29 December 2015

What I Want for 2016

More time with the most wonderful woman in my life
would be the perfect way to spend 2016.
Looking back is always fun, provided you don't get all freaked out at the stupid stuff you have done in your life. My last year has been nothing short of amazing. I remained smoke free, stopped binge drinking crappy beer, found the courage to fight back against my depression and social anxiety and of course I started this little journey to share with you. Writing this blog has been cathartic for many reasons, the least of which is that I felt like I had a voice again. Many times I would get bogged down in the worries of everyday life like bills, repairs, work and sometimes, just living. Nothing earth shattering, but when you face an ever growing cloud that won't go away, even the smallest tasks seem insurmountable. Writing frees me to think of the good I have done and can do. It allows my mind to speak what often I would keep inside. It seems like I am only focusing on beer, but to me each post represents a victory over my own depression. I can now make conscious decisions to do the right thing for myself, as opposed to wallowing in a drunken stupor. I do miss being able to not care about things, it is much simpler, but it is more rewarding to have presence in my own life. All of this leads to the title of my post, What I Want for 2016.
These things, not all beer related , are goals I am going to set and hopefully achieve in the new year. With the help of those around me, I want to continue to my journey and experience all that life has to offer me. Also, there are so many new beers to try.
  1. Live a healthier lifestyle - Seems counterintuitive for a beer drinking fat guy to want to live healthier, but hear me out. I am verging on my mid forties and have been overweight for most of my life. I know this will lead to problems as I age, so dropping some of this excess baggage would help. I don't think there are any quick fixes out there, so to me, it means eating better and most importantly getting off my ass and moving my body. Mrs. Polkaroo and I are going to start walking in the evening and hopefully things pick up from there. Anything beats doing nothing
  2. Write or create something every day - Simply putting words to the keyboard and writing a review of a beer can be wonderful for me. Other times I like to work with my hands and build something for the house. Decks on decks in the Grotto is my motto. I need to update my office, as I actually use it now. Bookcases, some paint and accessories will breath new life into my space. I love the challenge of creating something out of nothing and I will get my butt in gear on this one early in the new year.
  3. Tell the people I love that I love them more often - So many times we go about our daily lives and forget about this gesture. Tell the people who are important to you how you feel. You'll feel better saying I love you and meaning it. Life is funny and sometimes we don't get to say goodbye to people before they leave us, so say it loud and say it often. I am going to try.
  4. Forgive myself and others - In the same vein as the last one, it does you no good to carry a grudge. Against someone who has hurt you or yourself for something you did. Letting go is very hard for me and it requires a conscious effort to remind myself that I am not perfect and neither is anyone else. No one is out to get you, don't let yourself get led down the garden path on that one, it goes to dark and lonely places. Forgiveness has brought me peace and I hope to get even better at it as the year goes on.
    We do love a good game of pool at Merle's.
    Have fun - I used to do so many fun and exciting things. The only problem was that I only remember portions of those events because I would also be drinking heavily. Luckily I have a wonderful wife who has stood by me and I want to return that favour by making life fun again. I want to go out and visit places that interest both of us. Making time in your week for something fun to do with your significant other is difficult at times when life bogs down, but making that time, no matter how small can be a huge game changer. It doesn't always mean spending gobs of cash on a trip or things, but simply could be curling up with a movie or playing a silly board game. Whatever comes next will be better though, because I will be present for all of it. Let's go have some fun.
  6. Do something nice for myself - During my life, I never considered what the future held. I was a here and now guy and damn the torpedoes of consequence. That has changed and will continue to evolve. But I now know that I have to be kind to me as well. My life is slowly coming into focus and there are things I want to do that are just for me. I hope to have company, but there is also something to be said for the quiet contemplation of life. Being solitary sometimes isn't a bad thing if it doesn't separate you from the wider world. So I will treat myself every now and then to some things just for me. I have to make myself a priority sometimes, but also remember not to do it at the expense of anyone else. Love is often the hardest gift to give yourself, so remember that you are a good and deserving person too.
  7. Unplug and be present - This one is easy. When we went out the other day, Kat and I turned our phones on airplane mode and just existed in each other. We spent the day laughing and talking, never once having to check our devices for "important" messages or posts. So this year I want to do that more. A big theme of changing my life is being Present. Be where you are and not somewhere else. What that means is put down your phone and look around you. There are people, places and things going on that only require you to be in the moment to really enjoy them. The internet will be there tomorrow, today is here right now and I don't want to miss it.
  8. We eat pretty good, but maybe we need some
    more exciting flavours
    Try new foods - Beer has helped me try so many new flavours and textures. It has taken me around the world in a glass and I am so thankful I discovered that before it was too late. But that alone isn't enough. We are committed to expanding our food world as well. There is a pattern to what we eat in the Polkaroo household, although not intentional. We probably exist on the same 6 or 7 meals almost all year. This has to change. Why stick to the same old tired dinners when there are some incredibly tasty things in the world. I am often dismissive of anything new because I love my comfort zone. Pushing out of that will no doubt lead to some funny tasting things but also will lead to me to discover a whole range of things I didn't know I liked. Maybe it's time I gave Sushi another go. I know Kat would like that.
  9. Stay on Budget - This is one thing I really worked hard on in 2015. We lived paycheque to 4 days before paycheque for pretty much our entire relationship. This year we worked hard at fixing that and it has made a massive difference in our lives. The lack of stress at worrying if the gas or electricity is going to be shut off is just amazing. It isn't always easy saying no to ourselves or others when we just don't have the money, but it is getting easier. Saving up for a big purchase or trip has made us better consumers because we consider if we really need something and not just what our impulses want. Our budget is organic and grows and changes with what we learn as we go along. I have no doubt we will make mistakes, but at least now we can recognize them and actively fix them as opposed to ignoring them like we used to. A life can be lived on a budget and we are going to make it the best we can.
  10. Explore Beer - I didn't intend for this to be about the things I wanted to better in my life. My first concept was all the beer related things I wanted to do in 2016. Visiting certain breweries, tracking down elusive brews (Whales) and maybe getting into video blogging my beer tastings were things I was going to write about. I still will, but as I began to write, it occurred to me that I am more than just a beer guy. I am a son, brother, uncle, friend and most importantly to me, Husband to an incredible woman. These are the things that matter to me the most. But I wouldn't have any of it if I didn't see through the haze of Macro lagers that used to dominate my life. Knowledge about what I drink has made me more aware of so many other things in my life. So beer will remain my hobby, maybe even my life's work if I can ever get my home brewery going. But it is not the only thing I have going for me. You will see me at some festivals and breweries for sure this year. I know I can go out and not get hammered because I have done it.  I'll take you along with me and maybe we can meet up and grab a pint together.
Remember, Pinkies out!
There you have it. I wasn't planning on doing ten things, it just kind of happened. By no means is this all I want to do in 2016. But as I have said before, I write for myself as much as to share it with you. I reread my own stuff from time to time to see what I was thinking and more importantly, to me anyway, to make sure I keep moving forward. I want to thank everyone who follows along at home and I promise to keep being honest and upfront about my life journey whenever I post. I am just starting to live my life and it really makes me smile to know you are there with me.
Cheers everyone!
Happy New Year!
Keep on believing!
See you all in 2016!

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