When I think about things I want to accomplish in 2023, just having the freedom to make New Years resolutions is overwhelming. Seriously, this is like breathing fresh air after a year of being chased by a dark cloud of impending doom, like that ‘Airborne Toxic Event’ in the movie White Noise (which was a weird freaking movie).
Last year, everything was different. By January 2022, I’d been trapped behind China’s closed borders for two years and nine months. By February 2022, my friend A had spent 216 hours locked in a WeWork, with a sleeping bag, a bottle of wine, and the last threads of her patience. And by March 2022, we were all prisoners of our own apartments – given a box of government rations and told to hope for the best. So in 2023, I’m wading through a dirty swamp of PTSD before it feels safe enough to make long-term plans again.
China made it impossible to think more than two months ahead. Zhangjiajie was supposed to be a fun weekend getaway, but then I was put into a semi-quarantine for 14 days. My trip to the Rainbow mountains got skewered by the April lockdown. J+S had to hide behind a brick wall for hours, to evade the Sichuan police, just so they wouldn’t have to be taken out of Garze in an ambulance with the rest of the foreigners. My hotel in Moganshan messaged me a list of medium-risk and high-risk areas daily to make sure I’d avoid them before our stay. Every trip required a collage of green codes, travel histories, passport scans, and your suishenma, like the photo above, just to check into an AirBnB. Calling the last three years an absolute clusterfuck would be a disservice to clusterfucks.
So here we are. 2023. January 6th. Let’s set some goals.
- I want to visit a country that I have never been to before.
- I want to go back to Japan. It’s something that’s been on my mind lately, and I can’t shake the feeling of being on a mountain in Japan in 2023.
- I want to read 50 books (last year I got up to 36, unless things I read online count?)
- I want to write with honesty.