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.

baseline for new beginnings

New Year’s Eve is an interesting time of the year. It’s kind of similar to Christmas, when everyone seems more cheerful and hopeful. The prospect of a new beginning seems to make NYE feel more special than other days. Although I’m of the opinion that you shouldn’t have to wait until NYE to think about what changes you can make in your life, I do appreciate that NYE is special.

I wanted to write a post about things that have changed or improved in 2014, but then I realised that 2014 isn’t very clearly marked out in my memory. There are things that may have been from 2014, or may have happened late 2013, or just some other random point in time; some of it just blurs together.

It’s fortunate that I have this blog, since I can sort of track certain developments through my posts throughout the year. But there are still things that, for one reason or another, I just didn’t write about, so I thought I’d also use this as a baseline entry of sorts – just something that I can look at come December 31st 2015, and more easily gauge my progress. Since I don’t really want to bore you with details of my life, I don’t mind if you skip this post altogether and find something more interesting to read.

I’m not one to really make New Year resolutions, but I do think about certain goals I’d like to achieve during the new year. This year, I had the idea of asking others for suggestions about good resolutions/goals that I could make, with the logic that if I don’t follow through with it, it’s probably because it was set by someone else. It’s sort of like an emergency exit, but don’t worry – it won’t stop me from trying!

Well, I didn’t end up asking many people (and not many of these people were forthcoming with ideas), but one of our interns suggested that I resolve to do more baking, provided that I bring my cakes to work. This is something that I’m actually open to doing, since I really only started any remotely serious baking toward the end of last year. And I only took one of those cakes to work, so surely it wouldn’t be hard to improve on that. A potential hurdle is that I don’t want to become “the person who brings cake to work” because then everyone will just expect me to bring cake for every occasion. Also, there are already people who bring cakes, etc, and I don’t want to compete with them.

In 2014, I read 12 books. I would say that I read only 12 books, but considering that I don’t actually spend that much time reading (or not as much time as I should, or would like to), I don’t read very fast, and I only finished eight novels in 2013, I reckon 12 is a good number for me. Granted, three of the 12 were pretty short (The Alchemist, The Little Prince, and Hyperbole and a Half (I know some people might not technically count that one)) but even if you take those three out of the equation, it’s still an improvement on 2013. This year, however, instead of aiming for a certain number (although, deep down, I really want to aim for 13+ novels), I want to try to focus more on reading the books that I own or have on loan from friends, rather than picking books up from the library, or buying more books.

Something else that I was pondering while sipping my NYE coffee, was when exactly I stopped drinking lattes, and instead started ordering flat whites. I feel like this change happened in 2014, but can’t be sure. I don’t drink coffee very often (maybe once every few weeks or whenever the fancy takes me (yes, you read correctly – weeks)) so it’s a bit hard to tell. And for the record: regular, full-cream milk, no sugar.

One drink preference that I know changed in 2014 is that of alcoholic beverages: if I feel like having spirits, I now avoid vodka in preference of gin. My experience with vodka is that it’s always mixed with something acidic (lemonade, orange juice, etc), which doesn’t make me feel great. G&Ts are much easier to drink. Note, however, that my alcohol consumption seems to have significantly decreased during 2014, and most of my drinks will be beers/ciders rather than more alcoholic drinks.

On the fitness front, I can’t remember the last time I went cycling (probably towards the end of winter?). I’m not sure if I’ll be able to get back into it again this year, but it’s definitely something that I’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately. I am, however, satisfied with my running (once a week, or at least once a fortnight) amongst other workouts.

We come now, as we inevitably must, to work and study. I’m in dire need of some revision, and hope to write up some quick reference notes this year. I’m also aiming for 80+ CPD points this year (more than the required amount), so it’s probably good that I haven’t committed to reading >12 books as well (I still need a social life too!) As for work itself, vigilance levels have increased to “constant”, and I cannot let it slip from there. Conversely, I think I should take more holidays this year, since I used less than two weeks’ annual leave in 2014.

Gee, this post turned out to be longer than I was expecting. I’m just going to stop here because otherwise I might keep thinking of random/unimportant things to comment on and set goals for, like snacking (need to stop buying muesli/nut bars when we already have 2+ boxes at home) or social media (if I have a positive comment to add, I should just add it – that’s what makes it “social”). I think I did ok overall in 2014 but, you know, time to focus on what’s ahead, which, right now, is bedtime. Goodnight!