- it will be the first year in which I have to get used to having no employment related income. Not panicking as the cash goes out and the investments fluctuate will be a good test of my emotional discipline;
- with no job to go to, I will be time rich for the first time since I was a student. Making sure I use that time well will be a good test of my time management skills;
- I should have completed about three quarters of the post-graduate degree (more or less depending on which options I take). By that stage I should have a pretty good idea whether I have any potential as a writer.
In terms of objectives for the year:
Financial: as I have no control over what the markets do, I have limited ability to manage my investment returns in the shorter term. It would be really really nice if the broker forecasts for higher Hong Kong and China stock markets in 2014 proved accurate, but I am not holding my breath. Accordingly, the "don't do anything stupid" policy will apply and I will keep cash or near cash balances at reasonably high levels. I will continue to manage expenses without being excessively miserly;
Fitness: I was going to put the Hong Kong marathon down as the lead item for 2014, but I have done something to my foot/ankle and have not been able to do the training. There is a good chance I will not make the start this year. Just keeping up a regular exercise programme will be sufficient for 2014;
Degree: carry on with the post-graduate studies to the point where I have completed about three quarters of the degree by year end;
Novel: produce a complete first draft by year end. I don't care how rough it is and how many bits need to be redrafted - I just want to be able to say I've finished the first draft by year end;
Housekeeping: I have a number of housekeeping tasks (the list has a life of its own) such as updating my will (a hangover from 2013), redecorating our home (which we will do when we get a vacancy in our rental unit in the same development) and catching up on the backlog of photos to be printed for the album (most of 2013 needs doing). It's a long list;
Volunteer work: while I will continue to do some volunteer work, it may be a less than originally planned - the priorities are the degree and the novel.
Short. Simple. Focused. I don't need a lot of complexity in my life.