And so, another year, another birthday. At the ripe old age of 23 now, I am beginning to feel just a little concerned that I am ageing and noticeably so. I look back at old photos of me, even from a couple of years ago, and it is clear that there’s just a certain something different in the way I look now. I can’t quite put my finger on it… is it the eyes? Not so bright now. Has my hairline receded? If it has, it may be a millimetre, no more.

There appears to be more lines on my cheeks when I smile. And my face seems to have a bit more of a drawn-in look. Maybe it’s because I’m comparing myself to a time when I had four kilograms of extra weight. Maybe if I put that back on it would go onto my face and I would look a little healthier again.

But in any event, I am undoubtedly older. The problem I have is that I don’t want to be reminded of this fact any more. So my birthday is now a very, very low-key affair. Yesterday was little more than a mere handful of useful presents (socks, razor blades) and a couple of nice things, like a DVD or two and a book. And then we went out for a pub meal. Nice but dull. And that’s how it’s going to stay.

This is a good moment to reflect on the year gone by. And what is impressive is that I even have my own benchmark to compare against. This time last year I wrote this post which said that I wanted to achieve the following six things during my 22nd year of life:

a) Graduate successfully
b) Apply and get accepted for PGCE
c) Investigate Student Associates. Again
d) Referee course?
e) Plan something for next summer
f) Have fun

A was a roaring success, moreso than I thought it would be. B was also a success. C was a failure, but not one I’m not overly disappointed about. D was also a success. E was a failure, because this summer is a disaster. F? Hmm. I would say on balance that I didn’t succeed in that, partly because of the unforeseen results of poor housemate choice. But there was enough fun to make it liveable.

So with three successes, one of them a massive one, two failures, one of which I’m not bothered about and a separate so-so, I would say that I’ve had a Very Good Year. This is in contrast to last year’s Good Year (though I didn’t have any benchmarks to compare against). Does this mean things are on the up?

It’s very hard to be sure. In the past few days I have become extremely concerned that I’m doing the wrong thing. I absolutely love working with children, but I am wondering if being a teacher is the right way to express it. Could there be another avenue to do it in? I have always preferred being a friend and mentor to children, something which is not particularly compatible with being a teacher.

All of this is very inconvenient considering that I’m about to start a PGCE course. So it is with this current state of flux in mind that I am not giving myself an ambitious target regarding this…

Here is what I would like to achieve this year

(1) a) Complete the PGCE course successfully
OR b) Begin an alternative worthwhile career that will allow me to work with children
OR c) Begin an alternative career with enough free time to work with children as a hobby
OR d) Begin some other form of professional qualification
(2) Get fitter, either through refereeing or taking up a sport
(3) Try to do more with my nephew
(4) Make a serious assessment of life plans, especially considering options to emigrate if it makes sense
(5) Take up a new hobby OR enhance a current hobby (e.g. piano lessons)
(6) Earn some money, somehow!
(7) As always, have fun

In other words, this is quite a serious year on the cards. It’s make your mind up time, dude.

Off we go…

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