On Wednesday April 4th 2012, I started a project entitled 101 goals in 1001 days. The idea of the project was to create a list of life goals that you want to achieve and then set a time constraint of about 2 and three quarter years in which to achieve them. New Year resolutions often are too short (not to mention the fact that they start in the coldest, darkest, most miserable time of year) and bucket lists are too open ended to actually knuckle down and Get It Done.
I love a project. What I loved most about this one is that you never sit still – there’s always something that can be done to bring you a little closer to getting the list complete, and it gives you plenty of ideas for bank holiday weekends!
In the beginning it was great, I planned and booked a trip (by myself) to Prague for that first weekend and then I cracked on with booking and starting the other goals. The first goal was to write a letter to myself, which I will post here.
Hello future self, past self here.
You’re currently 23 and on the first day of the 101 goals project. Right now you’re two months into working at Polymorph (you still find the mornings very difficult!) and you’ve just got back from Tenerife. You’re going to Prague this weekend which you consider to be the real start of the project. I hope you had a good time.
The lead up to the project was great, and choosing things to put on the list seemed very easy. It’s hard to know what things on that list aren’t going to be possible for you to do, but it’ll be interesting finding out, most importantly I am excited to see how you get on with scuba-diving, and living in another country. I think that would be amazing.
The main reason that I wanted to do this project was to enforce the idea that work isn’t everything, and that having a life that is rich and full is more important than slogging away making money for someone else. It’s too easy these days to get wrapped up.
I wonder if doing things from this list will make you calm down and slow down a bit. I sometimes get anxious and feel an overwhelming desire that I’m not doing enough with my life, even though when I put it into perspective I have done a lot of great things. I always say that I wish I could fast-forward life just so that I could see how it will turn out. Life isn’t like that though, and it’s important to realise that life is THE NOW and not THE FUTURE. I hope you’ve realised that.
You’re 26 years old. That’s a scary thought for me. Every year comes by faster and faster and at the moment I am on the right side of 25 whereas you are not. But I bet you don’t even feel any different, and you shouldn’t, because you are still young (even if you’re not as young as me!).
I hope you are still being kind to people, especially your parents, and you have treated them well over the last two-and-something years.
The truth of it all is, I think it’s going to be time to open this letter in what feels like no time at all. I bet you even still remember the trouble you had with that last sentence, god only knows how to write “fly-by” into a sentence. I bet you are still the same as me really, it won’t matter that you’ve got a little older although I’m sure you’ll be shitting yourself about “sorting your life out”.
Everything will be fine.
Your past self,
Aged 23 and 11 months.
It was very interesting reading the letter again and it made me quite emotional really, a lot has happened since I wrote it (mostly for the better!) and being transported back made me realise how much has changed. So what’s my life like now?
I live in Manchester now in a lovely little apartment in Salford Quays, with my boyfriend Riz. We started dating at the end of 2012 after knowing each other for about 3 years (we used to work together) and it’s still going strong. I love him more than anything and I’m so happy and glad he is in my life. Career wise, I’m working for the BBC in MediaCity as an Android developer on the iPlayerRadio mobile team, who are an absolutely awesome bunch of people and working there is both challenging and fun. I think I have a good balance between work and play, I love my job but I also appreciate time away from it (they might argue that I spend a lot of time away on holiday!) and I’m DEFINITELY on the way to “sorting my life out”. I realise though that no matter what, there’s always something new that can come round the corner, and I don’t think I’ll ever be “sorted” but then again, who would want to be?
As for scuba diving, I’m doing a PADI Divemaster programme at the moment which is the first step into being a professional scuba diver. I’ve logged over 60 dives now, with dives in Mexico, Iceland, Greece, Wales, and plenty in the UK. It’s going really well and I’m hoping to sort out a few more dive trips for 2015.
Travel. Anyone that knows me will know that I love to travel and that I travel a lot. One glaring thing I missed from my 101 was “Live in a foreign country for three months“. When I started the project I had just come back from three months travelling around Latin America (see my blog about it here) and I was keen to leave the country again. It didn’t end up being possible, partly because I took a job with the BBC that I didn’t want to give up, but mostly because I realised that I could hold a job as well as travel, as long as it was timed right. It’s better to travel AND have money, right?
So to recap travel, I’ve visited the following places in the last 1001 days:
- Prague, Czech Republic
- Brussels, Belgium
- Helsinki, Finland
- Kenya (three week safari visiting several parks)
- Madrid, Spain
- Paris, France
- Barcelona, Spain
- Rhodes, Greece
- Italy (with my dad, we visited Venice, Ancona, Recanati and Verona)
- Central Europe (surprise trip from Riz, we went to Budapest, Vienna, Bratislava and Prague)
- Mexico (month long trip travelling from Mexico City to Cancun)
I’ve missed some goals that I’m pretty gutted about. Some were frustratingly close to being finished as well.
- “Learn a song on the piano/guitar” – Riz bought me a piano for Christmas 2013 and I have been practicing and can get a little tune going but I’m nowhere near the point where I’m any good. I’ll keep at it though.
- “Learn sign language” – I ended up finding it difficult to find a course that wasn’t a college course, so I did try and teach myself from online materials but only got as far as the alphabet.
- “Volunteer at a hospice” or “Volunteer in a local community“. I’m somewhat ashamed to say, I never had enough time to commit to either of these.
- “Carve something out of wood” – gah! I was whittling a christmas ornament but never got it finished. Turns out whittling is hard.
- “Grow a bonsai tree” – I really tried with this one, my friend Bex bought me a kit but the seeds never germinated, so I bought more but they never germinated either!
- “Write a short story” – I did a Futurelearn course in writing and got the beginnings of a story nailed, but it kind of tailed off towards the end as I needed to get the assignment handed in.
Now is the time to hear the actual conclusion of the project!
I completed 71 out of 101 goals.
My most expensive goal was “Go on Safari“.
16 of those goals cost me over £100.
18 of those goals were free.
10 of those goals cost me £10 or less.
In total I spent 65 days completing goals (averaging 24 hours per goal).
My average rating was 4.4 out of 5.
Would I do this project again? YES