Eric and I don't make New Year's resolutions, exactly. But our friends Kim and Anondo did tell us about a tradition that Kim picked up when she was an exchange student in Italy. On New Year's Eve, you get twelve grapes and with each grape you eat, you make a wish.
We started doing this on New Year's Eve 2004 (Eric, reluctantly so. He typically doesn't like anything that smacks of, oh, I don't know. Spiritualism? Good cheer? But he's come around, and likes looking at the goals now. We're both often amazed by how many we meet). We then post the list on the fridge and reflect on it (or laugh at it, or curse it) over the course of the year. Because it's New Year's eve, we made our list again today, in preparation for the year to come. 12 wishes, 12 months. Here they are:
1. Meet health goals consistently. [This is sort of a cheat-y one. I have a list of health goals I carry around in my wallet--to move every day, only eat when I'm sitting down, not to eat after 8pm, etc. So this is one wish that encompasses a bunch of other wishes].
2. Make a financially responsible decision when we buy a house in Golden, a house that will help us to live a full life.
3. Live frugally and in accordance with what we value.
4. Eric wants to read one book a month for a whole year.
5. Jen wants to publish 2-3 articles.
6. Drink water [this is Eric's wish, but it's also on my list of health goals].
7. Maintain or create connections with friends and family.
8. Have more patience with the girls.
9. Have an adventure.
10. No debt.
11. Express our creative selves [blog? another album for E? who knows?].
The interesting thing we realized when we finished this list was that several of these wishes/goals were on here for the third time running. We have wanted to be out of debt since 2004; we've wanted to think about moving, get ready to move, then move (A decision three years in the making!); we've wanted to keep in touch with friends and family; we've wanted to make healthy decisions; and so on. That might seem strange, might seem that we haven't been meeting these goals. But it could also mean that our values are pretty consistent, and that we're fine-tuning them. Maybe it's some of both.
For example, the debt thing has dogged us for a long time. Mostly, I've thought about this wish in terms of making more money. But it's only been recently that I've realized we also need to spend less. I know, duh. But for some reason, this option didn't seem real to me until the last few months. Now it is, so we'll see where this wish ends up at the end of the year. Hopefully selling this house will help to wipe out some of the base debt we have, and we'll be able to keep our slate clean by living and spending frugally after that. This Christmas was sort of an initial test of that, and we did okay. It was hard seeing so many gifts pass hands and know that we didn't give as much this year as we did last year (though we still managed to spend almost $2000 on travel and gifts. Geesh). Frugality in and of itself might be an adventure.
The other thing these reflections do is remind us of what an incredible life we have--of how much we value our friends, family, and self-expression, and how we continually try to make decisions in line with those values. Christmas was also a reminder of that--the amazing, thoughtful gifts people gave us, the meals and laughter together, the phone calls and cards. Truly awesome stuff.