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2016 - The Beginning

I've given myself a few challenges and goals to accomplish in 2016. I'm still riding the high of completing my 5k challenge a few months ago. Knowing that I can stick to something and accomplish it is HUGE for this ENFP.  These aren't merely resolutions to be discarded in a fortnight, but challenges to change my perspective and push me out of my comfort zone. So, in the spirit of challenging myself, this is what I hope to accomplish in 2016: Spend 3 months as a vegetarian I have a lot of colleagues / friends that are vegetarian. Actually, a lot more than I thought. Over the course of a few months, I asked a few of these colleagues and friends why they decided to become vegetarians and here are their responses (as I remember them):

I don't really like meat.

The meat industry isn't sustainable for our environment.

It's healthier to cut meat out of your diet. I feel so much lighter and energetic now that I've become a vegetarian.

After considering those responses and doing my own research on the health of a vegetarian diet, I decided to try it out for three months. I chose that length of time because it's long enough for me to get used to a new lifestyle.

In preparation of this decision, I made a few vegetarian dishes here and there. I discovered that tofu is actually pretty tasty if you prepare it properly. And that beans (a previously despised food by yours truly) make for a great meat replacement. So far, I've made: this One Pan Mexican Quinoa from Damn Delicious (and it was damn delicious - it's a vegan recipe, but I added some sour cream on top :), this One Pot Spicy Thai Noodle dish from Domestic Superhero (also delicious - I added some baked tofu in with the noodles), and this traditional Irish Vegetable Soup from Sweet Love & Ginger (I had this soup just about everywhere I went on my Ireland backpacking trip in May 2015 and it tastes JUST like that soup. Very filling, especially with a side of brown soda bread.)

I'm a few days into the vegetarian lifestyle and it's been good so far. I did *almost* grab a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza last night (OOPS) but I quickly realised my error.

I have no idea what will happen on 1 April when I am officially done with my three months as a vegetarian. Maybe I'll just keep it up. Maybe I'll dramatically reduce the amount of meat I eat. We'll see.

Read I finished the third Harry Potter book a few days ago. And I cried. (side note: it's my first time through the series. Never read the books or seen the movies before). I had no intention of finishing it that afternoon, but it was a real page-turner. That reminded me of how much I love reading and getting wrapped up in fictional characters. I looked at the pile of books I acquired in 2015 - nearly 20 - and decided to make reading a priority in 2016. I let too many Netflix marathons distract me from getting lost in literature. Currently, I'm reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Death Dealer: The Memoirs of the SS Kommandant at Auschwitz by Rudolf Höss (I'm maybe 10 pages into this autobiography and it is heavy. Höss spares no detail in describing his part in the "Final Solution to the Jewish Question" as Himmler called the Holocaust).

Take photos I love photography. But I don't spend nearly enough time doing it. So, I've created a 52-week challenge for myself. One word for each week in the year. And I'll take three pictures based on that word. I'm excited to take my DSLR out more, as well as using my phone to capture these small moments in time.

Here's to living life deliberately,

- j

Traveling Through Civil Rights History - Memphis, TN

2015/2016