Well, it would be fair to say that I have already failed on one of my 22 for 2022. That of writing a blog post once a week. January has passed me by in a blur. Here in Bristol it has been fairly mediocre! The weather hasn’t really added up to much and there have been some days when leaving the house felt like an effort too far. In a way it was good to have this list of challenges, because it did actually make me do something other than watch the month pass me by.
It felt like a mammoth achievement to make it to Christmas with daily covid testing, husband testing positive for covid over the Christmas period, cancelled Christmas plans and the quietest Christmas for many a year. Just making it as far as the New Year seemed enough and like many people we have pretty much hunkered down for January. It was nice not to go out, not to worry about going out, but to spend cosy evenings in front of the TV. Not helped by the weather – which has been particularly gloomy.
In addition to that we have been decorating our home. It’s only a one bedroom flat which means it has been impossible to empty a room, decorate and then move everything back in. It became quite wearing in the end, permanently living in some version of chaos. That too has come to an end as we had the deadline of the last week of January to get as much done as possible prior to having carpets fitted throughout.
I’ve also had a deadline for the Open University. Like buses. Everything came along in the last week of January! It’s a relief that everything is out of the way. I have concluded that there will never be a convenient time for an assignment deadline – that’s just the way these things work. I suppose it’s a relief that January is out of the way. For me February represents hope that spring is just around the corner and the worst of winter is behind me.
One thing I have really enjoyed about January this year is no resolutions. No self imposed restrictions that have become unrealistic 10 days into the new year. I have also continued to enjoy not being on Facebook. It has made such a difference to how I feel and has meant that I have engaged more fully with real people in real life, completed more crochet projects and generally felt more calm and grounded. It’s probably the most hopeful January I’ve had in many years.
I have made progress on some of the items on my list of 22:
#3 I haven’t bought any new clothes. I have bought a few things from my local charity shop, but they have been things to alter or to use the fabric for other projects. I’ve never been able to alter clothes and so have been using charity shop finds to practice on, rather than destroy pieces I already have in my wardrobe. So far, so good! The bigger achievement for me is not going shopping in the winter sales. I do love a bargain and so it’s huge for me to pass them by. It’s also made me realise just how much I do already have in my wardrobe and so shopping isn’t necessary at all. There is the obvious bonus of saving money too!
#4 Reduce single use plastics. I am in awe of just how many toiletries I have stashed in my cupboards – particularly shampoo. I seem to have a never ending supply of shampoo which I am determined to use prior to replacing them with plastic free versions. Whilst any plastic isn’t great, recycling empty plastic is preferable to throwing away filled plastic containers. So, as yet all I have replaced is one handwash, and one shower gel – both with a good old fashioned bar of soap.
#7 Walk 1000 miles. I am currently 202.1 miles having started on 14th December. I suspect I might have to amend the challenge at some point in the year, in order to make it more of a challenge than it currently is.
#8 Eat one piece of fruit a day. Another fail! I have been increasing the amount of fruit I have been eating, but haven’t quite managed that one extra piece per day. But it’s a target to aim for. I’ve recently been reading ‘Quite Like a Woman’ by Holly Whitaker and taking on more than one thing at once isn’t advisable, better to change things one at a time – so I shall keep this as a target and hopefully by the end of 2022 this will be a daily habit.
#9 Read 12 Fiction books. I have achieved this. In fact, during January I have read several books, although only two were fiction books. The books I have read are:
- ‘The Couple at Number 9’ by Clare Douglas – a Crime book. I enjoyed the read and finished it (which is unusual for me) but not outstanding. I didn’t put it down and think I must go and read her other books.
- ‘Mother Loves Me’ – a psychological thriller and for the first half of the book there were times where I was scared to turn the page, but then it sort of fizzled out towards the end, which was disappointing.
- ‘Spectacles’ by Sue Perkins. I love Sue Perkins and so when I saw this on the shelf at the local charity shop I had to buy it. A great, entertaining read.
- ‘The Wrong Knickers’ by Bryony Gordon. Again, I love Bryony Gordon and her posts on Instagram showing a real down to earth approach to life. So this was a delight to read and a real honest insight into the reality of life as a twenty-something in London.
- ‘Once Upon a Time in The West Country’ by Tony Hawks. A gentle story chronically Tony’s move to the West Country. The best part without doubt is when he takes a pig for a cycle ride across Devon.
#11 Make a dress that fits. The items of clothing I have altered have helped me with this as I am starting to get a better understanding of the shape of clothes and how they fit together. I usually just follow the pattern, but my body is a bit of a queer shape, so understanding the construction of clothing is probably going to be as helpful as following a pattern. That way I can work out what to adjust rather than just blindly follow along.
#16 365 days of writing. I have tried. This is another habit that I have found to be a struggle, especially on days when I have been studying. The thought of spending more time at my laptop blows my mind a bit. I did try writing by hand, but find that I think more clearly when I am typing. I also found some of the prompts a little un-inspiring and so ended up writing waffle. There was one day that I wrote a poem, which I did quite enjoy and came as quite a surprise to me. This is another habit that I hope to have incorporated in to my life on a daily basis come the end of 2022. Especially as I hope to have started a module on Creative Writing by then!
#17 Listen to 12 New Albums. My album choice for January was ‘Hand Cannot Erase’ by Steven Wilson. Which I have quite enjoyed and is certainly different to anything that I would normally choose to listen to. What has been most interesting has been finding out from different people which albums they recommend. I’m still on the hunt for about 6 months worth of recommendations, so please do feel free to share your favourites. If there was one album you think I should listen to, what would it be?
That’s all of the progress for now! I’m hoping that during February I make a start on some of the other items on the list, specifically cycling from Albufeira to Vilamoura and I am going to try again with the daily fruit and creative writing habits.