Friday, December 28, 2012

Unsolicited advice for New Year's Eve resolutions

New Year's Day is coming up, and with it, the fantasy of resolutions kept.

Only wear shoes when you absolutely have to. 
Science teachers need to wear them during lab, but unless it's snowing and a bunch below zero, my toes are collecting photons.

It also cuts way down on foot issues, and if you teach, your dawgs matter almost as much as your mouth.
My foot and a cabbagehead jelly--and no, haven't tried eating that (yet).

Eat fresh food, as much as possible, but don't make a fetish out of it. 
You can do it for health and a whole lot of other extraneous reasons, but the best reason to do it is because fresh food tastes good, and we only have so many meals in a lifetime.

If nothing else, grow some basil in a pie plate on a southern windowsill. Even if you never eat them, basil will cheer you up--they never stop yakking!
Just plucked, for tonight's dinner with pesto from last summer's basil.

Walk a couple of purposeless miles every day.
No stopwatch, no GPS, no heart rate monitor, no walking shoes, no laps. Just you and the world. If you don't know where to go, you're already halfway there!

Avoid ceilings.
Get outside as much as possible, whenever possible. No telling what you'll see.

Today I got to hold an old live horseshoe crab, and found myself within a couple of feet of two ruddy turnstones. We stumbled upon a hobbled vulture nibbling on a dead black-backed gull. I considered plucking a few oysters off the rocks, but given the recent rainfall, thought better of it. None of this is possible indoors.

Chase what gives you joy for hours a day.
For me that means strumming a stringed instrument (hardly matters which), singing, and gardening. For you, it might be skating, baking, or playing hop scotch.
The universe existed for billions of years before you came to be, and it will last billions more long after you're dead.

If I teach anything at all in biology, I hope it is this much.
You only have a lifetime to live your life.


Jenny said...

I'm not very good at most of these, for a variety of reasons. Oddly enough, I do try to do better by my kids than I do for myself. My girls get outside and go all the time because they want to and we encourage it. They love to hit the farmers market to pick food for the week. They're getting some of this.

As to the stringed instruments, you've got to come down and let's play. Our living room mostly consists of a baby grand piano and a harp. We have a lot of fun there.

Unknown said...

Already into gardening and being outside, but you have me on the wandering around. Might just have to take that up.

doyle said...

Dear Jenny,

Most of us, including me, are not, but at least we know what matters--it shows when we treat our children to better lives than we live ourselves. Our adult culture can be unforgiving.

Never played a harp! Wonder if anything is scored for harp/ukelele duets?

Dear John,

I don't wander nearly enough--I should toss this machine out at the stroke of midnight on New Year's.

Lee said...

Have to say I probably do what you listed already, but need to do more. Especially the one about avoiding ceilings. I used to go up in the woods behind my house every single day, sometimes two or three times a day. For no particular reason other to see what was happening up there. Somewhere along the way between then and now, I stopped. Time to get going again. And now with snow on the ground, how much more fun to be finding all the tracks that will be there!
Time to get back to spending hours a day doing the things that I enjoy. Thanks for the reminder!

doyle said...

Dear Lee,

As I confessed to John above, I need to do the same thing more, if nothing else than because it makes me happy.

Not sure why I stop doing these things--I get bogged in the silly business of trivial acts.

So for 2013, my time under the sky.

Kelly Love said...

Time without ceilings. Check.

doyle said...

Dear Kelly,

"Time without ceilings"--wish I wrote that, and plan to use it a bit. What a great metaphor!

(And I read, but did not comment on, your American teacher piece. Powerful stuff....)