Goodbye 2013! My Year in Review

We talked about 2013 on a forum I frequent the other day and when I wrote my short recap, I came to the conclusion that 2013 pretty much just was for me. It had its ups, it had its downs. I’m not sure I’ll look back on it as a year that was all that special on a personal level.

But even though, or maybe because, it was so unspecial, I’d like to focus on it in a bit of a detailed view. It’s good to look back on things and learn from them, appreciate them and just remember them. This also led to the first time ever that I jotted down notes before writing a blog post. I’m pretty sure what I’ve written in this blog in over a year now is a dead giveaway for how unfocused my blogging usually is. I sit down and write and to be honest, most of the time I have no idea where I’m going until I’m done. But when I decided I was gonna write a recap of my 2013, I quickly came to the realization that reviewing a whole year just isn’t gonna work without notes. Without thinking long and hard, I couldn’t tell you what I had for lunch today, so remembering the past not-quite-365 days without a reminder here and there would be close to impossible.

In the process of taking my notes, I quickly started putting them into categories. Originally, this was just meant to help me organize my thoughts but then I figured it was a good way to do this. So here’s my year…

Personal Highlights

  • AFI: I wrote about this long and hard already, but my favorite band released a new record this year, after four long years of absence. It is hard for me to write about this on a platform like this blog because I’m aware how this comes off with other people. The majority of people have fond memories of being a fan of a band – when they were 14. They can’t fathom what it’s like when that kind of love for (an) artist(s) remains. With most people that gets replaced by other things that become important to them over the years and just like with other values that we are taught are ‘publicly acceptable’, we come to feel like ‘the odd one out’ when we feel differently. I’m not ashamed of how I feel about AFI, I’m just afraid of not doing how important they are to me and on what level justice by not finding the right words. I don’t want people to think this is a silly thing, just because I fail to explain it properly. For now, though, let it suffice to say that I’ve missed being an active fan of this band. And by active I mean actually having something new to deal with, having a word to spreads, having a tour to hope and plan for. The latter still hasn’t happened but I’m confident that it’ll happen in ’14. As an album, ‘Burials’ hit me on a very emotional level. The hurt and anger and emotional stress of this album is so raw and familiar to me that I think it would have caught me off guard either way, whether it is by AFI or another artist. For weeks, I built myself a home inside those songs and lived there quite comfortably. Which is exactly what I’ve always known and needed from this band. Which explains quite perfectly why they’re such an important part of my life.
  • Friendships: 2013 Has been quite the nice little rollercoaster ride for me when it came to friendships. I got a lot closer with one friend who is especially important to me because we have so much in common and are so very alike in aspects that matter. So far, there was this invisible wall between us that drove us apart whenever we started opening up, as if we were afraid to do just that. At some point, after a lot of fights and drama, this wall disappeared and we grew so much closer which is a nice, if even a little scary, feeling. With all of my anxiety and trust issues, I still feel the urge to run every now and again but I can even tell her about that without feeling like she thinks I’m crazy. Then another friend came back into my life at a time when I least expected it, catching me off guard and leaving me to contemplate things all over again. Now, after several months have passed, I’m confident that letting her in again was a good decision. It’s still a bit tender, like a new tattoo and I think it’s still a matter of trial and error with finding the right dosage of each other but at the moment, it feels right, like we’re doing the right thing. What I didn’t like was how it threw me into yet more drama with people who I feel have no say in what I do with my life and who don’t even know me. On the kindergarten frame of mind level, they still think in social groups and all you can do is choose not to play their games. But that doesn’t mean they won’t try to still drag you down. I know that it’s partly my own fault for allowing them to do that and for letting it get to me but sometimes I can’t help it. Especially when some people are so obsessed with getting at me that they cannot even let it go, even when I choose not to comment on or reply to anything they say or do. The third friendship that is giving me a bit of a headache is also my oldest friendship. A girl who’s been nothing but kind to me in over ten years. Almost 15, I think? We used to be so close but over the past couple years, I feel we’ve drifted apart. And I’m not completely innocent, I know that. It’s just really hard to face this huge and important talk I know we’re supposed to have about it all eventually. It’s actually one of my goals for the next year to try and save this friendship or maybe move it to a new level, if need be. The last one that deserves to be mentioned here is a girl I met through my weight loss journey. We’re not so close, yet, that I’d see her as a part of my inner circle but we’re in such a similar position with where we are with our weight loss and what we’re struggling with that our conversations get increasingly personal and it’s nice to share that with someone who truly understands.
  • Mallorca: After I don’t know how many years, I finally had a proper holiday again! I’ve blogged about this more than is healthy already and I’n still missing the last part which I may add later just for closure, so I’m not gonna go on and on about it. Let me just say how good it was to get out, change the scenery for a bit, enjoy the sun and think of nothing but which sights I wanna see tomorrow for a while.

Things I Learned / Achieved

  • I’ve finally accepted and come clean about my own anxiety. It shows in many ways but mostly, my social anxiety is really, really bad. I go through good phases when it doesn’t bother me at all and life seems easy to me but the bad times are never far away. I’ve told my closest friends about it, so they know I’m not being unnecessarily difficult. Which doesn’t mean I get to hide behind it and be reckless, but I hope it’ll help them understand how my mind works sometimes. It’s also something that I know fessing up to was just the first step of. I’ll have to work on it and constantly push myself to my own limits so hopefully, I’ll get better at dealing with it, even though I don’t dare hope this will ever leave me.
  • One of the best things I’ve done today was changing my doctor. In Germany, everyone has a regular practitioner that you go to for check-ups and temporary illnesses like a flu and who you will also go to for a recommendation of professionals regarding more difficult or permanent things. My old one was just really not very helpful and supportive and I’m so glad I switched because even though I’ve only seen my new doc twice, she’s already helped me a lot and made me feel much better about myself and my health issues.
  • The other good thing, though I’ve not been doing so well in the past few weeks, was changing my gym. It’s a much more professional place and gives me the opportunity to follow a much more personal and custom plan. Unlike my old gym, it makes me feel like I’m not alone, like there is someone who will listen to what I want to achieve and help me get there. When you’re a born lazybutt like me and someone puts you into a gym, you just feel overwhelmed. Where do I start? What do I do? How do I use all those machines? What courses are right? At my old gym, though people there were nice, I just felt alone with my quest and like everything they had to offer was made to suit everyone. Which just doesn’t help. I have to lose a significant amount of weight, the next person may be skinny and wanting to gain a lot of muscle. So we have different needs but the gym wasn’t really prepared to offer help with that. So I already feel better knowing that what I do when I go there is the right thing for me.
  • I took up writing again. Nothing major but when Secret Santa time came around, not only did I finish the actual story for that but also one for a friend and it reignited the spark I’d been missing for so long. Since then, I’ve had a million different ideas and hope to go through with at least some of them, rather than adding another few dozen unfinished pieces to the long list on my hard drive.

Books

  • The Land of Stories 1 & 2 by Chris Colfer: I’ve been a fan of the TV Series Glee for a while but never knew that Chris Colfer had written a book, or two by now. So I stumbled upon the first book by accident when I found a thread on a book community in which someone offered her copy as a wandering book. I signed up and had to wait for quite a long time. So long, actually, that I had considered buying it instead. But then it arrived and I read it and loved it so much that I immediately pre-ordered part two which I also got to read this year. I recently learned that Chris is working on part three and this got me so inexplicably excited! Fairytale adaptions are one of my weaknesses and he does it so well!
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green: For some reason, TFIOS was almost the last book by John Green I got to read after falling in love with this author. Even though it is his most well known and popular publication so far. I think I was a little afraid of my own expectations. It is, after all, a YA book about a girl who has cancer. You find way too many books about The Big C on YA literature shelves and one day I hope to explore why that is so. Most of them are amazing but you know what they say, ‘too much of a good thing…’. So I was a little hesitant. But TFIOS really is as amazing as they all say. And more. I am 31 and I have a teeny weeny crush on Augustus Waters. There, I said it!
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline: This was probably my big surprise this year when it came to books. I bought this as part of an Amazon special in which you could buy three English paperback titles for 10 €. Most of the titles on offer didn’t seem very appealing to me as they were a lot of romance or sequels to books I hadn’t read. But I already had The Time Traveler’s Wife and The Map of Time in my basket and needed a third book and then I saw Ready Player One and remembered having read a good review about it somewhere. The plot seemed vaguely interesting, so I put it in my basket. It ended up being the first I read of the three and even though I was so suspicious about it, it turned out being one of my favorite reads this year. It was nerdy, clever, sweet at some point and set in a really, really detailed future world that you could imagine to exist a couple hundred years from now. Even though I’m nowhere near as obsessed with virtual worlds as the characters in this book, I can understand where the author is coming from. It’s so easy to lose yourself in online games and identify with your avatar in one way or another and Ernest Cline simply took it a step further, creating a wonderful ‘What If…’ scenario.
  • Authors: I discovered two new authors this year whose work really impressed me. One is Linda Castillo whose Kate Burkholder series I started with early this year. Right now, the fourth book is waiting to be read by me. It is set on the edges of an Amish community and besides the tension and suspense her stories offer, I like learning about these people and their traditions without it being boring in any way. With Neil Gaiman, I’m a little late to the party. Whenever I mention how much I enjoyed reading Neverwhere, everyone just rolls their eyes at me. Apparently, the whole world has been a fan for years. I’ve enjoyed this book so much that I made it a plan for ’14 to read more of his work.

Movies

  • Despicable Me 2: If you know me, you know I’m slightly obsessed with the Minions. I have posters, figurines, apps…whatever I can get my hands on and can actually use in some way. The first movie was probably one of my all-time favorites and I was looking forward to the sequel like other people are looking forward to their wedding days. For months, we had posters outside the cinema near the mall and every single time I saw them, I’d squeal. When the time finally came, sadly, I only made it to the cinema twice, not a million times like I’d planned. But it was glorious. Amazing. My God, how I enjoyed this movie! And I didn’t even particularly care for the plot, though it was enjoyable. I can’t wait for the Minions movie!
  • The Hunger Games – Catching Fire: I’ve read the books, I’ve cried, I’ve been tempted to throw my Kindle at the wall. So I have to watch the movies, too. And how brilliant they are! Catching Fire was so close to what I imagined things to look like while reading the book, I spent most of the time in the cinema convinced that I had already seen the movie. Which was impossible, I’d hardly even seen trailers. But it really came so close. I loved every second of it and can’t wait for the next part.
  • Now You See Me: This was my big surprise this year. I love Amy Adams, so one night when my friend and I found ourselves on the steps of a local theater, spontaneously in the mood to see a movie, I instantly voted for this one. But at the time I didn’t expect more than a bit of mild entertainment. But this movie was so, so good, really smart and had more strengths than just the magic tricks / special effects.

Goals 2014

  • Lose weight: I don’t remember a time in my life when this wasn’t part of the plan. Instead of making it a goal to be a skinny supermodel by the end of the year, though, I’m just not gonna set a specific goal but just promise myself that I’ll do my best to achieve as much as I can.
  • Be more organized: Again, this is a rather vague thing that involves more than just tidying up more or keeping the paperwork at home in line. It also includes small things like taking notes at work, using post-its for actual reminders rather than just doodling, remembering distant friends’ birthdays and sending cards out in time, taking two minutes to remove my makeup at night, not constantly forgetting to brush my hair, clear the dishes right after meals, and so on. If I get better at this, it’ll be easier for me to deal with everyday life in the long run because I know things are just running automatically and I don’t have to stress myself out so much over the smallest things.
  • Stay calm / Relax more:  I tend to freak out at the smallest cause because I’m just so annoyed with things in my life right now. It doesn’t make things easier and it doesn’t help and the only thing I achieve with it is make myself feel worse, so I need to find a way to stay calm and not act like a crazy ghetto bitch.
  • Rekindle friendships: There’s one particular close friend I already mentioned earlier who I’d like to become closer with again because I really miss her friendship. We’ve drifted apart a lot and I know we’ll never fully be on the same emotional level and share so many interests again but that doesn’t mean we can’t make this work. And then there are a few other people who I’ve never really been close with before but we were on casual terms, checking in with each other every other day and that’s gone down the drain over the years, as well. I’d like to get back to having that extended circle of friends again and let them know I’m here if they need me.
  • Save Money: I’ve really lost my way here. I went from having almost 1.000 € in my savings account + another 150 € in my piggy bank to have almost nothing left. And with the prospect of a possible AFI tour soon, I really need to get my act together. I’ve done well this month already by putting aside almost 100 € again and I hope to stay on this track. Also I want to stop abusing my credit card for spontaneous purchases whenever I don’t have the cash, so I can use it for the tour as well.
  • Go veggie: I want to give the vegetarian diet another go. I thought I may start by challenging myself to stick to a veggie diet for a week, if that goes well, extend it to two weeks, and so on. If I fail, I’ll start again. In the past few weeks, I’ve already explored several veggie lunch alternatives I could rely on at work. There’s a bakery / lunch restaurant that has freshly cooked pasta dishes every day and most of them are vegetarian. And there are a bunch of different supermarkets nearby that offer different kinds of salads or other vegetarian dishes. So even if I forget to pack lunch, I’d have good alternatives.
  • Cook more: This goes along with the goal above because it’s certainly easier to stick to a certain diet when you’re prepared. But it’s also easier to lose weight and be healthy when you eat homemade food that you know the actual ingredients of and that you can alter according to your own likes or dislikes.
  • Laugh more, cry less: Sort of explains itself, really.

Challenges 2014

  • Lose weight: This is not one big challenge as such but rather one I plan to take baby steps with as before. Right now, I’m still on the first step that’s listed on my Challenges page which is to lose 2.2kg by mid-January. Since I’m still lacking a working scale, I have no reliable result but hope to be on the right track.
  • Goodreads Challenge: As every year, I’m gonna take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge again and since I’ve struggled to reach my goal of 50 this year, I won’t up it and set it to 50 again. This time, I’ll put the widget on my Challenges page as well as soon as Goodreads lets you do that.

So, that’s all, folks!

I hope everyone has a great NYE, a lot of fun, whether you’re partying or staying home. I know I’m ready for 2014 to arrive.

Ready for 2014!

Ready for 2014!

Be safe and see you on the other side!

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Categories: Bookworm, Foody, Me Myself and I, Movies, Weight Loss, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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