By Haley Cullingham
Join a Food Co-op, Shop Only Vintage, Become a Cinephile, Affirm and Deny, Learn a Pioneer Skill. These are just some of our Ten Atypical Resolutions for you this year, a way to look at the next 12 months and see nothing but opportunity, excitement, time for new things, and room for improvement, and the tools to make it all happen.
1. Join A Food Co-op
Joining a food co-op is one of the easiest ways to feel like a part of your community. It’s also a seriously simple way to ensure you’re shopping somewhere in line with your moral compass. Most will save you a day of radical googling by having a product policy, telling you why they stock what they do, and the social and economic impact of the products they sell. All in all, its basically a cheat sheet to better food responsibility. There are tons of great co-ops in Toronto. Check out Karma Food Co-op (http://www.karmacoop.org/) on Palmerston, the West End Food Co-op in Parkdale (http://westendfood.coop/), or The Big Carrot (http://www.thebigcarrot.ca/) on The Danforth.
2. Become A Cinephile
My roommates and I have a simple New Years resolution-to watch The Passionate Eye once a week. Whether it’s the Beatles rocking the Kremlin (this Saturday) or learning about the experience of being an openly gay cop on the Toronto police force (Wednesday, Jan 13) there’s always something illuminating. You can also watch full episodes online. (http://www.cbc.ca/documentaries/passionateeyeshowcase/index.html). If you’re more interested in getting out of your house, check out TIFF Cinematheque’s Winter Season, beginning Jan 14th. Their run down The Best of The Decade: An Alternate View, (http://www.cinemathequeontario.ca/programme.aspx?programmeId=298) provides a very different countdown. Take a look at the decade from a new point of view. For more free in-house entertainment, check out all the free docs screening on the NFB’s website. We vote you begin your education with Alanis Obomsawin’s moving work capturing the Native American struggle in Canada. (http://www.nfb.ca/)
3. Shop Only Vintage
Call it thrifting if you want, but shopping vintage is a great way to give your wallet a rest, do a little something for mama earth, punch up your wardrobe, and support great local small businesses. Dedicating yourself to shopping for only vintage guarantees a covetable collection of unique pieces-it’s a surefire way to end up with a new wardrobe you never get sick of. Plus, the thrill of the hunt makes each purchase so much more rewarding. Where to begin? Check out 69 Vintage’s (http://69vintage.blogspot.com/) new collective space on Bloor, a hop skip and a jump from Value Village, for amazing finds like $10 fur coats. Or, start making x’s on the Ossington Vintage Map, pictured.
4. Book A Train Ticket
There is no better antidote to feeling antsy then going on a trip-but the worst catch about a short vacation is that you end up booking yourself solid with things to see and places to explore, and the concept of relaxing goes right out the window. Our solution? Trains. Pick a destination, buy a train ticket, bring a bag full of novels, an iPod full of music, or a travelling companion to have endless conversations with. Aside from being a cheaper and more environmentally responsible way to travel, a train forces you to take some time and slow down.
5. Learn a Pioneer Skill
There’s a deep sense of satisfaction gained from learning to do something that helps you live simply-and would help you survive in the event of an apocalypse. For the lazy, try something simple like planting an herb garden. If you’re creative, take a knitting class at The Knit Cafe, like Knitting 101, Crochet Crash Course, or Stich and Bitch. (http://www.theknitcafetoronto.com/) If you’re more ambitious, learn to make your own bread.
6. Get Your WWOOFING License
Still trying to figure out what to do with your summer? Looking for a cheap way to escape for two weeks to a beautiful place? Want an easy way to ease into your epic 6-month southern hemisphere travelling adventure? WWOOF! World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms is a world-wide network of hosts and volunteers-who work for room and board all over the world, helping out organic farmers. With hosts on almost every continent, you can choose your own adventure-whether Alaska, Newfoundland, New Zealand, or Nicaragua. It’s a great way to experience a new life and place, help out, and travel on a budget. http://www.wwoof.org/index.asp
7. Trade TV for Expertise
We’re not suggesting giving up your Jersey Shore addiction-heaven forbid-but instead, make a deal with your roommates that for half an hour each night, you’ll switch off the TV and spend that time reading. Pick a subject-art, wine, social justice-and spend some time each day reading up on it. Giving yourself a half-hour limit means you won’t get bored or antsy-it’s a manageable goal, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you start tearing through books.
8. AFFIRM AND DENY!
Are you overscheduled to the point of frenetic insanity? Bored to death with your daily existence? The solution is easy. We’re giving you permission to use to the point of threadbare one of these two simple words-yes or no. So many of us can’t recognize when it’s time to just turn off our phones, RSVP no, and take time for ourselves. Remember: you can’t do everything, and the new year is a good time to take stock of what’s really important. Rejecting a few invitations where you’re only going to spend a few minutes of face time with a plastered hostess means more energy and less resentment for the important stuff, like your best friend’s engagement party. On the other hand, if you’re feeling a sense of omnipresent ennui, there’s one simple solution-say yes. To everything. Stop hitting ignore on your phone, stop RSVPing ‘Maybe’ and spending the night in wearing comfy socks. Say yes. Do it. Make yourself. You’ll be surprised how quickly your outlook brightens, how instantly re-connected you’ll feel to the people around you, and how many new things you’ll be exposed to. So make it a rule: Yes, I’ll be there. Trust us.
9. Stop Saying Sorry
When men bump into you at the grocery store, when your roommate’s boyfriend gets in your way making breakfast, when close friends and family get irrationally angry. Remember, you can be kind, understanding, and considerate while still standing your ground.
10. More Letters To Grandma
You can take this literally or figuratively-the idea is to spend a little time doing something simple for someone to whom you know it will mean a lot. It’s twenty minutes out of your day, and it will seriously brighten theirs.