Showing posts with label 2019. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 2019. Show all posts

Tuesday, 31 December 2019

2020 Hindsight

Well, it's that time of year again, when we look back at what we've achieved and forward to what we want but fail to change. Casting my gaze around my office I see barely-glanced-at A4 print outs with things like:

Goals for 2019

Write a book (Aa Apple) - failed, but I've begun compiling my 2000-2020 compilation of short stories called Hidden In The Old Stone Wall, which will hopefully be ready early 2020

Coffee Cup Killer – failed, but I've written a few more chapters and figured out a few more in my head, plus have some checked at West Lothian Writers with some great feedback

Don't Give Up – success! I have not given up.

Plant bushes in front garden – failed. But I have planted 20 tree seeds in pots in the green house, Hopefully they sprout in the spring

Publish another short story - failed. But Thick as Thieves is out now published in a compilation called Knucklehead Noir by Coffin Hop Press.

I also, as if that wasn't enough, can see another A4 print out right next to it that says:

2019 New Year's Resolutions

Good Hour Every Day : Music, Language, Write – failed
Speak Japanese every even day – failed
Exercise 3 times a week – failed
No alcohol – failed
Work 9 hour days – 4-4-1 – failed
Tai chi every morning – failed, but did do it a lot of mornings
Go to bed at 10:30pm - failed
Wake up at 7am – failed
Seven fruit and veg a day – failed
Spend less money – failed
More family time – failed
More garden time – failed
Save money – failed
One coffee max – failed
More water – failed
Be more patient – failed
Cook more – failed
Write one letter a week – failed
Reduce plastic waste – I think we actually may have succeeded with this one with our use of ecobricks to insulate the loft rafters. So much so that my wife was getting sick of ecobricks scattered around the house and stopped buying plastic bottles of orange juice.
Walk more – failed
More board games – failed, although we did play Risk with a few of the local kids which seemed to go quite well. "World domination, kids! It's what it's all about!"

I only looked at and read these sheets of paper twice. Once when I put them up at the end of 2018, and again just now. So I can safely say that didn't work. 

Perhaps I was unrealistic in my goals. Just too many. My most successful year of fulfilling New Year's Resolutions I think was a couple of years ago when I only had one:

Don't be an Asshole

which was later downgraded to :

Try not to be an Asshole

So what then can we take away from this? It's better to have a goal and risk it unmet, than to have no goal and achieve nothing. Then again it's quite nice and less stressful to achieve goals that one had not really set out on achieving. But too many targets and you miss them all. As I believe it was Confucius who once said 

“The dog that chases two rabbits catches neither.”

So with this in mind then, let's try to gather a list of NYRs that are both achievable and easy to remember. 

I think I'm going to split these up into three parts: Vows, Goals and Regimen. (Already sounding too much)

2020 Vows, Goals & Regimen


I vow not to fly in 2020
I vow to drive as little as possible and less than last year
I vow to expand my vegetable garden and grow more in it


To complete Hidden In The Old Stone Wall
To either find an agent and/or publisher for or self publish Hidden In The Old Stone Wall
To complete The Coffee Cup Killer


Early to bed, early to rise
Write 250 words every day
Exercise at least once a week

One thing I realised in 2019 is that it's almost as hard for me to go to bed early as it is to get up early, and that these things are two sides of the same coin. It actually takes effort to go to bed. It's taken me 44 years to get my head round this (and I still haven't). You'd think it would be easy to climb into a nice warm snug area and read a good book until you get sleepy, by which point you're already in prime position to nod off. 

But no. I have to play Firefight on Halo OTSD until 3am. Then hate myself and climb the stairs of shame, brush the hairy teeth of tardiness, pull off my clothes of disorganisation, drop my underwear into the laundry basket of humiliation, climb into a freezing cold, draughty bed of despair, read for a few uncomfortable moments and then extinguish the light of disgust and lie there with feet of ice seeing flashbacks of popping grunts and failing to knock out big blue hunters by elbowing them on their armour.

But, happily, some goals I completed in 2019 by accident are:

The planting of 20 native British tree seeds with my son
The first draft compilation of 'Hidden in the Old Stone Wall'
The setting up and running of 6 Saltire Open Mic Nights with Steven Dakers
Successfully (I think) held the 2019 Scottish Short Film Festival in July

Had my iPhone stolen and reverted back to Nokia, thereby healing repetitive strain injury in right wrist
Began a petition and Facebook page to try to save Carmondean Library
Wrote the song Halloween Blues and covered I'm Yours, Friday I'm in Love and El Condor Pasa
Popped my busking cherry
Popped my stand up cherry
Got a dangerous metal bench moved from the local playground
Wrote a nice email to Hannah Bardell MP about the wildfires in Australia

That's about it

In my younger days I used to buy a day-to-a-page diary from John Menzies and try my best to fill it in over the course of the year (I still have these). Then on New Year's Eve I'd sit down and enjoy reading through it all again and ponder life's imponderables. But alas I don't do that any more. Mostly because I always felt guilty about not being able to keep up with my diary writing and wasting all that paper, so instead I switched to jotting in undated notebooks whenever the notion took me. Just found them and there's a few pages from 2019 so I'll take a wee stroll down memory lane and see if there's owt worth sharing.

Sunday 9th March

Ye gadzooks! Another day in the valley and I only have T minus three minutes to figure out what's wrong with my life!
  • No motivation,
There! That was easy!

Monday 11th March

I have nothing to say. Everything I have to say has been said before by better minds than I. Half the stuff I say I regret, and the other half is divided into thirds - funny stuff, informative stuff, and stuff people don't want to listen to.
    But on the whole most of the stuff I say is better left unsaid. Even the funny stuff I say is not wanted or lends anything worthwhile to the debate.
   So what is worth saying?
   Nobody wants to hear the truth, and nobody wants to hear lies. What does that leave?

Saturday 13th April

Went to the library and my son picked up two books at random to appease me - one about space and the other called Business Finance for Kids.

In the post office he bought some super sour candy called 'Hazardous Waste' which I tried too and it almost tore my mouth apart.

Wednesday 1st May

Struggled to leave my bed at 7:45am this morning. Decided to not decide whether to have a day off today.

Wednesday 22nd May

Today my son said his teacher humiliated him for not knowing his fractions or how to simplify 63/77ths. He was quite upset about it and said he couldn't remember exactly what she'd said because he'd tried to block it from his mind. I just tried to help him practise some fractions and then talk him through his emotions, relating to him a bit how primary school teachers traumatised me when I was a kid. Knocking my head together with Neil Law's and staring at me with excess mascara. I still feel nervous even now when going into the primary school to pick him up
   Anyway, he seemed to cheer up a bit after that.
   Personally I have lost faith in the present Scottish education system. Hardly any homework, days off galore, free time on Fridays which are half days anyway. What the fuck? No wonder he doesn't know his fractions.

Wednesday 6th June

So why the hell am I starting up an Open Mic Night?

Saturday 15th June

Played chess against the computer while listening to Rage Against The Machine.

Thursday 10th October

My son came home and lit up the household with his laughter and songs as usual.

Saturday 26th October

Okay. In an effort to clear my mind of the scum layer of thoughts and crabbit emotions encrusting the upper regions of my psyche, I am now endeavouring to write some diary here in my own dining room in my own house in the peace and quiet of my own family's absence.

Monday 4th November

This is the only thing I know for sure. The date. Nothing else is certain. Nothing else is written.

There. That was fun.

But no matter your successes or failures of 2019, or your goals, resolutions and hopes for 2020, I wish you all peace, harmony and happiness for the coming year. See you on the other side :)