I think, from today onwards, I may be slipping over the border towards ‘late thirties’ rather than ‘mid-thirties’. I am much more okay about this kind of border crossing than I used to be in my younger days. Life is getting better in most ways as I progress through it.
I had a nice normal birthday today (in contrast to last year) because I was able to spend the morning celebrating with family in Edinburgh before travelling back to Newcastle for the evening. I’ve got a few final days of Christmas to enjoy at home before the decorations disappear for another year.
Geth and I did do a New Year’s Day parkrun this morning but I’ll save my regularly scheduled parkrunday post for tomorrow. Lots of 2022 stuff to discuss today!
This year’s non-binding New Year Resolutions:
Sort out the house. It didn’t happen last year and it may not happen this year, but I would at least like to get some more stuff up on the walls (including that spice rack I bought a year ago) and work out a more manageable cleaning schedule.
Don’t book any midweek trips away and assume I can just ‘squeeze any work in’. I’m far too busy to be away during the week. Trips will be weekend-only with very rare exceptions.
Get one or two of my years-in-the-making longer game projects published by focusing on those rather than short things for jams and competitions.
Use the skills from my TechUP course to build at least two fairly complex websites.
Create some games using Python!
Take another big chunk off my marathon PB at the Edinburgh Marathon in May.
Get back to the fitness level I was when everything screeched to a grinding halt in March 2020.
Get my parkrun ‘different events’ total up to at least 30, continue to volunteer once a month, get my Wilson index to 15 (geeky – don’t worry if you don’t know what that is) and take part in parkrun every possible parkrunday!
Listen to more music and keep a closer eye on what’s going on with synthwave, industrial and heritage artists.
Actually leave the UK for the first time in four years (Ireland is the plan… not going far but it’ll be something!).
Catch up with what’s been happening with Doctor Who. It’s my favourite TV series but I’ve drifted away from the fandom over the last few years as I’ve been busy with other things and haven’t been hugely fond of the Whittaker/Chibnall era. I’m about two and a half series behind!
Finish all the books I’m reading. I’ve got into an awful habit over the last year where I start a book, read it for a week or so (last thing at night in bed is my reading time), neglect reading for the following week or so (because I’m anxious about not getting enough sleep if I read… even though I know I sleep better if I do), then abandon it and start a different book. This year, I’m going to concentrate on one at a time and read them right to the end. 20 books in 2022 seems like a good target!
Make a LOT more time for videogaming by keeping my evenings and weekends free. My game backlog is probably 1,000+ now and it’s time to start whittling that down. It’s my favourite way to relax and I most definitely have not been doing enough relaxing in 2021, so this has to be a real priority over the next year.
It’ll be interesting, as ever, to come back to this post in a year’s time! I didn’t make any resolutions last year except the house-sorting one, which was kind of a fail… let’s hope there’ll be more hits than misses in 2022.
I always intend to post lots of blogs at the end of the year with lots of big lists of all the things I did and the media I consumed and my highlights… but December is always so insanely busy I never get round to it. Maybe in 2022 I will write them as I go along haha! It’ll just have to be one megapost this year…
This year’s big resolution was to sort the house out. I did not do that and now it is one of 2022’s big resolutions. Other things have just taken more priority.
Business exploded in a good way this year, which means that I’m now working a lot more hours. It’s taking a while to adjust my life to this, and I’m beginning to realise that I can no longer just plan a trip away midweek on the assumption that I won’t have much work to squeeze in. 2022 will be a lot stricter in this regard.
Since October I’ve also been very busy with studying for the TechUP Software Development course. I have learnt a lot of Python and other very interesting things that I will be taking forward as my career gradually transitions more towards tech. (The Python knowledge will also enable me to do some very fun stuff with my game development!)
Running has continued on a more positive trajectory this year, with races and parkruns returning. I am nowhere near as fit as I was in March 2020 when everything shut down, but I have still managed two important PBs in 2021 – I took nearly five minutes off my 10k PB at the Sunderland 10k, and more than 45 minutes off my marathon PB at the London Marathon. I have also completed the second year of my daily run streak today and am hugely proud of that, as it’s been very difficult at times. Finally, parkrun-wise I have visited two new-to-me parkruns (Girvan Prom and Southwark) and earned my V25 t-shirt with my 25th volunteer stint!
As usual, I didn’t listen to much new music, but I absolutely loved the long-awaited new Duran Duran album Future Past, and I was over the moon at finally being able to see them live in Birmingham in September. Geth and I then saw Andy Taylor the very next night back home in Newcastle, and we had a great time seeing Soft Cell in Leeds in November. Lots more COVID-postponed gigs to come in 2022 (and some reviews of the ones I’ve recently attended!).
I watched pretty much zero new TV shows and films this year, though there were a few I added to my ‘buy the BluRay at some point’ list. I did record a lot of stuff on my digibox though! Geth has watched thousands of hours of YouTube channels about gaming and running, and I’ve enjoyed those by virtue of being in the same room. I did enjoy the Strictly series in the autumn, as ever.
I didn’t manage to find nearly as much time for videogaming this year as I would have liked, but there have still been a good few games to enjoy. In addition to playing all the other text adventure games in the jams and competitions I entered (see above – and also finishing off the Adventuron Christmas jam games from last year in January!), I finished Bravely Second in time for the much-anticipated Bravely Default II coming out, played Bravely Default II on and off from February but have still not made much headway ten months later, played the interesting demo of Project Triangle Strategy (set for full release on Switch in 2022 as just Triangle Strategy), finished Final Fantasy I (finally! I will be moving onto FFII for 2022), got very freaked out by Return of the Obra Dinn, got most of the way through The Great Ace Attorney Chronicles, played about ten minutes of Pikmin Bloom before deciding it wasn’t for me, enjoyed a couple of old ’90s platformers for Christmas that I’ve loved since childhood, started Braid again (will actually finish it this time!), continued enjoying the lovely meditative filler game Link-A-Pix Colour, and COMPLETED EVERY SINGLE DEMO ON THE NINTENDO 3DS ESHOP (a project I’ve been working on for years). Watch out for next year, when I will be putting some serious effort into finding a lot more time for games!
I have lots of plans and resolutions for 2022, but I’ll talk about those tomorrow…
I’ll do a separate earworm playlist post soon…. maybe (I’m considering starting to log that separately from the blog and doing a yearly chart instead). So far it’s three weeks’ worth of Christmas music and Disney/Pixar soundtracks. I must admit I am looking forward to listening to something else in January in order to clear it all from my brain.
The strange thing I’ve found about this Christmas holiday is that, after a year of nonstop rushing and deadlines, having time to myself is making me slightly anxious because I’m being a perfectionist about enjoying it efficiently! I’m trying to relax a bit more and just go with the flow of what I want to do. Yesterday evening I went back to my Python coding practice, even though that’s technically ‘work’ as it’s part of my TechUp course, because that was what I felt like doing. I’m also planning to make a bit more time for myself in January and February, as I’ll be very busy with finishing the course and I’ll need some relaxing downtime to balance it out.
It’s going to be another lovely day spent doing some gaming! I got back into Braid on Steam yesterday (a game I’ve been meaning to finish for a long time) and am also charging my Switch Lite, as it’s seemingly run out of battery since the last time I used it. I may also be doing some coding later, as Geth got me lots of interesting coding books for Christmas.
The week in between Christmas Day and New Year’s Day is my favourite week of the year. Quiet days with lots of videogaming and Christmas food. (This year I’m going to try and make the following week special too… I never really get the chance to have a ‘birthday week’ as there’s always too much going on with New Year followed by the dreaded ‘back to school’ feeling, but I’m going to try. Focusing on this week first though!)
It’s been so long since my last stretch of free time that I’m a little overwhelmed by all the options, so I’m going to spend this afternoon planning them out so that I’m not dithering during the rest of the week and can just curl up with my chosen books/games/podcasts!
Christmas, while still not fully back to normal, is so much better this year than last. I’m with the family (including my brother and sister-in-law whom I’ve not seen in two years), and that is all I wanted for this Christmas… though I did also get a lot of amazing presents!
It’s been a very long year of work / studying / creative pursuits, but I am finally on holiday. Christmas is the only proper holiday I take all year as business calls the rest of the time! As such, I am really going to enjoy the next couple of weeks. Blog posts will be mostly short but I should at least have a picture to put up every day.
Here’s the first one:
Dad and I did some Christmas baking this afternoon! I made the cake in November and we decorated it today. We also made some mince pies. I’ve been eating supermarket mince pies all month but homemade ones taste extra special!
Now to settle in for (hopefully!) a much happier Christmas than last year 🙂
(Still no earworm playlist, sorry. Hopefully Hogmanay will be quiet enough that I can get a bumper version posted.)
I’m still working this week, but I’m managing to get some Christmas celebration done as well. Geth and I cooked our pre-Christmas roast today and have plenty leftovers to eat tomorrow. I made a really nice veggie option that I’ll be making again to have on Christmas Day with the family 🙂
We’re also making good headway through our usual list of Christmas films! Muppet Christmas Carol now watched, and It’s A Wonderful Life lined up for tomorrow…
I’ve spent three months now gradually doing Christmas prep (I’ve been following Organised Christmas on The Organised Mum Method app – not just for mums, it’s helpful for everybody!) in the hope that I won’t have to rush around doing it in December. December will be very, very busy as Geth and I will be doing all the family visiting that we couldn’t do last year, and I’ve got work and studying and my last race of the year on top of all that. As such, I’m not going to have any time to write cards or wrap presents or put up decorations*, so I’ve been getting all of that finished this weekend instead.
Helpfully (and unusually), it has been snowing all weekend here, which has made things feel very festive. Also helpfully (and also unusually), Geth appears to be in the Christmas mood early too, and has been watching Christmas films for the last few evenings. This has been a very nice soundtrack for all the card-writing and present-wrapping!
I’ve also bought a few extra gift bags this year. There are some gifts we won’t be able to buy until closer to the time, but after the end of this coming week (once the last of the Black Friday purchases arrive), I refuse to do any more wrapping. Gift bags will be fine!
*Though I will be helping with Mum and Dad’s decorations early in the month!