Arbitrary goals for self-improvement

I saw this on a bin on our first night in Japan.

Hello. It’s been a while. How are you? Sorry I have been markedly absent from blogging lately. It’s the first time I’ve taken more than a week off in five years though. And when you put it like that I think I probably had some leave accrued.

It’s 2015 now, somehow. I was glad to finish 2014. I can’t remember feeling that way with any other year. But at midnight on New Year’s Eve, when I was lying on the grass looking at the stars, I was glad to see the year tick past.
Last year was hard. I was homeless for a while. I was unemployed for longer. I was the most stressed I can remember being. And also the most scared. I was lonely. I cried a lot. Living in Melbourne made me sad sometimes because there isn’t enough sunshine. I missed the stars. I spent an unhealthy percentage of my weekends on Skype. My brother moved out of the house we shared in Newcastle and I still haven’t really dealt with that housemoving out of my life.
But also I helped to run a festival and it went really, really well. I eventually got a job that I love. I saw 52 shows during the Comedy Festival. We went to Japan. I wrote some things I’m proud of. I made new friends and became closer to old ones. I joined a book club. I did a lot of yoga. And when I needed them, people supported me. That sounds like such a simple and obvious thing but in reality it is anything but. Several times last year I was blown away by how lucky I am to have such amazing people in my life.
Usually I start every year with a list of things I want to do and to achieve. Last year’s list was scribbled at the back of my daily planner, accompanied by a sticker of a hamster. This is last year’s list. 
1. Touch my toes
This was my New Year’s resolution for 2014. I’ve never been able to touch my toes because my legs grew too fast and the tendons never caught up. I still can’t do it. But I am much closer and I consider that a success, high fives all ‘round.
2. Read 32 books
I actually managed 34 books. I also wanted at least half of these books to be by women, which I managed as well (17 were by women). Here are my three favourite books from last year:
Flight Behaviour – Barbara Kingsolver
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Chemo – Luke Ryan
Sex Criminals – Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
3. Explore
I think I wanted to explore Melbourne, since I live here now? I don’t really know that I did this. I probably should.
4. Buy better bras
lol I wore the same bra for basically the entire year lol
5. Have more baths
When we were in Japan I had a bath almost every single day and it was glorious.
6. Write at least six proper things
I’m pretty proud of the things that I wrote last year. In particular see this piece for Junkee, this piece for Writers Bloc and this piece for Scum.
7. Do one hour of yoga once a week
I’m now doing a 90 minute yoga class three times a week so I think I kicked this one out of the park.
8. Drink more water
Yeah, I guess I drank some water in 2014, pat on the back.
9. DO IT NOW
This is mostly about cleaning, if I’m honest. Like, if there is some dirty underwear on the floor and I think “Oh I should put that in the wash…” I have to DO IT NOW. It was a very ambitious goal.
10. Leave comments
What even is this one? Past me, what are you talking about? Why would I want to leave comments? On what? I don’t understand?
11. Have 24 internet free hours per week
I kind of let this one slip. I should probably take it up again?
12. Properly remove makeup
lol I bought some makeup remover but I never have those cotton things you need lol
13. Be less afraid of escalators
When we were in Japan I went on an escalator that was hanging fifty storeys above the ground and I didn’t have a panic attack. Someone give me a medal.
For a few reasons, I don’t have one of these lists for this year. I finished last year very determinedly not thinking about the year ahead. I feel a little odd to be without any small, arbitrary goals for self-improvement. If you would like to suggest some, that would be most welcome (for real though).
While we’re on the subject of suggestions – I didn’t do an annual reader’s survey last year but I would still very much like to hear your thoughts on this blog. If you are someone who reads this (and that includes friends and family, especially friends and family) I would love to know why you read it and what you would like to read more of. Suggestions always welcome.
Most of all though, thanks for your support last year. Thanks for being there when it was hard. Thanks for reading this blog even when it isn’t very good. I appreciate you. 
Over the next few weeks I’m going to write some blogs about things that we did in Japan. If you are also going to Japan you might enjoy doing these things too.  

Further reading

December – home

I spent the first minutes of 2018 on the beach. I’ve never actually spent New Year