And somehow, December rolled around.
There were times, I admit, that time seemed to be dragging its heels. But mostly, I feel like 2011 shot by like a cheetah on P.
This year I got engaged. I moved house. I left my first grownup job. I took my first overseas trip in close to 10 years – my first without my parents and my first with T – and for the first time took a dip in the ocean on my birthday.
Looking back, I’m fairly happy with the way things turned out. Last year was about hunkering down, getting recognised at work, saving, getting a solid start. Having laid some of that foundation, this year I said yes to concerts, events, trips. I’ve said yes to things that scare me, read books that challenge me, and done a fair amount of introspection. I covered major events including Steve Jobs’ death and a rare fatal explosion in Onehunga, but watched from home as news of bin Laden’s death, the second Christchurch earthquake, and the general election unfolded online in front of me.
In 2012, I want my word to be consistency. Commitment to my work, my savings, my fitness, my hobbies and life balance.
But first, looking back on the year that was.
I wanted to:
- Save 40 per cent of income. I hit this maybe half of the time. We definitely had some biggish expenses this year in car fixes, travel and moving house.
- Keep eating out to $160 a month. We hit this probably less than half the time. I’m okay with spending with intention here – it’s the little transactions here and there that add up that bug me.
- Donate to charity every month. Achieved most months, but not all – maybe 70%.
- Text one friend a week. I suppose I always knew this would be difficult to track, but I reckon I scraped a pass (by definition 50 percent is a pass mark), although many of these weren’t actually initiated by me. I freaking hate texting these days; I spend the vast majority of my time at a computer, so I’d much rather email, tweet or Facebook if possible). Or, heaven forbid, make a phone call.
- Learn to confidently use full manual settings on my dSLR. Bahaha. Well, I’m a little more confident than I was at the beginning of the year, but like guitar, this kind of fell by the wayside – particularly after June when I changed jobs – there are way fewer demands on your days off when you have Monday and Tuesday off – and went gangbusters on my reading after a lull. Finding visual inspiration is a big struggle, but events like this were brimming with it.
- Read 100 books. Finished 81, which isn’t too bad an effort. 100 is definitely doable, but combined with reading more literary stuff these days + having a life is difficult at times. I could easily spend all my time reading, but alas, I have a living to earn.
- Continue running at least once a week, and
run a 10k. Hit that 10k, although kind of slacked off on running after that, if we’re being honest. Am contemplating a half – or even a full marathon – next year. I would love to say I did one…but do I want to do it badly enough? Not sure. I’m not a distance runner.
- Score a travel writing assignment. No longer applicable at my new job, sadly! That ship has sailed. No junkets for me
Take a trip somewhere warm on my birthday (thinking Vanuatu, Niue or similar).Raro was blissful, no other word for it.
- Take a big trip later in the year. By this I really meant overseas, or at least a South Island road trip. New job and starting from scratch with leave put paid to that, but we are doing a short sojourn to the Coromandel, which is sweet by me.
I also wanted to fall in love with music again – both as a maker and listener. I was, I suppose, making slow progress on guitar – until taking a new job. Having real weekends again were spent with T, travelling, reading like a fiend when I fell behind, and then dealing with the move and a string of social events. I did go to my first gig a year ago, and since then I’ve been to two more, plus two music festivals and am going to another for New Year’s. Incubus is also another possibility – but I’m not sure I’m enough of a fan to shell out $90. I had a lot of fun compiling my wedding playlist, but haven’t really put any effort into discovering new music. So that’s probably a fail.
I’m a huge lover of food, but I’m much better at consuming it than cooking it. It doesn’t come naturally to me. But I am getting better at pairing dishes and coming up with random meals combining whatever ingredients we have on hand. Possibly most exciting of all, I’ve discovered the joy of couscous. My life has never been the same. My laissez-faire methodology does not translate so well to baking, and thus my favourite go-tos are buckeyes and oreo truffles (even though they still never look that pretty). Again, slow progress, but all in all, a definite win.
And while I’m not a social creature by any stretch of the imagination, I think I can definitely give myself a gold star for effort this year. I said yes more often than no (and only when I had a real excuse), including yes to one of the biggest events of the year come NYE, with a bunch of people I don’t know that well – apart from T. Plus I’m forced to get out and about more just due to the nature of my new job.
Ah, my job. I truly am blessed. I get to write awesome stories, meet awesome people, and generally absorb passion and inspiration. Free swag doesn’t hurt, nor do invites to events (depending on what they are. I felt pretty out of my depth lunching with high-flying national and international business peeps last month, and was rendered mute at another when asked if I was considered a thought leader at my company). I had my first photo published in print (thank goodness for good lighting) – which in no way compares to the online equivalent. Basically, as a staffer there are heaps of opportunities, as I work for free compared to paying a freelancer. I’ve managed a handful of interns and been asked to write my first reference for someone.
Bonus: an improved relationship with T, in almost all aspects (we don’t spend all our weekends together, but it’s lovely to be able to…). However, blogging fell a bit by the wayside, particularly the Yakezie challenge – I’ve plummeted back down toward the million-mark on Alexa. As I suspected, spending my days writing detracts a bit from my desire to write for the sake of it away from the office.
I’m curious to know. How did you perceive your 2011?