Tuesday, December 29, 2015

New Year's Res recaps

2015 is almost over, and I can say without irony or sarcasm that it's been a nearly perfect year. The high points were plenty - booking my first Broadway show, getting engaged on the beach in Mexico, meeting dear friend's children for the first time, wandering around Ireland and Paris with friends and loved ones, starting the wedding planning process, and discovering the wonderful world of Zumba. But don't worry, this isn't a post detailing how awesome my life is (because that would be obnoxious). It's time for me to see how the goals and resolutions I set way back in January have held up - did I make an effort to better my life in any way, or did I just sit on my butt all year and maintain the status quo?

Read more non-fiction
Grade: A  While this wasn't necessarily the hardest goal in the world to achieve (I simply had to switch one type of book for another), I still had to make the effort to do so. And I was more than pleasantly surprised by the results! There's a whole world of non-fiction out there, and much of it is very good. Some of my favorites: Blue Mind (Walace J. Nichols), a look at how water affects evey aspect of our lives; Maphead (Ken Jennings), about the history, development, and current relevance of maps; and The Almost Nearly Perfect People (Michael Booth), an insightful and in-depth study of the people that make up the five Nordic countries.

Grade: D  Outside of an annual one-day charity event and the requisite four-hour CSA shift, I did not volunteer an extra minute of my time. I again found it incredibly difficult to find opportunities that worked in tandem with my schedule, abilities, and interests. Note to self: fix this for 2016.

Get out of my culinary rut
Grade: B+  I was a bit worried that I would fail this goal completely - but then I joined that fateful CSA and was immediately transported into a world of strange and wonderful vegetables. In addition to adding things like beets, kohlrabi, rutabagas, turnips, and bok choi to my weekly home dinner menus, I also forced myself to carry that spirit of innovation when dining out. A previously unfamiliar dish is now one of my go-to Thai orders (Pye Boat's Beef Boat Noodles), and I also found the nerve to try a shark sandwich from a stall at a street fair  - something I cannot wait to eat again next summer.

Make time for doodling
Grade: C  Except for the few nights I played with a new set of watercolor pencils, I really didn't spend any time putting pen to paper. I even bought two books to help me (an adult coloring book and a cartoon drawing guide), but they sadly remain unopened. This is a shame, because I found a lovely sense of relaxation simply fiddling with the watercolors - but every subsequent time I thought about bringing them to the table again, I let myself believe that other matters and concerns took precedence. I will make more of an effort to find some doodling zen in 2016!!

Quality, not price
Grade: B-  Three times this year I made the choice to spend a little more money on a quality product (Pyrex casserole dishes, Tom's shoes, and a London Fog coat) and I'm so glad I did - they're already outlasting their cheaper alternatives, and I notice I take much better care of these items than I would if they were cheap knock-offs. I gave myself the (-) though, because there were a few times in which I caved and bought some cheap t-shirts from Old Navy and a scarf from a street fair. So really, it's all about finding a balance that works for me while keeping in mind that in the long run, it pays to spend a bit more money on quality goods.

Grade: B+  I made a HUGE effort to remove myself from every nonessential email list in my gmail account, and except for a couple pesky companies that resurrect themselves every few months (I'm looking at you, overstock.com), I ran a pretty successful campaign. I think this is an ongoing project though - I'll never be fully done with unsubscribing (these email listserves are like cockroaches, I swear), but the push I made this year cleared out a whole bunch. In fact, I'm going to pivot this project over to my junk email account and see if I can't make at least a small dent in the hundreds of promotional and random messages I get each day.

How did you fare on sticking to your resolutions?

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