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A Year In Review: 2014
I used to do “A Year in Review” back at my old blog. The last one I posted was back in 2011, and it was more of a chore than anything else, re-posting pictures I thought were cool from each month. In a way, I’ve gone away from posting on Tumblr, which is about posting pictures and re-posting other people’s work.
Touting how I’ve changed this year, this is a good time to log a snapshot of where I am today to evaluate myself in the future. Taking a lesson from someone else’s reflection on the past year, as well as another list, I’m going to bullet point what I’ve learned this year.
The Good From 2014:
- I quit my job back in March. Haven’t looked back, haven’t been back.
- I regained my health and happiness. I started the year with serious depression and was nowhere near fit. I had an unused gym membership for over a year that I was dumping money into. Today, I run three days a week and do yoga two days a week.
- I learned the basics of Ruby to pass the entry test for Dev Bootcamp, which I attended this summer. I learned how to program, but more importantly learned how to learn. I wept at the end after parting with some unforgettable new friends.
- I got a job as a UI Developer. This job pays more, has fewer hours, and I have an awesome mentor.
- I started writing weekly letters, this very series you’re reading in fact!
- I’ve continued journaling this year. I’m six books in for a total of 3.75 years of consecutive writing
- I drove across the country and back, totaling over 9,000 miles driven. 18 of those states I drove through was my first time there (Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, and New Mexico).
- After the road trip, I hopped on a plane to South Korea. It was the first time I had ever been. I stayed for over a week helping a friend recovery from surgery.
- I ran a coding club for four months after Dev Bootcamp ended. Plans to continue this are tentative next year.
- I attended my first hackathon this year. I had such a great experience, I attended two more.
Top Books I’ve Finished This Year:
- Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us - This helped me put a persona to big food companies. I always knew the amount of salt, sugar and fat were increasing with processed food, but now I understand the driving force behind that, and the science they use to justify such actions.
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed - This is an old book that looks at adult education in different manner, beginning with the premise that we oppress rather than liberate.
- Show Your Work - Austin Kleon’s follow-up to his first book, “Steal Like An Artist” about getting feedback and how to handle it for creative work. Quick read.
- East of Eden - I hadn’t read this classic before, and after starting a short book club this year, became one of my instant favorite classics. A fictional story that spans decades that resonates the biblical allegory of Cain and Abel.
- Kern and Burns - This is a collection of interviews from design entrepreneurs. It opened my eyes to design in the workplace and how companies are shaped from it.
Top Films I’ve Seen This Year:
- 12 Years a Slave
- The Wind Rises
I want to start a new list for the upcoming year that doesn’t involve resolutions. I have made resolutions in the past, and I have not been very involved in making them happen because circumstances change, or the goal wasn’t specific enough, or I just don’t like the goal anymore. Instead, I’m making a “I don’t give a fuck” list to live by for the next year.
The Fuck-It List of 2015:
- Being nice. Throw that out. Be kind and be able to confront others by telling them what’s right, not cater to what they want to hear. But don’t be a dick about it.
- Being a liar. Seriously, honest is the best choice.
- Spilling the whole can of beans. As a corollary to the above, I to be succinct. Entice others with a small amount of information first. Then see if they’re interested in learning more.
- Pleasing everyone, or living up to anyone else’s expectations other than my own. Why should I fantasize about making other people happy when they don’t always have my best interest? I am the sole person responsible for myself, and I should never forget that.
- Haters. Period.
- Fitting in to a mold. I don’t need a label nor social circle to define me.
- Guilt. I have felt this weight long enough, and its time to stop dwelling on this one.
This list was inspired by these two lists, both from the same author. This list item from one of the list rings so true to me:
#14. Falling in Love
If I learned anything in 2013, it’s that love — the overwhelming, this-is-the-one kind, the love that makes you weak in the knees, if not slightly duller in the head — isn’t real. It exists outside of reality, in a world devoid of calories and Kardashians. The fall is fun, for a while. But big love is just that… oversized and oversold. Overstated and filled with impossible expectations. I don’t want to fall into that kind of love again. It lacks substance. I prefer the little loves. My best friend’s daughter running around the kitchen chanting, “It’s all rainbows,” over and over again. The wag of a dog’s tail when you scratch the sweet spot behind her ear. Neglected nuances, subtle sincerity — that’s where love lives. Lost in a pile of unmatched socks, it sits and waits for you, overlooked and underappreciated. Flawed but sturdy; frustrating but frank. A beautiful mess of sadness and hope. Fuck engagement rings and moonlit walks on the beach. Love hurts because that’s the only way to tell that it’s real.
— Chantielle MacFarlane
Everyone, have a Happy New Year!