2009 – The Year that was – Needs to try harder

I always knew it was going to be a bit of a life changing experience, and it was. At the end of this year, I’m conscious about how much I’m still referring back to it. But I don’t want to become one of those people who keeps referring back to things that happened in the past. I feel I’ve done that too much, and I want to look forward.

And that’s partly why I’ve been keeping this blog so assiduously since I arrived back: I want my life to keep moving. I want to keep discovering new things. I want to keep having new experiences. And I want to keep taking risks. I don’t want to settle into middle-age living in the past, slowly pacing myself towards retirement. Hopefully, by blogging daily, I’m able to keep an eye on my life, and by monitoring the trends and posts, I’m able to keep living life to the fullest.

But as I look back upon the year, I’m not really confident I’ve done that. There are great swathes of the year where I’ve done nothing. Well, not really “nothing”, but I feel it’s been a year of transition. Nothing much was achieved. It’s been a year where I’ve been wondering “what’s next”?

“How was your year?’, my friend Michaela asked me over a drink last night.

“To be honest”, I said, “I feel it’s been a year where I’ve been treading water.”

It’s been a year of transition. Of making plans for the future, more than actually doing anything.

“Have I peaked? Is this as good as life is going to get?” are the kind of thoughts that have been going through my mind, even though I’ve moved into a new and challenging job. In the midst of it all, I’ve wondered if I’ve focussed too much on my job this year, failing to get the work/life balance right. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve had these thoughts, and I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t. Still, I guess that even being aware of it, might hopefully be a sign that I’m getting on top of it. But the twenty year habit of being “career driven” is not an easy one to overcome. I guess it’s all part of “that time in my life”, making the transition to middle age.

Swedish Fridge
Glogg, bilar, Kalles Kaviar, crispbread and peach cider

And not only inwardly, but outwardly too as middle age finally caught up with me this year, as it was the year I began wearing glasses, and the year I tried to do some regular exercise by going to dance classes. Although I’ve managed to keep wearing glasses, I haven’t managed to keep up the exercise. Oddly enough I’ve ended the year looking thinner, but have actually put on some weight. “It’s muscle, I’m sure” a friend mentioned the other week.

The one thing I have managed to keep up throughout the year is Swedish classes. Even if some times I haven’t done my homework, and haven’t done as much practice as I should, relying instead on natural talent, at least I’ve kept it up. I’ve really loved going along to classes on Tuesday night. Although I’m sure some regular readers who don’t know me (and maybe my work colleagues) might think I’m a little “odd” about the Swedish stuff, especially when it comes to things like Melodifestivalen and filling up my fridge with food from IKEA and stuff, I feel it’s good to have “an interest”. I think it was good for life balance and to keep my mind active to keep up my Swedish lessons, though of course I’ve always been a lazy old sod when it comes to practice. Well, to most things in life actually. Learning Swedish was a bit of a life metaphor in some ways. I managed to keep up the commitment, but I still need to try harder.

4 comments

  1. You’re absolutely right to strive for new experiences – if you give that up, you might as well check in to a retirement village and pick out a nice chair by the window. Don’t be too hard on yourself though, after all, you did see Liza this year! :)

    As for the Swedish interest, I think it’s important to have a passion, no matter what it is. Keeps us off the pokies.

  2. Rather than “treading water”, how about “consolidation and preparation”? You love to learn Swedish because you want to go back there and experience it more deeply, and you can’t understand a culture fully without knowing its language. That doesn’t come easily, and the fact you’ve stuck with it shows how much it means to you…

    I know its tempting to look at each year in isolation, but I think it’s better for you to look at 2009 in the context of 2010: you spent this year getting ready for your next big trip to Sweden! How good is that?? But under the “must try harder” column you should try and find some exercise that appeals – you’ll enjoy your travels so much more if you’re fit!

    Happy new year from Laos!

  3. James, don’t forget the little things you’ve acomplished, too many to write down.

    May the year ahead be filled with colourfull moments to cherish!

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