I'm not really a "New Year's Resolutions" kind of person. (I mean, I figure I'll just break them all around January 3rd, so what's the point?) So when my blogging buddy Holly from decor8 recently asked what my goals were for 2008, I wasn't quite sure how to answer her.
That's because I'm not really a "big-picture goals" kind of person, either. First of all, it reminds me a bit too much of those heinous annual reviews I had to undergo at my last corporate job. (Like, should I make an Excel spreadsheet to track my progress?)
Plus, as anal as I can be about certain things, I also just like to see where life takes me. I guess I'm afraid that if I plan things out too carefully, I might overlook some intriguing little alleyway that puts itself in my path as I blindly rush to get to the destination I'd previously mapped out for myself.
But Holly's question got me thinking, and I realized that there are some things I want to strive for in 2008. I also decided that setting a few goals for myself and making some changes in my day-to-day routines doesn't mean I can't also be open to exploring whatever surprises life may spring on me in the coming year.
So here goes:
I want to live more mindfully.
I know it sounds terribly "Berkeley" (hey, you can't live right next door to the place without at least a little bit of Berkeleyness rubbing off on you). But as squishily New Age as it seems, the term simply means to me to be more thoughtful about my life: To truly be in the moment -- especially with my kids -- rather than always letting my mind race ahead to the next item on my never-ending to-do list. To appreciate the gifts I have rather than spending so much energy coveting more. To really consider the choices I make and their impact on the people I love and on the world around me.
I want to be less wasteful.
I'm not a die-hard greenie by any stretch, but I've been thinking more and more lately about how much waste I'm a party to, and what I can do to change that. Not just recycling more, buying "greener" products, and avoiding extraneous packaging (though all of those things will certainly help) -- but living a less disposable life. I want to bring fewer things into my home that are meant to be used and then tossed. That means choosing one item that can be put to use over and over again instead of many things designed to be used only once (so goodbye paper towels and plastic shopping bags). It means getting a better handle on my urges for quick-and-cheap decorating makeovers and curtailing the resulting purchases of particleboard crap from IKEA. It means buying less, but investing in things of quality and substance that will stand the test of time.
I want to support local businesses and artisans.
Getting to know -- mostly via this blog -- some of the wonderfully talented and creative small-business owners, artists, and craftspeople in this area has strengthened my resolve to put my money where my mouth is. So I'll be skipping the chains in favor of local independent stores and continuing to explore and collect the work of this incredible creative community.
I want to seek out wares made by humans.
I am a sucker for a bargain, and am just as likely as the next gal to be wooed by the cheap and increasingly chic bling on offer from stores like West Elm, CB2, IKEA, and even Target. But as I've become better-acquainted with the handmade movement, I've come to realize that buying cheap, mass-produced, sometimes shoddily made stuff isn't necessarily such a good deal -- either financially or from a human point of view. So as my budget allows, I've vowed to seek out handcrafted items whenever possible. They just have so much more soul.
I want to make stuff.
I knitted six scarves for Christmas, and even got a handle on purling and making fringe -- woo hoo for me! Now it's time to step it up: I'm currently attempting a knitted pillow cover, and next I'll try knitting and then felting some bowls. Nick and I also bought our daughter the sewing machine she'd been begging for, and I'm going to take a sewing class with her. Who knows what may follow? By the end of the year, I might even feel worthy of subscribing to ReadyMade.
I want to get back to gardening.
Nick and I created the garden above from scratch at our old house. At the new house, we've done exactly nothing horticultural -- partly because the house already has mature and reasonably attractive landscaping, and partly because we've been focusing on the inside of the house and waiting for gardening inspiration to strike. This year, we're going to get our hands in the dirt again.
I want to cook more often, and eat better.
Truth be told, cooking isn't really my thing. Eating is more my thing. But I hereby vow to plan more home-cooked meals, and (again at the risk of going all Berkeley on you) to "eat closer to the earth." That means logging off the computer and thinking about dinner before my stomach starts growling and the kids start whining. It also means planting the vegetable garden we've been talking about and logging more time at our local farmer's market and less in the frozen-food aisle. (OK, I did just have some of last night's leftover pizza for breakfast -- but starting now, things will change. I swear.)
I want to be more social.
Just this past weekend, Nick and I skipped three parties we'd been invited to for no good reason other than it was cold outside, we were feeling lazy and antisocial, and staying home and watching DVDs in our pajamas was a lure we found hard to resist. This has got to stop, or the people we know will simply stop inviting us to their gatherings. Also, we finally have a dining room -- it's high time to start inviting friends over ourselves.
I want to refocus on my freelance writing.
This past year was wonderful from a creative standpoint: Starting this blog and shifting my focus away from the health writing and service journalism I've done for years and toward more design and lifestyle subjects were two of the high points. But it wasn't such a good year from an income standpoint. During the next 12 months, I'm hoping to do a better job of writing about the things I'm passionate about and making a living doing it. So starting now, I'm putting my freelance career back on full-throttle. (Any assigning editors out there? Call me ... ;-)
I want to take more risks.
Personally, professionally, creatively -- I'm done playing it safe. From now on, I'm going to take more chances and do a better job of putting myself out there.
I want to fill my life with creativity.
I'm going to continue to explore creativity this year -- my own and others', via this blog, through my work, and in real life. I want to get to know more creative people, take time to appreciate creative things, foster a creative atmosphere in my home, a spend more energy on creative pursuits.
In short, I'm going to do my best to live a more authentic and creative life in 2008. Now that's a resolution I'm pretty sure I can follow through on.
What about you?