In no particular order…

The title says it all.

Yesterday I talked about last year, and that ‘keeping trying’ was going to be the theme of 2012, but that I wanted to put some specifics down. This is a list of things, not in any special order or priority, that I want to do, keep doing, or do better this year.

Running has been really good. I have asthma and this year has been a bad one for colds & associated breathing rubbishness, so I’ve not yet hit my 30 minutes / 5 km goal. It’s fair to say I never imagined I’d be the sort of person that tried to talk other people into starting running, but I’m loving it; the endorphin buzz really exists and the difference it has made to my fitness is immense.

Scotland. Not exactly a resolution, but a lot of my goals are tied to a trip we have planned to Ardnamurchan and Morvern in June. We visited every year when I was little, just like my Mum and her brother and sisters when they were small. We’re going to say a proper goodbye to Granddad Tom in some of his very favourite places; places that are very important to our family. What is extra special is that Matt will come, and my brother and his partner, Suzanne. I am so excited to be sharing such a special part of the world with them for the first time. As part of it, we’re going to climb a mountain I first climbed when I was 7! I need to be fit and healthy and have my asthma under control for that. Bein Resipol is by no means a monster peak, but I want to feel good and enjoy it; not fight with my body the whole day. This gives me an extra push when I’m out running, as does the knowledge that fieldwork this year could well be in the mountainous part of our study region.

Image of Castle Tioram by Iain Simpson on Flickr (creative commons license)

I had a lot of fun blogging the first part of my year in Groningen, and then I got caught in a bit of an emotional downspiral. I’ve talked before about not writing when I’m down. I think that instead of not writing if I get blue, I’m going to try writing anyway, just not about the blue bits, if that makes sense? Writing can be an effective distraction for me and if I commit to writing a post (even if it’s a ‘Hey, I ate bitterballen and they were good‘ type post) a week then that’s an easy goal to stick to and something to tick off and say; yes, I did do that, I can do the other stuff. I need to resurrect the 365 project a bit though… which was also fun, but tough not to make very boring. I guess if I try to live more in Groningen, then there will be more to take pictures of.

Living in two places. I need to try harder to actually live in Groningen. I think that’ll get a bit easier when I move closer to the city centre in March and into a much bigger flat; it will be easier for people to come over for dinner, or pop in for a cup of tea. But I also need to be more proactive. So, a listlet on this theme: Say YES to more invitations to do things. Organise more things to do (galleries, museums, bike rides, picnics…) Get better at Dutch. Join a local RPG group or boardgames group. Perhaps join an Am Dram group. Get some structure and routine in my life instead of work, and being at home feeling homesick or guilty that I’m not working! I’m hoping more people can get out to visit (or least make it to Amsterdam like Andy & Kirsty) too, now that I will have a spare room!

… I’d also like to make it back to the UK a bit more this year. So far, I’ve managed one long weekend and then two extended trips and there have been a couple of very long Matt-free periods, which sucked. This means getting organised in advance about time & money, and being willing to be a bit selfish about what I do & who I see when I do come back. If I’m only going to be here for 72 hours there is a limit, and sorry but seeing Matt is top of the list folks… Obviously, that also means on the flipside, when I do make it back for longer, I need to be more organised about seeing people, especially those not in Southampton. After everything with my Granddad, I really want to do a trip ‘up North’ to see family, my dad’s parents in Middlesbrough, and my cousins in Newcastle that I’ve not seen since they were teeny (and one of them is now at uni!).

I’m already failing at one thing I promised myself, and that’s due to a second ‘resolution’ also going a bit wonky. I have my usual gorgeous moleskine diary from Matt. I did a better job in 2011 than I did in 2010 of writing every day, but still only managed about 10 weeks continuous entries. I’ve not written anything yet this year as I got clobbered by a horrible cold on New Years day that has resulted in coughing, sneezing, insomnia and serious body temperature issues. I’d sort of resolved to be less ill this year, but I’m not totally sure how to make that happen. More fruit and veg, more running and less beer and bitterballen seems like a good start, but it sucks being kicked in the teeth by my immune system this early on. I’m off to the Island tomorrow to spend some time with my folks. Ventnor is an inspiring, beautiful place even in bleak and windy January, so I’m committed to not only getting my diary caught up on but also trying to do some writing. I’ll need to take some work over too… which gets me to the last bit.

Work. The keeping trying thing. Yup. Ugh. I’m not going to get caught up in the details but here is a listlet: step back often and see the bigger picture. Think often about why you love this subject. Make decisions based on enthusiasm not fear. Try harder. If it goes wrong, start again. Plan, carefully and stick to your plans. Minimise distractions. Use what you have learned. Write every day, even if it’s a blog post, a vignette in a notebook, a rough idea for a paper or a project. Keep your skills honed.

I guess that’s it! I’m off to pack for my trip to Ventnor (still think of it as going ‘home’… I sometimes wonder how many places it’s possible for me to feel like that about, I have at least 5 ‘homes’!) and Matt is off to play boardgames so I need to get him to pack as well! Be excellent to each other.

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