13 January 2014

Late Arrival | 2014 Resolutions

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I suppose it's a bit late in the day to finally be getting around to making my new year's resolutions, but change has been weighing heavily on my mind lately and I wanted to give it proper thought and consideration (after the holiday crazies) before I committed to a new chapter. In the past I've taken my resolutions pretty lightly - everyone does, I think. But this year I wanted to make promises to myself that I intend to keep. It's not so much a new beginning as it is taking firmer steps on a path I'm already travelling.

Which really makes the whole thing sound much deeper and more profound than it is. Because I assure you: these are not deep. But they are personal, and important in their own way. And worth a public declaration.

In 2014, I'd like to...

Read more (and watch less tv.) I've seen very impressive numbers posted by some of my blogger friends, of books they've consumed in a year (more than 100, in one case, and very close to triple digits in several others.) I have no illusions around being that ambitious (I'm not), but I'd like to rekindle my romance with literature; I'm ready to fall in love all over again. Thus far, I've finished To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) - my very favourite novel of all time - and Alice Munro's The Love of a Good Woman. I'm two-thirds of the way through How I Paid For College: A Novel of Sex, Theft, Friendship, and Musical Theatre by Marc Acito; it's a decent, entertaining read. Next up is Malcolm Gladwell's David and Goliath (a departure for me; I'm an English Lit snob at heart.) This is to say: what I'll likely lack in quantity will be more than made up in quality.

Become more deliberate in how I love my family. I think it's pretty obvious by now that I love my family like absolute crazy - I'm totally mad for them. We're closer than we probably have any right to be; we frequently refer to ourselves not just as a family, but as a really small gang. It works for us. But just because you love someone doesn't mean you always love them in the way they want or need to be loved. With the kids growing older and their needs changing (now that hugs and kisses aren't as well received, and are no longer a cure-all for what ails them), the way I love them should change, too. This year I will try to listen more carefully to what they say - and what remains unsaid - and more consciously cater my attention to each of them and their individual needs.

Watch the Oscar contenders, BEFORE the Oscars. Every year I watch the Oscars start-to-finish, and most of the time I have no idea what movies they're even talking about. We don't get out much. This year I'd like to keep up with the buzz, and then actually watch the movies being buzzed about. It'd be a nice change of pace not to feel so out of the loop on Awards night.

Create more magic in my kitchen. I'm an adventurous cook, relatively speaking, but this year I'd like to kick it up a notch. If I can swing it, I'd love there to be Thai cooking lessons in my very near future. But barring that, I'd like to become more technical and exacting in my cooking. I can whip together some pretty good eats, but precision would go a long way to taking my meals from everyday to gourmet. Also, if I could get the art of timing down, I'd be a happy girl. Having all the elements of a meal fully cooked and ready to serve at the same time is a skill that eludes me. I'd like to finally nail it this year.

Make like Ross and Rachel, and take a break from my main man, Tim Horton. I love steeped tea. Like, LOVE IT. When I am out of the house - and even sometimes when I'm in it - I'm rarely seen without an extra large in my hand. I spend obscene amounts of money on liquid that, if I'm being totally honest, I literally flush down the toilet. I get headaches if I skip a cup or try to go without, and it's just not right that I experience withdrawal symptoms from Tim's. So I'd like get this monkey off my back and wean myself off the Horton smack. My goal is to get me down to one tea per day.... which ought to give you a good idea how far out of control this situation really is.

Reach the halfway mark or more toward our basement renovation savings goal. When we amalgamated households and my mum moved in with us, it was always our intention to renovation the basement (or lower level, as we try to call it) into a private apartment for her. The profit from the sale of our house was initially intended to fund the renovation, and when we took a dive on the price and realized very little return, it was made impossible to design and build her apartment on our original timeline. Now that we're back on track (financially and otherwise), it's time to start saving for realz. We'd like to keep the reno budget between $40 and $45 thousand, so by year end my goal is to see roughly $23K in the bank.

There are a few others I'd like to work toward: saving to buy my dream car by year end (not what you'd think, unless you think it's a pre-loved recent-ish model Honda Element, in Incredible Hulk green, in which case it's exactly what you'd think); kick-starting my stalled real estate and interior design courses; keeping my little mole paw hands in as good a shape as possible and committing to bi-weekly manicures... but those things cost dolla'bills, y'all. They're love-to-have's, but not need-to-do's.

'Tis the season for making significant changes in our lives, and for promises well-kept, well-intentioned and sometimes wildly unrealistic to ourselves and others. What resolutions have you made for 2014 that you're determined to keep?