Quotidian Ambitions

New Year’s resolutions are in season now. But I always feel a little disingenuous making them. After all who really cares about someone else’s resolutions once it’s not a third grade writing assignment? Also, it sometimes seems like the wrong time of year to be making new beginnings. Everything in nature has gone dormant and I often feel the summons to hunker down with them until spring.

And yet

Something in my psyche needs this shot of motivation after the let down of the holidays. Perhaps instead of dormancy, I ought look at the bare branches and listless patches of ground as a blank slate. Since I squander so many of them, I can use all the new beginnings I can get.

Perhaps it’s just the terminology I struggle with. Resolutions seem so rigid. They resound with do’s and don’t's. By mid-February most of us Resolutes are engaged in some form of double think. That didn’t count because I was tired. It was a special occasion. I won’t do it from now on. New Year’s resolutions are hard to keep precisely because a year is long time to hold to an intention that’s stiffer than a starched collar. I need something more along the lines of a pair of jeans. Something that I can take with me through my days, good, bad, and bland. A list not about guilt but about ambition.

Yes, an ambition. That’s a much better word.

Glad I got that sorted out.

Here’s a peek at my home and hearth list of ambitions for the year:

  1. Make fermentation a habit. So far I’ve only thought of fermenting foods as a way to preserve them. I’d this practice to become more integrated into my kitchen. Inherent to this practice is learning to make some kind of fermented beverage, be it kombucha, kefir, ginger beer, ect.
  2. Learn to sew or knit proficiently. Like, actually be able to make useful things, not just row after row of stitching.
  3. Relearn photography basics. Even though I took a photography class in high school, I can no longer remember exactly what’s meant by words like aperture and focal length. I’d like to reclaim this skill.
  4. Make soap.
  5. Learn to use more organ meat. Other than the occasional liver and onions for dinner (that I’m obligated to warn Mr. Quotidian about at least three days in advance, serve with dessert and sandwich that meal in between other more normal meals to make up for it) I don’t really know how to cook these parts of animals.
  6. Make regular trips to the thrift store. I’ve known for awhile that effective thrifting is habitual thrifting. While there are magnificent treasures out there, they most often go to those who are familiar with the bins, shelves, and racks.
  7. Learn more about traditional Southern food. Not the Crisco and food coloring South, but the way people cooked deep in the South’s history. Places to start my research are Anson Mills and Southern Foodways Alliance.

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Posted in Uncategorized 6 years ago at 5:24 pm.

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7 Replies

  1. Rachelle Jan 4th 2012

    I’ve never been into New Year’s Resolutions either. Like you, I feel that this is all the wrong time of year for new beginnings (especially since I’ve spent the last 21 years on a school schedule). I also would rather not make promises that I know I can’t keep, even if only to myself.

    However, on Monday night I couldn’t sleep, and so I took an ambition that’s been growing in me and narrowed it down to a daily goal: write for at least 15 minutes.

    So far, so good.

  2. Erin S. Jan 4th 2012

    “I need a pair of jeans.”

    I love this!! Quote worthy. The perfect analogy.

  3. Jana@ Collected Quotidian Jan 4th 2012

    Rachelle, is it any particular form of writing? On my more personal ambition list is to write more sans keyboard.

  4. Rachelle Jan 5th 2012

    No, I’m making it really easy on myself. If it’s in my journal, that counts. If it’s work for the online writing class I’m starting later this month, or an assignment I’ve given my students, or even a letter or personal email, it counts–just not lesson planning. I just feel the need for my output to catch up with my input.

  5. Rachelle Jan 5th 2012

    I do love writing by hand, except when I’m just doing a purge of all the thoughts and need to write quickly enough not to lose them. I’m working on a sonnet right now though, and I couldn’t IMAGINE doing that on a word processor.

  6. Rachelle Jan 23rd 2012

    Hey Jana, just thought I would pass along this excellent looking blog I just discovered. Each day a *15 minute* prompt for writing practice. #serendipity

    Hope you’re having a good day.

  7. Rachelle Jan 23rd 2012

    Ooops, forgot the most important part: http://thewritepractice.com/


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