new reading (anti-)goals

So it’s pretty much halfway through January now, but I’m going to do this post anyway. Besides, they’re not necessarily 2019-specific anyway, so what does it matter?

Being the reflective person that I am, of course I already thought about what I want to achieve in the new year, what I want to change, and what I want to improve on. I just haven’t gotten around to writing it all down, which has actually made me a bit anxious because I do like having things written down in case I forget or lose sight of something.

Having all this written down — and published here — is, I suppose, also good for accountability. (I have vague recollections of the last time I posted about goals/resolutions, and certain friends would, now and then, ask me how I was going with them, so I really did have to make some regular effort.)

[The original post turned out much longer than I expected, so I’ve split it in three. This post and the second one (which I’ll schedule to publish next week) are about literary and intellectual goals. The third post, about health and fitness, will be published a week after the second one. It actually might work in my favour to stagger these posts like that, since it might serve as a reminder of what I’m supposed to be doing.] Continue reading

adrift

As we enter a new year, and a lot of people are contemplating what they want to achieve, what they want to change, or what they want to keep and nourish; I, quite honestly, feel a little lost. But maybe not so much lost as “adrift” or “suddenly aware that I’ve been adrift for a while, riding the gentle waves of a lake, no longer sure what shore I left from or which bank I need to go to”.

Of course, there’s nothing inherently wrong with the situation – there’s no storm brewing, no predator beneath the surface of the water, no structural problem with the boat, or shortage of supplies – but I feel a little adrift. Continue reading

non-significance

I’ve come to realise that I have a bad habit of attaching significance to things that aren’t all that significant. A prime example is New Year’s. I mean, I guess a lot of other people attach a whole lot of unwarranted significance to the passing from one year to the next, but it’s just the easiest example.

Continue reading

sixteen

At the end of last year, I wrote a post about my 2015 goals, and how I did reasonably well with them, and about what I wanted to carry over to, or aim for, in 2016. You can go and find that post if you want, but I’m not linking to it from this post because I realised that I didn’t really try very hard at these “goals” this year.

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baseline changes

After posting my self-judged report card for 2015, I remembered that I’d actually written a post at the start of the year that was meant to be my baseline for this assessment.

I already addressed things like reading, fitness and CPD, but there were a few other items that I didn’t assess in that other post.

First things first: my only kind of “official” resolution for 2015 was to bake more. I don’t even need to think about this to know that I completed it successfully. Alongside cakes and cookies, I also made scones and brownies and truffles – so many truffles! (To be fair, truffles aren’t baked, but I still brought them in to work, so I’m gonna let them count toward the total – not that I need them to, and not that I’m actually counting)

I also had paragraphs about drinks: both the caffeinated and alcoholic varieties. I feel like I’ve been drinking coffee more often in 2015. Still not a daily or even a weekly habit, but more often the thought occurs to me, and I think “why not”. I still only drink flat whites. Still full cream milk, no sugar. I don’t think this will ever change, but I can be fickle sometimes, so who knows…

As to the other drink, I feel like 2015 has been a year for beer. I know a few friends who brew their own beers, and I’ve been to a few “tasting” events to try craft beer, and the variety is sometimes quite impressive. I think I’ve moved on from pale ales to IPAs and amber ales, and I do like the occasional chocolate or coffee stout.

In my baseline post, I also mentioned cycling. In all of 2015, I think I went cycling maybe twice, so that certainly hasn’t improved from 2014. I don’t have high hopes of it changing for 2016 either, especially now that I’m more inspired to run (particularly after reading Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running). But I’ve decided that this doesn’t matter. As long as I don’t let my fitness slide, it doesn’t matter.

hit the ground running

I can hear the NYE fireworks from my home. We’re not close enough or in a good enough position to be able to see them too, but that’s alright.

There seems to be an increasing trend of people not wanting to go out for NYE. Either that, or it’s just the people I know “getting old”. It seems that people just don’t care as much about New Year’s as they care about Christmas. Not that people stay out late for Christmas, but there’s more of an inclination to make some sort of effort to be around loved ones and celebrate. For NYE, however, a lot of people kind of just shrug it off as “just another night”.

I still like NYE. I might not go to parties or go out drinking or watch the fireworks, but I still like NYE. It’s the general vibe, and all the symbolism, you know?

It’s kind of interesting, though, that if there was some global (or even just national) consensus that the New Year would start on, say, the 1st of May, then April 30 would suddenly be a hundred times more significant. Yeah, I know, that’s kind of stating the obvious, but what if we decided to extend the length of one “year” to 24 months? Let the Earth do two laps of the Sun before we change calendars. The significance is not in the day itself, but in what it’s signposting.

Ok, enough waffling, let’s get serious (kind of).

I’ve been reading Haruki Murakami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running this last month. It’s not really an autobiography, but a “running memoir” of sorts (or just a collection of his thoughts). I’m really enjoying it because, although he mostly writes about running, he also talks a bit about writing (in relation to running), and the whole thing reads like a blog, so it’s essentially combined three of my favourite things – running, writing, blogging.

I also like that it’s inspirational. Murakami kind of made it clear from the outset that he wasn’t aiming to teach others or inspire them, but I’m sure he’s achieved that anyway. At the very least, he’s inspired me. I’ve still got about 15 more pages to read before finishing it, but I feel like it was a good book to end 2015 on, and perfect for greeting 2016 with.

In this book (which I’m just going to refer to as Running because the actual name is too long), Murakami also talks about his training and preparation for running marathons and triathlons. When he talks about this part of running, he talks about pushing his body to the limits – to its limits. He also talks about his own character and how it suits running. And although he never talks about NYE (unless it’s in the last 15 pages that I haven’t read yet), Running inspired my choice of NYE activity: running.

Pretty much the only thing I deadset wanted to do for NYE was go for a run. In effect, reading about Murakami preparing for and running marathons really made me want to run. And to push myself to my limits.

The run was completed in the early evening (up and down one of my favourite routes along the river), and now I’m completely exhausted. But,  you know what, I feel fantastic. It’s a deep sort of satisfaction.

Ok, I’m probably way too exhausted to keep writing this right now. Can’t wait to write a post on Running when I finish reading it, though. Might even give it multiple posts.