• Nicola Joyce VA

New Year, Same Me. What's your 2021 bucket list?

Back in 2018, I decided not to set myself one new years resolution, instead, I decided to set myself ten.

A bucket list of ten resolutions that I had the whole year to achieve.

Now, you may be thinking,

'Blimey Nicola, I can barely commit myself to [insert same resolution for the last 5 years] never mind having ten opportunities to prove what a useless human I am'.

What prompted me to do this?

My work-life balance was totally unbalanced. I was exhausted and time was dissolving. Before I knew it, another year was coming to an end and all I had to show for it was an impressive tolerance to red wine.

I decided I needed to do something to help facilitate a more healthy relationship between my personal and working life, along with making time to do things I kept meaning to do.

So, with the new year upon us, I wanted to tell you about my New Year bucket list experience and how by the end of 2018 I had thrown up in an Icelandic hotel, performed at Komedia, Brighton and serenaded my husband in a pub with Patti Smith's 'Because the Night' all thanks to the bucket list.

Ok, so, let's start from the beginning.

The ten resolutions I set for myself were:

  • Learn self-defence

  • Go to Iceland (the country not the shop)

  • Eat in a restaurant on my own

  • Take a day trip on my own

  • Go to the Netherlands

  • Learn how to play the drums

  • Front a rock/punk band for one song, one night only

  • Take a stand-up comedy course

  • Learn how to surf

  • See my Dad once a month

I gave myself a pep talk at the start, which was, if I didn't like something then I would strike it off and leave it, I didn't want to pressure myself to continue an item on my list if I realised that actually, I didn't want to do it.

So, January 1st and the first thing I did was look up drum teachers and comedy courses in Brighton.

I found the awesome Rosie and signed up for weekly drum lessons starting the second week of January.

Next, I came across the incredible Jill Edwards. Due to popular demand, the next available weekend intensive wasn't until July, but hey ho, I signed up anyway and locked that in.

Wonderful, we weren't even a full day into 2018 and I had set out to tick off two resolutions already.

Next, I spoke to my Dad and scheduled in a weekend visit for each month for the year ahead. Scheduling so far in advance meant I had that time blocked off from the get-go, making it easier to stick to the plan and prevent months passing without seeing my Papa.

Yea, I get that scheduling in dates 12 months in advance seems a bit crazy but it was one less brain nag for me to worry about.

Then a few months into the year I was in London with a friend. On my way home I walked past a Mexican restaurant getting ready for the evening ahead.

I stopped, turned around and walked past again to see if I could eye up the menu.


It took another five minutes of hesitant back and forth before I decided to slap my anxieties away and head on in.

Not sure if it still counts being the only person in the restaurant, but I picked a table facing the busy high street and set myself down.

I permitted myself to order WHATEVER I DAMN WELL WANTED, so I started with a large glass of white wine, followed by a starter, more wine, a main with three sides, another glass of wine, and finally a bucket of deathly sweet churros.

Suffice to say by the time the bill came my bank was screaming at me WHAT HAVE YOU DONE whilst my liver congratulated me on my handy work.

It wasn't exactly how I had pictured it...

Dressed up to the nines, seated at a fancy pants restaurant, looking sexy and mysterious whilst making my way through scallops and spring onions but actually, the reality of it was just as fulfilling and the next morning, once the Mexicana haze had worn away, I was proud of myself for stepping out my comfort zone and treating myself like I deserved.

Fast forward to the summer and I put out the feelers to friends that I wanted to learn to surf. This then led to a weeks holiday in Biarritz, with my husband and two close pals.

We hired surfboards for the week, experienced near death at least twice and I came away from it realising that actually, I hate surfing.

What's that?

Oh, you want to hear about the puking in an Icelandic hotel?

I'll get to that, but for now, let's whiz back to Brighton and the comedy course.

So I completed the weekend crash course in comedy and enjoyed it so much I signed up for the next available 12-week advanced course for the upcoming September.

It was at the end of this course that I ended up performing at Komedia to hundreds of people.



But, there I was, being introduced on stage by the amazing Angela Barnes, making people laugh with my terrible geography and love for fish and chips.

Onwards from there I continued to study stand up with Jill and began performing on the Brighton comedy circuit, only to pause my comedy journey in early 2020 after realising juggling late-night gigs with a newborn wasn't working out.

In the two years from ticking off that resolution on my bucket list, I had met new friends, had some incredible experiences, and the direction of my life took a turn I never imagined.

But it wasn't always this successful.

For one, I didn't manage to tick off everything.

  • Learn self-defence

  • Visit the Netherlands

  • Take a day trip on my own

These are all still hanging in the wind of my ambitions and dreams.

And some, I had to make do with what I had...

Enter, drunk Nicola serenading her husband to Patti Smith's 'Because the night' in their (new)local pub. It wasn't 'exactly' fronting a rock/punk band, but heck, it was fun.

And then we come towards the end of the year. My amazing mum booked my husband and I a weekend trip to Reykjavik for my 30th Birthday.

Woohoo, another one ticked off!

However, a couple of weeks before I found out I was expecting our first bambino.

We had an amazing time despite my constant retching into the dark, cold air. We saw all 2.5 seconds of the northern lights, visited a punk museum in a disused public toilet and I've never had such a fancier puke in a shiny marble toilet of an Icelandic hotel (hurrah)!

By the end of 2018, my new year resolution bucket list had taken me on a whirlwind of adventures.

Nearly three years on, I am still playing drums annnnnd that's about it.

BUT HEY. It was fun and I finally got around to doing (some) things I had always dreamed of doing.

My work-life balance has shifted back to a slightly uneven level but I am definitely more mindful of managing my time better.

I make sure to include some time for myself once a day, be it a run in the morning, doing something crafty in the evening or just binging on Sugar Rush on Netflix whilst sipping a gin and cranberry.

So what is your new year resolution bucket list going to be for 2021?

Learn a new language?

Visit a new country (covid permitted)?

Dance with sharks?

(If it's to get more organised, then I can help with that, WINK WINK.

Feel free to drop me an email at nicolajoyceva@gmail.com )

Whatever it is, I hope by the end of 2021 you've experienced some incredible adventures and fixed your work-life balance to a more sustainable level!

Feel free to comment below with your awesome resolutions and keep me posted with how it goes!

Nicola x

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