askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire ([personal profile] askygoneonfire) wrote2015-12-14 09:48 pm
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2015 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Nothing 'big' but I was in a cinematic release movie, available on bluray later in the year, appeared on BBC tv. I had an operation - my first ever. And I kept ploughing on with the PhD - a determined continuation is new in a roundabout sort of way.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions for 2015 were:
>Submit my thesis/have a firm submission date for early 2016.
>Keep my mind.
>Add something beautiful to the world.
I haven't really achieved any of these.  No firm submission date save for the arbitrary one I set in my head after buying tickets to see the Manics on 28th May. I have hung on to my sanity in a firmer way than last year but I had a really dreadful June-September. And I haven't had time or inclination to make or plan anything beautiful. 

Next year I have but one resolution:
> Submit thesis, have viva, pass with minor corrections.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, but two friends are pregnant, one due later this month/early next month and my best friend B is due in June.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
I cried for Terry Pratchett. On the bus. When the news blindsided me from my phone. What a weird tech era we live in.

5. What countries did you visit?
Like last year, that's Wales, again.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Last year I wished for greater emotional resilience in 2015, overall I think I did. For 2016 I wish for overall good physical health.  This year was dreadful for that and set me back a long way with my thesis work.

7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I guess the date I had a huge countdown too was seeing the Manics in Cardiff on 5th June 2015 which was a thoroughly good day and night with wonderful lingering memories.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I still haven't finished the PhD.  This time last year I was determined to have a full draft to my supervisors by now but even by May that emerged as unrealistic. Overall I'm feeling quite optimistic about the PhD, which in itself is a big achievement.  I was invited to speak about my research at a fairly prestigious event in April next year so I'm chalking that up as a big achievement, pre-emptively. I also secured my wished for external examiner who is awaiting my summer submission.  And you know what? I have survived this year relatively unscathed, which is big after last year's rocky seas.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Still not letting go of my hate for a person from my past.  I wish I could just let it go, I think it poisons the soul to hang on to that negative energy

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My continued shoulder injury was made better/worse this year with the operation in November which I'm still recovering from.  I also lost nearly two months to a horrible virus thing that had some of the symptoms of mumps, some symptoms of tonsilitis and all the symptoms of being a fucking bore. All in all I've lost about a quarter of the year to illness of some kind. All things considered, it's quite amazing I've made the progress with my PhD I have.

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
I bought a new laptop in January, a little HP Stream for the bargain price of £180 and it revolutionised my working at uni - it is so much lighter than my main laptop and meant I actually brought it in to work more and overall worked more.  I need to keep up that momentum in terms of working every hour of the day and taking advantage of every opportunity to work in 2016.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

My best friend B.  Constant as the stars and saving my arse a good couple of times as well as making me super proud when she invited me to be a bridesmaid for her in May, which was the most fun wedding I've ever been too. Plus I got to wear I pretty blue dress [clcik for photo] and flounce around with flowers all day.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
The fucking government. Less said the better.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, bills, Manics. It's like my "death and taxes", that the Manics suck up all my money!  I spent a bit on going to three conferences this year as well but I was fortunate in that the uni reimbursed me on those costs.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
...Manics. And B's wedding in May.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Not one from this year, but increasingly the one which defines 2015.  When the refugee crisis finally seemed to penetrate the public consciousness with that dreadfully sad image of the child lying dead on a Greek beach. Many of my friends referred to the Manics song the Everlasting and I ended up listening to that song and the album it's from in order to mitigate and handle my sadness around those events which I was, save for making a few donations to humanitarian charities, helpless to change.
The world is full of refugees
They're just like you and just like me
But as people we have a choice
To end the void with all its force
So don't forget or don't pretend
It's all the same now in the end
It was set in a different life
Destroys my days and haunts my nights

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. Happier or sadder? Happier, I think. Overall this has been a more stable year and although I had a very big wobble whilst stuck at home, in pain, recovering from op, I'm feeling brighter as the year draws to a close
ii. Thinner or fatter? Same, possibly slimmer. Last year I said I wanted to work on being 'thinner still' and overall I've kept weight in check this year although I'm now anxious about this as I haven't been able to exercise properly/go swimming since the end of Nov/before my op.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer. My 3 year studentship ended at the end of September so now I'm running on teaching pay and savings. Eek.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Writing! Thesis progress slowed to a crawl from Autumn and I wish so much I had been able to push myself to work harder during the last months of the year.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I wish I'd spent a lot less time prepping for teaching - I seemed to spend far too many hours thinking about, planning for, and worrying about my teaching load this year. Next year I resolve to be cool as a cucumber and go for a less-is-more approach

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
With my parents and beloved cat, in the East Midlands. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Ha! No.

22. How many one-night stands?
Ha! A big fat zero. A big fat no sex year, in fact.

23. What was your favourite TV program?
Jane the Virgin, probably.  Watched a lot of Star Trek this year too.  Series 6 of Star Trek TNG is stonking but series 7 is appalling. Getting into DS9 on my third attempt to watch it too.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No. I'm focusing on ways I can move through the world only making enemies of those who deserve opposition, and not generating hate towards anyone.

25. What was the best book you read?
It's been a really good book year so this is hard to pick.  I'm going to cheat and say the best graphic I read was Vincent, the best fantasy was I Shall Wear Midnight, and the best sci-fi was The Peripheral. How wonderful to be spoilt for choice.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ha! I can't remember the last time I listened to new music.  The best new-to-me album I bought was Carole King's Tapestry - beautiful melodies.

27. What did you want and get?
I wanted Manics in my life and a happy few 

28. What did you want and not get?
A thesis draft/all four analysis chapters in finished-ish state.  And, more abstractly, a proof reader.  I need someone with a passing interest in my topic and a dedicated, thorough and trustworthy person to read my thesis.  As is, I've got nobody.  It's one of those times having a family who universally have not been to university, and barely any who did A Levels, really bites/makes me feel disadvantaged against my colleagues.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?
Inside Out! I adored it.  Saw it twice, cried more the second time round. Have thoroughly assimilated it into consciousness/how I see the world.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 31. I had a major meltdown in run up to birthday (again!) and nearly cancelled all my plans but in the end, I went ahead and had a lovely evening with a cross section of my friends in a pub in Brighton. We ended up sitting outside in the unseasonable warmth as the Rugby World Cup was on in seemingly every pub that served food but it made for a really nice night.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Progressing further with my redrafting for the PhD.  I feel I've really dropped the pace, even though there are good reasons for that (as above) but I know I'd have a much stronger sense of satisfaction if I had things more in order/further forward on that front.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I actually started thinking about my appearance this year! I bought a lovely new dress for a friend's wedding in August and a pile of new tops that are more smart/casual and flattering to my shape than my usual uniform of hoodies and baggy jeans. I've also been getting lots of compliments on my appearance since I stepped up a bit on that front which is reward in itself.

33. What kept you sane?

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Nicky Wire. As per.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
The knobbing election. Fucking mess that it was.

36. Who did you miss?
Vincent, my cat.  And B - a married, overworked, now-pregnant bestie is not an available friend.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I can't recall meeting anyone this year who has become a friend.  Perhaps it's just the deepening friendships I have with people in my life, and certainly the sense of gelling with the person I've asked to be my external examiner and whom I met for the first time this year.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015: Pass.

39. Who did you spend the most time on the phone with?:
My parents. Tells you a lot about my life, that.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
"So I convalesce and I ease the stress...So I rehabilitate and get my body straight"