A few days late, I know, but happy new year! I saw in 2018 in a park in Melbourne and enjoyed the very impressive fireworks set off from rooftops in the CBD. A bit weird to do so on my own (well, with hundreds of others around, but nobody I knew…) but perhaps an apt end to a year when I remembered how to make time and decisions for myself and enjoy my own company.
The new year means my extended holiday is drawing to a close, and it’s time to turn my mind to a new job and – as some of my friends have put it – a new life. I’m not sure I’d express it that way because I don’t intend to let go of a lot of the things I enjoyed in my “old life”, but settling in a new place and being over 10,000 miles from my closest family and most of my friends does mean a certain amount of beginning again. And the period of time off has given me a chance to think about what I want from that. So, despite the fact that I’m not normally one for resolutions, here are mine for the new year and “new life”:
1. Make time for myself
This is first, front and centre of my resolutions. Back home, I led a pretty manic life – working pretty hard (at various times, too hard), maintaining a very active social life and being a bit of a sucker for committees and responsibility. I can’t (and don’t want to) change my nature and of course I want to make friends in a new place, but the opportunity to do just a little bit less and have a few more evenings and weekend days to myself is one I know I need to take. Work is where that will be particularly challenging, since I know my instinct will be to prove myself in a new company, and work as hard as it takes to do that as soon as possible.
2. Get some exercise!
Despite quite a lot of walking, there’s no escaping the fact that an 11-week holiday isn’t a ticket to a healthy lifestyle unless you’re FAR more disciplined than I am! But, to be honest, the damage to my previous exercise regime (such as it was) was done before I left London. It turns out that announcing you’re leaving the country makes you quite in-demand for social occasions and (see 1 above) I don’t really need an excuse to rack these up. Cue many, many evenings out on the beer which, not only led to high-calorie food and drink consumption but also kiboshed my three-to-four times per week cycling to work habit. No wonder many of my clothes no longer fit. My bike will arrive in Sydney in mid-February, but I’ve resolved to get back into running (slow jogging) and sign up for a local parkrun. Two 5k-ish runs down and I’ve been shattered both times, but I remember it gets better…
3. Reduce consumption of single-use plastic stuff
This one isn’t for me, but plastic waste is something I feel quite strongly about without always putting my money where my mouth is. However, recently I’ve imposed a “no disposable coffee cup” rule on myself – if I forget my keep cup and won’t drink in, I don’t deserve the coffee, and if a coffee shop or stand won’t take/use it then they don’t deserve my money. Once it’s became routine to toss the keep cup in my handbag (I have had a lot of flat whites in the last 11 weeks), it’s not been hard – and it helps that proffering a cup when ordering a coffee is much more normal here than back home. I compare my experience at the very busy coffee stands at the Adelaide Oval and MCG here to that at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, where the grumpy vendor (I refuse to call him a barista – the coffee was terrible) looked at me like I had three heads when I asked him to put my drink in my cup.
The challenge now is to always remember the reusable shopping bags, ignore the plastic veg bags in the supermarket, refuse straws and get hold of some beeswax wraps so I can remove cling film from my life. Plastic bags are still free here and therefore pretty widespread, but the two biggest supermarket chains are phasing them out by June this year.
4. Don’t spend NYE 2018-2019 alone!
Much as it was fun and I have zero regrets about doing the solo new year’s, some company would have been pleasant. Despite resolving to make time for myself in 2018, I’d like to make some new friends too!