I’m not much on New Year’s resolutions, and I find the click bait articles of the past year with the constant listing of the 25, 27, 30, etc. things you need to know about whatever topic dizzying and grating in their attempts at false cultural curation. But I am big on the top five moments of the year list I’ve been doing since 2003? 2004? with my friends Dan and Walter. The moments can be one moment or culmination of moments. It can be combined things as well. Here’s my list.
1) Emily and Kyle’s and Ann-Gee and Noah’s respective weddings. I love it when people I love get hitched; it’s even more profound when it’s the little sister. Bonus, in Emily and Kyle’s case I’m going to be an auntie!
2) Manchester/Portland/Seattle. As readers of this blog know, I travel a lot. This year was actually a light trip year, but I went to Seattle and Portland for a conference (with students) in March and then to Manchester for a conference in July. As always, travel shifts your perspective. In this case, I’d never been to Manchester before, much less the north of England, so this trip gave me an entirely new perspective on British culture. Oh, I also got to read Dickens’s letters to Elizabeth Gaskell. 😉
3) I got to see Vampire Weekend and Frank Turner live. Both have great new albums and put on great shows.
4) I wrote a lot this year: one conference paper, one essay for an edited collection, one essay revised, one book review, and another essay accepted for an edited collection. Also one essay published, and one collaborative essay on cultural studies pedagogy getting wrapped up. Oh, and that maddening, frustrating promotions portfolio with its roughly 80 pages of narration. I still want to set it on fire, but I’m also deeply proud of it.
5) I took up running and yoga. Neither of these were New Year’s resolutions. I started doing yoga because I needed to manage my stress levels. I’ve done yoga before with videos and it doesn’t get anywhere near the experience of a regular class. I adore my yoga class, and the fact that it doesn’t start back up again until January 14th has me bummed. I was surprised, and remain surprised, by how just an hour of yoga makes such a huge difference in my mental outlook. It really can flip the switch on a bad day and help you get perspective on frustrating situations. I took up running partly inspired by my friend April (who is a real runner) and my friend Jennifer who kept on going to these fun races with tutus and color powders. I made it my birthday thing this year, wherein I try new things and experiences, usually with some kind of silly or quirky component. Okay, so I’m super slow and I probably have a form people will laugh at (and let’s be real, the little sister has laughed at me running before), but I like it. I’ve learned you can’t run mad or frustrated, but if you let it, running will flip the switch the same way yoga will. I’m a lighter and happier person because of both.