2018 Review

Previously if I had spent NYE by myself, I’d be lonely and some shade between melancholic and miserable – this year I’m just tired after a long day at work, and pretty upbeat.

I find myself mostly satisfied with 2018 – it has been an exceptionally fun and enjoyable year, one where I have made progress in some key areas of my life – but also overlooked and lost control of others.

2018 started on the sober side with a 3 month detox that I completed successfully.  It was certainly tricky at times and life was less fun – there were less of those special moments, but I think I was more settled in my mind, I was probably happier – without the usual peaks and troughs and I felt much better in my body.  And I achieved much more than I would have done otherwise.

There is no doubt that alcohol affects both my motivation and performance – in almost every aspect of my life that can be improved, removing alcohol would lead to improvement.  Well, in every aspect except fun, socialising and enjoyment.  And after my detox, in particular, I had a lot of fun.

Starting with 4 holidays.  A trip to Madrid to see my delightful Spanish friend, Rosa, albeit that wasn’t the reason we went – as it was a family holiday – the first for…20 years…I think…to celebrate my Dad’s retirement.  And what a place – I love Spain so much, and to get to visit the capital city and find out more about the history of the country was just utterly wonderful.

And then there was the long weekend in Vienna with my amazing friend, Martin.  Another city that I fell in love with, from the glimpses of the genius of Gustav Klimt’s artwork, to the canal-side shacks that served as a kind of bohemian nightlife.  One seriously awesome – and very underappreciated city.

Croatia.  What can be said about that?  Nothing that I can put in writing, but that was just such an awesomely fun holiday – a techno/disco festival on a little cove in Croatia.  The feelings of being on the dancefloor whilst the occasionally odd but generally brilliant music was played, was just special.  So special.

Not forgetting Budapest too with my wonderful sister and my bestie, Alena.  Maybe I didn’t fall in love with it as much as the other places I visited, but it was so enjoyable, such good food too.  More of a culinary treat than the other holidays…especially Croatia.

The fun continued with day trips to Brighton and Warwick with my fave.  And a trip to Birmingham to watch the test cricket with my Dad – albeit only 1.5 hours of test cricket.

Two awesome weddings – both very different but both ridiculously fun – and stupendously heart-warming.

Despite living in London, I think I spent more time with both my friends and family.  I feel closer to most people in my life than I did a year ago – whether they feel closer to me is of course, another question, especially with the amount that I bang on about Brexit.  And roast dinners.

I did have some really good meals this year too.  Some very good roast dinners, including my favourite so far at The George in The Strand.  Also took my parents to Peckham – their faces when they stepped outside of Peckham Rye station were a sight!  But we had a very nice dinner there, my Dad still enthuses about the fish that he had.  And we know our fish, being from Hull.

It seems like I have done so much this year, despite being on a fairly tight budget.  And I have – there is so much that I have missed out because I should really go onto other topics.  47 roast dinners though.  That ain’t bad is it?  And my blog is slowly getting more popular, more readers, more people thanking me for my advice, more people enjoying the utter bullshit that I spout.  Not to mention two articles in the Londonist.  Any suggestions on how to get more publicity?  Time to beg the socialist tossbags at Vice to do an article on it?

All this fun has had a pretty major downside though.

My weight.  I have put on 15kg since April.  That’s shocking.  I have totally lost control of my eating habits – anything less than 3,000 calories is now a good day.  Yeah I know.  WTF?

I worked out recently (in my head) that I can only lose weight when two of the following are present: time, energy, motivation.  I lost the motivation, and I rarely have the time.  And often I don’t have the energy.  What I was saying earlier about cutting out alcohol being the solution to anything that can be improved?  Alcohol takes my time, it taps my energy and at times, motivation.  I lost 7kg on my 3 month detox last year (albeit put some back on near the end).  People say, “just do some exercise” or “just do things in moderation”.  I don’t have time for exercise and have you ever known me do moderation?  Do you secretly call me James “Moderation” Winfield?

Also I lost a fair chunk of my meagre savings on the stock market, putting paid to my dreams of going to Japan in 2019…well…unless I have some good news soon.

Don’t worry – there are plans to address my shortcomings.  But shortcomings I most certainly have.

I started 2018 with quite a lot of shortcomings as a web developer.  That is the other thing that I focused on this year – I don’t feel that I have achieved all that I could have done, yet I look back and think it is just quite amazing how far I have come – from struggling to do jQuery fixes, to managing fairly major projects from start to end, and most importantly – learning a framework, AngularJS.  I won’t go into too much techie detail, but I was most definitely a junior web developer at the beginning of the year.  I am most definitely much further on now – alas, still paid as a web junior developer.

I accept that I have fucked up in a couple of places this year, and that I still a way from who I want to be.  But mostly, and overall, I am on the right path.  I am so much happier than I used to be – having changed from moaning about air conditioning to moaning about tube trains.  I previously put a lot of effort, and some risk, into changing my life – a huge change in career path, and also a change of city (via Bracknell…shudder).  And it has been so worth it.

I know what I have to do to make 2019 even better.

2018 was the most fun year that I’ve had for some time – and my life hasn’t been short of fun.  I haven’t mentioned the World Cup, the weather, the long, hot summer, the morass of ridiculously attractive women everywhere.  There are so many highlights that I’ve missed out.  But 2018 also had some shortcomings, and some failures on my part.  I don’t want to overblow the downsides – there is far much more to be satisfied and positive about.

So, a pretty damn good year overall.  The power is within me to make 2019 even better.

Thanks to everyone who helped make it such a good year.

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