askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
[personal profile] askygoneonfire
1. What did you do in 2014 that you'd never done before?
I started selling badges on Etsy and that's been a very modest little income which I like to think of as a hobby which pays for itself.

It's been a modest year all round, really.
2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions for 2014 were:
> Make a habit of looking up signs in BSL and learning interesting bits with a view to to taking classes in 2015.
Didn't happen. Not even a bit. Can barely find time to sleep and eat these days though so perhaps this needs to go on hold until I've finished the PhD.
> Code all interview data and plot out all my thesis chapters around the themes that emerge.
Done and done. Coding is more organic than I planned so I am still picking away at it but themes came out strongly, thesis structure fell into place, and now I just need to get it all down on paper.
> Present at at least one external conference.
Ended up being a fucking dreadful conference full of obnoxious, cliquey academics in fields I knew nothing about, but I did it.

My resolutions for 2015 are:
>Submit my thesis/have a firm submission date for early 2016.
>Keep my mind.
>Add something beautiful to the world.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My good friend J and his wife had their second child in August, although life has got in the way and I still haven't met the newest member of their family.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thank goodness, no. Although it seems far too many celebrities and writers, whose lives shape ours in many ways, dropped out this year - Rik Mayall, Robin Williams, Leslie Feinberg, Stuart Hall...

5. What countries did you visit?
Nothing outside the UK, but a nice little escape to Cardiff in September when life got on top of me and it was all very fight or flight. And a planned trip to Cardiff to see the Manics in March. So Wales, twice.

6. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?
I feel I've worked quite hard this year although the last few weeks I have decidedly slacked off after an exhausting term of teaching. Generally this has made me feel I've done everything I need and had everything I need...emotionally 2014 has been quite challenging. I can't see this getting any better in 2015 because a great deal of the emotional trials I've had have been linked to workload stress and, as I enter the final year of my PhD, that's only going to get worse. Nonetheless, I wish for greater emotional resilience in 2015, I definitely lacked that in 2014.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
17th of December. One I looked forward to for months, one which arrived and began with all the pomp it promised, then went sour. It went wrong in the way most of my year seems to have done, in one way or another. Still, I got to see the Manics play Mausoleum so it could have been worse.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Objectively, I know I've achieved quite a bit this year - academically, financially, professionally - despite this my gut instinct is to say "nothing". I'm leaving 2014 with a heavy heart and with considerable anxiety about the year ahead. It's been a groundwork year, perhaps any achievements next year will need to be counted against 2014 as well.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I can't think of anything significant. The biggest thing right now is not having finished my marking and not having prepped to write an essay which is due in on the 5th of January.

I walked away from therapy at the beginning of the year. I'm not sure it was a failure, or even the wrong decision. But it was too much intimacy and too much picking at a wound. Things aren't any different in my head. But then therapy could never guarantee it would be, which is why I ended up feeling I couldn't risk opening myself up to it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My fecking ACJ is still injured and fucking me up, another steroid injection last week and physio resumes next week. My knees decided to join in during the last few weeks and now I'm eating paracetamol like skittles. My immune system has been quietly brilliant all year though, and I must - do - celebrate that.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My new tattoo! I got it at the beginning of October - as close to my 30th birthday as I could schedule - and still marvel at its detail and complexity. It's a carrion crow, on my right ankle. Here is a photograph the tattooist took moments after it was complete;
12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Laura and Ruth, both of who opened their heads and their home and wanted to be with me at different times this year, when nobody else did. Birmingham being another place I ran away to this year.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
I am choosing not to dwell on this, this year.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Excluding rent and bills, the single biggest expense was my new tattoo, above. The biggest cumulative expense was the Manics, again. I somehow managed to see them 4 times this year, once in Cardiff, once in Brighton, at an in store in London, and again last week at the Roundhouse in London. Tickets and travel for all that rather added up. I think it was basically worth it.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Seeing the Manics - a repeated theme this year but as I said at the beginning, it's been a modest year and Manics gigs represent the few occasions this year I gave myself permission to take time off and enjoy myself.

16. What song will always remind you of 2014?
Europa Geht Durch Mich. Stomping, Manics, shouting, energy, fresh, now.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder? Sadder. From August onwards I feel I've been on something of a downward trajectory. Friendships have been more and more challenging. PhD has been more and more demanding. Work/teaching has been more and more energy sucking.
ii. Thinner or fatter? Briefly thinner, but now I think about the same. Working on being thinner still. I certainly feel since resolving to lose weight in July I have taken positive control over my body.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer, although only technically. I'm saving hard to be able to afford luxuries like rent and food after September 2015 when my funding ends so although there's more in the bank than there was last year, my financial situation feels grinding and I feel poor.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Being happy. Unwinding. Forgiving myself for needing time to rest and recharge.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Procrastinating. I could have finished my marking already if I hadn't spent several days this week laying on the sofa doing bugger all. That can easily be expanded across the whole fucking year. I need to pull my finger out and start working full days on thesis and teaching.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my parents and cat, in the East Midlands. Like many years before. I'm planning something of a holiday - just one piece of work to complete in the two week I am visiting my parents and a fiddle around with interview data in preparation for writing up my next chapter during January.

21. Did you fall in love in 2014?
No. Fuck that shit.

Well. I started seeing a girl, and it went really well and we really liked each other. But somehow we met each other at the wrong point in our lives. We were both pragmatic enough to say "hey, you're super, this could have really been something but...so long" so at least I walked away without any burning sense of loss or being hard done by. Just not the right time.

22. How many one-night stands?
It's been a dry year.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
Orange is the New Black! I finally got round to watching the thing everyone raved about and it is so damn good. Honourable mention also to Modern Family and The Bridge.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
Again, I am glad I can say no. Something of my lifelong resolution in there.

25. What was the best book you read?
Probably The Forever War by Joe Haldeman, although Flowers for Algernon was a really affecting read. It's been all about sci-fi this year, as you can see in my full list of books read

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Nothing. Not a damn thing. I listen to Pick of the Pops on Radio 2 on a Saturday and occasionally catch the Radcliffe and Maconie show on BBC 6Music. I just don't have time - give myself time? - to listen to anything new. I bought the new Arcade Fire album and it took me months to even listen to it - and I already know I like them. Hopeless.

27. What did you want and get?
Progression on my thesis. Tickets for the Manics gigs. A place to call home for another year.

28. What did you want and not get?
To be someone's number one choice.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Guardians of the Galaxy. I saw precious few films this year, and despite seeing Boyhood with the rest of the country it didn't really change my life. So yes, racially-problematic GotG for me.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
30. Felt like it was going to be a big deal but it turned out...not to be. I wrote about it briefly.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?
Holey. Which is to say - all my clothes have holes in them.

34. What kept you sane?
Cardiff. Throwing some stuff in a bag and running.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nicky Wire for a bit, then Angelina Jolie for a bit, then David Tennant for a bit. Nobody new, again.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm not sure I had any energy left this year. I feel we don't have any control over the things that are going to shit in the country - the NHS sell off, the Royal Mail sell off, the disgustingly cruel and destructive welfare changes - nothing I sign or write or vote makes a difference. I'll be voting for Caroline Lucas to be my MP again in the New Year because she has fought for and spoken up for all the things I think are important, for all the difference it makes. I'd rather we went down heard than unheard, but I've got no energy left to give to it.

37. Who did you miss?
People from the past. They appear like ghosts in the most unexpected places.

38. Who was the best new person you met?
I don't think I've met a single new person this year who has become in any way close or important in my life. Which is depressing.

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014:
It's all on you, kid.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
I am crawling into corners/I am a sky about to fall in/I am a sea about to part/A tiny piece of malcontent [Misguided Missile]
 

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askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

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