Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Why I Don't Make Resolutions at New Year

The tradition of resolutions is doomed to failure, but setting intentions? Now those are flexible. So I will make a few for 2014.
  • Minimalism: My dear friend Steve Gott lived a life of fewer and fewer possessions. He was no hermit but thought that one should cherish what one has. I'm going to see what can be done to at least make do with fewer things and more experiences. We've been doing that since we moved to the country. It is, however, a long journey and one worth making
  • Planning: Retirement is a gleam on the horizon, but it's a brighter gleam than it was, say, five years ago.  We have a lot to do to get the homestead ready for a time of limited incomes, but we have saved many thousands by doing work ourselves or helping our contractor. We plan to keep looking 3 or 4 years out in terms of what areas of the homestead will be developed by adding trails, expanding the bee-yard, and making our woodlot suitable for sustainable harvesting of firewood for fuel.  I'm thinking of setting up, eventually, at our local farmer's market, but we must first really expand our hives and have some other produce to sell. That's going to take a business license, which is easy in our county to obtain.
  • Community: This is a key aspect of rural life that many "come heres" forget. Luckily, my spouse is a "from here" who came back, and we have friends in the community. My goal, without being the sort of butt in at every county council meeting, will be to begin doing some sort of local and non-sectarian volunteer work. I'm going to be giving one day a month to Habitat on a build, so I don't think another day monthly would add too much stress to my life. It also puts a resident on the local map. I may help at our Field Day of the Past, where I know some volunteers who make this rural fair possible each year.
  • Humor: Academics are a serious lot. I grow weary sometimes of how serious they can be, but then, the stakes are low and the prestige of careers in higher education--diminishing in many sectors--is mostly visible only to those inside its confines. I realize now that I'm still searching for a way, in my remaining years before retirement, to bring some of what I love about rural life to the Academy. That intention is going to remain nebulous, for now. But it will solidify into a project, at some point.
Meanwhile, Happy 2014. I hope our world limps along better than it did last year. There's a lot of beauty even in damaged times. Go find some or, better yet, make some.

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