Oliver is…

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

…done with 2010, for now

So that’s 2010 done. Did I succeed with it?

For latecomers, or those that don’t really take things in very well, at the start of the year I set myself 12 goals. There were things that would improve me, challenge me and interest me over the coming year.

After a bit of reading I cancelled one of my goals as it turned out not to be a good idea, so ended up with just 11 to aim for. Some I succeeded in, one is a bit iffy and two I definitely failed. I started taking photos on my phone but then it broke so I stopped for a while then I got a new camera and started with that. Not everything has been photographed but where I have remembered I’ve tried to put pictures in.

So what went well?

The first one I ticked off was to visit two new football grounds. Almondvale in January and Station Park by mid-February. A while later I also went to Lille’s stadium. Overachieving success!

Sticking with the sporting theme, I also watched eight different sports at international or the top available domestic level. These, in order of entertainment, were:

– cricket (for a while this was going to be Scotland – Nottinghamshire which wasn’t very exciting, but then I saw the first two Ashes tests and suddenly all was amazing)
– roller derby (what isn’t fun about watching fat girls pushing smaller girls over while trying to skate?)
– football (Aberdeen – Kilmarnock [rubbish], Lille – Montpellier [good])
– rugby (I can’t remember exactly what it was, but I went to see some internationals sevens at Murrayfield with Robin. Kenya were my favourite)
– ice hockey (Edinburgh beating Cardiff, after we turned up late for Edinburgh losing to someone else earlier in the week)
– basketball (Perth Wildcats – Melbourne Tigers which was surprisingly okay)
– baseball (Perth Heat – Canberra Cavalry, an awful game [really, what basis for a sport is some blokes chucking a ball at someone who wants to hit it with a bit of wood hoping no one catches it so he can run around for a bit? Ludicrous!] followed by an exciting adventure wandering the suburbs of Perth thanks to a stupid bus service)
– the university boat race (Oxford – Cambridge: what a stupid idea for a spectator sport, how much of the 4miles+ course do you think you can see from any one spot?)

I improved my cricket averages:
2009 – batting 17.27, bowling 27.67
2010 – batting 22.55, bowling 20.09

For the uninitiated, batting averages are meant to be high (a lot higher than 22.55) and bowling averages are meant to be low.

I also ran three 5k+ races: a 10k Bupa, a 5k fun run and an 8k NYE race. This means I finished this task with about four and a half hours to go of the year. (Although I later realised that it was 12 and half hours of when I originally thought 2010 was going to end.)

I visited Israel and got stood up in a whole new country.

I gave blood four times, despite Scotblood’s best attempts to stop me. Because I was leaving Edinburgh, I tried to go a week earlier than my recommended 12 weeks between donations. I was told that wasn’t possible but we haggled and they said I could come in a day early as I was leaving too soon to wait the full time. I came back on the agreed date and was turned away by the same lady who I’d spoken to. Luckily there was a blood donor hospital near my parents down south, although that didn’t stop me walking to a place miles away because I thought that was where I was meant to go.

I know it’s possible that my four donations only went partway to saving someone’s life, but I’ve read posters that say one donation can save three lives. That means I possibly saved 12 lives this year. I’ve also been told that a teaspoon of blood can save a premature baby, meaning that I possibly saved the lives of 384 babies in 2010.

I went to see six different bands. Ranging from a suprisingly very good stadium concert by U2 to nice and cosy Edinburgh bands such as Come On Gang! and Matt Norris and the Moon, with The Delays, Hot Chip and Divine Comedy somewhere in the middle. Jay Z wins the prize for most ludicrous and hilarious support act.

I took some lessons, not quite in Latin as I thought I might, but in diving and didgeridoo playing. Two things I got a lot of enjoyment out of and things I hope to keep up for a while to come.

This is iffy, but I think I’m counting it as a success. I haven’t improved my CV significantly but I have done something I thought I should do with it this year by adding some freelance work to it. As well as doing something that might improve it in the eyes of potential employers, I’ve also done something quite major to improve it from my own perspective.

Onto the failures:

I didn’t lose any weight. I don’t really know how I differ now from 12 months ago, but I look roughly the same so that’s a fail.

I didn’t get anywhere close to learning to drive, unless you count learning to do something that has four of the five letters of the important word, which I don’t.

So that’s 9 out of 11, which is pretty good. The whole moving to the other side of the world thing made a few things a bit harder, but it was a pretty amazing thing to do. It’s something I didn’t imagine I’d do 12 months ago, but is perhaps what I’m most proud of from this year.

I was reminded by Ellie that in 2009 I fined myself for targets not met, so this year again I’ll be donating, probably to CODEWE, for my inadequacies.

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