From Thanksgiving to the New Year

Are you ever surprised by how we go from the Thanksgiving holiday, a season of taking stock of what we have, being grateful for all the good things in our lives, and recognizing the joy we share with our families, to just a few weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, falling into extravagant statements like: I have to change, this is a new year, I am starting over, I have to go on a diet, I am going to work out, I have to move, I should get a better job, I ought to reinvent myself, and so on.

At this time of year, we always talk about New Year’s resolutions. A new year is a new beginning, and there are things we are going to do differently and better from now on. We look back and find all sorts of mistakes and blunders we made over the past year. And we make plans for changes that we consider necessary for a better life.

…All of which is good and valuable. But what about acknowledging that sometimes not changing is the best path, and sticking with things that work just fine, like your job perhaps, or your finances, your marriage, your family, and your home, is the best way forward? Deciding to continue things as they currently are can be as good as any other plan. It does somewhat go against the grain of common expectations, of changing everything in the coming year. While we can certainly do a few things differently and make some modifications where needed, what about analyzing our personal situation and concluding that we are doing many things right already, and making sure we “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater”?

Reading back on my January 2022 post, I realize that most of the things I was planning on improving were not really in need of “drastic changes.”

Things in my life have remained pretty much the same, and yet I have never felt happier or more fulfilled. The move from the East Coast to the Midwest has had a great effect on my relationships with my family that live in the Chicagoland area. Being physically close to my family has been and continues to be a source of joy. I see my sons, sisters, and their families regularly, and when my mom visits everyone in Chicago from Mexico, I am already here, so I get to enjoy her longer. I have had an impact on my niece’s life, who just arrived from Mexico, and on my son’s as I have encouraged both to become interpreters and both are taking steps to certify. I am still volunteering and involved in small professional projects. Although this year I flirted briefly with becoming a pescatarian, and then a vegetarian, I now eat as healthily as I used to.

As for drastic changes, I plan on none this year. I start taking college classes on January 17 with the goal of getting a degree in history, although that may change in time. I continue to practice interpretation mostly by myself and am searching for a long-term plan to sit for the Federal oral exam when it is offered in 2025.

I think my view is more about acceptance and about loving myself. I am not saying I should not have goals or challenges, or that I will never consider a move. It does not mean settling, but it is more about self-love. If I want to change everything about myself, then I must not like who I am very much. We often hear today, “Before you can love anyone else, you have to love yourself.” You need to be kind to yourself, pay yourself first, take care of yourself so you can then be better positioned to help others.

Things may change in years to come, but for now, this is what my life is, and I am content.

I want to take this opportunity to thank my Blog colleagues, our readership, all NAJIT volunteers, from the Board to all committee members, CMAC (NAJIT’s management company), and NAJIT friends that contribute to make this space our professional home.

Hilda Zavala-Shymanik is a state certified/approved Spanish court interpreter and translator with more than fifteen years of experience in legal, medical, corporate, and non-profit settings in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and Wisconsin. She is a board member, treasurer, Conference Committee chair, member of the Training and Education Committee and blog team of the National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators as well as former president of the New York Circle of Translators. She is an active and voting member of NAJIT, ATA, and other professional groups. Hilda has two certificates in Legal Interpreting in Spanish and English, the latest one from NYU. Hilda is a former a Staff Interpreter at Essex County Superior Court in New Jersey, where she worked for six years. She now lives and works as a freelance interpreter in the Chicagoland area. Born in Chicago, Hilda lived for twenty years in Mexico and loves traveling. She continuously looks for opportunities to promote and advance the interpreting profession. Contact:

Featured photo and text-body photo taken from PxHere. (Photos free of copyrights under CC0.)

4 thoughts on “From Thanksgiving to the New Year”

  1. Cristian Saenz says:

    Great article!

  2. Andreea B. says:

    Yes to all this! And it’s so important to have small or at least moderate attainable goals rather than planning drastic changes in the name of a new year and then just feeling disappointed when those changes aren’t sustainable in the long term. Small victories, step by step.

  3. Remedios Bashi says:

    Best wishes for 2024, dear Hilda! I agree, no mayor changes for me this year either. I’m mostly content with where I am in life. I do look forward to seeing you and working together!

  4. Me too, Reme! Thank you, Cristian. Small victories, Andreea. I have been working out 5 days a week. Some weeks 6. No pressure though. I like it better this way. 😉

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