Ending 2018

Published · 5min

It’s coming to the end of the year, and I figure it’s a good time to review what went well over the past year, what went poorly, and how things can go better.

The good

First up, and most important, is that I found a few great friends this year. I really can’t exaggerate that, nor how lucky that makes me feel. If you’re reading this, and you think you number among them, you do. 😃

Second is that Operation Fat Bastard, my effort to get down to about 70kg, has mostly been successful. I hit a plateau towards the end of the year, but I managed to lose 18kg, bringing me down to 79.5kg currently. I still have another 10kg to go, but I’ll see what I can do to kickstart the process again. I think I might need to include some proper exercise in addition the portion control and walking I’ve mostly been doing. If things go right, I might be done by March, and then I can go into maintenance mode.

I have a bike again! I haven’t been cycling it as much as I’d like - Waterways Ireland don’t make it easy to cycle along the canal for a start - but I’m hoping to start again as soon as the weather improves a bit.

The not so good

I still don’t feel as if I yet function as the person I could be. I’ve certainly made some progress, but I need to make more. I finally changed jobs almost two years ago after spending far too long at my previous one, albeit after the continuous prompting and prodding of some of my best friends. Owing to part of me that though Carlow was temporary and not somewhere I’d end up spending a decade of my life, I never really settled there, and so the interstice I was in after I left Cork ended up extending to almost a decade and a half, and that wasn’t heathy for me. It ended up with me feeling very isolated outside of work.

I’d written more about this, but I don’t think it’s really worth sharing the details. Suffice it to say that there were opportunities to get out of this isolation, but owing to me being a poor reader of people, being very literal-minded, and also very cautious with others, any such opportunities passed me by.

I still haven’t dealt with my anxiety yet, and that gets in the way of me being a more open person. Outside of social situations where drink is involved, I’m much too inhibited around others, and end up freezing. When there is drink involved and my inhibitions are lower, I’m better. However, I still feel anxious at times, which means I need something do fidget with, so I’ll end up fiddling with my phone or drinking my drink faster than I normally would. The former is rude, but the latter can end up in situations where I don’t remember the whole night, and that’s not good. I have no intentions on giving up drinking socially, but I would like to get my anxiety under control so I end up drinking less when I’m out than I do sometimes.1

What I’m planning on doing

The big one if finding better coping mechanisms for my flaws. In addition to the books I mentioned previously, I’m reading Are U Ok?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Katy Morgan, and hope to reach a point where I’m happier with myself.

I want to start swimming again. When I tried last time, I discovered how out of practice I am now. I used to be a strong swimmer, so that was embarrassing. That means taking lessons to get myself back to where I was.

I’m planning on finding more outlets, more reasons not just to stay at home and stew. I’m not sure what I’ll be doing, but I’ll certainly be making more of an effort.

I’m going to be doing a spring clean. I still have so much stuff boxed from when I moved down to Dublin. I’m going to take one a day and make a decision about its contents. I’ll see if there are any friends who would find whatever I’m getting rid of useful, and failing that, I’ll see about selling the stuff on, donating it, or simply throwing it away. I’m at a point where I can do that with a lot of clothes now too, and given I’ll continue tracking myself after I hit my idea weight, I shouldn’t have situation where I feel I need to replace my wardrobe from scratch again.

Finally, but most importantly, I’m going to make sure all this is actionable. One of the upsides of going through some of my old stuff while I’ve been here for Christmas is rediscovering some of my old notebooks. I can improve on all that, and I’ll probably be creating something along the lines of a bullet journal to supplement my notebook, and make better use of things like Keep (for quick notes), the calendar on my phone, Pocket (to control browser tab explosions - thanks, JJ!), and a few other bits and bobs to get things under control.

That’s a lot, I think if I manage that last one, the rest are doable. I can end 2019 in a place where I’m happier with myself, less anxious, and more comfortable in my skin than I am now. I can achieve that.

  1. In case you’re wondering, I have relatives who are alcoholics, one of whom I’m a lot alike, and I’m painfully aware of the dangers of slipping into those patterns.