Monday, January 7, 2008


Finally those New Year's Resolutions.

But, first off, I have to note that today my bub turns two! As I often say to those who ask me how I'm enjoying motherhood, some individual days with the bub are quite long yet time in general flies. Strange phenomenon. The bub looks like such a big boy to me now and surprises us everyday with new words and new skills. One of my New Year's Resolutions is to be the best mom I can be and try to enjoy the moments with my bub since everyone tells me I am going to blink and he is going to be all grown up. In the same vein, I obviously want to be a good wife, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin, niece, and friend. I think I do pretty well in those roles now, NTB, but there is always room for improvement.

By this point in 2008, I've ready several pieces in my many magazines and in the newspaper about making New Year's Resolutions. The proffered insights and advice range: don't make resolutions, don't set yourself up to fail, make attainable resolutions, eat more fiber and whole grains, drink more water, use this chance to take stock of your goals and priorities, make 2008 the best year ever, and etc. The best resolution essay I came across was by Elizabeth Berg in this weekend's Chicago Tribune book section. Berg's resolution is simple: read one hour a day. Simple but meaningful. She admits it will not be easy to pull off, but her thought process in choosing this resolution and her reflections on the joys of reading made me wish her (and myself) much success in the endeavor.

2008 is going to be a busy year for me (more on that in a future post) so I am trying to make my resolutions that are focused and which will improve my quality of life. Should I eat better and exercise more? Sure, but these goals are low priority for 2008. Should I watch less television and read more books? Definitely, but I think the writer's strike and my increased academic workload are going to take are of this priority shift without me having to do much.

So, I'll tell you what I want, what I really, really want to resolve for 2008.

1. Finish my dissertation by June. Defend said dissertation sometime in the late summer or early fall. Graduate and earn the right to be called Dr. MEP (if I so choose) by the close of 2008. Honestly, this is the only resolution that counts. I am so ready to move to the next stage of my life, whatever it holds, and to close the graduate student chapter of my life. Please pray for me and/or offer to babysit the bub!

2. Clean house. I'm not talking about dusting and bleach and that kind of cleaning. I'm talking about ridding my house of about 50% of the crap that's inside. I am not at the levels of the hoarders who are featured on Oprah but I sympathize with them. I also know that hoarding can be a sort of disease and that it might be in my blood, God Bless my dearly departed Grandma P. I am a self-professed "crap magnet" and my shelves and closets and flat surfaces are full of junk that I don't need. Much of the junk in my house has either been purchased or saved with the best of intentions and a strange confidence in my own creativity and resourcefulness. I need to get real about what I have time to do and how I consistently choose to use the time I do have (snacking, watching tv, and reading novels--not making handmade cards or elaborate scrapbooks). Besides crafting supplies, knick-nacks, and piles of unread magazines, I also have clothes I don't wear and won't ever wear. I have books that I bought on sale or out of a sense of obligation or "should read" or misguided virtue. I've heard the organizing guru Peter Walsh talk about the "trash bag tango" where you fill two trash bags a day with stuff to throw away or give away. I can't say I can fill two bags everyday, but I need to start getting realistic about what I will actually use later. Note to my hubby who is hopefully encourage by this post: I will need your help hauling these bags to the trash or to the back of the car to be taken to the Salvation Army. The more you sigh and roll your eyes at the task, the less motivated I will be to continue getting rid of crap.

3. Buy less stuff. No matter my means or stage in life, I have always been a somewhat impulsive, thoughtless spender. Luckily, I have never had any major incidences of credit card debt or any real financial troubles. I feel very fortunate, but I have made poor choices and wasted a lot of money. I don't spend money on expensive clothes or purses. My closet is not full of $200 jeans or pairs of shoes that cost any more than $60 a piece (most of mine cost far less). I almost wish my spending habits were that clear-cut and that there was some tangible evidence of money spent. I fear instead that my money gets spent on random crap at Target and CVS, on eating out, and (which I actually don't feel that guilty about because I LOVE books and have learned finally to be realistic and buy only books I will actually read). I also spend inordinate amounts of money at the grocery store. I continue to buy more and more groceries even as my pantry and freezer are full. I can't say why, but I would like to walk into my pantry on two feet sometime soon. Which leads to . . .

4. Use what I have. I want to start using the pantry and freezer staples I already have. Hopefully this goal will inspire me to continue trying new recipes to use up already-purchased ingredients. I want to read the books I already have before buying more. I want to take advantage of my Blockbuster online membership so that I am not paying $15.99 a month for the privilege of holding onto to the same two movies for three months. I plan to use NTB as a means to report my progress in the area of using my stuff. Lucky you.

Okay, that's all I got. I have to get back to work now so I can fulfill goal #1. Do you have a New Year's Resolution? I'd love to hear it.


T-Baby said...

I strongly support all these resolutions (as they all will make my life better as well). I promise not to sigh or roll my eyes when helping with the trash bag tango.



Michelle said...

Your resolutions are inspiring! I'm still trying to work mine out... That said, I will happily contribute to yours by babysitting the bub :-0

LAP said...

Great resolutions. Best of luck staying on task...I'm sure you can do it.

Actchy said...

A word of warning regarding purging the pantry: this can lead to much less healthy eating. I am wont to let the stocks run fairly low before replenishing in the interest of space, and it tends to result in things like the bacon, cream cheese, fresh chive, fried red pepper & grated Irish cheddar sandwich, which my husband and I enjoyed on Sunday. Delicious, yes, but I'm pretty sure that by eating it we shortened our life expectancies by a good decade. (The fact that my super-empty fridge included fresh chives is admittedly ridiculous.)

Anonymous said...

One of my New Year's resolutions is to make time to read your blog. It always makes me smile. I can always use more of that. I want you to know that you are a great MOM, etc. I will pray for your educational responsibilities and let Gretchen know it is a priority on our prayer list. She keeps me on task with these things. Off to exercise... It is one of my continued resolutions from last year. I still want to read more too.


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