06 January 2014

My 2013 Review

I like to take a few extra days to review the previous year. Not only does it allow me to read lots of other blogger's take of their past year, helping me get some tips on perspective. But I also like to blur the edge between years; to make the dividing line between 2013 and 2014 less important. Like everyone else, I enjoy making and breaking resolutions, but more are broken than persevered with.

I make resolutions as I meander through the year, which is helpful because it means that I can just get on with whatever I've decided on and find out quickly if it's something that's going to stick or just a passing fad. Here is a brief overview of some aspects of my 2013.
-Biological Records-
An example of starting something at a random time during the year is when I decided I would make a real effort to upload my biological records. I decided this around March/April time and spent some time trying out and researching a few methods before settling with iRecord. I've been adding records ever since. So, while it wasn't an immense amount of records, it's 166 records of 129 species that I've seen throughout the year. If nothing else, it provides a baseline - a goal to reach in future years. It's really exciting when the experts verify the records I've added, it's nice knowing that these records mean something and I guess I get a feeling of giving back!
A couple of my verified records
A couple of my verified records.

-Online contacts-
I also made more of an effort with Twitter. I made an account during 2012, but ended up deleting it. I remade it in 2013 and I'm glad that I've stuck with it. I recently made a video of my Twitter year, available here. It showed me that the 3 people I've connected most with in 2013 are:
  1. @Marc_Cruise who does a great plant ID quiz
  2. @godsacre a fab charity that support the work of living churchyards, such as the one I'm part of. And last, but definitely not least
  3. @AwesomeBioTA who writes the Prickly and Bitter botanical blog.
As well as making twitter friends, I've also been chatting with some other people in the blogosphere a lot in the past year:
I'd encourage anyone interesting in nature to connect with them. They have a wealth of experience and enthusiasm, which they infectiously share with every tweet and/or blog post.

-Blog-
I've also, clearly, persevered with this blogging malarky! I've posted many species identifications this year and I've learnt a lot more about plant science and the research being done to discover even more.

I joined ResearchBlogging, which is a site purely for sharing blog posts about scientific research. I've added 5 research-based posts in the past year - 1 more than expected - and they can be read here! Which has surprisingly led to an appreciation of a plant I'd not thought much about before. The plant being Ivy a plant which divides opinion! I've become rather fond of it and have created an account on Flickr for us all to share photos of ivy! Feel free to join me over there.

I've also enjoyed writing lots of book reviews and it seems that some of you have enjoyed them too. So that's something that I'll keep doing, but something that may not be as frequent as I have a new Open University module beginning in February! (Another example of a random 'Oh I'll just do this now' event that makes the year interesting).
I also started a blog for the Living Churchyard project that I'm involved with. To act as a record of what happened when and hopefully to recruit a few more volunteers! 

-Illness-
I've written about illness in the past, including a recent post for World Mental Health Day. It's something that I'm still being treated for and something we struggle to get a firm diagnosis for. It may be fibromyalgia or all the pain and tiredness may be due to depression.
Either way, it's something we keep trying different medication for (which confuses my body and makes me pile on the pounds each time) - along with physio and with continued help from an occupational therapist.
Being ill is tiring. 2013 was a really lonely year. I appreciate all the people in my life, but they have their own lives too, which leaves me to my own devices for the majority of the time. But while saying that - I wouldn't have it any other way. I enjoy hearing about the things they get up to, just like I enjoy reading the blog above. I get to have a vicarious adventure with each story told.
The point of writing about the illness is to offer my support to others. If anyone is in a similar situation and wants to talk, either write in the comments or use the contact form that I've added to the pane on the right. I know that nobody would choose the life we've been given - and yet we manage to carry on. Also have a look at these cool comics that Capture The Frustrations Of Depression sent to me by my friend Jackie.

-Conclusion-
In conclusion I won't be writing any resolutions down. I just want to keep plodding on. I feel that I'm making good headway in every part of my life and apart from maybe saying goodbye to whatever is making me ill, I wouldn't want to change anything about my life. It may not be everyone's cup of tea, but I like it.

And if yesterday you didn't make head way with your resolutions or goals, just remember that your life is not just made of years, but also each and every day. Remember this quote attributed to the Dalai Lama:

"There are only two days in the year that nothing can be done. One is called yesterday and the other is called tomorrow, so today is the right day to love, believe, do and mostly live."

I wish you all the best for 2014 and I hope that you achieve above and beyond any of your goals and resolutions. You deserve to and more than that - you deserve to enjoy it.

16 comments:

  1. You have done a wonderful amount this year, and all the best with your new OU module next month. Your blog is great and thank you very much for linking back to mine - I'm looking forward to taking a peek at the others you have mentioned.

    All the best!

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    1. Hi Rachel, thanks for your lovely compliments. I'm glad to link to your blog - we nature bloggers need to stick together :)

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  2. Congratulations on an amazing year, Tim. This is the first time I've visited and I'm fascinated by the uniqueness of your blog. I'll be signing up to follow and have another friend who will love being part of your journey. I had no idea you could log your sightings. What a great way to track your progress in seeing so many birds. I hope the doctors find the right medication for you this year so you can move towards healing. Thank you for the well wishes.

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    1. Thanks Jennifer. It's great to hear that you like my blog so much, I'm also enjoying reading yours. Me too - I never realised medication could be so hit and miss!

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  3. Well done. You have achieved so much this year despite the obvious setbacks. I have only just discovered your posts via facebook and so I will keep in touch through that.

    Best wishes for the future.

    Peter

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    1. Thanks, Peter. I hadn't realised that I had done so much until all of these nice comments. Best wishes to you for the future also.

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  4. I like your philosophy, Tim. I'm not a big fan of Jan. 1 resolutions, either. Plus, often ideas of things I want to commit to occur to me mid-year. For example, the idea to start a blog started in August 2010 (I think) and launched in October 2010. Here's my wish that you will learn more about what is going on with your illness, and find much peace and joy in the months ahead.

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    1. Thank you so much for such a nice comment. Thank you for your wishes. I hope this year brings you much joy also.

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  5. Jennifer's friend here... How nice that you can record all your wildlife sightings in one location. I've got bird sightings on Cornell's website and my lady beetle sightings on the lost ladybug section of Cornell's website. I have a website and blog about Gardening in Colorado, http://gardensoulutions.com I think I'll add a category for wildlife. Thanks for the wonderful inspiration!

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    1. Hi Dawn, thanks for visiting. It's great to hear that you're recording some of your biological sightings. I'll look forward to your wildlife posts - it can be so rewarding.

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  6. Thanks for the mention, Tim! It's been a pleasure "getting to know you", if I could call it that. Looking forward to many more interactions this year! :)

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    1. Thanks Jen :) I'm looking forward to reading more of your awesome blog posts and photos of your knitting adventures!

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  7. Hi Tim! What a lovely insightful post and may thanks for linking to my blog - you are very kind and I greatly appreciate it! You have achieved an enormous amount in the past year and I really hope the doctors can find you suitable meds or treatment. I have a family member who suffers with bipolar so am only too familiar with depression and medication side effects. I wish you peace and happiness for the year to come!

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    1. Thanks for such a lovely comment. I wish you all the best for this coming year - especially with your water vole project.

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  8. Happy New Year! I wish you the very best in 2014! I am trying to catch up with my reading; it's been an uncommonly hectic few months for me and I simply had to go off the grid. But I'm very glad you didn't. Please take care and keep writing!

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    1. Same to you, Anastasia - I hope it's a lovely year for you. I hope that your life calms down a bit and look forward to seeing more fab photos and blog posts from you when time allows. Thank you, I will do my best!

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