Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 to 2013: Looking back and looking forward

Reflecting on 2012 is a big task. It was a jam packed year. A year ago I wasn't even engaged, and now I am married (and 4 months married at that). A year ago I had hopes of travel, and now I am fortunate to have hundreds thousands of photos and memories of sights that I didn't know existed last January. There are many other, smaller scale experiences that add up to 12 amazing months. I quite seriously believe that 2012 was my best year yet.


Of course, in amongst the highs there were also lows. Most of those I won't document here, being too difficult to explain or too trivial, in the bigger scheme of things, to deserve attention. I will mention, however, the December death of one of my sister's friends, an event that shook her and in so doing shook me. Earlier in the year, there was a frenzied month of work in February, and those crazed, long days took more out of me than I care to admit. In November, we heard that those days of work were for nothing anyway. My job is such that rejection is routine, part and parcel of the research world, but it hit particularly hard in particularly important ways over the last few months of the year.


On balance, though, I can only say that 2012 was a year in which I was blessed, more content than I knew possible, and acutely aware of my good fortune. To reflect more specifically, here are the goals (or aspirations, as I called them) that I formulated at the start of the year, and how they turned out.

In work -
1. Make the most of opportunities without over-committing myself.
2. Use work time to its maximum potential, so I can shut the door at home.
3. Achieve several specific work goals.
4. Be more social at work.
Each of these was achieved to some extent, and I think I am getting better at the first in particular.

In fitness -
5. Keep cycling and keep making it to Body Attack.
I have kept up cycling, but dropped Body Attack for reasons explained here


6. Run in the Perth City2Surf for the second time, in August.
I had to revise my City2Surf plans because it clashed with the work conference I needed to attend in Adelaide. I ran the 14km Perth Run for a Reason race in May instead.

In life -
7. Fulfill emerging travel plans: Exmouth at Easter, and Europe and possibly Morocco in September, around a conference in Portugal.
Who knew that Mr Bite would propose in Exmouth, or that the Europe trip would become our honeymoon? We had to skip Morocco due to safety concerns, but our travel hopes were most definitely fulfilled. In addition to Portugal, Spain was a first time visit for me and returning to the UK with Mr B was fantastic.


8. (Possibly) buy a house with Mr Bite...not in Australia, to add a twist.
I have been very quiet on this point, but it is actually a goal that we achieved. It has been hard to mention it on the blog because our year has been so eventful and a property purchase just seemed like too much to throw into the mix. I will post about it in the future, though, because the logistics of buying overseas were a challenge and I would like to document what we found helpful.

For now, let me say that we are the proud joint owners of a one bedroom flat in south-east London, which we bought in April but didn't see in person until out recent trip in September. It is rented out and we are still not used to thinking of it as truly ours!

9. Continue learning how to use my camera.
Ongoing. Oh, ongoing.

10. Continue expanding horizons in the kitchen, especially with main meals.
I will call this one a success...although as with photography, it is an ongoing sort of goal.


As for 2013? Here are the things I'm hoping for over the next 12 months.

1. Run the Bunbury half marathon on the 14th April.
I am registered to do so!

2. Drive from Darwin to Cairns in an Australia-based holiday with Mr Bite.
I have never been to the Northern Territory, and Mr Bite has never visited northern Queensland.

3. Make work count. 
There is a lot I want to achieve this year, and it is an important year in terms of setting myself up for another job after my current position ends (which happens in May 2014, after which we are looking to make our move to England).

4. Make money count. 
From middle adolescence until a few years ago, I had a spreadsheet that documented everything I earned and everything I spent. A cup of coffee was logged under 'food and drink'. A movie ticket went under 'entertainment'. Yes, I am a little obsessive. That system slowly dropped off, no longer feasible when working full-time and having less time to log and more expenses to try and keep track of. I am still a careful spender, but would like to work harder at saving, particularly as 2012 was a big year financially. I don't see a spreadsheet returning, but will be monitoring things a little more and trying to cut down on over-priced vegan foods in particular.

5. Stop buying tinned legumes and switch to dry.
This is more about saving on pantry space and packaging than money, but may help slightly with (4) too.

6. Enter previously read books into Goodreads.
I have a whole bookshelf worth of books that aren't yet listed as being read...

7. Schedule in pilates, in some form, on a regular basis.
I have been saying this for years. This year I intend to focus on it properly.

8. Read more history.
I fell in love with historical fiction in 2012, mostly in the form of British Tudor period literature. I am now reading a non-fiction book on that period and realise that I know very, very little about history outside of Australia and Asia. European and North American history are on my list after Britain.

9. Play the piano at least every other month.
The piano I played on as a child and teenager is still at my parent's house, largely unused. I played a few times before Christmas and loved it, despite significant deterioration in my skill level. I would like to try and re-learn what I have forgotten over the next year.

10. Practice photography.
Building on last year's goal, I now realise that I need to sit and play with my camera, trying different settings and accessories on the same scene, to get better at learning what works and what doesn't. I enjoy this, but need to plan for it if the practice is going to happen regularly.


So there we have it, 10 goals for 2013. Most of them will be enjoyable to strive for, and all of them will be rewarding if I can tick them off.

Do you have any aspirations for this year? Do you already do any of the things on my list? 

37 comments:

  1. Lovely post! I am sorry to hear about the recent death and then disappointment at work but am glad that the year was overall a good one - your wedding and travel sounded fantastic.

    I admire your goals - I have never been into new year's resolutions but you seem to really get somewhere with them - very exciting about having purchased a property in London - great time with the dollar so strong (as would be your travel - as we also found). I do share your goal of trying to improve my photography and actually practice with manual settings.

    Best wishes for 2013

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Johanna :-) The strong dollar was a huge factor (the main one, probably) in our decision and ability to buy. We were really fortunate it timed out the way it did.

      If only we were in the same city, we could schedule manual photography practice together! It's fun but also so easy to not do.

      Delete
  2. What a great post Kari! I love to read year-end posts! Where someone was and where they are going to be! :) I love how you put things into words. It's like reading a book every time I come here. It really is!
    I really need to update Goodreads too and I love to read history. It doesn't even have to be non-fiction. I could read a book about old history!
    I hope you are having a great new years day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Brandi - that is really kind. I love that you're on Goodreads too, it's fun seeing what other people read and getting ideas for books (especially history books from you!).

      Delete
  3. You had an awesome year Kari. That is really exciting about your flat in London. Are you thinking about making a permanent move there?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Semi-permanent anyway - we are aiming for at least 2 years after next year and then seeing :) And thank you!

      Delete
  4. Wow, congratulations on your flat! And on everything else, of course! I can commiserate with the February-work and November-let-down... I am setting myself up for the same thing in 2013, twice actually. Oh, ARC, why must you take most of a year to tell us if we have a future?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. oh, And! You're coming to Cairns! You should add an extra 4 hours to your drive and come down to Townsville!

      Delete
    2. To ARC (and also NHMRC) - indeed! It's rather lovely to have someone know what I mean who isn't actually at my work, so thank you :-)

      If we can make it to Townsville we definitely will! It's a pity it isn't that bit closer as we're planning to stop in Cairns and then go north to the Daintree, but nothing is firm yet...

      Delete
  5. Happy New Year, Kari! Thank you for recapping the past year and allowing us to go down the memory lane with ya!
    What a wonderful year you had! And the goals for this year sounds wonderful! I really need to travel more. I really want to visit Europe. Your posts really inspired me to be more adventurous. I've been practicing my violin more and want to continue to do so! I forgot how much I loved playing it! Hope you're enjoying your first new years day as a married woman ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm exactly the same with the piano - I'd completely forgotten how much I enjoyed it! I hope your violin practice continues well and happy new year to you too!

      Delete
  6. it's been so fun connecting with new bloggers and watching them go thru the year. u especially have been quite a treat because it's been such a big year for u in getting married!! soo flipping exciting...plus, since i really do stink at all things food i come over here and am in constant awe of ur creativity.
    keep up all the awesome work and here's to kicking butt in all those goals! have to say i'm stoked to see u run that city2surf! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Cait - the same to you too! Your advice will no doubt help with the half marathon plans.

      Delete
  7. Happy New Year Kari and congratulations on a fun filled 2012.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Liz - and the same to you.

      Delete
  8. Happy New Year! And, as a new reader, a belated congrats to you and Mr. Bite on the engagement, marriage and London property!! I totally admire how you were able to make your really big goals a reality. I hope your 2013 is as fulfilling as 2012 :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Dayna - I really appreciate that!

      Delete
  9. Oooh, envious of all that travel, sounds wonderful! And that's so exciting that you bought a place! As for the dried legumes thing, it really does make a big cost difference, as long as you put aside time to cook 'em. I made the switch from canned to dried a couple years ago and it's been awesome - you also end up with a way more interesting variety! And as an ex-piano teacher, kudos on trying to play once in a while. :) Happy 2013!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tip on cost saving! That is great to know :) Tins are so cheap that it is hard to imagine saving much, but I can see it would add up. I am looking forward to the variety too, that will be a big bonus!

      Delete
  10. I am so amazed that you achieved so many of your goals! That's awesome!!

    I really need to start tracking my budget more as well...especially now that the holidays are over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Joanne :) Tracking budgets definitely doesn't suit the holiday season...fingers crossed I'll be able to get back into it!

      Delete
  11. Your 2012 was certainly a huge year for you. I bet you never imagined all you would do and achieve. Getting engaged, getting married, buying a property, traveling etc all in 12 months is incredible. I'll look forward to reading about your purchase in London - how exciting xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't have imagined it if I'd tried :) Thank you Charlie, very much appreciated xo

      Delete
  12. Happy New Year Kari! My resolution this year is the same as last year (which I failed) - go to bed earlier and get more sleep.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh yes, I need that one too! Except it just never happens :P

      Delete
  13. OK:

    LOVE the new header - beautiful!

    CONGRATS on the house purchase - it's a wild enough ride doing it in the country you live in, so WELL DONE for buying from overseas!

    Also, your goals are so realistic and well thought out - I'm not a big resolution gal, but yours sound like really achievable aspirations :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much for the new header feedback :) And indeed for the congratulations - it was a bit of a wild ride! I'm glad my goal setting doesn't clash too much with your stance either ;)

      Delete
  14. I'm pleased that even though the hard times have been painful that you can get to the end of your year & say it was still a great year :-)
    Sounds like your goals are awesome! And I have black beans in the pressure cooker as I type hehehe cooking our own legumes is heaps more economical and environmental friendly than buying them already canned I reckon :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Sandy :) I am really surprisingly excited about the dry legumes thing!

      Delete
  15. It certainly sounds like 2012 was a pretty monumental year for you, I enjoyed following along. Your aspirations for 2013 sound great. The states/territories of Australia are so large and vast compared to the US, we loved seeing the sign pointing to WA when we visited Uluru, but what a drive it would be to get to Perth. A drive from Darwin to Cairns sounds fantastic!

    I am impressed with your documentation. We have a number of running spreadsheets accounting for different incomes and expenditures, but have never been able to sustain the tracking of every single purchase (we have started a few times).

    We recently finished watching the TV series "The Tudors" which has quite a bit of artistic license, but did pique my interest in that era quite a bit. I received a book about Henry VIII for Christmas and am looking forward to delving into that.

    Congrats on your property purchase!!! To live in London is perhaps our #1 desire/goal, after two visits it definitely feels like a place that we would like to call home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much! Maybe we'll both end up in London in a few years ;) The drive from Darwin to Cairns will be pretty mammoth but it seems like something that should be done when you live in Australia - there is so much of this massive country I haven't seen.

      I loved The Tudors but Mr Bite didn't so we didn't finish it...but I think the books I've picked up are probably a tad more accurate so maybe it's for the best (my lack of history might have allowed me to interpret the TV show as fact when it was not!).

      Delete
  16. Looks like you've had an even bigger year than me! It's always good to have more highs than lows, though I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Your goals for 2013 are definitely inspiring, you reminded me that I should start pilates again, too. I'm not big on working out (though I should be), but I love pilates. Your 2013 looks very promising. I'm sure that you will achieve all of your goals and more. :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. 2012 was a hard year for me, but 2013 is shaping up to be an exciting one. I think its form will reveal itself more by the end of the month so I'm holding out on my goals till I know a bit more of what is to come.
    On the pilates goal, I found this website: http://www.blogilates.com/ and I started doing some of her workouts each morning at home. It has been great and meant I do fit it into my life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry your 2012 wasn't the best, and hope that 2013 is fulfilling as well as exciting. I'll look forward to hearing your goals in due course!

      Thanks very much for that pilates link, that is really helpful as I think my practice is likely to be more regular if I stop trying to go to classes and work out an at home system instead.

      Delete
  18. Your Darwin to Cairns trip sounds fantastic! We were so close to driving that route a few years back but due to time restraints we flew instead. It was still one of the best holidays I've had as we spent a lot of time exploring Kakadu, Litchfield and Katerine in a 4WD, it's just so beautiful up there. Can't wait to read about your experience and relive some memories.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is fantastic to hear - we are really excited about it but a few people have expressed disbelief over the driving aspect! I think that will be half the fun so it's nice to know you enjoyed the time and your exploring, even if you did drive the big distance.

      Delete

I genuinely appreciate all comments and the time taken to post them. Occasionally, I may need to restrict commenting to registered users in order to halt large volumes of spam. If that happens, I will lift the restriction within a week.

Want other ways to interact? Bite-sized thoughts is on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/bitesizedthoughts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/bitesizethought).