Resolutions

Several years ago I resolved on New Year’s Day that I would no longer make any New Year’s Resolutions, and for the most part I’ve kept to that. Rather, over the last few years, I’ve been starting any resolutions from that day, or the next Monday, or the next first day of the month, depending on what sort of resolution it was. The trouble with NY resolutions is that it’s all too easy to give up on them very early on.

For example, a few days ago I learnt about the challenge Veganuary, where you go vegan for the month of January (surprise, surprise). I’ve occasionally dabbled in veganism for a week every now and then (usually as a quick way of increasing my vegetable intake and a good way to learn a bunch of new recipes), so the idea appealed to me. It’d probably be a good way to start the new year post-Christmas chocolate binge. However, on the 2nd of January I will be flying out to Canada. Veganuary just isn’t going to work.

“But surely you can be vegan in Canada?” I hear you cry. Well, yes, I could be. But I’m going to stay with a friend who is decidedly not vegan, and I feel it would be rude to make the day I turn vegan coincide with the start of my visit. Aside from that, poutine is also definitely not vegan, and there’s no way I’m not going to try it. It just wouldn’t be right.

My point is that by the time I get around to being able to start Veganuary, it may very well be January the 17th (I’m away with work from the 12th-16th and have already told them I have no specific dietary needs). If this was one of my new year’s resolutions, I think I’d be pretty fed up with myself – nearly the end of January and nothing done yet! I’d feel bad, like I’d failed already so soon into the year, even though my reasons for not being able to be vegan until later in the month are sound.

So I’m not going to make it a new year’s resolution. I’m still not doing NY’s resolutions. What I am doing this year though, is setting goals with the start date being my birthday (which was back on December 11th). I decided I’m going to do the cheesily-named:

“Twenty-three, the year of me.”

Rather than setting a bunch of goals with the start date of my birthday or new year’s day, I’ve decided that there are certain areas of my life I’d like to work on over the course of this next year. There are things I want to have achieved or improved by the time I turn twenty four. Because I have an end-date rather than a start-date as my focus, I always have the ability to get back on track and still potentially make it to where I want to get. So if I decide to try veganism for a month, I still have most of eleven months in which to do it.

Now this doesn’t really work if you just procrastinate everything, which I’ve certainly done in the past. Despite saying several blog posts ago that I was going to start practicing yoga consistently, that hasn’t happened. I have started doing it again every few days in the last couple of weeks, but my plans for at least 5 or 10 minutes every day hasn’t happened. So I will be picking things that I will do “every x days from y”, with y being New Year’s Day in some cases. Whilst I have never completed a full thirty days at anything I’ve tried following a calendar for, setting myself a 10-day or 30-day challenge is a useful tool. Following Blogilates’ monthly calendars has vastly improved my strength over the last couple of months. Even if I don’t stick to it every day, I like being able to tick off the next step and see myself progress that way. If I had to come up with a new fitness routine myself every day or two I’d probably just forget about it.

So I’m not making any New Year’s Resolutions, I’m making a full year’s resolutions. I’ve been saying for years now that it doesn’t matter that I don’t know what I want to do – I’m still young. And I am still young, but it hit me the other day that I graduated from university a whole year and a half ago, and I am no further in figuring out what will make me happy than I was back then. I don’t expect to have the perfect life at the end of the year, but I’m going to keep with my resolutions so that I am much closer to knowing what would be a ‘perfect life’ for me. And that means I’ll start some resolutions on January 1st, but I’ll also start some on January 17th, some on February 1st, some on June 28th, and so on…. I will keep re-starting as many times as need-be, because at the end of the day I’m working towards making my life a little better. The only person who will suffer if I fail is me.

What are those resolutions, you may ask?

Keep reading! I’ll be posting my (until this minute going-to-be-kept-completely-private) ‘manifesto for being 23‘ tomorrow. I hope you have a fantastic New Year’s Eve, and that next year brings you all you could possible hope for. I’ll be right there with you.

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‘Meditative’ Egg Muffins

Saturday (20th December) had been a day I was both dreading and looking forward to for quite some time. On the one hand, it was my first day of freedom – I finished work for the holidays on Friday and have a whole three weeks off that I need to figure out how to fill. On the other hand, I had a dentist appointment scheduled for 9.30am for two fillings and a thorough clean.

I’ve never had to get fillings before. In fact, every time I’ve visited the dentist in the past I’ve been told that my teeth were great, and it had been a source of great joy to me (not least because I could laud it over the rest of my family that I was the only member fillings-free). However, I’d always had some unsightly marks on two of my molars left over from when I was 14 and had braces. The one time I asked the dentist if they could be cleaned in any way she told me that I was out of luck. I was disappointed, but I got over it. Queue several years later, and I’m told that those unsightly marks aren’t just annoying discolouration, but actual damage to the tooth. Whilst I’d been lucky in that it hadn’t got too bad up until that point (so hadn’t caused me any pain), the location meant that if I didn’t get them filled, I could be looking at a much bigger procedure to ‘fix’ them at a later date.

I was fine about it all until about a week prior to the appointment, at which point I started to panic. A lot. I’m not a huge fan of needles anyway, but my biggest concern was that they wouldn’t work. Whilst I’ve had local anaesthetics in my gums before which have been fine, an operation I had on my big toes as a child was done with the anaesthetic not having worked properly – they kept topping it up but in the end I told them to just go on with it, because getting the injections was absolute agony. Seriously, for several years later, if anyone mentioned a needle my toes would automatically curl up as if they were trying to protect themselves. The night after that particular procedure, I was so traumatized that I couldn’t sleep, and even at age 11 had to crawl into my parents’ bed to try and get some comfort.

So yeah. Not a big needle or local anaesthetic fan.

This was added to the other fact that on one occasion when I was 14 and had an appointment to get my braces tightened, the orthodontist was chatting to his assistant and not paying attention to what he was doing, and chipped a bit of one of  my front teeth. I think it’s noticeable. He didn’t even realise he’d done it. Forgive me if I wasn’t looking forward to someone having a drill in my mouth.

By Friday night I was panicking pretty badly, so I decided to do whatever I could to calm myself down and get ready for the morning. Hence…

‘Meditative’ Egg Muffins!

(Makes 12-14)

IMAG0729 (2)

You will need:

4 sweet mini peppers (red/yellow/orange)
2 or 3 shallots
3 rashes of smoked back bacon
100g grated cheese (mix of cheddar and mozzarella)
8 eggs
sea/rock salt (I use pink Himalayan)
black pepper
pinch of mixed herbs

12-14 cupcake cases

Pre-heat the oven to 180C (~350F)

 I’ve had a thing recently about reading other people’s morning routines, and fantasizing about one of my own. At the moment, when I’m going to work, I get up about 25 minutes before I have to leave the house. I spend five minutes actually getting out of bed, fifteen minutes getting ready to leave, then five minutes grabbing all of my things and leaving the house. There’s no opportunity to have a cup of tea, or breakfast, or meditate, or do yoga, or anything that I might dream about doing first thing in the morning. The simple reason is that I would need to get up earlier – if I even got up fifteen minutes earlier (around 6am) I would be able to add a cup of tea to my day. But it’s hard starting a new routine when you haven’t already tangibly felt the benefits.

I decided that the best thing for me to do over the next three weeks was to have some sort of morning routine. I absolutely can’t get into the habit of going to bed ridiculously late and getting up in the mornings closer to lunchtime than to breakfast. It happens most holidays, but I was able to keep up a schedule the summer before last, so I know that it’s possible! Since on Saturday I would have to leave the house shortly after 9am, if I wanted a leisurely, relaxing morning beforehand I would a) have to get up earlier than I usually would at the weekend, and b) learn a new skill – prepping the night before!

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Perspective

There are, unfortunately, some moments in life that just put everything else into perspective.

On Monday there were two completely unconnected events. Throughout the day I read about the awful hostage situation in Sydney, and Monday evening once I got home, I stopped thinking about it. I did some pilates and spent ten minutes doing some yoga for the first time in weeks. I felt extremely uncomfortable and didn’t quite hate every minute of it, but it was a close thing. I’ve written about learning discomfort in the past (in a post on another blog that I may re-post here), and the point still stands: I need to stop being afraid of discomfort, and stop letting the feeling overwhelm me.

So I did ten minutes, thought very negatively about the whole experience, and went to bed.

Open up the news on Tuesday whilst at work – there’s been a massacre in a school in Pakistan. Over 120 killed, most of them children.

I just… it’s one of those moments when you realise just how privileged you are, that your main concern is that you were uncomfortable whilst doing some yoga having come back from your ‘cushy’ city job. The people who have been in the situations in the last few days, I’m sure they’d give anything for that to be all they needed to be concerned about. And tragedies aside, there are millions of people in the world who would kill to be in my situation I’m sure, and have to put up with far worse “discomforts” than I could ever dream of.

I can spend ten minutes being uncomfortable in yoga. I can be grateful that’s all I have to put up with. This is discomfort caused by something I’m choosing to do to myself, and in the long-run it’s doing me some good. I am extremely lucky, extremely privileged, and thank whatever-you-believe-in I’ve never known anything else. Most people aren’t so fortunate.

Just something I’ll be thinking of next time I’m in that situation.

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Beautiful Breakfast Bars

Edited Cover

Well today we’re definitely learning the problems with leaving a post two weeks to write – my memory isn’t as good as it used to be! Or rather, should be, since just because I’ve had a birthday recently doesn’t mean that I’m old. I definitely feel it though – my parents threw a party last night and I went to bed before everyone had left! I just can’t stay up socialising until 2am anymore, I need my sleep! One thing that would have made this morning a lot, lot easier is if I’d had a box full of Beautiful Breakfast Bars available to eat. Alas, unfortunately I’m stuck with my parent’s larder to satisfy me, so we ended up with a piece of toast. Looking forward to getting back to my own fridge tomorrow!

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