New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the first week of January and the new year has started, which means that, like a lot of people, my mind is preoccupied with New Year’s Resolutions. This year, I have a few big ones and I thought it would a good idea to write them down, so that I can read it back later and hopefully feel good about myself for achieving all of my goals…

Stop drinking alcohol

As I mentioned before, I have a habit of drinking too much and part of me really wants to stop. It seems that the older I get, the earlier the point of memory-loss comes. I tend to completely let loose when I drink and I cannot tell you the amount of times that people have shown me embarrassing videos of myself, wearing a dress on some rooftop party for instance, dancing to “All the Single Ladies”.

I may or may not have inherited this habit from my father, who has been drinking too much for as long as I can remember. At 69, he is still in denial and even though he has severe heart problems and is not supposed to drink; with every coca cola that he pours, I catch him adding a splash of rum…

Another part of me though, likes to have a drink and get a bit tipsy. I am naturally a bit awkward and insecure and as with many people, drinking alcohol brings out a more easy-going side of me. The problem is that I don’t know when to stop and at this point I feel like I would rather try to give up drinking altogether.

After waking up with the hangover from a drunken night in Amsterdam, a few weeks ago, I already decided to give up and I have now not drunk any alcohol for 22 days.

Take control of my financial situation

As I already mentioned in my post Money, one of my biggest problems is my financial situation. When it comes to money, I am in complete denial; I am the type of person that has 10 euros, and manages to spend 20 on margaritas. I have been struggling with this issue for as long as I can remember and it is high time that I get it under control once and for all so that I can stop thinking about it.

I have set myself a daily budget and I have started writing down everything that I spend so that I become more aware. I have started doing this about a week before the end of the year and I have managed to stick to my budget about as many days as I have gone over. In my defence though, I have mostly overspent on the holidays, ie gifts, food etcetera so hopefully now that the holidays are over, it will be easier for me to stay within budget.

I have a huge student debt which I have been hiding from for years, but recently it has caught up with me. I don’t think I will ever be able to pay it off completely, but it is time to stop hiding and start making some sort of arrangement to start making monthly payments…

Get in better shape

I am naturally quite athletic, but I have gained some weight from eating take-away and drinking too much alcohol. Nothing major, but enough to make me dislike the sight of my own body. People would generally still describe me as thin and don’t really understand what I am worried about, but whenever I am naked and I look at myself in the mirror, it makes me a bit sad.

As I am now 41 years old, I figure that I can probably still turn things around, which is why a few weeks ago, I have started running. I have always liked running, but I have overdone it in the past which has caused some knee and ankle problems. This time, I have started very slowly every other day and I am building up gradually and so far, it is going quite well. I am considering participating in a half marathon that is taking place at the end of April but I won’t apply until the last minute, depending on the shape I will be in around that time.

Write more

I always claim that I like to write and to an extent I do, it’s just that my laziness gets in the way. As with most things in my life (exercising, cleaning, work, social commitments etc), the main issue is getting started. Once I manage to get myself off the sofa, away from whatever television show and I get in the flow of things, I usually enjoy whatever I am doing. I am afraid that it will always be a challenge, though…

My writing definitely needs a lot of work, as I have never had any sort of training. I do feel that I have an affinity with words and I have a lot of experiences to share, so in theory, this blog should be a great platform to practise and hopefully improve.

Be less agitated

I get agitated. Easily. I have very little patience with people that are slow to understand things or people who keep asking the same questions.

Also, I get very irritated if people knowingly or unknowingly interfere with my plans. If I have a certain planning in my head and someone asks me to do something which disrupts my schedule, I get very frustrated. I tend to keep the frustration inside though, which ultimately makes things even worse.

My final New Year’s Resolution therefore is to be more flexible, have more patience and listen more to others.

Wish me luck.

I will keep you updated.

Money

My biggest problem is, and always has been: money. Money-problems are the worst and I find that worrying about my finances overshadows every other aspect of my life.

As long as I can remember, I have been worried about finances. Even growing up, at our house, I remember that my mother and father were always having discussions about money. My father was a carpenter and worked in construction and my mother had a part-time job at a firm of accountants, so I suppose we were on one-and-a-half modest incomes.

For whatever reason, my parents were always a bit mysterious about money and they never really shared any details with me regarding their income or bills that needed to be paid. At some stage, they would give me a weekly or monthly allowance but I don’t remember them ever sitting me down and explaining to me how best to use it.

This may have resulted in me not being able to stick to any budget whatsoever. No matter how much money I make per month, I will literally always spend a bit more. Having said that, I do not tend to go completely overboard so as far overspending goes, I suppose I am a in the “light” category.

Now, I am mature enough not to blame others for my own shortcomings, which admittedly I have done for years. I am sure that my parents did the best they could, with the knowledge that they had and the means at their disposal.

I realise that moving forward, this has to change which is why a few days ago, I have started entering all my daily spendings into an Excel sheet. I hope that this will give me a clear understanding of my (over) spending habits, although to be honest, I have a pretty good idea what the problem areas are (ie. dining out, take-away, cocktails…)

Even though this is a bit boring and tedious and feels like somewhat of a childish solution, I do feel that it is motivating me to try and stay below a daily limit that I have set. If I go over the limit, I realise that I should spend a bit less the next day and if I manage to stay under the limit, I will have a bit more to spend the next day.

Now, I am only in the warm-up phase and I plan to fully kick-off my New Year’s resolution of ridding myself of financial worries on 1 January. I have only been going for 6 days and in those six days, I have managed to stay within budget on 4 days and gone over budget on two days, so results are moderately positive so far.

I am dreaming of a future without financial worries and I am hoping that I am making steps in the right direction. Even though they are only small steps.

Melancholy

Today, I have been listening to the final broadcast of a morning radio show that has been going for 21 years. I have been listening to it for all of that time and even though the music that they tend to play is kind of horrible (mostly commercial 90s electronic dance music), the hilarious dialogues more than make up for it.

In the late 90’s and early 00’s, I would listen to the show on the actual radio (which now seems like such a retro concept). Then later, when I moved abroad, I would listen to it over the internet on my phone. The amount of times that I have been on my way to work, walking on the street or travelling on public transport, with my earphones in during morning rush hour, being stared at for laughing like a mad person at the jokes of the host of the show and his side-kicks.

I know it’s silly, but as this show has been on the air for the majority of my life -I am now 41-, the idea of not being able to listen to it in the morning is very strange to me. Also, when I started listening, I was a young adult and now I am well on my way to mid-life.

Even though this radio-show obviously is insignificant, the realisation that some periods of my life will never come back, brings on a feeling of melancholy.

This feeling was enhanced by the out-poor of emotional comments on the news and on social media. The host of the show was hailed for his accomplishments by his previous guests, his friends, employers etc. The last broadcast was a 12 hour marathon episode during which everyone that knew the host, passed by to sing a song or share an anecdote.

This made me think of my own accomplishments. What would people say about me right now if they had to say something nice? I work hard and I am good at my job, but I just feel that I should be doing more to leave my mark. I don’t really know what, though.

Is it normal to be 41 years old and not really know what you want out of life? I have tried all sorts of different therapies. I have soul-searched and talked to my inner child and myself in past lives, in an attempt to find purpose and direction. I still haven’t found either.

At some point, I ended up doing something called an Occupational Interest Test with a female psychologist whose tests showed that I am quite intelligent but somewhat lazy and indifferent. She recommended I would go back to university at 26 and study Leisure Management at the School of Economics.

I trusted her and off to university I went. I actually managed to get really good grades, but dropped out in the fourth and final year, during the process of writing my final thesis. Quitting just before the finish line has been an ongoing theme in my life, but this particular time, it has led to a massive student debt which in hindsight, I should really hold her accountable for. Being an expert, she should have known better.
(note to self: consider seeking legal advice)

I have always wondered if everyone should have a purpose. Some people just seem to have such a clear sense of what they should be doing, which I find enviable. It makes me wonder if I really should know by now. Is purpose just for a lucky few and are others, like me, just meant to live a more random life?

I don’t really know where I am going with this – I suppose I am really just thinking out loud. I often wish someone that could give me all the answers would magically appear. Like a trouble-shooter for life.

For now, I suppose that all that I can do is just continue on my random path. It’s not all that bad, really. When I was a little boy, I remember that my mother would always tell me that I needed to learn to be happy with what I had. I can literally still hear her voice in my head.

Perhaps I am still learning that lesson.

Isn’t it strange…

How some days you can feel completely motivated to go for it and other days you just feel really defeated. Sometimes I even go back and forth several times on the same day.

What brings on the mood-change?

Today, I feel motivated to improve myself, learn new skills to earn more money and pay off my debts.

Also, I am trying to give up alcohol and today is day 5.