So this is the end of 2017. If you have been patiently reading these updates then you’ll be relieved to know this is the final one. I’ve had a pretty amazing year overall and there is so much more to talk about than just eight simple points. But for now, let’s see how I did.
1) Get a new job or find a way of making current role more enjoyable.
Well this worked out differently from what I expected a year ago. I currently work for a major university in a bank role. Money is fine but it’s a temporary contract and I can’t see myself continuing in the role even if it’s offered as something permanent. Nevertheless it is good to turn up to a days work and feel properly challenged. I haven’t had that gut feeling that I might not be good enough at a role for a long time and it’s actually refreshing to see myself tested after years of sleep walking.
This year I had three interviews and probably sent out fifteen good applications. In the end I got one temporary job as a result of good interview feedback from a different role. Changing jobs is hard.
2) Explore Japan with Lucy.
I was never going to fail this goal so it felt cheeky to add it to the list in the first place. Essentially, as long as we had money in the bank, we would be heading to Japan one way or another. What amazed me though is quite how well everything worked out. I planned a two week holiday to a country on the other side of the world with nothing but Google, Lee and a couple of other friends as a guide.
I have explored mountain trails with such majestic views I can barely describe. I rummaged through the warrens of Akihabara in search of geeky goods and shared trains with the most polite commuters in the world. I sang songs whilst sat around a fire in a traditional village living room, before travelling almost 400 miles across the country to be treated as a king in a luxury ryoken. I have been humbled by Hiroshima and brought to tears by the capacity for humans to inflict pain. But most of all I have marvelled at the achievements of humans in the form of bullet trains, soaring skyscrapers and even the humble toilet.
Thank you Japan.
3) Actually paint some miniatures.
So this year I ended up painting about 70 models to gaming standard. I started the year with a secret army to surprise the guys and basically painted the whole thing. I played with them in only one game and then a new edition of Warhammer 40k came out and fucking sideswiped everything. New edition, new rules, more fun! I thought I’d continue with my Imperial Guard army and painted 26 infantry in a few weeks but then it turned out Imperial Guard rules are broken as fuck. I played my Tau and my Orks and then basically decided to more to Devon and everything boiled down to the following logic: everything else > painting toy soldiers.
I’m still happy with my painting achievements but I know I can do better next year!
4) Sell some of the dead weight.
Made around £700 – 750 this year by selling an old games console, plastic toy soldiers and some rulebooks. Most of that money has ended up covering bits of our move and paying for Japan but it’s still great to know that I have turned something that hasn’t been used into something useful.
Lucy and I have given a ton of clothes and household items to charity, We’ve sold some old furniture and have de-cluttered DVDs, CDs and books. But one thing this house move has taught me is that I have way too much stuff. I have given away or sold hundreds of pounds worth of ‘things’ that were barely used. What’s the point of all this crap eh? We could have gone on an extra holiday with the money we spent.
Here’s to more frugal living in Devon.
5) Look after myself a lot more.
I wake up to bird song and not traffic noise. Monty is the noisiest thing in the area we now live and when I walk just two minutes from my front door I have a panoramic view of the English Channel and the Exe estuary. After 10 years of living on terraced streets trying to parallel park into a space just big enough for my car it turns out that you can have a different lifestyle if you have the money and courage to make that move. I realise that both money and courage are sometimes hard to come by so I appreciate that this is easier said than done. But I still truly believe that if you have a goal you can generally get yourself towards it through hard work and a bit of luck.
I am the same weight and build as I was at the start of the year which is a good thing. I now cycle to work via some pretty meaty hills and I am less stressed despite moving house, changing jobs and living on one income. I’ve grown older though. Apparently you can’t stop that.
6) Read more and challenge my own opinions.
The things I’ve learnt this year is that it’s hard to change what makes you happy. I have largely read the same genre of book over the last 12 months with a few exceptions. Here’s the list:
Chavs: The Demonization of the Working Class
Dredd Case Files 19 and 20
This Book Will Save Your Life
Battle Circle Trilogy
Sisters of Battle Omnibus
It’s been Netflix that has been the saviour of this goal. I’ve watched a drama about teen suicide (13 Reasons Why); a satire on life at university in America (Dear White People); brilliant comedy in the form of Aziz Ansari (Master of None); a documentary on the murder of a nun and historical child sex abuse (The Keepers) and of course Stranger Things 2. Best show this year was the Handmaids Tale though. Fuck me that program is good. Turns out it’s kind of the genre I love anyway so it turns out I should just continue doing what I’m doing as all the cool things are nerdy.
Finish the copy editing and proofreading course even if I’m not really enjoying it. Move to Devon!
Turns out goals change. I’m sat in my PJ’s right now writing in my cozy new living room as a storm blows outside. I have given zero fucks about the copywriting course since I dropped it. Turns out you can forget about a failure in life.
Devon is awesome so far. Just need to bed in some more and actually get everything out of boxes and onto (actually needed) new furniture.
8) Blog weekly.
I will have published 28 blogs this year once I finish this one. The average length of the blogs is around 750 words giving me roughly 21000 words written. That’s basically two dissertations in a year. It’s been my second most popular year for writing on WordPress with my most popular blog being about embracing failure. Weirdly the second most popular one is about toy soldiers and was written over four years ago.
On reflection I’ve done a pretty good job when you add up everything. Blogging weekly is pretty hard when you have all sorts of real life stuff going on as well. Original writing in particular is a real challenge but both my monthly updates and travel writing about Japan have been very popular.
So that was 2017 then, or at least part of it. This year has seen both Lucy and I get new jobs, Lucy passed her driving test and graduated from university. We’ve moved across the country and travelled on the other side of the world. We’ve met some great new people and enjoyed amazing times with old friends. We even went to a few weddings.
When I look back on the past year I can see patterns emerge. My mood fluctuates almost monthly despite keeping fit and relatively healthy. It will be interesting to see if life in Devon changes this or if life continues in the same way as it has always done. Logically life is all about ups and downs so I expect that I should just accept that, sometimes, things aren’t great, and to just get on with life until the good times continue again.
My hobbies and interests don’t need broadening. I have a ton of interesting hobbies and activities which I share with friends and family. I will always be up for trying new things but I need to stop trying to be something I’m not – listening and learning is enough without having to change your whole ethos on a monthly basis.
I’ve learnt that I am still a slow painter and that I definitely have enough toys to play with. Buying myself new stuff all the time does not really make sense when I just end up getting rid of it a few years later.
Mostly I’ve learnt that having a fixed plan doesn’t work. I started the year wanting to continue working for my old employer but in a different role. I ended it by moving across the UK and starting a less stable job in a new city. My attitude, it would seem, needs to be fluid in order to navigate my way through life. I guess that’s why they call it a state of mind; you need to change your form in order to get through things.
Here’s to a new year and thank you for reading. You’re awesome.
Never surrender dreams.