2018/19 – What Happened?

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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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…

  • Writing
    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.

Table for One

This year, I’ve had a plan about going out and eating in restaurants on my own. It was a project for the year – and it’s been quite successful.

I’ve always had an insecurity about eating alone in restaurants – some people are like it about going to the cinema alone, or to the pub on their own. For me, it was restaurants.

But I’m really bad at having insecurities like that, and tend to face them head on. So I challenged myself to do more of it, to get comfortable (or at least familiar) with walking into places and just getting a table for one.

I started the year the way I wanted to go on, with New Years Eve in Cambridge as a single. It was a menu I wanted to try, so why not?

There’s been plenty of other places along the way – standard pubs etc., burger-based restaurants (no, not Mcdonalds!) and proper places, as well as Michelin-starred ones. It’s been a varied old year, and I’ve done a lot of solo dining.

It’s been a successful project, I think. It’s still not something I like doing, asking for a table for one, but it doesn’t worry me anywhere near as much, so that makes it a success.

I’ll carry on into 2016 with the same thing – there’s places already booked that I’m really looking forward to, and I’m sure there’ll be many others on a more randomised basis.

Self Doubt

Over the last two years or so, one thing I’ve noticed more and more is that I doubt myself far more than I ever used to.

Ten years ago, back when I was living in Manchester, I’d make a decision and stick with it – and sometimes those decisions wouldn’t work out, or they’d be based on flawed assumptions (god knows I made a fair few of those over the years) But most of the time they worked out, things grew from there, and I didn’t regret any of it. Again, sometimes mistakes were made – but they were based on what felt to be the best thing at the time. I did some truly idiot shit along the way – the ill-fated six month period of daily commuting round-trips by train between either Manchester and London, or Bath and London would probably be the lowest point in that particular theme. But I still did it – I’d made the decision to do so, and continue to do so, I reaped what I’d sowed and decided upon, and that was fine. (I pretty much had a breakdown at the end of it, but well, them’s the breaks)

Over the last decade though, that self-confidence (or at least confidence in one’s decisions) has been rocked a few times, and in some cases to the point of pretty much capsizing the entire damn thing. (I know, I’m kind of mixing metaphors. Live with it)  And it’s had a lasting effect, which I’m not entirely pleased about. I’m still working on it, aiming to build back up on that, along with everything else.

I’m still OK on a lot of things – if I’ve said I’ll meet someone anywhere, I’ll do it. If it involves others, those decisions are solid, and it doesn’t matter what happens, I’ll do my damnedest to be where I said, when I said.

The real crux though is when it’s something involving just me. It doesn’t have to be travel, or an event, it can be anything really. (The Peter Gabriel gig this week being a case in point) Because it’s only me doing it, my brain can descend into a spiral of second-guessing itself, a whole range of “Do I want to go?” internal questions, a bundle of “What If”s, “Yeah But”s, and “Well…”s.  I hate it, it annoys me so much. I’ve decided to do something, I want to just go on and do it. It’s the run-up, the cue time, the delays that bring about the doubts. [NOTE : When I talk about internal conversations, I’m not meaning ‘voices in my head’ as such, or any other inclement sign of madness]

I don’t know what’ll fix it – or even if anything will.  I’m working on rebuilding it, on knowing that when I’ve decided to do something, it’s the right thing to do – even if it turns out, with hindsight, to have been fucking stupid.  But sometimes at the moment it’s easier to give in to the self-doubt, to let it win, to take the easier and quieter route – which is, for me, most definitely the road less travelled.

Sometimes I think I’ve fought for so long, battled everything about myself and my life for so long, maybe I’m just tired of fighting for a while.

[NOTE having read that last bit back, and realised alternative interpretations, this does not mean I’m giving in/up, or aiming to do anything stupid.]


This afternoon/evening, I’m supposed to be going to see Peter Gabriel at the O2. I’ve booked the afternoon off work, I’ve paid for the parking at the O2. As an aside, I always feel that parking cost is an iniquitous extra, but such is life – while it might be feasible for me to get there by public transport, it’s completely unfeasible for the return journey.

I will go

But right now, my brain’s wavering and havering, thinking “Yeah, but…” on a number of reasons, a range of logical excuses to not go. Tired, distance, time, return time, work – it’s all in there, all making me doubt.

I will go. I want to go.

I just wish my brain would be more certain, and shut up a bit.