New Year… and some things I’ve been meaning to ‘get around to’!

January’s more than half way gone and lots of exciting things seem to already be happening to those around me. There are some expecting babies, some just got engaged and some just entering the early days of marriage. Others are about to change career, start great new jobs or set off to the other side of the world. None of these are exactly happening to me, but I am excited about this year and not just for all those people to whom exciting things are happening!

I am also thinking about people for whom I know 2011 didn’t end so well or 2012 has already socked them a bit of a downer. Hold out hope guys… you’ve got eleven months for things to turn around… it’s all good. No doubt there are definitely bright horizons for you!

I didn’t think of my New Year’s Resolutions prior to the New Year chiming in, and I think that was because I’m not usually a fan of all the hype around New Year. It usually signals two things – disappointment and expense! But in the first few weeks of January, things are beginning to change subtly and I’ve had some clear thinking about what I’d like to be achieving and how I’d like to spend my time day-to-day this year.

What are yours? Here are mine… in no particular order…

      1. Buy a beach chair – this was actually the first resolution I made, and I did actually make this one on New Year’s Eve – as I was sat next to someone with one – they’re those foldable chairs that are low to the ground. I am fed up of having to either get a crick in my neck, aching arms, or build myself a big sand mound every time I want to read on the beach! And this weekend I found myself a beach chair for the bargain price of $9! Let’s hope my butt doesn’t break it!!
      2. I recently discovered I have a cousin-once-removed living in New South Wales – woohoo I actually have family here! This is exciting news and she’s only a couple of hours from me – so an ‘Oz family visit’ will definitely be on the cards.
      3. Take a holiday that isn’t just ‘family visit’ – both me and Mr OC want to get away to either somewhere in Oz we’ve not been, or to Bali or similar to just chill out. We’ve never done that together and I think it’d be awesome.
      4. Go to the UK so I can spend some time with the large majority of my nearest and dearest – which is all good, because that’s definitely going ahead! And I can’t wait!
      5. Write more in my blog… I’m on the case, as you can see!
      6. Join a book club – been meaning to do this for years but never got around to it – some people I know know of some in the local area, so I’m just waiting on the finer details and then looking forward to becoming even more of a bookworm!
      7. Read more books (aided by the above) – I’ve let it slip a bit over the last few years, but since being in Oz I’ve been getting the bus and also allowing myself more free time in which I like to get nose deep in a good bit of fiction! J Have just read Charlotte Gray and now reading a novel by someone unknown (to me anyway) – Eternal on the Water, by Joseph Monninger – it’s not bad at all, though it gets a bit cheesy in one or two places. Other than that no complaints!
      8. Find another hobby – am thinking either candlemaking or flower arranging. Yes it sounds incredibly girlie but thinking about it, it might be useful – either for my own purpose, or for making money out of by doing for other people?! That all depends on whether I’m any good or not though, and if not, well, it’ll be fun to learn anyways!
      9. At the end of last year I shifted four kilos as I’d weighed a fair bit more than ever before, and I don’t normally put much weight on… so one of my key resolutions is to not regain that weight – and ideally lose another kilo or two!
      10. With that in mind, I want to keep doing lots of walking and attend the gym 2 times a week (hopefully I’ll go more than twice a week, but this to me seems a realistic amount – I’m not on a mega healthkick, I just want to keep fit)
      11. Get outdoors whenever possible – I’ve been using the quiet time of year at work to take my lunch and go outdoors – wander for 5 minutes and find a nice spot to read my book. So far it’s been interesting – I got sunburnt one day, attacked by bugs and spiders another, and been joined by a random bird (of the winged variety!), but mostly I’ve been really enjoying being outdoors, watching the surfers, swimmers and strollers (by this I mean people strolling, not a pushchair/buggy). It also allows me more time to work on resolution number seven! Also, Mr OC and I have really been getting into this camping lark – we’ve now been a few times with our group of pals here (see my previous blog!). And we’re collecting lots of camping items  – we have upgraded our tent – and Mr OC is camping gadget mad!! It is good fun making a big old fire, warming bananas with chocolate in, toasting marshmallows and trying to avoid all kinds of biting insects (bullants seemingly some of the worst of these! see pic…) and most importantly, it brings a change of scene at a low cost.
      12. Remember sunscreen!! Yes, I got sunburnt the other day – oucheeee. Not only is sunburn nasty, but I don’t want super leathery skin when I’m old and nor do I want skin cancer! I have now got sunscreen on my desk too so I remember to top up when I go out at lunchtime.
      13. A big one for me is I really want to overcome my fear of water – when I first came to Sydney I tried to undertake a Diving Course – I was so excited about it. But when push came to shove (and thank god, no one was shoving me or it might’ve been a whole lot worse!) I just couldn’t bring myself to not panic the minute I was head under water. This struck me as weird – I didn’t even know I had a fear! What made it more strange was I had a great desire to be able to dive – but I couldn’t overcome whatever it was that was putting up a brick wall between me and being able to get the experience I wanted.
        After a fair bit of thinking back to my childhood (when I used to beg my dad sometimes more than once a day to take me to the local swimming pool every day of the school holidays and then spend hours diving underwater, somersaulting and generally enjoying the water like most kids do) and wondering where it changed and why. Eventually I rested upon an event when I was about 14 and in France on holiday with my mum, stepdad and best friend Jen. We were staying in Brittany in a complex of villas and there was a pool in the complex – we went for a swim straight away on arrival, and all I remember is that one minute I was above the water and the next I was being held underneath by something. It turns out one of the bigger local French kids thought I was one of the other local girls and dunked me under, but he held me under for quite some time and I of course had no idea what to do when I came up with the language barrier – and Jen hadn’t seen it happen until it was a bit late to do anything, so it was just one of those awkward moments, and I just remember feeling shocked and teary and wanting to go straight back to the villa.
        Bizarre really! But it’s the only thing I can think, and the only pinpoint I have between the me that LOVED to swim and the me that hates to have my head under water and has bizarre dreams about floods, tsunamis and fears of drowning. I am fine, in calm water where I can keep my head above. But put me near some big waves and the panic sets in – I’ve been bowled over by a couple and resurfaced just in time to see another huge wave hurtling towards me and fill me up with water again. It just gives me shudders even thinking about it. And it doesn’t help that I’m not a strong swimmer – I can swim a little but not for distance or with much strength. And I cannot dive in the water – a) I can’t crack the simple technique (what the heck is wrong with me!?) and b) again my brain seems to tell my body not to do it as I am trying to do it!
        However, this weekend I said to Mr OC – come on, let’s go down to the beach. It was getting to me, as I’ve been sat on the beach or by the beach watching all these people have a great time with no mental restraints that I experience every time I get in the water. I felt like I was missing out, and after all, I live on Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches – I don’t just want to sunbathe!! So, down to the water we went… in we walked, and I tell you of all the days we chose it was a challenge – the waves were pretty big. But, I just kept telling myself you don’t have to put your head under, and you are IN BETWEEN THE FLAGS so you’re absolutely fine. Well… I didn’t want to get out of the water! I had the best time – I couldn’t stop laughing! So, I plan to keep going back, over summer, weather permitting (we’re having a pretty rubbish summer here by Sydney standards) and eventually putting my head under etc and just keep at it. Wish me luck!
      14. I still really want to get a dog as a companion for walks and just generally as an addition to our little family! And, if I cannot I would settle for having another cat – I still miss my baby boy Jasper who got run over a
        year or so ago, but I would love to have another barmy cat around the place again. Only trouble is – renting a flat makes this pretty darn hard! Still, I can hope…
      15. Sit up straight.

So, that pretty much concludes my resolutions for 2012. I think most are completely manageable. I’ll try and track some of them through the blog and update my progress!

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