Hi. So. Things got a little crazy for a few months there, with my final project for my Masters basically taking over my life from July to October, and I have essentially spent the last month and a half recovering. To be honest, having written a 15000 word dissertation I struggled to want to write anything for a while afterwards. I also found that coming to the end of something that had been the biggest part of my life for three years was quite hard on my mind and soul, and I found myself getting down and anxious, particularly until I received my results. But God is faithful, and keeps holding us close, even when He can feel far away.
And it was worth the wait to get my results, it was worth all the time, money and effort I put into the course. I found out my dissertation mark a few weeks ago, and I’ve heard this week that I have officially passed my Masters with Merit. Graduation is not until next summer, but it feels nice to be adding a few extra letters after my name!
You may remember that I had a list of thirty things I was trying to do before I turned thirty at the end of September, and you may be wondering how I got on with that. Well, it may not be a surprise that with the Diss taking over my life for a few months I didn’t actually achieve everything on the list, but I didn’t do too badly (and finished a few things off since, and added a few extra). I do intend to write in more detail at some point about the items I have completed, but for now I will just list them and give a little explanation about the ones I didn’t manage… (If I have previously posted about an item I will link to it, I now realise how bad I have been at writing these up…!)
1) Finish Masters (finished 5th October)
3) Watch Star Wars
5) See a play at the Globe
6.2) Meet someone famous (ish)
9) Get another tattoo (aquired 30th September)
12) Reach 30 on the Shakespeare list
13) at least partially own my own home
15) have a herb garden
16) finish writing ‘The Girl in the Electric Blue Dress’
19) Climb Winchester Cathedral Tower
21) Become a patreon
22) Get a new job
23) Finish Susannah jumper (completed 3rd November)
24) Visit the Hundred Acre Woods
25) Grow Sunflowers
26) Visit Hay-On-Wye
28) Get a Jolly Roger Shipping Co. tee (or other fandom shirt)
29) twin my toilet
30) get Netflix in time for the new series of Star Trek
30.2) join a book club
30.3) become a Goodreads librarian
30.4) get National Trust Life Membership
22 items completely completed
Completed with slight modification (I may write in more detail about these later too!)
6) ‘join Neo-natal knitters’ became ‘find a charity knitting project’
– this was a project at a local hospital to knit items for babies born early. Someone gave me a flyer but when I contacted the number I didn’t get a response. I subbed in a different item for the challenge, but then was asked to make items for Christmas and Easter parcels my church was giving to people in need.
8) ‘sponsor another child’ became ‘support an awesome charity’
– I currently sponsor two children through Compassion, and wanted to support another one, through them or someone else. When I looked into it, however, I struggled to find a programme that would fit with my budget. Then I found out about Hope for Justice, an anti-trafficking charity. I was so inspired by the work they do, that I decided to support them monthly instead of taking on another child sponsorship.
14) ‘go on a date’ became ‘find a way to meet new people and not let being single be an excuse for not doing things’
– (quite a long new item, I realise!) The problem with going on a date is it requires someone to go on said date with, and I realised the difficulty with that is finding opportunities to meet said person. So I thought this could just become ‘be less of an introvert’ or ‘be less socially awkward’, neither of which were actually going to happen, let’s face it. So I settled for ‘try to meet new people’. My friend Rhi told me about this cool app called ‘Meetup’ which helps you find groups of people in your area who share interests. A lot of the groups I joined on the app have seemed too intimidating to actually meet up with, but I did join a lovely writing group, which sadly fizzled out after a few weeks, and I am hoping to join a local craft group in the next couple of weeks.
3 items completed in modified form!
4) Finish Wheel of Time
– this is Robert Jordan’s fantasy epic, with the last three books completed by Brandon Sanderson. At time of writing, I am on page 674 (of 909) of the fourteenth and final volume. At this stage, however, it is mostly long descriptions of battles and I am struggling (it’s taken me five months and counting so far). I’m sure I will get there someday, it just may not be this year…
7) try every recipe in a cookbook
– I probably should have chosen a very short cookbook, seeing as I didn’t have my own kitchen until June, but I chose one I was given for my birthday last year: Bake a Difference (a fairtrade cookbook). At time of writing, I have managed 31 out of 77 recipes, which isn’t bad going. My colleagues have greatly assisted in the eating of all the cake.
18) learn how to budget
– I wrote a budget out and stuck to it for about half of the year, with a few adjustments from when I moved into my own place to account for the extra bills and whatnot. When disstertationing took over, however, I didn’t have time to keep track of my spending and I haven’t started again since. But I know now that it is possible, and my New Year’s resolution will be to create a budget and stick to it.
27) finish Poldark books
– of all the items on the list, I think this is the one I’m most sad about not completing. I was trying to finish Wheel of Time first, which turned out to be a stupid plan. I still have three books to go in the Poldark series.
4 items partially completed!
Not going to happen this year/unattempted
2) visit Northern Ireland/Ireland
– I’m sad I didn’t manage to fit this in this year, as Northern Ireland is the only one of the home nations I’ve not visited. But I did make it to Edinburgh, which is somewhere I’ve always wanted to go. And I’ve just got back from Barbados, which was my first time in the Caribbean. So I don’t feel too bad. Maybe next year.
10) Ride in a hot air balloon
– this one made the list because one of my friends had told me we’d be doing it for her birthday, which is before mine. But we didn’t. By the time I realised it wasn’t going to happen I had too much else going on and quickly worked out I couldn’t afford it with everything else I’ve been doing. Maybe this can go on the 40by40 list?
11) learn to make macarons
– macarons are my absolute favourite treat. I got as far as buying a cookbook, but haven’t managed to actually attempt these yet. But I have eaten A LOT of macarons anyway…
17) make a Moldova scrapbook
– last summer I went to Moldova and took loads of photos and I have been intending to put them in an album. I just haven’t had time.
20) get Dashner off of my Goodreads Most Read Author list
– The Scorch Trials was hands down the WORST book I’ve read in recent years. It made me rethink my Goodreads rating policy. Goodreads ranks authors by how many books you have read, and my ‘Most-read Authors’ list currently includes authors if I have read two of their books. I assumed it would list the top 20 authors, but I currently have 29 authors at joint 35th,, on two books each. If anyone can enlighten me as to what ranking it goes up to, I would be most grateful!
5 items not attempted/completed
So there you have it, I think we’re all up to date. And hopefully I’m going to get back into the swing of writing more often again now…