I love New Year’s resolutions. I start thinking about my resolutions right around Halloween and I really think about them…like obsessively….like Greg gets annoyed by how much I think about something most people spend about 2 minutes pondering. But I feel strongly about resolutions and I am a stickler for sticking to them and because I plan on sticking to them for an entire year, I have to really believe in what I am resolving to do. Some, I will admit, are easier to achieve than others. One of my resolutions for 2013 has become my absolute favorite that I have made in years.
It started with my desire to become a better cook. I actually like cooking, which is still surprising for me to say out loud. I like turning ingredients into meals. And I love the conversation that happens amongst friends and family at a welcoming dinner table. Around the time I was starting to think about 2013’s resolutions, I was feeling pretty isolated from the people I loved. It seemed like there was never enough time to spend with the people I wanted to fill my life. Schedules were getting harder and harder to line up and babysitters are expensive and since Levi turns into a pumpkin (AKA walking nightmare) if he isn’t in bed at a decent hour, it was just becoming impossible to get in quality time with all of our dear friends. I wanted to challenge myself as a cook and I wanted to spend more time with the people that we loved. And so, 12 meals was born.
I resolved that once a month we would host a dinner party, where I would make a dish that either was previously intimidating to me or that I had always wanted to make but was just so involved and time consuming that I never had the time to dedicate to it. And at each dinner we would invite 4-6 friends to join us. The result was magical. Not only did I get to gain confidence as a cook, but we got to spend some very special time with all of our favorite people throughout the year. It was especially fun to mix and match our friends. Some months we would have groups of friends over who had known each other for years and it was fun to catch up and laugh and share old stories. And some months we would put some friends together who had never met each other but who we knew would become fast friends and that was amazing too. Those dinners were full of getting to know you questions and new stories being swapped.
And the isolation I was feeling began to melt away. And even though the thought of preparing an entire meal I had never made before for a group of people scared the ever living daylights out of me every single month, I always felt so accomplished and content when the dishes were pushed away and the stories started flowing. In fact, a completely unforeseeable benefit to 12 meals was that I was able to look my insecurities right in the face and tell fear that there was no way I was going to allow it to stand in my way of filling my life with friends and family. If you can’t fail in front of your friends, who can you fail in front of?
2013 was a crazy year for us. There were the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. And it was all the more sweeter to get to experience both the highs and the lows each month with people we truly love and desire to walk through life next to.
As you approach 2014 and are making some resolutions of your own this coming year I would encourage you to look for ways to include those you love into them. The journey is a lot more fun when you travel with friends!