A cup of coffee where the barista has written '2023' in the froth

2023: The Year of the Thesis

Yes, I know 2022 was supposed to be the Year of the Thesis, but this time I really mean it because 2024 is already full (2023 is pretty darned full too) and if the thesis creeps into it, then the whole year is going to be hell. So that’s the focus of the year, but it also feels very much like a year of setting things up for the future. I think this is partly because of the thesis and the prospect of actually completing the PhD and what the hell happens after that? but it also kind of just feels like a good time for it.

  1. WORK: Submit thesis – this has been pushed back so far now – I had hoped to have finished by my 2023 birthday (March) but no chance. At the time of writing I seem to be sending a chapter to my supervisors every 6 months, which is not a useful schedule, so I need to pull it together and bring that down to about 1 per month, which is quite terrifying, but my current plan is to submit in September 2023, and I don’t want it to drift too far from that – at the latest, I would want to lodge my intent to submit in September so I can have it shipped before 2024, which otherwise is going to be a hellishly hard year.
  2. SANITY: Somehow get the house under control – I think this is going to need a combination of the pomodoro-a-day approach (or at least every second day) and asking J to do a bit more of just general putting-away-and-cleaning. We have a conversation scheduled (his idea, lovely lad) about how he can help me get through this last bit of the PhD, which I think will probably mostly focus on this issue
  3. SANITY: Sew more regularly, even if just simple things – basically almost my entire wardrobe needs to be replaced, either because I put on too much weight in lockdown to fit into it any more, or simply because it’s worn out – so many T-shirts now have actual holes in them.
  4. HEALTH, SANITY: Try to refind my enthusiasm for cooking – I don’t really know what would help this – do I need to sort out the pantry? Reorganise something? Buy more storage pots so I can chop up a whole cabbage, say and just be able to dip into that?
  5. SANITY, HEALTH: Get better at protecting time – whether that’s thesis time, or relaxation time, or sleeping time – I tend to let things creep into time meant for other things, which then in turn encroach onto yet more things so it’s just a perpetual delay making me feel stressed and frantic, and then even relaxing and hanging out with friends makes me fee even more stressed and frantic. In 2022 I’ve found a morning/afternoon schedule has worked quite well for me, so I’m wondering if I can develop that further to help with things other than thesis (morning) and work (afternoon)
  6. FINANCES: Saving – now that I’ve got some money coming in, I’d like to start actively saving – or even investing if/when I can. I’m getting used to having some income, and what I’m hoping to be able to do when I stop paying uni fees is to simply farm off an equivalent amount to the fees I’ve been paying into actual savings, but I’d like to start setting up that habit now if I can. For this, I need to determine a bit of a plan (how much per month, where am I putting it, can I automate that?) Which may need me to set up a new account somewhere, perhaps an ISA, perhaps simply a savings account, or if I can find an ethical version of Wise’s keep-your-savings-in-investment-funds thing that would be even better. Obviously some investigation is needed, but I at least want to determine an interim solution by the time my January pay comes in.
  7. HEALTH: Work on my injuries. I’m not setting a weight goal or general health goals this year because I’m sick of failing at them, and with the thesis priority I think they’ll just be more pressure, but I would like to end 2023 feeling less injured than I do now – to somehow make an improvement to the muscle strain problems in my arms that make playing the viola painful, sort out the probably-bruised-tailbone issue so I can sit on the floor and do yoga again, and try to get some improvement to my back problems so that unusual situations like travelling don’t make things worse or become awkward because of the necessity for morning stretches. This will probably include a combination of exercising more regularly, throwing some money at professional health people and other things, such as starting to sew my own underwear in the hopes that I can get something that will actually fit me properly and not exacerbate the arm problems.

I’ve realised that there’s no composition goals on here and that’s because I’m full up with work to do this year already – I need to finish off scores and pieces for my portfolio, and I have collaborations already underway, plus commitments to new pieces for later in the year. There just isn’t going to be any time for anything beyond that, although I’m hoping (of course) that at some point I’ll be able to make something just because I want to. But it’s not a goal because I want to limit pressure on myself this year.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *