A look back

Rick and Morty 2019 Calender December (all dates crossed out)I began the year with a look forward, pondering the new year and what it takes to achieve change, so I thought it only fitting to end the year by taking a look back. I thought it would not only give me the chance to consider how I’ve measured up against some of my goals and consider how my life has progressed over the last 12 months, but I also hoped it would serve in helping me to look to the future and understand what I want to achieve moving forward, and how I might do that.

Looking back at 2019, I find that I feel like its been a long year. Possibly I think this because it’s the first year I haven’t been anticipating a big change; my life has settled for the most part and is no longer going by in a haze of assignments, exams, and educational progression. Right now, I’m living at home, I have a full-time job and regular responsibilities, and I have a chosen set of hobbies I sometimes make time for, and I don’t anticipate any changes in those areas any time soon.

I also think that this year feels longer than most to me because I’ve had more in my life that I’ve been keeping track of; my various goals and resolutions for the year, as well as things in my personal and professional life. I have, at least on some level, been keeping track of my progress as far as these are concerned, and so I think I’ve just been more aware of the passage of time this year.

On the whole, there have been ups and downs regarding my goals – which mostly took the form of New Year’s Resolutions – and my life in other regards is progressing slowly perhaps, but in a direction I think I’m happy with.

Taking on resolutions

My main resolutions for this year concerned my fitness, ie weight loss, and my hobbies: learning guitar, reading, and writing.

My fitness definitely hasn’t held up well throughout the year. Whilst I started the year strong and was making steady progress towards my goal, as time went on and I took on some unanticipated tasks and responsibilities it just got harder to make time for it. And, even after my schedule had somewhat cleared up again, I found it hard to start making time to stay fit again.

Right now, I’ve completely lost a handle on eating right and working out, and I reckon it’s mostly because it really doesn’t bother me as much as it used to. Whilst I really used to struggle to look in a mirror once I’d started to gain weight, these days I’m less inclined to be as affected – which has pros but also the evident cons. However, I guess I am happier to be more accepting of myself than to have the motivation of self-loathing helping me to keep fit in a yo-yo type manner.

My hobbies faired somewhat better. Whilst I didn’t advance as far as I had hoped in my learning of the guitar – mostly because my decision part way through the year to get my driving licence required me to use my practice time for theory revision – I’m still slightly proud of the progress I’ve made.

Even with the time I lost in preparation for my theory and my off and on practice since, I have made it further in learning than I have in the past – I’ve started learning multiple times – and my abilities have yet to diminish due to too long spent without picking my guitar up. I admit I am disappointed to have made it less than half way through the teaching book I purchased last year – my resolution had been to complete it and start on the next one by the end of the year – but I’ll take the success I actually managed and simply hope to learn from my mistakes and do better in the future.

I am much prouder of my writing and reading this year. Having started the year with the vague resolutions to read “more” books and the goal of publishing at least six full blogposts in the calendar year – one every other month, which I’d considered a decent goal – I’m happy to have achieved the former and surpassed the latter. This year, I’ve read all the All Souls universe books and everything in the A Song of Ice and Fire series so far – all related blogposts linked below – and I’ve published 16 blogposts. Evidently, and quite fortunately, achieving the reading goal helped me surpass my posting goal.

My fiction writing – an area I dabble in – didn’t go as well this year. I had planned to edit some old stories before moving on to a sequel I’ve had planned for a few years now. Unfortunately, I didn’t manage it. I edited exactly one of my old stories, and didn’t even get around to doing a final readthrough and uploading the updated version. This was in part because of driving theory, but laziness, tiredness, and generally just wanting to take a break contributed the most to that failure.

An aspect of my fiction writing I actually found reason to be proud of this year was regarding book ideas – this year, I finally started noting down my ideas for stories. This wasn’t a resolution and my actual writing down of general plots and character ideas has waned recently, but it’s still something I’m happy to have made a start on this year, given it was something I’d been meaning to do for some time.

Overall, I find that even with my shortcomings, I’m happy with what I achieved this year – especially as far as my hobbies are concerned – and I just hope I can make more progress in future.

Progressing in life

Life outside of my resolutions has, as I mentioned above, settled. But there has been (very) gradual progress towards independence and some sort of “adulthood”.

Things at my job – which I have been at for more than a year – have been going well. I’m proud of how my skills are developing there, and I’m handling the new responsibilities I’ve taken on this year, well. Or, so I’ve been told.

In my personal life, I’ve made progress towards getting my driving licence and towards the freedom that comes with being able to get myself around.  I’ve passed my theory and my skills in practical lessons continue to develop. My test is booked and I’m just crossing my fingers that I’ll only have to pay the £62 test fee once. With the little bit of money I have saved, I intend to buy a car once I’ve passed my practical and take that further step towards freedom and independence.

Looking at the bigger picture and considering how I’ve developed as a person and in life, I find myself more lost now than I was at the beginning of the year. As this is the first year my life has been somewhat settled, it’s the first year I’ve really taken time to consider my future in more detail than the vague, distant idea of a career and the somewhat typical assumption of starting a family and owning a house with a white picket fence. Now that I’m out of education and really have to consider my future, I’m realising that I’m not exactly sure what’s it’s going to look like, and that’s a little scary.

I’m sure I’ll figure everything out, or at least I hope I will. All I can really say right now is that I’ve started to taking steps towards “adulthood” and a future for myself, but I’ve definitely still got a long way to go.

Moving forward

As far as my smaller goals are concerned, ie new New Year’s Resolutions, I have some ideas for improving my success in the coming year. Whilst I definitely think the things I discussed in my post New Year, New Me? are valid and did help me, I think this year has made me aware of other things I could do to better ensure success in achieving my goals and change.

Primarily, I think I need to consider actually writing my resolutions down somewhere this coming year, because it’s much harder to ignore something that you’ve actually written down. Additionally, I think I could possibly break larger goals into smaller ones or divide them into milestones that I could consider rewarding myself for as I go, to further encourage success. My sister has a pretty good system with stars, aims, and little rewards that seems to be working for her with revision and school stuff. Maybe I’ll invest some time in sorting something like that for myself.

Concerning the bigger picture of adulthood and independence, moving forward I think all I can do is continue to take steps towards it and towards figuring out what I want to do with it. My most solid plans right now are learning to manage my finances – because right now I’m mostly just getting by because I live at home – and considering if I have the means to finally  take the leap and move out-out, not just university out. Little steps.

Having solid goals coming into this year and actually being mindful enough to, on some level, consider how well I was doing in working towards those goals throughout the year was an achievement for me in itself and something I hope to keep up in future. I think that the chance to review my progress, not only in my goals but also in my life in general, will encourage me to keep working towards the things I want to achieve and help me succeed. Hopefully, moving forward, I keep that in mind and can continue with these moments of reflection and that they do, indeed, help.


Please find below links to the book-related blogposts mentioned above.

All Souls trilogy:

A Discovery of Witches – Book review

A Discovery of Witches: Shadow of Night – Book review

A Discovery of Witches: The Book of Life – Book review

The All Souls Trilogy – Book series review

Time’s Convert – Book review (spoiler free review followed by spoiler discussion)

A Song of Ice and Fire:

And now my wait begins (or, on reading A Song of Ice and Fire)

 

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