2012 in Twelve Things

In what is going to be a first for me, I will cross over into the new year aboard an airplane, albeit one headed homeward. It certainly is a far cry from how 2011 started, but perhaps this unconventional start will afford  me the chance to pause and ponder a few days early, and agree on 12 things for 2012 all aligned with my seven priorities for life. Here goes:

  1. Develop a daily practice of meditation, prayer and journaling:  Taking time out to examine life, capture things as they happen and improve daily has to be a key component of my daily routine going forward. The seven priorities are great on paper, but unless progress on the continuum towards achieving them is measured and recorded, I suspect the end of the year will come, and I will still be where I am as of today, stuck in a rut. Target: 4 of 5 days a week of reading the identified text in the Our Daily Bread app.
  2. Lose 20kg: I am overweight – no amount of faffing around can gloss over that simple fact. I tried for a month, before slipping back into my my routine of Nandos, large potions and baguettes at work. Losing weight has to be a focus in 2012, the target is to lose 20kg for a return to c. 80kg weight and a healthy BMI. Target: Walk to and from work daily, take 2 days in the week to eat only fruits (seedless grapes, bananas and apples only), stay off coffee, eat half of what I would normally eat.
  3. Read (and review) 25 books in 2012.
  4. Call parents and siblings once a week: Quick phone call to Dad/Mum every two weeks; hopefully I can catch the siblings weekly for a quick chat.
  5. Save £1,000 a month: The YE spend data for 2011 was abysmal. For a net (ex. taxes) increase in pay of c. 600 pounds, I ended up doubling my expenditure versus 2010. Some of it was unavoidable  – the house move in late 2010, increased bills and rents hit for the full year 2011 versus the one quarter in 2010, but large swathes of cash remained unaccounted for. The plan is to move 1,000 each month from my net pay prior to any expenses coming through, as well as refuse to get involved in providing soft loans to the lads.
  6. Get chartered engineer status:  I didn’t make a lot of progress professionally in 2011. There were no conferences attended or certifications gained. This is a focus area for 2012 – I am looking to get at least one of either the C.Eng designation or complete my NACE certifications before YE 2012.
  7. Get a driver’s license: I have had a provisional drivers license for over a year already. The focus in 2012 will be to use the 1st quarter to write and pass the theory test, and the summer months to practice for and pass the practical test for a full drivers’ license. Given my traumatic car crash from 2008, and the fact that I haven ‘t driven since then, I suspect this will not be a trivial pursuit.
  8. Resolve long term settlement options: 2012 will be crucial for me as I decide where I will lay down my long term routes. TheBZ would be a good place, but the increasingly louder anti-immigrant rhetoric is a niggling issue at the bottom of my mind. Canada seems to be a longer term option – one that I will explore to a greater extent in 2012.
  9. Resolve my dating and meeting issues: I am at a stage where I can truly say that I have let got of my EJ issues. Having said that there remain pockets of memories I need to ditch finally. The target through 2012 is to bring myself to the place where I can truly say I have forgotten and moved on, a position where I am free in my head to meet and date again. 2012 in this regards has to be the year of de-cluttering.
  10. Complete FAN integration: Given my constant moaning about how mind numbingly boring the little city I live in is, that I am not taking advantage of what opportunities there are to meet people is a shame. Through 2012, the intention is to reconnect with the Youth and Singles group at church once a month.
  11. Re-engage with FOL service: My service in the group I work with in church was shocking in 2011. Granted, part of it was a busier, less controlled work load, but my worldview issues also contributed in no small measure. The plan in 2012 is to reconnect and reengage with the group, and be useful once again.
  12. Find a mentor: I’m looking to get more intentionality in life, a mentor would definitely help for the accountability bits here.

Seven Priorities for Life

I spent the weekend going through Michael Hyatt‘s cute little e-book Creating Your Personal Life Plan.  In no particular order, below are the things I feel need to be priorities going forward:

  1. God: World-view, faith, God and how these interact in defining a moral compass for me is a crucial part of my developing fully into the sort of bloke I need to become. It is time for me to start engaging my various proclivities which are preventing me from gaining the clarity of thought and direction that I need.
  2. Health: Whilst I have not had any major health scares, truth is I am overweight by some. A few years ago, I had blood pressures that were way out of the ‘safe’ and ‘normal’ zone [Thankfully, I passed my last offshore medical in flying colours]. Keeping fit, counting calories and staying health has to be one of my priorities going forward.
  3. Family: Whilst I remain single at the moment, deep in my heart is a longing to meet someone, find love and raise a family together. Two dimensions stand out here – finding the one and being the sort of bloke she’d want to be with. These both have to be priorities going forward – engaging the ‘knowledgable others’ in my circle and being open enough to solicit, accept and implement honest feedback where it is offered on areas where personal improvement is required.
  4. Personal Development: Learning continuously, and always reviewing where I am versus where I should be has to be a key component of my life. Big things are expected of me, and getting those done depends on continuously improving and finding the over arching knowledge and foresight required to grow into those big roles. This will have two facets: Career, in which I develop into a globally recognised Corrosion/Materials/Integrity Engineer, and personally where I progress and develop my public speaking, and writing skills.
  5. Friends: Given the large number of acquaintances I have, the few real friends I have (and I would count O & I as the two stand out ones at the moment) who time and time again have proven they are worth their weight in gold, and more, deserve some reciprocal attention. They are going to have to be priorities going forward – they’ve earned it!
  6. Finances: Finances are a key part of fulfilling the responsibilities that I will have as a Father, Husband, Son and social justice campaigner. Learning how to manage and grow my money is a critical part of the me I will become.
  7. Service: One more priority is taking all the gifts and blessings that I have been given and pouring them all out in service to others. The details of this are not exactly clear at the moment – especially considering the significant evolution my world view is going through at the moment – but finding the time and the place to make a difference for others ‘less blessed’ as to be a priority going forward.

The first day

…Of the last year. I suspect that today was my Newcastle moment; the day when my decision to head out to pastures new was taken. The UK is looking increasingly hostile ( I may be reading the comments section of the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph too much), but it certainly hasn’t helped that some drunk wanna-be pirate complete with an eye patch called me a f*ucking black bastard in broad day light in Aberdeen.  Even conversations at work occasionally centre around immigrants – mainly Poles, but surely its a short hop from Poles to Nigerians.

So, it looks like there will be another tweak to the 5 year plan – quit the UK in September 2012; complete my Materials & Metallurgy program in August 2013, and progress getting permanent residence status.

Marriage? I really don’t know. Ideally, Q4 2013 (after the kinks in the 5 year plan have been worked out) would make sense. There is though the small matter of not being in a relationship at the moment..

For a long time now, I have felt like needing to restart my life – even if I have to get in at the base of the Engineering ladder someplace else. Fingers crossed, here’s to hope!

On reading..

On my forty things by forty list is a task to read 25 books each year. For 2011, I am thinking of starting off with the Booker Prize lists. I suspect a few of them might be out of print, but from running my eye over the list there appears to be at least a few of particular interest. Ben Okri’s 1991 winner ‘The Famished Road’ and Ian McEwan’s ‘Amsterdam’ stand out as starting points. First off though will be ‘The Finkler Question’ by Howard Jacobsen – thanks to the Kindle… 🙂

New Starts….

The turn of the year is unique for the way it inspires one to try better. Plans from the last year, cast aside without thought or regret, suddenly return to the fore of the mind – seeking to exact their recompense for one’s neglect. Its a New Year.. The one thing I plan on doing this year is to articulate more of the thoughts floating around in my head. Hopefully I’ll write a piece each day on here.. Maybe I’ll not..December 31, 2011 will be the final judge of how well I fared…

The 2011 Plan

This is slowly becoming a yearly thing on this blog. The 2009 and 2010 Versions are linked. Since 2010 I have opted for focus areas rather than a list.. So here goes the 2011 plan.

  1. God/Faith: Failed to make any headway in this regards last year – It’s a new year.. Let’s hope we fare better this year with resolving the God issues and getting back into a church community.
  2. Work & Career: I safely navigated getting back into work after a poorly thought out decision led to me quitting my last job. This year the focus is on chasing a couple of certifications to boost my profile as an independent contributor. This is slightly complicated by the Girlfriend being stuck in North America. This year I intend to get my professional membership of at least one UK and one North American Engineering body sorted.
  3. People and Socials: Last year was the year I splurged on social media connections. This year, I need to have a strategy for social media interaction. The goal of this strategy is to focus on sharing information, keeping the loose chatter to an absolute minimum. For real life connections, I have been blessed with having a couple of old friends from undergrad in my city, so as a minimum, I should hang out with them once every couple of months..
  4. Health and Weight: 2010 was the year, the bulge finally beat me. The keg ballooned out of control. I bought a home treadmill in my attempt to regain control. This year, I hope to win the battle – running thrice weekly on the treadmill.
  5. Family: The family connection hasn’t been great up to the end of the year. This year I hope to call the parents and siblings at least once each week.
  6. Financial: The numbers from last year indicated I saved approximately 25% of my gross earnings – in spite of significant expenditure on trips to the US and gadgets. This year, I hope to up the percentage to 30%. In conjunction with a promised pay rise at work, it should be a good year – if I avoid splurging on any new gadgets.

Yay..

The first quarter performance review was short and sweet – I think… The recovery is under way.. Now we need to secure it… (as Gordon Brown likes to put it)

Re: 2010

Coming into 2010, it was clear this was the year that could potentially make or break me. Coming off a mid-life crisis in 2009 a nasty break up in 2008 that was finally formalized in 2009, and major changes that seemed intent on tossing my well laid plans aside, I thought four things would be a small number of items to focus on – turns out even those four are a big ask.

Of the four, work’s pretty much gone OK – two months in the bag(nk); healthy eating/ losing weight has been iffy – I registered at a gym and have been there once in two months so far; God and I are still borderline – marginally regressed if truth be told; and the people side has been decent – made up with the elder sister I have had issues with..
Some things to be thankful for.. But more work to be done I would say..

2010 – The Plan

Last year was about a laundry list – 20 things I wanted to get sorted by year’s end. I did Ok.. Never got to learn french and missed out on the distinction..This year I want to have focus areas – key directions in which my energies will be focused.

  1. Career: Manage my transition to a new job/ new city; target getting confirmed on the job and a raise by year end.
  2. God and Faith: Get back into the regular church thing – sort out my niggling God issues.
  3. Weight and Health: Get a full physical exam – for info – and shed the excess weight sharp-ish.
  4. Love and Loving: End my girl hiatus; actively get back into the meeting and friendship scene again.

One more, which doesn’t count as a specific goal I think, but which is needed nonetheless, is to toughen up. I fear for the past few years I have grown too soft, more altruistic than is necessary. 2010 is my year.. of living dangerously..

2009 was a year to forget – almost. Thankfully there was an upturn at the end of the year… Hopefully 2010 is a lot better! Oh and that this blog is a wee bit less sorrowful too 🙂

The 2009 Master Plan…

2008…What a year…Seems like it was only yesterday when my friend and I drove to church to attend the New year Service and to get the year rolling……Lots of stuff have happened to and around me.. Wonder what the highlights were tho…

On a personal note heading back to school ranks up there… One humid March evening, I finally decided I’d had enough of working on the edge; after spending the 4th straight weekend at work trying to troubleshoot a pipeline problem…. Got home that night,and started the online application that has landed me on the MSc program I’m currently on…..apparently to the distaste of my bosses – who told me they thought I was doing fine without the MSc and that it was unnecessary….Who cares? I needed to keep my sanity……My cause can’t be helped by the fact that a number of chaps also decided to flee in my wake too… duh…

Surviving a major car crash also helped to put things in the proper perspective – especially the transience of life…Thankfully I’d hired the cabbie and sat in front with my seat belt… May have gotten my life snuffed out that morning but for that…

My man “The Prof” got hooked up to the girl of his dreams… Prof! who we felt was all nerdy and goofy and good for nothing except books, piping design and football manager dropped the bombshell and told us he’d been seeing one of the snazziest ladies in the department and that they were going to get married in 2009….That singular event convinced me again that miracles exist… lol..

Di, my “big sister” got the second kid in quick succession she wanted…. With two kids out of the way she’s angling for a PhD.. Of course, family first is her mantra these days.. but she’s always got a sharp mind.

Had my usual run in with the Mum on my birthday again this year….. Wonder why Mums always manage to “spoil” family gatherings by regaling you with tales of how Oby yr classmate from primary school got her second kid a couple of months back, or of how your friend from secondary school Tony got married a few weeks back and then reminding you that “Uncle Steve’s” daughter is in town and that she asked about you…Guess all that is behind me now..

  1. Now my 2009 goals – iin no particular order…..
  2. Attend a Canadian Job Fair, the Offshore Technology Conference or NACE Corrosion 2009 (This dude needs to put himself on the radar for new employers to see u know)
  3. Extend my network to include worthy causes
  4. Re-ignite my God connection – Need to cast off this “black sheep” tag ASAP…
  5. Find a personal mentor/ Life coach — wonder why i need one tho..
  6. Learn French…
  7. Lose 10 kg – not overweight but could do with losing some weight u know….
  8. Make new friends – target 4 new friends that I do not already know at the moment.
  9. Reduce FM2009 game time. Play max of 14 hrs a week – ie 2 hr per day
  10. Follow up 9ja happenings more seriously.. At least I need to know what’s happening in my country right?
  11. Complete my evaluation of the works of CS Lewis, John Owen, John Calvin and Jacob Arminius.
  12. Visit another European Country
  13. “Significantly reduce” my Facebook time….. duh….
  14. Make a distinction on my MSc… Tall order – but doable……………………

Hopefully I’ll still be on blogsville this time next year and i’ll be able to see how far i went on closing out these things…

Happy new year y’all…..