The New Year is almost upon us. I’m not a big fan of resolutions – why should I start 2012 by beating myself up for all the things I could be doing better? We already know we should be exercising more, eating healthier, and finding our zen. But, I do wish that my life could become a little bit like it was back when I was in elementary school. I spent lots of time just exploring the world and enjoying the outdoors. I read solely for pleasure. I could spend hours immersed in creative projects (hence, the world’s greatest kid-produced family newspapers and neighborhood plays). I got to see my siblings every day! I don’t remember worrying very often. Plus, nutritious, balanced meals were prepared for me. And, who needed a treadmill when you spent all day running around a giant backyard and climbing trees?
So, maybe it wouldn’t be the worst idea to try and get some of that eight-year old spirit back. This time, the Triangle is going to have to help me:
Goal #1: Find more room for creative pursuits.
This goal is closely related to my quest to develop a quirky professor hobby that future students will find slightly weird but mostly endearing. Unfortunately, although Yarns, etc. has plenty of opportunities for beginners to learn how to use their wares, their intro workshop only taught me that I suck at knitting. And, I’ve been longing to learn how to bake bread, but I’m looking for something a little more crafty to obsess over. Plan: Finally sign up for an ArtsCenter series in the spring. Pottery, Jewelry-Making, or Darkroom 101, anyone? Another great resource for shutterbug types: the continuing education program at Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies.
Goal #2: Spend more time outdoors and less time in front of screens.
Ironically, I begin my comps exams in January, which essentially means six weeks of becoming BFF’s with my laptop. Followed by another year of dissertation writing. Hmm. Anyone got any advice on where to buy a new desk chair? In the meantime, I’ll try and spend my last few remaining days of freedom enjoying some of my favorite local hikes at Jordan Lake.
Goal #3: Have healthy food waiting on the dinner table.
My loving husband does his best to make several more-than-decent dinners each week. The only downside is that his repertoire is limited to about five options. Maybe I should sign him up for cooking classes? Only problem is that the options at Southern Season include things like “Making Biscuits: Four Sticks of Butter or Five?”
Goal #4: Read for fun.
You all, I tried joining a book club, and I totally recommend the local Meetup group for those of you looking to do the same. But…for whatever reason, I just haven’t loved their literary selections lately – and isn’t that the main point? What I really miss is going to the library for non-research purposes. Remember that place? Do you think UNC’s undergraduate branch will carry the Babysitter’s Club collection? If all else fails, Chapel Hill’s Monday Night Book Group is also a possibility.
Goal #5: Spend more time doing nothing in particular.
Last semester, I tried to hold Fridays completely open, and of course, they soon got filled with all manner of tasks that I couldn’t stick anywhere else. This semester, I’m condensing meetings, class, teaching & work into just three days of the week. I’ll have to spend some of the four remaining days writing, writing, writing – but it will be worth it to have a true division between obligations and more personal commitments.
Now, in a few weeks, when I’ve fulfilled none of these goals, perhaps you would consider signing up for my planned reprise of my 1991 production of Cinderella, where I played most of the main characters, directed and promoted the show (triple threat!) and forced my sister to play Cinderella’s dog, a part created mainly for my amusement. Emily? You still up for it?