2021 year review and 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

2021 year review and 2022 New Year’s Resolutions

Today is the final day of 2021, the time to make a conclusion of the year. In short, my life in this year is a total disaster, a complete failure in life, as I gave up everything to prepare a once-in-a-lifetime challenge but eventually failed for it.

Review of the year

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, my list for 2021 was scaled down to only 3 items, but I still got only 1 out of 3 done:

  1. to get a software developer job in a European city (geographically, not limited to the EU) and emigrate there
  2. to complete a swimming marathon (10 km) within 3:40 (pro-rata for longer races)
  3. to swim across the English Channel

My initial plan of the year, as of when the year began, was to only focus on swimming in order to train for the English Channel and also to improve my 10 km race times, and to do the World Trail Orienteering Championships (WTOC) in Poland as a Hong Kong representative. Only after swimming the English Channel I would get a job. I applied an emigration visa to the UK and moved in April for the start of the Channel training season in the UK. Although I was selected for the WTOC Hong Kong Team, it eventually got postponed so I couldn’t do that, and I will need to wait for the selection criteria for 2022 to see if I’ll have a chance again.

Details about what happened this year follow.

To get a software developer job in a European city and emigrate there

I started looking for jobs from October mainly in London, and also some in South East, but I also applied for jobs elsewhere in the transport industry as well. Eventually I got an offer at Passenger, located in Bournemouth, a provider for bus companies’ technology solutions including websites, apps, ticketing, etc., which I describe as my dream job. Although Bournemouth is not a city, my nature of the goal doesn’t change and I can confidently say that I have achieved this goal.

I currently work in the commerce team, which mainly deals with ticketing solutions. I hope that I can eventually get work in the cities team as well, dealing with bus routing, scheduling, GTFS and open data, which is my major interest and can lead me to further career development into a transport planner.

To complete a swimming marathon within 3:40

In the whole year I only did one swimming marathon, which was Cold Half held in Hong Kong, which I participated before emigration as my final marathon swimming race. However, as that race was timed to the tide, it should not be taken into consideration whether I can swim a marathon in a certain time or not. This goal was supposed to be done in a current-neutral race, e.g. in a lake or in an enclosed bay, however, due to the below and also prolonged border closures, I didn’t race at all afterwards, so I didn’t achieve this goal.

To swim across the English Channel

This is the life challenge that I failed, and as a consequence of this it ruined my life plan, my friendship, etc. Before I even get to Samphire Hoe I already sacrificed so many things in life including a possible working holiday to Sweden, multiple marathon swimming races, living in a city, etc. some of them I could never do again in my later life.

In addition, the mistakes I made in my training, and the sacrifices I made in this year as a result of Channel training, have made my swimming even worse than 2019. All the improvement I got from training with triathletes last winter has gone, and my recent interval training has told me that I’m now at best as slow as 2019, and possibly 10 seconds per 100 m slower depending on the day. Initially I hoped that Channel training could bring me improvement into my swimming, and eventually make me a competitive swimmer, by training like a competitive swimmer racing in the top-level 10 or 25 km races, however, as the world was under pandemic restrictions for a significant period of the preceding year, I couldn’t train like an elite in a pool, and it turned out that on the day I failed, all swimmers who landed France were fast swimmers, reaffirming that I didn’t have enough training to get across the Channel. The reason why I consider a DNF in a Channel swim is a failure is that, a good swimmer can consistently complete the swim even the condition is not perfect, like Chloë McCardel. My orienteering has also deteriorated because I didn’t race at all as my weekends were all given to Channel training.

New Year’s Resolutions

I no longer have any confidence in making New Year’s Resolutions for 2022 as we can no longer see a way out of the pandemic, which ruined everyone’s life in 2020 and 2021. The COVID-19 vaccines were a hope but they didn’t realise. They were effective in reducing the risk of death or getting seriously ill, but they didn’t stop getting people infected and passing the virus. Some European countries have returned to lockdown again by the end of 2021 as the omicron variant spread like fire, and we are offered a booster dose. We still don’t know if we will ever need to have more boosters in the future to give lasting protection. Border closures are still in place in multiple countries making international travel still unviable.

Despite the above, I can still make my New Year’s Resolutions in 2022 which can be done in the UK, as UK is unlikely to impose another lockdown:

  1. To get at least 10 L% improvement in my swimming in terms of race times
  2. To swim the English Channel in a relay team composed of solely Hongkongers
  3. To halve my placing (counting from 0 instead of 1 starting from the winner) in British TrailO League and Southern England Orienteering Urban League
  4. To complete my first year in my new job
  5. To keep my total personal spending (excluding taxes and fees from my income) within 2/3 of my net salary
  6. To lose weight to 65 kg

And the following items, mostly copied from last year, are suspended until the pandemic is over:

  1. to complete my first running marathon
  2. to complete my first triathlon (swim-bike-run) of at least Olympic distance
  3. to complete a swimming marathon (10 km) within 3:40 (pro-rata for longer races)
  4. to complete a running marathon (42.195 km) within 3:40 (pro-rata for longer races)
  5. to learn a front-end web framework and make a useful website out of it

For my two goals which I didn’t complete in the year, I am not going to set them as my 2022 goals. The goal to complete a swimming marathon within 3:40 is listed above as a suspended goal, and the goal to swim across the English Channel is abandoned as it is no longer meaningful to me, although I may still try it again in the future when I become a fast swimmer and the race schedule permits me to do so.

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