Friday, January 3, 2014

Top Ten Things I Learned in 2013

We usually have a bonfire on New Year’s Day to burn the things we want to leave in the past. This is mostly symbolic with everyone writing things on paper and tossing them into the fire, but sometimes there are actual items to burn. I used to burn rejection letters from agents and magazines, but these days those lovely missives arrive via e-mail, so it would seem a backward step for the environment if I printed them out and then burned them. It’s much easier to toss them in the virtual trash.

Pinpointing what I’d like to leave behind forces me to evaluate the previous year. This year New Year's Day was cold and we were tired and still digging out from our party the night before. There was a game on and the kids were embracing their last day of unlimited screens. No one mustered up any enthusiasm for the annual tradition. Hopefully we’ll get to it sometime this month as there are several boxes of old bills and insurance papers we unearthed during our basement clean up that await the flame.

But I digress, as usual. This month I’m planning a Top Ten List theme. I like to take time at New Year’s to think about what went well and what didn’t during the past year. Creating these Top Ten lists will help me sort through the past year and make resolutions for the new one. My four themes are:

Top Ten Things I learned this past year.
Top Ten Things I’d like to learn in the new year.
Top Ten Things I’ll avoid in the coming year.
Top Ten Things I’ll indulge more in this year.

I’d welcome your lists if you’re inspired to create your own. I’d also welcome ideas for other Top Ten Lists.

So without further ado…..

Top Ten Things I Learned This Year

1. Buying Local does much more than put money back in the local economy. My three month experiment in buying locally changed my world. Not only did I feel more connected to my local community, but I made many new friends. I saved a ton of money. I learned that I can do without a lot of things. I dropped much of the guilt created by overbuying. I discovered new stores and businesses. But more than anything I felt good about how I spent our money.
2. I learned how to borrow books from the library on my kindle and I also discovered audiobooks! Now I can consume even more literature! My addiction was more than fed, but I am hoarding free books from Book Bub on my kindle.
3. I learned how to defend my chickens from the hawks. (Maybe a little too well. I turned the broody non-producing hens loose this fall as a sacrifice since my children wouldn’t let me butcher them and yet the hawks won’t set foot/wing on our property so we have ten squawking, pooping lawn ornaments.)
4. I figured out how to grow lettuce year round utilizing acold frame and indoor lights (that post coming soon!). 
5. I learned how to make homemade English Muffins, Tomato Pie, and infused vinegar. 
6. I learned to wear the clothes I own instead of letting them pile up in my closet. The Don It or Donate It challenge taught me to look more critically and realistically at the clothes I own and made me more careful about the clothes I buy. 
7. I embraced the power of mulch gaining more prowess this year and letting go of my vanity. Paper and rocks work as well as pretty store bought mulch and cost far less. 
8. I learned how to gather lots of comments and hits on my blog by using the words “carpet cleaning.” (HA! I found a way to use it again!)
9.I learned how to control my kids’ Cheezit consumption – finally!
10. I learned I need to start promoting myself as a writer and finally created a Facebook page.  (Notice I said I learned that I needed to promote myself, but I didn’t necessarily learn how to promote myself. I can use all the help I can get – like me today and spread the word please, please, pretty please?!)

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