Obligatory year-end retrospective

Well then, 2012 is nearly over, and for the first time I’m in the uneasy position of not really knowing what 2013 has in store for me. Every year until now, I’ve known that in a couple of days (or weeks, during those halcyon university days!) it would be back to the daily grind of work or school and all that entails. This year, I don’t know what I’m going to be doing. Plans must be made. Risks will probably have to be taken. I’ve got this queasy feeling that’s part excitement about the amount of freedom this offers me, but mostly a sort of panicky terrified feeling.

Anyway. 2012. I’m determined to look back on it positively so here goes.

Personal Achievements

Things that gave me a sense of achievement this year.

  1. I managed to survive teacher training. At one point (namely the first six months of this year) I didn’t think I would, but I did.
  2. Translating five pages of English text into Japanese for a friend.
  3. Last year’s resolution was to avoid all branded fast-food. Though temped at times I stuck firm and WON (the next 12 hours notwithstanding but I’m confident I can continue these efforts!). Not so much as a McFlurry or nicked Burger King french fry passed my lips.

New Beginnings

New things that I tried for the first time or that I took up again after a long break.

  1. Learning to knit. Though I’m still pretty rotten at it (see Deformed zombie-tiger-bee for evidence) I feel that I have made progress, and have a few ideas about where to go next with this hobby.
  2. Playing music. I’ve been getting the stringed things out more often and though I’ll never be the musician I want to be, I’ve enjoyed playing along with my favourite Pains of Being Pure at Heart songs and trying to play Bach’s cello suites (on the viola) with any kind of consistent rhythm whatsoever. It would be nice to find some other people to play with in 2013 …
  3. Korean. I studied Korean for two years at university but let it slide after finals. For a (regrettably unsuccessful) job application last month, I found myself trying to get back to grips with this slippery, inscrutable language.

The Best Things


The things I did that gave me the most pleasure, or the best memories.

  1. Getting up early one morning to drive to North Wales and meet a friend to go walking in Snowdonia. We didn’t get very far because he had to be somewhere else in the afternoon, but it was wonderful to be on top of the world and look down on it as it slept. 
  2. Doing things on my own. I moved house a couple of times and found myself in places where I knew no one, so I had to overcome my self-consciousness (to a degree) and start going to see movies, gigs, and even festivals on my own. In the case of movies, it’s still pretty lonely and I would rather go with a friend, but I met some nice people people at gigs and some excellent people at festivals, some of whom I’ve kept in touch with, which is great. I’ll go so far as to say that festivals are better on your own, because then you don’t have to worry about placating friends who are grumpy about clashes or the weather, and can just concentrate wholly selfishly on having a good time.
  3. Being helped. I’ve always been a bit reticent about asking for help. I hate to feel like I’m burdening people and I have a tendency to think I’m not worth their time. However, over the course of the year it occurred to me that I really like helping people out, so in all probability other people like helping people out, too. So I’ve been trying to ask for help when I need it.
  4. People. As I’ve mentioned above, I’ve met some cracking people. I’ve not always been the best friend and sometimes I’ve offended people by saying thoughtless things, but despite this people have stood by me and been very understanding. I need to start giving things back, I think.


A lot of people who are nutty about music like to use this time of year to produce lists of records that they liked so that other people will know how awesome their taste is. I’m not a fan of lists but I did do one for a blog that I contribute to, because my esteemed editor asked me to. The list is here. Not much stock can be set by it but I think all of those records deserve to be heard by more people, especially Lido, which is simply joyful and makes me want to go swimming a lot.

Also while I’m at the pointless business of trying to tell other people what to listen to, I find myself tingly with excitement at the prospect of new albums from Local Natives, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Fanfarlo (among others) in the next few months.

Looking forward

Like many people, at this time of year I find myself pondering how I can improve myself and my life over the twelve months to come. For the last couple of years I’ve set myself achievable (but still challenging) resolutions, and I’ve kept them. So I’m going to do the same this year – have one resolution that’s my main goal, something that will get me into a routine of doing the right thing and making the right decision, but only in a small aspect of my life, so that I can nail that achievement and feel good about myself this time next year, no matter what else happens.

There are many goals I want to aim for…

  • to do a little bit of language practice every day
  • to do a little bit of guitar/violin practice every day
  • to do a good deed every day
  • to read a book a week
  • to be more organised
  • to be more reliable
  • to run a marathon before I’m thirty (as per my other, extremely neglected blog)

However, I think it’s best to be realistic about these things. Some of these aims are pretty intangible. How do you measure how much more organised or reliable you’ve become? Others are unrealistic. I haven’t done a proper run for months, so the likelihood of being fit enough to run a marathon in 8 months time is slim. Besides, it’s barely stopped raining and round here it’s all hills (perhaps ‘stop making excuses and just bloody do it’ should be my resolution?). If I am more organised, maybe I’d have time to do the practice or to read but it’s easy to miss a day, and then two days, and so on, and then the feeling of being unable to stick to a goal like ‘spend fifteen minutes on French grammar or Spanish vocabulary’ can really take its toll.

So, what can I set as a New Year’s Resolution? I don’t smoke, I rarely eat sweets or junk food. I’m giving up booze for January for charity but I like beer and wine and cocktails and whisky and brandy etc too much to actually consider giving up completely. I can’t afford a gym membership, besides the local gym is ridiculously poorly equipped and too far away to make it worthwhile. I could take up something new, but I took up lots of new things this year and would rather keep going with those. There are various projects I’d like to work towards completing, but those aren’t really resolution material.

It’s going to have to be … now don’t be disgusted … brushing my teeth every night. Oh come on. Everyone has those days from time to time where you’re just too tired at the end of it all to clean your teeth – whether it’s because you’ve passed out on the sofa from working too hard or because you’ve stumbled in at 2am, face shiny from strobe lights and mind fuzzy from booze or loud music. Well, maybe you haven’t. And from now on I shan’t. This year I had my first fillings after a couple of my molars broke, so I have extra incentive to be good.

Well then, all that remains is to ask anyone who made it this far – how was your 2012? Are you optimistic for 2013? Have you made any New Year’s Resolutions? What records released in 2012 do you think I should listen to? And what records coming in 2013 are you excited about?

Happy New Year, everyone. Have a good one.


About Sarah

Still just trying to make sense of the world.
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