On New Year’s Resolutions and sourdough discard

Join me as I open a discussion about New Year’s Resolutions, and tell you what I’m doing this year instead of making them. And a quick teaser about sourdough discard.

wooded path with "2024" in the distance

I have a question for you, gentle reader. To wit.

What are your thoughts about New Year’s Resolutions?

Do you, in fact, look forward to the chance every year to think deeply about the things that you want to do better in the new year? Do you, for example, resolve to:

  1. Read more books.
  2. Lose 20 pounds, dang it. Or 10. Or 40.
  3. Start running again.
  4. Spend more time with your friends.
  5. etc.?

Or are you in the camp that just hopes to make it through another year, your body and sanity intact? Is your daily life challenging enough without adding some new goals into the mix?

There is no wrong answer here. I have great compassion for anybody trying to make sense of this year to come. Last year, 2023, was hard enough to figure out.

Until this year, I belonged to the former group, and would think about my resolutions for weeks before the end of the year. I like a clean slate. I would say good-bye to the old year, and ring in the new year by sitting down with my planner and my favorite pen for an hour or two. I’d excitedly document what I planned to do better in the coming year.

I don’t know if it’s because I haven’t followed through very well in the past, or if I just am too busy and distracted to really put the time in this year, but I didn’t make New Year’s resolutions this year.

It felt a little strange. I didn’t pick a special word for 2024, either. (Maybe “survival” would be a good one, joking/not joking).

I’m doing something different that I’m excited about, though. Instead of making resolutions, I’ve jotted down five things that I want to learn this year. And so I’m going to take these things one at a time, and dig in to learn more about them, doggedly, intentionally, fervently. It may be for only 15 minutes per day, mind you, because that’s about what I’ve got.

The older I get, the more important it is, I think, for me to keep pushing, keep learning, keep looking for new learning adventures in my life.

I read this the other day, and I wish I could remember who wrote it:

Boy, that hit me hard–sitting, as I was, cozy in bed, wrapped up in blankets and nursing a bad, post-Christmas-vacation cold. Aging is the aggressive pursuit of comfort. It’s true that the most healthy, interesting old people I know are the ones that are still getting up in the morning and doing things. Reading books. Going places! Engaging in new projects. Making things. Talking to people.

Hmm, does this fly right into the face of the recently-popular Hygge movement?

  1. a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).
    “why not follow the Danish example and bring more hygge into your daily life?”

So, gentle reader, what do you think? Can I embrace hygge–which, after all, I want to–and still be a vigorous old lady who is not aging too quickly because of her “aggressive pursuit of comfort”? Food for thought.

I have a challenge for you, especially if you are of a certain *cough* age, like me. (Not old enough for the nursing home yet, but old enough to get the VIP discount at the burger joint. “VIP discount.” ha!) That challenge is to make a list of a few things that you want to learn this year, and then make the time to learn them.

If that’s not your cup of tea, and you’ve already made your New Year’s Resolutions, then–good on you! But if you like my idea of developing skills for a couple months each in little bits and pieces of time every day, I’d like to invite you to tag along with me as I work on five skills that I know just a little bit about right now.

More than likely, my blog posts will be heavy with what I’m learning.

Here are the five skills I’m diving into, for about two and a half months each in 2024:

  1. Making sourdough bread, and using sourdough discard in recipes on a daily basis.
  2. Fermenting vegetables and having some fermented foods on our plates every day.
  3. During the summer months, I want to spend more time working with my bees, and I plan to read an actual book on beekeeping. (I’ve been winging it so far–no pun intended!) (I may even go crazy and take a course!)
  4. I want to learn more about medicinal herbs and how to preserve them in oxymels, tinctures, etc. (Heck, I already grow many of them!)
  5. When the snow starts to fall in the late autumn and the gardens are put to bed, and I start to look for handwork to do in the evenings, I plan to learn how to knit socks. Seems like a practical pursuit!

If you think you’re too busy for something this silly, here’s a thought:

If you do something for fifteen minutes per day, and do it for 365 days straight, it will add up to over 11 8-hour work days.

I was a little speechless when I did that little bit of math. In other words, you can accomplish a great deal in 15 minutes per day, if you keep at it every day.

So what about it? What about you? What are your thoughts, your hopes, your dreams and your challenges in this new year? I would love to read your comments below, or if you want to send me an email, I answer every one!

Take care, my friend. Hug your babies tight, and cling to Jesus like your life depends on it. Keep your eyes open wide. This year–2024–ought to be an interesting one.



p.s. My next post will be a fantastic recipe I came up with recently, using sourdough discard in pancakes. Woohoo, it’s so great!