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Things To Try In 2017

Really? Am I really doing this? My history of these things is usually terrible. I guess I am. I just can’t bring myself to let the time pass without noting something down. Anyone who has read these thing before will notice a lot of common themes. It feels different this time though. I really want to start engaging with my hobbies again and I’m starting to feel quite selfish and zealous about things that get in the way.

This is because I am starting to get really irritated with myself for living life like zombie.

Free Up Time

This is the big one on which everything else relies. You see my life has one perennial dichotomy that inhibits all other progress: I have plenty of spare time yet it always feels like I have none. Despite feeling like I have none if I look back and try and find all these big things that log jam my spare time?

I can’t find anything.

The time was consumed with wastage, low value activities and not applying some sensible level of time management. The only time I felt this was not the case was while I was doing the MBA, because that brought focus and was, to some extent, all consuming. It’s easy to feel you’re spending your time productively when you have one activity, that is pretty herculean and you can do it on your own with no need to be reliant on the schedule of others.

This needs to change. I need to start blocking time as ‘shall not be wasted spare time’ and then fill it with activities I want to do. Not just let it drift by with idle thought. If I do this it may at least show me it isn’t true I have loads of spare time (as it may be surprising how much all the small, legitimate things eat into the spare time), but I can then explicitly prioritise.

The goal is to manage what spare time I have and try and give my days some momentum and sense of purpose rather than feeling like, other than work, I sort of move on through them on auto-pilot.

I believe the primary problem is weekday nights. I get in and….well, pretty much veg. That’s a lot of time. Probably four hours every evening. Okay, some of it was watching TV I want to watch but I need to be using that time and making explicit choices about it.

More Media…

I mean all media. Somehow I need to find the time to read more books, watch more films and watch more TV. Okay, that last one doesn’t really need any help. I watch a LOT of TV, though even that has died down a bit.

I just don’t go to the cinema any more. I don’t go because I believe there is nothing I want to watch. Yet I watched a video a few weeks back going into ‘what to watch in 2017’ and there was 1-2 films a month I’d go and see. I need to start considering Tuesdays a potential cinema day, as it’s a lot cheaper to go then. Go and see those films.

I used to read a lot. I’d read a lot and I’d read fast. That just seems to have died these day. I need to block time and insist I read for the next three hours. I enjoy it when I do but it always seems to be the last thing I do or something I do when I go to bed and it sends me to sleep in twenty minutes.

I do watch a lot of TV, that has the opposite problem, I need to schedule it better so it isn’t my default activity.

More Games…

A bit like the media commitment. I’m not separating things out. I should just play more games period as I enjoy them when I do. I am going to discuss them separately for clarity though.

Video games. I seem to have spent at least half of 2016 with a backlog of games I just never get around to playing. Uncharted 4 (finished over Christmas), Life is Strange, a handful of Telltale games and a few others from Steam. I have no idea why this is the case because I’ve never analysed it (see Free Up Time). I enjoy the games when I play them. Yet I never get around to it. Just do it.

Board games. This is new. It only really kicked off in about 2015. Until that point I’d never played board games for eons and never overly enjoyed them when I did. This new era of board games is pretty frickin’ cool though. Who would have thought I’d like a relatively complicated board game like Star Wars: Rebellion? I just need to play more games, not necessarily different games just playing the games I currently have access to more would be nice. Again, some of this is just effort.

Tabletop Role-Playing Games. Hah, the old perennial that always comes at you from two directions. In terms of playing role-playing games things are on track. We’re playing regularly in the Sunday slot again and it’s going well. I gave to start running games again though. I really do. Prrimarily because my enjoyment of this whole area has shifted to running after FATE Fading Suns. I’ll almost admit Critical Role really inspires me to get running again.  I enjoy playing, but the return has lessoned, the payback has shifted back to running. I suspect the running of games may well be limited more by schedules of others than myself. I’ll admit to letting that potentially problem ‘give me permission’ to put this on the back burner, but I probably just need to set out the stall and see what results.

There is tabletop role-playing game I own that represents a crime against gaming that I’m not running it. I need to address that.

More Travel…

I used to travel a lot. Like a ridiculous amount. Okay, it often involved going to the same place, Disney World, but it was still travelling. Oddly, despite being at a point in my life where I face doing this alone I really want to get back on the travelling treadmill.

The great thing? The only person deciding where I should go is me.

I’m probably not revealing anything shocking by saying there is holidays I’d do now that I’d either have not done myself a few years ago or wouldn’t have been an option as both of us would have not wanted to go. I tended to be a bit more adventurous. Not radically so, but it was true. If I now want to do a holiday that is more active I can. If I want to branch out and do a holiday in China I can (albeit this would be more towards the organised end).

Don’t get me wrong, it’s quite scary thinking of travelling alone. Not the act of doing it, more the issues around if something goes wrong. There is literally no one else around in those circumstances. There ways around this though and I find myself becoming more amenable to these options in this phase of my life.

I’d also include the following under this: just getting out and about more in the UK. I’ve started doing this already going on walks and it’s brilliant. This is something I certainly plan to do more off in 2017. It also happens to fit in nicely with getting fitter.

I just need to do it, the only person stopping me is myself.

More Fit, Less Weight

I need to sort my health out. I don’t believe I’m that unhealthy, but I’m getting on and what I do believe is this: I’m certainly not preparing myself for being 50 and 60. I don’t believe doing this involves going to the gym or do any special sort of classes. The strategy is purely going to be to cut back on the chocolate and cookies. Try and eat a bit more sensible. Do a lot of walking and potentially look for some sort of simple exercise regime to do in the home.

The primary problem I want to address is stamina: mine is absolutely shite. I can’t run for crap. I don’t want to run for fun but I should be able to keep up physical exertion for much longer than I actually can. The walk up Roseberry Topping almost killed me, though to be fair, it wasn’t helped by the fact I hadn’t eaten beforehand.

I just want there to be slightly less of me, for that slightly smaller self to be a bit more physically fit and have quite a bit more stamina! I want to be a fit and healthy 50+ year old, not one that looks like he is withering away.

And, Finally…

It can seem like some of these things have been repeated resolutions in different forms on each of the times I’ve done this. That’s true, to a degree. This time feels different. Whether it will have a different outcome is another matter but there is one big difference this year.

The only person holding me back is myself.

I’ve been having strange experiences with time recently, specifically in relation to how my brain perceives it. It’s almost like a there is a decade or so missing. I suspect this is because there is nigh on 20 years of marriage that I don’t mind thinking about, but neither does my brain overly linger on it. It’s like an X-Files episode and I’m afflicted with something that causes my brain to slip over and unconscious avoid memories.

There is no hiding the fact a lot of this stuff involves turning back the clock a bit. Hell, I’m even looking to create a man cave, or man cavern as I like to call it, in the second bedroom of the house.

Let’s see what happens.

About Ian O'Rourke

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