I don’t do this every year but somehow it feels important this year.
2016 has been a terrible year for reasonable, caring and forward thinking people. The truth and expertise have been utterly devalued. The rise of hate and violence against minorities spurred by ‘legitimate’ campaigns given too much airtime in the press is terrifying. But not as terrifying as what is to come when The Orange One assumes the position.
But I am getting ahead of myself. Before we start building our bunkers I’d like to take a moment to remember some of the good things that happened for me in 2016:
- I went to Barcelona. I decided that since I am not very good at asking people to make a fuss of me and I didn’t want to dread turning 40, I would make it something to look forward to and booked to go away with my friend Holly. It was brilliant. I even got sunburnt, in February!
- I changed jobs and started to feel better about work. My new job is a little less pressured and a little more varied which means I have a more headspace and flexibility which has allowed me to do number 8! It’s also meant I have started to resent the place less and so I am more willing to spend time with people from work which has improved my social life a lot – a small gang of us have been to the cinema together a few times.
- I moved house again. It was horrid and exhausting and I don’t want to do it again EVER but I love my new flat. I have a washing machine and a freezer!!! And my neighbours are lovely, smoke a lot less pot and don’t slam the front door at all hours if the night.
- Ellie and I did The Reservation again at Wrought festival in Sheffield. It’s one of my proudest achievements so it is always a pleasure to revisit this piece. We felt a little bit removed from the festival being stuck in the hotel all the time but we had some wonderful encounters. Plus the hotel staff were great and the breakfast was amazing!
- I went to Glastonbury for the first time… it was HUGE and it was muddy and I pulled muscles in both my legs but Leann and I got on really well. It was nice to hang out, just the two of us for a change. And I saw Steve Davis!
- I was in Way Through the Wood for A Quiet Word. As well as being totally different to things I have been in in the past I got lots of walking done and got to hang out with yet more lovely people (and finally visited The Myrtle Pub). It was a very gentle and welcoming environment even if it was immediately after Glastonbury and I was broken.
- I joined a choir because I wanted to sing more and develop my voice as part of my performer’s toolbox. It was a good idea but… in the end I left cos it was rubbish – no individual attention so I didn’t really feel like I was learning anything. Very frustrating. I continue to look for an alternative.
- I started my MA and was terrified and thrilled in equal measures. Mostly I am scared of looking stupid, especially when I realise how much I don’t know but I have a new support network, new friends and they are fantastic.
- I tried my hand at upcycling. Mum and I had lots of fun going to the antique quarter in Sheffield. Months later and work is still in progress… I have a beautifully (if I do say so myself) repainted set of drawers still awaiting suitable handles (don’t get me started) and a lovely chair awaiting the perfect fabric… both taking up space at mine and mum’s!
- I was in Walking:Holding a part of Compass Live Art Festival, met more amazing people and had an incredible experience. I’ve already talked about that a bit here.
Of course there’s also lots I didn’t get to do…
- Save any money.
- Go on holiday (all holiday were taken up with doing things like moving, studying and Glastonbury which were great but not in any way restful).
- Get to London to see my best friends as much as usual (unfortunately I missed several 40th birthdays this year because of other commitments and lack of funds).
- Get to Bridlington to see Dad as much as usual. This is a real shame as the sea air always does me good.
It’s all about choices, isn’t it? By doing some things – like the MA – I have less time to do others. Looking further back I realise that I didn’t really make any friends the first 3 years I lived here. I spent all my time and money going back to London to see my best friends. It’s only been in the last couple of years and 2016 in particular that I have started to feel like I have a proper social life in Leeds because I have spent more time here, investing in being here and spending time with the people who are here, especially the lovely people I work with. The MA has also really helped with this but it hasn’t been easy. I was ill on three separate occasions between September and November because I had taken on too much.
The MA has given me my enthusiasm back. I want to say yes to everything. In 2017 I want to gain as much practical performing experience as possible so that means taking better care of myself – get my money under control, eat better, exercise more, and find a routine that works. I’m going to have to be selfish and not just this year, probably until I finish my MA in September 2018 but hopefully it will be worth it and next year’s list will be twice as long!
Bring on 2017.