New Years's Resolutions

2020 Vision

I open our refrigerator this morning to get out the beans, the rice, the greens — required first meal of the decade — and consider throwing everything out.

In one of Gretchen Rubin’s books, she mentions a woman who completely empties her refrigerator on the first day of the year. No exceptions. Out goes last year capers and ketchup, and all those jars of jelly drabs. No more leftovers, bread, lettuce, or butter.

I love fresh starts, but all those years in The Clean Plate Club, using bread heels to wipe the last bit of stew from my little green bowl, make it impossible for me to waste food to prove a point.

Since moving to the south, Hoppin’ John has become our chosen first meal of the new year. Eat Poor for a Day, Prosper in the New Year, as the saying goes. Rice for riches, peas for peace. This year I made the dish with heirloom Yellow Eye beans from Purcell Mountain Farms, Amy’s delicious hand-harvested wild rice, and collard greens from our backyard garden.

Another way to step forward into this new year is to get out in the woods with my neighbors. Today we’ll define and widen a connector trail that completes a loop around the perimeter of Tami and Lyle’s ample property. Lyle will deploy his tractor. I’ll bring loppers and gloves, and we’ll spend three hours bonding outdoors before walking to their big-windowed home, glowing and spent, for a shared meal.

To round out the day, I’m going to put in writing my intentions, something I do every year, even the non-decade starting ones. A lot of people think resolutions are too constraining, or that they exert pressure where pressure need not be. But drill down, and I usually find that they do have goals, only they don’t want to call them resolutions. Fair enough.

Call it resolutions, intentions, hopes, dreams, or goals, here is my vision for the year ahead:

2020 will be my Year of Anonymity. I will use this year to further retreat from my outward-facing persona and into my inner landscape.

Since retiring in 2019, I have already stepped away from many outside obligations. I’m no longer interested in trying to be someone on social media or in representing anything beyond my little life here with Bob. In 2020 I plan on dwelling in a non-virtual world of my choosing, close to home, focused on polishing a close-to-the-bone, high-quality lifestyle.

As Bob toils away, strapped to his desk in one last, mind-numbing push to feather our retirement nest, I bustle about, growing and cooking real meals, and fluffing pillows. I spend hours deep-diving The New York Times and The Atlantic, gathering fuel for insightful porch-sitting and dam-walking conversations.

Towards those ends, here is my shortlist of 2020 Resolutions:

Daily Sentence, in which I challenge myself to write one stellar sentence describing an event that stands out in my mind from that day.

Analog Sunday, in which I challenge myself to pull out my sketch pad and create something during a day-long browser hiatus.

All the other stuff — the reading list, weight goals, push-ups — none of these need to be pinned down, regulated, managed, or recorded. I’m past that, beyond having to hold myself accountable. 2020 may not just be my year of anonymity; it might kick off a decade of rebellion. I’ll begin by opting out and see where that leads.

May you enjoy a prosperous and self-affirming year, also!


By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

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