Saturday, January 23, 2016

2015, end of year wrap up - New Year Evolutions

Quite pointedly, you will see that I have not referenced "resolutions" in this.  Why is that?  As we all know, resolutions only ever turn out to be a temporary state of affairs.  Very ephemeral.  They don't even sometimes last beyond the first hangover of the year.  When all you are craving is a bacon, egg, and black pudding butty.

The first time you fall off your own particular wagon, then it is a case of, "oh well, maybe I will try that again next January."  I am a firm believer in living the very best life you can.  All the time.  Not once a year.  And not as a result of a guilt fueled post December blow out.

I do like to set myself annual goals though.  Things I want to do and achieve.  With my life.  With loved ones.  It's the truest of truisms that time flies when you are having fun.  And a truth universally acknowledged that it goes even faster the older you get.

This was brought very sharply into focus recently when I happened across a blog post from a chap called Tim Urban (  A posting he wrote about "life in charts".  When you can see all your life on one chart, it is visually very powerful.  When you can cross off the time you have had, and see the remainder, it reminds us that we are not immortal, and don't in fact have all the time in the world.
Cross off what you have had, it is powerful
It went something like this, as applied to me.  If I am lucky enough to last to the ripe old age of 90, I have 46 years left.  I currently see my family maybe once a year on average.  If I do nothing to increase that average, I will only get to see them properly again for a maximum of 46 times.  I don't want to consider what this means to the times I get to see my mum, who, barring a miraculous, medical discovery, won't be around to see me reach my 90th birthday.

This isn't supposed to be depressing.  Rather, a reminder that we should make the most of the time we do have.  Use it valuably.  Don't waste time on arguments or petty grudges.  Because folks, life really is too short

Setting goals for the year motivates me to make sure I am living my life the way I want to.  Filling it with great experiences. So as I look back over the year, at times like these, in the rear view mirror, over my turkey, and pigs in blankets, I do so with satisfaction and not regret.  

Looking back over a list I made myself at the start of 2015, I haven't done too bad.  Some items will carry over to this year, but isn't that the idea?  Create an aspirational list, and see where you land.  My one perennial item, that always gets carried over is "lose weight".  Not because I want to go on some fad diet, and lose lots of weight.  But rather, to maintain the lifestyle I enjoy so much, which includes lots of eating out, and lots of cocktails, then my weight is one thing that keeps me in the gym so many times a week.

Items on my list for last year included:
  • Go and actually see something at the Opera House (rather than just using the toilets) - ticked this off in December, when we went to see the amazing "Sleeping Beauty" ballet.
  • Eat fish and chips in England - ticked off courtesy of the wonderful friend, with whom I had a splendid, boozy, lunch of fabulous fish and chips at the new Catch restaurant in West Vale, Halifax.
  • Visit somewhere new - ticked off with a first visit to Jervis Bay, Huskisson, and Hyam's beach on the south coast of New South Wales.  What was going to be a quiet night in the famous "Husky" pub turned into a big night after being told we had to "push on".  So we spent the night listening to a live rendition of such Aussie classics such as Khe San by Cold Chisel. Harper and Tarimo, go and google them.  Obviously not as popular as The Proclaimers in the hot spots of Halifax and Huddersfield.
  • Learn a bit more Spanish, and speak it in Spain - ticked off with a weekend in Marbella, with some of my oldest (and they are quite old) mates.
  • Continue writing - something I have strived to do with regular-ish blog updates.  If I am honest, I would like to write more, but not sure you would all agree that's such a good idea :-)
  • Continue finding new places to eat in Sydney - not much of a hardship this one.  And with an exploding, world class dining scene, it is not very hard to achieve either.
And then the year had lots of highlights, and lots of firsts
I attended the world's largest BBQ with my new friends Pam and Roy.  I'm convinced that they will still be eating the leftovers.  To this very day.  I also attended the world's slowest BBQ (in fact I must point out that Mr Kent did an admirable job on his first occasion of using a behemoth of a gas BBQ. He wasn't in fact quite as slow as Miss Harper has painted him out to be).  If only wee Tom could have been there to see him.

At the age of 43 I went ice skating for the very first Bondi Beach.  Yes folks, you read that correctly.  Once a year an ice rink gets put up on the promenade overlooking the world famous beach.  It was great fun, even if I did resemble a drunk Bambi, trying to keep from falling over, as 5 year olds zoomed past me like Torvill and Dean.

Whale watching made the list of firsts, even though it was the second time I had been out on a trip. This was the first time I had actually seen any whales.

Stand Up Paddle boarding was a first that will definitely be repeated.  Despite needing even better balance than when I went ice skating, I surprised myself by being able to stay upright for long periods at a time.  I was even upright for a whole 10 minutes at one point.

Despite living in Sydney now for over 3 years, 2015 was the first time I had been to the "Vivid" light show in Sydney.  An annual lights extravaganza that has to be seen to be believed.

January saw us welcome our first visitors of the year from the UK.  And the first time I had seen a person visibly melt in the sun in front of my eyes, like an ice cream left outside for too long.  A day at cricket at Sydney Cricket Ground saw us battling with the heat in ways not usually experienced in Greetland.

Thailand - and a return to Koh Samui after about 15 years.  Needless to say the place had changed, and in a good way.  We had an excellent time, fueled by cheap beers, pad thai and me discovering piña coladas.  How damn good are those bad boys?!

August saw me bring in my 3 year anniversary, and we finally got to have cocktails (about $1m worth!!!) in the Shanghai bar.  Known to you and me, and the rest of the world, as the Shangri La hotel.  And what a view from the room.  The ultimate staycation.  Matched by a stay later in the year at the wonderful Ovolo hotel down on finger wharf at Woolloomooloo.  Free mini bar, AND free drinks in the bar between 5pm to 7pm.  Beat that.

A trip home to the motherland in September, with Ma Cormack returning with us, for her second visit, bringing Helen in tow.  This was covered in my last posting.  And a holiday back to the wonderful Palm Cove in Far North Queensland over xmas rounded the year off perfectly, before spending NYE down at Sydney Harbour, for a fireworks display that always leaves me breathless.

And so, onto 2016, and all that brings.  Hopefully a good one for you, your family, and all your friends.

p.s. another first - the first blog post I have done on my new toy, the gargantuan iPad Pro.  I also have the "pencil", and have started sketching, so I may follow Winston Churchill into painting out the later years of my life.

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