Friday, January 2, 2015

"Year in Review" - 2014

This is an interesting-seeming idea that I picked up from a friend's blog post; completing 24 "Year in Review" questions that she used to reflect on in her LiveJournal (oh, those were the days). The idea really appealed to me, so I am going to give it a QUICK shot, as my usual system for making resolutions for the next (well, now this year) is not yet complete.

1.) What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
Performed in the ACDFA Gala Concert; went to Lollapalooza, taught a college lecture course (Dance and Popular Culture), went to some hot springs in Colorado.

2.) Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make any for next year?
The answer to this question is long, drawn out and mid-process. As they are always about general function and outlook, I feel that I always somewhat follow or make progress on my resolutions, but since they are things that cannot be achieved but can always be worked toward more, I'm always coming back to them in some way, even if they were not on this year's list.

3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?
Everyone! Mandy, Karis, Shannon, Jenny, Laura, Kelsey, Brooke. I sure hope I am not missing anyone! It amazed me how many of them gave birth so close together. I have gotten better at holding and interacting with babies; they are starting to look cute and seem amazing. Doesn't mean I am ANYWHERE near ready for one, but none the less.

4.) Did anyone close to you die?
Again, feeling intimidated by the possibility of being incomplete on this. Perhaps the answer to this is no.

5). What countries did you visit?
No out of country travel this year, but a fair amount of in-country; New York, Dallas, Chicago and Missoula, MT. I felt very grateful that three of these opportunities were professional, and really hope that beyond school, I'll continue to get to travel for work. I am also grateful in general to get to travel; I know this is not always available to everyone, and I wish to not take that for granted.

6.) What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
My honey, and that is happening; graduation in May, moving back to MN and getting married that same month. We've been regularly apart for too long, and I am ready for that to end. At the same time, I am both totally and not at all ready for school to be over. That said, it is happening whether I am ready or not, so I hope to have strength in how I embrace it and let it inform me.

7.) What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
August 16-18, the sixth Rhythmically Speaking concert. I think part of this is because yearly, these are the dates I repeat the most, but I also think it is a culmination of many kinds of my work each year.

8.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Again, always tough for me to answer the big, looming ones. I think perhaps it was completing the teaching of a lecture course, TWICE. While looking back on it (and in the middle of it) I didn't feel like I was making enough change or investment, I am also in school myself while doing this, making it hard to give more directed focus to this. As I am teaching the same class again this Spring, I've already laid out some ideas on how to accomplish this better this time around. Also, I danced a solo in the TC.

9.) What was your biggest failure?
Maybe also what I listed as my biggest achievement, for the reasons noted above?

10). Did you suffer illness or injury?
I fractured and sprained my finger, which was surprisingly debilitating. That said, having to modify my physical approaches to regular tasks and dance, and going to the specialist was also interesting! I also got the flu right before Christmas, and that did a lot to put things in perspective for me; It made me feel like I have never been grateful enough for my health, and that perhaps I should reflect on that more.

11.) What was the best thing you bought?
My black motorcycle boots that I searched and search for. I am so happy with them, outside of the way the soles are falling apart (wtf . . . expensive!). Hopefully the shoe-man (it feels strange to say 'cobbler' in this day in age for some reason) will be able to fix them next week!

12. Where did most of your money go?
To responsible things like rent and transit. I have never been one to over-spend or spend on ridiculous things, as I have never had much for disposable income.

13. What did you get really excited about?
I got really excited about going to upstate New York on tour with Gesel. I haven't had many opportunities to 'go on tour,' and I am really hoping to continue to in the future. Also, Walking Dead :)  That, and impending move home and wedding :)

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
I believe that I am always on an upward climb toward happier because I have tried to see the circumstances of my life as things upon which I can choose my outlook. I also realize that I am a very fortunate person, a combination of both coincidence and hard work, so my scenarios tend to reflect that. I believe I am about the same size and healthfulness, and I am definitely richer; that happens every year, as I am an obsessive saver and not much of a spender.

15. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Dancing. I always think this. During the school year, it can feel like I am doing too much writing. During the summer it can be difficult to finance classes. As much as I truly believe that the 'company life' of class in the morning and rehearsal for the rest of the day (making a 10-4 dancing slot) is not for me, I DO ALWAYS want to move more. I also wish, every year, that I'd spend more time actively listening to music. It has even made it on my new years resolutions before.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Watching TV. One by-product of my relationship that I am not pleased about is my serious increase in TV-watching. I also think that I've increased this due to grad school; when I have been working literally from 5 or 6am until 9pm with a break to walk to school, eat lunch and walk back, by the end of the day I am really looking for something to do that doesn't require much thinking, and I've turned to the TV (cuddling with my honey is not normally an option when I am in school). I have thought several times about actively listening to music instead, but I love music so much that it'd excite me too much to fall asleep; it'd wake me up in a way TV does not. That said, the ultraviolet glow as I am trying to go to sleep and the amount of time I rack up as a result of my TV-watching before bed kind of disgust me. I know I do not need to correlate this with lost time, as it is sort of all I am good for by that point of day, but I cannot help it. I've also considered stretching, doing PT exercises, active rest, but these too are things that would fire up my brain. Perhaps I try again to listen to music, and allow it to be time that is less active. I've always wanted to be one of those people that gets home, pours a glass of wine and listens to Miles Davis, but I can have a slightly-tweaked version of that in order to go to sleep.

17. How did you spend Christmas?
Like usual; Olsons on Eve, Liebhards on day. That said, it was the first year that we didn't get down to my parents house late on Eve. It was hard for me. Perhaps next year I'll more heavily push the idea of having an actual open house with invitations; maybe next year, I'll have more brain-space to do so.

18. What were your favorite TV programs?
Walking Dead overall (hellrrr). Been trying to stay caught up with Doctor Who interspersedly as Kris and  have visits, same thing with Girl Meets World. Yep, that's what I said. Toward the end of the year, I've also been binge-watching Gilmore Girls. Good show. Kris ALWAYS wants to add things, but he 1) does not feel stressed by being in the middle of several shows like I do, and 2) I also does not feel stressed by the amount of TV he watches!

19. What were your favorite books of the year?
Ouch. This just puts into serious focus how I am not reading for pleasure. Grad school. I hope to do more of this in 2015, but I will not write it as a resolution (as I've become somewhat against such concrete things that you can easily fail). If I am meant to spend my time that way, I will. Good thing I've got a head-start, having received several good books for Christmas. They will likely wait on my shelf in St. Paul until I am done with grad school in Boulder.

20. What was your favorite music from this year?
Polish Ambassador, hands down. I was introduced to the amazingness by my Boulder friend Ali, went to the concert in Boulder in April for my birthday, and never looked back. Such intricate, weaved rhythms and melodies, unique sounds, danceable AND chill beats . . . Spotify agreed with me, as he was my most listened to for the year.

21. What were your favorite films of the year?
Again, I don't really see movies; grad school. I believe that I saw both Monuments Men and World War Z in the theater this year (given my newish zombie-lore obsession), and loved them both. I've also watched a lot of not-new (can't necessarily say old) movies this year (see 'what do you want to do less of' question for reasoning, which I of course always need). I binged watched all the Resident Evil movies (zombies!). I also started the list of movies I'd like to watch, something I refer to with my students ALL THE TIME, as I teach a popular culture class. Just a couple weeks ago, I started a YouTube list for trailers of the movies I'd like to see. This way, when I am looking for something, I can just refer to the list!

22. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 29, and honestly, did the least I think I ever have. I LOVE birthdays, my own and others, and always make extravagant plans. This year, I cannot even remember what I did. Going back to read my blog and journal entries for the year as I prep to make my resolutions, it seems that I was disappointed with the lack of engagement people at school showed for my birthday, as I always go out of my way to make others feel special on theirs. Brings me to my interest in always remembering that sometimes, the actions of others have nothing to do with you, even when they concern you. Anyway, I DID have a party at my folk house when I got home in May (combined with Kris and my mom, respectively May 3rd and June 1st). THAT was a blast. I am looking forward to my 30th birthday this April 15th, and planning to not prescribe too much to it; I'll probably take the day off again outside teaching at 9 (playing hooky on my birthday is a long-standing tradition), though thinking about it now, I'll likely stay for 10am class and get my dance on, then take myself to a long and leisurely lunch in the sunshine by myself at one of my favorite Boulder haunts. Last year (its coming back to me!), I took myself to coffee at Amante and did some journal-writing, then walked down to the Buff for breakfast). I've got tech at 6pm, and hope to convince people to get a drink with me after. I mean really; 30. After I move home, we get married and go on our honeymoon (yep, crazy year), some time in the summer, I've asked Kris to take me to Valleyfair. Really, that is all I truly want! The big party this year will be the wedding.

23. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More dancing. See the 'What do you wish you did more of' question.

24. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Layers, either matching WAY too much or WAY too little, good shoes taking care of the rest of the outfit if it leaves something to be desired, ridiculous earrings that take care of the rest of the outfit if it leaves something to be desired, mismatched prints, bright colors. Been this way for years :)   And of course, a daily dose of red lipstick, my fail-safe way to make myself stick out and look put together, even when I have't showered in days (which is most of the time :)).

25. What kept you sane?
Kristoffer. He kept me insane at times too, but him, my mom, my friend Sarah - the people I turn to for listening, advice and conversation - kept me sane. Also, dancing. Kept me insane and sane. Isn't there something to the idea that things with obvious and serious yin and yang are the most impactfu on your life?

26. What was a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014?
This one is VERY easy. I've already written about it in my journal. I vividly remember, after getting into a tizzy with a colleague at school, instigated by her and over something that felt ridiculous to me, talking with Zoe on a bench outside the music building. I started telling her about the situation, and she told me something I'll never forget and that I am surprised I hadn't been told about (or thought about) earlier. It went something close to this; "Erinn, sometimes the way people react to you has nothing to do with you." I have a habit of always making myself the root of an issue, which I believe to be selfless rather than selfish; I always want to examine if there is any way that a negative situation could have been caused by me so I can figure out how to avoid it in the future. That said, sometimes I truly do have nothing to do with it, but that is hard for me to see. This piece of advice from Zoe is SO valuable to me, and I returned to it a great deal of times within the year.

That was an enjoyable process. I'll definitely be coming back to it again in the future. This kind of self-reflection is very valuable to me. Now, on to continuing and finishing m New Years Resolutions! I am disappointed that they've been making it off the press later each year, but it has become easier for me to accept that it is what it is, so they must be working!

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