New Year’s Tradition

One year ago, U.S. President George W. Bush named the Axis of Evil. In that list, he included Iraq and North Korea. One year later, as the U.S. military prepares for an attack on Saddam Hussein, the bigwigs in Pyong Yang decide to pull a move of their own: after dusting off the cobwebs and demanding the leave of UN compliance officers, North Korea restarted their nuclear weapons program.

Domestically, the Catholic Church is struggling to regain some integrity after the exposure of a cover-up by Cardinal Law. This authority figure of the Boston Diocese did not report the numerous molesting Catholic priests of young boys, and instead just moved them around from church to church. Pope John Paul III made a politically unsound move when he refused to accept Cardinal Law’s resignation. Eventually, Law was allowed to step down. The Boston Diocese is under bankruptcy protection, and is facing a plethora of lawsuits that are under way.

The investment banking industry was rocked from the corporate accounting scandals that spanned beyond the beginning of this year. As a result, there is public and private pressures for investment banks to separate their accounting, consulting, and analytical services.

On the East Coast, there was a father-and-son sniper duo. These two individuals went around the New England states shooting innocent civilians at gas stations, supermarkets and other public areas. More than ten people were either killed or seriously wounded. The two were eventually caught, and they are being tried separately for the murders with the possibility of death as a penalty.

The economy did not improve. If the stock market indices are any indication, the economy is actually a few percentage points worse off. Retail sales from the holiday season were down. The closing of small businesses are the norm.

So, where does that leave me? A year ago, I was still in school. Although I was on my Winter Break, I remember preparing for my last semester. I remember struggling to come to terms with L not wanting to be in a relationship with me. As a result, I was working my feelings of forlornness and longing into the Valentines’ present.

Now, a year later, I graduated with numerous honors in my two fields of study, am in a growing committed relationship with L, am working at a renowned mortgage-banking firm and am waiting for my assignment in China from the Peace Corps. I have saved up half of the amount I want to have by the time I leave, and am about to start the process of getting my real estate license. As is tradition, understanding where I was and where I am, I want to know where I want to be in a year.

Determining what I want to do might not be as difficult this year since I am supposed to leave for China in June. I don’t know what I will be doing once I’m there, but at least there are two less months to worry about. So, in the next ten months, I would like to accomplish several things. I want to determine my roadmap for what I want to do after the Peace Corps and ten years afterwards. I want to get my California real estate license. I want to save $10,000 out of $60,000 for my first multi-family residence. I want to have my first draft of my real estate investment plan. When I sit down and pinch together the skin of my abdomen, I want to feel less than half an inch of fat. I want to remove my inch of love handles altogether. I want to have defined intensity/volume goals for my body conditioning/building program. I want L to know that she will be the woman that I want to marry, and I will not betray that destiny even though marriage will not happen until half a decade from now. I want all of my godchildren to love reading and read on a regular basis. I want to learn 1,000 characters, 500 words, and 200 sentences by the time I leave for China. I want to finish the first book to my guitar lessons.

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