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A 2014 Bucket List for You

January 2, 2014

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Today is the day it really begins. You thought the New Year started yesterday, with that mimosa or the New Year’s Day feast. But no. That was really just the final holiday binge, the last bit of sugar-and-cookies-without-excuses, the last chance to have a party with a Christmas tree present without feeling lame, the last appearance of James Taylor’s Auld Lang Syne.

Today is the real deal. 2014 is upon us. We have to begin making resolutions – and, what is worse – keeping or failing to keep them. We have to admit that we have 12 months to accomplish or not accomplish that book list, that recipe list, that bucket list.

There were moments in 2013 that we were proud of and moments that we are embarrassed about. Both are behind us. We have a clean slate now, a chance to make 2014 better than every other year, a chance to be more generous than ever before, a chance to try all sorts of new things.

I’m excited to see what this year holds. Last year was the best year yet.

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I can truly say that this year, more than any other, I learned to appreciate the incredible gift of family and friends. Through our wedding, Mark’s brother’s wedding, and the D.C. wedding of my cousin that re-ushered my family back together; through camping and dinners and brunches and barbecues with so many dear friends; through our first set of holidays-as-a-couple, through my massive job transition, through one particularly poignant loss and through a lot of other really wonderful joys, I feel as if Mark and I have truly gotten to experience the priceless gifts that family and friendship and hospitality and community can provide.

I learned that being generous, being hospitable, and reaching out never really goes unrewarded.And if there’s one lesson that 2013 taught me, it is the lesson that those friendships, those relationships, are truly worth treasuring.

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But 2014 could be an improvement on 2013 in many ways. In 2013, I read less and accomplished fewer “goal-projects” than I have before. My word of the year was “savor”, and I can honestly say that I learned a lot of lessons in appreciating the moments and the actual rather than just building a life around checklists and accomplishments. But I feel like I’m in a place again where I need some specific goals to work towards, both professionally and personally, in order to truly be at my best.

I cooked and hosted more than I ever have, but I want to try new recipes this year too rather than just settling for my safe backups.We learned a lot about the joy simplicity can bring by moving all of our stuff into a very small space and by backpacking in Italy for two weeks but this year I want to learn to truly eliminate the “life clutter” and thrive on a simplified, organized life.

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I took so many more pictures in 2013 and treasure all of the memories that we captured, but in 2014, I’m excited to start my Project Life album (kudos to my mom’s good Christmas gifting!).

To be honest, I haven’t created my 2014 list(s) yet. That’s today’s project. Maybe you’re in the same boat, unsure about what you want 2014 to hold. So here is a little boost, a starter of sorts, some suggestions for 20 good goals to make as we begin this first month of 2014.

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1. Start a new tradition.

2. Be hospitable. Invite someone outside of your “safe circle” over for lunch or dinner or brunch. Then do it again.

3. Be creative. Dare to finish (or start) that creative project that lies outside of your comfort zone. It won’t be perfect, but you’ll be glad you finished it.

4. Pick three fiction books that you’ve been meaning to read forever. Buy them, put them on your nightstand, and spend 10 minutes a day reading.

5. Pick three non-fiction books that you’ve been meaning to read forever. Buy them, put them on your nightstand, and spend 10 more minutes a day reading.

6. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier.

7. Start every day with a smoothie.

8. Set a photo-taking goal and start taking pictures every day. Or at least every week.

9. Print off 50 pictures and place them around your house. Use clothespins, extra frames, tape, whatever. Put those memories out where you can enjoy them.

10. Clean out your closet; get rid of all of those clothes that you never wore in 2013.

11. Pick a new friend and reach out to them.

12. Write something besides email every week – a poem, a letter, a card, a journal entry.

13. Start that blog or that book or that business. No one ever regretted trying.

14. Start another new tradition.

15. Start managing your money.

16. Pick 3 new recipes that seem really complicated. Print them out or bookmark the page, buy the ingredients, and try them.

17. Pick 3 new basic recipes. Try them enough times to feel confident in your ability to make them and add them to your culinary arsenal.

18. Learn a new cooking technique.

19. Work out for 15 minutes every day, even if you can’t make it to the gym.

20. Be brave. Do something that scares you.

Go ahead. Print off the list. Or use it to make your own. I’d love to hear – what is on your 2014 bucket list?

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