For 2014 I need to learn a few lessons and eradicate the negative aspects of 2013. These mostly centre around my irrational disapproval directed towards twitching and the banal use of Twitter. Confession time: I have twitched in the past and I do use Twitter (and sometimes in a less than useful way). I must also accept that twitching and the misuse (in my opinion) of a social media tool is harmless. I have the choice not get involved - it is an option.
Twitter does have its uses. It enables me to keep up to date with what is being seen (birds as well as other life forms). It can be entertaining. I can also keep abreast of what my fellow naturalists are up to. There is a downside to all of this, and that is that I will receive every single tweet sent from everybody that I follow. That is how it works. That is something that I have to accept if I am to use Twitter. So, I need to approach it like a prospector who has to sift through a heap of mud to find a gold nugget. Embrace the BOOM! Smile at the 'well dones' for driving a few miles in a car to see a bird. Accept hero status being bestowed upon the ordinary. It doesn't matter. It may do my blood pressure the world of good by doing so. And as for twitching - is it really any different than me driving to the New Forest to look for a rare plant? No...
I hope to get out into the field more next year. I have some freeing up of time. More birding. More botanising. More mothing. The pan-list might benefit. But as long as I benefit from it, that is all that matters - and when I mean benefit, I mean that my time spent doing all of this is enjoyable, is fulfilling, is worthwhile. I cannot quantify this by 'lifers' or 'ticks' alone. That would be shallow.
Most of my interest has focused down to my self-styled 'uber-patch', the local area which includes a small section of the North Downs and the woodland and heathland to the north of those same hills. This will still be the place that gets most of my time. It is, to me, a special place. However, I have neglected other places for too long, so I will try and make the effort to go a bit further afield. There are species, and places, that I miss. And others that I want to see.
Life balance is a skill that we all need a bit of help with. Even after half-a-century plus on this planet I haven't cracked it yet. Maybe 2014 will allow me to get a bit closer to achieving it.
Whatever you are planning to do, may it work out for you - and those close to you.
And if you detect any hint of sarcasm, anger or disapproval on this blog again, please let me know. It was all getting a bit tiresome.