feel like I'm hurtling towards the end of the year at a hell of a pace. Only half a day left at work and then I'm off to sunny Gran Canaria and a well deserved two week break. Two weeks! I can't remember the last time I had a two week holiday. (Well, I can, but it was a long time ago. And there was the time when 11 days turned into 10 weeks, but we won't mention that...)
So, what with me being away at the actual end of the year, I realised that I'd better do my end of year review type thing now. It's one of those things I like to do, sitting down and thinking about what I've achieved before I go on to think about what I want to do next year.
In recent years I've always felt a bit down at the end of the year. Not because of any particular problems, but I always worry that maybe I've just lived the best year of my life, and it's all downhill from here. Yes, I can depress myself by thinking about what a fab year I've had. I'm a bundle of laughs at parties.
This year is probably no exception. I've done loads of things that I wouldn't have dreamed possible this time last year, and I'm so proud of myself. Very few of them were actually on the list of new years resolutions I made last year, but I'm glad that I did what I did rather than sticking to my January ideas of what I fancied doing over the next 12 months.
Top of the list of things I did was, of course, that I ran a marathon. Well, ran some of a marathon and walked other bits of it. And then collapsed under a tree at the end. I can't believe that I actually ticked that one off the "to do before I get too old" list. I also can't believe that I'm going back for more and attempting to run another one. You'd have thought that I'd have learned my lesson from last time and wouldn't feel the need to do stupidly long runs again.
Actually, another thing I did last year for the first time was running a half marathon. It's strange to think that this time last year running a half seemed like a daunting thing to aim for. And now I go out and do 12.5 mile training runs before and after work. Yup, I'm mad.
Another for the list of things I didn't mean to do was giving up meat. It's been 10 months now, give or take a day or two, and it hasn't been a struggle at all. I'm still having such fun trying out new vegetables and ways of preparing veggie food that I've barely given a second thought to going back to eating meat. I'm even eating nut roast for christmas and not resorting to turkey, which was one thing I was always going to allow myself if I fancied it.
Weight wise, there hasn't been a single day in 2006 when I have been obese. That's a huge thing based on where I started, and even more so when I think that for about 10 months of the year I haven't even been overweight. This has, primarily, been a year of maintenance, although I am down a fair bit from the start of the year. Actually, I hadn't thought about it too much, but I've just realised that I've probably lost 20lb or so since last January. That's not too bad at all. I doubt I'll be losing the same next year, but if I could spend 2007 without a single day being overweight I'd be more than happy.
Even more fun is my dress size. At my highest weight size 14 or so was all I dared dream of. For I had those famous big bones that can be used to justify all sorts of weight related issues. It wasn't unreasonable of me to think that, after all I do have stupidly big feet and I'm quite tall, so I kind of assumed that there were bone structure related issues behind it. But it turns out that even if my bones are long they're certainly not thick, and underneath the layers of fat there was a beanpole waiting to get out. You know the wrist thing where you see whether there's any overlap when you put the fingers of one hand round your other wrist. I can never remember which finger you're meant to use, but it doesn't matter. I can use any finger (even the little finger) and still reach the knuckle of my thumb with it. Although I do have long fingers. So now I'm wearing size 10 - 12 (and most of the 12s are starting to get a little baggy), and even got asked by someone from running club (who called me skinny in the previous sentence!) whether I was a size 8. Sadly, no, but it's nice to be asked.
That was another thing. I finally joined a running club and I'm confident that it's going to improve my running (and my social life) beyond recognition. I can't describe how much nicer it is on a cold, dark, wet winters evening to meet up with other people and run with them, rather than trudging round alone and scared of what might lie behind every hedge. It's so much easier to get motivated to run in a group, and the team spirit at races when you're wearing a club vest is fantastic. Even better, I'm a registered athlete with a membership for the North of England Athletics Association. Not a mere runner or gym goer, but an athlete, sweetie.
I've spent the last year steadily paying off debts from credit cards. The process hasn't been as fast as I'd have liked, but it's going down nicely and one of them (if not the other) should be paid off by March or April. That's progress. And even the other one is smaller than it was at the start of the year. I still haven't made too much progress on being more of a domestic goddess, although my cooking skills are better than they were, but at least I have a new vacuum cleaner to replace the one that's been broken for about 18 months. The only problem is that now I don't have an excuse for not using it.
I've done a glam photo shoot and sold my soul to a magazine. The fun of having my hair and makeup done, and trying on various size 10 skirts and dresses (as well as the most evil shoes known to woman). I still don't know how my words are going to be twisted, as I'm not allowed to read it before it's published (thought it was meant to be my story??), but it will apparently be published on 3rd January (date for your diaries!) so all will be revealed then. Or it will to the rest of you. Due to unfortunate timing I won't actually be able to read a copy until at least the 7th, because I'll be in Spain when it comes out, so I'll have to rely on the internet to find out what I "said". I will let you know then whether any of it actually reflects what we discussed in the interview.
What else have I done? Work has been OK. I'm still in the same job as this time last year, but with more responsibility. I'm not sure I like that, to be honest. I like the work, the actual sitting down and pondering bit of it anyway, but I hate the management and schmoozing side of it. I want to get work in from clients because they know I'll do a good job, not because I've been seen at the "right" events. My domestic situation is pretty much as it was, although I have now bought a vacuum cleaner, in a small glimmer of hope that I might be getting more domesticated as time goes by.
I feel a lot older and wiser. The more time I spend navel gazing and trying to think of something to write on here, the more I realise that everything connects. My personality, my weight, the way I do things, my outlook on life. I'm starting to see the bigger picture of how I fit together, and how I interact best with the world outside my little bubble. I follow the dreams that matter, but have enough common sense to give up on the projects that don't. I gave up formal Spanish classes because I realised that I didn't have time, but have kept on doing bits and pieces to try to keep learning. I started, and then dropped out of, another distance learning thing I was doing, because of the time commitments and because I didn't feel like it would achieve what I was looking for.
And that's most of it (or at least if I don't press post now I'll never get round to doing it). I do have some plans for 2007, but I'll save those for another day, possibly when I get back after Christmas.