As I write the 2018 year already seems far away. Which given it’s been twenty days is possibly factually correct. However, life has been busy and I’ve only just got round to my 2018 roundup. And by taking the time to step back and review the year I’m realising it’s been a fabulous year all round. I am so lucky and I need to really remember that.
Start with the fun things (To make my life seem exciting)
It’s no secret I love to travel. And 2018 has been a great year for travelling. I’ve made the most of my bank holidays and travelled lots both in the UK and in Europe. I’ve spent time in Northern Ireland appreciating nature and the Giants Causeway and in Scotland for the Edinburgh Fringe. Easter brought an amazing snowy Baltic tour to Finland, Estonia and Latvia and I also fitted in short weekend breaks to Portugal, Germany, Ukraine and Italy.
As a travel geek I counted up how many nights I’ve been away each year over the few years – and my feeling that I’d been away more in 2018 was right.
- 2011 – 23 nights
- 2012 – 19 nights
- 2013 – 17 nights
- 2014 – 34 nights
- 2015 – 29 nights
- 2016 – 25 nights
- 2017 – 31 nights
- 2018 – 41 nights
However, I’m not a luxury traveller – far from it. My style could probably be defined as a refined backpacker. I stay in a mixture of hostels and AirBnB’s preferring a private bedroom when it’s not cost prohibitive. I always do everything I want to do, but truth be told my wants are not that much. And they skew towards free or low-cost activities.
My spending on travel for the year was £1.5k. And that averages around £37 a night so not too bad at all.
As I ramble about often, I am studying Chinese and have been for a few years. It’s something I really enjoy and do for fun – there is no pressure or defined time when I need to get to a certain level. 2018 was the year I passed my HSK3 and HSKK Elementary exams, which I am chuffed about. Additionally, I started a full on Chinese course – which is great fun but demanding.
My principles matter to me. And I’m really happy to report that I have been using my energy for good. I’m been advocating for diversity and equality on both boards I am on with good results. Additionally, I believe in paying people fairly and I have ensured staff get above inflation pay rises in both non-profits as well. I do believe people should always be compensated fairly.
Another love of mine is running slowly. And this was my third year of running two marathons a year. I guess this makes it a habit now? In addition, I got to 100 Parkruns – a milestone I’ve been chasing for a while. I adore my new black parkrun 100 T-shirt and can’t wait till it’s warm enough to wear it to a Parkrun without the jumper on top!
Lots of theatre
Although I didn’t theatre as much as in previous years. so much good theatre was seen. My friends and I go a lot, and it’s difficult to choose a favourite. Most things I saw were worthwhile in at least one way – from the obscure to the novel I appreciated them all.
Blogging and Podcasting
2018 was the birth year for this blog! And I also tried my hand at podcasting with UK FI Pod. As someone who loves learning new skills and technologies, this was so much fun. Additionally, I got to interview lots of other UK FI bloggers which was really fun and really challenged some of my beliefs.
And the good habits (the boring bits of life)
Yep, in order to keep enjoying life, I need to keep working and keeping clients happy enough to retain me. For 2018 I’ve been in contract all year, and even manage to get a small inflationary increase.
As I mention occasionally, I actually quite like work nowadays. It’s can be really fun and interesting. I get to use my existing skills and learn the odd new thing.
Not to mention I get paid. And paid well.
Savings (Or the Inverse – spending)
And I don’t really feel I’ve got much to report here. As I was employed all year I kept to the savings plan. And I didn’t even fiddle the plan that much, although I do admit to fiddling my portfolio and asset allocation a bit. Even though the markets have been terrible in 2018 and ended up down, I have continued to drop money in each month.
Being British I calculate my real annual number with our tax years, but for 2018 my savings rate was around 79%.
Then the less good habits
It has not been a healthy year diet wise, and my weight is a bit above where I’d like it to be. And I have just been kind of blase about this all of 2018. I know the reason, it’s not for lack of exercise, it’s from eating too much yummy food. Like chocolate. And cake. Have I mentioned how I love cake?
I’ve just not been reading that much in book format. It’s something I want to do, but always seemed low down my priority list. And in 2019 I want to sort that and start reading more books. As I’m not commuting into the city every day, I won’t be able to get back to reading 100+ books a year. But 50 seems more than reasonable if I prioritise it.
I think I spend too much time aimless web browsing. And on twitter. Luckily I have not yet got addicted to other social media platforms. But of my bad habits, I think this is one I really need to get on top of and sort. There are better uses for my downtime I feel.
I used to be very internally motivated. And I still am for some things. But somehow as I’ve got older for some items I need external motivation or an external deadline. And that does not sit well with me. So I’m wanting to get more internal motivation mojo around here.
Zen-ness (Or why I don’t beat myself up about my failings)
At school, I was always the person that concentrated on the marks I lost, not the ones I got right. At work, I wanted the constructive criticism more than the things I was doing well. I’ve never been one to bask in achievements I wanted to improve and sort out the areas I wasn’t doing so well in.
I love reviewing the year and seeing how much fun I’ve had. And it’s also important to understand what didn’t go as well as expected and why. I feel that is such an important part of growth and self-development. However, I do nowadays practise much more zen-ness. I chill a bit more and don’t fret about my failings. Or items that are outside the locus of my control. I feel that results in increasing my overall happiness and make me a nicer person to be around.
So what have I spent in 2018? Looking at my records only £21.1k.
That includes everything that I personally have spent in the calendar year. Such as my house in outer London – mortgage / bills /repairs etc, maintenance and petrol for the car, food for the cat, chickens and I, commuting etc. As well as the more fun leisure costs of travel, theatre trips and other hobbies.
Life is awesome. At the grand old age of 37, I finally feel that I have worked some* things out.
* I do still have to sort out that dating thing. And learn how to spend more than a week with my family. But baby steps eh?
Over to you
- What are your thoughts?
- What was your year like
- How would you rate 2018?