New Year’s resolutions
I never really bought into this last ritual of the holiday season, probably because it marks the end of the party, which I’m never ready for.
Besides, I’ve always been the kind of person that reassesses my life and analyses it regularly, not necessarily waiting for special occasions and specific dates to take a step back and realign, to set goals or put pressure on myself. I like to be realistic too; I won’t decide to become a patient, morning person overnight or quit smoking if I don’t think I want to or can. Why do so many people arbitrarily decide to walk into that trap on January 1st to only beat themselves up soon after. Wired for self preservation, I tend to avoid setting myself up for eminent failure. Not that I ever shied away from challenge either. I’m a masochist and a delinquent, but I don’t need to be reminded of it so early in the New Year when I’m still basking in a holiday glow, with a mushy mind and full of optimism. Timing!
Once way too hard on myself, I have learnt to be more gentle (lax!) with the years. I don’t put myself up for review as frequently or take on as much. I’ve learnt to say no. I no longer aim for ‘perfect’ in many ways, and insist on being true above all. Be it wisdom or laziness or simply a survival tactic, I am more inclined to allow myself to beat to my own drum, outside of what I was or was supposed to be. Although increasingly at odds with what I and my youthful entourage figured we should be in 2010, I think I’m happier for it. Nevertheless, deep down, I know someone needs to be cracking the whip every now and then. I always wondered why people needed the calendar for that, but I’m starting to understand.
Critically, I can’t help but notice that approaching 40, especially on paper, I am flagrantly flawed with respect to those standards set so long ago; I should have a list of New Year’s resolutions so long it would be entirely overwhelming to tackle them all. And for what? Misguided, idealistic kiddie dreams that are no longer my own. Forget that. I could pick through the heap though, salvage one or two, upgrade and add them to my perpetual ‘to do’ list, so as not to let them one day accumulate into a pile of bitter disappointment. To shake things up, perhaps it might be a good idea to play the resolution game.
So, whoosh with the whip; I will make a short list of resolutions that I can possibly attain, that might improve the lives of people around me, and make me a better human bean, or at least a better cook, which usually does all of the above in some small way.
- I will add one charity to my list, even if I’m broke. (Must cut down elsewhere.)
- I will not let my hermit country life claim my manners altogether. ‘Please’ and ‘thank you’, ‘I love you’; plain and simple kindness go a long way.
- I will not go soft when it comes to being green, eco-sensitive and composting, buying local and fair-trade - even if after years of doing so and being a tireless proponent, it sometimes feels futile.
- I will take full advantage of the slow(er) winter season and hash out at least one of my projects on the backburner.
- I will learn a few new kitchen tricks; I must not fall into a rut. Allot sufficient time for brainstorming. And I will make a checklist of dishes and techniques I need to fine tune. That’s lame - I always do these things and enjoy it. But, I should really make use of those hydrocolloids, get to the bottom of that, which I’m not so into. I am doing a bread class in March, much more useful.
- I will nail down corrections to my gnocchi variations and go back to the basics with jelly; I will add more fat to my sausage, and accept that certain ratios just can’t be tinkered with.
- I will write down recipes for once and for all.
- I will keep my nose closer to the books and the bottom line, in an effort to be smart business wise at least as much as creatively.
- I will try to shut cupboard doors, close caps and jars and bags and locks tightly enough to not anger François and my co-workers.
- I will consider picking up a paint brush for the first time in my life, and contribute in household renovations, ugh.
- I will try to answer my phone more.
- And see my nieces and nephews, my Mom and Dad more often.
- Oh, and if I make it through all that, then I should really, maybe do all those other things we’re supposed to want to do like exercise more, spend less, save more, go to bed earlier, quit smoking and drinking and all that fun stuff..
No! I’ll save a vice or two for next year, quand-même. But definitely, moderation is a sensible and noble goal to embrace. Everything in moderation, including moderation.
Here’s to a fabulous and delicious 2010 for you all! Let’s welcome it in with the best intentions and a couple of meaningful resolutions or not - certainly not too many.. and while I’m at it, a few more sayings because.. Life is too short and time flies. Before over complicating life, it may help to strip down instead, ensure the essentials are covered and nitpick later, keeping this most basic recipe for happiness in mind:
Something to do, something to love, something to hope for.
Cheers and Happy New Year!
May all your joys be pure joys,
May all your pain be champagne.