This year I decided to give myself one word to focus on throughout the year as my mantra. That word, funnily enough, was FOCUS. Let’s see how I’ve been getting on nine months down the line...
FOCUS my belongings:
This year I moved house twice within the space of a month. My friends unknowingly volunteered to help me move the hefty amount of stuff I called ‘my belongings'. I took the look of shock on their friends as a sign for change - it was time for a clear out! Charles and I donated three bin bags full of things we didn’t need and threw away (or recycled) another two while unpacking our new flat. I purged all of the clothes that I had rarely worn, were worn out or I no longer had use for. I donated a quarter of my shoe collection. Chemistry textbooks and folders went back to the office. Drawers were pruned and re-organised. To-do lists for loose ends were made. One of my 25 before 26 things (throw away 25 items) was achieved, several times over! Needless to say, I feel a lot lighter and I’m sure my wardrobe does too! Now I just have to tackle everything I left at my parent’s house...
FOCUS on myself:
I’ve been a bit useless at this part of the mantra so far. I haven’t enjoyed cooking so much this year due to living in shared halls and simply not being at home until late. Regular posts on this blog have been non-existent as my energy has been taken up with work (hello PhD life). I will try harder to do the things I enjoy doing more often! Maybe I can make it up in the last few months of the year.
FOCUS my work:
I laugh at Emily nine months ago. A regular schedule for a PhD student? What was I thinking. I have however tried my hardest to leave the office or lab before 6pm every day. This has been achievable most days, with the help of my fellow researchers reminding me of my goal. There have, however, been several late nights - including one where only a water-cutout forced me to leave the lab. The nature of my research project at the start of the year meant I had to prioritise getting the work completed quickly - meaning early mornings and late nights. Now my work has reached a more steady state and so I’m able to control my time more successfully (phew).
So there you have it - a FOCUS three different ways. I'll update you again at the end of the year.
Last December Charles and I took a month out of our PhD's to road trip around New Zealand (and pop over to Sydney for New Year). We blogged our way across the country, taking over 3000 photos and days of video footage, which we condensed into a three minute video.
New Zealand is simply the most stunning country I've had the pleasure of visiting. The landscape is so beautiful, even if you do nearly lose a couple of your fingers to frostbite to enjoy it (I need to buy more insulating gloves).
We stayed in a camper van - or rather, a bright orange Spaceship. I hadn't driven a car for about five years before I got behind the steering wheel bright and early after our first night in the van. Fortunately I didn't need to worry about a thing - changing gear was easy as the ship was an automatic, New Zealanders drive on the same side of the road as 'us Brits' and in the end, I actually quite enjoyed driving!
I couldn't possibly decide what my favourite part of the trip was for me, each day had its own quirk (whether good or bad). Some of my highlights included: walking the Tongario Crossing, Rafting over the highest commercially-raftable waterfall, swimming in a secret hot spring, taking a helicopter ride to climb on a glacier and seeing a rare yellow-eyed penguin waddling out to sea.
For the full low-down on our adventure take a look at our travel blog. Looking at the photos makes me want to go back already. See you again soon New Zealand!
This post completes one of the 25 goals I have set myself to achieve before my 26th birthday.
Someone asked me how old I was last week. Without thinking I said 24. Then I did the maths and realised that I am actually 25! Obviously my last birthday wasn't that memorable - I was ill and spent 4 days sleeping, emerging only to make myself some birthday pancakes. I feel that I'm too young to be forgetting how old I am, so I'm setting myself some goals before I reach my 26th birthday - one for every year I've lived so far. Hopefully this will help me remember when someone asks me the age-old question. So without further adieu, here they are:
- Sleep in a yurt
- Roadtrip around New Zealand
- Spend New Year's eve in Sydney
- Hand in my confirmation report
- Pass my confirmation viva
- Finish reading the Hobbit
- Watch all LOTR and Hobbit films
- Buy a food processor
- Collate recipes into one place
- Bake carrot cake
- Juice everyday for 1 week
- Cook a food I've never tried to before
- Plant something
- Do 1 chin up
- Do 25 pushups in a row
- Get lead jammer in an open bout
- Get rid of 25 items
- Buy a new bike
- Buy a camera
- Get a tattoo
- Learn to weave
- Learn to play 5 songs on the ukulele
- Learn how to solve a rubik's cube in under 5 minutes
- Send a postcard to Postsecret
- Blog 25 times
Some goals are adventurous, some are necessary for me to move on in my PhD (I'm looking at you confirmation report and viva) and others are just plain fun. I think you get a sense of my personality with the selection - lots of the goals are food or exercise based.
I plan to complete each goal by writing a blogpost about it, so expect to see 25 posts about this feature coming your way before March 4th 2015.
Has anyone else set them self some challenges to meet before their next birthday? I'd love to hear from you!