Last Week’s Blog: I Must Be Really Smart
2010 – Twenty-ten
I spend the last couple of weeks of each year thinking about next twelve months and the year just past and what I will accomplish, what I have accomplished and what I have failed to accomplish.
My goals, of course, are me oriented: me, me, me. It is important to understand that a person doesn’t necessarily have to be goal oriented in this world to triumph. The Viscountess is a great example of this. She never formally commits her personal goals to paper (avoids it like she avoids Boris Johnson downstairs at Stringfellows) and yet she inevitably enters the next year well ahead of where she began it – and so she should – she is brilliant.
I, on the other hand, need goals to focus my attention: to give a me a reminder of what my long term goals are and where I am going, not only next year, but in the next five and maybe even ten years – all depends on what it is and what direction I want to take in my life.
At the moment one of my overall objectives is to become a better and better writer, which on the surface might seem a bit woolly. It isn’t, actually. The overall goal is sufficiently flexible to take in account the unexpected and infinite things that can happen along the path to achieving this kind of life project. One person who I respect and admire very much sets daily ‘intentions’ and then builds from there. If you have 365 intentions – even small ones – at the end of the year you can make real change to your life. Constant and never ending improvement: kanai (definitely not a Tony Robbins concept – it’s Deming).
I learned a long time ago that larger goals need to be more flexible – especially when it comes to timing. Things come and go in everyday life. It can mean one goal is no longer worth pursuing.
I am learning that a rolling calendar is the best way to plan for goal or intention setting. Life is too unpredictable for any other kind of hard and fast timeline. Too many people reach the end of the year with 80% of a goal completed and then just drop it, because the new year has begun and they haven’t finished it. My advice is that if the goal is worth writing down it is probably worth allowing it to flow into the next year instead of giving up on it. Most people, I think sadly, give up at the start of the new year and then claim they are never good at achieving any of their new year’s resolutions.
You might not become fluent in French in one year, but you can build on your French from one year to the next and in maybe in five years become fluent. I learned Spanish that way despite first making it a certain one year goal. Then a two year goal. Then I just established it as a very
important goal with no exact time frame but, rather, a looser one that would take in account all of life’s uncertainties and still kept it at the forefront of my objectives. By about the fifth year I was talking fluently (If you are wondering why I learned Spanish, my reply would be, “How else are you going to talk to the cleaner and the gardener?” – a little joke for my best friend Eduardo and the rest of my Spanish friends).
For those of you who know me, the incredible things I have managed to experience in my life are because I began working hard when I was 12 and I always had a direction. Unfortunately, the last few years have thrown me a number of curve balls – mainly health – and I have accomplished fewer of my goals than I had planned. I maintain most of the goals but I have, sometimes by choice, and sometimes by force, had to alter the dates by which I wish to complete them – but I almost never give them up.
I have worried a lot about losing my Spanish since moving back to England. Truth be told, I have forgotten a lot, but I remain fluent. I have completed some goals by the seat of my pants. This very blog is the completion of my desire to publish 12 pieces this year. Next year I plan to publish 40 or more. Not all on writing and philosophers – so those of you who find it a bit dull can relax.
In fact, one of next year’s goals is the publishing of a new blog accompanied by the establishment of a food and conversation group that will go out and about in London to dine and converse. A few days later after everyone has had time to digest the evening I will ask the club’s members to evaluate the evening and will publish the consolidated results on the new blog, The Viscount’s Table.
Publishing these last 12 pieces, then, is a goal completed. I have completed reading the books I believe are important (yes, I plan the number of books I read each year in English and Spanish) but I barely made the goal this year – again just under the wire. (I literally completed my goal by counting the book I finished this afternoon).
I like to classify my goals in an Aristotlean manner. I have economic goals. Education, which I believe is a life time project. Health goals. Travel objectives. I even have household goals like myrather successful herb garden which provided us with scads of pesto (about 4 or 5 litres this year), rosemary, parsley, lavender (which the Viscountess insists to all who will listen is a remedy for most ills). We have also had mint galore, tarragon, thyme… the only thing I couldn’t get to grow well was coriander (or cilantro, depending on the reader). I put small things and big things on my list of objectives – which I actually call my Schedule of Resolves (tipping my hat to The Great Gatsby and F. Scott Fitzgerald) although the Viscountess still insists the phrase is not properly used (Can anyone hear “pedant” in the back of their head? Well, that is me saying it under my breath as you read).
I also make goals about relationships. There are people I want to know better and people I want to know less (I am sure we all face this to some extent).
Eduardo “Edu-ito…” guapete… cuanto te quiero tio… nunca te puedo decir… eres un santo personal para mi. Pienso en ti y pienso en que bueno se puede ser un ser humano. Eres mi idolo con un corazon de oro. Cabezota? Pues… si… pero yo tambien. No hay palabras adecuadas mi hermano. Tu apoyo dentro todo los problemas medicas y que se que piensas de mi cada dia me ayuda mucho tio. Alvaro aunque se parece a veces que te he olvidado, no lo piensas por favor… ni olvido a Miriam nunca, la quiero mucho mucho mucho y es mi chica siempre).
I have been lucky to get to know better the Viscountess’ mother, Nicki, better. She is fabulous and I adore her. She is the best.
Jules, the sneaky crack whore that she is, is one of the finest friends a person can have – a real, um, jewel – lol… er, alright, gem.
Actually, gem is not an adjective that shines enough to describe her.
Gregory is perhaps the purest of souls I have ever met and every day I think of him is a better day. Greg I adore you.
I can think of endless doctors too, who I would love to see less of on a professional basis and spend more time with them on a personal or social basis. My uncle, who currently, lives in Moldova, was high on my list to spend time with, but he has become ever more the recluse and this hasn’t proved as easy as I thought, but I am not giving up on him. I have spent a lot of time and money on therapy to try and let people deeper into my life – this goal is coming along fine, but is not yet ready to be checked off. I have also met lots of people who have been added to the list this year and whom I hope to see here again next year. I have been very fortunate.
We all have a person who has brought tremendous change into our lives and improved the quality of each and every day of our life (It doesn’t stand to reason that I am the only person for whom this happens).
One day I will be able to put the words to paper in a manner and order that will pay sufficient tribute to the person who has brought the most good into my life, but I am not that good a writer, yet. I, of course, speak of the Viscountess. She is the first person who ever gave me unconditional love and the first person for whom I ever felt it. That I can love anyone more than superficially is down to her making me want to be a better person (and a king’s ransom to therapists to deal with my childhood and my family).
Becoming a better person has brought new people into my life and made is so much richer and brighter and I look forward to many years of their friendship, love and company. Their good energy is already flowing through me.
All in all if you say goodbye to one year and welcome in the new, and you can honestly say things are better, then it has indeed been a good year.
Thanks to those around me and in my life for making this year better… HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE. (All photos by the Visc or Visca).