I’m a pretty obsessive list maker and goal setter, but in 2017 I tried to chill out a bit. It was a big year for me, starting with TDF and moving back to Melbourne after almost five years of living in Jordan and Japan. I wanted to settle in, invest my time in the new role, as well as reconnect with family and friends, and just see how things went – maybe all that ‘be in the present’ mindfulness banter had rubbed off! On second thought, it probably hasn’t – as the wonderful School of Life ‘Philosophy Salon: Past, Present, Future’ event recently at NGV Triennial made clear.
I’m also quite a critical thinker/evaluator so I feel that there’s lots for me to learn and improve on in 2018. To be honest, I’ve got 30+ goals for the year ahead (jotted in the front of a new journal)! But, being conscious of my tendency to go over word limits (sorry Lucy!), below are my three major 2018 resolutions…
Recycle More and Consume Less
I grew up on a small farm in Western Victoria and I have vivid summer memories of walking through crisp paddocks as gigantic black crickets scurried into networks of drought cracks, on my way to collect hay from a precariously shrinking stack.
Later, living and working in Jordan (one of the driest countries on Earth) for several years gave me further first-hand insight into our current reliance on productive seasons, especially among people who had little financial ability to ‘weather the bad years’. But it hasn’t been until more recently – reading the brilliant articles of George Monbiot, watching Al Gore’s latest ‘An Inconvenient Sequel’, as well as joining friends involved in local not-for-profit Climates for seminars and events – that I have started to really comprehend the increasingly dire need to combat climate change.
I don’t feel like it’s enough to just say, ‘I care’, without changing my own behaviour. So in 2018, I want to be sure that I always go the extra mile to reduce my impact. This will involve things like recycling carefully (find a handy guide for Melbourne here); reducing my use of plastics with fabric bags, reusable cups (sans straws!), and wax wraps; riding my bike, taking public transport or carpooling; opting for sustainable vegetarian options over meat (you’ll understand eventually Dad!); cooking less often, and always multi-serving; using lights/appliances/devices economically; buying secondhand; investigating my superannuation; and limiting air travel (as well as carbon offsetting).
It might sound cliché (hmmm divisive social construct alert!), but at this point, I feel like there’s something empowering about acting on your beliefs, and inching towards something colossal.
Save for a House
In 2017 I was exposed to so many incredible, comfortable and sustainable homes through work, and for the first time, it occurred to me that maybe I’d like to start working towards getting a little apartment (or floating home) too.
So late last year I jumped on the Barefoot Investor bandwagon; I recommend the audiobook read by author Scott Pape himself – hearing his enthusiasm and encouragement is an extra boost! Just this month, I’ve started using my trusty ‘Everyday Expenses’ and ‘Splurge’ bank cards, plus I have also been making the most of the Victorian Government’s ‘First Home Super Saver‘ salary-sacrifice initiative.
While the local property market might seem pretty inaccessible for many young people, even in this short time I’ve seen my savings steadily climb, and it’s a surprising buzz! 2018 will be a frugal one: packed lunches daily, riding my bike more (✓ ✓), cooking for friends at home, or just getting a drink when out, and potentially moving back in with my Mum in Geelong (after a decade out of home… eek!), to amp things up/secure a 20%+ deposit sooner rather than later.
But none of these ‘sacrifices’ are forever, and I’m actually liking how even the initial steps have re-wired my brain to be a little more long-term-gains oriented!
Keep a Journal
Like most New Year’s Resolution-ers I revel in making the plan – my eyes widening at the ‘promise’ and the possibility. But this is often short-lived as I can find it hard to stick to my ambitious goals, which is where I’m hoping journaling will come to the rescue!
I spend the bulk of my day writing emails and articles, and I am also working on a novel in my free time. For these reasons (and other not-a-morning-person excuses), I’ve never been able to motivate myself to write in a diary.
I had heard good things about the Morning Pages approach from several inspiring role models, so that’s what I’ve been working hard to do these past 28 days (once or twice my entries have been scribbled down on the train rides to work, though!). The added bonus, after years of keyboard-induced illegibility, my hand-written notes are beginning to again resemble something more like English, and may even get close to this if I keep penning away!