I’m a sucker for fresh starts, clean slates, and do-overs. So the start of a new year is an irresistible opportunity to do just that: move on from what has been (smell ya’ later, pregnancy) and get excited about what can be (like my kids finally playing together, aka the promised land). A new year is a chance to do things better, live with greater purpose, and begin new traditions. Considering the myriad ways to improve your life is like Pinterest for your soul. Who could resist? Here’s what’s on Priss & Vinegar’s to-do list for 2014:
- Mastering the art of remembering people’s names. I often hear but fail to listen when new introductions are made. Meeting new people seems to happen at an accelerated clip when you have small children. (Have I mentioned that making parent friends is kind of like dating?). Apologizing for drawing a blank because I’m exhausted, well, it’s true but that doesn’t make it any less rude. Remembering a person’s name truly is the simplest and most powerful of social courtesies.
- READ. I’d like to start conversing about literature with the same proficiency that I can presently discuss “Scandal”, San Francisco restaurants, and the comings and goings of every Kardashian sister. (I’d also like to stop recycling completely-unread issues of Foreign Affairs and The Atlantic.)
- Resisting the lowering of my standards. Every bit of advice I’ve read about parenting small children suggests letting stuff go as the key to survival. Yeahhhhh, I’m not going to do that. You let it slide enough times in a row and those trashy, looking-like-a-hobo, living-in-Beirut days aren’t outliers any more; they’re your life. (Yikes.) Weeknight dinners may be of the dreaded thirty-minute variety (America’s Test Kitchen, not Rachel Ray. Please.) but I will continue to insist on making my own salad dressing, salsa, and cookies. If I’m wearing sweatpants, you better believe I’m going to be wearing pearls, too. Defeating the tsunami of children’s toys overtaking my home might prove impossible but I’m still showing up to fight.
- Quitting Diet Coke, already. It is delicious. It is also toxic poison with no redeeming nutritional value. STOP.
- Beginning proper family traditions. My husband and I dream of taking our children on the kind of annual family vacation pictured in “Dan in Real Life”: a rustic, television-free escape that is so corny and loving and wholesome that it hurts your teeth just a little. We might be a few years away from beginning that particular tradition but we do have an intelligent and aware two-and-a-half-year-old daughter that gets it. Whether it’s pancake breakfasts every Sunday or hosting the same family party each year or something as simple as repeating the same endearment to her every night before bed, now is an opportunity to build her life-long memories about our family.
This is an ambitious list, to be sure, but I am in love with the spirit of it. 2014, let’s do this.