My New Year's resolution for 2010 is to be a lover to myself. It's a twist on the Golden Rule (treat myself as I treat others), borne out of a deepening understanding that I tend to put myself last: somewhere behind work, friends, family, chores, the Internet, my students and the occasional beau.

This year, I am committed to changing that.

As I envision and build my new home, I keep asking myself: "What would it take to feel like I've come home to myself? What are the moments when I feel most nourished and self-resourced?" When I slow down, pay attention and listen to the simple, quiet answers to those questions, I'm surprised. Small things are the most nourishing: making myself a cup of hot tea, watering my plants, laughing (sometimes seeking out Kathy Griffin and Chris Rock stand-up on YouTube to get me there), listening to my 8-month-old nephew babble on the phone, turning off the television and, dare I say, shoveling snow off my sidewalk.

Loving myself during challenging times is hard. Trying to care for myself when I really, really want someone else to care for me is painful. But, day by day, I am learning that all those clichés are true: It really does have to start with me.

So what would I do for a lover…that I am now doing for myself?

This is a tough one because I still associate cooking with meals for two (and by two I do not mean the mouse that lurked around my stove . I'm taking baby steps. I have been seeking out local cheese that I pair with an occasional glass of wine (or steaming mug of hot water with lemon). According to the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of Iowa, the average food item on a North American plate travels more than 1,500 miles from the farm to our forks. These "food miles" increase in items with multiple ingredients. (The Leopold Center found an 8-ounce container of strawberry yogurt travels more than 2,200 miles before reaching the supermarket shelf.) No matter where you live, you can find something that was grown close to home. Making the decision to buy local food keeps money in our local economy and supports folks in our community.


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