I typically don't bother making new years resolutions, because then I'm just disappointed when I don't manage to keep them. This year though, I'm feeling more optimistic and have decided that a few simple resolutions can turn into great changes that will eventually become part of my daily routines... and anyone who knows me well knows how much I appreciate routine when it comes to the everyday things. Here's the little things I'm planning to work on this year, in no particular order:
1. Read one book per month. That's right, a real book. Not a blog, not a magazine - something with chapters and an overall story. For awhile last year I got REALLY into reading again (it's all I did when I was younger), but I ended up back in my little world of more than a dozen magazine subscriptions and way too many blogs on my reader after awhile. So, I've resolved to read a book a month. Now I just need to find one for January.
2. Bring my breakfast AND lunch to work at least three times a week. Fingers crossed, this won't be as difficult as I'm expecting it to be. Hopefully my nifty new lunch bag that was on my Christmas list (which Dan got for me - among several other things to spoil me with) will make this easy! I'm also praying Lauren and/or Jason at work will be anxious to save some dough and join me in for lunches from home more often than we have in the past (hint hint) ;).
3. Take a class. I have no idea what kind of class I want to take, but I'm promising myself I'll take at least one. Some ideas: a cooking class - since I've been anxious to try one for quite some time now, a workout class - because I NEED to get in some kind of shape, or a knife skills class - so I don't cut my fingertips off with my new knife (also from Dan for Christmas and sharper than I knew was possible, yikes).
4. Volunteer more / do more good deeds. Thanks to Dan's job, it's been pretty easy for me to be involved in both my own community (through serving dinner at the PADS shelter) and communities in more unfortunate areas (through the summer service trips we go on). But, a few months ago I was in a bit of an uncomfortable situation at PADS, and I haven't been as anxious to be there each month as I was in the past, so my monthly volunteering - which I really enjoyed - has sort of been pushed aside. I'm always weary of giving money to people on the street (and rarely have any cash on me regardless), but I am often struck by people who ask for help, and look for my own way to brighten their day. Like the time a woman in north Oak Park asked me for food and I rushed home and begged Dan to drive me back up there with a bag of cereal and crackers cleared out of the pantry... only to not find her again after 20 minutes of driving around.
Today, I went to Walmart with Dan to return a bathing suit I bought months ago that didn't fit me and was long forgotten about in the bag waiting to be returned. Knowing I would only get store credit, I figured we'd grab some new socks or something somewhat practical that we needed. Only after I walked away from customer service did I realize I got $26 in store credit, when the suit had only cost me $10 in the first place. Half of me wanted to go tell the girl she gave me too much money back, but the louder half of me told me to forget it because there were big red tags on each piece of the suit that said $5 each and she obviously wasn't paying attention... so off to the socks and underwear we went. While we were looking around, an older woman approached us and asked for some money to get a sandwich, and neither of us had any cash to give her. After grabbing the stuff we actually needed, we were still going to have a good $15 or so left on the card, so I decided that since the money wasn't really mine anyways, I would use it to buy the woman some groceries. After checking out and rushing around the store looking for her, I found her in line counting change out to buy one of those rolls of sausage that looks like a fat Slim Jim. I handed her the bag of food and told her we bought it for her, and her reaction absolutely made my day! She was so excited to keep her money and not have to use it for food, and thanked me over and over. The little random acts of kindness are so emotionally rewarding, and I'm vowing to partake in many more of them this year - with or without the help of a foolish Walmart employee.
5. Run a 5K. Go ahead, gasp. I'm about as shocked on this resolution as anyone else probably is, but I'm still going to give it a shot. I was a runner in high school and despite all of my injuries from it, I LOVED racing and have been telling myself to get back into it for years. Dan and I are getting a little more serious about joining a gym together since a new one opened up in the area that's surprisingly affordable, so here's hoping I manage to find some motivation to give it a fair shot!
6. De-clutter. Out with the massive stacks of papers and credit card bills from 3 years ago. Out with the clothes that have holes in them that I swear I'll take to get mended someday. Out with the 1,437 bottles of scented lotion that I think I'll use someday when I no longer have uber-sensitive skin (note to self - it's never gonna happen, your skin will never change). I am on a mission to simplify my life and my home. Wish me luck.
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We had a fun party at the house for New Years again that I'll be posting pictures of soon. I hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday! Please send good luck my way in the morning as I attempt to get back into the swing of things and wake up before 11am - first day back at work after a generous company holiday break is tomorrow!