New Decade = A New Take on Old Ideas

After 5 years of having an annual 365-project, we have decided not to do one this year. At first I thought it would be hard to go into 2020 without a plan – a defined direction for our year – but I soon realized just how much opportunity lies in not planning.

Now, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have goals. We do. We even have a bucket list of things we want to do this year. The big difference between 2020 and years past though is that there’s no overarching theme, no point we’re trying to prove, and no lessons we’re hoping to learn. We just want to do things that move us further in the direction of our overall life goals. What are those goals, you might be asking. They’re pretty simple – to live intentionally, to continue to avoid debt, to remain lifelong learners and experimenters, and to explore the world around us.

With that being said, we sat down together (okay, we were actually in the car) to discuss our vision for the coming year. Out of that discussion came a few rules, a few goals, and a whole lot of cool ideas that we’d like to share with you. So here goes…
The Rules

Some folks like rules, some don’t. Rules can be important when there’s an activity or behavior that you don’t want to continue or repeat, and our rules are born from that concept. There were a few things we did in 2019 that we don’t want to do again (ever) because they detract from our goals. So we wrote them down:

  • Don’t buy anything that we don’t immediately need. The foundation of minimalism is reducing clutter. Even well intentioned purchases – like 50-cent garage sale flower pots for the patio garden we keep trying to create – can become clutter (especially when you realize nothing is ever going to grow on your patio).
  • Don’t chase money. Every job, gig, or side hustle needs to make sense from both a financial and time perspective. A $10/hour job that takes 10 hours is not the same as a $25/hour job that takes 4 hours – even though the end result may be the same.
  • Don’t bring garbage into the house. As much as we’d love to, we can’t save every piece of clothing, household good, and furniture item from the landfill. Sometimes other people’s garbage has to stay where it’s at. If we don’t have an immediate use for it or can’t take it to a thrift store, we just can’t bring it into our home.
  • Don’t let fear hold us back. The secret to our success has always been in trusting ourselves first. We appreciate (and respect) the advice of our family members but sometimes those words only serve to create fear. Life without a “real job” is a scary prospect for most folks. We are not those folks and we have to remind ourselves of that – every day, if necessary – especially if we are going to make this unconventional plan of ours work long term.

But enough with the dos and don’ts. Let’s get to the fun stuff.
Our Goals

With all the time we have from not doing the things we don’t want to do, what are we actually going to do? Well, we (as in I) will be doing a bit more blogging. I plan to make 2 posts per week this year, instead of just one. You can look forward to seeing something every Wednesday, along with alternating Fridays and Mondays. I’m still playing with the idea of using a theme – like Minimalist Mondays or Field Trip Fridays – but I’m not sure yet. I welcome your thoughts on that.

It also goes without saying that our biggest goal/challenge this year is going to be living on our jobless income. This is a post all unto itself and I plan to cover it in more detail later this month.

As for our fun goals, we each got to choose one for the year and surprisingly when we shared them with one another, they went together so well you’ll think we conspired to create them (but we didn’t). To set the scene – I told Angie at breakfast one day to think about what fun thing she’d like to accomplish in 2020, based only on the theme “20 in 20”. After lunch, we shared our ideas.

Angie: To go on 20 hikes in 2020.

Me: To visit 20 Tennessee State Parks.

See?! Great minds think alike! So that’s our 20 in 20 goal – to go on a hike in 20 different TN State Parks this year. There’s no length requirement, just a requirement to get out and go.

Playing on that 20 in 20 theme, we also thought it might be fun (and good for us) to do 20 minutes of physical activity (ie. stretching, walking, or something similar) ever day this year. We usually don’t have a problem being active but this will help on those days when we just want to veg out (like today).

Speaking of veg, we will be super-focused on growing and preserving our own food this year. We have plans to add a new raised bed to the garden and maybe a small greenhouse. This will give us more growing space, which we desperately need since our blackberries are in full production and we won’t be planting anything near them going forward. We kind of had a jungle in that bed last year.
The Cool Ideas

Road trips, road trips, and more road trips! Okay, yes, we miss traveling.

Combining our love of gardening and travel, we plan on going to the Baker Creek Seed Festival in May. We have friends in the area and can’t wait to see them, plus it really has been way too long since we’ve been on a road trip. We also hope to complete our minor league baseball mission – to attend a game of all of the Tampa Bay Ray’s affiliates. We started this when we lived in Florida and only have one left – the Durham Bulls.

When dreaming up cool ideas, all sorts of stuff pops into your head. (You know I’m right.) Some of it’s possible, some not so much. From a list of about a million different (crazy) ideas, these are the things that made our actual 2020 Bucket List.

  • Make soap and candles
  • Tour a farm
  • Milk a cow or a goat
  • Watch the sunrise and sunset all in one day
  • Catch a fish and cook it ourselves
  • Learn to use chopsticks
  • Play tourist in our own town
  • Walk across the largest pedestrian suspension bridge in the US (it’s in TN)
  • Sew new curtains for the entire apartment
  • Go snow tubing
  • Hike a section of the Appalachian Trail

So there you have it. A year of planning not to plan anything except the stuff that furthers our life plan 😉

What are your goals for 2020? What items made your Bucket List?

Lettuce Try Again

Several weeks back, after seeing some success from replanting a celery stalk, we decided to plant the stems of a few store-bought artisan lettuce heads. In the beginning, it looked like all was going well. Each little head sprouted; but while there were 4 different red and green varieties in the container, every sprout looked the same.

We placed 3 under the grow light and one in the windowsill. Sadly, these lovely little plants never produced more that what you see in the pictures. Soon after beginning to form leaves, they all decided to bolt! Each lettuce head started sending shoots with sparse leaves upwards like a beanstalk – even the one in the windowsill. But, we continued to let them grow. There’s something nice about seeing a green plant inside the house when it’s starting to get cold outside. But then, this morning, we awoke to this:

I don’t know if any of this is normal or abnormal for replanted lettuces. There’s a lot of how-to videos online about replanting them but not a lot of info on what they look like in the various stages of growth. From our experience with herbs though, this definitely looks like the plant bolted (and then fell over). Bolted lettuce can still be eaten but it’s kind of bitter, so we opted not to put these leaves in our salad.

This was our first attempt to grow lettuce indoors but it won’t be our last. Next time though, we’ll probably start our crop from seed.

Have you had success growing lettuce indoors? Or replanting a lettuce stem? We’d love to hear about your experience.