2014: A Year in Review

1920336_10152035606485698_205299555_n2014, for me, was a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it kind of year. There weren’t any big life-changers. Time just passed me by and before I knew it, we were on the cusp of a new January. Looking back over the events of the year is a happy reminder that it wasn’t all just a waste of time, so allow me to reflect on the last 12 months…

  1. What did you do in 2014 that you’d never done before?

I went on a little holiday without the parents. It only took 22 years. You quickly realise that within a group of friends, everybody quickly adopts the archetypal family roles in a holiday situation. I think I was probably the dad that no one really listens to and often mocks, but who still gets to sit in the front seat of the car. My friends might argue I was the grumpy teenager but don’t listen to them, they are all known liars. These kids don’t gimme no respect!

  1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I’m not really a new year’s resolutions type of gal, but I definitely went into the year with the hope that I would continue to progress in my running, having run my first 5k on Christmas Day. I can happily say that all of my fitness goals were achieved. I’m training harder than ever and I’ve run nearly 40 races this year. And I won my little trophy for my efforts.

For next year, I have no resolute goals but I would like to keep the running going strong. I hope to run further and faster over the course of the year, with my eyes on a quarter marathon or perhaps even further.

  1. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No.

  1. Did anyone close to you die?

No.

  1. What countries did you visit?

None. I’m rather deficient on the wanderlust. Also quite poor.

  1. What would you like to have in 2015 that you lacked in 2014?

Given that I’m about to drop off the end of a big ole cliff, finally reaching the end of my degree, a heavy dose of confidence wouldn’t go amiss. I can feel the anxiety rising in my body, stress coursing through my veins as though my transformation into the nerve-killing superhero I always knew I could be is imminent.

I hope that finishing university will also give me a little time to just enjoy being a person in the world again. So much of the last five years has been consumed by essays and exams and journal articles; I can’t wait to just take a breath. Not that the prospect of finishing education isn’t also terrifying.

  1. What dates from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

March 14th. HAIM. UEA LCR. Not only was it an incredible experience to watch my favourite musicians absolutely slay on that stage, but seeing three incredibly talented women at the top of their game was energising. They can do anything with their guitars in hand, and why shouldn’t I be able to do the same with a pen in mine? Sharing it with my best friend, my soupsnake, the platonic love of my life made it every bit more beautiful. I believe that seeing the band you love the most is one of life’s greatest pleasures. The hope that we’ll be able to repeat the experience enthuses me no end. Este, Danielle, Alana – your move. Tickets please.

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Este Haim performing Go Slow at the LCR. Photography by me.

  1. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Probably my little running trophy. Surviving my second second year of university was no small feat, though. Both of my experiences in second year have been rough but knowing how much more it mattered this time, both personally and professionally, made the knocks harder to take. I’m proud of how I dealt with it, though – by taking the advice of the wise women in my life and lacing up my trainers, which brings us full circle to my original answer: my little running trophy. Not only was it an acknowledgement of my efforts on the track, but it represented overcoming the challenges I faced and continue to face at university. It made me feel like I could accomplish anything I wanted. I felt strong.

  1. What was your biggest failure?

Maybe the mark I got in February for an essay that I thought I’d nailed. I remember picking it up first thing in the morning and having it hang over me throughout a day of lectures and seminars. Nothing stifles creativity like being on the verge of tears, and so I left my creative writing seminar feeling totally defeated and spent about an hour in the uni toilets. The real kicker was that I was weeping in the cubicle so long that the motion censor lights switched off. Picture me sniffling away while performing star jumps in an effort to get the lights back on. I wish I could say it was the most pathetic moment of my life.

  1. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I went over on my ankle at the end of a Parkrun in April, landing arse-first in a muddy puddle, putting me out for a few weeks. Later in the year, the saga of my terrible toe began. No, Taylor, we are not out of the woods yet.

  1. What was the best thing you bought?

Cinema tickets for Guardians of the Galaxy. Spending the last hours of my birthday with a giant Chris Pratt, watching him dance-off into a new day was very special. It was a new dawn, a new day, a new life for me. And yeah, I felt pretty good about it.

  1. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

This answer would probably remain constant whether you asked me this year, last year, next year. My best friend, Hannah. She is there for me day in, day out. No matter what is going on, I have someone to go through everything with me. Every best memory I have from this year, and from the moment I met her for that matter, has Hannah at the heart of it. And if I think about my bad memories from the year, it’s Hannah who was helping me deal with them – that, or texting me cute things about Josh and Donna (e.g. “Today I thought about Josh and Donna’s child having a first crush and Josh offering advice. I did other stuff too but that was important.”). On top of that, she really nailed my presents this Christmas. I’m still reeling from her gift-giving prowess.

  1. Whose behaviour made you appalled?

Aaron Sorkin’s been pretty terrible this year. Having contentedly hate-watched The Newsroom for three seasons, I didn’t think it had the power to really get to me as I peered down from my little turret, watching it with complete emotional detachment. Despite this, the penultimate episode of the final season left me tearfully shaking with impotent rage. The implication that there is a moral obligation not to believe a rape victim until their rapist is convicted, despite the acknowledgement that the law is failing rape victims on a truly horrendous scale, was one of the most distressing arguments I’ve seen made on television for a long time. The fact that it was coming from Don, retconned good guy character who provided The Newsroom‘s stand-in for a Josh Lyman type, and that Sorkin has implied it represents his own stance on the issue only makes it worse. This is not an isolated Sorkin problem by any stretch of the imagination, but it remains fresh in my mind. If you’re interested in this topic, I recommend reading Emily Nussbaum’s piece.

  1. Where did most of your money go?

Travelling to Norwich.

  1. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The return of Agents of SHIELD. I was looking forward to it all summer, speculating on the many exciting possibilities for the new episodes. We had a pizza party to celebrate the premiere and everything. What a bummer that was. Thankfully, the pizza was good. (Bless Dominos for their ‘Spend £50 and get everything half price’ offer.)

  1. What song will always remind you of 2014?

Shake It Off by Taylor Swift, and Let It Go. The message of the year was clearly just drop everything.

  1. Compared to this time last year are you (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

Happier, thinner, and poorer.

  1. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I wish I had completed more question and answer surveys. But, look! I’m making it up for it now.

  1. What do you wish you’d done less of?

I wish I had spent less time crying in Giraffe.

  1. How did you spend Christmas?

We’ve been through this already.

  1. Did you fall in love in 2014?

Only with boys on the telly. I’ve been keeping my fragile heart safe.

  1. What was your favourite TV program?

If we’re talking current shows, it would either be Parks and Recreation or The Mentalist – Finale February is going to sting. If we’re talking favourite ever, the answer is forever and always The West Wing. The rewatch never ends.

  1. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

No, but I love people now that I didn’t know this time last year. Buzzing.

  1. What was the best book you read?

In the last couple of days I’ve read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please and Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley, both of which I found immensely enjoyable – that latter was particularly relatable. Early in the year, though, I read The Edible Woman by Margaret Atwood and Tipping The Velvet by Sarah Waters for my Gender and Sexuality unit. I loved both and they earned me my star marks of second year, so I’m extra attached to them for that reason.

  1. What was your greatest musical discovery?

HAIM. I discovered them on New Year’s Day of 2014, by total coincidence. I was hanging a little from the party the night before, and had Jools Holland’s Hootenanny show playing in the background of my morning when their performance of Forever started up. From that moment, I was hooked. It was instant. Little did I know that I’d be dancing to Days Are Gone all year long, and they would provide me with some of the year’s best memories. Watching that performance again now is the closest I’ll ever get to time travel.

  1. What did you want and get?

I wanted to see HAIM live and I did. I wanted to go away with my best friends and I did. I wanted that trophy and I got it.

  1. What did you want and not get?

I’ve got nothing to complain about.

  1. What was your favourite film of the year?

The Lego Movie or Guardians of the Galaxy. Turns out that my movie taste this year was very specific to Chris Pratt saving the world.

  1. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Sharing it with the friends I have now. I’m lucky. I’ve got a good bunch. My friends have done amazing things for me this year, from travelling for hours to celebrate my birthday, to travelling for hours just to hang out, to surprising me with video messages, to spoiling me with presents. Best of all, I can rely on them.

  1. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2014?

An amalgam of the three Haim sisters.

  1. What kept you sane?

Friends, writing and TV. Though, you could argue the latter did the opposite.

  1. tumblr_ngo45x4NNu1sh0462o3_r1_250

    © dailykrasinski.tumblr.com

    What celebrity did you fancy most?

Chris Pratt played a strong game this year, but John Krasinski holds firm at the top (especially after Santa Kras). Iain De Caestecker also came along and won my affection earlier in the year, playing Agents of SHIELD‘s resident cute genius.

  1. Who do you miss?

I miss my long-distance buddies.

  1. What political issue stirred you most?

#blacklivesmatter / “Hands up, don’t shoot.”

  1. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2014.

Write through writer’s block and run through stitch. Both will pass.

  1. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

“We’re too busy dancing to get knocked off our feet.”

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