Well I am back again with a progress report for 2018 and a new set of goals for 2019.
2018 was an interesting year in many ways and saw big changes in my life but still lived with a lot of familiarity. Going over what I’d set for the year again, I was a bit surprised how other goals and issues sprang up that were of big importance and that certainly side-tracked me.
This time last year, I was still living in Japan with plans for moving back to Australia starting to take form. I sat in a warm and cosy living room with cold weather just a meter from where I sat. Now I sit at a computer far away with the summer heat still lingering despite the late hour. And these are just the superficial changes.
Well, let’s begin by going through my goals for 2018:
1. No alcohol for all of 2018
I stopped drinking in the early hours of 2018 and unless I literally pick up a drink in the next thirteen minutes (as I write), this goal is absolutely accomplished. I did not have one drop of alcohol this year. I even avoided food I suspected had been cooked with it just in case. However, because I did only stop drinking in the early hours of 2018, I decided that to make sure a full year has gone by that I wouldn’t be having a drink until the evening of New Years Day.
Interestingly, it wasn’t really difficult. The year has gone by fast and has been full of emotional and physical stress, yet I was never tempted to seek relief at the bottom of a bottle. I am honestly half wondering whether I should have a drink at all in the new year. I will of course, but I am still honestly wondering.
2. Finish at least one of those books or another.
I did actually finish a Virtue of Vigour. It is a short book but it is finished and now in draft. I have shown it to someone who has begun going through it and even though it is finished; it isn’t really finished enough to take it further. I have been re-writing sections, deleting whole parts and expanding some others. This experience really shows me that someone else has to look over your work because it is so easy to miss mistakes and just bad writing. I believe this blog is full of both but it is just a blog. If I’m going to publish this book, it has to be much cleaner.
One thing that will definitely change is the title because it doesn’t match the tone and style of the book. I expect once all is done it will be around 100 pages and I’ll be putting it up on Kindle and when I’ve gone over it a bit more and got a decent cover, I’ll get a physical copy made. There is still a bit of work to do before then though.
I will say this is accomplished but I need to challenge myself a lot more with this which I will write further about when discussing my plans for 2019. Still, I can say this is at least much better than previous years.
3. Maintain current BMI and expand weight and marathon training.
I am still within a healthy BMI but this is where I have really let myself down this year. Coming back to my homeland, I have certainly been indulging in what I have missed here quite a bit this year. With the stress of the move and some rather horrid experiences in my working life, I often sought comfort in food. I think food also somewhat replaced alcohol this way. So I have gained weight this year but not so much that I can’t work it back.
My exercise routine has also taken a beating. This is partially due to circumstances as I’ve had some minor injuries and gyms in Australia are a lot more expensive than the public one I was a member of in Japan. I have also found it difficult to keep regular exercise up.
So I can give myself a C- and I don’t think this is good enough.
4. Love the Lord my God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my mind.
Now I obviously won’t have passed this unless (hopefully, until) I achieve the beatific vision but I think I have made more progress towards that this year. Reading what I wrote last year, I am continuing with the Grace of the Lord to notice and address problems.
This year I have finally been able to go regularly to Latin Mass at a wonderful parish which is not too far away. There is a Catholic Church just up the road and five minutes away but the travel time is very worth the effort and I’ve been taking advantage of the opportunities.
One thing against all this is I have been lax in meeting other parishioners though things have been improving of late. I am not comfortable in social situations but this is not an excuse and I need to do better about this for my family.
I have also begun praying the a full Rosary every day of the week after years of just doing the decade. I have read and learned more and even been given the opportunity to defend the faith.
I might not make this a goal for next year as I think I can do better with more specific spiritual goals.
So Goals for 2019:
I have not given this much though to be quite honest.
Video games have been on my mind quite a bit and not just because I like them. Back in 2017, I made a rule about only buying five games for the year which I think was a good one. More recently this year I have been reflecting on how much control they have over me and have begun doing something about it.
I have sold a good portion of my video games and am in the process of selling a lot more. This has been good in more ways than one as I have done well in the sales and have been able to pay back some of the debt I incurred in the move. I have a few more things to sell and I will be down to only a few consoles, books and collectibles.
I’m not going to be giving them up altogether but certainly making them less a part of my life. I have found that I play a lot of games I am not really that interested in because I hear good things or have felt like I simply must check them out. I have decided instead to stick only to those I really like which is mostly major Nintendo releases and continue to reduce my collection. I am going to be completely out of collecting from now on.
I’ll be buying very few this year and using the extra time and focus for more productive endeavors. The fact that this feels liberating means I was way to invested in gaming and gaming culture and I certainly need to pull back a bit. I have been writing something about this recently that I’ll publish when I finish it properly.
Outside of this, my work life has been rough this year and I will be officially unemployed on January 17th and technically am now. I have been up and down about teaching for a few years and this year really made me wonder what I’m doing in the profession.
I don’t know whether it is me, the industry or a bit of both but I have very little passion for teaching. At the same time, it is what I know and I don’t know what else to do with myself. I have been looking at my skill set and wondering what I can do with it. I know I don’t want to do any more formal study – and certainly not pay for it but I don’t know if I’ll be able to avoid it. The way employment is structured in Australia, you need to be trained for virtually everything. Even laborers get rated for competency for basic tasks. It’s ridiculous but it is also the way it is.
So something else I have to do this year is start finding a new direction. I still have some desire to move into high school teaching but I can’t do that without working in the system that I detest for the most part. I would also like to get into something technical or a trade but then again – training/schooling. And I just don’t know how I would go starting again in an office or something. Lastly, there is my income which as a teacher, is quite good though most wouldn’t say so. As you can see, I really don’t know what to do and I am still considering the military.
Something else I noticed about myself is that I’m lazy and haven’t been doing the best I can with what I have. Above all else I need to make myself more engaged and more involved. I need to stop wondering, worrying and trying to escape and just get on with it.
So 2019 is going to see big changes whether I like it or not. For the first time since 2010, I will go into the year with no certainty about my employment. I additionally go into it with no idea at all what to do and with a family to support. I have grown in faith but there is always more to do.
1. Edit and complete my first book and write another and write more in general.
2. Get right back into health and fitness, break bad habits and make real improvements and at least compete in a half-marathon.
3. Reduce money and time spent on video games and stop collecting altogether.
4. Get a new job or jobs and work out where I want to go with my future employment.
5. Continue to grow in Faith and work through my new Catholic Study Bible.
6. Read Moby Dick, Plato’s Republic, The Tale of Genji, The Gulag Archipelago, Don Quixote and more good books. I read a lot of books in 2018 but more low quality ones and many of these ones have been on my list or shelf for a while.
7. Give over more of my time to my family and practical things and spend less time at screens and gaming.
This is a somewhat general list but I am writing in the early hours of the morning. I may edit this in the morning when I have given it more thought. Still, these seem like some solid and achievable goals.
I will be starting the year by attending Mass.