2014-15 Summing Up

This time last year, I made a list of things I wanted to do in the coming year.

So how have I done? Actually, not badly at all.  (The initial goals are in bold, with the results in colour afterwards)

  • Weigh LessKind of. It’s fair to say, this has had its ups and downs. Over the course of the year, I put back on some of the weight I’d lost, and then lost it again. With more regular attendance at the gym, I’ve also changed shape, lost a noticeable amount of fat, but replaced it with a similar weight of muscle, so I’ve maintained roughly the same weight throughout the last six months, despite looking (and feeling) fitter and lighter. It’s annoying, but successful in a way.
  • Write MoreLess successful. I’ve completed a couple of pieces, and got ideas for others. So I guess I’ve written more – and been doing more here – but still, it’s not quite what I’d hoped/planned for.
  • IAM TestKinda. I’ve booked it in, but it’s not happened yet. I’ll write more about that when it does.
  • Ideas for my own businessSuccessful. In the last six months I’ve changed to doing the contract through my own limited company, and dealing with my own accounts and payroll etc. – which is definitely a good step in the right direction. I’ve also got more/better ideas and goals for the coming year, and what the plans will be.
  • Build The FinancesSuccessful. It’s not been perfect. There have been unexpected expenses like the car’s turbo needing replacement, and a few other things along the way. There’s also been that nasty habit of getting out and having a life – some of which hasn’t been super-cheap.
    But all told, I’m coming out of the year in a far better position than I went into it. Not as well as I could have come out of it, but there we go – my choice, my decision, and it’s still a good position to be in.

So all told, it’s been a pretty good year. Most of the plans have borne fruit, or are at least showing growth and promise for the coming year.  Frankly, I can live with that as a set of results.


The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same

In preparation for another post (one of the usual ones for a couple of weeks’ time) I’ve been looking at things from (roughly) this time last year, and it’s been a bit odd in some ways.

There’s a distinct synchronicity between the two years, which is surprising.  Last weekend, I bought some new tyres for the car – and it turns out I did the same a year ago.  It also got a full service done – which I’ve just booked in again.

It’s also just under a year ago that I started doing the day-trips when I could (and/or when I wanted to) on weekends, which has continued and been pretty cool. I haven’t done one in a couple of months, mainly due to a madly busy period with no weekends ‘off’, but that doesn’t mean I won’t again.

Along the way, there’s also been a lot of good stuff.

Comparing where life was last October to this is like comparing pearls with cow shit.

October 2014 was a low point, although nowhere near my lowest. (There’s some competition for that ‘honour’, mainly September 2010, April 2012 and August 2012, although I’m sure there’s a couple of other close-runners too) At the start of it, I’d just walked out on ShitCo with nothing to go to, nothing even in the pipeline. That was a bit scary, but infinitely better than the prospect of staying working for them. I know, I still haven’t written much about that time, and probably won’t – safe to say, it was No Fun At All.

I got a new contract within two weeks though, and that was the start of the recovery process and climbing back to where I find myself now. I’m still working for the same people, and will be ’til at least the end of the year. It’s been good – and helped by being a role where I work for/by myself for four days a week. I’ve rented an office in central Milton Keynes, which works best for my schedule and environment, and keeps me vaguely sane. (Which working from home four days a week probably wouldn’t)

I’ve done a lot of rebuilding again in the last twelve months, and I’m pleased with how it’s gone.

Onwards and upwards!

Stasis – At Peace

While I was wandering around London last weekend, I had the time to do some thinking about the whole ‘not feeling the need to move on’ thing, which was much-needed.

There’s a lot of reasons for not feeling the need to move on at the moment, as I’ve written about already. I won’t bother with all those again, because this one is actually something else, something I hadn’t really looked into massively.

Basically, at the moment I’m really quite content with life and how it’s shaping up.

That has it’s good and bad aspects, for sure. Obviously it’s good that I’m content, that I’m at peace with things, and not yearning for change. It’s not something I’m massively familiar with, it’s all quite new, but I’m not going to complain.

On the downside, it also means I’m not feeling a huge level of urgency about things – certainly not for moving, but also with life in general. It’s kind-of all steady at the moment, which is fine for the time being. I don’t know that I want it to stay like that long-term though.

I am a lot less angry and irritable, though – and that’s primarily a good thing. I’ve noticed, looking back, how much D4D™ has changed over that time, looking back to when I started vs now. Life’s a lot calmer – but it’s also quite a lot duller.

Sure, people still piss me off. Life still pisses me off. But it seems (at the moment) to wash off again pretty quickly. I don’t feel the need to rant, to vent things out when I do get pissed off. (Well, not as much, anyway) But that also makes D4D™ less ranty, less annoyed, and somehow less amusing – both for me, and for anyone else still reading this rubbish.

It also goes some way to explaining (I realised) why I’m having problems getting going on some of the writing ideas. I’m not angry enough, not needing to vent out onto keyboard/paper. I need to find another way to do things, which may take time. We’ll see.

All told it’s a good thing, a sign of positive change – but it’s also going to have some knock-on effects, requiring some though and some further changes. That’ll take some time, and some sounding out of options. But it’s all good, and all entertaining.

Flat (Again)

It’s all been a bit quiet chez D4D™ – but I’m OK. The Bronchitis is pretty much gone, bar the odd cough – so that’s good.

I do still feel quite drained and flattened by it all, though – and I think that’s what’s finally coming through this week. I have to keep remembering that it’s only ten days since I finished the antibiotics, and that I’m still fighting off the remnants.

While this year’s been pretty good so far – and how the chuff are we nearly in April, for goodness’ sake? – it’s also been pretty manically busy with work and life, and I suspect that’s having a knock-on effect as well.

Basically, I’m tired, demotivated and just a bit flat. I really can’t be arsed – particularly with work. I’m still plodding through, but it’s an effort. Sleep is always an issue with me, but I am beginning to wonder if depression isn’t rearing it’s ugly head.

I don’t think it’s depression – but then, that’s what people say when they’re depressed. It’s not at vicious levels or anything, but I’m aware that I’m just all a bit Meh.   Herself used to note that I was OK in Winter because I know I get hit by SAD , and so prepare myself for it – which means I’m less affected by it. However, then Spring comes along with longer days and more sunlight, and I relax, expecting to be doing better, and get sledgehammered by depression again when I’m not prepared for it instead.  I don’t know if that’s valid – but it’s something that’s been bouncing round my head a bit this month.

I’m going to see how things go though.  The current work situation only has three weeks left to run, at which point I’ve booked a break anyway. (Up to Edinburgh for a very chilled long weekend) Then we’ll see how things progress from there, I think.

At worst, at least I’m aware and conscious of it all, and will deal with it if necessary.  At best, it’ll ease up once the current work stuff is dealt with, and things can progress again from there.

At the same time, I’m aware that I’m in a pretty decent situation and life is looking up, so maybe I’m more just worrying about stuff, waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Time (as always) will tell.

Looking Back – 2014’s Jobs

I’ve been thinking a lot about the contrast between 2014 and 2015 (to date, of course) and realised that I couldn’t easily list the jobs/contracts I’d had last year.

2014 was a crap year for me in many ways, and the contracts and work I took on were definitely part of that. There were a couple of spectacularly bad choices – both contracts and permanent roles – and one of those didn’t even last a month. I stuck the other one for three months (balance, and all that) but yes, not good.

Looking back and doing the figures, I actually had eight roles in 2014. Bear in mind that three of them lasted three months each. Which means somewhere in there, there’s five jobs in three months.  (They’re spread out, it wasn’t just a three-month period of abysmality)  Oops.

With luck – and without tempting fate too much – 2015’s going to be a big improvement on all that. It’s started well, so let’s hope it can maintain that achievement through the year…


Looking Back – 2015 vs. 2014

One thing I’ve noticed this year is that so many people who had an absolutely rotten 2014 seem to be doing much better in 2015 – myself included. (And yes yes, all hail the gods of Fate, and do not tempt them to be bastards)

It’s not any “new year new you” type bullshit – several times I’ve had conversations where friends have observed just how much easier this year has been than the last one was. There’s no viable logic for it, but it’s what seems to have happened. Friends who fought bureaucracy and uncaring jobsworths for all of 2014 have suddenly found doors opening in ’15, with additional “Oh, you should also contact [x]” type referrals that add extra beneficial factors.

From my side, the seven weeks (so far) of 2015 have been infinitely more positive than the same time last year.  Still chaotic and hyper-busy, but in far more positive ways than I’d have expected.

I’m hoping that the rest of the year maintains this initial attitude. Even if it does get a bit tougher further down the line, all I would ask for (and hope) is that it doesn’t end up as shitty as any of 2014 was.

And no, Gods of Fate, that is not a challenge being issued.