Last month, for a couple of reasons, I was looking back in the archives, and realised it’s now just over a decade since Herself and I broke apart.
Obviously things have changed a lot in that time, and some of it’s been tough, but in general it’s been positive.
Time flies, and all that jazz.
Back in March, I wrote about my starting to get back into archery after way too long – it’d been a decade or more since I last went, and this year I found a local(ish) club and went through their ‘beginners’ process (for insurance purposes etc.) before getting my bow checked over and slightly updated. In a spectacularly piss-awful piece of timing, I got that done on the same day that lockdown was announced. Bugger.
Fortunately, the club has its own field, so it’s been possible to use it during the lockdown. I had to sort out a first induction meeting (to establish that I knew their rules and so on) and get my membership card, and from there I’ve been able to go on a regular basis.
So far, I’ve been for eleven sessions, and enjoyed pretty much all of them – last week’s one was less good, but that was just weather and environment being a bastard, plus a healthy dose of hubris from having had a really good session the week before, and it all just clustered up into a shitfest.
As it turns out, it seems I’m generally OK at the whole thing. I’ve been taking my time, building up my strength and stamina through the sessions, rather than aiming to be super-competitive or anything.
The thing for me is that I’m good enough. As with a lot of things, I find I don’t have the obsessive side of things, so I lack that desire to do everything exactly the same way, that push for perfection and rigid routine. Indeed, the people who are like that bore and annoy me. I’m doing this primarily for fun – I like the challenge of getting things right and doing well – and it’s another way of building up my strength and stamina, which is fine with me. But no, I don’t think I’ll ever be at the high end of the club’s score table and so on, because I get to the point of “That’ll do”, and it’s enough for me.
But I’ll keep on going, and see how things go.
So, I had some plans for the last twelve months, and it’s time for an update. It won’t make for hugely positive reading…
The list from the post a year ago is as follows.
- Keep on working on losing weight.
This one is a long-term thing, and one I’ve written about before. For me, it’s a struggle – I’ve worked with a number of resources this year so far, and feel better-informed than I was, but there’s still a long way to go. If nothing else, this year so far has eliminated a lot of options and bullshit.
RESULT : Absolutely sod-all difference. Which is both positive (I’ve not gained any) and negative (for fuck’s sake, nor have I lost any)
- Keep on improving fitness/health
Linked to losing weight, I’ve had more success with this one over the last 12 months, but there’s still stuff to do and improve.
RESULT : Fitness and strength have continued to improve, with very few visual clues/hints that it’s happened.
- Continue doing the stuff I enjoy
Various bits here – but basically, do stuff I want to. Not as a “fear of missing out” (“FOMO”) thing, but just as in “I really want to see/do [x]” and doing so. (This is, of course, in direct contrast to ‘doing less’ in the list below, so it’s a bit of a balancing act!)
RESULT : This one’s been a success, actually. Although it’s not been a great year in many ways, at least I’ve kept on living my life and generally enjoying it.
- Be more sociable
I’ve realised this year that I’ve been utterly crap with seeing friends – I’ve been doing a lot of stuff, but at the same time it hasn’t been overly sociable, hasn’t involved going to see friends at all. And that needs sorting.
RESULT : And this one’s been a failure. In fairness, it hasn’t got much worse, but it hasn’t got any better either.
I’m getting rid of some of the longer-running goals. They’re still things I want to work on – I’m not giving up on the plans, just on the having them as goals – but it affects me more when I see my ongoing failure to complete/do/start them year on year.
So I’ll note them here as reminders, but they’re not part of the main “What I’m aiming for” list. See if it works better for me as advisories, rather than as targets/goals. And those reminders are…
I want to do more writing – I’ve got the ideas, but it’s finding the time, inclination and drive to get them actually going. I hope to schedule more in – I’ve also invested in some tools that should allow me to do so – but we’ll see.
RESULT : Nope, hasn’t happened. Even more ideas bouncing round in my brain, and an absolute zero on getting them addressed
- Business plans
As with the writing, I’ve got the ideas, but need to allocate time and energy to getting them to work. In some cases I’m frustrated by time, in others by funding for getting them how I want them. We’ll just have to see how things go.
RESULT : Nope, nor this. Ideas are still there, but I’ve done keck-all with them
- Doing Less
This is kind-of related to the above two – if I could sort my brain out so that ‘doing less’ was better, then I’d hopefully have more time to spend on the writing and business ideas.
RESULT : Nope. Still been an idiot all year and kept busy for about 95% of the time
- Plan Better
And the final one, which controls all of the others – make better plans, notes, and be better organised.
RESULT : Again, Nope. Not even close.
So, all things considered, while it’s not been a bad year per se, it’s also not been a good one. Which also goes to sort of explain why I’ve been crap at getting this organised/written, and why I haven’t yet thought about whether I’m doing this for the coming year, or just sacking it off.
In an ongoing thread, there are times where I realise I really am a silly sod. This is another of those things.
A fair while back, the Cowboy Junkies (one of my all-time favourite bands) announced they were coming to the UK. It had been a fair while since they’d been here last, and even better, it was happening the weekend after my birthday. However, that was also the end of the week I was already booked up to spend in Northumberland, which was a Friday to Friday booking. And they were playing Manchester on the Saturday, and London on the Sunday.
So I figured what the hell, it’ll be a weekend, and booked tickets for both Manchester and London. Well I was up in the area anyway, and the London one was billed as being different to the Manchester one (although that has since changed). So why not? (Other than mileage, of course) I’d drive over from Northumberland to Manchester on the Friday, stay in a hotel overnight, do the gig on the Saturday night, and then drive home afterwards. Easy.
And then the plan changed a bit. When I saw the play Queen Margaret in Manchester, I realised how painless the journey was by train. So instead I figured I could drive home from Northumberland on the Friday – allowing me to get laundry and so on done in the evening and so on. Then on the Saturday I could get the train up, have lunch somewhere new and fancy that had grabbed my attention, then walk down to the hotel, check-in, drop off bag etc., go to the gig, stay overnight on Saturday, train home on Sunday morning, then down to London for Sunday night.
Yes, I’m an idiot, and an absolute loon. But I cut my mileage by taking the train, and improved my own safety by not driving home from Manchester late on a Saturday night. So that, at least, was sensible…
Last year, I signed up for (and started) Cancer Research’s Shine Night Walk in London. I didn’t complete it – various odds and sods conspired to make it impossible without sustaining a lot of damage – and signed up for this year’s one, at the end of September 2018.
I should have been out doing preparation for the last three to six months. Instead, I’m out of shape – with the heat we’ve had this year I haven’t felt at all able to sensibly get out and do the distance walks. I can still beast a seven or eight mile walk with no problems, but the marathon is three or four times that figure.
Right now, it’s five weeks away, so there’s not even any realistic chance I’d have of being properly prepared for it, either.
So I’ve made the decision – I’m not going to go through with it this year. It’s something I do want to do and complete, but trying to do it this year would again likely result in more damage than benefits.
I probably *could* do it – and complete it – but I’d be running the risk of hurting myself in the process, and I’ve done enough of that over the last couple of years.
It’s incredibly annoying, and I’m really pissed off about it – but also I’m acknowledging that it’s the most sensible option for now.
Next year, on the other hand…
One of the reasons (I think) for the current phase of my feeling somewhat flattened is relating to me feeling a bit old currently.
That’s not as in “Oh my God, I’m old” and so on, it’s more just some realisations that I’m no longer the age I am in my self-image. Mentally – and many would say emotionally – I’m nowhere near 46. But this year so far I’ve been feeling older – the fun stuff like new aches, just generally feeling rougher than I have previously. It’s all just a bit wearing, no fun at all, and quite demoralising.
Alongside that, over the first three months I put on some weight, which wouldn’t then easily shift in the usual ways I use. Also quite demoralising.
The final bit of the jigsaw was getting an eye test a couple of weeks back. While the prescription hasn’t changed much, it’s changed enough, and we’re looking at my next set of glasses being varifocals. So yeah, I’m feeling a bit old at the moment.
I’m working on it – and that’ll be a follow-up post to this one – but at least I am working on it, and so far that feeling of being flattened is at least lessening as a result.
- Continue rebuilding the finances, and keep boosting the savings
- Exercise, improve health, lose weight
- Complete September’s walking marathon – ideally in under seven hours. (My target is more ambitious than that, but I’ll be happy with 7 hours)
- Write more. (And ideally complete/publish some)
- Do more of the ideas around my own business
- Get out less. Ideally, some kind of middle-ground between being ultra-quiet/sensible, and the idiocy of the last year
- Look more at some political ideas, and see how that goes. (This one’s the random ‘maybe’ one, I don’t know if anything will happen with it or not)
How did it go?
- Finances : Yeah, not bad. Not at the totals I wanted to be at (which is a familiar theme) but I did what I wanted to, so I’m happy with that one
- Health : Less so. I haven’t gained any weight, but nor have I lost much. Good intentions have been undermined by an utter failure on Number 6, and life getting in the way of things
- Walking Marathon : Failed utterly, as I’ve wittered about at length. But I’m already signed up for the 2018 one…
- Write more : Failed utterly. There are ideas, but as with Health, I’ve been abysmal at doing less, so yeah. Bugger.
- Own Business : Kinda. I’ve written out more of the plans, got some ideas in code, and been looking at other stuff. But actually done? Nope.
- Get Out Less : Also an utter failure. I’ve been out loads, and in many ways have kept even busier than I did in 2015/16 – less Michelin-starred restaurants, but more things
- Politics : Looked at the ideas, but in the current political climate of Brexit and so on, getting involved on that score strikes me as…. less than wise.
So what’s on the list for 2017/18? Well, we’ll cover that tomorrow…