It was boxing day yesterday, although it isn’t called that in Italy, it’s Saint Stefan’s day. I’m guessing he was the patron saint of boxes. The highlight of the preceding day was my host mother asking to clarify Cockney rhyming slang in relation to the ‘Barry White’ entry in the book of English slang and idioms that was my gift to her. For those interested, it means shite. The low-light was that I spilt the cognac filling from one of the chocolates in the gift from my old host family. I spilt it on my tablet’s keyboard.

However, that was yesterday, and today is today, and the new year is less than a week away. Now, normally at this time of year my mind turns to the mythical new year’s resolutions. What objective should I set myself for the year ahead? I then realise I never make them, can’t follow through on a promise to myself to save my life, and resolve to bring in the year with an early night.

In fact, glancing back to my posts of this time last year, I was too wrapped up in the mysterious adventure that lay ahead to write about any aims or ambitions I may have had. Quite rightly so, and in hindsight, I would have been severely limiting myself had I set any targets.

So should I do the same this year? ‘Why break the habit of a lifetime’ is my instinctive response. But then if I hadn’t broken the habit of a lifetime, in being content with the status quo, even if it wasn’t particularly beneficial to me, I wouldn’t be sitting where I am now, either literally or figuratively.

The obvious answer is therefore no. This year I will make them, and I will base them on what they would have been had everything this year been the result of ones I made a year ago.

1. Make the most of every negative situation that is thrown your way. Your girlfriend entices you out of your comfort zone, out of the country, and then, fairly promptly, leaves you. Don’t get me wrong, there are no hard feelings; it’s easily the best thing that happened to me this year. Partially as I made the best of what could have otherwise been a lame-ass situation. It was the real kick in the butt I needed to properly immerse myself in the country I was now in, and I was also now free to move around as I desired, which I hope to fully take advantage of in the next couple of years when I become some sort of nomadic teacher.

2. Do something you wouldn’t have done a year ago. Tomorrow I’m travelling half a day across the country, to somewhere I’ve never been before, to meet somebody I’ve never met. No way would I have done that last year. I was far too content with the here-and-now. You wouldn’t have been able to have convinced me of the point of it.

3. Do something you couldn’t have done a year ago. I found out today that there is a gym nearby offering kick-boxing lessons. For as long as I can remember I’ve been thinking it would be interesting to start some sort of combat sport or martial art, but never got round to actually researching it. Again it’s all part of the being part of the status quo that I’m continually trying to shake off. This discovery is perfectly timed for me to start a new hobby in the new year. I haven’t got the first clue about kickboxing now, but by this time next year? Watch this space.

4. See somewhere new. This one is a little easy, as I’ve practically organised it already – going to Finland when I visit home over Easter. All I need is my Finnish friend to confirm her hospitality and it’s a done deal. But I think that would be a good thing to continue yearly – hopefully this nomadic teacher thing will make it achievable by default.

Jack out.


About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

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