Getting Ready for 2011

December 31, 2010

The end of one year; the beginning of another. As always, it’s a time to look back and look ahead; to take stock, measure, and reflect. It was generally a good year for me.

  1. I went back to work. Technically, I started that in 2009, but with only a handful of working days in 2009, the achievement of holding down a job still lies in 2010. Now, after one whole year back at work, it really feels like some kind of a milestone, to have been able to hold down a job and still keep the house running more-or-less smoothly.
  2. I signed a contract for getting one book published and wrote another two.
  3. I went on a short but sweet holiday to Italy.
  4. I managed to send off my Archaeology assignment, thus bringing my fifth module to a close. I honestly didn’t think I’d manage to squeeze that in!

Yes, it was a good year. The only thing I’m not happy about is that I gained 5 kilos! But well… you can’t have everything your way.

As I’ve done in recent years, I looked at the goals I’d set for this year in January 2010. Then, I went a step further and looked back over my goals of the past several years and how I’d measured up against them each year. It was an interesting exercise.

January 2007

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  3. Go back to playing the violin
  4. Take the next level of German course
  5. Stop doing dull, boring, meaningless work and get involved in something meaningful – or at least exciting
  6. Make at least one new friend
  7. Read at least a book a month
  8. Watch at least two movies a month (at a movie hall)
  9. Travel
  10. Get a publisher for my travel book
  11. Create a photo book

January 2008
I’ve made absolutely no progress on numbers 3, 8, and 10, and only limited progress on number 2 (but not for want of trying).

In 2008, I want to:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  3. Go back to playing the violin
  4. Complete another two modules of my online Archaeology course
  5. Work on a compilation of my existing travel articles for a website, book, or series of freelance articles

January 2009
I think I’ve made some progress on all of these, which is good enough for me.

In 2009, I want to:

  1. Lose weight (this has been on every list I’ve ever made since I was 15. Some things never change.)
  2. Keep playing my violin, no matter what
  3. Get a job, preferably one that lets me work flexible hours, partly from home, provides challenging work, and pays well (in that order; oh, is that asking too much?)
  4. Be as patient as I possibly can with the twins

January 2010
Uh-oh. I didn’t make it – not even close – on 1 and 2. And 4 is kinda doubtful too. But yes, I managed 3! There were a few false starts, but now I’ve finally got a job that I think I’m going to like. And so, in 2010, I want to:

  1. Forget trying to lose weight.
  2. Forget trying to get my books published
  3. Forget getting back to playing my violin regularly
  4. Forget studying archaeology

All I want to do this year is:

  1. Keep my head above water at work
  2. Avert any major household crises
  3. Spend as much time as possible with the kids (without losing my temper)
  4. Remember to smile – this is (mostly) the life I wanted

January 2011
The four goals I wanted to “forget” at the start of 2010 were things I wanted to do but didn’t think I’d have time for. So it’s that much sweeter to know that 2 and 4 on that list have worked out! And so have – to varying extents – the four more modest goals in the second list. 2010 was a good year.

In 2011, I want to:

  1. Excel at work
  2. See my book(s) in the bookshop – one should certainly happen, but if all three can come out by year end, that would be fantastic.
  3. Complete my Archaeology course
  4. Exercise more
  5. Get enough rest and not be tired and short of sleep all the time (looks mutually exclusive with 4 and 5!)

Happy New Year, everyone!

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The Year That Was

December 31, 2007
In January this year, things were different. I was on hormones that were supposed to help me conceive. We didn’t know then that that was something that would never happen.

We’ve come a long way since then. And that progress has dominated this year for me. The whole process of infertility culminating in adoption was a difficult and unhappy one, but at last it has worked out for us. Now, none of the history matters any more.

Other things have happened in the past year. Most significantly, I quit my job and – most likely – ended my career of over a decade. That was a difficult decision, one that took a very long time to come to fruition, and one that – strangely enough – finally occured independent of the adoption. In view of the adoption, I have no doubt that it turned out to be the right decision, but I don’t know how things would have gone if the adoption hadn’t come through so soon. Would I actually have done the things I wanted to do, or would I have ultimately gone back to a desk job? And what about those other things that I wanted to do – will I ever get around to doing them now?

I traveled. We went to Bangkok, a first for me, and we went back to Ladakh and back to Nimaling, my idea of Paradise on Earth. The weather was perfect, better even than it had been the last time. If it is the last trek I ever do, I have no regrets – I have been twice-blessed.

I finally enrolled in a course on Archaeology! This, after about 15 years of waiting…

Looking back, at the start of the year I wanted to:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  3. Go back to playing the violin
  4. Take the next level of German course
  5. Stop doing dull, boring, meaningless work and get involved in something meaningful – or at least exciting
  6. Make at least one new friend
  7. Read at least a book a month
  8. Watch at least two movies a month (at a movie hall)
  9. Travel
  10. Get a publisher for my travel book
  11. Create a photo book

Of these, I’ve made absolutely no progress on numbers 3, 8, and 10, and only limited progress on number 2 (but not for want of trying).

Next year, I want to:

  1. Lose weight
  2. Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  3. Go back to playing the violin
  4. Complete another two modules of my online Archaeology course
  5. Work on a compilation of my existing travel articles for a website, book, or series of freelance articles

Will I be able to achieve even these few modest goals? I hope so, but only time will tell.


Looking Forward

January 2, 2007

Sigh. End of the year. Start of the year. Time to look back. Time to look ahead. Time to make resolutions… and to break them. Most importantly, time to make nonsensical lists, like those that follow.

Things I Want To Do in 2007

  • Get pregnant

If not, then ALL of the following (in any order):

  • Lose weight
  • Improve at tennis – specially backhand!
  • Go back to playing the violin
  • Take the next level of German course
  • Stop doing dull, boring, meaningless work and get involved in something meaningful – or at least exciting
  • Make at least one new friend
  • Read at least a book a month
  • Watch at least two movies a month (at a movie hall)
  • Travel
  • Get a publisher for my travel book
  • Create a photo book

Things I LIKED About 2006

  • Work (specifically, the lack of it)
  • Colleagues (specifically one or two)
  • My boss (former)
  • Friends (all)
  • Husband (most of the time)
  • Health (apart from the odd dose of antibiotics)
  • My bike
  • German class (97%)
  • E61 (features!)
  • Travel (Ladakh, Ranthambhore)
  • Money (income)

Things I DIDN’T Like About 2006

  • Work (specifically, the lack of it)
  • Colleagues (specifically one or two)
  • My boss (current)
  • Health (gynecologists!)
  • German class (eight months of weekends)
  • E61 (bugs!)
  • Travel (Rain! Relatives!)
  • Money (wealth)

And here’s why I’ll never be a poet… I just can’t get it out of my head that poetry should involve metre and rhyme.

…Looking Back

Same desk, same laptop, same old work,
An older boss, a smaller team.
Different projects, all the same,
Sheer boredom makes me want to scream.

A year gone by at the tennis courts,
Struggling with backhand and serve
Slipping, falling, holding on,
Coach says: “She’s got a nerve.”

My book is still a manuscript,
The way it was a year ago.
At least one publisher took a look,
I waited, prayed, hoped… they said “no.”

Go here! Go there! Do this! Get that!
So many ways to fill the days.
Trying too hard, thinking too little,
Question marks lost in the haze.

Eating, drinking, living well,
Gaining weight! It’s a shame.
Some clothes still fit, some don’t, not quite,
At least the shoes are still the same.

The hair is longer, wilder, but,
Just as thin and just as black.
The face in the mirror looks just the same,
Me looking forward, me looking back.


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