My posts have gotten shorter and shorter, so I think the challenge to write less more often was a success! (yes, I’m calling once a month more often). But it’s time for another mega-post because I want to revisit the resolutions I made back in February.
1. Share my writing in a public forum. to be discussed.
2. Continue writing on Girl Fight. Publish at least one post per month. CHECK!
3. Take steps towards writing a novel to the point that a draft is finished by the end of the year, or it’s at a point where it makes more sense to finish it than to quit. hahahaha.
4. Start a podcast. Release at least one episode by the end of the year. ibid.
5. Perform onstage. to be discussed.
6. Make something with my hands that I’m excited about. Things I’d be excited to make are: collage, photography, wooden furniture, clothing, woven wall hanging, macramé wall hanging or plant holder, something knitted or crocheted, wood carving, or pottery. CHECK!
7. Lead climb with confidence. to be discussed.
8. Go on at least a dozen hikes. CHECK!
9. Urban cycle in Canada. CHECK!
10. Visit at least five art galleries or museums I’ve never been to before in Canadian cities. to be discussed.
11. Start earning a paycheque. CHECK!
12. Manage a project or plan and coordinate an event. to be discussed.
13. Unpack all my moving boxes and suitcases. almost.
14. Add at least three new recipes to my collection. CHECK!
15. Start learning Spanish. Well, I started…
16. Be a confident babysitter of my niece. not quite.
17. Take time to have really good conversations with my dad. Let’s say at least five. to be discussed.
There are a respectable number of items checked off on this list, a decent number of caveats, and only two outright failures. I feel pretty great about that!
First, the successes!
Item 2 = Write once a month on Girl Fight. I’ve kept up my once per month posting schedule, with a few sneaky make-up posts sprinkled in there, but overall I’m rather pleased and I’m going to carry on with my once a month target into the new year, with the added caveat to post all the draft content I’ve started and not finished. I’m thinking of doing this as a rapid fire writing challenge over the holidays. Draft titles for posts I’ve started include: Perseid Meteors; Things I Kept; Audrey Jane; Time on My Hands; Magic; and an as yet untitled post that begins “On the Greek island of Kalymnos in the Dodacanese…” Stay tuned. Also I’m thinking of writing more mini-posts wherein I transcribe whatever I’ve written on the most recent page in my travel notebook. Maybe when prompted by a random signal that I don’t have control over? That could be dangerous/bothersome…TBD. Another thing I’m playing with committing to in the new year is simply being more public about this blog, and sharing my new posts more widely via Facebook; however, I have a lot of doubts about the wisdom of this. Also TBD.
Item 6 = Make something with my hands! I started a beautiful macramé table runner this summer, although the project is on hiatus because it wasn’t able to make the move to Vancouver with me (it’s pinned to a rather large bulletin board that wouldn’t fit in the car). I’ll work on it again over Christmas, but it won’t see any real progress until my parents drive out here to visit and bring the rest of my stuff. The best part about this project is that my mother is teaching me how to do it. She used to macramé when she was a teenager, and what is absolutely incredible to me is that she still remembers how to do each kind of knot, no reminders from Google required. When I’m tying the knots in my table runner, I like to think about her spending the summer after Grade 13 working on a set of macrame curtains for her college dorm room. She bought cord by the pound from one of the neighbours, and dyed it all different colours in buckets set out on the dock. She hung the project from her bedroom ceiling so she could lie back in the top bunk, and tie knots late into the night, with my aunt dreaming away in the bunk below her.
Item 8 = Go on a dozen hikes. I’ll be honest, I don’t feel totally satisfied that this goal is quite achieved for the year. There were 5 in Iceland, 1 in Canmore with my mum’s hiking group, 2 with the boy I felt badly about breaking up with (actually, 1 hike and 1 mountain bike ride), and 1 really long hike plus a bunch of shorter approaches to the crag on Kalymnos. I really only made it to 12 if I include those short approach hikes, but it feels like cheating. This state of affairs is especially disheartening because there have certainly been opportunities to go hiking a dozen times, but plans can fall through so easily. But the year isn’t over yet, and I have plans to snowshoe over Christmas. If I snowshoe 3 times before New Year’s Day, I will feel like I properly accomplished this one.
Item 9 = Urban cycle in Canada. Baby, I take the bike share to work every morning. Even in the rain, even in the cold! Flames. The best part about using the bike share is being able to jump on the bus home at the end of the day when it’s dark and I’m very happy to have 15-20 minutes to scroll through my Instagram feed. But I predict I will bike both to and from work when the days are longer and brighter.
Item 11 = Start earning a pay cheque. I got a job!! Not just any job, but a job I really like, in the city I wanted to be in, for a really great employer. I’m a very happy camper, and this state of affairs is what prompted the very grateful reflection articulated in my “7 minute update” post. More flames.
Item 14 = Add 3 new recipes to my collection. I haven’t actually written them down on my recipe cards yet, but the important thing is that I found 3 new ways to prepare food that I like enough to put on regular rotation. They are: baked salmon (as in, I never knew how to prepare fish and I realized baking salmon is both easy and delicious – this is hardly a “recipe” but I’ve done it 3 times now so I think it counts!); braised red cabbage with raisins (the perfect thing to do with all that leftover red cabbage after you buy a whole head of it for garnishing fish tacos, which was a previous go-to recipe); AND smashed potatoes! This last one is especially precious to me because I learned about this method of potato prep from my excellent friend Danika, and got to impress my family with it out at camp this summer, AND share it with another friend. Plus smooshing baby potatoes with the palm of your hand is good clean kitchen fun. All that’s left to do is write these down on recipe cards so I don’t forget about them. And yes, I certainly will write down the steps for baking salmon on a recipe card. Hate on, haters.
Now for the caveats.
Item 1 = Share my writing in a public forum. I didn’t do this yet, but I have been offered the chance to write a blog post for a well-respected non-profit organization and plan to do this in the new year. This feels like a very important step in the right direction for satisfying my writing goals. Also stay tuned on this one.
Item 5 = Perform onstage. Does giving my final thesis presentation to the company that gave me research funding count? Maybe not, but I absolutely killed it when I did, so let’s say yes. I still want to work towards feeling like I 100% achieved this one so it will have to make a reappearance on my 2017 list of resolutions.
Item 7 = Lead climb with confidence. Kalymnos was a crash course in lead climbing, and at certain moments I felt confident and so proud of myself up there, but there’s definitely a long ways to go on this one. I hoped to take a lead climbing course and practice falling a lot before the end of the year, but job hunting took over my whole entire brain for about 6 months (despite my jibber jabber about not letting that exact thing happen), and climbing fell away on the priority list. Which is really stupid since it would have provided exactly the kind of stress relief I really needed during that time, but c’est la vie. Now I feel terribly weak and out-of-shape, but the good news is I’m not dead yet so there’s still time to get back into it.
Item 10 = Visit 5 new art galleries or museums in Canadian cities. For the same reasons that climbing and hiking were harder than anticipated to work into my schedule, I also didn’t spend as much time in art galleries as I wanted. At least not in Canadian cities. In Reykjavik, I went to almost every single gallery in the city, plus the design museum. It was bliss. That holiday mixed the exact right amount of time spent going to coffee shops, art galleries and interesting little boutiques with hiking, napping in moss, getting sweaty and muddy, and throwing arms open to sunshine and incredible views. May all my future vacations contain the same mix of activities. In Canadian cities, I revisited my old favourite (the AGA in Edmonton) and made a new favourite (the VAG in Vancouver). I also made short spontaneous visits to a couple of small galleries in Vancouver: a commercial contemporary art gallery, a commercial photography gallery, and a small exhibit room at SFU. So I went to 4 new and 1 old in Canadian cities. Again, the year isn’t over yet, and I will try to schedule a visit to Contemporary Calgary over the holidays.
Item 12 = Manage a project or coordinate an event. In hindsight, this goal seems too vague. It feels like all I did this year was manage and coordinate. Finding a job was a project, and now I’m managing several projects at work for a project team of one (i.e. just me. Most of my work is solo). Finding a place to live, getting myself packed and moved to Vancouver was a major life event to coordinate. Etc. etc. So I feel like I did this, but it wasn’t really a satisfying goal to have in the first place.
Item 13 = Unpack all my moving boxes and suitcases. Theoretically, I could do this in my new Vancouver home, but practically speaking, I could only bring what fit in my car here, so there’s still some boxes in storage in Calgary. Hopefully they can make their way to me via my dad’s truck in the new year. But for the time being, I feel amazing about having the majority of my nice kitchen things put away in my not-a-student kitchen. Now if only I could get my roommate to put the spatulas away in the right drawer every time.
Item 15 = Start learning Spanish. I reset my Duolingo from Dutch to Spanish and I started the modules, but haven’t looked at it in many months. I thought about it for awhile, decided it’s still something I want to do, and I’m going to try again.
Item 16 = Be a confident babysitter of my niece. If I had written this update post in the middle of the summer when I was babysitting my niece more regularly before finding a job, I would have said: yes I achieved this! But since I permanently moved here and started working, I haven’t spent that much time with my niece. I’m debating if I’m actually willing to make the time commitment to babysit on a regular basis. Moving here and starting work happened so quickly and I still don’t feel like I have my feet under me. I’ll have to re-assess my commitment to this in the new year, and after my life feels a bit more settled.
Item 17 = Have 5 really good conversations with my dad. Five was a tall order. Also, I haven’t been counting. I would say we’ve definitely had at least 2. Maybe 3. I don’t know. I think a better time to re-assess how I feel about my relationship with my dad will be after I spend Christmas with my parents in Calgary.
Finally, things I didn’t do.
Item 2 = Write a goddamn novel. Super lols. In hindsight, this was never a realistic goal to set for a year where I would be job-hunting and moving. But good for me for being so ambitious. I can try this again next year, or a better thing to do is probably scale this goal down to a series of steps to take in that direction.
Item 3 = Release a podcast episode. This was a burning desire at the start of 2016, but it’s completely ebbed away and simply doesn’t feel like an important thing for me to do anymore. There are so many great podcasts, and I feel very content to support the ones I feel need it most through monthly donations, but otherwise I’m happy to just enjoy the work of others without being a creator myself in this field. I think that’s a good thing to have realized though.
As always, it feels cathartic and amazing to write a long blog post. And at the end of the year, reviewing what I wanted to achieve and how I feel about my progress feels especially satisfying. I’m doing ok. The winter blues start to set in every year when it turns cold, so it’s important to remind myself that bad days are just days. Overall, it’s been a very good year.