I still kind of have a hard time, sometimes, believing we’re in the 2000s at all, let alone that it’s now 2009. This is the year I will turn 30, the last of the “aught-x” years I will see (barring some scientific miracle). Given that my twenties and most of the aught-whatevers have been what you might describe as “horrible” or “miserable,” I am looking forward to this transition.
More so than in an average new year, I feel the need, this year, to make and keep resolutions. I guess something about turning 30 just screams “REAL ADULT” and that I can now take the lessons of the past 29 years and make my life better in meaningful ways. It’s taken a long time, and it will take a long time yet, but in recent years I have finally realized that change doesn’t have to take place all in one fell swoop. I’ve been learning patience, acceptance of gradual steps and half-done tasks. Well, most of the time, at least.
And so, now, to list my resolutions. They almost all point to the same goal, really, which is to bring my actual life more in line with my ideals and ethics. Basically, this means living simply, respectfully, sustainably and happily. I doubt it gets any more cliched than that, but it’s what I want. So there. Ha ha. And now, the resolutions part. Finally.
- Make my house more of a home.
This is one of those resolutions that a life coach would look at and go, “No, no good, you need to list SPECIFIC and achievable goals, which this is not!” And yet, I know what I mean. I’m not going to commit to painting every room, to building custom bookcases, to organizing the entire place with nifty stuff from the Container Store, to collecting antique bird figurines and placing them decoratively here and there. That’s part of what I mean, but not all of it.
It’s been a very long time since I had any sense of a place being mine. Since I moved out, everything has been more along the lines of “oh, well, it’s only a rental, a temporary place,” and all my stuff stays in boxes and the walls are whatever color they were painted. Our house now is a rental, too. But it’s also a cute 20s-looking bungalow with neat crown molding and curvy doorways and a big backyard and, yes, some unfortunate aspects too. And as much as I want to move back to Pittsburgh, in reality I know that we’ll be living here for at least the next five years. So really: Why not act like it? I’m tired of living with the sense that everything is hodgepodge, make-do, pack up and go.
And what are the concrete steps I’ll be taking? Well, I’m going to do a lot of little household sewing projects, for one thing, like my toaster cozy and curtains and potholders and other such nonsense. I may even crochet a dress for the dish soap… or not. I may paint a room, and rearrange some furniture. But mostly I want to have a sense of what I need to do each day, to give things some sense of permanence and organization. I’m going to follow my household binder a lot more closely (on which item more posts, anon) and try to find a place for everything. All the other resolutions follow this one.
- Declutter, and then declutter some more.
I’ve got boxes kicking around in the basement that haven’t been unpacked since 1996. I am a hoarder. I keep things because they make me feel safe. But really — do I really need the bar paper printout of the compiler I wrote in 1998? Do I need to keep every scrap of paper anyone’s ever sent me in the mail? (Seriously. I keep them all, just like I keep voicemails, because I’m Afraid Someone Will Die, and since this happens, well. But that is the OCD being all OCD about stuff.) Clearly, I can get rid of a lot of things. And what’s left will need a place to live, because “all over the place in cardboard boxes” is no kind of life.
- Improve my sewing skills.
This one is, I think, pretty self-explanatory. I plan to sew for at least half an hour each day, although I won’t flog myself if I miss a day here and there. I think I’ll mostly be sewing for the house, which makes this dovetail neatly with my first resolution. Because nothing says “home” like covers on all the appliances. Right?
- Eat more sensibly, and more at home.
OK, let’s be honest here. I am ashamed to admit it, but after my mom died, I was super-uber-depressed. A lot. And I couldn’t really even bring myself to cook, which is weird, because cooking is one of my #1 favorite pastimes. I think I just didn’t feel like anything was worth it. So we ate a lot of fast food, which is gross. I feel gross just thinking about it. We’ve been doing better lately, obvs, but I want to plan menus at least one week in advance. I want to stock the chest freezer, and plan this year’s vegetable garden better. So far so good, really.
- Stop drinking Diet Pepsi.
This sort of goes with the one above. Or at least stop drinking so much of it. The thing is, the municipal water here? Yeah, it tastes like ass. And we get city newsletters that say stuff like “The EPA has declared that our water treatment plant is almost nearly compliant with regulations!” Even filtered through a Brita or something, the water here makes me queasy. So I think it’s going to have to be teas, because that involves boiling the water.
- Operate within a reasonable budget.
Probably fairly self-explanatory. In essence, we are strapped for cash, like almost everyone else. We’ve done OK but it’s time to tighten the belt another notch or maybe trade it in for a corset or something. I want a plan in place, something to keep things running smoothly instead of the once-weekly panic moment called “do we have enough this week?”
- Expand my business.
I am extraordinarily lucky in that I get to do, now, about what I want to be doing. I get to be an artist and make occasional money from it. I started an Etsy shop in September, figuring it would be a while before it took off, but oops — people ordered way more quickly than I’d anticipated, and everyone wanted to swap. So I’ve got to catch up, and I want to build up an actual stock so I have more than 7 things listed at a time. Also, advertising, local craft fairs, etc.
- Continue to make my relationship with my husband awesome.
Our relationship, thus far, has been through a ridiculous amount of stress. One week to the day after our first date, I broke my foot. Spectacularly. I was in a cast for a long time, and yet Zack persisted in being awesome. Then, we got married, and a month later my mom passed away. So we haven’t had much stress-free time to just kick it. I think 2009 should be a happy year of happiness. Hopefully the universe cooperates and does not elect to have anyone else in my family or friends die, break limbs, or get arrested. Hear that, universe? Stick with the plan here. Happy times. Respite.
So there you have it, by and large. I’m sure there are other little bits and pieces that go with these things, and other stuff I’d like to accomplish, but I’ve learned that if I indulge my need for list-making as much as I’d like to, I never actually do any of the stuff on the lists. So the idea, here, is to expand on these goals in small steps. Each month I’ll take a look at them, and see what measurable things I can do to keep moving in the right direction. And for January, most of it consists of, uh… making lists. No, really. I need to finish up my household binder; that’s kind of the linchpin that holds everything else together. Finishing up those pages actually covers a lot more ground than you’d think. I’ll post about it as I go, yeah? Also this month, I plan to spend 30 minutes per day sewing, and 30 minutes per day on a craft project for myself. I spend a lot of time knitting, crocheting, embroidering, and drawing, but almost all of it is for other people and for my shop. So nyah. I WILL make myself a pair of socks this month.