Here are my new year’s resolutions. I’m pretty sure they’re already invalid by me posting them seven days into the new year, but I’ll post them anyway, if only to give me a way to quantify my almost assured failures this time next year.
1. Inevitably, weight loss. If I can convince myself to get up an hour earlier I’ll take Basil Leaf for a daily morning walk down the Lung Mei Tsuen path, around Sai Sha Road, and then back up Chuk Yeung Road (a 4km circuit, 70% of which is up an almost vertical hill). Joel and I already do this walk at night but doing it in the morning too
will be shittywill help kick-start my metabolism again so I can wear short shorts by next northern summer.
Or, maybe I can’t ever wear short shorts again. I certainly won’t be able to if I don’t couple these hill climbs with less ingestion of Coke. And anyway, should people who have two kids and are 30 aim to wear short shorts? What is a more age-appropriate goal, a gently flaring skirt that ends modestly an inch below the knee? Probably. With Scholls. Either way it will still look better without these extra kilos underneath it.
And speaking of adjustments to middle age, in areas other than sartorial I’m making alarmingly good progress. At 9.30 every night my husband and I are to be found watching old eps of Spooks, using the wireless headphones that were our Christmas present to each other, drinking English Breakfast tea and wrapped in lap blankets of our respective footy teams. AND WE LOVE IT. (Though I am a bit concerned about how we can top this when we’re actually middle aged. Matching StableTables?)
2. Get paper. Half our reason for moving here was to take advantage of the ridiculously favourable tax rates (first HK$100,000 tax-free; then HK$100,000 tax-free for each child on top of that; and then 15% of all remaining income). It would be almost criminal not to save a lot of money while we’re here and thus buy ourselves more freedom when we come home, to travel more or not work or have more kids or buy three holiday houses so we can keep on replicating this lifestyle forever, but with access to delicious Australian Milo, so superior to the disappointingly over-malted Hong Kong version.
This week I opened a high-earning foreign currency bank account and actually put money in it, so that’s an early success that somewhat balances out the three Cokes I’ve already had this year if you consider all the resolutions are weighted equally, which if you saw how fat I was, you’d realise they definitely shouldn’t be.
3. Currently, ngor mm-sek guangdonghua. Obviously. Not very well anyway (though that phonetic spelling is frankly masterful, what?). I know I alleged back in October that I was going to focus on learning Mandarin, the better to encourage Rufus to keep it up when we move back to Australia. But in reality it would be far, far handier to be able to speak Cantonese. And I think it will be heaps easier too, just from being constantly exposed to it. Joel and I think we know how to say at least 300 or so words, and while that is a relatively pitiful amount, we are surprised at how often we do get the gist of what people are saying. We can maintain an almost respectable level of communication (especially in light of previously mentioned appalling language acquisition attempts by other Westerners). So, our motivation is high and learning opportunities plentiful. The next step is to enrol in a course and get things really moving.
4. Sleep. A lot.
And what was the greatest lesson I learned in 2010? With all the wisdom of my *cough* 30 years, my humble advice is to do something really crazy and outrageous. Especially if you have young kids. In fact that’s the best time to do it. Don’t spend all your energy focusing on setting up your future. You’re here now, innit? Don’t get tied to a mortgage. I spent most of my late teens and 20s
drinkingmapping out my future as a property mogul and how it would enable me to retire by the time I was 45. (When I wasn’t drinking.) I didn’t even move out of home until I was 23, because I refused to rent; I waited until I had enough for the deposit on my first place. The liberation of selling our house and releasing ourselves from our mortgage wasn’t expected and cannot be underestimated. For the first time in 10 years, I am able to save big amounts of money each month. THIS is freedom. We COULD die tomorrow, and in the meantime we really are living our best and most adventurous life. In the words of some No Fear t-shirt I had when I was 16, “He who dies with the most toys still dies”.
As someone said (not No Fear, I don’t think), life unfolds according to intention. Think of the most off-the-wall thing you’d love to do, intend to do it, and then actually give in to the impetus.
Fly with the wind!
Live your dreams NOW!
(No Fear PR representatives can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with freelance slogan-writing propositions).