This year I resolved not to make new year's resolutions. I'm trying to be more focused on the process, less on the the end goal. That said, I did sneak in one little new "process" that could possibly be misconstrued as a goal: I want to read more. 50 books in the next year, if I had my druthers. It may seem ambitious, but really is just a process to get me closer to my new Life Goal of slowing down. Do less, not more. Stretch out on the couch (or really more like curl up in my oversized, overstuffed chair) and just read. I have three books going at once these days: some form of fiction for bedtime (more often than not YA, like these classics and these new page turners), a non-fiction life-improvement-y book for daytime, like this or this, and some sort of short, pithy, job-related non-fiction for meal times. I leave this last book on the dining room table and only read it when I'm sitting down to eat. It helps me eat meals more slowly and with purpose. You'd be amazed how quickly you end up finishing books (like this or this) if you read for 10 or so minutes 3 times a day.
You may be thinking to yourself that it's not really helping me slow down if I'm reading three books at once, and you may have a point. But hey, it's still better than spending hours keeping up with social media or binge watching Nashville. And there's something about reading that requires a different pace.
I'm in DC this week for work and on the plane ride here I watched a Ted Talk about the value of slowing down. It reminded me of the rapid pace at which we live our lives, and how it's become expected that we squeeze every last drop of productivity out of each day.
Often times I wake up raring to tackle my to do list, so much so that I check my phone and jump on my computer before I've even fully adjusted to being awake. Some days I'm two hours in before I realize I've forgotten to eat breakfast. Most days though, I pour a bowl of granola and finish it in just a few minutes before I dive back in to tasks. There's nothing wrong with recognizing that morning is my most productive time of day, but setting a marathon pace before eight am doesn't bode well for a slow, purposeful existence.
Food is another good reminder for us to slow down. Spend the time to cook a meal, and then spend the time to eat it. One morning recently I got up, put the kettle on for tea (ok, flipped the switch on the electric pot) and set about to make a hot breakfast. I had rice leftover from dinner which I added to a sauce pan and covered in milk with a bit of shredded coconut and sugar. I heated the mixture into a warm porridge and sat down to a slow, hot, whole-grain breakfast.
I guess I won't call it a goal, but I want to focus on the process of starting my days more purposefully, less hurry up and more settle in. I'll start with always, always remembering to eat breakfast.
Warm Rice Porridge
This is a great breakfast to make with leftovers from dinner. You can substitute other grains like quinoa or barley and could use coconut milk if you have it on hand.
1 cup cooked brown basmati rice
1 cup milk
2 T shredded coconut (fine)
1 T sugar or honey (optional)
Combine all ingredients into a saucepan and heat on low until warmed. Be careful not to boil the milk. Final dish will be somewhat soupy, but leftover rice should be warmed long enough to swell slightly with milk.