Still here.

Jan. 1st, 2014 11:46 pm
morsla: (Default)
It's not much of an epitaph for 2013, but it's appropriate enough: in most regards, it feels like virtually nothing has changed since I sat here last year (and didn't end up writing anything back then...). One thing I've learned this year is that some kind of writing is better than nothing at all, so here I am again - this time, putting some thoughts onto the screen for the benefit of some future self to take a look at.

In 2013 I made only a few changes to my life, but the effects of those have shaped everything I've done.

I resigned from a job that I had loved and then grown to hate. In doing so, I left a job with a stable income at a time when [livejournal.com profile] aeliel was planning to be out of the workforce for at least a year. Financial stress over that decision was crippling me, but I made the right choice: I'd lost all sense of value for myself, my skills and my time. I felt as though I was constantly failing to be smart enough, work hard enough, or work long enough, and walked away from the job loathing myself. That took some time to move on from.

For most of the year, I've worked on various part-time and casual jobs: trading stability for flexibility, and balancing uncertainty over my jobs with far more agency over my life. That has made a huge difference to my state of mind: feeling back in control of who I am, and far more capable at negotiating the demands and expectations that others have of me. It also gave me the opportunity to put my family first, finding work that fits around the time that I want to spend figuring out how to be a Dad. That time has been priceless.

Jobs come and go. Money comes and goes. If my choices meant that I missed out on a "perfect" job, I reasoned that a truly perfect job would still be around in a few years from now. Spending time watching Ariadne grow up though... that is something that I know I would regret missing out on. She has changed so quickly over the year that I feel as though the rest of my life may as well have stood still. As luck would have it I did end up finding work with a company that I have enormous respect for, and that has family-friendly working arrangements at its core. Work and money have still been extremely tight at a few points this year (a family and a mortgage on half an income has led to plenty of stress on that front), but I don't regret the year that I have had.

Of course, the other factor dominating my year (and the years before it) has been my PhD, and that really did look like it had stalled - or at least slowed to a glacial pace. On that front I'm in essentially the same position as I've sat in for the past two years: close to the end, and trying to get it finished. Each time I sit down to write, I think I manage to halve the remaining distance between me and the submission day. There's some faint light at the end of that particular tunnel though - the slightest glow of something approaching, still hazy and indistinct. It might be dawn finally breaking out there in the wider world; it might be the headlight of an oncoming train. Either way there's a change on the way. I gave an 80,000 word thesis draft to my supervisor just before Christmas, and have a few weeks to finish writing before the university gives up on me entirely.

So: few outward changes in 2013, but an important time to make hard decisions about the type of life I want to have with my family. In 2014, it's time to finish this PhD before it kills me, and then move on to all the rest of my life - some new challenges, and some things that have been put on hold for the last few years. I've stayed here long enough to know that I want to go somewhere else: the coming year will be a time to embrace the changes, big and small, that will help me to get there.
morsla: (Dawn)
Happy New Year, you lot :)

Since it's too hot to sleep at the moment, I thought I'd write my new year's post at 2am on January 1st. I seem to have done a lot of looking backwards in previous years, so this time I'd like to look forwards to 2011. In a few hours it will be dawn for the new year, so it seems appropriate to keep a weather eye on the horizon.

Last year's list seems to have gone fairly well. My PhD changed dramatically during the year, so the first one isn't really appropriate any more - but the others have mostly fallen into place.

My wishes for the new year are threefold, and apply equally to myself, my friends and my family.

Firstly, I wish for health. It's been my bugbear over the last five years or so, and I've finally begun to feel healthy again. I have some plans for returning to training in 2011, and have a full year of gym exercise behind me now.

Secondly, I wish for happiness. 2010 might avoid the dubious honour of being the bleakest year on record, but it has held a lot of sadness for three people close to my heart. Whatever the new year brings, may we be able to enjoy ourselves throughout it :)

Finally, I wish for a productive year. There is plenty of work to do - so I hope we're all healthy and sane enough to take the opportunities that the new year brings. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel is about to start her Master's thesis, and I'm making headway on mine. By the time day breaks on 2012, we should both be well on the way towards graduating.
morsla: (Dawn1)
This time last year I was looking backwards, and never really got around to writing about the year ahead. While 2009 certainly had its share of events, I think I spent most of the year in stasis: waiting for what comes next. Life is moving again now, so it's time for a change. I'd like 2010 to contain more Awesome, for all of my friends.

Five is a good number: Five directions, five elements, five resolutions. During the next year, I will:

Air
Finish the primary research for my PhD. That's a bit of a scary thought. I now have Ethics approval to conduct interviews for the project, and will be spending most of this year finding out everything I can about how micro-businesses and online communities work. I spend most of my life immersed in online communities, so I love the fact that I can make it part of my work and study as well.

Water
Drink a lot more tea :) While rummaging through the cupboards this morning, I realised that I have a bit over 20 different green teas in the house, and eight teapots. Some of them came back with me from China in 2003. While I'm familiar with the concept of "he who dies with the most stuff wins," I also quite like drinking it...

Wood
Regain the health that has been fading over the past year and a half. [livejournal.com profile] aeliel and I are joining the gym and pool down the street. I stopped training when Dad got sick, and haven't done much at all since moving out to Somerville. I'm looking forward to getting back some strength, flexibility and endurance, and to feeling more comfortable in my own skin again.

Fire
Be more connected to the people I love: my family and friends. Living away from family means that I'll need to make more of an effort to keep in touch with them, which is probably a good thing - I've learned never to take them for granted. At the same time, we're living much closer to friends. After spending last year living too far away for spur-of-the-moment visits, I really appreciate having people close enough to drop in on at a moment's notice.

Earth
Spend over a year living in a house that I own. Already loving it, and intending to keep settling in over the next few months. When our budget isn't stretched quite so thin, we might even buy a couch so we don't end up with people sitting on the floor to watch DVDs, like they did last night...
morsla: (alchemist)
We have finally finished moving out of North Melbourne, though it will be at least a few weeks before we make any real progress on unpacking in Somerville. Since spending a full day moving on Saturday, I've spent 6-10 hours every day cleaning, carrying boxes down stairs, loading and unloading the car. I'm now very, very tired.

Disgusted at the sheer volume of stuff I own, my new year's resolution is this:

By December 31st, 2009, I will find new homes for at least half of my possessions.

I've taken many boxes to the Red Cross donation bins over the last month, but haven't made a dent in the majority of things. Most of what I own is not essential. Too much of what I own has been retained out of habit or sentimentality. I'd like to break the former, and have no room left for the latter.

In order to make a start on things, here are a few categories:
  • Models: In order to buy any new figures, I will sell two that I already have. I'm already limiting myself to only spending money raised from painting; now I'll actively reduce the number of figures as well.

  • Roleplaying books: If a publisher won't sell PDF copies, I'm not interested in their products. I have bought my last paper RPG for the forseeable future.

  • Music: I already only buy digital copies, unless I'm at a concert. This won't change. Many old CDs can also be given away.

  • Paperbacks: Give away anything I won't re-read often. Join a library or three. I've bought my last novel for the year.

  • Clothes: Keep only what I'll wear often. Give away all the rest. Sentimental clothes only stay if they are still being worn. I've aleady sent all my old shoes and boots to the Op Shop.

  • Kitchen equipment: If one item can do the job of several, all the other items can go. I like cooking for people, but don't really need enough equipment to serve 20 people at once. The Op Shop will be getting a load of old cutlery, crockery, pots and pans once I unpack those boxes.

Unsurprisingly, this will be a year when I take Discardia far more seriously than I have in the past...

(PS: still using dialup this week - if anyone needs to contact me, call me instead as I won't be reading LJ or checking email often)

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