Thursday, December 31, 2015

The End of the Year Ritual

I came across this concept of having an end of the year ritual on an episode of Gretchen Rubin's podcast Happier (with Drew Barrymore!) a few days ago and was instantly drawn to it. The idea is very simply just to have a ritual to finish the year, that provides a small closure, as you move into the next year. Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth provide examples of different kinds of rituals you can have, but there were a lot of good ideas in the comment section, too.

Here's what I decided to do.

1. Throw away everything excess in the kitchen.
That is, everything expired and everything we don't actually eat. For example, there were quite a few things from my low-carb phase last summer, such as coconut flour, that I'm just not going to eat. There was also porridge rice that had expired in 2014. Yikes. And also some condiments that we haven't touched in months. Bye. I would have felt bad tossing them (well, not the expired things), but somehow thinking "this is a ritual, I'm making room for the new year" made it OK.

2. Clear my email.
I cleared out everything. I thought at first I'd go through every email, and see if there were any important ones, or ones I'd like to save, or pictures people had send me. Then I decided that they couldn't be that important or I'd already saved them. And pressed delete all. It was scary before I did it and then wonderful once I did. Whatever there was, it's gone. Clean slate.

3. Take a picture of important objects from the year.
Favorites, mementos. The commenter who presented this idea called it "a yearly time capsule". I pretty much just went around the house and picked up everything that reminded me of 2015, and spread it all on the living room floor. I wont go into details, but here is my picture.


Happy New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2015

New Year’s resolutions 2015

Picture chosen, because it was nice and summery, and I felt like it.

I thought I’d go through my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2015 and see how I did.

I make New Year’s resolutions, or rather goals, every year. I love them. I use them mostly as an aid for memory, if I don’t write my goals down, I forget.

I had a one little word for this year: CLEAN. So my overall theme was to simplify, to get rid of excess and instead to invest in just a few pieces that I love.

Also, at the very end of last year we bought a house, and I really wanted to make it feel like home.

I actually lost the original list when I switched computers, so this is from memory. I think I remembered most of them. I also omitted a couple of the more personal ones.

These are definitely not in the order of importance.

Crossed over – completed
Italicized – in progress
Nothing – epic fail
  1. Fill at least one drawer in the freezer with blueberries I've picked myselfI picked blueberries, but not a whole drawer, still several liters.
  2. Plant a raspberry bush under the pine – My parents brought us a sapling of theirs and planted it. They also bought us two blueberry bushes and one lingonberry.
  3. Make an advent calendar in November – I filled the fabric  calendar I bought after last Christmas with all sugar free candy and gum, yep, I’m like Hermione’s parents. Really, I just wanted the excitement without overindulging before Christmas.
  4. Paint my desk white – Took days, but done.
  5. Assemble a capsule wardrobe for every season (so I can feel at least reasonably well dressed at any weather and place!) – Work in progress. Really liking it so far, continuing next year! End of summer wardrobe here.
  6. Learn to do my make-up – 99,9% of the time I wear no make-up. I did buy a new concealer, does that count? I've used it three times.
  7. Learn to do my hair – Nope. I think I brushed my hair twice.
  8. Get a gym membership – I did, had it a couple of months and realized I really don’t like going to the gym. Canceled.
  9. Celebrate Easter – Grew ryegrass, had some eggs, candy for the kids.
  10. Celebrate midsummer – Did nothing.
  11. Celebrate birthdays – Yep, both mine and Jake’s.
  12. Celebrate independence day – We had Jake’s parents and grandparents over for coffee and blueberry quark pie. Was really nice. Hopefully it’ll turn into a tradition.
  13. Celebrate Christmas – Went all out for this this year.
  14. Decorate my home so that it is clean, simple and cozy – Work in progress, but I think it’s starting to feel cozier. Both our fathers helped a lot with odd jobs we couldn't do, like drilling. Still a lot of unnecessary crap everywhere.
  15. Travel someplaceCambridge!
  16. Learn to play ukulele better – Better, yes; good, no.
  17. Learn to type better – I got a job as a secretary where I had to type all the time, so unexpectedly really worked on this. Still room for improvement.
  18. By a really nice leather handbagJake bought it for me. Love it.
  19. Buy a new suitcase – Nope. The wheels on my old one are busted, I think I’ll go for just a carry-on next.
  20. Buy a new winter coat – Yes, a super warm water proof black parka. It was on sale and still expensive, but hopefully I’ll use it for years to come.
  21. Buy nice dinner plates – We let the word out that we wanted some nice white plates and many people bought us some as an engagement gift, now we have ten.
  22. Buy more nice drinking glasses – Didn't buy new ones and Jake broke two, so now we have even less.
  23. Get some workI spent a six month gig as a secretary.
  24. Save 1000 euros – Thanks to the job, done.
  25. Draw 365 illustrations (they don’t need to be finished or good) – This morphed in to a bit of a different project during the year, but I’m contend with it, and count this as done.
  26. Buy a DSLR camera – My first pay check went into a Nikon D5200.
  27. Take a photograph course – Yep, but I was disappointed with the content, and didn’t feel like it was that useful.
  28. Buy a nice pair of sunglasses – Foldable Ray Bans, I've been eying for ages, absolutely love those.
  29. Buy a Fitbit or similar – Done. I love my Fitbit, one of the best things I ever bought. Haven’t taken it off since I got it. It really get’s me moving.
  30. Have a yard sale and donate everything that doesn't sell – didn't have a yard sale, it felt like a hassle, instead Jake’s friend took it all to the Red Cross for me.
  31. Re-pot the plants – I did, and killed half of them. Oops. Goal for next year: buy new plants.
  32. Get plants for the porch – Never got around to doing this. In fact, I think we sat on the porch once the whole year. That’s how outdoorsy we are.
  33. Learn to cook new meals – I cooked several new ones, including a macaroni casserole, meat balls and sauce from scratch. And they were tasty! I’d like to have a stash of tried and true recipes. Working on it.

Reading through them, I realize these are probably very odd goals to have. A lot of them seem like stuff you could do anyway. Or buy. A lot of things to buy on this list. But these are the kind of resolutions I make. And it’s so satisfying to cross them off, I can’t even tell you.
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