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18 things for 2018

Happy New Year everyone! I hope you’ve had a good break.

Thank you for coming back and joining me again here on Wonky Peach, I really appreciate you taking the time. There’s a lot of shit to get sorted this year, so let’s get our boots on and start wading through some of this confusion.

I listen to a podcast called ‘Happier with Gretchen Rubin’. Gretchen specialises in productivity, habit forming and ways to promote happiness in your life. Sounds awful right? I do not enjoy self-help bunkum but I do really enjoy these podcasts. They are not your usual vague waffle and instead offer down to earth practical ideas for dealing with every day problems- how to organise your to-do list, how to plan ahead, how to turn down unwanted gifts, how to say no to family. That sort of thing. Some of the ideas may initially sound like self-help snake oil but once you get past your absolutely-warranted-suspicion they are usually plain old good advice, delivered by Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth Craft with sincerity and humour.

In a recent episode, Gretchen talks about making a list of 18 things for 2018. She describes this list as positive New Year’s resolutions, instead of swearing to cut things out in the coming year, you make a list of tasks, aims, activities you would like to complete in 2018. For example, one listener mentions going out for breakfast with her husband during the week, Gretchen says she wants to once and for all sort out all of the tote bags she keeps in her hallway, her sister Elizabeth says that she wants to have at least one barbecue with friends.

I never do NY resolutions but I do like lists and I feel like my life needs some serious decisions this year otherwise I risk floating through 2018 without direction. So I’ve compromised. Here are 9 things that I would like to do in 2018 and 9 things I think someone else should take care of in 2018, I don’t care who…just someone get these sorted.

1- Do one session of yoga at home each week. I don’t even want to say ‘one hour’ of yoga in case that seems like too much pressure (stupid stubborn brain), I just want to do some. And I’m aware that this must be one of the most common New Year’s resolutions EVER, I’m revelling in my averageness (more on that idea on Wednesday). Regardless, I’m going to use the highly recommended and popular Yoga with Adriene, and start slow with 25 minute routines. I really like doing yoga first thing in the morning, so I’ll try her ‘Morning Routines’ playlist and see how it goes from there. Eventually, I hope I can get into the habit of doing these routines a couple of times a week.

2- Visit Paris and Fontainebleau (where I grew up) with Andy. Showing someone you care about your childhood home is a particularly nice kind of travel and I’m really excited to share a lot of my favourite places with Andy.

3- Learn how to make vegan croissants and then MASTER how to make vegan croissants. I don’t care how many I have to make, I want to be SO GOOD at this that people say…’OH MY GOD! DID YOU MAKE THESE??’ when they try one. I’ve become obsessed with how much I miss croissants since I went from being vegetarian to being vegan and after some excellent vegan croissants in Barcelona, I am determined to make my own. I’m going to use Berenice Leconte’s recipe, she is an amazing French vegan pastry chef. I can’t wait to visit her boulangerie in Paris when Andy and I go (see 2!). Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen also has a similar recipe and walks you through each step in her video, so I will use that as a reference as well.

4-Try making Kombucha. Unless you are American, you may well be saying ‘What the hell is KOM-BOO-CHA??’ It’s a fizzy drink made from fermented tea originating from China and Japan. Sounds disgusting, tastes delicious. It is everywhere, in a whole variety of flavours, in America and I bought it whenever I could despite the $3.50 price tag. For me, it was the perfect combination of sharp, tasty and refreshing. Plus it fizzes. I can’t afford to buy it here in France where it is both hard to find and eye-wateringly expensive, so I’m going to make my own.

5- Wear something other than jeans every day. I actually feel like I am entirely done with jeans, I don’t enjoy wearing them anymore- they are either too loose or too tight, they never fit properly- and I don’t find them flattering- for the same reasons- but until I can afford to replace them with a few pairs of nicely cut trousers, I’m going to have to keep them in rotation. As soon as I do though, goodbye jeans. We’ve become too co-dependent, it’s time to remember that there are other choices to keep legs warm.

6- Think about how my body works rather than how it looks. This is part of a much bigger, much more complicated problem, which I will write about soon, but for now, I want to stop spending a bewildering amount of time every day worrying about how my thighs looks. My body works, that is amazing and enough.

7- Find a solution for my photos. I have been fortunate and unfortunate enough to have been alive through printed photos and digital photos. I love photos- I have a terrible memory, so photos help me to remember in a very important way. But I don’t know how to manage either type anymore. I have hundreds of printed photos just higgledy piggledy in a plastic box under our bed and I have over 4000 photos on my phone. What better solutions can I find for storing, preserving and enjoying all of these images?? Time for some research. Any suggestions?

8- Speak up! I am terrible at this. I don’t say what I want. I used to think that because I often gave my opinion that I was saying what I wanted, that I knew what I wanted. The longer that I have been in a good relationship however, the more I’ve realised that I argue perspectives but when it comes to what I really believe and what I want, I always defer to other people. This can range from what I want to eat for dinner to how I want to live. I’m scared that expressing my opinion will make me unlikable but not expressing what I want has led to more arguments, more confusion, more unhappiness. Time to be honest and speak up.

9- I will decide what I want to work on. I have struggled my whole adult life with my profession. I have always wanted to really dig into a career but I’ve never found one that felt right for my skills and that I believed in and respected. I have tried many different jobs, I know now what I like and dislike, what suits me and what I am capable of- time to decide where I go to work.

10- American vegan food brands need to start expanding to Europe. I’m looking at you Gardein. This has obvious selfish undercurrents but I do also think it would benefit everyone. Vegan meat and cheese substitutes are better for the environment and for our health, with more of the excellent American versions available more people might be convinced to try veganism, at least a few days a week. If you’re looking for a startup idea- get into importing vegan products. I will help.

11- Cheaper cinema tickets. I bet you are just like me- you love going to the cinema, but you rarely go because of the cost. Why have no cinemas applied the Easyjet or Netflix economic models yet? Make tickets cheaper or provide more reasonably priced membership schemes and we would go more often, thereby bolstering their profits and sustaining the movie industry. What am I missing here? Why is this not already a thing?

12- Should men start wearing skirts? We wear trousers and shorts, when are they going to try wearing skirts? I think 2018 should be the year. I understand if they don’t want to venture into tights and winter skirts but in the summer, they’re a smart option. If you’re reaction to this is, ‘Why would they bother?’…then why do women still wear skirts?

13- Could Elon Musk take some time out of his very busy innovating schedule to fix wireless charging for laptops? I’m so sick of untangling cables, my charger dropping of my desk, the whole kit and caboodle disappearing somewhere in the apartment. There has to be a better way.

14- Whilst we’re asking favours of Mr Musk (well his name is weird when you say it that way) could we also ask him to send all high heels into space. Every. Last. Pair. I’m going to get some resistance here from a lot of you but I’m afraid I don’t care. Legs may look better in them and they do come in lots of beautiful shapes and colours but they are painful, crippling, impractical, dangerous and immobilising.

15- Is there a researcher out there who can tell us if salt is bad for us or not? I love putting salt in my cooking but always feel guilty. A video by Today I Found Out makes a good case that salt doesn’t actually have very much effect on our bodies, which made me very happy. However, given how much nutritionists and doctors seem to change their minds about food items, I’m still cautious. Could someone put me out of my misery please? And as a corollary, could we find a way to minimise clickbait articles about health and diet? They are dangerously confusing.

16- We need affordable blenders with less nooks and crannies. Can someone- Joseph Joseph I’m looking at you-please invent a blender that is somehow entirely smooth so that none of the freshly blended goop gets into the ridges. We’re spending precious hours and energy and swearing on scraping out stray sauce with a spatula.

17- More women need to propose more often. Enough of waiting for men to ask, no more thinking that it looks desperate or pushy. If you want to ask and you’ve really thought it through, then ask. Once that starts to happen more often then maybe we can talk about whether we should privatise marriage.

18- Someone needs to create and launch a new social media platform focused on conversation rather than statements. A combination of Whatsapp, Slack and Reddit maybe- where we can have conversations with groups of friends and with strangers. There could be topic forums, personal chats, and a news feed. There could even be a Flickr type section where we share photos, if desired. This wouldn’t solve all the problems and it would probably create new ones but I know that I would be interested in an online space that encourages conversation rather than individual declarations and passive absorption of information.

Amazing top photo by Jason Fenmore, follow him on Instagram for more. 

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  • Elain

    I love the idea of writing a list. I think that i might just do it myself x

    • Emma J

      I really enjoyed it because now it gives me lots of things to look forward to this year, and hopefully, lots of croissants to eat… : )

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