Prepping for the New Year

Krissy’s family has a tradition of making menudo for the New Year, which aside from Krissy’s family’s Mexican roots, is probably because menudo is also a traditional hangover cure, which some people might need on the morning of January 1. Krissy’s dad (who was actually of German descent – go figure) made the best menudo, and after his passing, Krissy has taken up the task. The prep takes a while, and menudo is best when it’s gotten a little time to let all the ingredients get to know each other. The soup making begins today so it’ll be available for tomorrow and New Year’s. Prepping and planning ahead for best results in the new year: There’s a metaphor here.

On the subject of prepping for the new year, I’ve been thinking about plans and goals for 2022. In terms of resolutions I might have, they are basically the same ones I had for 2021, which in turn were the goals I had for 2020: Structure time better, and make more time for reading, music and friends, not necessarily in that order, and maybe spend less time on social media. 2020 blew up those goals for me, but I did a little better with each of them in 2021. I’m hoping to do even better with them in 2022.

But more than that, what I want to do in 2022 is plant some seeds, both in terms of my career and my personal life: start earnest and intentional work on some strategies and plans that will have a long-term payoff rather than a short-term benefit. You may recall that we bought a church this year; that was a slightly unexpected head start on what I’m talking about here. We didn’t just buy it for fun. We bought it so we could have a headquarters for things we want to do and build on in the coming years. It’s a statement of purpose for ourselves as much as anything else.

Which is, I’m not going to lie, something I personally need. I’m not sure it would come as a surprise to many of you if I note that I am both ambitious and lazy, in almost equal measure; There is a lot that I want to do, and also, I’m easily bored and happy to occupy my time with naps and Twitter. So it helps me to have a plan and a mission statement and maybe also a concrete material investment to remind me to get my shit together and do the things I actually have to work at a bit. I’ll still have time for naps and Twitter when I’m done with that other stuff.

(It also helps that I’m bringing Krissy more into this stuff. She most emphatically does not have the lazy gene.)

Somewhat unintentionally, there may be an arc to the last few years for me. 2020 was the year a lot of things fell apart for me (and for everyone else, to be fair); 2021 was in many ways a year for me to rest and regroup; 2022 is hopefully the year I’ll start building some of the structures and practices that could carry on for me for the next several years. It’s the hope and plan, anyway. I’m optimistic. But then, I often am.

— JS

18 Comments on “Prepping for the New Year”

  1. Much like you, I am both ambitious and lazy, and find myself too often with ideas and goals and all that good stuff, only to fall off and (like you) nap and/or scroll around on social media and the internet in general. This year, I am setting out a plan- an actual plan with goals and deadlines and all that stuff. I do find if I have somewhat more structure to my ideas and goals, they get done better. Wishing us both luck in the new year!

  2. I know that you have to “do” Twitter, etc. as part of the business of your work, but the best thing that I’ve done this year is to dump them all over the side (Twitter, FB, Instagram). They were enabling the lazy part of my being to the detriment of the ambitious part (and raising my base “rage level” at the same time).

    I sincerely appreciate the long form pieces that you post here and look forward to seeing them in 2022.

    Happy New Year! to you and yours.

  3. I live in Hoppin John country. The blackeyed peas are supposed to be good luck, as I guess Menudo is.

    Happy New Year to y’all, hope we reach the end of this weird tunnel and emerge, like a butterfly, into a bright and glorious year.

  4. Is it authentic menudo with beef tripe & pigs feet?

    Or made with a meat more palatable to American stomachs?

    In either case it’s delicious.

    Happy New year everyone!

  5. Mark:

    Early on in our marriage Krissy mentioned I was a man too lazy to fail, without reference to that particular story, which she had not read. I found it amusing.

  6. 2021 was the year I got paid for writing fiction for the very first time. It’s progress. I would also like to do even better in 2022. I already know the year is going to suck, but I can focus on what is within my grasp and try to make that little bit of the universe better.

  7. I knew it! I KNEW you bought the church so you could have the perfect acoustics to compose that rock opera you’ve been teasing us with!

    ….Or did I just dream that? I’m not sure. What is real life?

  8. Looove Mexican, favorite cuisine but!… Can’t do guts so have never tried menudo. No doubt I’m missing something. Care to drop your recipe? Maybe I can adapt it.

  9. “I’m easily bored and happy to occupy my time with naps and Twitter” This could be me except substitute sudokus or jigsaw puzzles for the Twitter.
    Also, seconding the tripe question, because (though I’ve never had menudo) I just had tripe for the first time because it was one of the weird things my partner left me in the freezer, and while it was perfectly … edible, I sure don’t need to eat THAT again.

  10. I usually make my own chicken stock as well, but if I have to buy, I buy Swanson’s. I’ve been reducing my terrestrial meat cooking, but I’m still planning to make my annual pulled pork, the drippings from which (fat removed!) are a great start for awesome Posole. Beef stock is too much trouble to make myself; I just use Better Than Bouillon.

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