Top Ten – New Year’s Resolutions

It’s well past Jan 1, but my Official New Year’s Resolutions have not yet been published. This does not mean that, on 14 Jan I have only figured out what they should be. It only means that I have not yet been living up to all of them, namely

#10 – Post on the blog at least once per week. The poor blog has been sorely neglected lately with holidays things to do, starting a new job, and basically not much leisure time. No excuses. Just get on with it, or delete it altogether.

Of course #10 would be helped greatly by

#9 – Get organized. We live in a small apartment. OK, small by any other than Dutch standards. By Amsterdam standards it’s damn near spacious. No matter how big you think it is, there is absolutely no space whatsoever to accumulate stuff. And I get grumpy when I feel surrounded by clutter and am unorganized. Already I’ve got 3 bags of old clothes to go out, have shipped unused xbox stuff to my nephew, and we’re nearly finished setting up new IKEA closets. Ah… I feel better already.

To keep down the clutter you just have to stop bringing stuff into the house. Don’t buy stuff. In my case

#8 – It’s OK to get rid of books before you buy more books. We don’t own a library. We don’t have space to build one. Not every book I’ve ever bought and read is a lifelong friend that I will miss if it leaves my home. I’ve regretted getting rid of some books, like my university books from 25 years ago. But I won’t regret getting rid of the paperback version of …. of…. of….

I’ve just returned to the couch after having a look through the bookshelves to find the books I CAN get rid of without looking back. I know they are there. I’m sure of it. Just can’t find them at the moment. I’ll get back to you on this one.

#7 – Know where your money goes. Do you start to see a theme here? Getting organized goes farther than stuff and books and time. It also involves money. If I want to save money I need to know where it’s going and make decisions about where it should be going. I have a copy of Quicken. I just have to use it. What better time to set it up and start tracking the ins and outs than January of a new year? I plan to start this very afternoon. Promise.

#6 – No more toys. I don’t need any more toys. I am rich with toys. A MacBook and an iMac. A drawer full of iPods. A new mobile phone (ok, that was free so it doesn’t really count). A TomTom ONE. A nice camera. It’s enough already. I have more toys than I have time to play with. I am going on a toys moratorium.
Having said that, last week I bought a 60eur electric milk frothing machine. It makes perfect milk for coffee. It’s small and cute and matches my espresso machine perfectly. Do kitchen toys count in this resolution? I guess so. First failure of the year.

#5 – Run the Dam to Dam. Last August I was about to sign up for this race when I found out that I was too late. It was full. 30,000 people had already signed up. 30,000! Now I have 9 months to get ready for this year. I’ve never run in a race before. I’m not even much of a runner. But I want to be and I’m pysched to do this. Now, if I can just stop getting injured (shin splints, sprained ankle) I’ll be ok.

Closely related to #5, and what would make running 16 miles easier is

#4 – Lose 6 kilos and keep it off. This is the one resolution that I started right away in January and have pretty much kept at it. I’m doing the South Beach diet – sort of. I’ve lost 1.5 kilos in 2 weeks which I think is ok. What will be interesting is going on vacation to New Zealand in February for 3.5 weeks. Will we be active enough to make up for eating more? If I go somewhere on vacation I really enjoy eating local food as much as possible. I want to taste everything. I like food. I like to eat. It likes me too and hangs around too easily. In the last 3 years I’ve gained those 6 kilos. My niece calls this “happy fat”. If you find yourself in a happy relationship, you cook together, you eat together, you share food as a social and intimate ritual of meals. And you put on weight. That’s what has happened to me. I’m still happy, but I just need to get my body back to healthy.

#3 – Stay healthy. Go to the gym regularly. Yoga at least once a week. Don’t stress at work. Learn to relax and do nothing.

#2 – Read a novel in Dutch. For Christmas this year I received a paperback novel in Dutch. Hint. Hint. I started a Dutch class last Fall but ended up dropping it because I had to travel for work more often than I thought I would have to. I missed half the classes in the end. But what I realized is that I know the language pretty well. I understand nearly everything. But I struggle to find the words when I want to carry on a conversation myself. I need to improve my vocabulary. I need to practice speaking. Teachers say that the best way to do both, without attending a class, is to read and also read out loud. OK. I’ll give it a try. I’m determined.

#1 – This isn’t really a resolution because you can’t really resolve this kind of thing. But anyway, its on the list – Celebrate becoming a Dutch citizen with a big party. I don’t have the approval yet. I haven’t been through the ceremony or have the piece of paper. But I know that it will come through some time in the next six months and deserves to be celebrated. I’m happy to be here. I feel at home here. Me and my Dutchie are a great team. Let’s celebrate!

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