Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Looking back at 2007

At the beginning of the month, I posted these questions and invited you to share your answers. Here are mine.

a)Talk about what went well over the past year. What are you proud of? What sets your heart on fire? What passions and lessons have you gleaned from the past year?
This year I achieved the big goals that I set myself, apart from getting a driving licence. I passed my Life in the UK test in March. I became a UK citizen in June. That same month I earned my ACLIP library qualification. In July I received my UK passport. In August I applied for a provisional driving licence. In October I got my US passport renewed. In December, I took my first driving lesson. I am proud to have achieved these things by using a time scale and working steadily toward them.

Another year has gone by without my gaining back any of the weight I have lost. I have weighed 133-135 all year, a tiny bit less than my average weight for 2006, and about 10 pounds under my average weight for 2005. I have made a vow that I will never be fat again. So far so good.

My exercise rotation has been consistent again this year. I have worked out 5-6 days per week all year.

I remain committed to the vegan lifestyle.

We're okay financially. We have no debt and I am closer to my personal savings goal.

Over the past year, I've decided to really embrace a Buddhist outlook and stop toying around with it. I have tried to commit myself more fully to daily meditation practice. I have continued to read and to consider Buddhist principles.

b) Talk about what you wish you had done differently. Which situations would you like to have changed if you could? Which actions would you have taken if you knew then what you know now (after all, hindsight IS 20/20, right?). Are there situations that still feel unsettled for you that you wish you could change?

I wish I had started driving lessons in the summer because the days are longer and I could have done the lessons after work rather than on my days off. My days off are pretty much shot from now until it starts staying light out longer. That's not good!

If I could change situations, I would go back to times when I talked instead of listening. I would keep my mouth shut. I always feel that I say too much. I struggle with wondering what to say when. Then I spend a lot of time replaying situations in my head and hoping I didn't make the wrong impression.

I have engaged in overthinking too much this year.

I wish that we had planned a longer visit for when Dad and Ethan came over in July.

c) Talk about your hopes and dreams for the future. What do you want to focus on as you move into the New Year? Which projects have you put off (out of necessity, a busy lifestyle, too many responsibilities looming) that you'd like to tackle in 2008? How do you want to feel about yourself next year? And ... more importantly, how can you make those hopes and dreams a reality?
My hopes and dreams for the future are vague. When I consider them, I usually end up with a list of things I'm worried about in the future. I hope I have a place to live when I'm old. I hope I have some sort of retirement income so that I don't have to work until I drop dead. Or if that doesn't work out, I hope that I will be able to find someone willing to employ me until I drop dead. How will I survive if I have no home because I never managed to get on the property ladder and I am forced to retire at 65? No way to pay rent, no income, but (hopefully) another 20-30 years to live? This is a fear that looms. So, one of my goals is to try to get some financial advice for late-starting, risk-averse savers like myself. I still have a good 25 years left in my working life, so all hope is not lost. I'm just scared of investment. I need advice!

Obviously I want to get my driving licence and maybe buy a car.

I want to find some peace with my career progression. I have got to deal with my feelings about it. Am I content to be a library assistant or do I want to try to move up? Am I willing to do what it may take to move up? As a library assistant, I don't make enough money to support myself on my own, and it always makes me nervous to think that I can't make it on my own. Do I want to get a post-grad diploma in Library and Information Studies? Do I want to just keep my head down and continue as I am? Where am I going? Why do I have this feeling that I ought to always be striving for something? Why do I always feel that I don't measure up? *shrug* Got to deal with this.

In 2008, I want to take my fitness to the next level, if I can. I want to stop playing around with it and go ahead and lean out the rest of the way. I would like to lose a bit more weight (7-14 lbs) and build up my muscles further so they really show. This will mean NOT eating so much indulgent junk! And a focused effort to lift heavier weights and make every workout really count.

I've also begun to realise that if I want my Buddhist practice to grow, I am going to have to find a practice centre. So there's another goal.

And finally, Derek and I have discussed our disengagement with our community. We have lived here five years, but to be honest, once we get inside this flat and close the door, we could be anywhere in the UK. We have not engaged with our community at all. All our friends live in the south. Our only friends here are ones we've made at work, and we don't really get together with them outside work. We are not part of any local organisations and have no involvement with any community events. So we are going to look into finding out about local sci fi fan clubs, environmental organisation, Buddhist groups, or some other interest groups that we might click with, and try to get a bit more involved in 2008.

How do I want to feel about myself next year? I want to feel that I'm okay. I want to feel that I have done my best and that it's okay to have made a few mistakes along the way. I want to feel that I have made choices that are compassionate. I want to feel that I have behaved in a way that shows respect to myself and others. I want to feel that I have made a positive impact in some way.

SO...what are your thoughts? Leave me a link to your blog, I would love to know!

May all beings be at ease.


Fat-Free Vegan said...

Congrats on maintaining the weight loss! From my own personal experience, that's much harder than losing it to begin with.

RE the financial stuff, I can relate! We don't own a home, but we also have no debt. We've got some money in the bank and we keep adding to that. I've applied for another job that makes about $5 grand a year more and just after that, the place I work now is offering me another $5 grand! So whether I get that job or not, I'll be earning more in the coming year, which will go to the savings as well. I know nothing bout investing or what to do with our money other than just keep pumping it into savings. I worry about having enough to retire, never owning a home (they're so expensive here compared to small town Wisconsin!) and other things. I may have to give some thought to your questions and answer them on my blog.

jamie said...

phew,that was a heck of a read...
good luck with all that stuff in the new year,my only real goals are to get my own blog up and running,you and mark have opened my eyes to this amazing world,and i can see the immense benefits of having my own blog.
if you don't mind me asking,what's about the wanting your muscles to 'show'? you mean body-building?
a good friend of mine got into body-building and he looked great for it.

Carla said...

Jamie, you've got a blogger profile, where's the blog? I can't wait to read it!

Now about this muscle thing. I don't really want to be a body builder, I just want to be edging just the other side of very toned. Where you look twice and go, wow she must lift weights. But you don't say, good god a bloke in a skirt.

Fat-Free Vegan said...

Hey Carla, I nearly forgot to mention, if you ever come to Australia, the largest Buddhist temple in the Southern Hemisphere is just a short drive from my house! I've visited it and it's really beautiful!