dolorosa_12: (le guin)
[personal profile] dolorosa_12
This has been my tradition since 2007, and I've found it to be a good way to take stock and pause for reflection in the moment as one year slips into the next.


1. What did you do in 2016 that you'd never done before?
Get engaged. Become a UK citizen and attend a citizenship ceremony. Teach in an industry (rather than academic, NHS or professional body) workshop/conference. Conduct a systematic review.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My resolutions for this past year were simple: more collaboration, more conversation, and more discussion of things I loved. I think I mostly succeeded in this — I continued to reach out online and in real life to like-minded people, to focus on stories and experiences that made me happy, and to expend more energy celebrating friends' successes rather than dwelling on cruelty and failures. As the year went on, and the events in the wider world became grimmer and more difficult to ignore, it became harder to keep to these resolutions, but I'm not sure it would have been sensible to try.

My aims for 2017 are simpler, and quieter: to carve out spaces of safety, kindness, empathy and beauty where I can, to draw my own personal lines in the sand, and hold to them, to support and live and love with integrity, and to remember, always, that love, love is a verb, love is a doing word..

To remain until the lights go out.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My sister-in-law had a son — my first nephew. A huge number of friends in Australia, the UK, and elsewhere had babies this year as well, and it's been so wonderful to see all these beautiful babies experiencing the world for the first time, so full of life and hope and promise.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year.

5. What countries did you visit?
I was in Australia at the start of 2016 before returning to the UK. Other than that I've only been to Wales and Germany.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Matthias' British citizenship. Hope for the future.

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'd like to be able to say May 25th, the day I became a UK citizen (in the most UK ceremony ever — a mix-up with the music, a bunch of strangers awkwardly mumbling their way through 'God Save the Queen', and tea and biscuits afterwards), or 3rd April, when Matthias and I got engaged, but unfortunately those brief flickers of happiness were drowned out by 24th June, and 9th November — the first like a buffeting wave of icy water, which I was barely able to withstand, the second like a tsunami coming to finish me off.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I'd have to say that if you ignore all the political horrors taking place worldwide, 2016 has been a year of great personal achievement. My job was made permanent. Matthias got a new job which represented a significant promotion. We got engaged. I got my citizenship. He got his permanent residence. In other words, everything we needed for a secure and certain future in our country of choice happened. And then politics ripped the rug out from beneath our feet.

9. What was your biggest failure?
I suppose I failed to persuade enough of my fellow British, US and (just to add icing on the cake) Australian voters to vote to cancel the apocalypse.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing, other than the odd migraine and the usual bruises from bumping into furniture.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My citizenship application, my new British passport, and our marriage license.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?
My in-laws', for quietly going about being a light in the world, devoting a substantial amount of their time and energy volunteering to help refugees in their region in Germany with paperwork, integration, and language-learning. They set an example that those of us in similarly privileged positions should strive to follow.

Matthias, for his love, belief and support, and his unfailing ability to lift my spirits and making me want to fight for a kinder, better future. My mother, for her continued material and emotional support. Friends, near and far, online and off, for everything.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
I could say any number of US, UK, Australian or other political figures, but to be honest, I'm more appalled and depressed at the people who voted for them — especially those in the US who looked at Trump, a misogynistic, racist, homophobic scammer, utterly hopeless at everything except being a fascist demagogue, and looked at Hillary Clinton, who, whatever you think about her, was an experienced politician who ran a hopeful, inclusive and accomplished campaign, and thought, 'they're both as bad as each other.'

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent and bills. This question is never very interesting once you become an independent adult, because the answer is always the same!

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Getting my citizenship, getting engaged, and Matthias' new job.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Aruna - 'The End (Aruna vs. Husman remix)', Aurora - 'Black Water Lillies', Devon Seven - 'Sunkissed by the Eternal Girl', and this female vocal trance playlist, which became my 'getting stuff done' soundtrack.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder? Sadder, for the almost the first time since I started doing these memes. It's the first year since 2008 that I stopped feeling like I was progressing towards a happier, safer, better future. (I have to laugh at last year's answer: 'happier, due to a much needed sense of stability and hope for the future.' Oh dear.)
ii. thinner or fatter? Probably about the same.
iii. richer or poorer? Slightly better off.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I wish I'd managed to do a bit more long-form blogging, like last year.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Feeling upset, afraid and despairing.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I was in Germany with my in-laws this year. We had Christmas Eve dinner at my sister- and brother-in-laws' place, where presents were also distributed, and spent Christmas Day reading at my parents-in-law's house before having their traditional cold seafood dinner.

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?
I fell more in love with Matthias, and with our life together.

23. Did your heart break in 2016?
Yes, on 24th June and 9th November.

24. What was your favourite TV program?
I very much enjoyed the return of Humans and The Americans, but my heart belonged this year to Deutschland 83.

25. Where were you when 2016 began?
On the roof of my mum's building in Sydney, watching fireworks light up the sky above Sydney Harbour, filled with love and hope and happiness.

26. Who were you with?
Matthias, my mum, and a bunch of relatives and family friends.

27. Where will you be when 2016 ends?
At my friends' house in Cambridge.

28. Who will you be with when 2016 ends?
My friends P and V (whose house it is), [tumblr.com profile] shinyshoeshaveyouseenmymoves and her partner E, and Matthias.

29. What was the best book you read?
There were no real stand outs this year, but I enjoyed Infomocracy by Malka Older, and The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers quite a lot.

30. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Aurora!

31. What did you want and get?
British citizenship. My job to be made permanent. To get engaged. Matthias' permanent residence documentation. Matthias to get a new job.

32. What did you want and not get?
To remain in the European Union, and a Hillary Clinton presidency in the US, goddammit.

33. What was your favourite film of this year?
As with books, there weren't really any films that grabbed me by the heart, but I really enjoyed Hunt for the Wilderpeople, and Rogue One came along at exactly the right time to give me hope and healing.

34. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Not much on the day itself, but Matthias took me out for dinner at a fantastic restaurant that specialised in dim sum, tea, and tea-based cocktails on a different day (we had to go earlier as the restaurant was going to be closed from the day before my birthday until the new year). He will also be taking me to London to see Cirque du Soleil next year. I was thirty-two.

35. How many different states/cities did you travel to in 2016?
I can't remember how many day-trips I made in the UK, although I know I went to London and Ely several times, as well as weekend visits to Anglesey and Exeter and a week-long hike with my mum in Somerset and Devon. Other than that, I was in Sydney early in 2016, and visited Matthias' hometown in Germany, as well as Munich, Passau and Nuremberg.

36. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
What is going to be comfortable when worn standing up and teaching for an entire day?

37. What kept you sane?
The kindness, empathy, and love of Matthias, friends and family. Stories.

38. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I don't really do this, but I suppose I continued in my adoration of Shay Mitchell, and gained a newfound admiration of Taika Waititi and Elodie Yung.

39. What political issue stirred you the most?
The EU referendum, and associated racism and xenophobia, and the worldwide rise of fascism.

40. How many concerts did you see in 2016?
Two - Aurora, and Birdy, both in Cambridge.

41. Did you have a favourite concert in 2016?
Aurora. It was just so hopeful and compassionate and healing, at a time when my heart was feeling hopeless and heavy.

42. Who was the best new person you met?
I really loved meeting [personal profile] naye and [personal profile] doctorskuld, and [twitter.com profile] Nymeth in person for the first time. It was also great to meet my lovely nephew!

43. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
No.

44. What was your most embarrassing moment of 2016?
I'm not easily embarrassed.

45. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
If the only thing we have to gain in staying is each other, my god that is plenty.
My god that is enough.

My god, that is so so much for the light to give.
Each of us at each other’s backs
whispering over and over and over,

“Live. Live. Live.”


46. What are your plans for 2017?
Sort out Matthias' British citizenship. Get married. Fight back against the tide, to the best of my ability.

47. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
It's another year for 'All Systems Red', Calexico's song of political rage and despair:

Felt a tremor stir beneath my breath
That forecasts storms on the gallup poll
Woke up from the nightmare news
And hoping to read a sign in the morning air

Nothing changes here and nothing improves
All say my friends who just want out
And leave these troubles behind
Scatter like paper in the eye of the storm
Documented with a silent snow
That's only heard from far away

More cards in play, follow in suit
Everywhere you look, you only see red
And wonder when to call off the race
Watching a horse running down its last legs
Just when you think it couldn't get much worse
Watch the numbers rise on the death toll
And the chimes of freedom flash and fade
Only heard from far, far away

I hear you can't trust in your own
Now the grey is broken in the early morn
And the words forming barely have a voice
It's just your heart that's breaking without choice

Everything you've learned is distorted in your head
Bouncing off the walls, unravelling the thread
Staying up with the blue screen glow
Forgetting everything you ever dreamed years ago

When the dread is flowing down my veins
I want to tear it all down and build it up again
Tear it all down, build it up again

Hear your heart that's breaking without choice
I want to hear those chimes ring again
Ring again



Happy 2017, everyone.

Date: 2016-12-31 01:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] christinafairy.livejournal.com
I enjoyed reading this. Obviously I feel the same as you towards the politics in the UK and US. I hope people in 2017 realise they made a mistake and we can start returning to some sense of normalcy.

Date: 2016-12-31 04:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dolorosa-12.livejournal.com
I hope for the same thing. I'm frightened about next year, but all I can do is keep going, and try to help make things better in whatever way I can.

Happy 2017.

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rushes into my heart and my skull

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