Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Top Ten Things I Want to Learn in 2014

What do YOU want to learn this year? I’ve been giving this some serious thought. Generally, I just wait for a topic, hobby, adventure to hit me and then I go figure it out. But this year I’m being intentional. Here’s my working list of what I want to learn this year -

1. How to sell a book. I’ve got so many books in me. Three that are already written. What I don’t have is somebody to help me sell them to a publisher. Oh, I know I could self-publish, and it may come to that, but before I do that I want to do everything I can to get a real, live agent. This means learning how to perfect my query, pitch, and angle. This means trying some new tactics and not sitting here waiting to be discovered.

2. How to make soup. I’ve never been a big soup person, but I want to be. I’m not going to force myself to eat soups I already know I don’t like – split pea, squash based soups, clam chowder – I’m going to learn how to make soups I do like. For Christmas I bought myself a fancy new Cuisinart Soup maker with the gift cards I received, so now I can get down to business. Very excited about this project.

3. How to pick a college. The first of my three very bright children is beginning this adventure. I will accompany him to many campuses, peruse catalogs, meet with admissions counselors and find scholarship possibilities. And I will learn the game. I promise to pass along any great wisdom I collect in case you are headed down this road yourself.

4. How to be truly present. I am very good at doing ten things at once. But I don’t want to continue this crazy habit. I’m ready to experience my moments, pay attention to the person in front of me, and listen to my own heart. I haven’t figured out my strategy yet for challenging this lifelong habit, but it is something I want to work on this year.

5. How to grow my own annuals. I hate all the money I waste on annual plants every spring. Last year I
spent nearly $75. That's crazy. I should be able to grow these bright happy flowers myself. I'm currently experimenting with multiplying the ones I saved from last year. I'll post about it soon. But quick brag - I've got 3 geraniums and 4 begonias blooming in my mudroom under the lights right now! (All from the one geranium and one begonia I bought from last year's sports booster fundraiser!) I've also got a plan for growing petunias and impatiens from seed.

6. How to grow fruit. I have 12 fruit trees and I have yet to have a real harvest. We did have a small sour cherry harvest a few years back, but since then disease, pest, neglect, and ignorance have kept my fruit from growing. This year I’ll learn what I’m doing wrong and make corrections.

7. How to kayak. I drive by Redmond Lake often and see kayakers and canoers out there. I want to be one of them. I canoed many moons ago and it was lovely to be on the lake. I think a kayak would make me feel like even more a part of the lake.

8. How to train my incredibly sweet, but disobedient dog. I don’t have a game plan for this, but I’m
open to one. I am perennially inspired to teach her something and give up within days of my initial efforts. This year I’d like to figure it out. (or get a new dog and start over….)

9. How to preserve more complicated things like sun-dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, and how to make dill pickles. Pickles have eluded me for years. People laugh when I tell them I can’t make pickles. I try every year and every year they are a disaster. I need to tackle this.

10. How to be content. Okay, so this may be a life-long lesson. But I’d like to be okay with things as they are instead of always wishing for something different. The weather is miserable this winter and all I can think is – why can’t we move somewhere better? I trudge up my hill and think – I wish I lived somewhere flat. I look in the mirror and think – why can’t I look younger? And I’m ashamed to say I look around me and wish for more in so many ways. I especially want to learn to be content with the people in my life. I want to accept them the way they are and for who they are. They are a gift to me and I would like to learn to be more grateful.

So that’s my list – what’s yours?

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