2013 in review

Here we are, on the eve on 2014.  The dawning of a new year is upon us and plans have been made to go and get drunk, hug people and generally be merry until we wake up hungover in the morning.

It occurred to me that I haven’t given much thought to my ‘Things To Do in 2013’ for quite a while.  Probably about 6 months at least.  Nevertheless, I thought it’d be a worthwhile exercise to rattle through them and see what (if anything) I achieved in 2013.

Goal:  Lose at least 2St and improve muscle tone.
I weighed myself on a monthly basis up until April 1st, at that point I had lost 8lbs.  Then my scales stopped working.  While I was at my parent’s over Christmas (on Christmas Eve to be precise) I used their scales and weighed 12St 4lbs.  So in total, over the course of 2013 I lost 1St and 4lbs, which, although it’s not the intended 2St, isn’t too shabby really.  Muscle tone wise, I’m not exactly ripped but I’m definitely better at bouldering and I think that’s to do with strength.  In general, a pleasing result.

Goal: Reduce laziness, improve confidence.
Nope, still lazy.  My house is a mess, I don’t get out enough, it turns out I’m terrified of being on stage (more of that later) and I still avoid social contact with people I don’t already know.

Goal: Improve imagination, creativity and knowledge.
This is pretty tough to determine, I still lack an imagination and I struggle with creativity but there may be some small improvements  I have been writing more (blog posts and stories) and I’ve read more than usual this year, although I haven’t read for a while now.  Knowledge is ever expanding, but I don’t think I’ve learned anything spectacularly amazing.

Goal:  Balance outgoings with available funds, reduce outgoings where possible.  Set budgets and stick to them.  Save at least £100 per month.
Now this one, although I haven’t saved £100 per month, I am proud of myself with.  On payday of December, for the first time in who knows how long, I had a positive bank balance.  Pretty much since I finished University, I’ve always been using an overdraft, even if it’s only been £250 for the past few years, but I’m finally out of it and my credit card bill for this month is easily payable.  If I keep up the regime of monitoring my outgoings this means I can probably start to put away some money for nice things soon.

Goal: Improve “seeing skills”, camera skills, lighting skills, post processing skills and begin the process to self justify the purchase of a full frame, pro level camera.
I’ve not done too well with this which is disappointing.  I haven’t been out with my camera nearly as much as I should have.  There’s no way I’m willing to buy myself a new camera, but I have decided on some new glass that I’m saving for (slowly).  The one pleasing thing with my photography this year is that I took some really nice abstract shots in early December, enough to warrant having one printed for my parents to hang on the wall as a Christmas present.

Goal: Improve theory knowledge, technique and ability to play.
Bass guitar is probably the one thing on this list that I did pretty well with.  I’ve been practicing scales, drastically improving my major scale knowledge and theory relating to it.  I haven’t really practiced for 30 minutes each week but I have been picking up my bass and just playing at least once a week.  Also, at the start of the year I joined a band.  I ended up leaving after a few months for various reasons but even so it was an enjoyable experience.  In that time I wrote my own basslines for almost 15 songs, well above the ‘learn 12 basslines’ task I set for myself at the beginning of the year.  We also played 2 gigs, which generally went down well.  Skipping back to the improve confidence goal I set, I managed to get up on stage but bloody hell was I terrified, and in my eyes (or ears I guess) my playing really suffered.  I’d like to try performing live again but I need more practice and a slightly different environment to do it in.

Goal:  Spend time relaxing by doing enjoyable activities, not just sitting in front of a computer screen doing nothing.
Here’s another thing I’ve done well at.  My computer gets turned on a lot less frequently these days, and when it is, it’s normally so I can blog, play games or (as of a couple of days ago) record a podcast.  Granted, I’ve ben spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos and Netflix on my PS3, but I don’t consider this a bad thing, how many people get home and mindlessly watch Eastenders or The X Factor?  I don’t watch live broadcast TV (I don’t want to pay for a TV licence) so I consider myself to have “cut the cord”.  Subscription and streaming services are the way forward, you may be surprised to discover how much fantastic content there is on YouTube, it’s really not just cat videos and people falling over!  My music collection hasn’t increased a great deal, but it has increased, and it doesn’t mean I’m not listening to new music, it’s just not on my computer.  I also haven’t started designing/building a website, but I have spent time rejigging this here blog.  The website is definitely still a thing I’d like to do though.

Looking back on it, I reckon I’ve actually had a pretty good year.  Sure, I haven’t done all the things I’d hoped, but even without thinking about them, I’ve made changes for the better.

As for next year, there’s no big list of things to aim for, all I want is to do the things I enjoy, do them for myself, and do them well.  I’ll still be working on my bass playing, my photography and my web presence.  I have my podcast to work towards and I have some lofty thoughts as to where that could lead.  I just want to move forward in whichever direction is good, that would make me happy.

I hope that you’ve had a good 2013, and whether you did or didn’t, have a great 2014.

Thanks for reading.

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