Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Contemplation: Ring out the old, bring in the new...*

First and foremost... HAPPY NEW YEAR to you!

Hope you had a splendid night last night (whether that involved partying until the early hours, having an early night or seeing in the new year drinking Bucks Fizz and watching a bit o' Gary Barlow on t'telly which I did...).

It's a tradition for me to kick off the new year by watching the annual Vienna Philharmonic concert on New Year's Day (and I'll probably find myself in front of The Sound of Music later, I'm such a creature of habit...).

This year's didn't disappoint (ballet costumes by Vivienne Westwood, and the concert itself conducted by the legendary Daniel Barenboim). Oh and I spied Julie Andrews in the audience so watching TSOM later feels right somehow. One of the items on my ever-shifting bucket list is to see the concert 'live' one year but apparently it involves tickets being drawn from a lot. Best start prospecting a few Austrian lords or something instead. You know, as a back-up plan.

I'm not one for strict resolutions. In fact, it appears that if I name them thus, there's a less-than-likely chance I'll adhere to them at all. I've just hunted through the annals of the quirky brunette and uncovered last year's resolutions. Let's review, shall we?

1. Walk the MoonWalk in a considerably shorter time than we did in 2012!

Nope. The ridiculous toilet queues put paid to that. But we did raise more money for the charity than we did last year! I'd chalk that up as a success.

2. Spend less time on Facebook and more time creating, writing letters, working on the novel.

I started rubber-stamping, and I sent my first novel off to four agents! Not sure I spent less time on Facebook though...

3. Increase my cooking repertoire -- back to the Come Dine With Me afternoons!

Nope -- so that's one to reconsider this year instead!

4. Stop complaining so chuffing much.
Nope... again, one to reconsider this year!

5. Sort out finances once and for all.

YES! I finally consolidated my assets and have been overdraft-free since April. It's been a very hard slog as, to quote Lily Bart in the film adaptation of 'The House of Mirth', "life is expensive". And I have a stationery-purchase habit I rather need to curb. But I'm determined to be far more financially mature this year. After I've bought that hat, of course.

6. Get Beebop Badges off the ground as a sideline.

YES! exists and has made me a little bit of money! Now to declare it as a business proper. Wish me luck...

7. Go back to visit my friend in Sweden.

Alas, nej, this did not happen. Finances, though more stable, were hugely prohibitive. 

8. Read at least 24 books in a year if not more. (I did read more than that this year but I like to have a clear goal!)

YES! I finished my 40th book of 40 on the morning of NYE.

9. Blog more frequently!

After a small crisis in blogging confidence, I started the Sunday Summary in October this year and I have to say, I think it's worked in keeping me writing regularly, even if what I do write is fairly inane.

10. Tone up a bit. Cut out carbs. Generally stop eating so much cr@p. Go back to Nordic Walking.

I feel I've achieved this in small parts but with swimming in lieu of walking -- I did indeed go back to Nordic Walking but had a very offputting and muddy Nordic Walk back in February. 

I have of course promptly undone all the hard work in a week and a half of festive indulgence but hey, isn't that what resolutions are for...?

This year I'm taking a different stance on resolutions. 

I'm not even going to call them resolutions, I'm calling them promises, promises to myself (and to the people in my life -- the complaint about the trains is specifically for my workmate Andrea who is justifiably over my perpetual complaints about our rail infrastructure and its shortcomings!). 

I've worked up my promises in a pseudo/quasi-infographic style to make them easier to digest:

A couple of words on these: that third promise, to rein in my jealous streak, is something I probably should have done on the exit from primary school some 24 years ago.

Sadly, I haven't. 

I plan to work on that. Jealousy is not a pretty trait.

And that final promise, not to do anything I don't want to do may seem harsh (and just a little petulant) but is in direct reaction to the amount of time I spent last year defending my life choices to numerous friends not to mention myself. I don't want to be defending myself any more. 

I'm 35. I choose fun and happiness!

I'm also going to set up a Flickr stream set for my photos-a-day, which will appear on this 'ere blog at a later date.

I leave you with the infographic that inspired mine (very heavily, I admit):

{via here}

* lyrics from The Perfect Year | from 'Sunset Boulevard'

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