Tag Archives: life

Review of 2016

I’m a little late with my review of the year this year, mostly because I was away from home over the festive period but also because I wanted to write up some really considered ‘resolutions’ for 2017.

I was pretty busy in 2016, although almost the entire first half of the year had a definite rowing focus.

– I went on rowing training camp to Gent, Belgium again, and was deemed ‘most improved’ at the end of it
– I was happy to be chosen to compete for my rowing club at the Henley Women’s Regatta and we made it through the time trials and two competitive rounds before going out in the semi-finals to the eventual winners
– I was asked to do the decorations for the rowing club annual dinner and managed to do some pretty nifty things on a very low budget
– My efforts earned me the Lady Rower of the Year trophy at my rowing club – all the blood, sweat, tears, DOMS, blisters, fatigue, hunger and doubts were worth it in the end!
– I volunteered at the Oxford Half Marathon for the third year, this time handing out medals at the finish, and also assisting with the local schools’ event
– I got my first ever work promotion
– I met my boyfriend!
– I went on a romantic vacance to Paris with said boyfriend – we visited the Louvre, Pompidou centre, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Élysées, Montmartre and Versailles amongst other places
– I became a volunteer writer for the International Paralympic Committee
– I was a social media volunteer at the IPC Swimming European Open Championships in Funchal, Madeira
– I joined a Biobank and found out some interesting facts and stats about my body! (Thankfully all good ones)
– I finally managed to visit the Thermae Bath Spa – lovely on a cold, slightly snowy winter’s night
– I did another Creative Sprint in October 2016, and even got one of my creations featured on Instagram!
– Way back in January 2016 I won the Charity Award at my work’s New Year party for my efforts organising cake sales for fundraising
– I moved house (again)

So, to my ‘resolutions’ – though they’re not set in stone. After the continuing success of my resolution a few years ago to ‘be more positive’, these days I am all about making long-term, lasting lifestyle adjustments.

I’ll continue to improve the eco-friendliness of my life – I’m already seeing good results from this, it’s making me use my imagination more, be healthier, and be more mindful of how I go about doing things.

I was guilty last year of buying lots of things via mail order, mostly because, what with all that rowing, I very rarely had the time or energy to go to the shops. The trouble was I spent a lot of time and money sending things back, and the packaging that items are sent out in is often both copious and non-recyclable. Plus I was missing out on trying things on and experimenting. Last year my standout purchase was an amazingly flattering pair of dungarees (of all things) which I would never have bought via the website, but thought ‘why not’ in the shop! This is part of a ‘try new things’ kick which I have been on for a couple of years. The only time I am planning to make an exception to my mail order rule is when either the brand does not have a physical shop or offline stockists, or if I am able to support an independent Etsy seller by buying something from them.

I’m still working on finding some happy mediums with all of the things I do. I can be very much an all or nothing kind of person and I need to learn to exist in the middle ground a bit more.

What with all the being eco-friendly and kicking my mail-order habit, I’m hoping to be able to save some money this year. My stepdad pointed out the other day (if evidence of the above all-or-nothingness was needed) that I like to have Big Experiences. So instead of, for example, just going to the Winter Wonderland event in Hyde Park in London, I readily sold many of my worldly belongings to be able to afford to go to Norway to see real snow, real alpine forests, real Northern Lights. Similarly, he said, I don’t want to go to a mere zoo, I want to go to New Zealand to save an endangered parrot! All these wonderful experiences cost money so I’m going to make it my mission to save up enough to do another one soon.



When I grow up…

…I want to be a genetic scientist. Or a footwear technologist. Or a craft designer.

Well, OK, that’s what the teenage me would have said. Pretty random selection of career choices there, huh? I’ve not really gone anywhere near the first two, but I think I’m currently something of a ‘craft designer’ so all is not lost!

I only remembered the genetic scientist thing the other day, and decided to ask my Twitter friends what they wanted to be when they were teenagers. With answers ranging from being a builder to a teacher to a corner shop owner, it was really interesting to hear why those particular professions had been chosen. I don’t think any of the people who responded are actually doing now what they wanted to do back then, but I guess the thing to remember is that it is never too late. Even if you have no idea what you want or wanted to do as a grown-up, there’s potential there to do amazing things. I refer you once again to the Sunscreen Song:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life
Some of the most interesting people I know didn’t know, at 22, what they wanted to do with their lives
Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t

My brother wanted to be a rock star, a commercial pilot or a Formula 1 driver. Ambitious, much?!

What did you want to be?


Do one thing, every day, that scares you

I had to give a little presentation at work today to half a dozen of my colleagues. Normally such a prospect would have filled me with fear, but since this amazing presentation, and the lessons I learned from it, I find I’m no longer so nervous. However, my assembled workmates were a little fearful, and not because of my presenting skills, but because of the subject matter. It was that big scary thing called ‘Microsoft Excel’…..mwahahaha!

Though they know the basics, I’ve been trying to persuade them that things such as formulae and conditional formatting can help them out and save them time on a daily basis. But such things seem scary when one doesn’t really know what one is doing, so my job with the mini-presentation was to calm their fears and make them realise that nothing bad is going to happen if, for instance, they get a formula wrong.

It put me in mind of one of my favourite songs – ‘Everybody’s Free (To Wear Sunscreen)’. I try to follow the guidance in the song (which is actually based on this newspaper column) in my everyday life, and today made me think of this line:

Do one thing every day that scares you.

I try to get out of my comfort zone whenever possible, and if something seems a little nervewracking or scary, I use this line to reassure myself. It’s kind of like that infamous soft drink tagline, ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’

This part of the song has come in handy recently too, for a number of reasons:

Understand that friends come and go, but with a precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle

I could go on, but I’d be here all day, quoting bits of it. I know it’s a bit of a love-it-or-hate-it song, so for those who love it: enjoy!