I'm back after a much needed fast-life-detox (which I spent eating cheese and drinking wine, in my pajamas on the couch) and am starting my 2012 posts with a bit of a reflection on last year's resolutions. Last year I posted my New Years Resolutions for 2011, in a bid to be a little more accountable, motivated and active in pursuing things that are important to me. Well now comes the hard post.... the dreaded end of year review!
Limit my giving and my wardrobe to homemade, second hand or fair trade items (improving the ethics of my spending)
I must say, this perhaps was the most interesting journey for the year. I bought myself only second hand clothing, with the help of some dear friends via multiple clothes swaps (and one particular friend who regularly hands down her amazing clothes to me... I think out of Wardrobe Pity). I could count on one hand the number of times I ventured into a second hand store throughout the year! I found that, actually, I don't need more clothes and that a change of an accessory is as good as a new pair of jeans (in fact, BETTER, because it's free). I do, however, desperately need some new underwear, bra's and stockings. The underwear I can buy fair trade from a friend (the only reason I haven't bought it yet is laziness... it's not even hard for me to purchase), and I'm pretty sure I can find some fair trade stockings without too much hard work. However, the bra's I think I will be purchasing via a company I can rely on for the anti-gravity-support I need (this was the area I found the most challenging and wire-poking-uncomfortable). This perhaps will be my one area of no-compromise (that said, when a fair trade bra comes out that looks like it can actually hold some wait, I'll be the first in line).
As for gifts, I will admit that I contributed to a couple of group gifts that didn't fit with the vision. I could have pretty easily crafted or bought something for the gift recipient, but at the time decided I'd "ignorantly" hand my money over the the gift coordinator. Aside from these cases, I reserved my giving to those either fair trade from Oxfam, second hand, handmade by me, or handmade by others. What did I find? I had to be more creative, thoughtful and organised about my giving. I found that some gifts that I put a lot of thought into, but took a risk on, the recipients genuinely appreciated and commented on "what a good idea" it was.
So, what for 2012? I'll keep buying fair trade and second hand as much as possible. I will allow myself exceptions, specifically taking myself bra shopping later this week!
Make our home more environmentally sustainable (solar power, insulation, edible garden)
I'm very happy with how Kym and I have gone on this one. In March we placed three newly bought raised vegetable beds and have been diligently eating our produce (we grow the best rocket in town, just sayin'). We're also three-quarters of our way to having our own backyard chickens, which I will be posting about later this month when they arrive (the italics is more for me than you... trying to will myself into coop-making-submission). We had solar panels installed in April and are loving it! Kym did a few calculations and worked out that over the last couple of months (spring-summer) we have generated 150% of our energy consumption, which means that not only will be be paying the solar off sooner (3-4 years), but we really are giving back to "the grid" (you're welcome, adelaide neighbours). In fact, our most recent bill, which we received a few weeks ago, saw a $162 credit!
We also had ceiling fans installed in early December in the living areas and our bedroom, which (just quietly) have been AMAZING. I'll be posting more about the benefits and energy savings of ceiling fans later this month.
Kym and I are still working the garden, and plan to plant a couple more dwarf fruit trees in the front yard. We also plan to "meat up" the front yard with a range of local bushes in a bid to cool the front yard, and the front of the house, which includes our bedroom and the main living space (this part of the house faces West and is always a couple of degrees hotter than the rest of the house throughout the summer months). I'm also keen to get our insulation checked out and get a "whirly bird" in the roof. Finally, I'm planning to look into ways we can attract local wildlife and insects back into the garden. While I'm not keen for more mosquito's, I am keen to see how we can live more in harmony with our environment.
Commit more of my time & energy to creativity (meaning working less... eek!)
In June, I dropped my work hours from five to four days a week and I have been LOVING IT. While it has been a struggle to keep my Monday (day off) 'holy', I have definitely increased the time I commit to my writing and art. I have sold my art at a few different markets and started a gig at Markets Central, and have been loving the opportunity to bring together my love for writing and art.
Nurturing positive relationships (remembering the people I love)
Working less has really helped with this. When I was working full time I was soooo zapped of people-energy from from my job (as a social worker, I spend all of my days with people) I didn't have a lot left for others. I'm now finding that I can use my Monday's for regathering this energy, giving more space for those around me. That said, I've had many bouts of sickness throughout the year, which has meant missing out on seeing people as often as I'd like. I think, though, that this sickness has been all about me learning to look after myself, and be kind to myself, as much as I'd like to do so for others. I've noticed that I actually need quite a bit of self-time to remain balanced, and this is something I'll be focusing on in 2012.
Spend more time outside (gardening, snoozing, wandering)
Oh how I LOVE my garden! I have definitely spent more time in it this year, although a good part of that has been tidying/pruning (seeing as we had 3 years of neglect to make up for). We're now in the getting-to-do-the-fun-stuff stage, so I suspect that at the end of 2012 our garden will look very different. My garden has become my temple- the place I go for peace of mind and connection with nature and that "something bigger than myself". It calms me and grounds me.
I've worked on a number of garden projects over the last couple of weeks and am very excited to show them to you over the next month or so. As always, I'm prone to thriftiness, salvaging and a splash of colour.
Without further ado, here are my resolutions for 2012
- Don't worry, be happy
- More of what's good for me, less of what's bad for me
- Finish well
I'll expand more on these as the year progresses, but what I can tell you at this point is that with every year, my attitude to resolutions become gentler and kinder. A few years ago, I was all about achievements. I'm finding that I can reach those achievements without the resolutions themselves, and that the most important thing is the journey- how I go about it. So this year is a whole lot more about the journey than the outcome. This year I'm focusing on looking after my Self.
I'm seeing resolutions pop up all over the blogosphere and I'm keen to know... What do you want for 2012?