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Reshaping What Vision & Happiness Mean to Me

A monumental shift in redefining my New Years Resolutions

By Nani CruzPublished 3 years ago 8 min read
Reshaping What Vision & Happiness Mean to Me
Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

As a 21-year-old college student, every year I’ve made the same generic resolutions that you’d imagine. Lose weight. Stay in shape. Make friends. Do good in school. Make money. I have been making different versions of the same resolutions that take me absolutely nowhere. My main one has been the classic: lose weight. It has come true several times, but by the end of the year, it’s back on again. So, I’ve even thought to myself “what’s the point?”

By Bill Oxford on Unsplash

It’s the same sad story over and over again.

Why do I keep committing the definition of insanity? Putting myself through the same cycle of extreme dieting and exercise, to then binge and hate the idea of exercising in the second half of the year. In 2019, I lost 30 pounds and put at least half of it back on before the end of the year. By the end of 2020, all the weight was back. To do the same thing over and over and expect a different result. Literally. Insane.

That generic story won’t be mine this year.

Health is still important to me, don’t get me wrong. I am working on loving and taking care of my body in a more wholistic way. But what is so very exciting to me is this year? My resolutions have absolutely NOTHING to do with my appearance. Not the number on the scale. Not if this will finally be the year that my the five-year-old high school skinny jeans on the floor of my closet will fit (and keep fitting). Not if I logged every meal in my carb counter app. Or if I avoided drinking my calories. Or if I burned the 2,300 calories but only ate 1,200 calories. This year, almost every single goal I have envisioned for myself are extrinsic and creative projects.

What a difference. What a relief.

By Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

They will be ones that I can look back and see that I am capable of loving myself. They will be things I cultivate. Things I’ve never allowed or pushed myself to do since "all my time should be spent on school" and whatnot. This year I am finally allowing myself to do the things that make me happy. Not spend all my time on the tasks I should be doing.

This is the first year, actually the first time ever, that I am focusing on my happiness and overall wellness. Not the number on the scale. Not the calories on the watch that I refused to remove so it'd track the calories burnt in my sleep. This is the first time I am not obsessing or caring if I will please anyone else.

So, what are these new happy tasks of mine? Honestly, they are extremely random and quite unrelated to one another. In my opinion, that’s exactly the diversity I need to focus on my happiness. True happiness comes from more than one source.

By Kim Carpenter on Unsplash

My first change is that I am allowing myself to revisit my crafting hobbies, guilt free. My mother taught me to crochet. Living my entire life over a thousand miles away from her, it was the little things she showed me that stuck and became important. One of these lessons was how to crochet.

This year, I am giving myself time every single day to practice this craft of mine. Better yet, to ensure I let myself crochet every day I picked up a project that will make me crochet every day. That’s right, I’m working on my very first temperature blanket!

Completed Temperature Blanket (

Every day for 365 days I will crochet one row on a blanket for myself. The color yarn I use for that row depends on what the high temperature of the day is. Living in the desert, I am quite excited to see the variety and intensity that summer will bring to the colors of my art.

Example Color Rubric (

The other exciting part about this project is that it is for me. Everything I have ever made before has been for other people. I have always felt that if I am spending time to make something, then it has to be for someone else. Blankets, pillows, cloths, you name it. If I have made it, I don’t own it anymore. On January 1, 2022, I will get to look at my completed 2021 temperature blanket and know that I put that much work in for myself.

Into myself.

I am only twenty rows in as of today, but I am still so proud of myself.

By Yannick Pulver on Unsplash

My next creative vision for myself this year is to tap into my creative writing. Before a month ago, the only creative writing I ever did was for my college creative writing class. It was a graded college class, so my “creative writing” class was not so creative or passionate after all. Since joining Vocal, I have allowed myself time to write about what makes me happy, and I have so many ideas in the works. To write uncensored and as freely as I want. I get to share my life, stories, fantasies and experiences with anyone in the world who wants to hear my words. Just wow!

This year, I have challenged myself to write at least one new story each month. This may not seem like a lot, but as a graduate level student who writes academically almost every day, this is an outlet I am looking forward to. To share my deep thoughts without fear of judgement or retaliation from family and friends is something I need to explore on my journey to self-acceptance and happiness. To share what makes me, well, me without being told by family that I am wrong or inconsiderate or dramatic. And to be vulnerable in a new area of my life.

One of my favorite mentors told me that you don’t grow when you are comfortable.

"It's time to get uncomfortable."

This one is probably going to make me sound like a slob, but I didn’t put any laundry away for over three months in 2020. Long story short, that is definitely a habit I am leaving behind for this new year…

By Annie Spratt on Unsplash

My next vision for myself this year is actually one that I will be carrying over from 2020. “What could she possibly want to bring with her from 2020?” you may ask.

The ability to walk away when I am unhappy.

Que the long story.

This seems like a simple one, but not for me. I used to cry when I found myself having to say no or goodbye, regardless of how small the situation was. I simply did not do well with change. Heck, I still cry when I leave someone at the airport! Fear that I would miss out on something great if I would leave a miserable situation always gave me too much anxiety to confidently walk away.

I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in August 2020. Since then, I have been hired for two different full-time jobs and have walked away from both. What new college graduate leaves their first full-time job? Or even second full-time job? Especially in an unreliable economy brought on by a global pandemic!?

Let me tell you, I cried. Both times.

“But if you were sad, why did you leave?”

I learned what it meant to be treated as a disposable employee, real quick. Worse, I learned that I cannot thrive in an environment where my values and beliefs do not align with that of the organization.

By Sean Stratton on Unsplash

The first full-time job I walked away from was with a huge name brand organization in my field. But I was told too many times to “not help that person, it’s not your job.”

I primarily worked in a blood donation center. The incident that truly told me that this wasn’t the place for me was when a long-term donor had a procedure done to them that they didn’t consent to. Even worse, no staff told the donor about the mistake. They found out through a mishap.


Not only is this a huge violation of autonomy and ethics, in my opinion, but it drew into question the credibility of such a renowned organization. What I came to learn and to my great surprise, this happened quite often there.

“Oh, well they are already here to donate platelets. There is no harm in taking plasma while they’re here and hooked up.”

You have to be kidding me… I felt betrayed for the donor. This was so beyond wrong in so many ways. But to find out the staff didn’t even think this was an issue, ugh! I had to get out of there. Not to mention that all my evaluations and metrics were based on factors completely out of my control. If I booked enough appointments. If the donor showed up for their appointment. If the donor was eligible to donate. If the blood product was deemed usable after the donor came in and actually donated.

I learned very quickly that this job was not set up for the employees to succeed. Despite me talking to my manager about this, she did not see an issue with the structure.

By Sebastian Herrmann on Unsplash

This was the first time I knew I had to walk away for my happiness & sanity AND actually went through with leaving. I was uncomfortable. I cried. I got a lot of shit from my parents about it.

But I grew.

In 2021, I am promising myself that I will continue to leave situations where I am not valued or happy, no matter how hard it is.

Overall, my vision for myself this year is different than anything I have ever created for myself. It is revolved around a new and improved view on what I deserve and what happiness means to me. If I end this year happier but not a single pound lighter, that’ll be more than enough for me.

By Snejina Nikolova on Unsplash


About the Creator

Nani Cruz

As a 23 year old grad school student, I spend a lot of time writing academically. Now I’m taking time to write creatively and enjoy creating stories about whatever makes me happy.

Follow my journey on instagram too: @nani.cruz.writes

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