Everyone is doing it at the moment so why not jump on the bandwagon? Now is the perfect time to look back on what has happened, what I have learnt over the last year and look ahead to what 2018 can bring me. I was mainly inspired by the comments on this post over on Cup of Jo; this is a great blog with all sorts of varied articles but the best bits are always the comments. There was a fabulous one done following the Weinstein scandal and the comments really inspired me and made me think about my own experiences so I highly recommend checking out that blog. But enough of that and on to the point of this post.
Thanks to my blood clot I’ve learnt a few things these past 18 months mainly about looking after myself. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean I follow them to the letter but at least I’m aware of them! I’ve had a few other health issues this year as well that could be related to stress so I’m taking a good look at work and play in my life and trying to balance them out. I’ve also got things that I’ve wanted to do for a long time and some of my friends have really inspired me this year so it’s about time I listed them out and got a plan of action going for them.
As far as work is concerned it just isn’t worth stressing over. I still mostly enjoy my job but it has become a lot tougher this last year and like any company they are so wrapped up in making profit that the people on the ground floor get overlooked. We’ve had a lot of redundancies and a lot of people leave due to stress. I enjoy working with (most of) my colleagues and don’t particularly wish to leave, especially as my plans for improving my home life may revolve around a relocation within my job. I’m not in a high enough position to be stressed and certainly don’t get paid enough so when I come home I forget about work. This doesn’t help much when I’m actually there however so I need to learn to say no to people this year and just be more honest when things are getting on top of me.
I do eventually want to get into a more fulfilling job and am considering a degree regarding this but it won’t be something that happens any time soon. At one time I wanted to be a teacher and whilst I think I’d still enjoy this as I love training people at work I’m now leaning more towards some kind of councilling or therapy. Ideally I’d like to be able to help people cope with bad news as there was a lack of people who understood when I was told about the seriousness of my DVT so I’d like to be able to help others with coming to terms with this kind of thing.
On another work-related note but more personally I need to work on my nail polish shop more and with that, this blog. It’s a tiny business for me that has yet to turn a profit (go on, go help me out, buy something!) but it’s something I enjoy and I truly love the A England polishes that I sell. If I don’t put the effort in to promoting it and doing my reviews I can’t expect people to find it and want to buy anything. I can also pick up an old hobby of mine with web design as part of this; this was something I used to love doing and even took courses in so it shouldn’t feel like too much work.
On the ‘play’ side of things I need to take more time for myself. I’ve already started this the past few months by meeting new friends, reconnecting with old ones and spending quality time with them so I hope to continue this. It’s far too easy these days to let things drift off into a meaningless “I liked your post on Facebook and wished you a happy birthday” kind of friendship and never actually talk to or spend time with someone. Before you know it you haven’t seen or even interacted with someone for years which is just a shame.
I now listen to myself and my own feelings more and that has made me realise a few things that I want as well such as the fact I’ve been homesick for the north for the past 11 years that I’ve been down in the Midlands. This is something I’ve broached with Niall and am waiting to see what his thoughts are on moving up there. If he says no then I’ll have some thinking to do but we can at least visit although it isn’t the same.
I also want to finally move forward in things that I want to learn or practise. I spend far too much of my spare time just video gaming. Obviously this is something I love or I wouldn’t do it so much but these past couple of years I got back into reading and am so much more relaxed on a night after spending time with a good book. I used to do a lot of arts and crafts and still love it on the rare occasions I pick it up so I want to get back into drawing and sewing (both cross stitch/tapestry and also creating soft furnishings and clothing). More varied hobbies will let me appreciate and enjoy them more and keep my skills honed as well.
As part of my fight against stress I want to have Saturdays as “Caz days” that are for me to just do what I want and take time out for me so I could happily spend a few hours at an animal shelter volunteering my time or head out to the countryside to take walks. Of course some Saturdays I may be in the mood to just relax and game whilst talking to Niall or talking with friends and that is fine too, they will be all about doing what I want at that time. If I decide I want to do a huge clean of the flat then that will work for me too!
Right in the middle of the work and play categories comes educating and improving myself. One of these involves improving my health and fitness which is going to get its own post here, the other comes from a few of my friends who have really inspired me over the last year by working hard on their own education. I’ve got a lot of things I want to learn and whilst I’m not foolish enough to think I can do them all in one go I am going to list them all here to keep a record of what I want to work on.
- French – I don’t like the language but with my parents being retired there I really should learn it. I’ve made some progress in it but it all seems to disappear from my brain whenever I am faced by an actual French person!
- German – the language I did at school and I actually really like it. Not going to confuse myself by picking it up again until I’m confident in French though.
- Gaelic – I love Scotland so this is just a little random thing I’ve always thought I’d like to do. I have a Gaelic dictionary but that’s about it.
- Driving – I really don’t have any desire to be able to drive or own a car but I recognise it’s useful and it would be nice to be able to hire one so we could go on holidays to the middle of nowhere in Scotland and get out to various walks.
- Keyboard – My grandad was a piano player until he lost his sight and I used to love sitting with him. He taught me a couple of things and it is something I’d like to be able to do. Considering I can touch type now I think I stand a good chance of picking this up again and learning quite quickly.
- Guitar – Something I started when I first moved down here but then gave up on. I still have an electric and an accoustic so there is no excuse but it will take second place to the keyboard.
That’s a lot to learn! Driving of course will cost money but is also probably a relatively quick thing to do whereas the languages and instruments will be longer term commitments. My plan is to practise keyboard for 10/15 minutes most days and I have some books to go through to help me learn it; my grandad used to practise every evening for half an hour without fail. I have some great audio lessons by Michel Thomas to learn both French and German with and have already been through the French one a few times so I really need to just pick it up again and perhaps find some way of practising it more regularly than simply visiting twice a year.