At the start of this year I published a set of New Year’s Resolutions. As with all good resolutions I haven’t looked back at them since. But as we are now starting 2022 it is probably time for me to hold myself to account.
So, what did I resolve to do and have I done it?
Find a new focus for the new normal
My first resolution was to devote myself to something new and big. At the start of 2021 I concluded that 2020 had been characterised by twists and turns and that this had made it difficult for me to focus on anything big. But, 2021 was going to be much smoother sailing and so there would be time for me to paint my masterpiece. I was imaging that 2021 would see me write a book or break into TV or something equally dramatic.
The best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men Gang aft agleyRobert Burns
Inevitably I have made much less progress with my big new project than I hoped. 2021 has been one of personal, political and public health ups and downs and so my ability to focus has been limited. However, I do now at least know what my big project is going to be. It will be a book and you’ve guessed it, it will be about career. I’ve almost finished writing the proposal… so watch this space.
Keep trying to learn a new language
Dette år jeg har lært noen norsk. Jeg har nå et sju hundred og atti to dag strek på Duolingo. Jeg går til et norskurse to ganger i uke og lytter til mange norsk podcaster. Jeg kan snakker lite norsk, men kan jeg leser noen mer. Det er en lang vein, men lærer jeg hverdag.
Det er veldig hardt for meg. Jeg vet ikke hvis jeg skall noen gang snakker norsk. Men jeg skall prover til forsetter, en dag i ganger! Noen tips om å lære norsk ville vært kjempebra!
That’s the best that I can do! My Norwegian friends will be laughing at my terrible Norwegian, but, I think that I have come some way over the last year!
Live the best social and cultural life possible in the circumstances
This resolution was really about turning off the phone and trying to do something less boring instead. In general this one has been a bit of a failure. My social media use is still excessive and this year I’ve wasted an enormous amount of time on Instagram Reels and bouncing between the dopamine hits provided by rock and roll photography, vintage fashion and Maine Coon cat accounts.
Conversely I’ve been terrible at reading anything non-work related, have been to the cinema only a couple of times and the theatre not a all. I’ve managed a few trips in the UK and a couple to Norway, but travel has also been pretty limited. The only area that I’ve done a bit better was in listening to both live and recorded music, but even my forays back into watching live music have been curtailed by various lockdown restrictions. I’ve also kept some pickling and brewing activities going, but even these have slowed down since their high points in 2020.
I have to conclude that far too much of my last year has been spent typing into a keyboard in my home office. There has been far too little mind-blowing fun, adventure or participation in cultural wonders.
2021 started badly for my planned health kick. Lockdown coincided with me developing plantar fasciitis which put a stop to most of my exercise for a while. I tried every snake oil cure for the condition out there (foot vibrators, special socks, shoes and insoles and all sorts of bizarre stretching), but I’ve eventually concluded that it is something be managed through care and stretching rather than something that I’m likely to get rid of. Having said that any tips would be appreciated.
While the plantar fasciitis saga was unfolding I indulged in a lot of sitting around and eating biscuits. But as I got to the end of the year I decided to kick myself back into gear do something about it about my sedentary life style. I’ve now run every day for 71 days. Christmas and New Year have predictably been heavy on the eating and drinking, but even so, I think that I’ve probably kept my appetites in greater check than usual. I’m far from as healthy as I want to be, but at the moment I’m going in the right direction.
So, all in all this has been a pretty mixed year for sticking to my New Year’s resolutions. I’ve made some progress on the big project, average to good progress on my language learning, just about scraped a pass in my desire to be more cultural and put in a solid, if uneven, performance on staying healthy. Overall I’d probably award myself a C+ or something like that.
But next year… you just wait and see.