12 Things for the Year 2018

“You have as many hours in a day as Beyoncé.” | You’ve seen the meme

Call it what you want: a resolution, a plan, a wish list.

I don’t need to name it. I need to do it. And, I plan to.

No. 12 |Start Blogging 

Okay, so this is a no-brainer. But, not for the reason you’re probably thinking.

Clearly, this is the purpose of such a website. For me, this is the purpose of declaration.

I need to write.

Because I am a teacher of writing, because I am vindicated by the process, because I deserve to be heard if not by others, then most assuredly by myself.

I need to write.

No. 11 | Brain Food

Reading is higher on the list because I am usually a pretty loyal bibliophile.

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But, reading is important and you can never do enough of it, unless you’re a politician.

If that’s the case, Twitter seems to be a suitable alternative.

On a more positive note, here are 18 books that I plan to read this year:

  1. The Dry–Jane Harper
  2. Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI–David Grann
  3. Bird by Bird–Anne Lamott
  4. The Martian–Andy Weir
  5. Love in the Time of Cholera–Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  6. A Walk in the Woods–Bill Bryson
  7. A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time–Mark Haddon
  8. My Favorite Thing is Monsters–Emil Ferris
  9. Tenth of December–George Saunders
  10. Purple Hibiscus–Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  11. The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane–Lisa See
  12. Anne of Green Gables–Lucy Maud Montgomery
  13. Nomadland–Jessica Bruder
  14. The Heart’s Invisible Furies–John Boyne
  15. Ginny Moon–Benjamin Ludwig
  16. You Learn by Living–Eleanor Roosevelt
  17. The Princess Saves Herself in this One--Amanda Lovelace
  18. Dear Scott, Dearest Zelda–The Love Letters of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

No. 10 | Suppress Consumerism

“No one has the right to consume happiness without producing it.” | Helen Keller

From food to beauty products to everything else, so much of my life is about consumption.

Which, yeah, that’s necessary. But it’s not definite.

Even if my primary role is consumer, I want a secondary role as producer. Below is a list of ways I want to eventually contribute to this earth that gives me so much. Please share any ideas you have as well!

  • Contribute bi-monthly to a blog that shares my ideas with others.
  • Paint my decor rather than buy it.
  • Plant a tree…or a lot of trees.
  • Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
  • Donate! See next topic.

No. 9 | Donation Station

I gave sparingly and sporadically in 2017. But, we all know the incredible feeling that comes from giving to others.

So, here are some organizations, in no particular order, that I intend to give a donation of $10 or more this year:

*There are 12–one donation for each month.

The American Red Cross, Save the Whales, Sierra Club, Kansas Public Telecommunications Service, National Public Radio, World Wildlife Fund, Alzheimer’s Association, Disabled American Veterans, United Way, and Humane Society of the United States

No. 8 | Selective Viewing

Let’s be honest. The majority of what is on cable, Netflix, Hulu, HBO, etc. is absolute trash.

Recently, I have started watching the STARZ series Outlander. And, I love it! But, it is less than wholesome. Much less.

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Which is hard to admit, because I truly enjoy watching it. And, I will continue to watch it.

But, I have decided I need balance.

In show after show, there are countless characters who make bad decisions and actively choose to be poor people.

I understand that show directors and producers are trying to speak to the human condition. But, I don’t want that to be my human condition. I wish to actively choose better. 

So, for each unwholesome show I choose to watch, such as Outlander or Handmaid’s Tale, I have decided to watch two wholesome shows to try and counteract.

This month, I will give both Land Girls and The Flash a try.

Land Girls is an obvious choice because BBC always seems to do an appropriate, bang-up job! Cheerio!

The Flash because I have many students who swear by it and I want to be able to both connect with them and connect with entertainment that promotes family values.

*Reviews of both to come!

No. 7 | Eat Locally

I am no stranger to food trends or diets.

I have tried a vegetarian diet. I have tried a vegan diet. I have yet to try the Whole 30 diet, but something tells me that 2018 should be the year that I let food trends and diets die.

Instead, I have decided to leave the path of processed and refined sugar foods behind. I am going to try and trade it in for more locally sourced, organic foods.

What does this mean? I haven’t officially decided.

But, I know what it’s not.

 

It is not depriving myself or making myself feel guilty about the occasional Chipotle run.

It is not completely avoiding chain grocery stores. I do love a good run to Dillon’s.

It is not stewing over every minute detail and comparison between two product labels in the grocery store.

I simply want to eat less fast-food, choose local options more often than not, and feel good about what I put in my body. If I manage to go on more long walks during this process, that would be even better!

For now, here are some resources I found to help me do this: https://chainfreeeating.wordpress.com

http://kansasgrowninc.com

I hope to have an update soon!

No. 6 | Authentic Travel

We’ve all seen it.

*Insert another Instagram photo on some beach resort; a resort most likely somewhere in Mexico*

Now, there is absolutely nothing wrong with an all inclusive, resort vacation.

And, I can’t even say it’s not the vacation for me because quite frankly, I’ve never even experienced that type of vacation.

However, there is something wrong with the societal frame of mind that every other type of vacation pales in comparison to the foreign or exotic.

I can admit that I possess this frame of mind and I want to dedicate part of this year to  ridding myself of that stigma.

I want to be just a captivated with a National Prairie Preserve in my own, home state as I would be if I visited a National Prairie Preserve in Scotland.

I wish to one day visit both. But, in the meantime, I will be of the mindset that both travel experiences are wonderful regardless of the distance they are from my front door.

giphy3Also, while I am on the subject of authentic experiences, I hope to make agritourism part of my 2018.

Let’s just say it pairs well with my ideas of a nontraditional vacation and locally sourced products.

No. 5 | Forget Timelines

 “You can get almost anything to look normal if you make enough comparisons” Beartown–Fredrik Backman

History has always been one of my favorite subjects. But, I have never had much of a knack for timelines.

House owner by 24. Married by 26. First child by 28.

That expectation is gross. Almost as gross as another adult trying to put your life on a timeline for you.

Probably one of the happiest moments of my last year occurred when I resolved to stop subjecting myself to my own version of the traditional timeline that the world seems to think is the only order for a happy life.

Yes, I do plan on getting married. Yes, I do plan on having children. But, should it be any less of an accomplishment if I haven’t done both of those things before the age of 30?

No, not at all.

So, when another person asks if I think I’ll get married anytime soon, I plan to stand a little straighter, look them in the eye, and say: “Yes, but your soon and my soon are probably different. And, that is fine by me.”

Also, in practice, I think it means I will stray away from social media.

Comparison has no friends.

No. 4 | Holy Center

In 2017, I had the goal of completing a daily devotional for the entire year.

A goal which I can proudly say was a success.

But, it is with a little less pride that I confess I planned on stopping there. I don’t mean stop entirely. I planned to continue completing devotionals, but certainly not everyday. That was a lot of work!

God had other plans. And, I thank Him for that and for good friends. He placed someone in my life who inspired me to continue with my daily pursuit of God. In fact, she bought me the perfect devotional guide to do just that. It is here if you’d like to check it out for yourself.

I am happy to make 2018 another year of starting everyday with God.

Sarah, if you are reading this, thank you!

No. 3 | Capsule Wardrobe

“We are a society who has become accustomed to having closets that are completely crammed with clothes.” | Jennifer L. Scott

This is not a new concept to most. And, although this is the time for resolutions, it is not a new concept to me either.

For over a year, I have been combative with the idea of a ten item or capsule wardrobe. I am a notorious shopper. If I like it, I buy it. Often, without even trying it on to ensure it is a purposeful purchase. Like many, I consistently fall “victim” to the classic impulse buy. Spoiler alert: No sweater has ever made me as happy as I thought it would.

I had fallen into the trap of excess over exactness. This led to the not so uncommon dilemma of “nothing to wear” and the buyer’s remorse of “why did I spend my money on something I don’t really like?”

Perhaps I finally found resolve or perhaps it was the frustration of a closet bursting at the seams, but 117 became my magic number.

I thanked and donated over 117 items that were once nestled in the copious comforts of my closet.

What I thought would be a most painful process became a very freeing escapade. It was almost euphoric to toss aside countless items that didn’t quite fit me physically or stylistically.

But, I would not be doing the concept justice if I said there wasn’t a certain element of disappointment. Not a disappointment in the contents that were left after my hours of purging. But, a disappointment in the countless items I had bought simply because they were trending or everyone had them. And, most disappointing of all, the amount of money I had wasted on all these unwanted items.

As disappointing as that was, the lasting feeling has been one of motivation. Do I truly have only 10 items for each season? No, probably not. Do I have a much lighter closet full of items that I know I will wear and wear well? Yes, and that is a feeling I intend to keep.

If you won’t take my word for it; take theirs–resources: Modern Mrs. Darcy & Jennifer L. Scott 

No. 2 | Intentional Spending

Since acquiring my first adult job, you could say I have adopted “Treat Yo Self” as my own personal motto. Unfortunately for my bank account, I have perfected the art of thinking I have more funds to “treat myself” than I actually do.

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I have somehow convinced myself that because I set aside a certain amount of each pay check for my personal savings or bills, I have the right to spend the rest however I see fit.

If you can’t guess what I typically choose as my spending of choice, see my above mentioned topic.

Thankfully, I have a few money intelligent people in my life who work tirelessly to remedy me of my swipe-happy habit. People who probably know all too well that I like to tune them out when I pass a good sale. Sorry, Joshua. Consider this an admission that you are right…this time.

Although I admire the efforts of those who love me despite my lack of willpower, I know it is not up to them. And, I think that is why my endeavors to be a smarter spender have been fruitless.

It has to be a conscious choice. I have to choose to view my money not as expendable, but as dependable–as in I can depend on it to be there because I haven’t gone on yet another bender at my local Old Navy.

I recently listened to a podcast, Budgeting Doesn’t Have to Suck (credit to Josh for sharing this wisdom with me), that repeated the mantra of “giving every dollar a purpose.” I can’t exactly place why this idea was so impactful for me, but it was. And, I have decided to make it my new personal motto.

What is my plan of action? Well, thanks to the always insightful Alison and her blog Experimental Wifery, I plan to shop more like my grandmother.

Because I know most readers will not follow external links, let me give you the gist:

  1. I am going to know what I NEED–not to be confused with the other four letter word that I use all too often. No, not that word…I will avoid WANT. I am a huge fan of lists, so I intend to create one that accounts for all of the things I need to function on a daily basis.
  2. Patience is a virtue that I possess, to some extent, in almost every aspect of my life except my pocketbook. With another much shorter list, I plan record a few things I want. And, most importantly, I pledge to wait until I have found exactly what I want before buying. My grandmother is never one to settle, and neither will I.
  3. Quality is a must! I like to think I have already learned this to some extent through my capsule wardrobe adventure, but I wish to apply it to other areas of my life as well. For instance, before I buy what will be the third record turntable I have owned, I want to do a thorough search for quality and a I want to wait until I have the funds to support it. Because, although I am no turntable aficionado, I cannot help but think that the lack of both quality and time are what caused my other two purchases to fail. If you have any turntable recommendations, I am all ears!

Maybe these spending rules are far too simple, but when I am starting from nothing, I think it is best to begin with the basics.

Cheers to intentionality and a checking account balance that includes a comma!

No. 1 | Love More

“Where you invest your love, you invest your life.”

Awake My Soul–Mumford & Sons

This is a resolution for every year and every day. It is only appropriate that I make it the single most significant part of this list.

Each new year brings with it optimism. Yet, it also serves as a reminder that we have one less year in this place with the people we love.

That may sound dark, but in a way I find it to be the most encouraging part of a new year. I have another 365 days to transform the lives of those I love and those I will come to love.

I know some people will be disappointed that they read through this entire list just to be left with something as hokey as this at the end, but maybe that means they should consider it even more.

There you have it. 2018 will be a year of more love. I will strive to have more love for my family, my friends, my boyfriend, my students, complete strangers, and myself.

Because, after all, that’s what the creation of this blog is about.

 

 

 

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