Sunday, 15 December 2013

Dusting off my resolutions

Three years ago I set off on a journey to devise 37 resolutions with the intention of completing them all in my 37th year.

I made them up as I went along and deliberately had a good mix of fun and serious ones.

I planned to document my progress against each one, explaining why I came up with it, what I found out about myself by attempting it, or who I met or what experience it had led to.

I was also keen for people to contribute their ideas for resolutions to consider. Although I made no promises that I would actually do any of theirs!

Anyway I was reminded of Resolution 37 this morning. When I hobbled out of bed, my calf muscles aching from some rather enthusiastic dancing at the office Christmas party on Friday, I resolved to book a massage after next year's party. Note I didn't resolve to dance less.

One day I hope to finish the book that accompanies all my resolutions, but in the meantime here are the first ten with a little update on how I got on.

Resolution 1: 
My first resolution of my 37th year was to stop defining myself by what I'd achieved or what I may achieve in the future. Instead I wanted to define myself based on who I am and what I stand for. The rest would be a consequence of that, not the other way around. 

It is fair to say I've done my best to live by this, but it's not easy. It is one to keep reminding myself of like a motto.

Resolution 2: 
I asked the five people closest to me (my mum, dad, brother, wife and best mate) to write down what they'd like me to achieve in the second half of my life.

Kinda contradicts my first resolution, but hey ho. 

I initially got off to a slow start with this one but eventually had responses from my dad, my best mate and Becky. I still need to chase my bro.

My mum bought me a book called the Little Prince with clear instructions hidden within. And she told me to read Karl Jung.

My dad told me that for every one person like me who was creative and good at coming up with ideas there were ten people who like taking ideas and making them into something. It was a powerful thing to hear from a multi-award winning scientist, who if I'm honest I always assumed thought what I did was fairly meaningless.

My best mate in a roundabout way pointed out how my life from his perspective looked very fulfilled. It made me appreciate what I had.

And my wife told me I was good at making trivial situations fun for the kids. Sounds innocuous enough but at the time was the kind of compliment that would never have come out in normal conversation.

Resolution 3: 
I was going to start a blog called Resolution 37, subject to that name not having some dark hidden double meaning i.e. a dodgy far right group. I checked and the only reference I could find was to a UN Resolution from 1983 -  

I then went on to set up - feel free to go take a look. This blog has since taken over as it's mobile friendly.

Resolution 4: 
Bit of an odd one, but I wanted to sing in public while sober. I'm not a particularly great singer, but I figured it didn't really matter. I wanted to either join a choir, or find a reason to do a public performance.I've not done this yet, I have 'swung' in public while dressed as a sh*t Elvis but I was far from sober.

Yesterday I met someone at BCB's AGM who had told me about a choir in Saltaire who meet on Mondays. So who knows maybe this one has some legs in it yet.

Resolution 5: 
I would like to learn French. I knew this was the most unlikely of my resolutions, so I tempered it by saying I would learn enough French so as not to be embarassed speaking what little I know at every opportunity while in France.

Normally I speak English there, with the exception of  a few "mercis" and "s'il vous plaits".

Resolution 6: 
I will go and see Test Match cricket and go to the races. At the time I hadn't been to either before. Easy enough but the resolution prompted me to actually do it.

Resolution 7: 
Going plural shouldn't just be the preserve of captains of industry, so I resolved myself to find out what it takes to be a non exec director or to volunteer my professional services to a charity or good cause (PR/Comms dear, nothing else more racy), or guest lecture at my old uni. 

Quite pleased with this one. I did a guest lecture at my old uni. Volunteered with Age UK, and as of yesterday am a fully fledged trustee of BCB. I'm also a trustee of the Asda Foundation. Bosh.

Resolution 8: 
This one was under wraps at first as it was about taking a career break and going travelling with the kids, but I had to keep it quiet at first until my work colleagues knew.

Definitely been the biggest and best resolution as it has enabled me to do so many others.

Resolution 9: 
I want to get to know someone in their 80s who served in the war. I never really knew any of my grandfathers, my dad's dad died when he (my dad) was only 8, and my mum's dad died when I was young. I want to hear their stories first hand before it's too late. This is linked to Resolution 7 above. I'm volunteering with Age UK in Bradford now.

Resolution 10: 
Resolution number ten was to meet Roland Rat in person. I did it via Twitter instead. But was pleased nonetheless.

Twenty seven left to go.