1. Reevaluate feminine hygiene products
I don’t want to get too graphic but tampons just aren’t covering all my bases these days. There have been mornings when I wake up and it’s like that horse head scene from The Godfather in my bed. So maybe 2019 is the year I reconsider pads?
2. Ignore kitchen gadget crazes
Take the Vitamix™️: Is it a blender? A food processor? A microwave? I don’t know. People have tried to explain it to me: how you can make a smoothie in it but also a soup. I can already do both of those things without one. And the Instapot™️: “But Jess, it can brown things—and you can make beans in like 30 minutes!” But listen, I can already brown things and never in my entire life have I thought: If only I had soaked some beans last night. Do you know why? Because I am always thinking about food so if I was thinking about beans I would’ve soaked the beans in time to realize my bean vision the next day—or I’d just open up a couple of cans of beans. Also, I really like spending time in the kitchen, just stirring stuff, maybe browning stuff. The less buttons the better. I know how controversial this is.
3. Carry over resolutions from 2018 that didn’t get done
This includes: go to the dentist, see a financial advisor, find a good pair of black socks, make more ravioli, and don’t get blue in August. I know many people suffer some anxiety and depression in the winter. For at least the last three years in a row, it’s been the eighth month of the year for me. I have no idea why. But in 2019, I’m going to try not to let the cloud sneak up on me. I will also try to better understand where the cloud comes from in the first place.
4. Read 52 books
FYI that’s a book a week. I tried in 2018, and came in one book shy of the goal. I suppose I could’ve stayed in on Dec. 31 to squeeze in that last read before midnight but I’d already admitted defeat. I won’t in 2019. By the by, my favourite books that I read last year are:
Lincoln in the Bardo, George Saunders
The Odyssey, Homer (new translation by Emily Wilson)
The Human Stain, Philip Roth
The Lottery and Other Short Stories, Shirley Jackson
Off to the Side, Jim Harrison
Calypso, David Sedaris
There There, Tommy Orange
If Beale Street Could Talk, James Baldwin
O Pioneers!, Willa Cather
5. Continue to support Simon’s patronage of the Toronto Public Library
I kept track of how many movies I watched in 2018. The final tally was 121. This is mostly because Simon, my partner, takes out movies from the Toronto Public Library at an alarming rate. He reads a reference to a film that meant a great deal to a favourite writer or filmmaker of his, or he becomes obsessive about a director and before I know it we are watching all of Robert Altman’s movies one week and Claire Denis’ the next. Believe, me, there are nights when I do not want to do this. I want to watch, OMG, a new release! Or something I’ve seen before. Sometimes I get my way, which explains why Don’t Mess With the Zohan (WTF?!?!) is sandwiched on the list between Preston Sturges’ Miracle on Morgan Creek and Louis Malle’s Vanya on 42nd Street. Although I’ve started many of these movies Simon brings home kicking and screaming, by the time we’ve finished them, I’m thanking him. And it’s free! Here are some of the films we watched this year that left a lasting impression:
Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
The Awful Truth (Leo McCarey, 1937)
Make Way for Tomorrow (Leo McCarey, 1937)
White Material (Claire Denis, 2009)
Cache (Michael Haneke, 2005)
The Earrings of Madame De… (Max Ophuls, 1953)
Now Voyager (Irving Rapper, 1942)
Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939)
Desert Hearts (Donna Deitch, 1985)
A Bill of Divorcement (George Cukor, 1932)
Rebecca (Alfred Hitchcock, 1940)
Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008)
And special shout out to Remains of the Day (James Ivory, 1993) and The 400 Blows (Francois Truffaut, 1959), both of which I’ve seen before but this year’s viewings were the best yet.
6. See more movies in the theatre
Out of the 121 movies I watched, only eight were in an actual theatre. Listen, I love my couch and have a very nice “home theatre” set up, but this is bull crap.
7. Step it up
I do not have a Fitbit. I also do not want one. I will admit, however, that tracking my steps is a good thing, especially in the winter months when I’m not riding my bike. It is also highly addictive (if you haven’t read David Sedaris’ essay on this, here you go.) As luck would have it, I recently discovered my phone has a step-tracking app! (It’s that white square with a pink heart in the middle on your iPhone that I’m certain you already knew about and you are shaking your head at me.) It even tracks retroactive steps! (Which I bet you also knew!) For example, one day in Athens I walked 22,577 steps. And on Christmas Day, I walked 580. Because I will never resolve to join a gym, I’m going to set a daily goal of at least 12,000 steps.
8. Plan more weekend getaways
We drove to Buffalo one weekend in June this year and let me tell you, it felt like we were away for a week. While I’m grateful for vacation days, I don’t have a lot of them. So this year, I want to do more mini-breaks. Maybe rent a little Airbnb in the country, make a road trip to Detroit, or why not visit Quebec City for a long weekend? I can. And I will.
9. Share imperfect photos (see above)
I work with twenty-somethings who can edit the sh*t out of photos with just a few clicks on their phones. They can remove the lines on my neck, synch in my waist, and give me bigger cans. But they aren’t at work today. No matter because my cans are big enough. Anyway, wishing you all the very best in 2019.