Saturday, 24 December 2016

Cut-Throat's 2016 Resolution Round Up

Susan Neiman's 'Why Grow Up' encouraged me to take resolutions seriously. My review of it can be found here and it has, in retrospect, been immensely influential for me. Of course, it is easy to be cynical about resolutions: they are, rather comically, rarely successful. But they also represent a struggle to improve oneself, and are more empowering than the alternative of un-reflective meandering.

What is often forgotten is that growing up and living longer, is fun - it results in competency. When you are young you lack the knowledge and experience needed to make the most of life's opportunities; it is only with a bit of practice that you can actually start to get good at living. Resolutions then, are a small attempt to harness this growth in natural competency.

1. Reading, Writing and Running.

2016 was intended to be a year where these three activities would happen on an 'almost daily' basis. The three programmes, which were lumped under one heading, have been met with varying levels of success.

Reading- I read almost every day, even if I am just browsing articles on the web. However my recent flat move has denied me a comfortable reading spot for a more focused programme of book consumption. In the new year I will have acquired a new reading den to remedy this. This sub-resolution has been a partial success.

Writing - This year I have regularly written with a much wider scope than ever before; in particular, I have started writing more poetry and short-form prose. I have not managed to make this an 'almost daily' routine, as this year has shown that reading, writing and exercising on an 'almost daily' basis is a tall order considering all the other things going on in my life. 

Running - I no longer exercise on a daily basis. This is not due to a lack of motivation but rather a lack of necessity. I have finally gotten back into combat sports this year and am looking to take grappling much more seriously in 2017 - perhaps enter a tournament or look to grade in Judo or BJJ. At the moment, again due to the flat move, I am lifting in the gym rather than training in any particular club. With last year's fitness failure in mind, I am very happy with what I have accomplished in 2016.

2. Get Techie.

This resolution was discontinued three quarters of the way through the year. I certainly know a lot more about digital technology than I did at the start of the year, but it wasn't thanks to any considered effort on my part.

3. Get Foodie

I cook from scratch almost everyday now; which has helped to improve my diet and aided in the tweaking of a number of dishes that I have been working on this year. Jack Monroe's budget cook book 'A Girl Called Jack' has seen a lot of use in my kitchen over the last few months. It has quickly become a classic in contemporary budget cookery and I highly recommend it to budding chefs who want to broaden their horizons; the dishes in Jack's book are varied but, for budget reasons, stripped down to their bare bones. The result is a cook book filled with recipes that require little in the way of food shopping, which is probably the most time consuming part of learning new forms of cuisine.

I now have a fairly wide and adaptable skill-set in the kitchen that I feel ready to build on. Next year I will be looking to work on more presentation pieces and start specialising in a couple of areas of world cuisine: French, Japanese and Middle Eastern cookery are on the cards for 2017. 

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