December 23 - New Name If I could introduce myself by a different name to strangers for a day, I would choose a name that is considered unisex - something like Sam or Jo. I should stipulate, this is something I would only do blindly and deafly - via written word (letters, email, faxes, online in general). I like not having any pretenses and having a feminine name activates a frame (or set of frames) for every person I come in contact with. (Different frames for different people of course.) I think it would be cool for people to not know whether or not I was male or female and have to take my words at face value - without the activation of the sex/gender frames.
December 24 - Everything’s OK This question asks me to state the best moment in the past year that served as proof that “everything is going to be alright”. Honestly, the best moment is a little too personal for me to share, so I’ll go with the second best. I was supposed to get my boss a pass to an event. By the time I saw the email the event had sold out. I spent two days calling people that had an “in” with the event’s hosting organization trying to find extra passes but to no avail. I seriously lost sleep and was sick to my stomach over it, but I told my immediate superior what had happened. She wasn’t mad and helped me reach out to people. Unfortunately, we couldn’t pull it off. She was willing to talk to our boss about it and our boss ended up not really caring. (It was really much ado about nothing.) While I wish I hadn’t gotten so stressed, it did make me realize that as long as I am honest with the people I work with and behave in a way that is transparent, even when I cannot accomplish the tasks I set out to accomplish, people will still see me as a good co-worker and an asset to the organization where I work.
December 25 - Photo I would rather not share a photo, but I have no problem describing one. While I’m not sure that it’s my favorite photo of me, the photo I think best encapsulates “who I am” is one taken over the summer on a beach in Maine. My b/f and I, faces shoved together tight, all sun kissed cheeks and squinty eyes partially obscured by sunglasses smile at the camera - our bodies off center and weighing down the frame towards the right. One of us took the picture, thought by now I can’t remember which of us it was. It’s my favorite of the year because it represents something that is becoming a yearly tradition for us - we’re both grad students and full time employees at non-profits. We spend a lot of the year stressed out and overwhelmed. But at some point, we take a break, relax on the beach and do absolutely nothing (well, we read…and take photographs) and it’s fabulous! Wasting some days on the beach with him and some books is pretty much the highlight of my year. In fact, we took an almost identical photo the year before - same position and pose - different beach and bathing suits. These pictures remind me that I never want to stop relaxing and having fun when I need to and that I adore the partner with whom I relax and have fun.
December 26 - Soul Food I am very lucky to have eaten a lot of great food this year. This question throws me off, however, because I’m not sure I recall any of it having “touched my soul”. Maybe that’s something I need to work on. I cook quite a bit. I don’t like making the same thing twice so I’m trying new recipes all the time. (If you have a cooking blog, please send me the link.) While it may not qualify as “touching the soul” the way the question has asked - I find a lot of personal satisfaction in the cooking process. I love knowing exactly the ingredients that are going into my meal and how those ingredients have been handled. I like having control over the taste of the food (saltier/more acidic/sweeter, etc.). And of course, I find it most fulfilling to cook something for the first time and have it come out awesome. I’m sure anyone who cooks does. The cooking process itself is my soul food experience.
I let Reverb 10 get away from me so I have much catching up to do. My answers will be short, but I’ll try to “pack a punch” (as the kids say….oh those kids!).
December 17 - Lesson Learned This past year I learned a lot of things, about a lot of people, myself included. Of those things, I think the best thing I learned about myself is - with practice I actually do get better. I always just want to be good at things right away and sometimes practicing things (or more appropriately needing to practice things can be kind of a downer for me. This past year, though, I sucked it up and practiced some things - photography, cooking and writing to name a few. I am improving my skills in all of those places (some more quickly than others) and that’s exciting for me. The application of that lesson is easy - keep practicing.
December 18 - Try I want to try starting my own business. I’ve wanted to do this for some time now, and I’m not sure I will actually do it, but I know I want to try. I won’t leave my current job to go do it, nor will I go balls to the wall right away. I’d like to start just with a client or two, part time and work from there. In 2010 I wanted to try snowboarding, but I just didn’t get to it. Maybe that’s a 2011 “to try” for me also…
December 19 - Healing The question asks “What healed you this year?” This is really tough. I guess I did heal in some ways this year, though I never really think of it like that. Generally, I think being in a relationship with someone who is supportive of my endeavors, encourages and challenges me and is comfortable with critiquing my ideas or helping me workshop has had a healing effect on me. I trust more. I try harder. I’m happier. I aspire to bigger things. I make forward motion. To answer the second part of the question, it was not a sudden evolution, it was definitely very, very slow. As for 2011, I would like the voices in my head to stop. The ones that tell me I “can’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t” or even worse, the ones that make me suspect the worst in people.
December 20 - Beyond Avoidance I should have gone to visit family more. I didn’t because they live about a 6-8 hour drive from me and getting there is costly and time consuming. (I work at a non-profit and don’t make a ton of money.) On top of it, as a graduate student I tend to have school related commitments a lot of weekends. Will I do it next year? I’d like to.
December 21 - Future Self 2011 can and should be a great year for you (me…well…you too!). Take advantages of every opportunity that you can, and if the opportunity you want is lacking, create it. Overcome your fear of love, doing so will make you enjoy it more. Keep your guard up. Read more. Go back to dance class, if you don’t you’ll really regret it. Write a play. Go on a trip to a foreign country. Get rid of all your residual fears. Live.
December 22 - Travel In 2010 I traveled with my partner and we only traveled domestically. We spent a long weekend in Philadelphia during the spring, a week in Maine in the summer and a long weekend in Idaho (for his step-sister’s wedding) in the fall. We travel, for the most part, to places we can reach easily (ie - preferably by train). I love traveling with him and hope we have a lot of travels together this coming year. That said, I’d like to travel abroad this year (if I have the money - I refuse to spend money I don’t have just to take a vacation). In an ideal world I’d like to get a student visa to somewhere (I know where, I just don’t want to say it) so I can go with a video camera and work on a film, but we’ll see how that pans out. To answer the “how” part of the question - I’d like to keep traveling economically. There’s a lot to see and a lot that could be easily missed if I were just to go to all the typical tourist places, eat at the typical tourist restaurants and stay at the large chain hotels. I think there’s a road trip coming in June and I hope to use that as a photo excursion and a chance to see some more of the mid-west.
December 13 - Action My next step…ugh…I don’t know. Maybe that’s a good indicator that my next step - in any of my projects - is a timeline? Generally getting organized and working from there? I can’t see that being a bad thing…
December 14 - Appreciate In the past year I have come to appreciate myself. I suppose in a way one always appreciates him or her self, but this past year I’ve done a lot more risk taking (in creative endeavors) than in the past. I’ve done more writing, more photography, more filmmaking, more cooking and I’ve shared all those things with others. (This is very new for me, I am usually quite private about my work.) I’m far from re-formed, I still hold a lot of work close, but I realize hiding away everything I work on is not a track to success. As far as how I’ve honored that? I guess I haven’t. Maybe that’s something to work on for next year…
December 15 - 5 minutes
In five minutes, all the things I don’t want to forget about 2010:
NYE - Fakes and I had our “official” anniversary. We had a Glee! marathon
Snowmageddon and everything related to it.
When Fakes’ family came to visit
Our trip to Maine
All my photography excursions
A bunch of shows (“concerts”) we went to - most namely Bonabo and Broken Social Scene, but there were quite a few others.
My first ever trip to Idaho!
Disgruntled liberals brunches
The foiled hiking trip that actually turned out pretty awesome
The first day Fakes and I watched Party Down and became seriously obsessed.
The dance party the French embassy hosted.
My birthday/trip to the Newseum
The sleepovers we had with Mark (the fun ones at least!)
Some plays we saw at various theaters that were all quite wonderful!
5 minutes is up. Sorry friends. Tune in next time!
December 16 - Friendship I don’t know that one person, one friend, has changed my outlook on anything this year. BUT, I think having friends has generally changed my outlook. It’s not that I never had friends before this year, I think, generally, I’ve always had quite a few, but I made a decent number of new friends this year and that was sort of alarming for me. The truth is, I see myself as a huge loner. Most of my friends are people I’ve been friends with for 10+ years. So having new people take an interest in me has been something to adjust to, or maybe just think about. I always feel like “Huh…people like me…how strange!” This has definitely been something gradual, but not a bad thing, I guess. I mean it’s good to be aware when people like you…right?
December 11 - 11 things 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011.
Taking my body for granted I was blessed with a great metabolic system and therefore I rarely work out, despite my knowledge of the fact that all people are supposed to work out 30 minutes a day five days a week. I hope, in 2011, to stop taking my body for granted and give it the care it deserves.(I also hope this will give me more energy to do the things I love to do.)
Fear of the doctor/dentist, etc. Related to above. I really only make regular eye doctor appointments, or drop by the walk-in clinic if I’m super sick. However, I have a good insurance policy and should probably be taking a preventitive approach by going to regular doctors’ appointments of all kinds. I think doing so would help me feel better mentally, if not physically, as confidence in your health often does.
Impatience I’m from New England. We do things quickly and are quite business oriented. I often get quite impatient quickly. I think changing this would make me feel less stressed. I’m not certain how to change it, but I think taking preventative measures would be a good start and perhaps forcing myself to breath for five seconds before reacting to something would help as well.
1980-2010 Reminiscing about the last three decades is fine and fun, but in 2011 I hope to stop dwelling on any (perceived) mistakes of the last three decades. Things happened, they’re over, I am where I am because of them. Time to keep looking forward.
Employer Well. Sort of. I’d really like to start my own business. Not sure if it will be in 2011 or later. Even if it is in 2011, I will likely remain employed elsewhere as an “insurance policy” of sorts. I hope thinking I don’t need an employer will help me make forward progress on establishing the business I’d like to have. Leaving an employer behind would allow me to accomplish more (as my own boss) and be more creative.
Procrastination I procrastinate over everything - replying to emails, doing work assignments, doing schoolwork, writing, etc. etc. EVERYTHING. The thing is, I put it off thinking “I’m not in the mindset to do that right now, it won’t be any good.” But when I actually do it, I’m so rushed it’s not any good anyway. I think limiting my procrastination will help me accomplish more and maybe even with better results. The only way I can see to change this is to do things when I think of them, see them on my list or am approached by others.
Perfectionism Related to above. I think it’s really good to be a perfectionist for some things - a major project, or a big piece of writing. Lots of things require precision. However, it’s hard to imagine always having the perfect mindset for the task at hand and thus executing it perfectly. I’d like, in 2011, to realize that good (or if you’re lucky, really good) can be acceptable. And sometimes, starting off with something good can help you create something better. How do I do this? Jump right in I guess. Tackle the to-do list everyday and work on becoming more self-disciplined. Hopefully, this will lead to better end results.
Comparing myself to others Sometimes, it’s very easy for me to say “My photograph is good but his is so much better…” or “I thought my group’s film was good until I saw the other group’s…” Maybe other peoples’ projects are good…even better, but unless it’s a competition, it shouldn’t matter. I hope that by turning that voice off, I can re-wire my brain to learn new things each time I tackle a project-leading to better projects down the road, rather than to focus on other peoples’ work.
Reclusive Nature Eh. I don’t want to get rid of it entirely. I’m a grad student and I work full time and on days off, it’s very easy (and relaxing) to “hunker down” in my apartment.(It’s also cost efficient for people like me who live in expensive cities and don’t make much money.) While sometimes this is absolutely necessary as a way to prevent all out burnout, I do think I could make more of an effort to get out of my apartment. (For what it’s worth, I’m not entirely a shut-in, I just think that a healthy 30 year old with no children should be able to get out socially more than a couple times a month.) I hope doing so just generally contribute to my mood and inspiration. I suppose one way of doing this is to be the organizer of events - that way I can’t skip out on them…
A disorganized living space My b/f and I are both graduate students and employed full time. We’re out of our apartment a lot and when we’re home we’re usually exhausted - basically we get home, cook dinner, relax for a bit, do any work we may have and go to bed. Our apartment gets out of control disorganized for a week or two and then we clean it up. It’s working, sort of, but I think it makes our day-to-day lives (between clean-ups) more stressful because we’re constantly looking for things. Breaking this habit ideally would lead to less general stress. I think a way to break this habit would be to clean up 15 minutes a day. A small contribution everyday could significantly cut back the level of disorganization.
Radio Silence My friends are very spread out and over time I’ve become a really bad correspondent. I deleted my facebook account some months ago, so I’m even more out of touch. Having made that choice, I’d like to become a better correspondent in 2011. I think doing so will make me a little happier. While this should be easy to accomplish, I may go to the length of actually scheduling time to write emails/make phone calls on my google calendar.
December 12 - Body Integration This writer of this prompt asked if there was a time in the past year when I (you) wasn’t (weren’t) mind and body but instead a cohesive unit. My first thought was - YES! At the Bonobo concert. Then I thought - Well, actually anytime I was out somewhere dancing to great music. THEN I thought - Actually, anytime I was out taking photographs…anytime I was cooking a new recipe…anytime I was writing something simply for the joy or writing or reading for the joy of reading, or engrossed by a film or play. After a little introspection, I realized I was a cohesive unit every time I was consumed by creation (my own or that of other people). I keep typing more sentences and then deleting them, so I think what I have stated already should suffice.