Firstly, writing this is more for me than anyone else. I debated whether it was a bit self-absorbed, or even worthwhile at all. It soon became apparent that I needed to write it in order to gather my thoughts and translate them into a coherent concept, book-ending 2017 and 2018.
That said, I barely have time to write this so you definitely don’t have time to read it.
And time is something that I obsess over. It’s what I value most.
I won’t call them resolutions but time is at the heart of the things I do to tweak my routine and priorities going into a new year.
To determine the tweaks I need to make, I need to look back in time to 2017. It was decent. David Mitchell nailed it on The Big Fat Quiz Of The Year when he said the year was “personally adequate and internationally disastrous”. I think that will resonate with a lot of people.
Burying my head in the sand to avoid the global terror enveloping us, there are things I want to do to make 2018 a good year for me (assuming we avoid thermonuclear war).
Good Food, Great Booze
For me 2017 was a year of great food and drink.
It’s been an ever increasing interest of mine and I was lucky enough to dine at some excellent places from Automata and LP’s Quality Meats here in Chippendale, to Franklin in Hobart, Shepherd and Ortega’s in Wellington, Hopgoods in Nelson, and Depot in Auckland.
Wine and spirits have grabbed me but I think I’m going to settle into a good place with them, like I have with coffee, where I enjoy them but don’t obsess over them. I’m happy with my limited knowledge and simplistic enjoyment of them. I’m not striving to be an expert but I want to enjoy them as much as possible with the resources available to me.
For 2018: Eat and drink well.
My fitness is still good but not as great as it was a year ago. All the food and drink certainly had an affect on that. I didn’t enjoy running as much in 2017, finding it harder to motivate myself and easy to procrastinate.
I am enjoying playing football more than ever, despite the temptation for lazy Sundays of Stevie Wonder and coffee on my balcony.
For 2018: I want to run and play football as much in 2018 as I did in 2017.
See The World, Starting With Australia
Travel is something that means more and more to me. I started 2017 in Tokyo. The food, the culture, and everything about the country grabs me and gets under my skin. I’m desperate to go back and see more. It’s a place I adore but want to understand better.
I saw New Zealand. Wellington is brilliant and I want to go back. I also managed to see new places in Australia, something which I try to do every year. Bright and Hobart are both incredible places with strong and unique identities. I plan to return to both at some point in the future.
For 2018: See new places in Australia and overseas.
Work has been going well. A promotion and more disposable income have benefited my lifestyle but I’m still adjusting to the increased responsibility and associated pressure. Managing the pressure and stress of work and life is something I want to get better at.
I got a lot better at managing my stress around people I care about but I’m horrible if you don’t know me. I want to be a better stranger. Patience and kindness are at the centre of this and it hurts to admit I can be bad at both. Maybe I need to revisit David Foster Wallace’s This Is Water every so often.
For 2018: Manage stress better and be a better stranger.
Writing About Beer
Those that know me will know that I spend a lot of my spare time working on my website, sydneybeer.com.au. My website work got some recognition in 2017. I was on the panel for a Q&A at GABS and I received an award during Sydney Beer Week. It’s a small thing which doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things but the recognition and the support of people who I’ve come to consider friends is nice.
At the start of each year I get an itchy feeling making me want to change how I spend time on the site. There’s no doubt that I’ll fall back into the same routine of writing and publishing. I just want to do what I can to keep it going, gradually making it better.
For 2018: Keep making SydneyBeer better.
Productivity & Balance
I don’t believe in life hacks. I believe in striving for balance. And I’d argue it is something you need to strive for.
My default, unthinking position is not one of balance. It’s one of laziness and lethargy combined with a simmering nervous energy and anxiety that I should be doing more with my time.
Productivity, linked to time, is a constant niggle in my mind. I feel the need to be productive always.
People are starting to reject the culture of hustling and embrace doing nothing. I’m somewhere in the middle. I feel the need to multi-task, even in my leisure time. I want to maintain productivity in my work but keep a relaxed focus in my leisure activities. I very rarely just sit and read or watch a film or listen to a record. There’s always two or more things happening. I want to focus on one.
For 2018: Balance productivity and leisure time, focusing on one thing at a time.
Give & Take In Equal Measure
I believe in giving and taking in balance especially when it comes to culture. I can’t be content with devouring artistic endeavours unless I put some of my own back into the world. Maybe it’s an unnecessary and flawed ideology but it’s something that drives me to write. I’d like to harness it to draw and paint too but again… time.
For 2018: Keep the balance in giving and taking from life.
Linked to giving and taking is materialism. In 2017 I was determined not to spend for the sake of spending. I wanted to rid myself of the unnecessary coffees and beers, the records or video games I’ll only use once or the shirt I’ll never wear.
I did okay for part of the year but definitely had moments of weakness. What an arrogant, privileged, first world “problem” it is. And for that reason, and the shame that comes with it, I hope to do better next year.
For 2018: Work out how to simplify my relationship to Things and don’t spend for the sake of spending.
Family has been incredibly important throughout 2017. I’m far away from them but feel closer than ever to my parents. Perhaps that has more to do with maturity than distance.
At the same time, I’ve never felt less inclined to return to England. My brother moved to Sydney with his girlfriend this year, and my sister visited for Christmas. I realised how important it was for me to show them this city and this country that I love.
People talk repeatedly about the importance of retaining strong family bonds throughout your life and it seems so obvious but it’s something I’m going to work to maintain in 2018.
For 2018: Maintain family bonds.
How to live the perfect life
There’s lots more I could write here about balancing all the advice, life hacks, philosophies and ideologies that we’re force fed in order to live The Perfect Life. These things annoy me.
I’ve come to understand the need to regularly tweak my routine and priorities in order to get the most out of my life.
Reading through these non-resolutions, I recognise what a good position I’m in. I want to continue to recognise that privilege each and every day, retaining perspective on life.
2017 was good. A few tweaks, I hope, will make 2018 even better.