I'M not mad keen on New Year's Resolutions. For starters the New Year's all a matter of perspective, isn't it? Every day we wake up is in fact 365 days on from the equivalent point in last year's calendar but no-one gets maudlin on March 6th about what they've done with the past 12 months.
Secondly, my lifestyle borrows from most of the abstemious parts of the various world religions. Apart from the fact that I'm obviously overweight I tend to think I'm doing my bit for Dry January, Stoptober, Meat Free Friday and the No E's please we're British Equinox (I may have made one of those up*.)
All that said, it feels wrong to "pass go" without even a token acknowledgement of the fact that I've had to buy a new desk diary. So I thought I'd share with you what I plan to do with 2016, rather than what I plan to do without. Most of this involves doing more of what I enjoy at the moment, because that's what makes life such a jolly affair etc etc...
- Reading - I bounce myself back and forth between the BBC's Big Read Top 100 books and the SFX Book Club. I hope one day to have completed the first list, although I fear the second has disappeared over the horizon forever.
- Journalising - The ongoing aim is to get back to this full-time as I'm having the sort of withdrawal symptoms experienced by Jeremy Renner at the end of the Hurt Locker**. In the meantime there's my ongoing effort to make my own publishing effort seem halfway respectable.
- Building models - I'd honestly forgotten how much I enjoyed making things. Taking pleasure in painting stripes on HMS Victory or drybrushing a Grave Guard's armour fall firmly into the category of things a 28-year-old man should never admit to in public, but life's too short to give a damn what people think.
- Social socialism - I'm not so much a swivel-eyed loon as a swivel-chaired loon, in so far as I don't get off my arse enough to try and do something about my politics. Now's a good time perhaps. New Labour's regenerated back to Old Labour (a bit like when the Doctor turned into Peter Capaldi) and there's a chance to get something done. And if going to the Corbyn rally in Brum last summer taught me anything, it's that there are people out there who don't go dead behind the eyes when you talk about renationalising the railways.
- Resowing the vegetable patch - I've become slightly obsessed with the idea of having my own plot. I see it as a good way to relax and sound preparation should civilisation collapse and home-grown runner beans become a currency in their own right.
- Photography - There's lots of things I'd like to learn if I had a significant amount of time. Magic tricks, archery, playing the violin, although if I'm honest none of these play to my natural strengths (requiring as they do hand-eye co-ordination and excellent reflexes.) I have half a chance perhaps in becoming a half decent photographer, if only because of the dwindling number of people who actually hold the camera facing away from them.
- Proper grown-up stuff - I can do a passable imitation of a responsible adult. I have a Christmas card list and I know the meaning of words like lamentable without having to check the dictionary. That said I'm aware that I'm entering my late 20s having singularly failed to find love, buy a home or keep tabs on ISA rates. Most people are too polite to comment on my general lack of progress in these endeavours, expect my Dad who I believe keeps an Excel spreadsheet somewhere***.
- Seeing friends - Which isn't as easy as it sounds as most of my old friends now live in various corners of the UK (you could do a Game of Thrones style sweep of the national map and I don't think you'd fit in all the locales before the final Bum bum bah dah bum bum.) I did better last year than the year before though, so I may yet cross the Narrow Sea before next December come.
- Get up-to-date with the Marvel films - I won't admit how many of the new instalments I haven't got round to watching yet because you'll doubt my credentials as a geek forever more. In my defence they built a car park on my local cinema and I won't have Sky Movies on principle (believing Rupert Murdoch to be probably a greater risk to the future security of the known universe than Thanos himself.)
- Beating Vagrant Story - It's been 15 years for Christ's sake. In that time London has bid for, won and hosted the Olympics, there has been major regime change in the Middle East and they've brought out a new flavour of coke that looks like the fizzy drinks industry's answer to Soylent Green. Coca Cola Life I'm looking at you. But throughout all these triumphs and disasters I still can't find a way past that bloody Forest Dragon. Absolutely lamentable.
- Writing - The big one, the greatest challenge of all (except perhaps the dragon.) On one hand I've been putting one word in front of the other in every paid position I've ever held. On the other is my failure to find the faith, confidence or work ethic to be able to complete a full-length book of my own. I swear to you with whatever limited conviction my promises still have in this regard, I am trying.****
* Dry January is of course a media invention. No-one actually does that.
** Except I'm pining for newsrooms rather than warzones, although the two are largely interchangeable.
*** It's pinned on the fridge.
**** That's all really. I'm just checking you're still with me.