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1:What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I started learning Polish with Stacia. This was a goal from our door-to-door campaigning during the Scottish independence referendum, when we met some Poles who couldn't yet speak very much English: I thought, why should all the onus be on these people coming into an unknown and often unwelcoming place? We're still a long way from casual conversation, but it's interesting and fun and brain-stretching (cases!), and I like amusing my Polish colleagues by randomly saying things like, "can I speak to Barbara Jakubowska?"

2:Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I managed four out of five! I read 15 French books (goal was ten, feeling chuffed!), two in Japanese, started polishing my French grammar and re-learning a bunch of Japanese vocabulary, and cut out a lot of palm oil-containing products from our life (we're still consuming it if there isn't an alternative available, like in pre-made puff pastry and unsweetened single cream). But we weren't in America on the fourth of July, so I didn't get to run the four mile road race. I liked having these goals, which were always flexible enough in my mind that I didn't get fixated on meeting them. In 2017, I'd like to repeat or stretch just a wee bit my reading-in-other-languages goals (15 French books, three Japanese), and DO SOME OFFICIAL TRANSLATION.

3:Did anyone close to you give birth?
Sandra at work is newly a mother, and [livejournal.com profile] mermaidprincesa has had another very cute wee girl (*waves if you're reading* :)

4:Did anyone close to you die?
Stacia's grandfather.

5:What countries did you visit?
France in the spring (back to Toulouse, which was at first unsettling, and then really lovely; and to Montpelier for the first time, which is a really cool, green, creative city), England (London to meet [livejournal.com profile] nefertari_nz!! And see a friend from university :), America in the summer (a good friend came too for the first week, and we fulfilled our long-time goal of cycling across Rhode Island), Canada on the same trip (Montréal, which is an awesome city! Amazing food, especially :), and Spain in the winter (Barcelona, where we met Stacia's mum and her fiancé - this too is a great city with a very warm and welcoming atmosphere, friendly people, beautiful buildings, delicious food).

6:What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Maybe more of a social life, though I'm still not sure that I can handle that stress. There are lots of cool people around that I'd like to hang out with more, though.

7:What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Got to be the announcements of Brexit and Trump, because that's when we all realised how much we've fucked up.

8:What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Maybe turning down a promotion that I was offered. I had one of my worst periods of anxiety and panic attacks while thinking it over, partially because I was in that horrible place where all decisions look like bad ones, but largely because just imagining the extra responsibilities and stress was too much. I'm really glad that I realised that what would normally be considered a mark of success wouldn't be healthy.

9:What was your biggest failure?
Getting impatient with myself when comparing myself to others who're further ahead that I am.

10:Did you suffer illness or injury?
I have some kind of lower back problem that's really annoying as it's meant I've had to give up running, as well as spend some days on the couch trying not to move. I've been swimming more, which is definitely helping, but that should be a goal for 2017 - actually get a professional to tell me what's going on with that.

11:What was the best thing you bought?
Board games. I'd love to have a huge collection.

12:Whose behaviour merited celebration?
Kind of hard to say, with everything going to shit, but I suppose there's been quite an increase in mainstream(ish), well-done LGBT representation in media, which is so refreshing. Just gay people, casually existing, being humans. So, thanks to those writers and directors and actors.

13:Whose behaviour made you appalled?
Most of the world's...?

14:Where did most of your money go?
After all the necessities, savings for travel. Also much-needed clothes, and books :)

15:What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Yuri!!! on Ice ♥ That show is so heart-warming and silly, yet deals with emotions in surprisingly subtle ways. Books! We had a separate book budget for our trip to France, a list of books we wanted to look for, and a map of all the bookshops - it was like a treasure hunt, and we found goooold. It's also been an amazing year for books from various libraries which filled my heart with glee. Also Christmas! And delicious food :D And really great fanfic, of which there has been a glut this year!

16:What song will always remind you of 2016?
Shall We Skate by Taku Matsushiba and The Soulmatics, aahhhhh, it's so goddamn ADORABLE.

17:Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?
(a) Overall happier :) I can feel more intense happiness these days, jubilation and glee, and I'm also more stable, with fewer sharp dips. *\o/* (b) Pretty much the same, averageish, slightly chubby size as I've been for years! I had a really excellent period there (just of a few days, but still) where I honestly didn't care at all about how my body appears to others, but just thought of it as existing, being a part of me, being something that does things, rather than something to be beaten into submission and made decorative. I'm not quite sure what happened, but for some reason (potentially the watching of TV shows populated exclusively by thin-yet-muscled people), this then swung around to the complete opposite, and I felt ginormous and ungainly. It made it really obvious to me how much our culture promotes and aides weight-loss obsession. If you never see plump or fat people, or only negatively, in the surrounding media, of course you're going to feel shit if you're plump or fat. But what a waste of our time that is. Being plumpish literally doesn't stop me doing anything. If I acted on my periods of dislike for my body, I'd be wasting time that I, luckily, instead spend doing interesting things. (c) Richer! I'd still be considered poor by a lot of people (I make something like £8000 a year), but things are coming together - I've saved my six-month emergency fund, I saved enough to go to London in 2016, and to be able to go again in this coming February, I've started saving for my tattoo, and I've had enough money to actually not wear any clothes with holes in them... That's a pretty great feeling.

18:What do you wish you’d done more of?
Actually, nothing. There are things that I wish I could have done more of (socialising, translation, drawing, running, cycling, hillwalking), but I think I did a really good job of staying within my limits this year, toeing the lie after which overwhelm would have descended.

19:What do you wish you’d done less of?
Stewing over all the things that could go wrong. My anxiety is always most active before events, when I let my powerful imagination come up with various dramatic and terrible situations, which I then work out how to counter. This sounds faintly useful, except that none of these things ever happen, and the problems that do come up aren't any easier to solve for all of that worrying.

20:How did you spend Christmas?
This Christmas was the most fun that I've spent in many years! I think it's partially down to us finding a pattern that we enjoy, but mostly because I managed to keep my stress levels down enough to be well-organised. In the past, I've often been so nervous about it that I've tried to forget that it's coming, with the result that I only have a couple of days beforehand in which to panickedly rush around trying to get all the presents and mentally prepare myself for all the socialising. This time, everything was done in advance, and my triumphant feeling filled me with Christmassy energy. I excitedly got up Christmas playlists! (This has never happened before.) I sang 'Oh come all ye faithful' in the shower! I actually actively looked forward to the day. It felt great. My mum came through for three days, and we had lots of tasty food, and played plenty of board games (Star Trek Catan is so much fun), and then went through to my Granny's on Boxing Day, where my dad cooked us a tasty vegan meal and I got to know my cousin Alistair a bit better.

21:Did you fall in love in 2016?
I continue to get to know and like myself more than ever before.

22:What was your favourite TV program?
I watched a lot more TV than usual this year, which was fun. And everything was good, so it's really difficult to choose a favourite. I think Miraculous: Les aventures de Ladybug et Chat Noir and Yuri!!! on Ice tie for first place, with Eyewitness coming in a quite close second, and The Shannara Chronicles needing an honourable mention.

23:Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. I feel flashes of hatred when I read about the terrible things that people do, and I no longer think that forgiveness is necessary (all that shit about how holding grudges is bad for you, so you should let go of resentment is just being proselytised by people who want to be able to do whatever the fuck they want with no consequences), but sometimes people (including me) are too uncompromising in their anger and judgement.

24:What was the best book you read?
Arggghh, what a difficult question! Of the 53 books that I read this year, six are contenders for the crown - L'Élégance du hérisson, Uprooted, Carry On, Muchacho, Les Vieux Fourneaux, and Quiet - in very different ways. I might have to choose Quiet(:The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain) - that book was a revelation and a reassurance that introverts are physically wired to be the way we are, and that this isn't a problem to be fixed, but something to be accepted and taken into account while planning our lives, so that we take proper care of ourselves and can actually have fun.

25:What was your greatest musical discovery?
Blick Bassy, Baaba Maal, classic 80s to get me dancing at work and while cleaning the flat :)

26:What did you want and get?
I'm so much better at talking to people now. Maybe I'll never leave my shy, awkward roots behind, but when I remember what I was like when I started working at my current job, it's like a different person. I have a Terrible Jokes Exchange going on with a colleague, where he tells me one, and I make up related ones, and in the course of this I've been called quick-witted O_O My idea of myself as slow-witted has always been a raw nerve, so this was incredible to hear. There have also been times when people have needed comforting, and I've managed it (as much as is possible) - my fear that I won't be enough when people need me has been another major source of self-hatred over the years.

27:What did you want and not get?
A Fairphone. I probably won't get one of these as I'm seeing reports of technical problems all over the place, which sucks, as this is such an amazing idea, and I'd really like to support the venture.

28:What was your favourite film of this year?
Quand on a 17 ans. I thought this was beautiful. The close-up, natural filming style was immersive, and the acting impressive, so that the characters are very real and intense. I found all three of the main characters fascinating - their emotions, developments, interactions with each other, places in the world, and ways of thinking about life. The scenery was also stunning, and used to perfection.

29:What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Spending time walking around or sitting and reading on Blackford Hill. It's a beautiful area, almost wild, where I can feel calm and free.

30:How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Non-existent \o/

31:What kept you sane?
Truly accepting that as an introvert, I need lots of downtime by myself, and, relatedly, being better able to read my own moods to tell when I need to do something more energetic, and when reading on the couch is exactly right.

32:Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
James McAvoy, mmm.

33:What political issue stirred you the most?
T_T What a terrible year. I think, being the closest to home, Brexit. I do understand the left-wing case for leaving the EU, but that isn't what was on the table, it was a xenophobic and individualist manifesto, and now no-one actually knows where we'll go from here.

34:Who did you miss?
The friends that I didn't have enough mental energy to see or contact.

35:Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Good people doing awful things doesn't necessarily make them less good, or the awful things less awful.

36:Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Now, take my hands, come on! (Your majesty!)
Right, left, right
Slow down...
Yes! Yes, you did it! [Wow!]
Just keep on believing our future must be frozen in ice!"

Hehehe. But also true :)

Date: 2017-01-02 10:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] nefertari-nz.livejournal.com
I was going to comment a whole screed about YAY it sounds like your year has been, on the whole, a pretty good one (ups and downs BUT SO MUCH GOOD PROGRESS IT SOUNDS LIKE, especially on the Christmas side of things) and then I saw that you (of COURSE you did) watched Yuri on Ice and now I'm feeling the need to flail all about that. Because DAMN is it cuuuuuuuuuuute ♥♥♥♥ (and did you know that you can get character related undies? YOU CAN ACTUALLY WEAR VICTOR'S STAY WITH ME PINK COSTUME AS UNDERWEAR. THIS JUST BLOWS MY MIND AND I NEED LIKE 15 PAIRS)

I hope your 2017 has an overall upward trend and that stuff around the world in general only goes up from what was hopefully the low point

Date: 2017-01-07 09:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] punkheid.livejournal.com
OMG WHUT ahaha,amazing, thank you for sharing this information XDDD Those are definitely the best of three, I'm seriously tempted... But yes, it's so adorable isn't it!!! It always brought a smile to my face :) I love that it starts with Yuuri considering giving everything up and ends with him determined to keep going, and that I ended up feeling sympathy for the until-then horrendous JJ, and the balance between them all cheering each other on and their competitiveness, and I totally cried when Phichit finished his FS and cried with relief at how well it went :') Aaaand Victuuri ♥_♥ For ages I remained suspicious that it was just a big joke to the directors/writers, but all of the post-series interviews have finally convinced me, and now I can joyfully binge re-watch in the knowledge that it really was a kiss.

Coming back down to earth a little, yeh, I'm really happy with my steps ahead! Fingers crossed that the planet moves in the same direction...

Happy New Year to all of you guys!

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