The Art of Exploration · a diary of day trips, natural places, and miscellaneous adventures

Resolution Distillation

Saturday, January 1st, 2005 in Illinois
Resolution Distillation

I’ve never been enthusiastic about writing New Year’s resolutions so we’ll see how this goes. Let me say at the start that I’m not going to be all militant about writing them, nor a stickler about fullfilling them. I’ll just jot down a few resolutions and see how it goes. I’ll revisit them from time to time—to keep them brewing in the back of my mind.

You see, I’m not all that interested in scheduling my life. My work responsibilities impose enough task-oriented, time-conscious structure on my life. I prefer my personal time to be free from the confines of thinking in terms of days and months and years. It all flows together doesn’t it? Shouldn’t it? And isn’t the present all there is anyway?

So to come up with a list of pliable resolutions that I could work with, I devised a plan. The first step was to write rigid resolutions that begged to be broken: go for a ninety-minute walk after work each evening and cook all my own meals, Sunday through Friday. After listing these impossible goals, I then contemplatated their source, their headwaters. For instance, one resolution was to improve my skills as a science writer and essayist. After diluting this daunting goal and filtering its essence, the resolution became simply: write more.

I then took my remaining aspirations and imagined putting them in a pot of hot water, boiling them up, catching the steam on a chilly surface, and collecting the condensation as it dripped down. The list below are the distillates—the refined resolution droplets—I recovered. An even dozen. Pure and simple.

  • Get outside and enjoy nature
  • Go with the flow
  • Write more
  • Read more
  • Paint with watercolors and oils
  • Swim, bike, run
  • Learn to cook
  • Eat nutritious food (see previous resolution)
  • Listen to good music
  • Watch insightful documentaries
  • Save some money
  • Declutter
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Assortment

Kettle Moraine State Forest
Kettle Moraine State Forest
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