Thursday, 10 January 2013

Looking Forward, Looking Back


Even though I have my 25 Before 23 project to be working on, I can't help but be inspired by all the new years posts appearing (or resurfacing, as I'm getting through my unread items) in my reader. The fact that I've gone from having The Project continually hanging over me to having virtually no obligations also gives me the time to think about such things, and the fact that I'm in the process of moving into my first "professional" (i.e. non-student) flat gives me food for thought. I almost feel ready to draft a new list for Before 24!
Instead I think I'll write down some of my swirly thoughts here, loosely grouped by theme.

Purpose - I'm quite at ease with having no particular feelings about what I want to do with my life. I could angst away about not having a passion but in the end that won't help me find one. Now at least I feel like the world is my oyster and I'm in the enviable position of being able to do just about anything (so long as it doesn't require a degree I haven't done...). I think I'd like to be kept busy. I don't want to be ridiculously loaded and drink moet in a diamond jacuzzi or anything, but I would like to be comfortable and to be able to afford to do the things I like. My plan is to find something to try, temping seems like a decent option for the immediate future and for seeing how I get on with things. Generally I think writing down what I want to do is a good first step to doing it, especially since my mind tends to be a bit all over the place.

People - Write to them! See them! Enjoy their company! Be good to them! I count myself lucky to not have the sort of anxieties that might stop me from getting in contact with people simply because I haven't done in a while. One can always start up again, there's no rule that says it has to be strange or awkward or that you have to force it if it is. Before Christmas I sent Christmas cards to a few people I hadn't spoken to in a while and got very positive responses which was lovely. I want to write to my cousins too, now that my Granny is gone I'm sure we're all getting significantly fewer letters and I'd like to be closer to them all. My Granny was a great letter-writer and had friends all over the place, including one who she'd met once as a young child on a visit to New Zealand and kept in touch with until she died at the age of eighty. She really was such an inspiration.
Also on this theme I'd like to make sure I'm on top of present buying/making. It's less stressful for me to be prepared and, more importantly, it means people get better presents. I tend to have the best ideas for thoughtful presents at completely the wrong times of year so I will try to either a) write them down or b) buy/prepare them early. It won't cost me much but I know how lovely it is to receive a really good present as my Mum is so good at them.

Things - Downsize. I've really come round recently to the idea of having fewer things. Going through all my possessions has made me realise how much I have that I don't use simply because I have so much that I never get to it. I'd really like to cut down and appreciate and use what I have. I think that my life would actually be fuller for being emptier of stuff. I was  very (and still am somewhat) sentimental and had a terribly hard time throwing things away when I was younger. Coming back home after university has given me some separation from the little girl who is horrified by the thought of throwing things away and stashes everything and I've got rid of a lot of things. There was a lot that was obvious junk or too old or broken or that I'd never use again and now I'm on to the more difficult part - trying to see through more recent attachments to recognise things that I ought to get rid of. I really like the idea of optimising what I have so that everything in my wardrobe, in my bookcase, in my jewellery box, is something that I really love and would miss if it weren't there. Today for example I moved on a top I used to wear all the time which is now too small, and a cardigan I loved that I must admit is too tight to go over anything, bobbly all over, and made of sweaty acrylic.
I love my things, but I know I'd love them more if they were more carefully curated.

Doing - I'm glad I included watching films, reading books, and visiting places in my 25 Before 23 list as it reminded me that I really do like doing these things! I'd also like to go to more local events like Ignite, Girl Geek Dinners, and evenings at The Cube, and to go to gigs. I'm also intending to go to the Café Kino Stitch 'n' Bitch next time I can. The Bristol Flickrmeets have been a bit sparse lately because of group politics but I'd like to get back into that and also to make the most of my last year of Photosoc membership. The Boy and I were given National Trust memberships by his parents again and now that we both have weekends we should be able to make the most of it (public transport / car hire prices permitting). I'm sure I've forgotten other things but there's plenty to start with there.
Soon I'll have my own kitchen and be freed from the restrictions of cooking for my family, so probably my inspiration will immediately dry up and I'll live off soup and bread. I'll try not to though. I want to continue my ploy of making sure I always have lettuce, cucumber & tomatoes and thereby making salad my default option. It might be tricking myself into eating healthily but at least it works! I'm also excited about living closer to Gloucester Road and it's greengrocers, proper butcher, bakery, and asian food shops. I'm sure I won't be living an idyllic wicker-basket-toting lifestyle but I'll make an effort to go and buy my food there when I can.

Making - I've been crocheting up a storm recently (a little secretively as there's a present in the works) and I know that I like to have a project on the go, so I'd like to earmark various bits from my newly-reorganised stash for various things and have a next project lined up after I finish each one. I reckon I'm more likely to finish projects I've thought through and got excited about. My re-organisation involved the ripping back of a few dead-end knitted things and the discovery of possible moth symptoms, so currently everything is residing in the freezer and a box of ziploc bags is waiting to take on moth-protection duty.
I'd also like to have an on-the-go sketchbook so I can give myself time-out to be creative - I really enjoyed my art therapy sessions and valued the headspace it gave me in the midst of busy university life. Alongside this I've got heaps of accumulated stuff to arrange into scrapbooks - I'm in danger of turning this into a terrible chore in my mind. Hopefully the increase in floorspace in my new flat will give me the chance to get it all out and sort it into categories or time periods as currently it spans ages two to twenty-two and is housed in shoeboxes.

Phew. I'm not making any resolutions as I have my list, and I don't want to set myself up for failure. I know my lifestyle is going to be all over the place for a while before it settles down and acquiring a job will obviously severely limit the time I have for other things but I'm glad I've written down my good intentions. Hopefully I'll remember to refer back to them when I'm wondering what to do with myself!
How do you fare at making & keeping resolutions? Do you find that writing things down helps? Any other tips/tricks?


  1. I've never found specific resolutions useful, but free writing about what I wanted to change has helped me to clear my thinking; that kind of ends up reading like this post. Sounds like you're on the right track, anyway, and I highly recommend temping until you find something you like - it worked for me!

  2.  Thanks :) Hopefully it'll give me the confidence in my own abilities that I need to apply for more interesting sounding things too.


Yay :)