Travel. Cycle 100 miles a week. Be kind.

These are some of the New Year’s resolutions our reporters and photographers heard in the final days of 2022.

As we gathered the news, we asked the people we met: What are your hopes going into 2023? Do you make resolutions or do anything else of that kind as you head into the new year? Has what we’ve been through in the past few years changed the way you think about such rituals?

Some were making big plans and setting specific goals. Others make no resolutions at all. But every person had hopes for the future.

David Garuti, 64, of Portland at East End Beach in Portland. Garuti is an Air Force veteran and a retired forklift operator. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

‘Spend time outdoors every day’

David Garuti, 64, visited East End Beach on one of the last days of 2022. He lives in the city and is an Air Force veteran and retired forklift operator.


“I just want to exercise more and continue to spend time outdoors everyday.

“Today I’m at the beach, tomorrow I’ll be at Deering Oaks park or maybe Baxter Woods.”

The past few years have been particularly hard for Garuti because he is deaf and relies on reading lips to understand people when he talks with them. Garuti has a hearing aid, but when people were wearing masks during the pandemic, it was difficult for him to understand what they were saying.

“I’m glad things are getting back to normal and masks are optional (in many settings).”

‘Shy away from my shyness’

Adelina Salianga, 16, of Portland, doesn’t have just one resolution. She already has a list of 48 on the Notes app on her phone, and she plans to keep going until she hits 300. She got the idea from TikTok to write out a list of 300 goals to be checked off as accomplished.


The list isn’t done yet, but Salianga is confident that her top goals for 2023 will remain the same: helping other immigrant families, traveling, establishing her own sense of fashion, and overcoming her shyness.

“I’m such a shy person, but I know I need to be more outgoing. In 2023, I am going to do my best to shy away from my shyness, I guess. It will be very hard for me, but it is important, so I will.”

She wants to go to law school to become an immigration lawyer or criminal defense lawyer to give back to her community, and she feels all her top goals – even creating a personal style that telegraphs confidence and power – will help her better help other Maine immigrants. That’s important to Salianga, whose family moved to Portland from Angola when she was 4 years old and benefited from top-notch, affordable legal representation.

She said the pandemic has changed her from the ultimate homebody to someone who wants to travel the world while she still can.

“I want to explore the world before my time comes to an end. I just want to explore and see fun places that I never thought I would get to see. I want to travel to Greece, Italy, and Portugal. I want to visit different places in Africa. I’m African myself, but the only place I’ve ever been to is my home country, so I want to go to Nigeria, Ghana, and South Africa to see and learn how they are different. I think travel will make me outgoing, help me do a better job helping immigrant families, and be so much fun.”

South Portland firefighter and paramedic Emily Panciera, 29, of Auburn. Emily has been a firefighter for four years, two with Cape Elizabeth and most recently, two with South Portland. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

‘Buy a house’


Emily Panciera, 29, has been a firefighter for four years and currently works in South Portland. She lives in Auburn.

“I haven’t bought a house yet, so I am hoping that the market calms down so that I can buy a house.

“I don’t make resolutions,” she added. “I do the same thing I do everyday and keep it consistent.”

Krystea Kennedy, 42, of Buxton. Manager of Main Street Variety in Bar Mills, a small (but very busy) liquor and convenience store. Gillian Graham/Staff Writer

‘Keep in contact’

Krystea Kennedy, 42, lives in Buxton and works as the manager of Main Street Variety, a small but busy liquor and convenience store in Bar Mills. She doesn’t make resolutions.

“I never keep them. By Feb. 1, I’m like, ‘Oh, wasn’t I supposed to be eating better?’ as I’m eating a Big Mac.”

The pandemic had already prompted her to make changes in her life.

“It doesn’t have to be the new year. It changed a lot about how I focus on family and friends, making sure I keep in contact with people. Instead of sending a text message, I’ll call someone now just so I can hear their voice.”


Kennedy hopes 2023 brings a stronger economy.

“Running a small convenience store, I can see how inflation is hurting discretionary spending. People that would usually come in and buy a big bottle are buying a smaller bottle now. But I really feel like a liquor store really is pandemic and recession proof. If you’re happy you want to drink, if you’re sad you want to drink, if you’re celebrating you want to drink. I’m hoping for a better economic future.”

Marie Follayttar, 46, of South Portland, has been through a lot in the past year, struggling with long COVID and cancer. Despite her health problems, Follayttar has a positive outlook for 2023. Michele McDonald/Photo Editor


Marie Follayttar, 46, of South Portland, is the founder of liberal activist group Mainers for Accountable Leadership. Since October 2021, she has gotten COVID-19, endured long COVID, and been diagnosed with cancer. With little appetite, she lost 80 pounds this year, and has to be very careful not to catch COVID-19 again because the hairy cell leukemia suppresses her immune system.

But Follayttar said the rare type of leukemia has a high survival rate, and she is determined to keep fighting to improve society.

“It is not going to be easy, but I am going to thrive no matter what. I need my community, and I am going to make sure I’m giving back to my community, even if I have to do it by meeting outside with masks.”

Follayttar said one of her big goals in 2023 is to raise awareness about long COVID.


“This is a reckoning moment for society, for people coming together and caring for each other.”

Joyce Smothers behind the counter of her sister’s beauty supply store and hair salon, Toni’s Touch, where she works. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

‘Put myself first’

Joyce Smothers, 54, of Saco, took in her children and grandchildren during the pandemic.

“I usually do make resolutions, and this year my resolution is that I have to put myself first. I have five children, eight grandchildren, so I’ve always put myself way in the back. So, my New Year’s resolution is to just learn that I have to put myself in the front and everything else just has to be taken care of its own.

“Working women, we’re the head of our families and we just want the best for everybody, so we always tend to let ourselves fall to the wayside.”

She also is thinking about the country as a whole.


“My hope for the new year is that everybody can just get along. That things get better. I just really hope that this country comes back together. Not just Maine, but that the whole country comes back together as one again.”

Garret Patterson, supervisor at Uncharted. Michele McDonald/Photo Editor

‘Get back on track’

Garret Patterson, 28, of Portland, set specific targets for the new year: cycle 100 miles a week and save $1,000 a month.

He talked about them while on a break during his shift as a supervising barista at Uncharted, a bubble tea shop on Congress Street.

“I mean, are those resolutions? I don’t know. But those are good, healthy, achievable things I can do to help me get where I want to be.”

He is moving in with his girlfriend in February, and they want to buy a new car in 2023 and start saving up for a house. He used to be a personal trainer and bodybuilder, but when the pandemic shut down commercial gyms and forced people to train at home, Patterson abandoned his strict regimen. This year, he wants to get back to that active lifestyle.


“For me, it’s about rebalancing. Things got a little off track during COVID, and that’s OK. A lot of things changed. Some of that change was good, some of it probably wasn’t. But it was a weird time, you know? Now it’s time to get back on track.”

John Deegan outside his home in Kennebunk on Friday. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

Be tall, thin and rich’

John Deegan, 64, lives in Kennebunk and works in internal controls for Avangrid.

“To be tall, thin and rich. That’s my annual resolution.”

His hopes for next year are more solemn.

“That Russia leaves and helps rebuild Ukraine, that our government starts listening to people and not lobbyists and that everyone can find an affordable place to live and food.


“I’d like to see a year where things aren’t more difficult, where maybe the trend goes the other way. It just seems like every year there’s some new thing, some new giant thing.”

Susan St. Amour, 63, lives in Portland. Aimsel Ponti/Staff Writer

‘Go to D.C.’

Susan St. Amour, 63, of Portland, hopes for improved health in 2023.

“I had a few scares this past year. I want to be able to go to D.C. with my granddaughter Lauren this year. I had to cancel last summer.

“Sometimes you get yourself up for failure with New Year’s resolutions. It’s better to start things at other times of the year.”

‘A whole new endeavor’


Jon Badger, 27, of Lebanon, heads a calibration lab at Pratt & Whitney and also is an assistant wrestling coach at Noble High School, his alma mater. During the final week of 2022, he was with his team at the Noble Wrestling Invitational in North Berwick. The return to practice after the canceled 2020-21 season was a godsend for him.

“I lost my mom (Charlene Badger) to COVID in April of 2021. Being back in the wrestling room meant the world to me. I was just happy to be back doing something I enjoy, working with the kids, (getting) the support from the other coaches.”

Jon Badger, an assistant coach for Noble High School wrestling, at the Noble Invitational wrestling tournament. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

In June, he will welcome his first child with his girlfriend.

“She has two kids, but it will be a whole new endeavor for me.”

Jon King, 34, is a musician who records under the name King Kyote. Aimsel Ponti/Staff Writer

‘Keep climbing with my music’

Jon King, 34, lives in Portland and records under the name King Kyote.

“My biggest hope is to keep climbing with my music and get it in front of more people.”

The past few years, he said, “pulled the curtain back on how fragile what we deemed to be important is. And it made me think about what matters to me most.”

‘Laugh a little bit more’

Robert Gurry, 54, lives in Scarborough and works as a health care professional and motel operator.

“I hope this politically charged world calms down, and that people are a little nicer to each other. I’d like to see people laugh a little bit more and not take everything so seriously.”

He hopes to lose weight and be healthier.

“I also want to go skiing with my family three times as much as we’ve done in the past.

“What we’ve been through the past couple of years has put everything else on hold. It’s made me aware of how much I’ve deferred pursuing what I love. That’s over.”

Peter Hunt, 41, of Portland. Megan Gray/Staff Writer

‘Be kind’

Peter Hunt, 41, of Portland, was checking out books at the downtown Portland Public Library at the end of the year. He might not have time to read them just yet; he works as a bar manager, so this time of year is a busy one. He doesn’t make resolutions and instead tries to look for opportunities for self-improvement all year.

“New Year’s resolutions tend to set unattainable goals or expectations for people.”

But he still has hopes for 2023.

“What everybody wants. For people to get along, be healthy and be kind to each other.”

‘Be thoughtful, be generous’

Dawn Tarbox, 46, was walking her dog, Miley, in Saco. She recently graduated with a degree in human resource management and nonprofit leadership, and is looking for work.

“The last couple of years, with the division, you don’t know what’s coming. So you hope for the best but you don’t want to get let down anymore – so those resolutions aren’t really in people’s minds as much anymore, or at least not in mine. It’s just a hope of things getting better.

“Just be kind, be thoughtful, be generous.”

Tim Cebula, Steve Craig, Derek Davis, Gillian Graham, Megan Gray, Hannah LaClaire, Joe Lawlor, Rachel Ohm, Shawn Patrick Ouellette, Penelope Overton, Aimsel Ponti and Brianna Soukup contributed to this story.

Comments are no longer available on this story