audiobooks (I listen more than I read), were all French, all the time. By the end of the month I had seriously improved. I was even dreaming in French.


But I couldn’t take it. I already felt pretty isolated and I really, REALLY, wanted to watch The Flash. 


Third was to be able to do 10 pull-ups in a row. Well… I know why this one got interrupted… But like the others, it started strong! I was going to Crossfit twice a week and made sure to work on it every time. On days I didn’t go workout, I was doing core work, core work, core work… cause my core is weak AF!


I think I got to 2 or 3 sets of 4 before other things became more important.


Fourth was…. you know, I can’t remember what the fourth was. Something to do with yoga I expect. At any rate, I failed at this one along with all the others.


I didn’t even reach 100 queries… but a friend of mine self-published. I peppered him with questions and he graciously held my hand through the process. Now I have a book out there in the world. And that’s pretty cool


I haven’t watched a French TV show since January of last year… but I can get by. I can have a conversation. And for now, that’s okay.


My upper body strength is worse than it has been in years… but I am really trying to separate my self-worth from what my body can do. The world told me those two things were linked.


The world was wrong.


As for mystery goal number four, well, I’m trying to do more yoga… and be on time.


Through my failure I achieved different things… better things I think. And I hope I’m as productive in 2019.


That brings me to this year’s resolutions. They’re a little more fluid than normal … not so SMART. But maybe a little wiser than they have been in years previous…


I want to release my second novel in August 2019. I want to learn how to salsa. The dance style, as I already make a killer dip. I want to write on this blog once every two or three weeks. I want to do more yoga and play more guitar. I want to explore Paris. But above all, I want to move home.


I want to stop missing things. I want to be around my support system, my family, my friends. I want to get back to how I was feeling two years ago when I wrote a post for my other blog… my forgotten blog… titled The Year of Me.


I posted about The Year of Me in 2016 at the beginning of my first season in France. I had spent a year of making decisions based on what I wanted and needed. Based on me, not anyone else. It was awesome.


I’ve strayed from that. I have let the silent and invisible teacher of society dictate my decisions. Not all of them, but some. Some really important ones.


For a little while, I forgot I wasn’t just a basketball player. For a little while, I thought I owed it to the people who helped me, trained me, looked up to me, to continue to play ball, even though I don’t want to anymore. I thought my self-worth was tied to the title of Professional Athlete… tied to what my body could do.


2018 taught me a valuable lesson: Nothing is as cool as it seems and everything gets old.


Don’t get me wrong… when your team has been working hard in practice, then in a game, someone gets beat. That moment when everyone rotates perfectly, there is a steal or a stop and you all get fired up… that’s always cool. That feeling, that rush, that never gets old.


But living abroad? That does. Missing weddings and birthdays, movie nights with your friends and quiet dinners with your family… missing that gets old. The “cool-ness” of getting paid to play a game does too, especially when you realize you’re not learning, not getting better. When you realize you are stagnant.


But that’s okay! Because I am ready for the next challenge, the next adventure, the next new thing to be cool until it isn’t and then to find the thing after that.


I resolve to do that this year. I resolve to do things that make me happy.


I love New Years Resolutions. Actually, I love resolutions in general. I make resolutions throughout the year, you see, not just at the start of a new year. I do this because I love fresh starts. I love new beginnings. I love Mondays because they start a new workweek and I love mornings because they start a new day.


But most of all, I love what new year’s, new week’s and new morning’s resolutions represent.




Hope that we can do things differently. Hope that we can be better versions of ourselves.


Hope that we can be happy… that we can just be.  

HannaH Sunley-Paisley