I was at the Bologna Book Fair last week, which means being collected at 4.30 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Presumably as a result of sleep deprivation, I always seem to end up having profound conversations with the taxi driver, and this time it was about how ‘the one thing given to all of us equally is time’. While this isn’t true in terms of lifetimes, his point was that, no matter our circumstances, we don’t get any more than 24 hours in a day.
It reminded me of an assembly in high school, which offered up one of the lessons I actually remember after fifteen years. The woman said, ‘If I gave each of you £1440 right now, how would you spend it?’ Everyone had an idea of course – Disneyland, loads of pizza, or optimistic 13-year-olds thinking they’d get a car. She then revealed that she had picked the number 1440 because that is how many minutes we have in a day – how were we going to spend them?
In the interest of trying to make the most of each 24 hours, I thought it might be a good idea to set some goals for 2017 after all. They might help me to recognise how I use my time and how I might spend it better (not to mention help me to focus on the blog). Here are some of the things I would like to achieve:
Do something good. With all the awful stories on the news every day, it would be nice to do a little bit of good. I’ve thought for years about contacting Age UK to volunteer – maybe now’s the time.
Read 25 books. I’ve read some great books so far, including The Sun is Also a Star.
Work on my languages. It is sad how quickly language skills can fade, even after spending years on them! I want to make more effort to surround myself with French, Spanish and Italian whether through reading, films, music or holidays to try to maintain or improve them. Next up, Cinema Paradiso!
Try eight new recipes. I have started cooking and I actually quite enjoy it. I even signed up for an online cookbook subscription (Cooked), and even if I did this largely for the free crate of wine, it is a good resource that I’d like to use. Plus I’d like to make breakfast muffins. Batch cooking! Batch cooking is the goal.
Do more on days off. I definitely need time to do nothing each week, but I can still make better use of my days off. When I first moved here I did so much – and, OK, spent too much money – but there’s a balance to be found. I’d like to plan at least one interesting activity a month, even if it’s just visiting a restaurant I’ve been desperate to try.
Visit eight new restaurants/cafes/bars. There, I’ve made it its own goal.
Visit a new city/country. I’ve spent hours researching holidays to Santorini, and have to conclude that it’s sadly out of my budget for now. I will visit somewhere new though.
Visit two places I haven’t yet been in the UK. I went to Canterbury in February, so this is an extra incentive to write about it. I’m also keen on Winchester, Oxford and Cornwall.
See three new shows. I’ve seen The Girls so far.
Make a scrapbook. This is on my list basically every year and I still haven’t done it. I go to see quite a lot of theatre, and I have a few concerts this year, so I need somewhere to keep all my tickets, as well as some of the many photos I take!
Build the blog. I neglected the blog a little last year, but I don’t want to give it up. Posts could be shorter – reviews, an observation or a photo. There is so much to write about. If anything, I would love to increase the time I spend writing, not just blogging but more creatively too. We’ll see!