I've not made any new year's resolutions, but...

Do you do new year resolutions? Nah, me neither. I can't think of a past New Year's resolution that I managed to keep. All the radical shifts that I've engineered in my life have never been at the start of the year, they've just happened. The only major positive change I've made where I remember the date of was going vegan. It was November, 2009. (I was only going vegan for a month...)

That said, the new year is one of those times that makes me set back and think about whether I'm doing things in the way I'd like, and what changes I'd like to see.  No numbers, goals, or targets included, I don't need the stress of trying to reach them - I just thought I'd come up with a few ideas of how to do things better. 

Spend more time with books
Do I need to tell you why I want to read more books? Because books are just awesome. When I studied English as a young Joey, I read a lot of fiction. Now, as an old Joey and medical student, I mostly read medical textbooks. I used to read novels on the train, now I revise with Quizlet. I want to spend more time with my nose in a book, reading about people doing amazing things in incredible places, about fascinating lives, about new perspectives on issues, and every other form of mind-stretching wonder that you can find in books. This year, I want to read more books. How many? No idea. Just lots and lots. This sort of thing, maybe:

And it's not just books of the edifying type. My plan this year is to make full use of my cookbook library, and cook more recipes from the books I already have, rather than trawling the internet. Jenny Marie is doing a 2018 Vegan Cookbook challenge, whereby you concentrate on cooking from a single book for a month - I'll be joining in when I can.

Get by with less
I'd love to be zero waste, but I think it would be pretty much impossible right now. I don't live near a bulk store, or even know more than a handful of places that sell stuff without packaging, more's the pity. That doesn't mean I won't be trying to reduce the crap that I generate, particularly the plastic sort. I've made some inroads, and I'd like to make more. 

To that end, I'll also be buying less. Don't get me wrong, as a student living on a student loan and whatever part-time work I can get, I don't think I buy a lot in the grand scheme of things. But I bet I can still buy less without really missing out on anything. Spend less money, less stuff hanging around the house, less environmental impact, less taking part in consumerism. Can't see any downside in this one.

Have more fun
What is it about getting old that means you have less fun? Oh right, that's it - it's going to work, studying, dealing with chores, and bills, and the waxy build up of life. All that crap. When that's all done, there's not much time for doing stuff you enjoy. I forget to visit my friends, or ring up people I've not heard from, or sit in the bath, or lie in bed reading. I just do all the stuff that has to be done, and forget to do everything else.

This year, I hope, I'm going to strike a better balance. I'm going to do the things I like, and not just the things I have to. I'm going to try and see friends, see films, see new places, go for walks, bake, read, write, and generally lounge around. Given it's all simple, cheap stuff, you'd think I'd be doing it more, wouldn't you?

Which reminds me, if you haven't seen this article by The Economist on the phenomenon of being busy, it's a really interesting read: Why is everyone so busy? The reasons we're all doing too much are even more depressing than you might think. If fighting the system means taking a step back from all that, then I'm all for it.

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  1. Errrr, I feel the 'zero waste' ethos gnawing at me more and more as time goes by. I am absolutely godawful at planning ahead; I prepare packed lunches about twice a month if I'm lucky, and I ALWAYS forget to take a tote out with me shopping. So the odds seem stacked against me where zero-wasting is concerned, but we DO have a co-op with a bulk goods section about 15 mins walk from home so I've been thinking of setting some really specific goals in terms of buying ingredients. We also already get a local fruit & veg box weekly so we rarely have fruit/veg packaging. I think it's going to be a case of starting small and not trying to fit 100% of my waste into a small attractive jar by 31 Dec 2018!

  2. Yes, yes and yes. These are things I've been trying to do with varying amounts of success. I'm reading more books but not nearly enough. I'm trying to have more fun, see more movies, take more hikes, but not enough — even signed up for a new yoga class. I recycle and compost, but still, as you say, it's so hard to cut down on packaging. That's an important goal to keep working on. I'm going to look at the cookbook challenge — we've been trying to cook lots of things from a single book, and a challenge might keep us focused. And, as every year, I'm trying to make more art!

  3. Love it (and I share your sentiments on resolutions / goals, as you'll see in my latest post ;))! I love your focal points for the year too.

  4. I love seeing your reflections on life - books fun and zero waste sound like excellent goals. I don't read books as often as I did - and I have the dilemma between riding to work or reading on the tram - I try to choose riding but sometimes I miss reading. I haven't made many inroads in zero waste but am enjoying looking after my worm farm. As for fun - having kids around helps but time goes by so quickly I need to plan a bit of fun outings sometimes. Here's to a good 2018!

  5. You defiitely seem to have great priorities for 2018! Reading more books is always my priority too. I'm in a similar place with zero-waste, where I just wish I knew some places to buy in bulk. I'm going to try making my own milk more often this year, because I know where to bulk-buy rice and I'm sick of going through so many cartons every week.


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