Good morning everyone, hope you enjoyed that extra hour in bed. I know I certainly did, although my cat was less than pleased that breakfast was served later. Many people use the New Year to measure progress, however, I like to do things differently. So why not use an alternative method, based on the seasons to demark yearly progress?
And today is that day when we move from British Summer Time (BST) back to Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). And who knows, there is talk that we may not be changing the clocks forever – and that is something I can support.
With the change comes a few personal realisations; that the UK is very well aligned with Europe time-wise, as we all change our clocks on the same day. In addition, technology has come a long way – when I was younger you had to manually change all the clocks. Nowadays most clocks change themselves automatically.
More details: Guardian – When do the clocks go back 2018
Additionally, at this time I always like to ponder the seasons. I’m very grateful I live in a place where we experience the full range of seasons and no adverse weather. In the UK it’s reliably cold in winter and warm in summer. And it also reliably rains all year round.
As society develops more and more we move further away from our hunter-gatherer and then agricultural roots. We live more in towns and cities and we have a well-developed food supply chains that remove the need for us to think about seasonality.
Now I am someone who embraces technology and new inventions, however, when the clocks go back I am always reminded of the earth itself and how magnificent the annual seasons are. They are simply breathtaking – nature can inspire so much awe and gains so much respect from me.
And I make sure to remind myself of this each year when the clocks change.
What have I achieved in the last year
So what have I done with myself this year between the time when the clocks go back? Here is a quick list I’ve put together.
- Started this blog
- Started a Podcast
- Got to my Parkrun 100 runs
- Ran 2 marathons slowly
- Watched a live ring cycle opera
- Travelled a lot and visited 5 new countries – Bulgaria, Portugal, Finland, Estonia, Latvia
- Visited Northern Ireland and seen Giants Causeway and Rope Bridge
- Maintained a high income and 80% savings rate
- Passed Chinese HSK2 & HSK3 exams
- Started a new Chinese course
How well do I rate myself?
Wow, after reviewing that list I am impressed with myself. I have managed to achieve a lot in the year while keeping to my feminist and frugal principles throughout. Travelling, and solo travel, in particular, was one of the themes I wanted to concentrate on. And with five new countries seen, I think I have achieved that. So a tick in that box for living the life I wanted.
However, I do need to acknowledge that these are only possible due to many privileges I was born with and hard work I’ve put in earlier in my career. Not to mention that choosing to be childfree gives me much more free time and freedom that those who have children.
Nonetheless, there were some areas where I didn’t achieve as much as I wanted. Reading and books have fallen by the wayside and I’d love to get back to reading the 100+ books a year I used to read. I really do want to get back there and need to set time aside to make this happen.
Additionally, on the outdoors side, I haven’t been camping at all and I want to get back into this. Similarly, for hiking, I’ve not done any proper long hikes all year and I had wanted to fit a few in. So in these areas, my progress and scorecard would be a big fat zero.
What do I want to achieve in the next one?
A good question. I want to build on the progress this year and maintain my progress on doing things I love. So although I am running out of new countries that are easily accessible, I will keep solo travelling. All the trips I’ve got booked are to countries I’ve already visited, some are new cities others are cool cities I want to revisit.
I plan to keep up the Chinese course and pass at least HSK4 in the next year. This will be tough as the course gets harder – not to mention it’s officially a full-time 40-hour per week course that I’m doing alongside working full time.
I’m also thinking of putting a bit more effort into running and cleaning up my diet to see what marathon times I could achieve with a bit more effort. I do love cake and chocolate yet I do want to see what I could achieve if I dropped some weight and trained harder. And I need to get back outdoors.
And I want to pick back up some of the things I’ve dropped this past year accidentally. I want to make space in my life for reading more books. I’m thinking winter is a good time to hit this goal, as the UK weather doesn’t lend itself to outdoor activities. Next camping and hiking need to be prioritised in Spring 2019 – yes I am very much a fairweather indulger.
What have I learned from reviewing my progress?
It has been an eye-opening process for me personally. I obviously knew I had achieved a lot, but seeing them all together in a list makes me smile. Yet the critical Type A person in me sees a second list, of the things I did not manage to fit in.
Overall I am very grateful that I have arranged my life to have loads of leisure time available to me to pursue my hobbies and interests.
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- How has your last year been?
- What do you want to achieve in the next year?
- What have you learned from reviewing progress?