2014 Intention Review: A Letter to Myself


Future-Letter-2014.jpgFuture-Letter-2014.jpg

new year's resolutions, future letter to yourself, 2013 resolutionsI recently shared my 2015 future letter to myself, and now I’m sharing the outcomes of my 2014 annual letter. How much “came true”? My 2014 letter wasn’t nearly as long as my 2013 letter to myself, although 2014 was a year of many significant changes in my life, along with the joys and challenges that always accompany such changes.In my letter, I anticipated a lot of the emotions and experiences — positive and negative — of these changes, focusing on the transition of leaving our first post in El Salvador to arriving to our second post in Afghanistan, leaving one job and starting another and the impact on my marriage and other relationships.So how did I do? Similar to the previous year, about three-quarters of the statements I made came true.I made 39 total statements in my letter. Of these, 26 were true, three were mostly true, seven were false and three were not really measurable. So while two-thirds of my statements were completely true, if I include the three mostly true statements, my success rate is about 74 percent.But the point isn’t to get a “perfect score” or beat myself up about the things I didn’t get done. It’s to set some achievable goals to help me be my best self — as an individual, a wife, a friend, a daughter/in-law, a writer, etc. — and yes, to hold myself somewhat accountable to those goals.I don’t share the letters with Kail at the time I write them, but when I open the previous year’s letter, we read through it together and discuss. I think it’s a good communication tool, and since my marriage is always a main focus of my letters, it’s a good way to start a new year.I’ll start with the bad news first. I had a couple false statements that were repeats from my 2013 letter, related to reaching my target weight and also taking a cross-country trip in the U.S. that Kail and I have talked about for a couple years. Here are a couple more examples of false statements from my 2014 letter:

We also attended church regularly for the remainder of our tour in El Salvador.We hosted additional visitors to El Salvador …I remained in my book club in El Salvador and have sought out a book club to join in Afghanistan.

(Kail pointed out that people visiting us is not something that is entirely with my control. There was a standing invitation!)Now onto the good news. What came true?

Kail and I celebrated two years of marriage …We successfully navigated the stresses of departing from post and preparing for the arrival to another.We established “ground rules” for how we will manage conflicts during our tour in Afghanistan.We have maintained friendships formed in El Salvador and have also established new ones in Afghanistan.I completed a scrapbook for El Salvador and am planning to create a scrapbook for Afghanistan + R&Rs, as part of my long-term goal to create a scrapbook for every post.I continued posting regularly to my blog — at least three times a week …Kail and I have enjoyed planning/experiencing our Afghanistan R&Rs …We were also able to enjoy quite a bit of travel before leaving El Salvador, including new countries in Latin America

It was interesting to re-read my letter and recall the thought processes I was having at the time I was writing it: anxieties about Afghanistan, excitement about upcoming travel, a mix of worry and anticipation about the unknown. But it’s also interesting to reflect back upon 2014 and consider the things that transpired that I had no idea were coming: getting dive-certified (twice), becoming a (volunteer) spin instructor, traveling to Cairo for work. You really have no idea what life is going to throw your way.What were the results of your 2014 annual letter/New Year’s resolutions?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

3 thoughts on “2014 Intention Review: A Letter to Myself

  1. As a new FS spouse, I’m very interested in this one: We established “ground rules” for how we will manage conflicts during our tour in Afghanistan.How did you go about doing this? Books? FS veterans? FSI courses? All of the above?

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    1. Welcome to the FS life! I guess the answer is none of the above. Well I vaguely recall hearing/reading some advice (maybe from the FLO office materials?) about discussing communications plans and other things in advance of an unaccompanied tour. The FLO office also has some resources re: preparing for your first tour. But for what we came up with for Afghanistan, we sort of just talked about it a lot and decided what steps we could take, in the event of some kind of disagreement, to prevent it from spiraling out of control into a bigger argument or problem. I was really concerned about the levels of stress + confinement on the compound but actually it has thus far not been a problem and I think we have ended up much closer. In many ways moving to El Salvador for our first tour was much more stressful because everything was new/unknown, whereas this time around we knew what to expect. And there were less variables: Immediately upon arrival, we settled into our routine (work, work, work). It’s not like a “normal” post where you are learning your way around, dealing with language barriers, and, as a spouse (if you don’t have a job immediately) a little more isolated.Good luck and thanks for commenting! 🙂

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