Open ye the East door, and let the New Year in!
Another January. Another year begun.
I’m not a big “resolution” person–if I’m going to resolve something that actually matters to me, I’ll resolve it at whatever time of year feels right to me, and I’ll try to have something like a plan for making it happen. But on the other hand, I can see the appeal of taking this moment as the calendar year runs out, and as the days start to get a little longer, to look at the year that’s been and think about what I’d like to be different in the year to come.
This is the year we tore up the back half of our yard in the hopes of having a real functioning garden next spring. That’s one resolution, made months ago, to be worked on months from now, but it’s still for this new year. This is the year I realize I will have to break down and get reading glasses, because my ability to read print-on-page has been tanking steadily for the past couple of months and is persisting even now a week after the stress and sleeplessness of the holidays has been released. This is the year I want to get back in touch with some of the greener aspects of life I embraced year before last and have let slide abominably in the past year or so–I’ve been far freer than I’d like about hopping in the car for a little trip here and there instead of walking or biking, throwing out things that I really don’t need to throw out, buying things in way more packaging than I need, taking the easier way and grabbing some item at a big-box rather than taking the time and making the financial investment in a higher-quality and more ethically-produced version of same (like my now-beloved faux-Uggs on clearance at Target for $17)…
This year I want to spend more time with my kids, who are at that delightful age of actually enjoying Mom and Dad’s company and being fun to play with. I want to dance more, work out more, move more. I want to read–things I’m interested in, good quality learn-more-just-because-I-have-a-brain-and-I-can things–now that I finished my Master’s, there’s no one assigning me articles and projects, so I want to read on my own, and learn everything I can about whatever I can find to learn about–just because I’m not currently enrolled anywhere doesn’t mean I have to give up my status as a “perpetual student,” does it? (No, I didn’t think so!) I want to be more mindful of what I’m doing, whether it’s sitting or eating or watching TV, and choosing what will actually bring me and those around me greater joy, not just what results from inertia. And I want to learn to be gentler and more flexible in general, continuing to do battle with that part of my being which takes those little day to day inconveniences as personal insults/day-ruining life-suckers and learning instead to take them as opportunities to make someone else’s life a little easier.
My post of a few days ago, the one linking to Broke-Ass Grouch’s post, has had me thinking a whole lot…and remembering the years earlier in my marriage when my own pursuit of greenness began primarily to keep our bank account at least a little bit solvent from month to month. Our family’s concern with healthy eating and wellness and alternative medicine came about because we couldn’t find a doc in our only-plan-we-could-afford HMO whom we trusted and who seemed to have a clue, and we wanted to stay away from them all together. I couldn’t believe what we were spending on cereal, so I learned to make granola. We couldn’t afford convenience foods, so I learned to make “convenience foods” myself for a fraction of the cost. I couldn’t believe what decent clothing cost, so I discovered resale shops and ebay. I pinched pennies till Lincoln screamed. And we made it through–for the moment we are pretty comfortable, but I can’t ever forget how quickly that can change, how quickly it has changed for so many people, so I life in a state of perpetual wariness. And at the same time–I like my life. I like it a lot. I am married to my best friend, we have two awesome kids and a couple of furry hot water bottles on short legs, in a house that’s fairly small and terminally cluttered but honestly all we need. I have friends and family, I have access to great public libraries (not to mention Google Books), and we’ve discovered that as long as we are trying to honor the “not too much” part of “eat food not too much mostly plants” we can afford to shop at Whole Foods and buy the good organic stuff more often than not. And knowing that, in a pinch, I can feed and clothe my family on a shoestring if need be, I can approach life with a little more calm and less fear of the future. Because fear is life’s biggest happiness-sucker, and I so don’t need that crap.
So, them’s my resolutions…what about you guys? What’s the best of last year you’ll choose to keep and nourish, and what’s been there that could be swept away?
Sing reign of fair maid, with gold upon her toe, open ye the west door and turn the old year go…
Sing reign of fair maid with gold upon her chin, open ye the east door and let the new year in!
Sing levy dew, sing levy dew, the water and the wine,
The seven bright gold wires and the bugles that do shine!
–an anonymous English New Year carol