We made it through 2021, which was weirder than 2020 because, while 2020 was a steady hum of lows, 2021 came with ups and downs all year like the winter surge, the vaccine coming out, devastating COVID variants, seeing family and friends again, and NYC being in the grips of yet another surge during the holidays. (And, of course, an unrelenting news cycle, as per usual.)
This past year, I feel a lot less… ambitious than I ever felt. I just want to survive, you know? I’ve even found my usually competitive nature to be significantly dampened. Games with family and friends (online, as is the case for most of this pandemic) are less stressful and still as fun when I don’t hope for or expect victory? I’m already spending time with people I care about, so anything that follows is an afterthought. It’s fine if people think I’m bad at a game; they might be right, and I don’t have to get my pride hurt about it. I remember wanting to get my mind and my body to the BEST possible condition ahead of turning 30, but by the time my birthday rolled around I didn’t care. I was just holding on.
So my goals for the upcoming year are not super ambitious, and I’m trying to be even more honest with myself so that I can achieve them. As the years start coming and they don’t stop coming, I am really thinking hard about what kind of person these goals are supposed to help me become and why I want to be her.
On a whim, back in January, I started keeping track of songs that just popped into my head and wouldn’t go quietly. Now, 12 months later, I have 12 playlists of songs that I couldn’t quite get out of my head.
I tried not to post repeats of songs that were stuck in my head for multiple months but in general what you see is what we had, with maybe one or two exceptions for songs that weren’t on Spotify. Another arbitrary rule I set for myself was that the song couldn’t be something I heard somewhere or was specifically triggered by something, with the exception being if I kept hearing it in my head long after that moment. So for example, if I was watching a movie that had a song, it wouldn’t go on the playlist, but if I was still humming it days later, it would.
My plan was to end a monthly blog post with these but I couldn’t even get 12 blog posts out so, in reverse chronological order… here are the songs that were stuck in my head by month:
Even though I grew up watching too much television in general, I never thought to do a year-end TV recap until the end of last year, when it suddenly became an obvious gap in my year-end recaps! Movies and books but no TV, when I know I spend a ton of time watching TV? (Maybe it was denial about how much of it I was watching…)
Below are the full seasons of shows released in 2021 that I watched this year! To see every show (and movie and book etc.) I watched this past year, including older seasons, you can check my 2021 Media Log.
In the wake of last year, this year felt very different for movie-lovers. For one thing, we were able to (kind of, almost) safely return to theaters. And many projects that had been delayed last year were released this year. It felt like a much more… hopeful? year for the movies. At the same time, streaming really had a strong year. Many of the movies I saw were streaming-exclusive, during a year when the IATSE nearly had to strike due poor work conditions and lower wages for the “disadvantaged” streaming companies, compared to traditional Hollywood studios.
This year, I also successfully used Letterboxd to log every movie I watched, so you can head over there to see every movie I watched this year beyond this year’s releases, and you can look at my 2021 Media Log to see everything I watched, read, and listened to this year.
Another year, another reading challenge attempted. By lowering the bar for myself, I am back in the good graces of my Goodreads challenge! I actually got to start commuting to work for a few days this year, but unfortunately I was stuck on slower-paced non-fiction books so it didn’t help with my reading pace much.
Reading just always takes a backseat, so I’m going to think really hard about how I can set aside dedicated “hobbies” time and to make sure some of that time goes to reading for fun.