So you haven’t kept up that dieting / detox / superfoods-eating promise you made to yourself in the wee hours of 1 January 2012. You rarely cycle to work; you hate the taste of slimline tonic; you never keep track of your finances and still don’t make your own chutney. Congratulations: you have joined the cliché of New Year resolution maker-breaker.
But while your body may still not be a temple, there are a few resolutions worth making, and keeping. They are inexpensive, unusual, and will guarantee a 2013 to remember.
For the romantic
Send a postcard
Last year I applied the ‘I saw this and thought of you’ rule to cards. If you see an amusing, strange or eye-wateringly bright card in the post office queue, or when walking past Paperchase, buy it and send it to a relative or friend. (Notice that you’re not making your own card out of handmade felt, or learning calligraphy, à la Home and Country magazine. It’s a simple, occasional way of surprising people by snail mail.)
For your holiday
This should be in every explorer’s calendar for next year. Applicants can travel to destinations across the world as a blind or partially sighted person’s guide, at greatly discounted prices. Don’t expect a lazy weekend in Benidorm, either: a look at 2013’s calendar offers horseback riding in Peru, Great Wall excursions in China and whale watching in Iceland, among other destinations. Brief training is provided, but the website suggests that a spirit of adventure and communication is all you need for a rewarding (and cheap) holiday away. I can’t wait to try it.
For work evenings
For more than a year I have been writing to a penfriend on Death Row through Human Writes. We’ve swapped birthday cards, Christmas presents, family photos and lots of letters. It takes £10 a year (to keep the charity running), plus the cost of stamps, and it’s worth more.
Making time in your week to sit and pen a letter is a demanding task for the internet generation, but a rewarding one – and your penfriend will be one of the most interesting and different people you will ever write to. Regardless of your views on the death penalty, it’s a unique opportunity for contact, comfort and getting to grips with the life of someone on the Row.
For the cash-strapped
Buy a Big Issue
A better publication than you might expect (their interviews are great) and a chance to befriend your local Big Issue seller. It comes out every Thursday, and there are vendors everywhere. It’s £2.50 a week which buys you (i) a very readable publication and (ii) a saviour from that final, hangover-inducing Friday pint.
For the experimental
Eat less meat
There’s a surprising world of great, cheap meat-free meals out there. You don’t need an agenda to eat more vegetarian food, but even two dinners a week can stretch your dinner repertoire and save a bit of expense / the planet. Even Paul McCartney’s doing it.