2018 Recap + 2019 Goals

Posted on December 30, 2018 under Life

Arriving in Glasgow after Christmas; seeing Trixie Mattel’s one woman show; first snow of 2018 in the Glasgow Botanics

Well, another year has come and gone and now it’s time to reflect on the past 365 days. In 2018, I finished my Master’s degree (and, if I may brag, I graduated with distinction after receiving As in all my classes and on my dissertation), refined my academic interests and created several projects reflecting them, moved back to Canada, left the job I’d had on-and-off since I was 19, started a new job that made me much happier, made new friends, lost a pet, travelled quite a bit, helped my dad become a Canadian citizen, got two new piercings, and read a fair amount. I have (mostly) ironed my sleep schedule out after years of intermittent to chronic insomnia. Obviously, the end of the year was really stressful since my dad had a heart attack at the beginning of this month, but he is recovering well and I have high hopes for good health and lots of family time in 2019.

The Beast from the East hitting Glasgow; adorable Ashton Lane; seeing Arcade Fire in London

Here’s how I did with my 2018 goals, which as usual I set and promptly forgot about:

  • Finish my MA with an A average: I most certainly did achieve this goal. I was really nervous after I turned in my dissertation even though I’d only received good feedback on it, but I ended up getting straight As. I thought I would get a B+ in one or two of my classes, so I was very relieved when I got my grades back.
  • At a bar in Soho to celebrate Aisling‘s birthday; spring in London; a sheep at golden hour on the Isle of Skye
  • Complete all my readings and screenings before messing around on the internet: Honestly, I cannot remember if I did this or not. I didn’t make a conscious effort to do it for most of the year, so probably not. However, I did keep on top of my readings and screenings for the most part. When I was writing my dissertation over the summer I pretty much exclusively worked on it first thing in the morning. So… half pass?
  • Get fitter: I was on and off but mostly off with this, but I would say I’m overall slightly more fit than I was in 2017. Still would not call this one a resounding success. I have been getting a lot of steps in lately, though.
  • Scottish highlands; sand dunes in Doagh, Ireland; holding a lamb in Dingle
  • Read 30 books: This time last year I said in all seriousness that 30 might be pushing it a bit, but I hit 30 in July and ended the year with an even 60 books read. This is obviously my biggest success of 2018, aside from the whole graduating from my MA programme with distinction.
  • Keep to my beauty budget, consume mindfully, and enjoy using what I have: I will do a separate post on this because it’s a Big Thing, but, yes, I think I was generally successful here.

Standing in two seas at once in Skagen, Denmark; Vestmanna, Faroe Islands; coconut raspberry ice cream in Burlington, Ontario

As usual, I was moderately successful with my goals without managing to make any huge changes in 2018. I expect 2019 will be more of the same!

Honestly, 2019 is pretty up in the air for me. I don’t really want to get into it all right now, but I’m not sure where I’ll be (literally, I don’t know where I will be geographically located) this time next year, so it’s a bit hard for me to set goals knowing that my circumstances could change quite substantially by summer. So, here’s what I’ve come up with.

  • Read 50 books. I think I can probably surpass this, but I may not have the same amount of free time by the end of the year. (By the way, I work 40 hours a week with an hour commute each way, so it’s not like I’m actually swimming in free time at the moment.)
  • Reduce my “to read” list by 2/3. I love the “want to read” feature on Goodreads, because whenever I find myself inside of a bookstore I miraculously forget every book I’ve ever wanted to read and have to whip out my phone to consult this list. However, the list is fairly long, which makes me a bit anxious. I don’t want the list to ever get so long that it becomes unviable: I genuinely want to read every book on it! So this year I’m going to prioritize books I’ve added to this list. I’m going to throw myself another little challenge and say that anything added to the list prior to 2015 that I haven’t read by the close of 2019 will be deleted from the list, because if I haven’t read a book I marked as “to read” SEVEN YEARS AGO I am never going to. Anyway, the list is currently 57 books long, so I will have to read 38 from the list to complete this goal.
  • A bush just moments before a thunderstorm; sunset in the south of Toronto; testing out portrait mode on the iPhone X on Jet
  • Work out at least once a week. Last year’s goal of “get fitter” was very vague. This year I need a better benchmark. Last year when I was actually actively trying to get fitter I worked out 4-5 times a week, but I have been very all-or-nothing about the whole thing, hence the low goal. Basically I’m saying that when I’m in a good place I will definitely exceed this goal, but I have set it low so that I can reasonably force myself to meet it when I’m not really in a working out phase.
  • A great Starbucks moment; a catvoyant; my new haircut
  • Learn to cook dishes from 10 different countries. I love food, but I do not enjoy cooking. This is something I’ve been trying to get over for years, and I don’t really know at what point you have to admit “fake it ’til you make it” isn’t working, but I’m still faking it. I have decent cooking skills and I can follow a recipe, so this isn’t so much about becoming more skilled as it is about trying new things and continuing to force myself to like cooking. I kind of doubt that I will find great joy in the activity by December 31, 2019, but we can all hope.
  • Stop popping my zits. This was an unofficial goal four years ago, and I lasted about two weeks into 2015 before going ham on my face. However, the rare occasions when I manage to resist temptation, I am always amazed at how quickly zits heal – and without any of the gross scabby phase! I’m going to try to be a lot better about popping some salicylic acid onto my zits and letting them die naturally. Maybe this time I’ll actually manage to break the habit.

I’m not aiming terribly high this year, but I’m hoping to work on forming better habits and becoming a better adult. See you in 2019!

Receiving my Master’s degree; a cow spotted in Edinburgh; at the summit of Arthur’s Peak in Edinburgh with my brother
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