Planning has always been a big part of my lifestyle (perhaps even an obsession…) and now that I am retired from paid work, I have discovered that I actually have more goals and projects! But they look very different from my decades of professional and personal goals. A big part of my motivation is the self-imposed pressure of looking at the reality of my age. Despite seeing a younger person in the mirror, at 64, the math is hard to ignore.
Each year, I spend the “hush week” between the winter holidays reflecting, dreaming, and planning. There’s plenty of evidence that shows that new year’s resolutions seldom last. Instead, I focus on intentions, plans, and goals that are achievable. I then create weekly and monthly strategies to work toward my overall goals.
I group my intentions into three categories:
Personal & Health
My body carried the weight of an emotional and stressful year. I lacked energy and motivation and lived with too many aches. I am changing my daily exercise routines. About a month ago, I discovered a wonderful youtube channel called Senior Shape Fitness, and have been trying out her diverse collection of videos. She offers an array of movement routines: cardio, strength building, yoga, dancing, pilates, and barre work which is actually based on basic ballet positions. I have spent the last decade trying to keep up with online instructors who are 30 years younger than me and let me just say, it wasn’t pretty! (Check out my article on healthy aging for muscles and bones).
I continue my daily yoga practice with Yoga with Adrienne. For me, the benefits of a daily yoga practice include not only stretching and strength building but remembering to breathe deeply. We are a culture of shallow breathers! Each January, Adrienne does a 30 Day Yoga Journey which is an excellent way to develop a daily practice. And she is wise enough to start on January 2nd!
A friend and I are taking on the 52 Hike Challenge for 2023 starting the first week of the year. The goal is to hike one day a week and this commitment also embraces my desire to spend more time outdoors in the PNW.
I have been gradually reducing the amount of meat I eat with the goal of an 80% vegetarian diet. I am also changing how I eat: my midday meal will be my largest, bookended by much lighter breakfasts and dinners. I will write more about my decision to make these changes but it comes down to how I feel after a meal.
My travel plans are focused on exploring more of the PNW via camping and hiking. We hope to make it down to the desert/mountains of SE Oregon (Steens Mountain, Alvord Desert, the infamous Malheur Refuge) for a week. This is “wide open spaces” country lacking people and gas stations. We both love the east side of the PNW.
I am inspired to do at least one backpacking trip – perhaps to Indian Heaven Wilderness in the fall. At least one trip to Arizona to deal with family stuff and perhaps a hike in the Superstitions. My tentative bucket list trip for my December 65th celebration: NYC with Hamilton tickets, museums, FOOD!, and all of the Christmas magic of the city.
Learning & Creativity
I love the processes of learning and utilizing new information. This past year, I considered closing my website. My subscriber list has shrunk and I spend little time promoting the site on social media. As you know, I don’t sell you anything but I do spend money to keep it going. I view it as a form of community service and hope that it helps readers to become more empowered, building resilience and sustainability into their lives. My hope is that you see enough value in my website to want to share it with friends and family who might welcome the information.
I should be doing lots of social media marketing, and SEO work, and investing more time in making my website prettier and easy to access. Honestly, I simply don’t have the interest or the energy to do all those things. But I realized this past month that I enjoy planning, researching, and writing articles for my site. So the website and newsletters will continue for at least another year. (Anyone out there who wants to help with my WordPress website in exchange for much gratitude, do contact me!)
About a decade ago, I told a friend that one of my fears was that I wouldn’t be able to read all the books I wanted to. She laughed thinking I was being dramatic. Reading is a passion of mine but I have other passions that compete for my attention. Enter audiobooks! They have changed my reading habits tremendously. Audiobooks have opened the world of fiction to me and I listen to them while gardening, on my daily walks, in the car, and occasionally while knitting or working in my herb room. As an avid reader, I use the Goodreads Annual Book Challenge to motivate and inspire my reading. My 2022 goal was 75 books; didn’t quite make it but 70 diverse books kept my brain active and introduced so many perspectives of the world. My 2023 goal is set again at 75.
For 2023, I have set a goal to block out two afternoons each week to explore my
passion interest in fiber art. I can’t call it a passion at this point as it has almost always taken a back seat to everything else. I plan to make it part of my routine this year.
This past week, I inventoried my yarn stash (strict no buy budget now in effect!) and then created my 2023 knitting project planner. I am planning some natural dye sessions this summer for some of my stashed yarn. And I am returning to my long-time interest in basket weaving; I purchased kits for two beautiful and challenging baskets.
Food & Herbal Medicine Production
My 4000 sq. ft. food and herb garden is my biggest annual goal/project and it becomes a 3/4 time job from June – October. My food production has expanded beyond fresh eating to food preservation for the winter months. My 2023 goals include more canning (hmm, I say that every year) and fermentation and less freezing, as I live in an area prone to regular power outages.
New raised beds and pathways are my most ambitious garden goals. Expect multiple posts on what I am doing differently.
Next on the garden goal list: New medicinal herb garden design and implementation. As part of my firewise preparation, I am moving most of my herbs away from my house to my cultivated hedgerow (See my evolving article on hedgerows).
In addition to writing articles for this site, I am coordinating a community seed library that I developed last year. Given my limited success last season I suspect this project will be my biggest challenge! You will hear more about the benefits and importance of community seed libraries.
An Integrated Life
What I like most about these three categories is the integration and multiple functions of my plans and goals: My garden work is tied to the other two categories, providing healthy exercise and food and influencing my reading and writing. The plants I grow will nurture and heal me and dye my yarn. Many of the books on my 2023 list will help me to become a better grower, herbalist, permaculturist, and fiber artist.
I think humans crave an integrated life.
I am looking forward to 2023!
Feel free to share your goals and intentions for 2023. I would love to hear about them!
In nature, plants and animals adapt to evolve. We will have to do the same. I believe developing a homesteading mindset, regardless of where you live, is the way forward.
You don’t need acres of land to practice homestead thinking; the homesteading mindset is about abundance, purpose, and ethical living. Permaculture’s ethics, principles, and strategies are changing the lifestyles and lives of millions of people on this planet.
Through this website, it’s my desire to offer positive ideas, strategies, and actions to empower you so that you can live a life of resilience.
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