goals and plans for 2019 — do I have any?

This week’s Food for Thought Friday questions are about goals and plans for 2019.

I’ve never been one for planning very far ahead or making new year’s resolutions or anything. The best time to start something new is now, whatever day of the year that happens to be. I feel the same way about personal growth and life generally. I’m not one for doing things the way they’ve always been done just because they’ve always been done that way; on the contrary, looking for ways to improve is part of my worldview.

That’s not to say that I never plan anything, but while I was dealing with depression (and fatigue) I learned, like Kilted Wookie, not to plan very far in advance. There were too many times when I decided that I’d do whatever thing in a day or two, and then the day came and I lacked the resources I needed to do the thing. Cancelling my own plans was much more disappointing than not making them in the first place.

That’s much less of an issue now, though I still have my natural tendency not to set goals. Even so, I do have some ideas that more or less fit into this category.

I’m planning a trip to see Jaime in April. It will have been over a year since we saw each other last. Too long, but he lives too far away.

My most important and most immediate goal is to take good care of myself while Wolf is away, and the biggest element of that is getting better at cooking. Wolf just likes to take care of me and so he ordinarily does all the grocery shopping, cooking, and dish-washing. I was never a fan of cooking and never developed those skills to where I’d like them to be. When he was away doing his degree, I kept myself fed, but I made big batches of things that took too long to prepare and then got sick of the interminable leftovers.

My specific goal is to develop the skills to reliably throw a decent fresh meal together with a minimum of effort. I foresee a routine of planning supper while eating breakfast so I can go on a supply run at lunch. This is complicated by my dietary needs which have only gotten more complex.

I’m also trying to improve a few health issues. I hope to learn to control my IBS symptoms better through diet, hence the FODMAP diet I’m on now (which will be wrapping up soonish). If that also helps improve a couple of other health issues, as seems possible, it will be a happy bonus.

Another goal is to reduce the amount of stuff in the house. This is a big project, which I first identified years ago, after our last move. (It becomes so obvious, when you have to carry and cart every one of your possessions, how much stuff you actually own.) It’s the detritus of years, a physical collection of deferred decisions. I do get the occasional wave of anxiety about this massive task, but I’ve also been selling stuff online so I remind myself that it’s a work in progress and I just have to keep chipping away. If I’m in a hurry, there are places and ways to just give it away. What slows me down is a sustainability issue: I can’t in good conscience just pitch a bunch of stuff in the garbage, and I struggle with being decisive enough to just get shit done.

This project is more important now that Wolf has this new job, since there is a very good chance that we’ll need to move to a different city this summer. If I have to move, I’d prefer to go where he is now though I’d be happier not to, due to sheer laziness. But chances are this time next year I’ll be in a different city.

As for plans for change, I’m working on getting to know myself better, specifically my needs and wants. A related issue is trying to overcome my low libido. These are the current facets of my perpetual project of seeking contentment, enjoyment, satisfaction, well-being. In a word, happiness.

None of these are really goals for 2019 (except for the obviously time-sensitive ones) as I just don’t think that way, but now is as good a time as any other to talk about plans.

cracking my personal dress code

This week’s Food for Thought Friday questions are about everyday clothing.

Are there specific things I always tend to wear? Yes. My winter style uniform is leggings, and a cashmere sweater over a long-sleeved T, and I’m happy to wear basically the same thing almost every day. Why? You might want to get comfortable while I explain.

For a long time I had the vague sense (that would occasionally percolate through to my conscious awareness) that my clothes didn’t really reflect me – almost like I was wearing someone else’s clothes that happened to fit me – but I had no idea what would be more me, so I just continued to wear what I had.*

Then a number of years ago, I was trying to do more sewing and I hoped to start making my own clothes and if I was going to put that much effort into my wardrobe, I thought it wise to be more deliberate with my style so as not to waste my time, enthusiasm, materials and money. I’d found a good style website and started my research.

The first thing I analysed was my colouring. Since this has to do with skin colour (and to a lesser extent hair and eye colour), it’s very objective, and I worked through the resources and reached a conclusion fairly quickly. (My favourite range of colours to wear is deep red, burgundy, and reddish berry tones. In my wardrobe, burgundy is a basic.)

Next up was body shape. This was a little more challenging because I didn’t obviously match any single category. I had a bit of this and a bit of that, and sometimes the advice for the two categories was contradictory. With a bit of trial and error, however, I was able to reach some conclusions about garment types that were likely to work and those that weren’t. Between colour and shape, I was now able to filter out 90% or more of the clothes in any given store, and home in on the most promising stuff. It was a good start.

The last area for analysis was personal style, which is based on one’s personality – think classic, boho, sporty, dramatic/creative, etc. I had a lot of trouble with this because I didn’t really know what I liked and none of the standard styles spoke to me. I needed to get to know myself better. And though it took a while, I eventually got there.

What did I learn? First, comfort is really important to me; I’m sensitive to small irritations and I’ll be miserable if my clothes bind or pinch. (Binding and pinching is only OK if my partner does it, with consent ;)) So I now choose a lot of knits and other fabrics with at least a little stretch; the t-shirts, sweaters and leggings all meet this criterion. And cashmere is warm and cuddly.

I generally prefer subtlety and blending in, but that doesn’t mean that I aim to look like everyone else, and I don’t give two shits about trends. I’ve found I like ease, simplicity and practicality: clean lines, simple design, solids rather than prints, minimal or no jewelry, generally no makeup, and I rely on a good haircut because I don’t enjoy fussing over my hair. I don’t mind wearing basically the same thing over and over, which means uniform dressing work well for me.

I’m not afraid of revealing my shape, which is unmistakably female, but I don’t like most clothing details that are coded as “feminine”, such as lace or eyelet, tulle, frills and ruffles, bows, florals, pink (any shade), pastels and blush tones, most skirts, Peter Pan collars, and the list goes on. Most of these tend to be fussy, frivolous, impractical and/or uncomfortable. The ease, simplicity, practicality and comfort that I favour happen to be coded as “masculine”. I am very not femme.

What about under my clothes? My day-to-day underwear comprises a soft bra, and panties with a bit of coverage (underwire bras and thongs for special occasions only). Underwear needs to be comfortable enough that I can forget about it. Panties are usually black so I can wear them any time, period or no, and not worry about staining. Bras are black because I mostly wear darker colours. So yes, they match, after a fashion.

Is there anything I wouldn’t be caught dead in? Yellow or orange look terrible on me. I have always hated the shape of platform heels. Frills, ruffles and bows. Loud prints. Clashing colours. Most synthetic fibres, because I hate the feel and properties of them, and the fact that they’re plastic.

As for what I like to see men wearing, I don’t have strong preferences about specific garments. Sure, suits can look good, but so can jeans. Mostly I like to see an overall sense of style and personality.

* It has taken me a long time to learn to ask myself “What do I like? What do I want?” and this is an issue I’m currently exploring but I’m pretty sure it has to do with my parents’ lack of emotional intelligence when I was a kid.