So I started the year by listening to an audiobook sent to me by a friend. That’s something I’ve not done before, well, not since I was a child anyway (and things have moved on a bit from a cassette tape of Gerry the Giraffe – which by the way had an awesome singy bit in it that I still remember now) and the point is that I actually quite enjoyed it.
This has got me thinking about what else I enjoy, or don’t yet know that I enjoy but perhaps might. At the beginning of last year, I’d totally lost myself thanks to rampant hypothyroidism, which had gradually taken over from years of pregnancy, sleep deprivation and looking after small children to render me practically automatonic in the sense of basic functionality for (only-just-about) surviving. In the last year, once successfully medicated, I’ve remembered what living is actually all about. And it’s glorious! Yes, even the sardine like tube trains, the ongoing relentless early starts for work (I’m not a morning person) and the small whinging people who will only eat beige things.
Obviously though, I don’t know about enjoyment of things I’ve not done yet, so that’s why, rather than coming up with a whole list of my own goals (as per the taggy requirements thanks to the lovely Lucy who writes Mrs H’s Favourite Things) I’ve asked other people to set me some instead (with a couple of my own thrown in for good measure). Work colleagues, family and friends have all made suggestions. Some are more friendly than others. Hopefully all of them will render life more interesting, and eventually, through whatever way they work out, lead the path to self-fulfillment. Or at least, give me an interesting time on the u-turn around in it.
And here they are:
1. Sort out your [my] shit
Not in a literal sense (I am assuming this, I didn’t clarify). It’s true that, for a number of reasons, I do have a lot of stuff. It’s not that I’m particularly materialistic. More that I was brought up not to waste things, and to hold on to items that might be useful in the future. Having very little money in my former years, not having to spend a quid or two replacing things that had been passed on and were then needed again was important. It’s not necessarily the case that I want to spend money replacing things now either, but at the same time it’s not nice living in a house full of randomness which, if I’m honest, never manages to yield the things I’m looking for when I want them anyway. So I’ll be sorting, passing things on to charity, freegle or the relevant bin, and then hopefully sitting around in a lot less figurative shit.
2. Drink and review the alphabet
As in – drink something that starts with each letter of the alphabet, and then tell people what I think about it. I think? I’m quite tempted to do this with just spirits (and most likely generally vodka or gin) as I’m not a big beer drinker and that amount of wine would be a bad idea going on past experience. I’m fairly sure I can do most, if not all, of the alphabet that way. Or I will at least enjoy trying.
3. Check emails at least weekly and actually respond to them
Yep, I’m guilty of the read, and ‘oh I’ll respond later’ thing.
NO! RESPOND NOW! (that’s a reminder to myself. JUST DO IT).
4. Go to an underground doom metal gig
Specific, but I like it. I also like metal, and gigs, so I reckon this will tick off the enjoyable criterion. (Not so sure about DOOM, but as long as it doesn’t result in doom for me specifically, then I’m ok with it).
5. Pet an animal I’ve never seen before in real life
I’m going to Singapore and New Zealand this year, so it’s entirely possible I can find something that’s friendly, and pettable, and never before seen. Maybe. If not, I’ll just paint my cats and cheat. Basically, stroking things has been shown to lower stress levels, so I figure it’s a definite wellbeing plus whatever I end up stroking, right?
6. Call the ‘how am I driving number’
Or, more specifically, and with no paraphrasing:
‘When you see a commercial vehicle on the road with a “how am I driving, call 01468555” sign in the back, call it and say they’re doing great’.
Presumably calling the actual number though, and not that specific one. And also presuming that they actually are doing great, in a pay it forward kind of way. Not rewarding bad driving with false platitudes.
7. Stop spending money
Difficult. But possible, as long as it comes with the addendum ‘unnecessarily’. There are some things money needs to be spent on. There are some things that aren’t needed, but are still good for general wellbeing. And then there are ALDI specialbuys. A new ALDI just opened three minutes from my house. Oh, and there is a Hobbycraft next to it.
This one could be tricky…
8. Paint a painting
But not just any painting. One that is good enough that someone will hang it in their house. Also, the someone can’t be me. Or anyone else in my house.
More of a challenge than a goal, but… I’m up for it.
9. Perfect a regional accent
I’m quite good at picking up accents when I’m actually in the region involved, not convinced how well this is actually going to work unless I move to, say, Manchester. Or wherever. Actually I need to decide on a region first. Definitely NOT Wales (which I also note is better defined as a country than a region, and therefore may be automatically disqualified).
10. Travel on every tube line, end to end
I read a book about this once. It’s possible to do it in a day. I won’t be doing it in a day. Maybe three days?
11. Grow the board games club
As in, the one I started running last year. People are coming already but more people and more games would be AWESOME. Not entirely sure how to do it… watch this space!
12. Do more swimming
More specifically a) swim in the serpentine and b) swim the equivalent of the distance between my house and the Woods at Hadley Down in West Sussex [RANDOM!] which is, if you’re wondering, 110km. There’s a werewolf festival there apparently – although since I’m only theoretically swimming there (especially since I can’t swim through roads and stuff) I guess I won’t be going to it.
13. Recreate famous photos
Same place, same pose, same stuff. No idea exactly which photos! Perhaps album covers? Hmm.
14. Eat differently
Not in terms of how I actually eat (usually quite badly, using my fork as a shovel. I’ll not be winning any etiquette awards) but more in terms of what the food being eaten is.
So, I will attempt to expand my diet in interesting ways and try things never before tried. And also entice other people to do the same.
15. Play Carcassonne IN Carcassonne
It’s up there with all the big favourite games (and I just got an expansion for it, whoop!) but I usually just play it in the pub. I expect Carcassonne has pubs – actually I know it has inns, because: Inns and Cathedrals expansion, heh – but I’ve never played it in one actually there. So I will. Hopefully it won’t create some weird looping alternate reality thing.
And as the French poet Gustave Nadaud said:
I’m growing old, I’ve sixty years;
I’ve labored all my life in vain:
In all that time of hopes and fears
I’ve failed my dearest wish to gain.
I see full well that here below
Bliss unalloyed there is for none.
My prayer will ne’er fulfilment know
I never have seen Carcassonne,
I never have seen Carcassonne!
Obviously I’m nowhere near sixty, but may as well get these things done sooner rather than later 🙂
16. Appear on the BBC
It’s been a while since I last did – and if I’m honest, one of those appearances (Countryfile) I’m pretty sure it was just my bottom gracing the screen. Maybe this time I can use my face instead.
17. Talk more in meetings
I’m a reflector theorist. That means I like to observe, think about things, and only speak if I really have something I feel needs saying. However, that’s not the way the rest of the world works. Often people think I’m a) stupid b) asleep c) disinterested d) someone who is in the wrong room. Speaking up, and doing reflection in real time could have benefits. I will try to give it a try.
18. Catch a fish, cook it and eat it
There are plenty of fish in the sea, so I’m told. And lakes, and rivers. I saw the salmon run in Scotland once, at Pitlochry, so I know that to be true. What I’m getting at is that I think this will be feasible, and also I enjoy eating fish, so WIN.
And that’s it.
I’ll let you know how I get on.