These don't count as New Years resolutions, more like commitments with a little bit of wriggle room.
This has been one hell of a year, best forgotten for many reasons we all know. But for me, that all pales next to 2009 as the year my son was born, something I'll remember forever. This is the year that my irreversably changed and I finally began to grow up.
Re-appraising one or two things is pretty axiomatic when you become a father, and twinning this with a year that has made all of us think a little bit it feels like a bit of a sea change for me. Something like the end of the beginning of my life and the start of something I'm not quite sure what to call.
I won't bore you with too many self indulgent details, but it feels like 2009 was the year when I began to understand what really makes me happy. And found optimism in that.
As you would expect, this has elements of work, relationships and self, but I now understand how important it is to find that balance.
So while I feel truly priveledged to be a planner, it will never again be the thing that defines who I am and what I do more that anything else. That's hard in this industry, you don't survive in it unless you have a passion for it beyond the average worker and the hours can be all consuming. Being a good planner doesn't have to mean working somewhere with a 'respected name above the door' or working on sexier brands. A good planner finds a way to be interested in anything they work on and, therefore, make it interesting. Some of the most fulfilling work I have done was on a B2B brand that developed software for labs.
I'll be a planner, and hopefully an okay one, but it won't consume my life, because my relationship with my wife and my little boy matter more than anything else. I want to see young Will develop and have a proper relationship with him, I want Juliette to still have a life of her own and I want to spend time with her as just people too. She'd my favourite thing to do and my best friend, I don't want us to wake up in five years time and realise we don't know each other any more.
But there's also family and friends. Mum and Dad are not getting any younger, I want to make the most of these years when we're as much friends and child and parents. I'm very lucky with the friends I have. I've reached the age when you're left with fewer of them, but you know they're friends for life. I haven't seen enough of them for a long time, that won't be continuing.
That's because there's the 'me' side to all this. There's the version of me that's really daft and doesn't want to grow up that comes alive with my mates. But there's the things I love doing too. Swimming. cycling, reading, coooking and films. I'll never do as much of that again with my boy here (and that's a pretty good exchange if you ask me) but I haven't experimented in the kitchen enough, I haven't don't enough swimming and I haven't started drawing and painting again like I promised my self I would.
So this year I will endevour too:
Do the Great North Swim and training properly, I want to do it well.
Read a lot more fiction books and and less non-fiction planner type books.
Try some new recipes.
Dabble in some art - or at least a bit of drawing.
Go to some music gigs more often with a couple of close friends.
Quality time with Mrs Northern.
Quality time with with my baby boy (and get him in the swimming pool).
...and blog more, some of the above stuff should give me some decent subject matter.
This will require taking back some time, I'm working on it.