Wednesday, 7 January 2015

This new year

Right then. So the Earth has once again passed that arbitrary point in its orbit which we define as the beginning and the end of a year. The entire event went by without much celebration on my part, since some abstract entity or other saw it fit that I should spend it immersed in a head-cold, fever and all. But oh well, I'm back on my feet now, and thought some reflection might be in order.

Let's start with the year gone by. 2014. Wow. I said last year that 2013 was the best year of my life so far, but 2014 most definitely did top it. Another year of amazement at what life would throw at me, and large parts of it entirely unimagined at the beginning of the year.

New Zealand. New Fucking Zealand. As followers of this blog might have noticed, I spent half of the year in this magical country. Words aren't enough for the happiness and wonder I found in that faraway place, way beyond even my wildest expectations. So many adventures, so much beauty, so much love. Above all: such lovely people! Many amazing friends were made, and I hope to come back and visit them again some day. I will come back, damn it! That land of mountains and birds and forests and volcanoes and plains and sheep feels like home now, as much as Sweden and La Palma.

Some shorter trips were made as well. Kuala Lumpur and Berlin were visited and explored with great delight, also in the company of lovely friends. Studies and research were conducted with overall pretty good results, and to a large degree enjoyed as well. Colliding galaxies, Antarctica, and dwarf spheroidal galaxies, yum. I think I most definitely found a future research topic of interest. Enough progress was made education-wise that I should be able to finish my master's degree within the next half-year if all goes well!

LARPing and roleplaying was done in abundance. Twelve larps and no less than seven gaming conventions, whee! So much fun, and my LARP anxiety is most definitely cured. Well, okay, I still get nervous as hell, but not to the point of avoiding things I really want to do, which is great.

Progress was made on the novel-writing front! Not as much as I had hoped, seeing as I didn't finish the second draft of the first book as I set out to do, and only made it halfway through NaNoWriMo this time. But nonetheless a lot of words were written, and a fair bit of them aren't half bad if I may say so myself. Hopefully I'll get a more stable writing flow going this year. The ambition is to finish the second drafts of both the first and the second book in this trilogy I'm working on, and the first of the third one. Completing NaNoWriMo and VeganMoFo is the plan. I might never learn this 'reasonable ambitions' business thing.

I finally came to terms with and came out with my identity as agender. That was an immense relief, I feel more comfortable with and surer of myself than ever before. There is still a lot of figuring out to be done, and a lot of standing up for myself before friends, relatives and strangers to be struggled through, but it is a start. I think my resolution to stop apologising all the time without thinking might have had something to do with me daring to do this, so mission accomplished there I'd say! It is a great feeling to be determined not to apologise for who I am anymore.

One not-so-great thing was being homeless for five months. Since I'm blessed with a whole bunch of friends who generously opened up their homes for me I never actually had to sleep on the street, but nevertheless not having a place to call my own took its toll on my sanity. It's an ambiguous freedom which leaves one vulnerable. I was forced to learn to trust, which is a good thing, even though it brought a whole bunch of half-suppressed anxieties out into the open. Maintaining habits became really difficult, though, which meant that I didn't exactly treat myself optimally in terms of health.

I've been running throughout the year, but without very much discipline or routine I haven't made any progress in terms of endurance. Forty kilometres is still way beyond what I can manage, although I am pleased to say that ten kilometres hardly poses a problem anymore. In New Zealand I practiced yoga, did a lot of tramping, and tried out fun things like bungee-jumping, skydiving and orienteering, but whatever physical benefits gained from that were mostly lost during the autumn because of a couple of mean cases of flu coupled with lack of continuity. But oh well. I'll give the running another go this year. Maybe I'll even learn how to do a handstand? Fencing, which I love so much, will regrettably have to lie on the shelf for another while due to lack of money.

Another physical thing that I resolve for this year is to avoid eating sugar. I figure it's about time to break this addiction that I have, and I suspect it is dragging down my health in various ways. I've made a deal with myself in which maple syrup and dark chocolate is okay from time to time and in small doses, but otherwise the ambition is to stay as clear away from refined sugar as I possibly can. No way I'm giving up on fruit or vegetables, though; I wouldn't last a week without that. This will be difficult enough as it is, there being so many social pressures around this legally accepted drug. Being a cookie monster is even a part of my identity, for goodness' sake. But I think I'll manage; I've gotten away with weirder things before.

Other things I aspire to do this year include spending less time on Facebook. It has been eating my soul for far too long now, and I'd really like to do actually do something with all that otherwise wasted time. Not buying Christmas gifts is another one. I'm so terribly sick of Christmas and its surrounding commercialism that I might boycott it altogether.

Lastly, I also resolve to try not to get angry at or make fun of people who show ignorance. I think it is a despicable thing to do which discourages learning and makes it harder for someone to admit they were wrong or didn't know about something. It is also something I have noticed in my own behaviour to a large extent, and so I aim to become aware of it and, well, stop it. It is much more fun to educate, after all. This might also make it easier for me to admit when I don't know something.

Oh well. I've been blathering on about my egocentric hopes and memories enough for now. I wish you a happy new year, and good luck with your resolutions if you have any, dear reader!

Love and a new year,

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