I've never been big on "New Year's" as a holiday. It seems rather silly to me to 'celebrate' the passage of time...and for most of my life, the 'new year' really occurred in fall with the new school year anyway. That said, I'm finding myself doing quite a bit of reflecting on the past year and planning for the new one. I think this is partly due to all the turmoil of the past year (the economy, the rise and fall of gas/oil prices, the election, etc.) and the foreboding of what may still like ahead for us all. I generally don't make resolutions, but I guess the change from 2008 to 2009 is as good a time as any to take stock on how much we have accomplished on a more personal level and what we want to plan for the next year. So, here goes.
2008 was a year of massive change for my husband and me. A year ago, we were just starting to put into motion all the steps that led to the huge lifestyle shift we experienced in 2008. As the calendar changed to 2008, I was 10 days out from my first flight to Oregon to interview with my current company. We were also wrapping up some home projects and generally preparing to put our house on the market in the next couple of weeks. I had already traded in my beloved Mini Cooper on my Prius, so at the time, I'd felt like major changes were already taking place. I was really apprehensive about what 2008 would hold in store for us, but I was excited none-the-less.
So by the end of January, our house was on the market. In early February, both my husband and I were accepting jobs with new companies. In mid-February, we made our first trip out here together to look at homes. By the end of February, we had our cars packed and we were heading across the country. In early March, we both started new jobs while we moved into an apartment. By April, our home search was in full swing - weekends upon weekends searching for a place to set up our little homestead. By the end of April, we'd made an offer on a short sale but having heard nothing from the bank in three weeks, we kept looking. By May, we'd found our current home, so we pulled the bank offer and made a new offer on our house. By June, we'd closed and we began working (including getting a garden planted). By July, the garden was planted, the chicken coop built and we started moving into the house. By August, we were out of the apartment (and our storage site) and installed fully in the new place. We also purchased 15 chickens and two goats and fenced in the 'back forty' before the month was out. In September, we discovered we needed new siding before another winter hit. We also began harvesting fruit and learning to can and dry it. By October, the siding project was underway, harvest was in full swing (for what we were able to cultivate so late in the season) and we were up to our eyeballs in goat's milk. By November, things had settled down a little and we were able to get some things done inside the house. December brought with it our first eggs from our chickens, and massive snow...something we had not counted on in this area! We also purchased and received our greenhouse kit - to be assembled in 2009.
So, from suburban DINK to sustainable homesteader...are we there yet? Hardly. What will 2009 hold for us?
Building and utilizing a greenhouse
Installing rain barrels & a hand pump
Improved fitness for both of us
Early seed-starting & expanded veggie, herb and grain gardens
More biking, less driving
A new wood stove (a more efficient & EPA approved one)
Solar consultation (hot water and electric)
Installing a proper root cellar
Actively improving neighbor relations
Skill development - bread making, cheese making, soap making, wine making, knitting, spinning, etc.
From a more personal standpoint, I'd like to accomplish a few other things. The first of these involves my goals for 2010. I'd like to finally get to a place where come 2010, 'losing weight' is not my list of future accomplishments. This is a two part effort. The first, of couse, is actually losing some weight. The second is the harder part - and that is learning to accept myself and my body not for what it looks like, but for what it can do. I have never had a single new year where 'weight loss' wasn't in the plans for the coming months - even going back to childhood when I wasn't exactly over-weight. This is a mental issue that I plan to actively work on this year. Additionally, I'm going to make a greater effort to sustain the relationships that are important to me. With my husband, my family, and with friends from my past and present. I've been too wrapped up in our homestead efforts over the past year, and I've allowed this blog to do too much of my communicating for me. REAL interpersonal interaction is essential to a well balanced happy life. I need to work on it.
May 2009 be a year of many joys and accomplishments for all of us.