My 2012 Goals in Review

So I did kinda skip over the fact that I managed to finish some goals last year. In a similar fashion to the year before, I came up with twelve goals for myself for the year of 2012.

Below you can see procrastination take real form as I update throughout the year on my progress. Some goals are finished up nice and smartly. Some drop off the radar entirely…

Pass the Restricted Driver’s Licence Test.

This goal carries on from last year (and loosely seven or so years). I gave up after the first try and for that I’m more ashamed than failing in the first place. Time to get behind the wheel, loosen up and just do it.

February: I’ve been practising throughout January. Even booked a bunch load of lessons with an AA instructor. Screw the money I’m gonna get this right! I’ve also had some drives with friends and family. I think I‘ve improved a lot, and to my surprise now I even feel comfortable in the driver’s seat. My test is next Friday, and hopefully I’ll have something positive to share that day.

March: So I did it! I passed my Restricted! Thanks to my instructor and to everyone who has helped or encouraged me along the way. The test went pretty smoothly I think. There was a moment at the end there when the instructor turned to me and said I needed to check the side streets more and be smoother at taking off with the clutch. I felt a pit in my stomach. I was ready to accept failure. And then as a casual aside, “I passed you”. So there it is, I now own my NZ Restricted Driver’s Licence — Manual edition.

Go on a date.

Whatever the type — Classic, Blind, Online, Speed… But I have to try, even if it is the scariest thing on this damn list.

February: I tried not to think about this one. And I’ll probably make excuse after excuse in order to avoid it. I’ll get there… one day.

March: Think I’ll need to nab a love coach for this. I’m not at all sure how to go about, well, any of it. But I do know I need to get over my current crush. The sooner the better.

April: Yep still putting this one off. Love coach applications welcome. Please send your cover letter and CV with a self-addressed stamped envelope.

June: I picked up a book — yep, I’m one of those people. But of course theory is useless without action, and the “assignments” listed are still too far outside my comfort zone.

November: It appears there’s not much I can do without jumping in the deep end. Right now I’m sitting at the water’s edge with my feet dangling over, but not a toe is touching water.

December: Thanks to a friend for setting me up with a young lady. Last month of the year no less! It didn’t work out in the end, but I’m glad I had the experience, and here’s hoping for many more dates in 2013.

Remove all clutter.
I started this last year but my progress dropped off a bit. Well, completely. To embrace living with less stuff, especially when most of it is just clutter, I want to make digital copies of things I can’t bear to part with, and force myself to chuck or donate the rest.

February: I haven’t really made much progress on this one. In fact I might have even more stuff than before! But I’m buying a camera to catalogue the old clutter so I can finally bin it. I’ve been better about keeping stuff in its home, and bought some nice new containers to do just that. Just don’t look in my closet or under the bed.
“A place for everything and everything in its place.”

March: So I bought a camera. I took some snaps. I threw out some old junk, and I’ve been holding onto some pretty weird stuff; old baby teeth and cat fur from our first cat, deceased over ten years ago. I’ve still got a long way to go. And now my room is full of boxes of old school books I don’t know how to part with.

April: Procrastination my old friend. I’ve barely touched the boxes of stuff. Some sits in my bedroom, some sits on the balcony. And it’s all stuff I’ll probably never need again. But I need to preserve it. I want to preserve it. Just need to find some space, some time, and some motivation.

June: Scanned in my childhood scrapbook, and not much else. I’m beginning to think I should just bite the bullet and throw out all my old school notes and books. It would save a lot of time…

November: I managed to sell a frackload of stuff on Trade Me — mostly games and DVDs, and even my old SLR camera from 7th form Photography. But my balcony is still littered with old PC videogame boxes and school books. I need to remind myself that my possessions don’t contain my memories!

Buy a car.
Once I have the licence things will get a lot easier (and more expensive) with a car. I won’t have to bike in drenched clothes and a heavy backpack just to get to the other side of town. Plus, the freedom. Oh the freedom. Between the hours of 5 and 10 of course.

February: I have some prospects regarding the acquisition of a vehicle. Stay tuned.

March: Another goal crossed off the list. Thanks to my good friend Gregor who gave me a 1993 Ford Laser. For free! There’s still a few things I need to do; clean the windows, fix the radio. And there’s a problem with the driver’s side window.  But it handles very well and I’ve been hooning safely coasting up and down Upper Hutt and Stokes Valley. I will need to venture further south some day to make sure I don’t lose the confidence. I’ve never driven into Wellington so that’s a good a goal as any.

Write a novel.
Encouraged by Stephen King’s book On Writing, I’m actually rather excited to spend my time creating a world over many, many, many pages. My first draft will likely take me a good few months, and I will learn first hand whether or not I have what it takes to write full-length fiction.

February: So, I started a novel. I woke up at 5.30AM, turned on my laptop, and… not much came out. I wrote a few chapters over the next few days, but I wasn’t pleased with it. I may end up salvaging the ideas into a short story. A novel is a big project not to be taken lightly and it’ll have to be something I come back to.

March: My writing in general has taken a bit of a backseat. I’ve found it hard to get back into that groove. I know when I set aside different writing activities, one every week day, I actually made good progress. I think I’ll revert to that system. Again it’s not a novel, but it’s writing. And the more I do the better I will… do.

April: I’ve just gotten back into short stories so I think I’ll focus on that for now

June: So I started SoCNoc, and that lasted a good 17 days. 16,466 words — the most I’ve ever written for a single story. It’s not the full 50,000 words I was hoping for. I’m a little disappointed I gave up so easy. But I’m determined to finish off the story no matter how I feel about it right now.

November: I did it and surprised myself in the process. I still have a lot of editing to do, but I wrote a first draft containing a whopping 75,000 words (well, that’s a lot for me anyway!). We’ll see where we end up when the editing’s over with.

Write a film screenplay.
Towards the end of 2011 I found myself falling into screenwriting. Like the novel, but of course not like the novel at all, it will push my skills to the very limits. And here’s to it being something other than your standard Hollywood fluff.

February: I never did get around to finishing my Buffy fan fiction, let alone starting a new screenplay. Like the novel it’s a big endeavour, and I feel that I just don’t have enough free time sans getting up at dawn and drooling on my keyboard.

March: I haven’t written a screenplay since I edited one for Oosh Multimedia’s upcoming short film. It may take a few more short stories, but I am aiming to write my own short film from scratch. Whether or not it actually gets made, that’s besides the point. Not a feature film screenplay just yet.

April: I may try some more short film screenplays. Baby steps, baby steps.

June: Novel first!

November: I told myself I was going to attempt this as a sort of NaNoWriMo challenge, but I left planning to the last minute, and so of course I lost momentum on day one. The screenwriting book I read last December has since faded from memory, and at this stage I’ll be happy with getting a single 45 minute episode of television done.

Publish a short stories collection.
Hopefully with some more stories too by this stage, I will try my hand, and maybe even a foot, at digital publishing.

February: I wrote one short story and plan to write many more before the year is out. If you spot any errors, inconsistencies, or just plain bad grammar in any of my short stories, please let me know. That way I can write up some definitive versions for the collection!

March: As mentioned above about the novel, writing short stories is going to be one of my daily writing activities. So here’s hoping when I get my groove back you’ll be seeing one short story a week. I’ll make sure to save some as exclusives for the collection.

April: It’s been slow but I managed to write one story since the last time. And hopefully there’s many more to come still. I’m thinking of sending in a few to Radio New Zealand.

June: I’ve been looking into Kindle self publishing more and more. Now I just need to set aside the time and put together the actual book.

November: I created a new Word document, but once I started adding the short stories I had already done, I felt reluctant to continue. The stories felt raw… messy. To me, publishing something means crafting something to perfection, rather than just another haphazard blog post.

Flat with a friend.
Thanks to last year’s goal I’ve moved out of home and I’m now flatting. But it’s a little lonely and I could do with a good friend or two to play Rock Band & Battleship.

February: I’m alone during the week now so I seemed to have made, negative progress? If that is a thing. In lieu of a new flatting situation I can always host more get-togethers.

March: Next week I would’ve had a new flatmate but they pulled out, just as unexpectedly as they dropped in. My landlord tells me he’s got some more prospective clientele so we’ll see if anything eventuates there.

April: No progress here unfortunately.

June: Lately I was thinking of packing my bags and moving away to Wellington. Have a change of pace. Part of me feels like I’ve settled down too early. While others my age are adventuring across the world or starting families, here I am lingering in the only place I know. Living in the comfortable-uncomfortable safe.

November: Still waiting for some opportunity to turn up. It’s stupid, I know it is. Life doesn’t come to your door. But now I’m thinking about taking action — “thinking”? Pah, there I go again!

December: Due to essentially being kicked out of my flat I was forced to find shelter and thanks to the Gibsons I have found a home (for the meantime at least). In the weeks so far plenty of gaming has been had.

Finish the Oxfam Trailwalk.
I’ve wanted to do this for years, and seeing as I’m now out of school and have an athletic bunch of friends to boot; this year, it’s time.

February: It’s on! We’re registered, been on a few walks, and gearing up for the training weekend. I’ve started walking everywhere instead of biking. Fundraising isn’t going so well yet, but I still have hope. Sponsor us please!

March: Three weeks to go. I’m freaking out… just a little. We’ve been on walks but I don’t think we’ve done anything near the magnitude of what we’re about to do. And our fundraising is quite a way off, but I do have a fundraiser in motion that will, with any luck, get us on top of things.

April: So the weekend came and went, and it didn’t turn out quite like we hoped. Three of us had to pull out during the event. Damn knee! Only one of us made it to the finish, but we made sure to stick around to make sure he got there. Regardless of the failure it was a great trip and a great experience. Special thanks to all who supported us and donated.

Go clubbing.
Me? Dancing? Fuhgeddaboudit! But a certain liquid must be consumed to at least entertain the possibility.

February: Done and dusted. The first goal off my list. I went along to a dance fundraiser with Graeme and some workmates. I ate nibbles, wore a glow stick, and heck, even danced. It may haven taken a few vodka mother’s, but I swayed. I nodded. My limbs actually made movement.

Meditate daily.
I’ve toyed with self improvement, zen, minimalism and all sorts. But I just can’t find the time to sit in the quiet, to relax and be one with the world. I want to make this a part of my daily routine, just like my exercise and writing.

February: Ethan’s been helping me with this one. I certainly feel better when I do it. I prefer the lying down approach. It’s gonna take some time to make it a habit, but like my daily exercises I’m sure I can make it work.

March: This should’ve been the first thing on my list to get sorted. To melt my mind like butter and relax my muscles before tackling the worries of the day. But I’ve been putting it off and there’s really no excuse. Anyone, especially me, can spare a quick 15 minutes.

April: The 15 minutes thing isn’t working so I’ve decided to follow Leo Babauta’s 2 minute starter method. I mean who can’t spare 2 minutes? Well, me apparently. I need to pick a trigger to make sure the habit actually kicks in. After shaving  perhaps…

June: Hoorah! One down! So I’m not a Zen master by any means but I have managed to cultivate the habit of sitting down for three minutes every morning after shaving, and reveling in the quiet. Some days I don’t get to it for whatever reason, but I know that I’m skipping it. It’s not something I forget.

This space is reserved because sometimes you just can’t plan your accomplishments. They end up finding you. And uh, I couldn’t think of a twelfth thing…

February: Not much to report here but I am going to see Switchfoot next month in Auckland. It’s not personal growth or anything, but hey, music and travel!

March: So the Switchfoot thing didn’t work out, they cancelled. And I’m writing this up in Auckland. But I think I found something worthy of the Chance card. And that is Donate Blood. Much like the Trailwalker I’ve wanted to do it for a long time but I’ve always chickened out, until last month. I convinced Graeme to come along with me, and like the trooper that he is, he did. His first time too.

It wasn’t without its hiccups. I was nervous. I managed to get through the whole process okay. The St. Johns staffer showed me a little bag of blood and I was surprised at how small it was. He then said it was the blood to be tested. And he reached down and pulled up a much bigger bag of blood. Blood that had just come out of me. I started to feel woozy. The room went fuzzy. My hands felt the most intense pins and needles of my life. The staffer warned me not to close my eyes. I told myself I was being stupid, that I could control this, it was just my body being silly. I was okay, but the anxious staff didn’t put my mind at ease. They wired up an oxygen tank and made wear a mask for a few minutes. After a period of time I began to feel better. The pins and needles disappeared and my hands stopped shaking. I was okay to go home.

So it’s going to be another big battle should I choose to do it again. But I know how important the blood is, and everyone who donates is a star in my books.  Oh and if you were wondering, I’m A Positive.

Michael Gray has donated blood two times since then (and he didn’t even faint).

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