Hello internet, long time no words. It's getting hard to do this introspective stuff now that more people are reading. People I know in the flesh. It was easier when I could just talk about what city I was in this week, and it was easier when this was largely anonymous, but I think the navel-gazing is one of the more useful things I get out of dribbling along here, otherwise all these thoughts are just transient and there's nothing to make me remember them, let alone to hold me to them. I hope you'll bear with me...but if not, you can sneak out now and I'll never know.
Someone asked me about my New Year's resolutions, and whether I was going to rank myself on last year's, like I did the year before. Well, I only had one resolution last year, and I'd say I did about 95% on that one, so that's not bad, hey? You don't get to know what it was though, sorry.
I only made the one resolution last year, because I knew I was going to do a bunch of stuff I wanted to, without having to make a list, or even plan it much beyond 'get on a plane, and see what happens...'. I did achieve a lot in 2008, though I would not say it was a good year. In fact, let us be clear: 2008 was mostly pretty dreadful, but that's not to say I'd trade it in. I'm just trying very hard to remember that it was unfun and to take what lessons come from that, rather than getting sucked in by the revisionist synthetic happiness that my brain's now manufacturing. You know, it's hard to tell people 'oh yeah...Paris sucked'. Because more often than not you get the look that says 'Really? That doesn't sound right. Are you sure you weren't just doing it wrong?'. And then I feel like apologising for being a failed bohemian. Well, whatever, sometimes it's as hard to go against the grain as with it, and I'm fighting to hold onto what was real about 2008. 'Fighting to hold onto what was real...?'. My God. Did I just write that? I can be so pretentious sometimes. Anyway. What is my point? Hmmm. Despite 2008 being largely a sinkhole of blergh, I did achieve a lot and without resolutions. I moved overseas, lived in a city where I knew no-one, learnt another language to a practical standard, saw a fair bit of the world, worked out what I want to do with my life. So I guess I would count 2008 as an 87% successful year, even though I would probably give it a 20% on the happiness-o-meter. But that's ok. It's not all beer and skittles.
And now, despite being unemployed, single, poor and generally not having most of the tangible things I'd like, well, I'm a lot happier than I have been for years. I'm not putting the big stuff in my resolutions, because it'll either happen or it won't, and I doubt a January list is going to help it along. Beginning again is refreshing, but also a bit terrifying. It's nice to have a clean start, but there's not a lot to hide behind, so every knock-back is a bit of a blow to the old self-worth. I've got a couple of things in the pipelines, which is exciting, but generally I'm peeing my pants because if they don't work out it's not far back to square one. Lord I hope they work out. I hate square one. But it's only just February, and hopefully by 2010 I've got the big things sorted out - a job, a career, a home - and I'm still happy like I am now. I'm working on it but I don't think I can plan it. So I'll get back to you on all that next year.
And in the meantime, to keep me honest, here's (most of) my 2009 resolution list of the littler things:
1. Play music - find an orchestra, join a band...whatever. Don't let it slide more.
2. Watch 1 French film per week
3. Improve my skills in a visual art (perhaps take a drawing class?)
4. Become a morning person (get out of bed)
5. Get back to running - 5k before my birthday
6. Write one short story per month
7. Be more pro-active about being social
8. Learn to drive a manual car (REALLY this year)
9. More books/less screens
10. Continue to take photos as if i were not in my hometown
11. Continue to cultivate an independent sense of style (even though it's harder here)
12. Become a mostly-vegetarian
13. Strike 'should' from my vocabulary
14. Begin learning another language (Japanese?)
15. Limit my usage of the word 'awesome' to only those situations which truly warrant it.
Yeah, it's kind of a long list, and that random commenter from a few years ago would probably tell me I should cull it to something more manageable. But I'll be happy with a P1, and being at square one for now at least has the advantage that it will be easier to compare a few steps forward come 2010.