Saturday, April 16, 2011

The List

I discovered long ago that I'm not a resolution kind of girl.

I tried them out, made a few in junior high. Become a vegetarian. Use cosmetics free from animal by-products or testing.

Somewhat unattainable stuff for a 12 or 13-year-old who didn't do her own cooking and whose babysitting money couldn't possibly keep her stocked with animal-friendly shampoo and face wash.

Since then, I haven't bothered much with that resolution thing that people do when January 1st rolls around. No reason why, just haven't.

That doesn't mean I haven't had visions, aspirations, dreams and long-term goals. These vague ideas of things I want to accomplish have worked out pretty well, spurring me to teach overseas, go to grad school, write a novel, etc.

But I haven't made any real resolutions since I was 13; that is, until two years ago, when I read Maggie Stiefvater's post in defense of New Year's Resolutions. It just made sense.

So, in January 2010, I wrote myself a little list and posted it on the wall in my office. As the year passed, I actually accomplished several things on the list. And it felt good.

In January 2011, I began another list. This year, I thought I'd make it public, and I drafted a post entitled Goals 2011. Only, I never finalized that list, and that post has sat incomplete in the drafts bin for the last three months.

Until this week. When I deleted it and started fresh.

Friends, I want to share this list with you today. Not a list of resolutions, but a list of goals. That word works better for me. Some are big; some are small. Some may take a day to achieve; some may take all year. Others I may carry me into the next year.

I turned 32 last week, and I think this is a good way to start this next year of my life.

33 Things To Do Before I Turn 33

1. Finish draft 2 (which is really another draft 1, since it's turning out to be a major rewrite) of the novel I am currently working on.

2. Revise said novel and query.

3. Donate 10" of my hair to Locks of Love. (This is carry-over from last year. It's still growing...)

4. Become a farmer. (Actually, bring to reality the vision I have for the veggie garden on my mom's property. I've been preparing the land for several weeks now. It's hard work.)

5. Learn conversational French. (This will be on-going and is kinda hard to measure. But as long as I'm working on it, I'll be happy.)

6. Run in a 5-K race and be ready for it.

7. Buy a house.

8. Sew curtains for said house.

9. Knit, among other things, a sweater.

10. Make Beef Bourguignon.

11. Perfect pasta making. (I'm not sure how I'll measure this other than to continue making my own pasta and to try new recipes and improve upon it.)

12. Make artisan bread with natural leavening.

13. Visit Hawk Mountain in Allentown and watch the migration of the birds of prey. (This will have to be in November. I've been trying to get there for 3 years. This has got to be the year.)

14. Finish Jane Austen's canon. (I haven't read Mansfield Park, Emma, or Persuasion.)

15. Visit Bushkill Falls in autumn, when the leaves are at their peak.

16. Read at least 1 MG/YA novel a month. (I know this is low. Only 12 a year. I'll probably far surpass, but I want to keep the goal reasonable because I read so much other stuff too.)

17. Continue to work through the literary canon, at least one novel a month. Be sure to hit some Ursula Le Guin and some Ray Bradbury.

18. Visit Shofuso.

19. Post at the First Novels Club a minimum of twice a month.

20. Post at Jasmine & Honey, my personal blog about food and food-related stories, a minimum of twice a month.

21. Get set-up to grind my own grain into flour.

22. Find a source for grass-fed, pastured beef, and use that source.

23. Private Goal.

24. Go camping. With tents, and food on the fire. I've never been!

25. Reach optimum level of fitness. I'll keep the actual number private.

26. Play in the snow with my niece and nephew.

27. Learn to make a fire.

28. Make Tiramisu. (Can you tell I love food and cooking.)

29. Write a hand-written note to someone at least once a month.

30. Visit my sister in Brooklyn. Go to Purl Soho together.

31. Play my flute more.

32. Drink Bubble Tea.

33. List on Esty.

Huzzah! It's going to be a great year.

What about you? Do you make resolutions? What are some of your current goals?


  1. J'adore le français! Bonne chance cette année avec tout!

  2. Wow! That's a big list. This year I just set a few goals in my writing to see if it would help me be more production. They are: finish my query letter-done; do a revision of my manuscript for voice-working on; start something new-I've researched it and have started outlining. And one thing not on my list is that I've become a blog partner to Casey McCormick on Literary Rambles. So I've feeling productive.

  3. I try not to make too many goals for myself so that I don't face the disappointment for not fulfilling each one in a timely manner. I do make a short list that I try to give a deadline to.

  4. Whew! That's a lot to handle, Janine! You're making me tired just reading this list. I think the first 4 or 5 would be enough. My only goal this year is to revise the novel a few more times and start querying. But then again, I already own a house and yes, I've made curtains. But, ahem, I'm a lot older than you.

    Janine, I'm confused. Are you a vegetarian or not? Because if you are, why would you make beef bourguignon? (It's delicious, btw, and I've made it with and without Julia Child's recipe).

    Hope you do make it to Hawk Mountain in the fall. I've done that too! Good luck with all your goals. Especially the writing ones.

    Believe it or not: word verification is "writy."

  5. Yes, it's a big list. I know.

    But notice that many items are quick and easy. For example: drinking bubble tea. It's just so good, and I rarely have it. I just don't want this year to go by without enjoying it. And playing in the snow with my niece and nephew. If we have snow, I want to make a point to get out there with them. This year, I didn't bother, and I wish I had.

    And some of them are already well in progress. For example: buying a house. We reached an agreement a few days ago. Settlement on June 10th!

    As for sewing curtains...well, I didn't say how many I would sew. : )

    Joanne, great point about the vegetarianism. No, I am not a vegetarian. I did try when I was about 13, though. Didn't go so well. As for beef bourguignon. I agree, it is amazing. I made it a month ago. Wow. Must do again this year.

    The writing goals--whose will be the real work.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I'll let you know how it goes!

  6. Correction:

    Writing goals--*those* will be the real work.

  7. Can I learn conversational French with you? I took French all through middle and high school and even in college, but all my skills have disappeared from lack of use :(

    Also...I see an FNC camping trip in our future!

  8. Sara--Yes! Let's practice French together. I'm starting from scratch, though, so be prepared for some pretty basic conversation. "My name is..." : )

    FNC Camping--Yes, yes, yes!!!

  9. I'm all for camping, but ... will this place have porta potties, or at least something with walls? I do not fancy squatting for all the woodland creatures to see, but I'm game for the rest!


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