Monthly Archives: January 2013

Review of My 2012

I thought that it might be quite nice to do a wee summary of my 2012 and look back over how many things have changed over the last year.  Although I do put quite a lot of personal stories into this blog, I thought it might be nice to let the five people who follow it who are not people who know me in real (not internet) life get to know me a little better.

Last Year’s Resolutions:

Normally I am terrible at sticking to New Year resolutions.  Former failures include learning to drive, doing at least one new thing every month and getting back into doing 300 sit-ups a day as I did in my teens (ah, the things you have time for when you don’t have a job!)  2012, however, seemed to be the year of actually doing something constructive.  My resolutions last year were as follows:

  1. Cook more stuff from scratch rather than eating processed food.
  2. Exercise more.
  3. Start writing instead of just daydreaming about it.

I think the reasons that I have been far more successful with these resolutions are first of all, I didn’t give myself a specific quantity or goal, just a nudge in the right direction.  Now I know the most successful goals are supposed to be SMART (I HATE that acronym with a passion- it’s so bloody patronising) but for me, I think that the knowledge that I only had to do as much as I wanted and it would still count as keeping my resolve took away that crushing disappointment when you break your first resolution on January 4th.  These were all things that I wanted to do for me.

Regular readers know my thoughts on cooking from previous posts, but once I got into a routine, the cooking thing became a whole lot easier.  It has fallen by the wayside a little bit over the festive period (apart from my mighty Hogmanay feast) but it is a resolution I am going to continue with this year.  Why make new resolutions to trip yourself up when you can do something that you actually want to do?

Exercise normally figures somewhere in my resolutions, but it’s usually the one I find hardest to stick to.  I think my mistake is trying to go at it too hard and then giving up when I can’t stick to my own ridiculous targets.  Last year, I bought an exercise bike and resolved to go on it for half an hour a day when I got in from work whilst watching repeats of ‘Friends’ on Comedy Central- easy!  Well, I think I managed it two days in a row, then missed one, then missed two and soon the bike was relegated to the cupboard as I couldn’t face looking at a daily reminder of my weak will!  It still taunts me from its hiding place and has become a symbol of laziness to me.  I did around about June, however, discover a new form of exercise that I actually enjoy and have subsequently stuck to.  This is another thing that has lapsed a bit over Christmas, but I’m not beating myself up about it, I’ll just pick it up again in a week or two and it will also serve nicely as a resolution for this year too.

The third resolution is something that I’ve talked about for years.  I have harboured Carrie Bradshaw delusions since I first watched ‘Sex and the City’.  Writing is something that I’ve always wanted to do.  I have ideas for several novels and stories saved up in my head where they’ve been brewing nicely for years.  I had written a few things, but never let anyone read them.  I guess I was a bit embarrassed that anyone who read it would think it was rubbish.  Then I started my blog.  I just sucked it up and went for it.  I kept my first post saved but not published for a week or so.  I kept adding bits and changing bits until eventually I came up with something that I thought might not suck.  I put it up and got some positive feedback and a follow or two.  It was enough to spur me on and now, although I don’t have the time and energy to write as much as I’d like, I’ve definitely developed a hobby, so my resolutions for this year will be do turn the hobby into a routine.  And I hope get one of those novels written.

I don’t think it’s cheating to continue to work on things that you don’t feel you’ve managed to hit the top of your game with yet, surely that’s how you get really good at something.  I have added one last resolution for this year:  to wear heels more.  Hey, I figure I might as well turn my shoe addiction into something positive!

 

Awesome things that have happened:

I know that no-one likes a boaster, but I think that it is important to take stock once in a while and remember the good things that you have in life.  It’s so easy to get bogged down in the stuff that’s not so good, the problems, the stress and the day-to-day drudgery.  Despite a few set-backs, overall I think 2012 was a good year.  Although there have been issues in work, I still managed to come out feeling like I’m making steps in the right direction, and also feel like I’m getting recognition for what I’m doing.  When things get tough in 2013, as I’m sure they will; I’m going to try to hang on to that feeling.  Even if the difference I make is small, as long as it’s happening then that’s ok.

2012 was also the year I fulfilled a longing I’ve had for quite some time now.  I adopted. A dog that is, and he’s great.  It hasn’t been easy, and I’ve learned a lot from him- and not just about dogs.  He is an old guy, and I wonder if we hadn’t taken him if he would have been re-homed at all, but he has turned out to be a great match for us.  It has also led me to giving more support to the Dog’s Trust charity in general, which makes me feel all warm inside.

Last, but certainly not least, I got engaged.  I still stick to what I said in my earlier post about marriage (despite my beloved at the time saying it sounded like a woman who was desperate to get married), and will probably write a follow-up at some point soon.  And even though I complained profusely about our society not having developed the language to describe many modern relationships, I’m still finding it hard to get used to referring to him as ‘my fiancé’, instead reverting back to good old ‘boyfriend’.

 

Things I have learned this year:

So, 2012 has been eventful, and hopefully I have taken some valuable lessons from it.  Points I have learned are:

  1. Despite mothers getting very offended when people say this, dogs are a bit like children, so perhaps I might be more cut out for motherhood than I had previously thought.  No promises yet though, so don’t rush out to buy bootees!
  2. Just when you think you know someone inside out- they can really surprise you.  That’s a good quality to have in a      partner (as long as the surprises are pleasant and don’t involve anything to do with secretly wearing your underwear or having a secret wife and family in another country!)
  3. If I set my mind to something, I’ll get it done.  My biggest obstacle to moving forward is me and my lack of motivation.
  4. You don’t have to get someone else’s approval for a job done well. Your own approval can be enough. But it is nice to be appreciated sometimes.

So, that’s my personal review of the year.  If this inspires you to take a look back over your own, please, start with the positives- what did you manage to achieve? If you look at the things you didn’t- do they really matter?  If they do, take this chance to think about how to start to tackle them again, and what you learned from your mistakes.  Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to make my dinner (from scratch) and then I’ll get stuck into the novel.  Unless I can find something good on TV!


What’s the Opposite of Vanity Sizing?

Now I know regular readers of this blog have become accustomed to well-reasoned, witty arguments on issues relevant to modern women ;-), so this post might disappoint.  This is a rant.  After having a micro-meltdown on the subject in a shop a couple of weeks ago I figured it might be more constructive to write it down.

I am a size 12.  Or at least I thought I was.  Lately I’m not so sure.  I’ve been beginning to think that maybe I’m suffering from body dysmorphia, but rather than seeing myself as bigger than I actually am, I was deluding myself about being smaller.  Now, I know that different shops have different versions of UK dress sizes.  It was always a safe bet that fashion shops for younger women would cut their clothes smaller than more traditional brands like Marks and Spencer’s, who always sized their clothes more generously.  In fact, I’m sure a few years back there was some discussion over so-called vanity sizing.  This was when shops tried to flatter customers by cutting their clothes on the larger side, thus enabling customers to purchase clothes in smaller sizes.  Because apparently we women are that easily duped!

Over the last year or so, however, I have noticed that the sizing in some shops seem to be getting smaller and smaller.  So much so in fact, that I got a surprise when I  recently tried on a pair of trousers that I liked in a shop that I have frequented for years.  I couldn’t get the 14 over my thighs!  In fact, the only size I could get on and buttoned up was an 18.  I don’t think that I am that deluded about my size.  The real conundrum is that I recently got a top from the same shop which is a size 10 and fits perfectly, and I ‘aint no Nicki Minaj let me tell you.

It’s not just me, either.  On a recent shopping trip, one of my posse of rocking ladies had to buy a skirt in a 16, and a top in a 10.  She doesn’t have buttocks of Lopez-proportions either.  Even shoes seem to be ensnared in this evil plot.  I’ve been a size 6 since I was about fourteen and on a recent shopping trip I found myself having to try on a size 8 of one pair!  It seems like the whole industry is trying to tell us something!

Actually, in all seriousness, I think this is a bit more sinister.  Even as an intelligent woman who has pretty much made peace with the way she looks, I still felt a bit put out when I couldn’t get the trousers to fit in ‘my size’.  It’s not about the size the trousers were, it’s about how far out of whack the sizings are and the way this can make you question they way you feel, whatever size is ‘your size’.  There is a difference of six inches between a size 12 and a size 18.  If it can make me feel a little self-conscious, I can imagine that it could have a more significant impact on a more impressionable woman or girl.  It may seem like a trivial thing to get worked up over, but in a time when eating disorders and body image issues are at an all-time high, even the trivial things can have a massive impact on vulnerable individuals.

We are bombarded on a daily basis with images of women airbrushed to an impossible standard; it’s difficult to remember that that isn’t real.  That women come in all shapes and sizes, but we should be allowed to be the size we are without being made to feel that we should be smaller, larger or with bumps in different places.  It feels increasingly like the clothes industry is joining in the conspiracy.

Now maybe you feel that I’m making a bigger deal out of this than is strictly necessary.  I’m sure the size 8 shop assistant who had to deal with my complaint about the sizing in the shop felt that.  I think it’s one of these things that we are made to feel guilty about caring about.  Yes, it’s a small thing, but it can make people feel bad and that’s not cool.   I’d be very interested to hear your thoughts, stories and indeed, rants on this topic.