Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year, Decade, and Hot Chocolate!

Yes, it is true; I have finished off the hot chocolate mix and opened a new container. Out with the old, in with the new!

This year is starting out much better than last year --- not that I really remember what last New Year was like, but I have high hopes for this new shiny decade. As my sister, who was laid off when her company was closed, put it, 2009 can't end fast enough. And as my brother, who was fired, said in reply: amen to that. So really it's going to have to get really really bad before it tops last year, not that I want anything like that to happen.

I would love to do lovely and thoughtful themes or resolutions like Profgrrrl, whose annual themes always sound so great ---like "mindfulness" or "renaissance," but I really have to go through something before I know what it's all about (which is why I then do it over again, now knowing what I am supposed to do). For instance, looking back now it is clear to me that 2009 was all about preparation and "putting things into place"; maybe then 2010's theme is "follow-through"? I don't know. I kinda like the idea of making my theme this year be "kicking ass!" but then, I do that all the time. It's like new year's resolutions: how can I improve when I'm pretty much perfect? Just kidding. Except kinda not. (Maybe I should resolve to lower my self esteem?)

That said, I did think of a few things I could work on over this year. I remember being too depressed to face up to new year's resolutions last year, but there are certain areas I'm always kinda working on anyway and I will revisit those once again.

Cooking. "Learn to cook real food" was a resolution of a few years ago that I continue to work with. When not at my parents' house (oh don't ask what I ate for the last few days there) I eat pretty damn healthy, with lots of fresh vegetables and grains. I may eat too much of it, but I've basically cut out fast food and processed crap. I've learned how to cook beans and pulses from scratch, and I've started inviting people over and cooking for them (I need to continue that). I had thought of expanding into baking, but I don't find it nearly as much fun and feel guilty when I'm eating massive amounts of cookies or breads all by myself. However, I am not at all an adventurous chef, and there are many untouched sections of my cookbooks.

Therefore, I resolve to be saucy. Yes, I am branching out into learning how to make sauces for things and combining things with new flavors this year. I want to learn how to pair flavors and change up my basics; right now I have extensive experience cooking veggies and putting some olive oil and lemon on them. And that's quite tasty, but my Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone book has pages and pages of sauces matched to each vegetable. I keep saying I should try some of them and never do. Time to get out of a rut.

Fitness. Last year I was really good with going to the gym regularly. I made a promise to myself that if I would get myself there regularly that was all that counted. So while I got myself into a nice routine (uh, except for that whole "gone away for 2 weeks of Christmas break" bit) I didn't necessarily challenge myself there or push myself out of my comfort zone. Nor did I work on losing weight. But since my goal was nice and small and specific, it worked.

Since one of the things I learned at the gym is that it's actually fun to not be a couch potato, I resolve to take it to the streets. Seriously, when was the last time I took a hike? Or even a walk around town? If I like spin class I should try out some actual sports and games, eh? And did you know there's this thing called an ocean over there? I need to get out and be active outside (not that I should drop working out inside) and try new activities. Maybe even with some friends along!

Related to that, this article in the New York times about "procrastinating pleasure" really rang true to me and inspired me to resolve to be a hometown tourist. We have lovely hiking trails and nifty event type things all around me and I never go to them, just like people in the article would move out of towns that they had never toured, always figuring that they would have time to do it later since they lived there. I still haven't been to the zoo or the various museums around here, and they must have student/local reduced price days. Concerts and arts performances are pretty pricey for me to add in right now but in the past I have even skipped the free stuff because I am too busy. I think there's more stuff in this town than my apartment, the library, and my neighborhood coffee shop. I should go find out.

Finally, I resolve to be more patient with my family. Over the past few years I have withdrawn from them a lot, partly because they so don't understand the whole job market thing and get so naggy and accusative, and then I just avoid them completely so that I don't have to hear about it. Also I keep telling myself that time right now "doesn't count," for some stupid reason, and that I'll go spend more time with them when I have "a real job like a real person and not some weird failure." But now is still now, and especially my nieces and nephews don't remember my less-depressed time when I actually hung out with them more and played with them. Plus, I know that often when I am hanging out with them I'm impatient and mean. Especially my parents who are slowing down and getting more confused. I need to calm down and let them do their own things and take their own time because nobody's going to change themselves suddenly after a lifetime of being a certain way. This will involve being strategic --- more frequent, shorter calls and visits is the key, in my opinion.

So, yeah. Sounds like a plan! And you know how I love making plans. Maybe this time I will not only make them, but keep them.


Anonymous said...

Those are awesome goals! I'm inspired to adopt a few myself -- especially the hometown tourist one.

Good luck & best wishes for 2010!

squadratomagico said...

This is a really smart list! Hometown tourism, spending more time outdoors -- these sound like great ways to enrich your life generally!

Happy New Year!

Anonymous said...

Resolve to be saucy: I love that on so many levels! Happy New Year, Sisyphus.

Bardiac said...

Wonderful goals. I especially like the last one because that's the one I should really apply more to my own life.

Happy New Year; I hope it treats you WAY better!

Susan said...

I like your saucy goal. But I heard a talk by a cookbook author once, who said the general assumption is that most people make between 3-5 recipes from any cookbook; general cookbooks (joy of cooking, Mark Bittman) generally get a few more. So don't feel too badly about how few recipes you've tried.

midprof said...

the family not understanding the job market thing really resonates w/me. My dad used to always ask, when I was home for Christmas or in summer, why I didn't just drop by the local ___ department to introduce myself. You know, so I could apply for a job.