Last night I rang in the new year at a bar that must have been converted from an alleyway, now serving craft cocktails just a few doors down the cross-street formerly known as crack corner. Austin has changed a lot, but me: not so much. I was legitimately enjoying talking to a couple visiting from New York - one is an architect who helps re-imagine and keep some of this country's oldest buildings functional and beautiful. The other recently left Martin Scorsese's production team to pursue a career in psychiatry. What interesting people! What great conversation!
Fast forward an hour and you'd find me crying into my french fries in the McDonald's parking lot, partially because their soft-serve machine was broken, but mainly because the first thing I felt in 2017 was inadequacy in my profession. Which, honestly, is nothing new. I mean, a name tag prompted me to say who I am and I couldn't even think to put down "writer:"
My social feeds are full of people celebrating the positives of 2016 and what's to come. I love that, and I want to jump on that optimism train myself. I just want to say that if you're feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to embrace the new year and make something of it/of yourself, you're not alone. I woke up thinking, "This is the first day of something different" and then cried over my lunch, got in bed and watched The Parent Trap (new on Netflix!)
But despite my wavering self-confidence and ever-present existential crisis, this past year was wonderful. Not necessarily in ways I intended, but that's the beauty of life or something.
Planned (aka Resolutions 2016): WWOOF Update: I did no such thing. I hope WWOOF considers my wasted membership fee as a token of my support for such a neat organization. For those who don't know, WWOOF stands for "World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms" and connects volunteers with organic farms all over the world.
Use my slow-cooker Update: Slow-cooker was used plenty. By fiancé. Good enough!
Ride the MS-150 Update: Done! And I also surpassed my $1,000 fundraising goal. Thanks, everyone!
Get good at my jobs Update: I quit my part-time digital production job at the news station a few months in, which I knew was going to happen as soon as I was offered the full-time position with New Waterloo. I'll have to wait for my review before I can tell you whether I'm doing a well enough job, but I can proudly say I've worked my ass off this year and tried my best.
Respect my free timeUpdate: This was code for "it's okay to not freelance for a while." I honestly got so busy that it became impossible to pursue a lot of outside projects. I do miss freelancing, but I'm glad I have a job that fulfills me in ways that I previously had to seek elsewhere.
Have a white Christmas Update: We tried! Do you know how expensive tickets to Maine and Vermont are during the holidays? Ridiculous! But we did spend it outside of Texas. I say success.
TOWER To be clear, this is not my success. But I am so, so happy for those whose it is and grateful for an opportunity to play a small part in it (Like, literally. I've been immortalized as the English professor who calls the police station to report the sniper). In 2014, I considered a future in documentary-making. I had recently written a story on dance choreographer Allison Orr's most recent production, and in my research watched a documentary by Austin director Andrew Garrison about her previous project. I stuck my neck out and emailed Andrew, asking if he'd be willing to get coffee and talk about ways I could explore filmmaking. He kindly accepted to meet for coffee and referred me to a few current projects in the area, including Keith Maitland's TOWER project about the 1966 UT tower shooting. I got an intern position not because of my resumé, but because I emailed Keith directly after getting an out of office message from the co-producer. I showed gumption, baby, and because of it I got to help conduct research and get a credit in an amazing documentary that's been short-listed for an Oscar nominee. Not bad for my first foray into the field.
Engagement 2016 Don't get me wrong - about a year into our relationship, I took my friend Amy's advice and started telling Marcus that my cat cried because she was being raised in a broken home. I knew I wanted to marry Marcus shortly after we started dating. What still blows my mind, though, is how one of the most difficult times in my adult life is what brought us so close together. Not only did we meet at the company I never intended to work at for very long, but it was because I was in a shit position with long hours that Marcus's internship got extended to work with me and help alleviate my workload. It's almost like everything happens for a reason. (It doesn't, by the way. This realization just made me feel a whole lot better about my otherwise seemingly wasted years working at a software company.)
And now, drumroll drumroll drumroll, my 2017 resolutions:
Get married (!) Run another half-marathon (my fourth, this time benefiting Girls Empowerment Network. Please consider donating!) Bake more cause it makes me happy Dance more cause I just want to DANCE Freelance more, or not In other words, make sure whatever I do is more of a conscious decision and not like "Oh, wow, I haven't pitched a story in 9 months does this mean I'm really not a writer but rather a shell of a person who gave up all of her goals in life?" Practice French (a failed 2015 resolution. We'll see how I do this year!)
May 2017 be different, and challenging, and generally good.