General opinion has it that this has been The Worst Year Ever. I can kind of see why. 2016 can’t be discussed without mention of the political shitstorm that came with it, nor the catalogue of deaths that tore us apart from heroes, legends and truly inspirational people.
The loss of David Bowie, Alan Rickman and Johan Cruyff left me with a profound sadness. But this was the year that I lost my grandma and all those celebrity deaths are insignificant to me compared to the complete and utter heartbreak that I felt in losing her. Writing these words makes me well up, something which has occurred in the strangest of places since she died. I’ll love her and miss her forever and that’s all I can say.
The contradiction to this is that, otherwise, this has been quite a successful year for me.
I’ve written more than ever and my beer website has gone from strength to strength. I feel closer to my family than ever despite being 10,000 miles away. I’ve travelled, seen new things, and my career is progressing to an extent that I feel a touch of pride.
Again, that’s enough said about that.
At the start of the year I set myself a list of things I wanted to do. Not necessarily goals but just things I wanted to make a conscious effort to work into my life.
Here’s how I did. There are no life hacks, just things I tried to do to make my life better.
Play football socially
Playing football again has been great. I now set an alarm and get up on a Sunday morning to play locally. It amounts to not much more than a kick around but it helps me keep fit, it’s fun and fills part of my Sunday when I’d otherwise be lazy. I’ve met great and diverse people through it too.
Unplug before bed
From time to time I’ve managed this but not nearly enough. I tend to go to bed quite early and I’m good at shutting down my laptop around 9pm most nights. But when I intend to read or drift off to sleep I invariably end up playing on my phone. I need to work on this.
Go to more concerts and football matches
I attended more concerts than I have in the past and I’ve really enjoyed them. I haven’t been to “soccer” matches at all this year but I have been to my share of AFL games and I’ve definitely fallen in love with the Sydney Swans. I’m already counting down to next season.
More weekends away and travel
I took a long weekend in Adelaide over Easter which was brilliant. I went to Brisbane for a few days and to Fraser Island for a week. I’ve been to LA and around Riverside County and most recently to Tokyo. I’ve explored more of Sydney too and I’m loving the city more than ever.
Right now I’m desperate to return to Japan but Tasmania and New Zealand are also on my list. I want to return to Melbourne for some time too. And what my plans are for next Christmas remain to be seen. I still don’t like the sound of a Christmas on my own in Sydney.
Arrange more interviews for SydneyBeer
This was the whole reason I started sydneybeer.com.au and while I have done some interviews with some great people, I haven’t done as many as I wanted. This is something I need to look at again in 2017.
I made a good go at it at the beginning of the year but soon lost momentum. That said, I’ve made a few trips to Sydney’s libraries throughout the year to pick up books and I have a pile to read now. I’m a slow reader and if something doesn’t grab me and isn’t easy to read I tend not to bother where once I would have persevered.
Write on my personal blog more
It’s here that there’s been some success. I’ve done my monthly “stuff I’ve been doing” posts as well as the occasional other topic. These monthly posts have been a good way to keep me engaged in the blog. I resolved not to care too much about proofreading or what people think about what I write here. I just want to write for the sake of it. It’s been cathartic and refreshing.
I’ve failed miserably at this. I’ve done nothing. It will remain an objective for 2017.
Take the Cicerone certified beer server exam
Nope. I was waiting for the Institute of Beer to launch in Australia but really that’s not much of an excuse. I could have done the Cicerone certified beer server exam online. I still want to do it.
There were other things that I tried to keep in the back of my mind but weren’t necessarily goals
Be more patient
I’m incredibly impatient and get genuinely angry when people do stupid things. I struggle walking around Sydney when people wander against the flow of foot traffic or walk four across a footpath. I want to scream profanities and make them see how stupid they are.
There’s a particular fury that fills me when people don’t hold the same standards as I do for myself; in cleanliness, in organisation and in their manners.
I need to realise that I can’t affect how these people act but I can control how I react to them. It’s something I’m working on.
Figuring out my priorities
I’m still trying to work out what’s most important in my life and where I want to spend most of my time, energy and money.
Healthy eating and consistent exercise
Temptation gets me every time. Throughout the week I don’t drink and I eat reasonably well. Although some comfort eating through winter didn’t help. At the weekends though I struggle to be good, eating burgers when I drink beer and getting tempted by sweet things.
I have, however, exercised more consistently then ever. My legs have a constant dull ache but it’s kept me in as good as shape as I’ve ever been. I just need to keep it up (and look after my knees).
Being emotionally aware and conscious of mental health
Unplugging before bed and being active are part of this but it’s also about noticing signs when I’m not feeling great.
Writing a journal entry each night to download the day’s events has helped and I’ve also tried to write down three things for which I’m grateful each day. It hasn’t happened every day but I’ve done fairly well.
I’m thinking of publishing my goals for 2017 here. In 2016 I just had a list on my phone to which I’d refer from time to time. I’ll see how 2017 goes.