IMG_2916Which doors will you open in 2019? Which ones will you close? Which of either will be by choice or driven by circumstances?IMG_0475January 1 is just another day, yet it’s a marker that we can choose to use. Even before calendars, humans marked the solstices and equinoxes. I am sure they made plans, too–“this season I’m going to find a new hunting ground” or “this time I’m going to plant more rice.” The first step in making a change is planning.IMG_2161Planning isn’t everything. A dear loved one used to make plans and lists, sometimes in great detail. But nothing ever happened. Tomorrow is another day, until our tomorrows run out. I think she was shackled by a fear of failure–if you dare to do something, it might not turn out, but if you just plan, it stays full of shiny potential.IMG_0650 2What are your goals for 2019? Where do you want to be? I love reading and hearing about what others do–it’s motivating, as if we’re all pulling, not so much together as at the same time.IMG_0477 2

My goals include going back to my favorite Pilates class even though it’s expensive because it did so much good for my back; improving my French, especially grammar, and, within that, especially verb conjugations, namely nailing conditionnel/imparfait, which are not at all the same thing but whose endings are devilishly identical (couldn’t they have come up with a different set of endings instead of reusing them?). Speaking of French, I found a new podcast that I really like: “Spla$h,” by a pair of French economics professors (in French), who do an excellent job of explaining some economic questions–not so much in a supply/demand/M2 way but in terms of “how did we end up with this situation?” For example, they did an excellent job of explaining the ire over tolls on the autoroutes and why those highways have tolls to begin with. IMG_0476 2I also want to write every day, not for the blog or for work, but just for myself. And to spend less time keeping up with the news, which only upsets me. On the other hand, I want to subscribe to another news publication (the New Yorker?) because I like getting news from multiple sources, and I want to support legitimate journalists. It isn’t a contradiction–I want to stop having a heart attack every time I get an email alert about some breaking news (in fact, maybe I should just unsubscribe from those), yet be well-informed about the news with context. chateau doorThe biggest change I made in 2018 was to be far more conscious of the environment. I always considered myself an environmentalist (one sibling called me a tree hugger), but I only started composting early last year. Before I heard this, I didn’t think about how nylon in clothing was going to last forever, except for the parts that break down into toxic microbeads of plastic and foul the soil or water. I did think about how bad meat is, yet I ate it regularly anyway; now I’m about 90% vegetarian. I want to continue to ramp it up, to consume more thoughtfully and to consume less overall.IMG_0479 2If you want some tips or motivation for achieving your goals, check out these excellent episodes from the podcast Hidden Brain: on habits and on resolutions and, from Freakonomics, on tricks to boost your willpower (like “temptation bundling”!!!).

Which doors are in store for you in 2019?P1100773


36 thoughts on “Best Wishes for 2019

  1. My plan for 2019 is to buy a property in the south west of France, and then open a cheese and wine bar in 2020. I’ve been progressing towards this for a few years and have now sold my house in the UK and am living in France, so the next step is a big one but manageable.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. We consider the Guardian website our most reliable news source. Each morning I check its international page before any other news source, hoping that the top news story of the moment is not from the US, where we live. Often the Guardian puts the world in better perspective for me.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. The New Yorker would be a fine addition. I’ve read it for a number of years and find the articles so timely and informative.
    Happy New Year
    I love your blog
    Someday want to be back to visit your area

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m afraid that it still feels like everything revolves around bloody Brexit. But if I think about it a bit more, there is the goal to do the SwissAlpine half marathon — scary but I’ve no doubt good for me, and the training gives me more intermediate goals. Then I worry about how much the gilets jaunes will negatively affect my business, discouraging Americans and Australians from coming to the Loire Valley. I’m currently struggling to maintain a sense of humour about much and increasingly neglecting tasks I find boring (cleaning) and obsessively focusing on tasks that I enjoy (cooking). This is the least happy new year I can remember for decades.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I hope 2019 is better than 2018. It felt like finally things were picking up, and then the gilets jaunes came along. Between Brexit and the U.S., there are so many problems yet to come. Let’s hope calmer heads prevail.


  5. Ah, some stately doors of France. No one does doors quite like Europe.

    I’m also discovering more ways to live a more environmentally conscious life. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 13 but this year we went 95% vegan and my husband joined me. The only thing I can’t seem to quit is eggs.

    I’ve started shopping more at Bulk Barn to avoid food packaging. The amount of plastic we use for single use is horrendous. Seeing the harm we are doing to ocean life and birds is beyond heartbreaking.

    As I educated myself more on the state of our environment and climate change I started to feel depressed. It feels like we have already passed the point of return. One bright light I found in my research was Ikea which is making massive strides in reduction of their carbon footprint and sustainability in comparison to pretty much every other company. Check this out,|ca|brand|201809051628138229_9

    Shame that more companies cannot understand the need for changes and social responsibility.

    I sometimes read The Guardian. They have lots of articles on the environment.

    Ah those darn verb conjugations in French. Thank heavens I rarely read or write in French. We speak it every other day at home but my still French suffers. My husband rarely corrects me, (except if we are arguing). We often speak Franglais which I really hate. It is a terrible habit born from when lived briefly in Quebec.

    Happy New Year!


    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for the info about Ikea. I love walking through their cleverly designed rooms in their stores, but I don’t think I’ll buy furniture there ever again–there is plenty of used stuff that has excellent quality and is even cheaper than Ikea.
      The packaging gets mind-boggling. Products sometimes have two or three layers of different wrapping. WTF?


  6. Hopeful of things to happen for 2019….
    A job. Been laid off since June 2016. My profession is Biomed which means I fix all types medical equipment. Can’t even get an interview in Orlando, FL. Maybe it’s my age, 48.
    So thats all, a job. A lady friend would be a bonus.
    Still hoping to someday visit France and it’s southern coast and villages. The thought of this makes me smile and have hope for my future.
    Well done on the blog. I always look forward to it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Dear Chadlee,
      Our economy has failed people like you. And so many others. We have to work longer because we are living longer, but everybody wants to hire someone who is under 30 (but who has a decade of experience). Too old to hire, too young to retire.
      I hope you are able to find a great job in 2019. After all–BIOMED!!! For crying out loud. Some of these HR people need to be slapped upside the head.
      If you can handle French, I highly recommend my new binge, Spla$h, which interviewed the U.S. economist Jeremy Rifkin about the future of capitalism. Believe me, the French have a different point of view than what you might be used to.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. We are recycling just about everything here.
    All we have thrown away is some awful formica, a giant sixties sapele door and some broken glass.
    It is about sustainability and authenticity ( until the 20th century, people reused and reworked stuff as a matter of course) but also about economy in our case.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Going to try to finish our small village house renovation in Normandy (3 years into it now!) and make more French friends. Might have to also put a time limit on reading the news, as it is so depressing and I feel helpless to effect much change at this point, other than by voting.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, you must vote! Having lived the mostly expat life in Brussels, and now living the mostly not-expat life in France profonde, I have to say that it’s a good goal to make more French friends. My expats (one very dear couple) moved back to their home country, and since I have 100% French friends here. And it’s good. It’s good for maintaining my French, it’s good for understanding this country where I’ve now spent so much of my life. When I lived in Africa, I could walk down a street, and if I spied another white face, we would instantly relate. First-worlders dealing with no electricity or running water. But there were few expats where I lived and I made many lasting friendships with locals, who taught me so much. Above all, they taught me that regardless of race, religion, culture or whatever, we all want the same things–a nice, safe place to live, good health, and better lives for our children–some kind of progress.


  9. What a lovely post, for many reasons. Firstly, I love door shots. And then the symbolism is so striking as we stand at the threshold of a new year. And isn’t it true about plans that stay shiny and new vs. actions that may not turn out?
    I have dialed back my news consumption considerably, an achieved more peace of spirit as a result. I’ve increased my activism considerably, mostly in local politics where I feel I have a bit more of an impact. But I still keep my oar in nationally as much as I can.
    My goals for 2019 include being more organized with an idea on the future and enjoying the present while making transitions easier. And trying not to pine to much for retirement, 6 years away (if everything doesn’t go to h*ll in the meantime).
    I’ve shared your piece on health care in the France vs. the US with several folks – think that was my favorite post of yours from the past year (and I just discovered you this year).
    I’m looking forward to more living vicariously en la belle France through you in this year to come – best wishes and happy new year to you!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s important to be engaged and informed, but we don’t always need to keep up with every reaction to what’s going on. I’m aiming for quality over quantity.
      I hope you can visit France, and especially our region, one day. Thank you for reading and sharing!


  10. A new year and so many possibilities. This year there will be a few doors closing and a few opening in my life, I am anxious but also excited. As I age I realize more and more that life is so fragile and our time in limited so I am trying so very hard not to waste my time on people, things and issues that are not important to me.

    I am trying spend less, acquire less, make memories and not buy things. I want to learn more, perhaps take an online class or two. I also want to do some volunteer work, I used to volunteer 8 hours a week at an Alzheimer’s home but I stopped because the facility had a lot of “politics” and cattyness between the employees.

    I too read the Guardian and I like it. I find the news so depressing lately that I am definitely trying to read less and less.

    I hope that you have a happy NEw year!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. We want to find some volunteer work. One thing in France is that people expect the government to take care of things, that it’s the fairest way to provide services. In the U.S., I delivered Meals on Wheels on holidays; here that’s done by municipal employees who seem happy for the overtime pay. No candy stripers in hospitals. I do agree that there’s something twisted about people getting rich by paying their employees minimum wage, which is not enough to live on even if you work full time, and not giving benefits, then avoiding taxes on their fortunes and then making charitable donations that we are supposed to be grateful for. The French think it should just be taxed and taken care of professionally by government agencies, not ad hoc by philanthropy. France does have charities, of course, because there too many causes for the government to do it all. I am thinking about Les Restos du Coeur, which I’ll write about soon.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. “One door closes and another one opens” Bob Marley said.
    Lots of good comments and thoughts here to take to heart. Beware the Guardian…highly addictive. And the witty comments even moreso. I have the news addiction too but unsubscribed to many – such a timesucker when I could be practicing Copperplate calligraphie… I want to keep fast walking – a life changing experience. So many things to do. Planning is key me thinks. Have a terrific new year FrTaste and maybe consider changing your icon thingie…something more Frenchie maybe? Less scary ;))

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Great thought-provoking post! I’ve not made any plans for 2019 apart from what I will be planting in the garden, but I do hope that 2019 will be a better year for everyone than 2018. There’ll be changes for as long as we live – some changes are more challenging than others, but we’re built to adapt!
    I try not to spend too much time reading the news, but the Guardian and the New Yorker both have well researched articles.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. LOVE ALL YOUR DOORS!WISH I could walk through them!!!!
    I gave up the NEWS when THE DONALD came into OUR WORLD!
    Good GOD how much longer????????//
    I have that alert APP for the BRITSH NEWS!Does make ones heart skip a beat………..
    HAPPY NEW YEAR………………..I’m slowing working on a POST!!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. “…but if you just plan it stays full of shiny potential forever.” This might be the best line of wisdom I’ve ever heard.” You made my day with this one. I agree that we have choices. Not exercising our right to choose handcuffs us as a victim. Loved this post and how fluent you are in French. Impressive! xoxox, Brenda

    Liked by 1 person

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