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Quick review of my year for 2013 - Helen's journal and online home
In which an old dog attempts to learn new tricks.
Quick review of my year for 2013
As I say each year, I don't do New Year Resolutions, however, I did set some personal challenges last January. When I decided on them, I realised that they may be subject to change, which is just as well because the two things that ate into my time and mental energy were completely unforeseen. The first was my 92-year-old Dad finally admitting that living alone just wasn't working any more and the second was getting a part-time teaching job at the local college.

In 2012, the physical and intellectual challenges showed the best completion rate. In 2013, however, after a good start, the physical challenges went to pot, mostly due to losing 1-2 days per week to visiting my Dad and organising his shopping and meals and then, following his move into residential care in August, having to travel up to Prestatyn to clear and clean his bungalow so it could be sold. I did, however, maintain the dog walking, though it has now dropped to just once a week, due to the teaching job.

The intellectual challenges went well. I completed the final OU course and hence achieved yet another degree. I went to the graduation in November in Birmingham, which was a nice day out and great to see all the younger people celebrating their success. I also completed a couple of basic TEFL certificates, which were to help me get online work teaching English. This has been put on hold due to getting the face-to-face teaching job, but may come in useful at a later date.

As for the creative challenges, I completed both 52 week photography challenges and also did a photo-a-day during April, June and September (though not November due to pressure of the new job). I didn't knit the 2 sweaters I had set as my target, but instead I did lots of crochet namely: 5 blankets, 2 skull scarves, 1 tiny blanket for toy Yoda, 1 pair of fingerless mittens, and a hat and infinity scarf finished just in time for the trip to London at Christmas. I also have some other projects partially completed and lots of plans for 2014.

So... for 2014, this is what I hope to do.


General fitness is not too bad, but I don't want to let it slip any further. I therefore want to do 3 x 1 hour walk every week (weather and illness permitting).

Specific physical challenges

Climb Cadair Idris again.
Walk every named walk in the area (Panorama, Precipice, New Precipice, Torrent)

Take the bike into the bike shop and get it serviced and new tyres and inner tubes fitted.
Cycle to Coed y Brenin and have a snack in the cafe before cycling back.
Cycle to Barmouth and have ice cream on the beach before cycling back.

Using the giveit100.com site for motivation, hoop for at least 10 minutes every day.


Improving my Welsh
Read 4 novels
Record a daily audio diary using giveit100.com for motivation.


2 Photo-a-week challenges. One being a Flickr alphabet challenge group, the other will be me setting my own topic for the week.
I have also joined a photo-a-month Black and White challenge on Google+

Make at least 2 crocheted sweaters/cardigans for me.
Crochet 2 Happypotamuses and 1 Fatty Lumpkin.
Crochet some seasonal decorative wreaths.

See if I can start writing fiction again. Very gently. No pressure whatsoever.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: accomplished accomplished

10 comments or Leave a comment
coth From: coth Date: January 3rd, 2014 04:07 pm (UTC) (Link)
I hope you succeed in all your challenges.

I note that none of them relate to work or finances...hope that's because you feel secure enough for those to be taken more-or-less for granted.
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 3rd, 2014 04:15 pm (UTC) (Link)
Work is sort of out of my hands. I will be able to claim my State Pension in July, so if the college offer me another year of part-time teaching, I'll take it, but if not, it doesn't matter. All being well G will keep working for another couple of years until he's 65, but we are at the point where we could both retire now if we had to. Obviously, we'd have to start watching our spending, but retirement is doable.
coth From: coth Date: January 3rd, 2014 04:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
I am glad to hear it. Fingers crossed.
From: joycemocha Date: January 3rd, 2014 05:56 pm (UTC) (Link)
Good plans. I'm wondering if I've enough credentials to teach English online...
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 5th, 2014 11:26 am (UTC) (Link)
You could definitely teach with the site I was using, which is called italki. The problem with that (and verbling) is that you are not guaranteed work and, due to a lot of the potential students being in places like India and the Middle East, the rates for tuition that you can charge tends to be low. I was looking on it as a paying hobby and of course you don't have commuting expenses, but it you were seriously relying on for your income, you'd probably want one of the more business oriented companies who offer packages of lessons. For that a recognised TEFL qualification at as high a level as possible would be required.

I looked into doing the Cambridge CELTA qualification, but couldn't afford the time or the money for the 5 week full-time residential course and no one was offering it part-time within reach of home. Now Dad has moved into residential care I could go away to study, but whether spending around 1500 UK pounds would be worth it when I can claim my pension and retire next year is debatable. However, for someone with some years of working life ahead of them, it (or whatever the US equivalent is) could be a good investment.
From: joycemocha Date: January 5th, 2014 02:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! I may look into this.
khiemtran From: khiemtran Date: January 4th, 2014 04:07 am (UTC) (Link)
That sounds like a very big year, especially with completing the degree and helping your father move. It's amazing that you were also able to teach as well!
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 5th, 2014 11:14 am (UTC) (Link)
Fortunately I wasn't doing more than two major things at a time. If all three had happened simultaneously, I'd have been struggling. Even so, getting the job meant that rather than spending a lot of time and effort on doing up Dad's bungalow in order to get the best price, I was forced to agree with my brother than going for a quick sale was the best option, even if it meant that the price we accepted was on the low side.
carl_allery From: carl_allery Date: January 5th, 2014 10:09 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds like a very achievable list, though also very diverse! :)
heleninwales From: heleninwales Date: January 5th, 2014 11:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I like to try for a mix of physical, intellectual and creative challenges. Then, if I can't work on one project for some reason, I can make progress with something else.
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