Like many people I know, I love the new year. Somehow the starting of a new calendar always feels like a good time to start over completely. The first of January always seems to be the perfect time for reinvention, for dreaming of better things... for taking steps to make the next year ahead of us better than the last. And in those ways, this year is no different.
But this year will be different for me in many other ways.
For one, I will be graduating from college in May. This, in itself, is a huge accomplishment for me. Even though it isn't quite the end of my college career just yet (I'll still be taking a few online courses in the fall, to be completely finished in December), it does mark the end of my career as a full-time student and the beginning of my career as a full-time respiratory therapist. Having been in school full time since the age of 5 (as many people who jump into college immediately after high school can say), I must confess that I'm not sure what I'll do with myself once I no longer have school to occupy my focus. It's difficult to dream of other things when class, studying, working, and surviving daily life take up all of your time. But I am immensely excited for the prospect of free time... of having the freedom to chase other dreams, and to make myself into someone other than a student and an employee. I feel like so much of my life has been building to this point... as if once I am finished with school my life can truly begin. So I look to this milestone with great anticipation, and an excitement I can hardly contain.
Secondly, I'll be getting married in August! After dating for 3 years and with almost a year of engagement under our belts, Dane and I were beginning to feel as if a wedding would never come. But here we are in 2011, with only 7 months to go! This step, too, makes me feel as though my life is truly beginning this year... I will be a college graduate, a full-time RT, and a wife! Although the wedding won't change much for us - we're basically married as it is - it will be another wonderful milestone for our relationship, worthy of the great celebration we will have for it. I can't wait to share the rest of my life with this man. :)
However, the first week of 2011 has been less than picture-perfect for me. My wallet was stolen on Sunday, and over $1300 was stolen from me as a result. Most of my week so far has consisted of dealing with the fraud department of my bank and the police department, trying to get things resolved and the thief caught. On top of this, I've developed patellar tendonitis in my right leg, which makes doing just about anything quite painful. My house is a mess and I'm having a dinner party on Saturday (which, trust me, you'll be hearing about!), but my leg hurts too much to do much about it right now. After these last few days I feel beaten up and violated, and I'd love nothing more than to go back to bed and start this whole year over again.
I learned long ago not to make resolutions - I never follow through, haha. But this year, I do have some non-specific goals that I'd like to work toward. Here are my top three.
1. Step outside my comfort zone. Try more new recipes, and push myself as a cook. Two things I really want to try my hand at this year are making my own pasta and baking yeast bread... two things I have absolutely no experience with.
2. Eat more locally. Boise is home to a wonderful Saturday morning market, and several farmers' markets that are open most days of the week during the summer. I'd like to buy more of my groceries from these places, not only out of support for the local farmers but also for the freshness of the produce. My friend Dawn and I had a wonderful time last summer, picking our own fruit at some of the orchards in the town where she lives... I'd love to do more things like that. There's something gratifying in knowing exactly where your food comes from, and it always manages to taste better.
3. Limit/Eliminate Processed Foods. At the grocery store the other day, I was struck by how many people's carts where full of processed food. Boxed dinners, baking mixes laden with preservatives, snacks that offered nothing more than sugar and fake colorings... it finally occurred to me how fake the average American diet is. And not only is this kind of eating terribly unhealthy, the taste of these foods often pale in comparison to authentic, whole food. The human body was not created to eat chemicals. This kind of food has lost appeal for me. And I will not have it in my house. My body and my tastebuds deserve better.
Three simple goals for a great 2011. I hope you're all doing well with your resolutions too. :)
As mentioned, I'm throwing my very first dinner party this weekend! Check back for pictures and recipes!