I can’t believe it, it’s that time of the year again! No, I’m not talking about the time of the year when everyone goes crazy with Christmas shopping, when every advert of TV aims to convey the Christmas ’spirit’ of more money spending or when Starbucks cups turn from green to red and Gingerbread Latte appears on the menu.
I’m talking about that time when one can reflect upon the year that is about to conclude and can start setting up intentions for the year ahead. I love this time of the year, it makes the project manager in me jubilate at the possibility of evaluating the last 12 months and setting up objectives for the next twelve. I’ve never tried it before with New Year’s resolutions but it’s certainly worked for The Love Project. Maybe I’ll put together a Gant chart with milestones and everything.
This year, I have a special list of intentions. This year, unlike most of my previous attempts, I didn’t put ’Lose weight’ and ’Go to the gym’ on my wish list. Thankfully I no longer aspire to ’Lose weight’ but to ’Be healthy’ and as far as the going to gym goes, I’m already going and enjoying the hell out of it, so that’s one to take off the list. This year I complied a very interesting (according to me) list of intentions which I’d like to share with you in the hopes that it will inspire you in the new year
- Take control of personal finances
I have a confession to make. I am a terrible manager of finances. I have not one penny to my name, no investments and no pension plan. Actually, I tell a lie, I have a pension plan that I stopped paying into two years ago. If I never pay into it again, I’ll be happy if it pays for a decent dinner in the year 2032.
Ever since I started freelancing, I became a total ogre about finances. I can’t explain why, because generally people who freelance become overly cautious with their finances. Not me, though. The moment I had any money, I would spend it and wouldn’t even know on what. Maybe I put too much faith in the Universe that one way or another I would be okay, but it’s beginning to annoy me that I spend money mindlessly. If anything, I’d like to allocate my finances to better things than I am doing currently. So to achieve my first New Year intention, I am going to put together an excel spreadsheet with necessary spendings and work out the minimum about of money I need on a monthly basis. I am also going to start recording my spendings on Wally and will join a personal finances meet-up group. Big tick!
2. Practice more gratitude
I became pretty obvious to me during the course of 2015 that I had been so fixated in old ways of thinking that instead of being more grateful for the opportunities presented to me in the course of this transitional year, I did the exact opposite. I complained a lot. About everything: about the work I had to do, about the state of the world, about not finishing the book, about not having enough money, or enough time to be creative. Guess what, it spiralled down into a negative frenzy until I didn’t recognise myself anymore. I realised (once again) that only by being more grateful about the things that I do have, I will receive more gifts from life. It’s as simple as that. So slap me next time you hear me complaining and remind me of all the things I should be grateful for.
3. Read more classic books
It actually took the book I’m reading now ’The Year of Reading Dangerously’ by Andy Miller to make my heart burn with desire to read the way I used to read.
I don’t remember the last time I read a classic. And I’m not talking about the likes of Haruki Murakami or David Mitchell,which I have been reading recently. I’m talking about the books whose authors are more likely dead, whose voices are distinct from the voices of contemporary writers and who, more often than not, require the help of a dictionary to truly comprehend.
Why? Because when I was in secondary school I read the entire Dostoyevsky bibliography (bar ’The Idiot’), Charles Dickens’ ’Great Expectations’ and Thomas Mann’s ’The Magic Mountain’, I had a stab at understanding Schopenhauer, while Camus held no secrets. I ventured into the world of ’Ulysses’ and swiftly abandoned it in favour of Mircea Eliade’s ’History of Religions’. Do you know what I mean, I used to kick ass back then.
And now? My daily reading list is not far from Andy Miller’s:
- ’200 emails (approx.)
- Discarded copies of Metro
- Excel Spreadsheets
- Business proposals
- Bills, statements, junk mail etc.
- Ready-meal heating guidelines
- The occasional postcard
- And a lot of piddling about on the Internet’
You see what I mean? Really? Can’t we do better in a world where every single published book known to man is available online or at your nearest Waterstones or Foyles? So I pledge to read one classic a month next year. I need to compile a list first, and for this I need your help. Will you please let me know what books have you read that must be on the ’Top 50 Books to Read Before You Die’?
Thank you. And now your turn. What personal intentions do you have for next year?