It's nice to have Christmas over with, though this year we had a wonderful, low-key day with my family. Suddenly it seems like I have a lot of spare time on my hands; time that in the past few weeks was spent preparing, cooking, decorating, crafting and wrapping. I enjoy the period between Christmas and New Year's as a time to reflect on the past year and to think about the new one yet to come. I think it's true what they say: time does go faster as you get older.
2008 was a year filled with changes: Joe leaving his job, Wilson going off to college and my own role as wife and mother being altered as a result of those two major shifts. In addition to the things over which I have no control I've also made some intentional changes in the way I live my life. I'm looking forward to continuing with those things and also incorporating some new ones for 2009.
In the past year I've started blogging. It's an interesting process, one that has surprised me. I never expected to enjoy putting down my thoughts but there are days in which I have an idea and can't wait to start my treatments so I can write about it. Of course, there are other days in which I have absolutely nothing to say and the very thought of trying to write is intimidating and depressing.
A good friend and I pledged to take 20 minutes of time per day just for ourselves this year. We both had times when we were better about it than others, but for the most part we kept it up for the entire year. It really does make a difference! Twenty minutes is such a small amount of time when you think about it and the rewards gained are wonderful. It feels great to be able to sit and read a magazine or just do nothing; so much of our time is spent thinking about others and doing things for them- it's a good reminder that we need to do things for ourselves as well. This is definitely something I will continue in 2009.
This past year I was better about bringing my own cloth bags when I go shopping. There were times I forgot them at home or even in the car, but I'd say my success rate at remembering was about 70%. I'm going to strive for 100% in 2009. When we visited Ireland I was so impressed to learn that plastic bags are illegal.
Although it was in some part unintentional, this year we stopped wasting things from food to household items. Instead of throwing things away they are fixed, recycled or repurposed. We've cut down on the amount of trash we produce and I'd like to see if we can further cut down for 2009. We started "freecycling" which is giving away things we no longer need to those who need them. I've also gotten some things we will be using from this fun group, such as a lampshade and clay pots.
In addition to cooking and baking from scratch, something I've always done, this year I started making more products that we use around the house such as laundry detergent and household cleaners. I've started using only organic castille soap for cleaning (with supplements for the hard water spots in our shower) and using vinegar for fabric softener. I'm going to continue to hang the laundry out, garden organically and compost our veggie, fruit and yard waste.
For 2009 I'd like to start making my own soap. I'm looking forward to this as I love nice, handmade soaps, which are so much better for your skin. I like knowing what is in a product I use. I'd like to improve my success rate at remembering my cloth bags when I shop with the goal of not bringing home any plastic bags in 2009. I'm hoping to be able to make most of the gifts I'll give for birthdays this year and I'm going to experiment with shopping at thrift stores instead of buying things brand new. I'm also going to set aside some time each morning either before or after I exercise to meditate. I'd like to deepen my spiritual practice in 2009.
Although this past year has been one of huge changes and I've felt unsettled more often than not I guess it's good to keep in mind that growth is painful. Change has never been easy for me, especially when I'm not in control of the changes; I'm hoping that 2009 will feel more comfortable, settled and peaceful.