19 January 2019

19 Things in the Year of The Pig

Because it's worked so well in the past (it hasn't) I thought I'd kick this blog reboot off with a list of things I want to achieve in the Year of the Pig.

If previous years are anything to go by I'll update my progress once around eight months in and then do a final recap post approximately nine months after the year has finished and everyone has moved on. These recap posts will mostly consist of me mocking my earlier self - so filled with naive enthusiasm and unwarranted optimism - as I detail all the ways I have failed to complete any of the things I thought I wanted to. However, I'm feeling like this year is going to be different (she says with a naive optimism...). It's going to be different because my list is going to be different; it's going to be realistic. Maybe. I hope.

Here goes:

1. Get back to blogging and writing more in general. I'll count this as a win if I end the year with twelve blog posts and one published article.

2. Related, get back to taking photographs on a regular basis. I'd like to end the year with at least 52 Instagram posts.

3. Read more. Specifically read twenty books in 2019. On reflection twenty seems pretty unlikely to be honest, but I'll give it my best shot. I've kicked off with an absolute pearler - the book of the moment, Boy Swallows Universe. I'm currently halfway through and am completely loving it and missing hours of sleep because of it. (ps. If you're on Good Reads please be my friend! And if you're not on Good Reads and you love reading you should definitely download the app - it's such a good way to keep track of your 'to read' list, as well as providing even more ideas on what to read next.)

4. Do 1SE more consistently. Note 'consistently' not 'everyday'. I know it's meant to be '1 Second Everyday' but this is meant to be a realistic list and I know based on previous years there is zero chance I'll remember to film one second every single day. But I'd like to remember most days.

5. Learn the piano. We have a beautiful piano in our house because the youngest step-son is a pretty accomplished musician. It seems a pity for it not be be used more, and whilst I'm not particularly musical I did play clarinet as a kid and I can sort of read music if I pay attention. I've downloaded the Simply Piano app and whilst it's early days I am completely hooked so far. I plan to keep the momentum going and practice at least four times a week.

6. Get back to properly learning Italian. I've picked up a bit from our travels and the husband talking to me (hence the learning of very useful phrases like Io non sono un polipo for when everyone is expecting you to carry everything, and Potrei mangier un cavil for when you're really really hungry) but I really don't know a lot. I've downloaded an app - +Babbel - and started off strong but then just neglected it. Time to get back to it.

7. Call and message people more. I've found as I get older it's super easy for me to become Ms Hermit and basically restrict my social interactions to my husband, sister, mum and two friends I've had since forever. Which - although mostly ace - isn't always enough. I need to make an effort, get over my phone phobia and initiate things more.

8. Visit my Dad at least once. My Dad lives in Lakes Entrance, about four hours drive outside of Melbourne. I know that's not that far but our trips to Melbourne are always just a few nights and they're packed with catch ups and meetings. It's hard to get away. But, my Dad isn't getting any younger (and neither am I, come to think of it), and I really want to go see him. Also there are some killer op shops to visit along the way, so win-win.

9. Likewise, my Mum has just moved to the Mornington Peninsula, about an hours drive from Melbourne. I know she'll come visit me in Sydney but I want to make sure I take the time to go visit her too. Also - op shops, wineries, hot springs, beaches, fancy restaurants. But mainly it's about visiting my Mum...

10. KonMari every drawer in the house. And my office. I've never read Marie Kondo's books but I've fallen hard for this tiny crazy lady whilst watching her Netflix show. I love her because contrary to popular backlash she is not a minimalist, she just wants us to really appreciate and take care of the things we have. And FYI 'sparking joy' isn't some shallow happiness-at-all-costs mantra, it's more about meaningfulness and emotion (I read somewhere that 'joy' would be better translated as something more like 'jolt'). Anyway, she's ace and I've folded most of my clothing because of her. But I still want to tackle the husband's drawers, and the step-son's. And if I can figure out a way to tidy up my home office, and keep it tidy, that would be amazing.

11. Use my large collection of cookbooks more. And maybe don't buy any more until I've really worked with the ones I've got. Maybe.

12. Related - expand my veg / mainly veg cooking repertoire. The husband has gone from a must eat steak every night kind of guy to a that tofu actually tastes good kind of guy, which is brilliant news for me because I'm naturally veg-leaning anyway. There's only so many times you can have omelette or stir fry for dinner so I'd like to up my veg / mainly veg game.

13. Eat less carbs. I adore carbs but I also realise I am of an age where if I eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks I put on about a kilo a week. Yay. I'm struggling to tame the middle age spread as it is so this year I'd like to treat carbs with a bit more respect. Some very thin and healthy and restrained person I follow on Instagram is doing the one carb a day thing, which seems extreme. I'm thinking two a day might work for me.

14. Eat less sugar. Now, I don't think sugar is evil. I don't think any food is inherently good or bad or virtuous or sinful. However, I would like to have some control over the mid-morning chocolate habit that I've developed. (See also taming the middle aged spread.)

15. Keep up my steps. I have a Fitbit and I love it. (Side note - writing this I'm starting to think technology does actually rule my life...but that's a whole other discussion...). My favourite thing is when it tells me exactly to the minute exactly how little sleep I've had the previous night. But I digress...I've been meeting my step goal almost every day and I keep pushing it up (currently on 12,000). Hoping by the end of the year it's a little higher than that again.

16. Visit the gym at least once per week. Preferably twice, but once is the goal (I told you it was going to be a realistic list). I'm currently using the Sweat app and it's so good (yes, more technology...). Very challenging and with loads of variety.

17. Complete the City2Surf again. It's become a bit of an annual tradition (twice counts as an annual tradition right?).

18. Personally raise $2000 for our local Ronald McDonald House (Sydney).

19. Catch up on three years of photo books. I used to make one for the husband every year. I loved making them and we love looking through them, but I'm a a bit behind. I need to carve out those big chunks of time and just get them done.

And that's it folks - an ambitious but slightly more realistic list of things I want to achieve, personally, in the Year of the Pig. What's on your list this year?

The Reboot

Last week I was strolling the streets of Paddington in the sunshine, feeling a bit flat and thinking about how much I miss doing creative things. Things like terrible embroidery and taking photos just for the heck of it and writing - I really miss writing. I was having a bit of a whinge to myself about the fact I don't have time to do all that stuff anymore...when the other logical, optimistic part of my brain piped up: 'Um, actually these days you do have time! You just choose to spend that time watching clips from The Voice / Ellen / AGT on YouTube or stressing about things that may never happen or doing all the things that aren't really that necessary and probably won't be noticed if you just don't do them.' 

And it's true - we have a really great team at work now, the store is doing pretty well, so I do get days off and I do get snippets of time to myself. I just haven't been making writing and photo-taking and all that stuff a priority. But I want to change that, starting now!

Last time around I said I was just blogging for me, but that wasn't completely true. I was an ex-pat mostly non-working wife at the time and at the back of my head there was always a teensy little thought that I should make something commercial of it. These days I have a very full-time job. There is absolutely no thought of turning any of this into a 'business'. It is just an outlet, for me (Instagram stories can only quash the desire to write for so long...). If anyone out there reads a word or looks at a photo that's completely ace, but not at all necessary. 

So, what am I going to write about? 

Travel, as always. We have three big trips booked this year. Firstly we're heading to Chicago in May and scored a great deal on a round-the-world airfare (half the price of flying direct!) so we'll also spend a few days in Hong Kong and Vienna. Then we have another amazing family adventure booked in July - we've done Antartica, so now we're going in the other direction, to the Arctic. And then towards the end of the year we'll be heading back to Seoul for the first time since we lived there (mainly to replenish my ribbon stash, to be honest...). 

I'll definitely be posting about dachshunds, of course. And family, work, life. And just generally things I love - books, movies, clothes, recipes, people. My goal is to post once a month (I'm keeping it realistic!); we'll see...

Blogging is dead, long live blogging!