Monthly Archives: December 2017
Let’s start with
Unfortunately, I finished not a single one of the 10 600+ page books I had as my original goal, as I found it difficult to get into long books during school (especially while completing my thesis), and harder to lug them around on the subway after I started working. My new goal was to read 42 (because, why not?), and I’m happy to say that I managed 43. Hurrah.
This was a great year for books. Nine 5-star reviews (more than I’ve given in any other year), a few old favourites, several new favourite books and authors, three total duds, and plenty of amazing, memorable reads that I’m sure I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come (notably: Shrill, NOS4A2, What Happened, Moneyball, Big Little Lies, Being Mortal, The Female of the Species, and The Hate U Give).
For fun, I took note of the amount of ebook/hard copy books (19/24), female/male authors (23/20), and fiction/non-fiction genres (18/25) I read this year, and was unhappy with the ratio of the latter. Goal for next year: read more fiction. Also, I think for next year I’m going to try to read only books I’m currently reading, and not start any new ones until those are done. I’m “in the middle” of more than 60, according to Goodreads, and that’s just nonsense.
The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, Three Billboards, The Big Sick, Lion, Moonlight, Lego Batman, What We Do in the Shadows, When Harry Met Sally = the good
Sister Act, Kingsman 2, Ant-Man, Big, Hocus Pocus = the mediocre
Halloween Town = the ugly
The Good Place, Big Mouth, Stranger Things, Jane the Virgin, Fargo = the good
The Crown, This Is Us, 70000th re-watch of Friends (including s6-10) = the mediocre
The Gifted, Murdoch Mysteries = the ugly
Ugh, where to begin. I’m not going to go into politics and current events. We all know it’s been an utterly exhausting, infuriating, emotionally draining shit show. Much of my personal year was along similar lines – depths of depression I haven’t had to reckon with since 2010, changes in meds, school issues, personal drama, endless job interviews leading nowhere, money troubles, York, the TTC, fucking SHINGLES. Around June or July, I was reading some old WordPress articles for some reason (some actual reason, I just can’t remember what it was) when I came across my post on my decision to run a marathon for my 100 Things To Do In 1000 Days project back in 2013. I read this:
Right now, I have had no luck finding a job. I find myself in the default setting of the modern 20-somethings these days: drifting. I’m living at home again. I’m not ready to go back to school, but I’m not ready to settle into a career. I’m over-qualified for the work I want to do right now, and under-qualified for the jobs that everybody thinks I should have. I’m trying to save money for the next step, but in which direction is that step going to be?
You know. The usual.
I’m really good with big ideas. I’m really bad with figuring out how to make them happen before spiraling into an overwhelmed basket-case of depression and self-utter-loathing. “How dare you set yet another goal for yourself and not achieve it? God, you’re utterly useless.” I want to be a marine biologist, or a travel writer, or a photographer, or a genetic counselor. Or all of those things. I want to be finished my B.Sc. I want to finish writing my book. I want to start that travel website. This isn’t a new thing. Sometimes my life feels like a trail of half-finished or discarded projects. […] I’m just filled with the best of intentions.
I’ve always wanted to be doing big things, great things. I tested high in IQ, and I thought that meant I’d be finished grad school by now. Instead, I can’t even get hired by McDonald’s. I don’t apply for awesome internships or challenging workplaces because I cannot see myself succeeding in them. All I see is myself letting everybody down. I see in my future an under-realised life. I’ll work temp jobs for a while, I’ll be the crazy aunt in scarves, I’ll end up getting a small apartment and dying alone with my dogs, probably in a bit of debt. It will have been a reasonably happy, mostly mediocre life. My family and friends will be sad, and in 5 years, it will be like I was never on Earth.
My god, you guys. I fucking BAWLED. “Four years later and it’s all exactly the same. I didn’t even run a full marathon. Nothing has changed. I’ve done nothing. I’m a loser. McDONALD’S STILL WON’T HIRE ME EVERYTHING SUCKS AND HAS ALWAYS SUCKED AND WILL SUCK FOREVER MORE.”
It’s not like everything changed all at once. This was pre-shingles, after all. But after deciding to end my schooling, at least for the time being, in August, things started looking up. I got a job, a job that pays money, a real, adult job, with benefits. Starting paying down some loans. Read a lot. Remembered I had friends and indulged my social life. Looking at that old post today, at the end of December, there are some things I’d like to celebrate.
Yeah, I still live at home, and I don’t have my B.Sc. I haven’t gone anywhere in 2 years and have no current plans to, no matter how desperately the travel bug itches. I’ve put on some weight, and I still kind of suck at remembering to talk to people.
But look here, you. (me.) You haven’t done nothing. Since that post, you got a TESOL certificate and taught English in Korea. You also went to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Japan (twice), Taiwan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Macao, San Francisco, Hawaii, and New York. You climbed mount Fuji, ran a half-marathon, went bungee jumping, made hundreds of new friends, all over the world. Since 2013, you’ve read 142 books. This year, I wrote a thesis, got a job in a journalism-related field (who’d have thunk?), finally got my driver’s license, and had a lot of good days (I’d like to remember the ax-throwing, cider-tasting, 30th birthday surprise, Sister Act musical, Jurassic Park in Concert, and the Torgo-tastic uncut Manos, in particular). What more can you really ask for?
I’m so grateful for my friends and family, who dragged me through the bad days and helped me make the most of the good ones. Good bye 2017, you mixed bag of fury, despondency, joy, love, life. Looking forward to making your acquaintance, 2018. May you be heavier on the latter than the former.