…one man's contribution to the Weeeeerly Wild World
I have a document dating back some ten years, which lists my New Year Resolutions for each year. Quite often I have a little ‘review’ also, where, around this time of year, with some time still left, I check back and see what I had planned to achieve at the beginning of the year, and to discover if I’m still on target, or if I still have chance to get my act together.
So lets see.
Reading often features and in 2013 I had decided that I had read too many books… 25. I think one a month is a good target. The idea was to cut back on the reading so that I would have more time to write about what I’d read. It’s easier to read than to write, the former I tell myself is the lazy option – and I felt like I was taking the easy, and lazy option by neglecting to write. Well, I have read fewer books this year, about 15, a little over one book a month… but I haven’t written any more – so that plan was a slight “fail”! I’m on target to read another volume of Arthur Mee’s Children’s Encyclopedia though… just – I say “on target”, I mean, that by reading 11 pages a day for the rest of the month I’ll get it finished!
Cycling is a big part of my life – it’s my routine – and again, I keep a record of how much cycling I do. 2013 had been my best year, covering the most number of miles, but I had come to appreciate that continuing to increase the miles year on year was becoming too much of a challenge – time-wise and physically.
Both cycling and reading I have managed to build into my daily and weekly routines, without them feeling like a chore – going out each day on the bike is easier than driving to work every day and then putting in all of the miles on the bike at the weekend. The same is the case with reading – although a minimum amount of time is required to settle into a book – if I can switch myself off from work and the internet then I can happily read for an hour (when I’m out on the bike, turning to the internet isn’t so easy!) One thing I have tried for a couple of years to build into my routine is jogging, but it just hasn’t worked – I can physically do it, it’s just getting out there and doing it, routinely.
The biggest distraction in my life, perhaps my only one, is my Second one (Second Life). A friend of mine decided to leave the virtual world this year and I very much respected that decision. I once took a positive step and left a social networking site I was addicted to routinely logging in to – but appreciated in the end that I didn’t actually have anyone I considered to be a friend there. I do beat myself up frequently about how much time I spend in Second Life, but it’s my social world and I’m not in a situation where I feel “I don’t want to be here any more” – I have friends there – so I continue to try and tell myself “no SL today/this week”. I don’t think I’ve made any headway in this addiction this year, but I continue to strive for what I feel like is a healthy balance. While I’ve never had a drinking/smoking/drug habit, I do feel like Second Life can only be like that – it’s easy to let it consume your time, which this important to people who feel they have the time – I don’t feel like I do – there are other things I enjoy doing with my time, it’s just that those things don’t have friends involved!
One time consumer I have managed to cut out over the years is TV watching, and I now live without a TV – only watching a little here and there via the BBC iPlayer for example. I enjoy being cut off from the news also.
Overall I think New Year Resolutions are about deciding how I want to spend my time. A life is important and whether we only have one, or if there is an afterlife, or if we come back as a cat, I feel like it’s important to make the most of this life. Getting into good routines seems like the key to me, that and “not putting off until tomorrow what can be done today”.
Now there is one more month to go of this year – a final push to accomplish what I want to accomplish, before I have to start planning for next year!