The year ahead….

As I did in 2012 I’ve decided it’s time to set down (in writing, because then you have to stick to it right?) a few goals for this year, 2013.  Mostly these are quite small, ongoing and simple ideas to make sure I squeeze into my life the things that I enjoy, that I think are important or worthwhile and that are easily pushed aside for other, seemingly more necessary tasks (like washing….)  This year I also have some professional goals and one bigger, more life changing goal.  Let’s start with the little ones now….

1. Reading – I set my goal last year at 15 books and only got half way there.  You’d think I would, therefore, set myself a slightly more achievable goal this year.  Sadly, I don’t learn that quickly so once again 15 books is my goal.  However, I’m slightly more optimistic about my ability to achieve it this year for a number of reasons.  Firstly, the girls are sleeping fairly well and I feel so much better for it.  With the lifting of that sleep deprivation haze I feel so much more ready to tackle regular reading without my eyelids drooping ever lower as I try to at least reach the end of a page.  Secondly, I don’t have A Suitable Boy on the list this year!  In fact my aim is to only read books that I’m so invested in I have trouble putting them down.  And finally because of these first two points I have already managed to knock off four books and am a good way through the fifth (remembering I have been on school holidays since just before Christmas).  What I would love to know is what would you recommend as the number one book you couldn’t put down?

Cooking – My cooking goal is all about my new gadgets, a pasta machine and an ice cream machine as well as the slow cooker I bought half way through last year.  I want to make the most of these and discover new recipes and flavour combinations along the way.  At the moment I’m loving really simple fresh pasta dishes using just a couple of fresh ingredients (zucchini and cherry tomatoes are my current obsession).  The home made ice cream we’ve had so far has been worlds above the standard shop bought tubs and with only a handful of simple ingredients (and no scary E numbers!), but we’ve played it safe so far, vanilla and chocolate.  Time for some more interesting and challenging flavours I feel.  I should also branch out into the world of sorbet and frozen yogurt for obvious health reasons.  And the slow cooker once again needs to earn its keep by making my work/life balance just that little bit easier.

Gardening – I’m conscience here of not setting myself goals I won’t be able to achieve on a practical level.  So instead of something huge and unattainable (hopefully 2014 might be the year of something big in this department) I’m thinking small.  Firstly I have a collection of hanging pots and baskets that currently house the morgue of dead and decomposing plants.  I want to fix that.  The potting mix needs replacing, I need to think about how to best keep the water up to them and finally replant them with some pretty, but hardy plants (I’m open to suggestions).  The second goal is all about chillies and capsicums.  I have a fairly dismal track record for these things and have never actually grown chillies successfully at all.  Capsicums I have had slightly more success with but not a lot.  I’m hoping to change that this year and will experiment with varieties, growing methods and planting times as I go.  That’s it.

Crafting – There are several items on this list, though as I’m pretty hopeless at actually finishing a project I don’t expect all to be completed by the end of the year.  First crocheting, having set myself the goal to learn how to do this last year, I’m now loving this craft (despite being an absolute novice).  I want to finish the blanket I started last year as well as get a good way through a second one.  I would also like to learn how to do a striped or zig zag patterned blanket and something a bit different like this, or this, or this.  Second knitting, I’m not a great knitter and I’ve never really gotten beyond knitting scarves or blanket squares.  Having recently bought a packet of gorgeous blue-green variegated wool with a free pattern book included I’d like to get beyond my current limitations.  I’ve picked out the pattern I want to try, but I doubt I’ll get it finished this year along with all that crocheting.  I do want to at least make a start though (talk about not setting the bar too high).  And finally sewing, I have a beautiful new sewing machine which I have figured out how to set up and have whipped up a very simple little project on already so I’m quite pleased with myself.  I have plenty more I’d like to try, on the list goes some bags, buntings and cushion covers, skirts/dresses and shorts for the girls and something for me (not sure what that last one will be yet).  If there are any good sewers out there I’d love some recommendations for simple books, patterns or websites to get me going.  I’ll also be trawling the library to see what they have.

Community – It was clear that, having done a Slow Living post each month, engagement in the wider community and giving something back is pretty much non-existent in my life.  In many ways I don’t know where to direct this energy at the moment, but I have settled on two things that I think I should be able to achieve.  The first is to make a regular blood donation, which I have already ticked off for the first quarter of the year.  The second is to do a class or two.  At the moment I’m thinking of a bread making course and perhaps a crocheting class, but these may change.

Professional – I won’t really go into this one in detail, but I will say in general I want to be a better teacher in 2013.  Obviously I have some specific ideas for this, but this is not the place to go into all that.  I’m just adding it to my list here to make sure I reflect on this during the year when I look at how I’m going.

And the big one, the one that will hopefully be a positive change in all of our lives but one that will also need considerable contemplation, organisation and all the stars aligning for it to happen as we are currently picturing.  A move to the country!  Well, sort of country, not what I would usually call the country, but at least more regional that we are now.  We’re not set on a town just yet, but it will be within commutable distance for Mr Good.  And our goal is to be settled before Miss Three starts Kinder in 2014.  In the coming months we will be visiting the towns on our list, checking out the potential real estate market there and decided on which location would suit us best.  Getting our current house valued, tidied/repaired where it needs it, a total decluttering in readiness for putting it on the market.  Re-examining our mortgage options, selling our house, buying a new house and finally moving.  As for employment, Mr Good will be keeping his current job for the time being and commuting on the train and working from home some days each week.  We’re hoping that our mortgage will be reduced enough for me to leave my job for now and possibly go back to further study (that’s really up in the air).  In any case if it all works (and there are still some BIG ifs) it should be quite a life change for us all.

That’s everything and if it all happens it will be a miracle but it does give me a great sense of joy and anticipation thinking of the possibilities, big and small, for this year.  I know I am very lucky in all sorts of ways to be able to take the time to do these things and to have that sense of happiness with my life that makes me look at each new year with optimism.  But I also know that if I don’t revel in the blank sheet that is the beginning of each new year and all its possibilities then I have a tendency to wallow in the drudgery that life can also throw up and get stuck in a rut of always doing the same things in the same way.

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9 Responses to The year ahead….

  1. Sue says:

    What exciting goals for the year – I hope things work out well with your house move what a busy year you have ahead of you.
    Keep well x

  2. So not much then Jo – just one or two things?! 🙂 It should be cruisy as for you! Good luck with all the looking around for a spot in the country. It will be awesome.

  3. Liz says:

    White Teeth by Zadie Smith. In my pre children days I read this in a single (albeit long) day whilst of holiday. Loved it. Hope you find the right town and property.

  4. Andrea says:

    Well that’s a bit of a list !!! What an exciting year ahead…………
    I can almost taste the homemade pesto and pasta followed by ice cream for desert …..Yum!
    A move to the country……………..It will be interesting to hear of the towns you visit ,what they offer and how they measure up. I suppose the most important one will be the secondary school for the girls. Hey Castlemaine has a great little coffee cart at the railway station and just 1 hour into the CBD, Mr Good would love that!

    • Barbara Good says:

      We’re loving zucchini and tomato pasta at the minute, but there will be a batch of pesto whizzed up this week. And I can sing the praises of mango ice cream too, summer in a bowl.

      We did our first visit to a country town (the one top of the list, I’ll share more later) and I fell in love with the village feel of it. Though I might have to move Castlemaine up the list a bit. We certainly are looking at schools, as much for me as for the girls benefits.

  5. Pingback: Mid-Year Review | The New Good Life

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