New Year, New Me

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I read a book recently which said that French women do not make New Year’s “resolutions” because resolutions are too strict and stifling, and you feel like a failure if you do not complete them all. Instead, they have New Year’s “wishes,” or something non-threatening of that nature. However, I have to say that I have been a notorious list-maker my entire adult life, and it’s how I derive a sense of accomplishment – by crossing things off of lists. I suppose that sounds a little sad, but it’s true. I don’t know when to relax until I see that I have crossed some things off my weekly (or daily) agenda.  So it’s only natural that every year I have a list of things I hope to bring to fruition. Sometimes it works out, other times, not so much.

My husband and I were watching an”Up All Night” holiday episode some weeks ago, and the main characters were disappointed to realize that they have done nothing all year to include in a “Family Newsletter.” As they struggled to create last-minute experiences to include in said hypothetical newsletter, Brian and I looked at each other and agreed that our Family Newsletter for the year of the Dragon, should we decide to compose one, would also be painfully brief and utterly lacking in excitement. So, for 2013, I have made a list of personal resolutions… errrr, I mean wishes!!! – to ensure that this year’s Family Newsletter (our first one ever) is full of meaningful and enviable experiences. These are not necessarily in any order of significance, although slightly chronological…

1) Complete a successful – and fabulous – vacation in St. John Island, coming up in just three weeks, and make sure to take lots of photos! Do something there I have never done, such as snorkeling. Ahhhh….

Image courtesy of www.cookinglight.com

Image courtesy of http://www.cookinglight.com

2) Reach a personal goal of running 5k in 30 minutes. I started working toward this little by little at the beginning of January, and at the time, could only run 4 minutes uninterrupted, before I turned beet-red and was completely out of breath. I can proudly say that now I can run 10-12 minutes uninterrupted, so if I stick with a plan of running at least twice a week, I dare say I might get to 30 minutes in another 2-3 months. For someone who is generally not into exercise and definitely not into aerobic exercise, this is going to be quite a feat!

3) Finish working on my book (or at least finish enough to pitch to some agencies). I’ve been working on a semi-autobiographical book for over a year now, and feel as though the Gods may be smiling upon me this year. I also read a Chinese horoscope that the Snake loves creative personalities and will assist those who are trying to complete creative projects. And we all know horoscopes are never wrong… So, this HAS to be the year!!

4) Still speaking of books – finish reading War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. At the end of last year, I recruited a couple of friends into a very small and selective “book club.” We were going to read and discuss War and Peace together. I felt that to get through one of the most voluminous novels ever written, I might need some moral support and encouragement. After all, it’s a book of 4 volumes, and no, not the “Twilight” kind.

War and peaceAt the moment, between working, cooking, and writing my own book, I am finding limited amounts of time to read, and am going at a dismal rate of about 30 pages a week. Then again, this is not an action-adventure novel. This is a novel spanning several families, several generations, and a couple of  decades. This is serious reading that requires attention and dedication. Also I am reading the Russian version (as I believe all writing is best in its original, native language), which makes it just a bit tougher discussing with my non-Russian-speaking friends.

I have to say, I have been pleasantly surprised by Tolstoy’s sense of humour. “His features were like his sister’s, but while in her case everything was lit up by a joyous, self-satisfied, youthful, and constant smile of animation, and by the wonderful classic beauty of her figure, his face on the contrary was dulled by imbecility …”

5) Stop shopping for clothes/shoes/make-up. I have always been a bit of a shopaholic and at the end of last year had a sudden realization that I don’t shop because I need or even want things, but rather I shop as a sport. It’s not about the things I buy, it’s about the activity of shopping. Which lead me to conclude that I must be …bored. I have got to find more worthwhile activities and hobbies to take up that time. Not to mention, my closet is crammed full, and every year when I get ready to do a seasonal clothing switch, I find myself overwhelmed with the amount of stuff I have amassed and hardly know what to do with. For some reason, my husband thinks it’s amusing to watch me struggle in frustration with my wardrobe – presumably because the predicament is of my own doing. Also – ironically, the more clothing I have the harder it is to figure out something to wear. Go figure. And I won’t even go into discussing the money I could save by taking up a hobby that doesn’t involve buying things. Also, not shopping will help with number 6 on this list.

6) De-clutter our house. My parents have recently sold their house and the process of moving 20 years’ worth of furniture and just… life… has been overwhelming and traumatic for everyone involved. The really shocking thing has been, that faced with an inordinate amount of stuff, and knowing that they have to pack it up and move it within a couple of weeks, it has still been extremely difficult for them to part with many things. It’s almost scary how attached we are to our stuff.

It made me take a second look at how many possessions my husband and I have amassed in just 4 years of home-ownership. And I don’t think its gets better with time – it tends to get worse. So, this year we have to take time to slowly go through bins, boxes, things in the basement,  and make difficult decisions on whether or not it is all necessary or useful. A HUGE garage sale will be in order this springtime, followed by several trips to Goodwill.

7) Spend more time outside, even if it’s “cold” out. I put cold in quotations because what I consider to be cold, is probably considered quite warm and balmy by a lot of other people. My very modern lifestyle of house-car-office-car-house has left me slightly deficient in vitamin D and in need of more natural sunlight. So I’ve been trying to bundle up in gloves, puffy coats and ear-muffs and brave the 50F temperatures for the past month or so.

8) Start a vegetable garden in my backyard.  I am dying to do this. I have wanted to plant vegetables the previous couple of seasons, but we were more consumed by working inside the house, and not so much outside.

Image courtesy of stlhandmade.blogspot.com

I absolutely love vegetables, and I love the idea of serving my family foods that I lovingly grew myself. Last year, a very nice and friendly neighbor even came and tilled up a portion of our backyard for me start gardening and I really feel like I let him down. This year, I hope to plant a big variety of vegetables and see what “sticks.” My garden probably won’t look as nice and neat as the one on the picture, but hopefully I’ll have enough veggies to share with our neighbor to think him for his help.

9) This one is truly a wish and not a resolution. I wish to be more flexible and open-minded to various experiences. To do things that might frighten me with their unpredictability. I think it’s ironic that people work so hard to achieve stability and security in everything. After all, the only thing stability really offers is the hope that we can know what is to come. That if we stack our cards just right, we can peer into the future. But if we always knew what’s going to happen – what a boring life that would be.

Do you have some resolutions/wishes for 2013? Comment below and share – I’d love to know!

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2 Responses to New Year, New Me

  1. stanzebla says:

    No resolution I’m rather one of the no-list-makers. My wish was though that 2013 should become as awesome as 2012.

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