The start of a New Year brings personal resolutions. This tradition stems back as far as 1894 BC when the ancient Babylonians promised their gods at the start of each year they would pay outstanding debts and return borrowed objects. I don’t know how many people will be making vows to their respective Gods in 2015 but I imagine there will be the usual plethora of New Year Resolutions. Go to the gym, minimise alcohol intake, start a diet or perhaps adopt a new hobby. All respectable endeavours born from good intentions but how many are realistic and more importantly how many are sustainable?
2014 was a busy year for me. My family and I said goodbye to my Gran in January. March brought a highlight when the Funny Boy and I welcomed a new nephew and niece into the world. April marked the end of life as we knew it when cancer arrived. May brought an engagement which was swiftly followed by June and the Queen’s Baton relay. In July the Funny Boy and I adopted Parsnip, a charismatic miniature dachshund, who has brought an endless supply of joy. In August we celebrated being in remission which was short lived once I found myself dealing with the emotional aftermath of everything I have been through. I have spent the remaining months adapting to a new normality. It has been tough but 2014 is a year where I have grown and not just in my waistband. Previously I would set myself personal challenges at the start of a New Year. For example run a marathon or get a new job. I feel that 2014 has initiated so many changes that my main challenge will be to embrace these and start looking forward. Cliche as it may be, cancer has reminded me how fragile life is. Hearing a potential prognosis of two years does make you evaluate your life. I have largely questioned the motivations behind the things I do now and I often ask myself ‘am I doing this because I should or because I want to?’. In light of this 2015 will mark the start of Project 30: 30 things to do before I turn 30. With the help of my family and friends I have collated a list of tasks to achieve, experiences to enjoy and memories to make by 30th July 2016.
1. Take in the Northern Lights
2. Ride a Motorbike
3. Plan an A to Z Roadtrip i.e. Visit Anstruther, go to the Beach, play Cricket
4. Complete the 30 day photo challenge
5. Learn a new skill: juggling
6. Try scuba diving
7. Appear on TV
8. Enjoy an authentic breakfast in New York City
9. Watch Sunrise & Sunset in the same spot
10. Get a tattoo with my Mum
11. Fundraise for Maggie’s and Cancer Research UK
12. Complete another Marathon
13. Plan a camping holiday with the Funny Boy and Parsnip
14. Get something I have written published
15. Plant a tree and visit it from time to time
16. Write 30 letters to 30 people
17. Scare myself by jumping out of a plane aka skydive!
18. Try a new sport (suggestions welcome)
19. Send a message in a bottle
20. Say “I do” in front of my friends and family
21. Buy my first home
22. Read Shakespeare
23. Meet an exotic animal in it’s natural habitat
24. Host a fancy dress themed party
25. Get a selfie with a celebrity
26. Go on a family holiday
27. Travel First Class
28. Bag a Munro
29. Complete another hockey season
30. Make a scrapbook of the 30 fabulous things I achieved before turning 30
Through work and personal circumstances I have learnt that in order for any goal to be successful they have to be SMART.
I have adopted this approach when constructing Project 30. I believe New Year Resolutions would be far more achievable if people considered the SMART approach too. You only need to compare your local gym car park between the start of January and March to know that not all New Year Resolutions are sustainable. How about instead of making promises to ourselves we can’t keep, we opt for doing one good thing to help others? And what if something could be done in a matter of minutes from the comfort of your own home?
Whilst undergoing treatment I came close to relying on a blood transfusion on more than one occasion. Luckily this never transpired however it did leave me with a renewed appreciation for blood donors. Prior to diagnosis I donated blood about once a year. In hindsight I wish I had done this more frequently. For the inconvenience of a little prick and approximately 30 minutes of your time, this small act has the potential of saving someone’s life. And if you are someone who is not eligible to donate blood or you simply don’t like needles then how about you consider becoming an organ donor? A simple two minute task of registering online and having a conversation with your loved ones, could literally be someone’s lifeline.
As always, this is simply food for thought. I wish whoever you are a very healthy Happy New Year and good luck with any resolutions you have! May your endeavours be successful or at least teach you a lesson on the way! This blog has been a cathartic exercise for me and one I shall aim to maintain in 2015. I hope to share my experiences so other people in my situation realise they are not alone. There are millions of people across the world who are standing together to say #FUCancer daily! 2014 – what can I say?! It’s been emotional. You have taught me an enormous amount but I am delighted to say its 2015 and that means the start of a brand new adventure or in the eloquent words of Brad Paisley:
Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book. Write a good one!
Check out my 2014 video here: http://magis.to/ejt8BkZYQUsgN3EPYnZLA3k