The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year.
It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose;
new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes.
Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions,
he would make no resolutions.
Unless a man starts afresh about things,
he will certainly do nothing effective.
This Year I Will…..
- Move beyond the worm farm. We love our worms, but they can only eat so much! Jeff has promised to build me a proper compost bin as a belated Christmas gift. This is an exciting revelation of how far he’s come; this time last year a compost bin was absolutely out of the question!
- Put that compost to good use. Our 2008 vegetable garden was a learning experience more than anything else. We stayed small, in case it was an utter failure, and we’re pretty confident we can do better. So in 2009 I’d like to see us expand that garden to fill a good percentage of our produce needs through the summer and fall… optimistically, maybe enough to lay some by for winter.
- Learn to can. I was too intimidated this year! I didn’t want any food poisoning.
- Seriously look into solar panels and hybrid vehicles. We can’t afford it yet, but I want to do the research so that we understand the technology and our options, for when we can.
- Attempt to organize a community garden on land owned by the township, or some sort of “victory garden” landshare between those with land and those with gardening skills.
- Get outside more. I admit it. I hate the rain and the cold, and that’s been reflected in my lazy “out the kitchen window” photographs lately. But nature is beautiful in all seasons, and I connect best with the natural world through my photography. So, out into the elements I go. It will make me strong.
- Drink more water. Why is this so hard? I drink an enormous cup of coffee at 5 a.m. and half the day will go by and I’ll realize I’m really thirsty. It’s a little thing, but I bet it makes a difference in my mid-day energy levels.
- Stop eating processed and pre-packaged foods. This is a big one! Jeff and I want to try a year from scratch- making the vast majority of our meals and snacks from ingredients that remember where they came from. I’m a bit nervous about it- I’m not the greatest cook in the world, and lazy to boot- but we’re going to give it the old college try.
- See the doctor. And the dentist. I am doctor-phobic; that’s a direct result of my childhood. I’m convinced that I’m going to find out the worst and I’d rather not know, thank you very much. Also, I worry about the cost; Jeff has to take off work to watch Cassidy, and health insurance doesn’t cover even close to everything. I do make sure my kids see the dentist and the pediatrician as needed and as scheduled, but I’m setting a terrible example, I know. Irresponsible. I’m calling and I’m making the appointments. I swear.
Blogging and Writing Resolutions:
- Post every day, and not just throwaway posts. Thought! Meaning! Information! Posts I’m not embarrassed by. Less posts that are just lists of my own personal goals- unless you enjoy that sort of thing. Also more how-to posts and parenting posts; I’ve shied away from these because I felt silly, posing as an authority.
- Get used to feeling silly.
- Resurrection of my book blog. And I’m setting up a new blog, A Commonplace, A Common Space, which will serve simply as a searchable repository for all my quotes as I come across them. (Also toying with the idea of “Our Life…From Scratch“, to chronicle our cooking efforts and recipes this year… What do you think?)
- I will begin tagging posts and making my blogs more user-friendly.
- I will write for myself, in my own voice. Often I try to write what I think others want to read; this invariably leads to a lack of faith, paralysis. I have easily twice as many posts still in “draft” as I have actually published, posts I started and abandoned, because another green blog already covered that subject or because I don’t write like the bloggers I admire.
- I will give myself permission to suck. I stopped writing on the book blog because it took forever for me to get posts to where I was happy with them. From here on out, I’ll just do the writing… the judging, I’ll leave for everyone else.
- I will embrace my sarcastic nature, even if sarcasm is not the same as humor. It’s too much a part of who I am. As Salinger says, I will “make peace with my wit”. As long as I’m not hurting anybody, it gets to stay. Writing without it is like trying to type with two fingers.
- I will not yell. It’s ineffective and it gives me a headache.
- I will get organized. This is a fairly typical resolution and one I have never made because it was simply not going to happen. Last year I went with the more tepid “I will clean as I go” and that didn’t happen either. But as I slowly decluttered and found permanent “homes” for everything, I discovered that everybody else gets better and faster at cleaning, since they are used to things being a certain way and in a certain place. So I will try to cultivate that aspect, hold a fifteen minute “fire drill” cleanup at the end of every day, and hope for the best.
- I will not assume that people are saying nice things to me to be polite.
Now for the Biggies:
- I will stop talking people’s ears off. My husband called me out on this at out friends’ Christmas party, on Christmas, and on my mother-in-law’s birthday. Three public appearances in two weeks, and a lecture after each one on how I held people hostage with my gift of gab. Friends and family, I am so sorry. I will do better. (This will probably be the hardest resolution for me to keep.)
- I will read 199 books this year. That is the limit that Library Thing allows for free. Jeff saw me reading Little Women recently and said, “Long time since I’ve seen you with a book,” and I was mortified. Granted, I do most of my reading on the machines at the gym, where he doesn’t see, but my reading has definitely dropped off. I used to finish a book a day.
- I will generate enough revenue from blogging, writing, submitting photography to stock sites, and other similar ventures to fund at least a used digital SLR and telephoto lens by the end of the year. (Donations count! Just kidding- sort of.) I’d like to see 2010 as the year I dedicate to photography, and I’ll need equipment to begin.
- I will move from passive to active. In a lot of ways. I’ll move from an armchair activist to an active member of my community. I’m going to volunteer, step up, get involved. I’m going to get busy producing value and getting it out of my head and into the world. I’m going to put in face time. I’m going to get past my self-doubt, my general shyness, and my tendency to let things just happen. I will believe that my best is good enough.
I’m terrified. Hold me. But I said it, and now I have to try. The reward is in the journey.
Above all, I will take time every freaking day of my life to acknowledge how lucky I am. To drink in my family and try to memorize how individual and wonderful they each are today.
I’ve had a quote from The Shawshank Redemption stuck in my head the whole time I’ve been writing this- “You gotta get busy living, or get busy dying.”
2009 is the year I get busy living. I can’t believe I put it off for so long.
Readers, thank you so much for being out there for me, for bearing witness. You’ve made me feel that I have written words worth reading; inspiring me to live a life worth writing.
Best wishes and happiness for you all in the new year.