After a wonderful but not so restful week of traveling around New York State to celebrate Christmas (or: friends, family, and wealth of all sorts), I’m back and ready to jump into 2014. I had a pretty great 2013, all things considered, and one easy way to track that is to examine the goals I accomplished this year.
Last January, I sat down and thought about some small, concrete tasks I wanted to work on in 2013. I missed some, as is to be expected, but what’s pleasing is how many just happened. I wouldn’t go quite so far as to say they manifested themselves, but it does sort of feel that way–I think that there’s a connection between pointedly acknowledging your interest in something and pursuing that interest. I’m hoping to build on this for next year, while continuing to not get too into the damaging “bucket list” mentality that I think takes me out of living a spontaneous, present life. For now, though, here are a few of the things I did in 2013:
- Made (vegetarian) French Onion soup for the first time
- Tried absinthe. (Only rimmed on a cocktail at the Speakeasy, but I’m still counting it since that experience has led my previous interest in absinthe cocktails to dissolve.)
- Took my whale-obsessed wife on a whale watch out of Plymouth, Massachusetts. We saw Nile the Humpback, who she has declared her spirit animal.
- Took my dog on long walks at least once a week. (Sounds pathetic, but I have a dog who really doesn’t like walks that much, so it’s a real accomplishment.)
- Hiked two mountains: Hadley and Porter
- Swam in my two favorite lake-like bodies: Forked Lake and Lake’s Pond
- Went cross-country skiing via a weekend at Dippikill
- Learned to make three new kinds of candy, not just the one new kind I was aiming for. I have mastered two types of caramels and chocolate truffles, and am working on my peanut butter fudge.
- Learned how to poach an egg with confidence
- Took a tour of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and felt closer to my favorite adolescent-years author Madeleine L’Engle in the process. She’s more than just A Wrinkle in Time!
- Had multiple bagels from Absolute Bagels at 108th and Broadway
- Canned not just “something,” but tomato sauce.
- Went on not one, but two random fun trips with my wife to places we hadn’t been as a couple. The first was to Rhode Island with some of our friends, and the second was to Montreal for our first anniversary.
- Went to a show at the UCB
- Got not just my first, but also my second massage–the first in Hudson, the other on Zanzibar! As it turns out, this was a very easy goal to accomplish. Also, hot stone massages are amazing.
- Wrote a fundraising appeal letter for my favorite organization
- Printed, framed, and hung select wedding photos
- Took my aunt Carol out to lunch
- Took my 10-year-old brother-in-law and 12-year-old sister-in-law on an adventure to Lake George, complete with jumping off of (small) cliffs into the water and exploring a waterfall
- Learned how to make crepes with confidence
Adding in a move to Albany, increasing professional responsibility, a very stressful year of non-profit board service, making new friends and keeping old ones, spending lots of time with my family, countless picnics in Washington Park, keeping up my usual regiment of book reading / TV watching / Internet awareness, a literal safari, and starting this blog, it makes sense that this year has felt so incredibly full of joy and fun.
It has not been perfect, and of course, I did not accomplish everything I set out to do:
- I did not even re-finish level one of Rosetta Stone Spanish, let alone complete level three
- I have a horrible sleep schedule induced by my telecommuting lifestyle, instead of the semi-normal one I aspired to attain in January
- I gave up on my goal to listen to one new album a month in April
- I have twice started and twice failed to create the sourdough starter I need to make my own bread per the Tartine Bread method
- I neither kayaked down the Kinderhook Creek with my brother nor sailed my father’s sunfish
- I continue to be a total delinquent at fixing my sleeping bag’s zipper so it can be comfortably used in less than 60 degree weather
But, all that said, I have also accomplished quite a bit I didn’t set out to do, and that’s life. Also life: the lucky ability to get excited about 2014, and all the things I might be able to do in the next twelve months. But that’s for tomorrow.