Jan 2, 2012

Hello 2012

This image has been reblogged so often that the original credit
cannot be found - I've tried, even TinyEye couldn't help.
It was originally 2010-2011 and has been photoshopped to
update to 2011-2012. Thanks to whoever created it!

Just as I did last year, I have borrowed this meme from the erudite and entertaining Plastic Mancunian.

But as I’m a couple of days late writing this I’ve changed some of the questions slightly to reflect that.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?

We bought a dog, so my answer is “housetrained a puppy”. Hopefully that puppy lives a long long time because I don’t ever want to do that again.

2. Did you keep your New Years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

Didn’t make any last year. Made some today *. They are:

1.   Exercise daily. In the words of George W Bush “I won’t negotiate with myself”. I started today: 10 minutes walking the dog (he’s a Pomeranian – he don’t need much) and 20 minutes brisk walking on the treadmill. It’s nowhere near my glory days, but for current couch potato status I’m happy with that. Now I just gotta do it again tomorrow, and the next day and the next day and the next…

2.   Take life slower. The last 2 years in particular were pretty stressful working full time and I have given myself permission this year to work part-time, for as long as I can get away with. I did some within-school-hours work contracting in December and man, it’s a totally different life. The pay’s not as good, but the pace is better and the nervous breakdowns are notably absent (at least so far).

3.   Spend more time with my husband – and be nicer to him too. I’m ashamed to admit this is one part of my life I neglect when busy and stressed. Which is crazy, because not only is he a wonderful guy, but he can always truly help me when I’m lost or crazy, whenever I remember to let him.

4.   Finish Shantaram. This thing has been on my bedside table/bookshelf for years. On paper it’s my kind of book. I loved it when I started it. For some reason I have never been able to finish it. Perhaps it’s the size – but then I devoured ‘A Suitable Boy’ in weeks which is a similar size. I think this thing is my Moby Dick. This is the one resolution I’m not confident of keeping. But it’s also the least important one, so just as well to have a silly one I can fail without guilt.
* Update: 6 days later I am doing well on items 1-3, but have not yet tackled 4 !

3. How did you spend New Year's Eve?

On the couch in my loungeroom. My favourite way to spend NYE, these days.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Thankfully no.

5. What countries did you visit?

Same as last year – this one!

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Time. Part-time work.

7. What date from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Friday 11 November  - 11/11/11 – the day I finished work at my last employer after 11 years there. It felt great.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

This is a bit embarrassing because it’s a work thing and not a personal thing. But I did a FANTASTIC job this year working with counterparts in our Singapore office planning and executing a complete migration of functions as part of the relocation of work offshore. There was a lot of planning involved, plus mentoring and cross-training, control, compliance, etc. It was a big job and we NAILED it.

I also mentored a couple of younger women at work in a way, and helped one of them along in her career which I am really proud of.

9. What was your biggest failure?

I guess I failed to progress at work, as I was made redundant.  But I am glad that happened as it is allowing me to make some changes I have wanted to make. There are complete and utter failures (which tend to be few if you look at things positively), and there are those failures which get you where you need to go, or open new doors. So I guess this was one of those. (Sarah Wilson’s New Year post sums up this kind of failure beautifully – you can read that here).

On the personal front: I tried and failed to teach one of my daughters to wind down, relax and sleep unassisted and before 10pm, consistently. Frustrating!

The other kid is a good sleeper and the usual routine serves her well.

But this kid… nothing doing.

Recently, I’ve found some other parents with similar problems and their kids are a similar type to Ms M – “spirited” kids who are somewhat hyper, fidgety, etc. I’ve just bought this book as the blurb described M to a T. Now if I can just get some alone time in the evenings I can even read it and find out what to do!!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Luckily no.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Time off work.

My treadmill.

And my DVD sets of Man Vs Wild, Modern Family, Deadliest Catch and Flight of the Conchords!

12. Where did most of your money go?

Mortgage, parking and breakfasts or lunches while I was working.

13. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I know it actually came out 2010, but that’s got to be Taio Cruz Dynamite – it was the main song at the kids’ school musical and school disco and all the kids were so into it. We played it loud at their birthday party when we had 25 kids in the house and I’ve developed a bit of a fondness for it.

14. What do you wish you'd done more of?


15. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Worried. Eat chocolate. The usual.

16. What was your favourite TV program?

Really enjoyed At Home With Julia.

Impressed by The Slap.

17. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

No. I don’t hate anyone, even politicians.  

18. What was the best book you read?

What You Can Change and What You Can’t – Martin Seligman. Refreshing.

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother –Amy Chua. Not what I thought it was.

The Help- Kathryn Stockett. Masterful, wonderful writing and so clever.

 19. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Gotye – like everyone else.

20. What was your favourite film of this year?

Limitless; Tree of Life; Bridesmaids.

21. What did you do on your birthday?

Coffee and lunch out with husband and kids. ‘Twas loovely.

22. What kept you sane?

Knowing I was finishing up at work and would be able to make some changes I had been planning awhile.

23. Who did you miss?

Would have liked to have seen more of my sister at times; our kids are different ages so we’re living on different schedules at the moment.

24. Who was the most interesting new person you met?

Work-wise I spent more time with a great bunch of people in our Singapore office, which I loved doing. We’re now Facebook friends which is excellent.

Thanks to the girls starting school I made friends with another mother who has been so great to spend time with, even if most of it has been hanging round the school gate or at school functions. So that has also been great.

25. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011:

I am going to try and say this without sounding bitter, because I am honestly not. But here is what I learned, or more accurately fully realised.
To succeed in a career or any endeavour, you have to give it 100%.
It doesn't matter how much you "work smarter not harder", how efficient you are or how much you achieve at work - you won't get as far as the guy with a wife at home looking after the kids, or the hard-working person without kids, because those people are able to be available more hours and more days than you are likely to be. If you want balance in your life or want to work reduced hours, flexible hours, or part time, you must accept this as a truth.
At the moment I'm OK with this.

Anyway that's it folks - Happy New Year and may you have the best of everything in 2012!


  1. Hi Jackie,

    Great answers - I particularly like the idea of taking life more slowly.

    I might try that myself.




  2. Really enjoyed reading this Jac! #25 has given me a lot to think about and is something I ponder now and then - albeit that I still seem to be in denial about the answer! As someone with (nearly) 2 kids, who's just started 12 Months maternity leave, is a Director and has equity in our own Asset Mgmt firm along with 13 others, I'm trying the 'work smarter' route. I try to believe that my efforts get rewarded and recognised as much as my childless peers. But I concede I'm starting to come around to your conclusion as well! Just strange that I begrudge that considering being a Mum is the choice I made! Why can't I succeed 100% at it all dammit??!! - Licia
    PS) Tree of Life was horrendous :-)

  3. Thanks PM - I guess we'll both see how we go ;)

  4. Thanks Licia! But OMG you are one of those I thought had "done it". And you have -your career while mumming is super impressive. I've no doubt you'll continue to do well and find the smart way to do it. Then let me know the secret, ok? :-)
    I know I was the only one in the cinema who enjoyed Tree of Life, as I could tell from the groans around me and the I've guy who exhaled "Oh thank Christ!" when the credits came up.
    Thanks for the blog pic by the way! :-)



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