Wednesday, December 28, 2016

2016 Year in Review

I originally came across these questions a couple years ago in a social media post by my friend Stephanie Johnson, and have enjoyed doing this since. Here is another go!

1.) What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Bought a house, performed and choreographed with an entertainment company, showed my own work professionally at our region's ACDA, presented at an NDEO conference, worked in a coffee truck!

2.) Did you keep your new year's resolutions and will you make any for next year? 
My new years resolutions have become less and less literal over the years, so I don't really feel I 'keep them' now so much as use them as guideposts for continued growth. I think I did a lot of self-directed learning about living a purposeful life in all it's aspects this year, a curiosity driven by last year's resolution to understand everything as vibrating spectrum. As for 'resolutions' for next year (considering finding a term that feels more fitting to me), filling this out is part of that involved process :)

3.) Did anyone close to you give birth?
I'm sure I won't even be able to keep track of all the babies: Sarah, Mandy had twins, Karis, Sarah BE, so many babies.

4.) Did anyone close to you die? 
Yes. This one feels tough to clarify, as there was one death of a friend that was very close at one time. It happened between the deaths of two people who felt like close friends because of my connection to their artistry. This succession of loss made me think even more deeply about how to be purposeful.

5). What countries did you visit?
Didn't go out of the country this year, but went to awesome conferences in Dallas and Newport, RI.

6.) What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Funny looking back at what I noted I wanted for 2016 (to work actively toward making space and time for scholarship and choreography): I was very successful in carving out space and time for choreography, and I feel really good about that. Regarding scholarship, I tried, and kept bumping up against walls. It took loosening my attachment to what I said I wanted to realize that what I said and what I actually desire are perhaps different right now. In light of this, I have actually decided to back down on pushing out writing in favor of focusing more carefully on actually dancing; choreographing, performing and being a student/ experiencer. In that, one thing I'd like to have is more experiences with the dance forms that intrigue me most. I already have a 'deliverable' for that; I will again apply to the MRAC Next Step Grant with a bent on attending some conferences surrounding forms about which I am curious, positioning those experiences as research about the junction of the self and the community that happens in jazz and American vernacular dance forms, and how that can inform my choreography, teaching and performance.

7.) What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory and why? 
April 21st - the day Prince died.

8.) What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The first thing that comes to mind is buying the house. Looking back on the year, I also feel really good about my experience at the NDEO jazz conference and the amount of production output I created; Dancescape, Circulate, Circus McGurkus 1 and 2, Rhythmically Speaking. That said, I want to be sure to keep highlighting for myself that there is a difference between busywork and deep work. I want to keep conscious about defining when I am doing which, with a focus toward the later.

9.) What was your biggest failure?
According to the intentions I set for myself for the year, my biggest failure was not making more progress on a new piece of scholarly writing. That said, I believe I am making excellent progress in being purposeful with everything in my life, and I'm coming to see that pushing writing out of myself because I said I would just to keep a category of my professional life active is not very purposeful. Doing so belongs to the autopilot I operation system I am rejecting. Rather, I want to spend both my personal and professional time on what I want most, and clearly, since the article I was working on wasn't progressing, I don't really want it. I am definitely learning from this scenario, and keeping some focus on answering the question of "How do you want to spend your time in 2017?"

10). Did you suffer illness or injury?
I can't remember anything about the 'toe injuries' I referenced in last year's write-up. I did experience some injury this year in the painful culmination of poor-patterning amounting to inability to step down on the ball of my left foot without pain. I ended up quite grateful for the injury; it could have been far worse than it was, and I learned a lot from it after Karla wisely told me, about injuries, to "learn everything you can from it." Wise advice, not only for handling injuries . . .

11.) What was the best thing you bought?
Probably the house . . . but I do like my sweatshirt dress from Etsy :)

12. Where did most of your money go?
See above (again!). That, and building savings back up after paying the downpayment.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Life design/ intentionality and purposefulness applied to all parts of life. I also dug deeper into food and moved toward vegetarian/ veganism, as well as habit research. I really loved the Cloud Cult album "The Seeker" and the Kneedelus album, and certainly went through some digging into the Bowie and Prince catalogues. I also got pretty excited about talking walks.

14. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
Happier, Thinner, Richer :)   May that process continue until any element should pause or reverse.

15. What do you wish you'd done more of? 
Going out social dancing. Time with friends.

16. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I feel I balanced things out pretty well this year. Having a hard time thinking of what I'd really say to this, which I suppose is good!

17. How did you spend Christmas?
Liebhard's Christmas Eve and Olson's Christmas Day.

18. What were your favorite TV programs?
Walking Dead even though I wanted and tried to quit, Gilmore Girls in preparation for the reboot, Agents of Shield.

19. What were your favorite books of the year?
Again, I didn't read for pleasure nearly as much as I would have liked to. If that means it's not a main leisure priority for me, I suppose that's ok, I just really do enjoy it when I do it!

20. What was your favorite music from this year?
Discussed above, I also really enjoyed Radiohead and Polish Ambassador's new releases (A Moon Shaped Pool and Dreaming of an Old Tomorrow, respectively). I also got to see Weezer again for the first time since high school, this time with Kris, which was really awesome. It got me going on their catalogue again, and made me realize I had missed a lot of new releases! The White Album didn't end up knocking me over the head with joy, but it definitely has some good stuff and I am grateful for the renewed interest in them. I ALSO NEARLY FORGOT that I got to go to the Newport Jazz Festival this year. It was incredible to see Robert Glasper and Kamasi Washington, who I had gotten into somehow near the start of the year. I spent a lot of time in the yearly part of the year with Bowie's last release Blackstar, and was embarrassed to realize that an Emancipator slipped past me in 2015 (Seven Seas). This album was really informative to my ideas of correlation between habit and repetition in music, particularly jazz-influenced EDM in regards to my own interests right now.

21. What were your favorite films of the year? 
I don't get to the movies much, and the ones I actually go see in the theater tend to stand out more in my memory. "Fantastic Beasts" was really quite incredible!

22. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you? 
31. Still didn't get to Valleyfair. Tried. Maybe I'll go alone . . . I had people meet me at the VFW this year for drinks and Hotpants. It was pretty fun when I let go of the desire to always be surrounded by a crowd. This year it falls on the Saturday before Easter. Not sure right now what I'll do, but I imagine I'll cook up a good plan :)

23. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
More dancing. ALWAYS.

24. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Reduction, mixing and matching favorite items that have tended to fall into my favorite color pallet of red, black, grey and white, handmade whenever possible!

25. What kept you sane? 
Continuing to delve into life design/ intentionality/ purposefulness. Again, that said, I think I may be getting to a gorge-point with it and may need to reduce the amount of input I'm taking in on it all and just do. Also, meditative morning walks and realizing that when you operate with more purposefulness in general, there is less insanity.

26. What was a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016?
Many. Let's see which ones flow out effortlessly: to learn everything you can from any given moment or situation and to encouraging relentless curiosity. Those are the two that came out easiest. What else . . . that purposefulness limits stress and allows everything to feel whimsical, that choosing this allows me to create my own reality and therein find even more whimsy . . . I am on my way to something good for the eventual resolutions, though I'm not there yet :)

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