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Photo by Lívia Cristina L. C.

Recently, I asked a couple friends what they think I do best, and resoundingly, the answer was writing. Which was both surprising and unsurprising.

I don’t write for a living, or even very much for fun anymore, but I do my best thinking on paper, and have had a short career in journalism.

Many times I feel like a fraud, like I don’t deserve to call myself a writer because I don’t spend every day plugging away at the keyboard.  I think about this blog, where I’ve published rarely, and see a glaring piece of evidence that suggests I don’t have what it takes.

After I stopped getting chances to write effortlessly (for the school paper, or to meet a deadline, for example), I floundered because producing anything worthwhile would now require real effort, and meeting my own standards.

I think many times people assume that by being better than their peers at writing and having good intentions, success is guaranteed. But let’s face it, a lot of people are shockingly bad at putting words together eloquently, so maybe being above average isn’t that much of an accomplishment after all.

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Here we are, at the beginning of another year, and as always, I’m amazed at how quickly time passed!

In keeping with tradition, I’m reflecting and planning, and thinking about lessons learned.

At the beginning of 2014, my theme for the year was focus. And with a few distractions, that I have done. Early on in the year, especially, I kept my eyes fixed on accomplishing certain goals — moving into a new apartment, getting a new job, traveling more often (I miss you, Jamaica and Mexico!)

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“Perseverance is the ability to keep going in the face of continuous challenges. It is the ability to disregard distractions and to stay focused. – ” Catherine Pulsifer

We’re two weeks into January, but weirdly, it’s only just started feeling like a new year to me.

That’s probably partially because I never did anything big to celebrate. No parties, no champagne, no church (it’s a Caribbean thing..), nothing. January 1 just rolled in quietly during the middle of the night without any fanfare. Then it was two days of work and a snowstorm before I jetted off to Mexico.

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This weekend was as good as it gets — lots of relaxing, time alone and amazing weather.

I’m a firm believer that sometimes you need to just step away from everyone and everything and let yourself recharge. For me at least, there are only really a few people who legitimately add something to your life (and vice versa). And while there’s something to be said about having a large network of connections, more often that not, I find I can only keep up with a few at a time.

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I can’t believe we’re already 6 months into the year! It almost seems I’ve lived a lifetime in the last few months. But I’m just glad it’s summer again.

Anyway, I thought I’d do a quick check-in on my list from January and my attempts to add more deliberately fun experiences to my life.

Admittedly, my progress seems paltry — I’ve only crossed 6 things off. And considering I have just under three years to do this, that’ll be fewer than 36 things at the rate I’m going. So I’ll definitely have to amp it up.

Here’s what I’ve done so far..

  • Come up with 101 things (yes, I admit that’s cheating a little).
  • Go to a professional sports game. (NJ Devils v. Winnipeg Jets – February 2013 – Who would have thought it would be hockey?)photo
  • Eat no meat for one week, not including fish. (March 2013- Making my food as pretty as possible definitely helped!)

Breakfast: steel-cut oats with milk, berries, honey and cinnamon @alexanderofasgardia

A post shared by Jhaneel Lockhart (@jhaneelmarie) on

Cooking up a storm #vegetarian #quinoa #food #foodporn

A post shared by Jhaneel Lockhart (@jhaneelmarie) on

  • Try five new foods. (5/5 – churros, foie gras, crème brûlée, piroshki, and blinchiki! I underestimated how easy this would be.)
  • Try a cosmopolitan. (May 2013 – My boyfriend, who counts mixology as a hobby, surprised me with a homemade cosmo, and I loved it!)
  • Dine at Balthazar. (May 2013 – So so fun!)

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