Oliver is…

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man

…all for a new year

At the start of the year I set myself some goals for 2009 and now that we’re at the end of the year I’ve realised that I didn’t do very well. In fact, I pretty much failed at 2009.

Of the ten tasks I completed three, got halfway through two, got a third of the way through one and failed four.

This isn’t quite as bad as it sounds at first. The three I completed were quite decent tasks.

– get out, and stay out, of overdraft
– start playing cricket again
– get some freelance work published

Getting my finances sorted has been great and has given me a lot of peace of mind recently. When I thought about this before I misremembered getting out in March and staying in the black since then, but looking now I can see that I was marginally out in February (partly due to $2 a day diet) but back in in March (because I bought a new computer) and it wasn’t until July that I got out never to return. Getting paid early for Christmas definitely helped with that.

Playing cricket again – although nowhere near the standard I remember being at – was good for me. It got me out at the weekends and although I wouldn’t really consider many of the people I play with as friends they’re definitely friendly faces and maybe this year I’ll be more of a regular. A match winning innings in July was one of my only two properly good performances – and one that I felt like an adult in – but in a relegated team there’s no way I should be taking much blame for that. The fact that I’ve been asked to captain next season is a huge compliment and a big step to becoming an adult. Knowing someone at the club to start with definitely was the difference between playing here and not playing in Aberdeen.

Getting work published was great for a number of reasons. It means my writing portfolio ticks over so if I ever want to jump back into journalism I’m not going in with nothing, it means I got to see a lot of great shows at the festival I wouldn’t have otherwise chosen or afforded and it also means my name is now on a number of actors and comedians websites which, as well as being a great ego boost, could also work in my favour sometime in the future. I just need to work out how.

My successes stemmed from three things: planning, knowing people and trying to do something. My failures often fell to not doing those things. Of the remaining seven, I had three partial successes.

– run six races (two 3ks, two 5ks, two 10ks): competed in two 5ks
– visit two new countries: went to Croatia in May
– complete two courses: went to night classes in neuro-linguistic programming

I didn’t take part in enough races for a number of reasons. In March I hurt my knee which put me out of running for a while (although I did properly knack it by running one of the races, which is something…), I also played cricket in the summer and with the majority of races on a Saturday it proved hard for me to do both, and also down to poor planning and looking ahead for races.

Going to only one class was also poor planning, as with the second term of classes I failed to act upon looking at classes I was interested in.

I only went to one new country for two reasons. One being that I wanted to stay out of my overdraft, the second being that I used up too much time travelling around the UK. As well as my week off for the festival, I had a week when I was stewarding at the Ashes opener, a week for Christmas and a few visits to Aberdeen. Although I don’t think I’d change any of these just now – maybe a trip to Aberdeen or two – I think I was just being a bit unrealistic with this target.

The four remaining targets were either big tasks that I lacked the kick I needed to get started or things I wasn’t in with the right people for.

– learn sign language
– learn to drive
– get promoted
– learn ten magic tricks

Learning a whole new language is something that is hard to do in a year, especially if it’s not one that I’m going to use on a regular basis. Learning to drive can easily be done in a year and I was just lazy about this one. Getting promoted failed horribly but I still like to place the blame, or at least some of it on the incompetence of others. I later changed this to getting a new job but despite numerous applications – some for jobs I felt very confident of getting – I failed to even make it to interview stage for any of them. Despite me doing what I thought I would have got me either a promotion or a new job, I got nothing. Leaving my fate in other people’s hands is not a good idea.

The magic tricks is a strange one. As a whole it’s a tricky task, but as I’d broken it down into ten different jobs it should have been simple to do, or at least start. I didn’t, however, learn a single trick and have now decided that it’s too late for me to properly get into this. Poor planning, Oliver. Poor planning.

For next year, I’ve made a new list. This list has twelve items, hopefully learning from last year and having a better outing. Some are follow ons, some are doing what I should’ve done last year, others are completely different.

– run three 5k+ races
The important thing here is for me to run. Neither of the races last year were run from start to finish so I need to make sure I’m in decent shape both times. I was hoping to start running now but it’s all icy and I hate that the weather has given me an excuse to not run. I’ll aim to run two races before the cricket season and then one afterwards, then maybe more if I have time. I found a good website towards the end of last year with a list of races in the area so I’m better prepared for it this year.

– learn to drive
Following on from my duties as captain this year, I want to do more things that will make me feel like an adult. Adults drive cars. I don’t know if I can afford a car but I want to at least have the option.

– take lessons, probably in a language, maybe in Latin
This is quite woolly and will need to be properly formed. I want to keep learning things and I think a language would be nice. I learnt German at school so it might be good to pick that up again seeing as I’ve forgotten most of it and Latin I think would be fascinating and would help my knowledge and comprehension of English – and probably other languages – no end. Last year I almost went for a calligraphy class so I might do that this time or I might go for some kind of beginner’s art class.

– visit Israel
At Hogmanay 2008/09 I met an amazing girl who captivated me (nothing romantic – or sleazy – happened between us but she made me smile. She told me that parties in the UK were rubbish and that I should visit Israel sometime to see how it’s done. I said I would. She didn’t believe me using some very broken logic that if I hadn’t been already I didn’t really want to go. I then promised her that within two years I would visit her country, and hopefully her. I didn’t go in 2009 so I have to go in 2010 if only to keep my word on a drunken promise.

– improve my CV
Something went wrong with my applications this year so I want to do something that will make me more attractive to employers. Getting some more freelance work is one possibility. Starting a website is another. Getting more qualifications – like the Google Analytics exam – is a third.

– pay off some of my student loan
Last year I got out of my overdraft because I don’t like debt and I don’t like owing people money. Recently I noticed I wasn’t paying back my student loan yet (and I’m sure I should be) so I got in touch in case they had the wrong address for me. They sent through the my statements. They have big numbers on them. I don’t really want them to get any bigger so I’m going to make sure I pay at least my interest for this year – perhaps interest + 50% a month. I’ll get my final total for 2009 and make sure I’m below that by this time next year.

– be better at cricket
Last year I didn’t think I did very well – it was my first full season for about six years – so I naturally want to do better this year. Luckily cricket is full of numbers so it’s easy to measure how well I’ve done – I want to increase my batting average of 17.27 and decrease my bowling average of 27.2 (and when I get the scorebook to check that these are right). Looking at just the numbers I guess I didn’t actually do all that badly but a lot of the time I didn’t feel like I was doing well. This year we’re going to be in a lower division which should make this an easier task.

– give blood four times
This is mainly to test my planning skills. I have to wait 12 weeks/three months between giving blood so if I sort things out I’ll be able to do this. I missed my fourth appointment this year so I’m free to give as soon as possible. If I do it the first weekend of January I should be able to go back in April, July and October and that gives me plenty of leeway in case I’m busy some weekends (playing cricket, for example).

– lose weight
I think I’m going to get a lot of funny looks with this one. I know I’m not fat but, at the risk of sounding like a girl who only eats tissue paper, I am getting fatter. when I weighed myself at Christmas I was 13st which is the most I’ve ever been and although other people might not notice it – or might be too kind to mention – I can see that most of this is on my belly. Which I do not like. This is a general fitness thing – and a diet thing – and I have some sit up, press up and squat programmes that should help me.

The following are more for fun – scheduling fun, eh? – but things I would like to do. They should also help with planning and the whole getting up and doing stuff.

– go to two new football grounds
Watching Elgin I’ve now been to 16 different SFL grounds and there are three in division three I haven’t been to yet – Livingston, Forfar and Stranraer – and one in division two I haven’t been to – Clyde. Livi are currently top so I’ll need to see them soon while they’re still around and Forfar are in the play offs so it might be an idea to see them in case they get promoted as well. Stranraer are going nowhere so they can wait until after the summer and Clyde are bottom of the second at the moment which could prove handy. This could involve planning, it’ll definitely involve me actually doing something and not just thinking ‘Wouldn’t it be nice…’.

– go to six gigs
Last year I think I only went to three gigs – not including mates’ bands – but when I was in Aberdeen I used to go to a lot more. This is something I’d like to put straight. Again, this will require me to organise things.

– watch eight different sports
This doesn’t include things on the telly or people messing about in the Meadows. I mean people – most likely in Scotland – who are playing their sport at the top, or near to the top, level in their chosen field. Whether this will be Elgin, WCC firsts, my flatmate playing frisbee or my workmate roller derbying I don’t know. Well, I reckon it’ll be all four. I’m not so sure on the other four yet. Do things!

I’ve made a list of things to do in January (or before) and I think the most important will be to buy a wall planner so I can have pretty colours showing me what I should do, what I should’ve done and when to kick start things that have fallen away.

I’m quite glad 2009 is almost over. I’m excited about 2010.

Filed under: life,

2 Responses

  1. Munni says:

    Hey great blog…
    nice contents..
    keep it up!!

  2. Lynsey May says:

    I think you did pretty good. I’ve never even managed to make such a list…

    Good luck with this year’s 🙂

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