As we’re mere hours away from the end of 2018, like many, I’m now looking forward to a new year.
I’ve never really been one for resolutions, but I do like to set goals. Some I’ve achieved over the years, but most tend to fall by the wayside. 2019 however, should be different. Not because I’m more determined as such, but because many of my goals set in stone. They have deadlines.
For many years my goal was to retire at 40. For a long time that actually seemed doable. Recent years though have dashed that, and as a 40-year old today, the idea of retiring at 65 isn’t as realistic as it should be.
Truth is, I wouldn’t do very well at being retired. I need to keep busy. I’m no good at doing ‘nothing’. Being able to retire is a different matter altogether, and more likely what I aspired to all along.
I’ve spent the last few months structuring myself for 2019. The last few years I’ve been somewhat ‘stuck in a rut’. I’ve had one career, which at times I’ve loved, and other times hated – the joys of self-employment. Being self-employed also brought about its pitfalls – some months would go by without any work at all. Unpaid invoices became more common than ever, which all contributed to me taking a dislike to my job at times.
So, while 2019 is likely to be the busiest year I’ve seen in some time, it should also be the most varied. I do worry where I’ll find the time for everything, but I’m excited by the challenge.
In no particular order, here’s are my goals for the year ahead;
These will come around fairly quickly. All 4 exams are booked in for the same day – February 11th. I enrolled in a distance learning course for the first of the 4 modules, but have largely self-taught myself. Using the syllabus, some recommended books and occasionally referring to past papers. The month of January will be filled with me preparing for these exams – the first exams I’ll have taken in almost 25 years.
Late last year, on a whim, if I’m honest, I enrolled with the Open University. I chose the Open Degree, which allows me to choose the modules I’m most interested in (it’s apparently the most common degree taken at the OU). The degree can award either a BA or BSc, but as all the modules of interest to me are science-based, mine will (hopefully) result in a BSc.
I’m both terrified and excited about starting this. I never went beyond NVQs formally, so degree level is entirely new to me. Being older, things don’t get soaked up by my brain as easily either – so I need to find a way of learning that works for me. Especially for the ‘boring’ bits that I will inevitably encounter.
I have an allotment and have had for a few years now. In the last 6 months, I took on a much bigger plot – more than double the usual size. Until my first plot 3 years ago, I had no interest in gardening at all. Once I got my fingers dirty though, it transformed me. Hence the RHS, and to an extent the BSc. Working the allotment helps keep me active, as well as keeping me mentally fit. It’s time I need to recharge my batteries. I simply adore doing it too. With such a large plot there’s an awful lot to be done to get it ready for the coming growing season. At least half my time is going to be spent here.
Right now, aside from a polytunnel and lots of timber, the plot has nothing else. The initial priority is to get all the timber in place ready for growing, but I also want to add both a shed and greenhouse this year. The shed, while not strictly needed, will double-up as a study and workspace – the best of both worlds.
With my ‘shed as a study’ plan, I want to make sure I’m as mobile as I can be. I’ve been working to ensure all my study materials, notes etc are on the iPad rather than in a mass of notebooks and loose paper. I’ve started buying ebooks rather than paper books, so they’re always to hand. For ‘new’ books these are usually slightly cheaper, but obviously, second hand is out of the question – which usually offers a much greater saving.
Return to Swimming
The allotment and my fairly strict diet (through necessity, rather than choice it must be said) mean I don’t need any help to keep fit. I could probably do with adding a few pounds if anything. But, I would like to go swimming again, something I haven’t done in years. My six-year-old daughter can’t swim yet either, despite us signing her up for lessons. She didn’t like the instructor on her first lesson and refused to return thereafter. So, it will likely fall to us to teach her. Any tips on how to do this would be much appreciated!
Streamline the Business
At the moment I have a number of ‘interests’, most of which are small earners. But they’re very fragmented – each in their own right is too small to really be considered a ‘business’, but if I streamline them under a single identity then it becomes something I can more easily grow and manage. This will be a focus in the early part of the year.
There are many more things I’d like to accomplish in this coming year. Some, I know, I’m simply not going to have the time to achieve. Some I will perhaps be able to do alongside the things I’ve mentioned above. I will, however, at the end of the year, return to this post to reflect on what I actually achieved.
Regardless of what I do or don’t achieve, it should be a varied year!