I’ve been wanting to do a 2014 post basically since New Year’s, but I’m just now getting the time for it. Basically, leaving IYS didn’t actually free up any time–it just means my time is divided other ways and I spent more time writing for Examiner and AXS, but that’s fine since it makes me money.
So, I normally revisit the previous year’s resolutions and goals, discuss how I did, and set new ones. And I’ll probably still do something like that, but in looking back at last year’s posts, I don’t think I did it last year. What I did do was this. So I think i’ll do it again for 2014.
1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
Paul moving out of his parents’ house. I feel bad sometimes for pushing him to do it when he has trouble with money sometimes, and I told him that, but he thinks it was a push he really needed and it’s done more good for him than not. It was incredibly healthy for him to get out of his parents’ house, which I think we both agree is a pretty toxic environment, but it had a huge positive impact on our relationship. It’s not that things were bad, but he was happier, which improved the quality of the relationship, and neither one of us had to deal with his mom removed our biggest–and at this point, only–source of tension. Plus I’d gotten to a point where I very rarely went over and spent time with him at their house because of her and it being a toxic environment for me, too, with her negativity and criticism and judging. I saw no reason to keep putting myself in that position, so I chose not to. With Paul out, I can almost go over whenever I want. The only thing in the way is the hour-long drive and our jobs. And I’m not gonna lie, we also had a lot more sex. My leaving IYS was pretty good, too, as I now write for websites that pay and lost a huge chunk of stress.
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
The lead-up to Paul moving out. His mom just got to be way too much for me, and Paul and I were actually supposed to be on break until he did move out, but he acted so fast when I made that decision that I had a hard time standing by it. Not to mention we’re both really, really bad at staying away from each other when we try to. I don’t think we could break up if we tried. Because we’ve both tried at various points and it never took.
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Probably how much I’ve enjoyed the company of co-workers I’ve started talking to more, especially within our writing group. And that group itself was an unexpected joy, both in it happening and in the outcome. My coworker Paul had discussed it and I couldn’t go to their first few meetings, and I was really nervous and self-conscious when I did, but they’re all lovely and have given me an ego boost but constructive criticism, too. It’s been both helpful and fulfilling.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Like last year, I’m not sure how truly unexpected any obstacles were. Paul’s mom has had real mental-health issues that I always suspected existed, but they’ve manifested in a big way, which of course has upset him. Also, IYS became much more of a stressor than I ever anticipated.
5. Pick three words to describe 2014.
Progressive, (mostly) calm, exciting.
6. What were the best books you read this year?
Animal Farm, although I’m not sure how much that counts since I’ve read it twice before. Maus, even though I only finished the first book, because it’s probably one of the best Holocaust memoirs I’ve read in part because of the graphic-novel format and the fact that it’s told with animals–Jews are mice, Nazis are cats, and Polish people are pigs. I’m told the second volume has others. And Tess of the D’Ubervilles, which just sneaks in since I finished it in the first couple days of the year. Man, I loved that book.
7. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Mostly the same core group as last year–Terra, Paul, Brandon, and Kelly, plus probably my mom. I’ve realized gradually over the past couple of years how much I learned from her, especially when it comes to independence and strength. She suggested–after I’d already considered it, but still–that some of my issues with Paul living at home stemmed from having my dad deploy multiple times as a teenager, so I’m much more independent and used to much more independence than Paul ever had until now, really. It’s also fun to spend time with your parents as an adult. Not that I ever disliked it, aside from typical clashes, but there’s something about living alone and supporting yourself, and the distance, I’m sure, that makes it easier to enjoy spending time with your parents. It’s almost but not quite like relating to them as peers and not authority figures, but of course that doesn’t mean they’re not in charge me, because sometimes, they still are. Terra and Paul, meanwhile, remain like a personal cheerleading squad and huge sources of support. They’re the first ones to listen when something’s wrong and be happy for me when good things happen. They’re also not afraid to be honest with me, though–they may be super positive, but they’re not afraid to call me on my shit, even if it’s gently. Brandon and Kelly are still fun to hang out with and are sort of a go-to double date, I still can’t bitch about anything on Twitter without him texting me about it.
8. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
I’m happier and more confident, and I think those two things are related. I think they build on each other, and I’ve spent the last few years building myself back up–with help, of course, both professional and otherwise. I think I’m smarter and more informed, and more compassionate and understanding as a result but less likely to take bullshit. Do no harm, take no shit.
9. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
Just covered it, but happiness and confidence are the biggest ones. I don’t necessarily know that I’d say I’m the happiest and most confident I’ve ever been, but I’ll get there if I keep it up.
10. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
Like last year, I’m not sure that I have. But the next book I read is gonna be C.S. Lewis, so come see me next year.
11. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I think I did more yoga than the previous year, although I’ve also gained a little weight. That said, though, I spent more time walking with Paul, and I have more stamina and better recovery now. Long walks with him–and I’m talking a few miles–used to kick my ass and have me sore the next day, but now I barely notice it. I’d like to get to a point next year where I can go ever farther/longer.
12. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
I’ve seen a few people I haven’t in a few years and was on questionable terms with, at best. It went well. It felt nice. I’ve also talked more with certain coworkers, and of course, my relationship with Paul improving has probably made us closer.
13. What was the most enjoyable part of your work?
I’ve worked on some really kick-ass shows. Like, high-profile shit. Like, I know what happens in a certain popular spin-off for most of the rest of the season. And on the side, I’ve been writing about music–including live reviews–and getting paid for it, which is great. Any writer will tell you that the only thing better than writing is getting paid to do it. Livin’ the dream. Almost.
14. What was the most challenging part of your work?
Mandatory overtime and difficult shows, like last year. At IYS, stress and a lack of time and feeling unappreciated and sort of feeling like the site wasn’t going in a direction that I felt fit what I wanted to be doing. Speaking of, it’s also challenging to cover electronic music when the artists all sound alike and the genre is mostly boring.
15. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
16. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Yoga, writing, having fun, going to concerts, spending time with people I love.
17. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
I’m allowed to put myself first, and I should.
18. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2014 for you.