Quarantine Day 100

Today is officially day 100 of quarantine, and I thought I’d do a small check-in to mark the occasion.Read More »

I Suck at Quitting When Things Suck

In trying to meet my resolution for books read this year, I often will look at book recommendation lists by bloggers and by my library. Heck, sometimes I just go into my library’s eBook collection and just look at what is available to borrow that moment and is popular.

This has led to some pretty frustrating books.

I’ve never been good at quitting anything. It took me much longer than it should have for me to quit being pre-med, the first time I ever quit something really big. But I also tend to be the kind of person who watches bad movies to the end, reads bad books to the last page, and sits through a terrible show until the lights unexpectedly come back up. (In my defense, I was hoping for a consolation prize for enduring the entire thing. Like maybe it was a test, and the people who stuck around would get their money back?)

I know that one of the logical fallacies I am most prone to is the inability to cut my losses. It’s difficult for me to not get wrapped up thinking about the time and/or money I’ve already sunken into something. This isn’t particularly logical, and I know that in the back of my mind, but when I am rolling my eyes so hard at a book that I’m getting a headache, I still can’t help thinking, “Well, I’m not going to be able to get that hour back. At least if I finish, I can definitively say the book sucked all the way through, and I’ll be one book closer to my book goal this year.”

But I’m trying to stop this.

I have a shelf on Goodreads that is for books I started and don’t intend to finish. I am trying not to feel as bad about adding books to that shelf and taking them off my “Currently reading” shelf, forever preventing them from joining the others on my “Read” shelf.

Are you good at quitting things when you should?
Do you have any good book recommendations? I just borrowed a bunch of Kindle books, but the first tone has been pretty annoying and I don’t think I’m going to finish it, so now I’m getting nervous about the rest of the haul. Please please share any books you’ve loved lately! Any genre welcome.

Looking Back on 2014

I’ve been avoiding writing this post.

It’s not just because this year-end posts are time-consuming and I always forget something. If you recall last year’s post, I ended 2013 feeling really proud of myself for having accomplished so much. And I was proud of myself because I had consciously said “yes” to opportunities rather than saying “no”, as I usually do.

Unfortunately, in 2014, I didn’t say “yes” as much as I wanted to.

I won’t sugarcoat it: 2014 was difficult for me. This past summer was especially unkind to me, definitely one of the worst I’ve experienced thus far. Life is full of ups and downs; where 2013 proved to have more ups, 2014 had a not-insignificant number of downs.

As I write this, I am laughing to myself in spite of how painful this past year has been because well, this is almost exactly how I began my 2013 recap post, with a bit of yammering about ups and downs. Man, if only I knew it could get worse! I know now: Next year can always be worse.

But let’s not get bogged down in how much 2014 tested me. After all, I survived it! I live to fight another day. Let’s see what I survived this year:

  • Managed to have a little fun with our extreme polar vortex cold weather
  • Went to Atlantic City with my boyfriend and friends for Yelp’s Winter Break
  • Survived a small car accident (and learned to really fear driving in inclement weather)
  • Celebrated Chinese New Year in with my family in China for the first time
    • Set off legit fireworks
    • Visited Harbin’s Ice & Snow Festival
    • Saw a North Korean ice-skating troupe perform
    • Achieved a new nosebleed record (and had to have my nose cauterized twice when I came home)
  • Live-tweeted the 86th Academy Awards out of loneliness
    A sample of some of my live-tweets from early on in the evening.
  • Participated (sorta) in the March DisneyBound Challenge

    Marie (The Aristocats)
    Marie from The Aristocats
  • Completed (almost) BEDA (Blog Every Day April)
  • Started a new job
  • Went on my first bar crawl

    Commemorative mugs that change color when you put an icy beverage in!
    Commemorative mugs that change color when you put an icy beverage in!
  • Attended a Wale & Big Sean concert

    Not pictured: Big Sean, Wale
  • Purchased this domain name you are visiting right now
  • Made a flower crown
  • Took another family vacation on a cruise ship

  • Trekked to New York for one of my too-rare solo pilgrimages to my old home city
  • Saw The Fray live at the National Zoo

    • Visited the National Zoo for the first time!
  • Left a new job
  • Ate a pork blood + lard cupcake — and liked it

    Pork blood red velvet cupcake with lard frosting and pork cracklings on top… maybe the least kosher thing I’ve ever had
  • Attended the first wedding of my own age/friend group (!!!)

    Congrats again to Emily and Phil! Thanks for sharing this day with us 🙂
  • Received my first wedding invitation for my own friend group
  • Cooked Thanksgiving dinner on my own

    Complete with folded napkins
  • Got a one-year membership to the National Aquarium

Let me tell you one of my main takeaways from 2014: I do love dressing up. Whether it’s for holidays…

St. Patrick's Day
St. Patrick’s Day, wearing basically all the green I own

… DisneyBounds…

Mickey Mouse (Oscar night)
Mickey Mouse for the Oscars

… or for work…

Channeling the Cho Chang that never was with power couple Megan and Don (@andmegansaid and @thedonofgaming)
All aboard! Fun fact: Several people thought I was a real flight attendant who had stumbled upon a travel-themed party?
Ringmaster outfit for our Halloween party
Sassy Santa?

… I’m more than happy to dress for the occasion. I hope that I got more chances to do so, but I’m really finding a lot of enjoyment in coordinating an outfit around a theme, and I’m going to be incorporating that enjoyment into my resolutions for next year.


 

As always, I’m sure I’ve forgotten something from this past year. (Last year, I forgot that I saw Turquoise Jeep live!) But the important thing is that I survived this year. I can feel a real change in the person I am now versus who I was a year ago. It makes me kind of anxious and nervous about 2015 and what it will bring.

But regardless of how I feel, the sun will set and rise, another day will be there, and another calendar year will be upon us. I have my new planner ready to go, and I’m getting my resolutions post ready. I’m going to take the lessons I learned from 2013 and 2014 and try to make the best of 2015.

Thank you for your support during 2014. My year would have been so different without it.

2013 Year-End Survey

  1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before? – I mentioned this in my reflection post. To add to that since publishing: I visited Costco, ate a churro, and went inside a Wawa. Weird firsts to add, right?
  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? – I kept a few of them, and I am publishing my resolutions post very soon.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth? – No.
  4. Did anyone close to you die? – No.
  5. What countries did you visit? – As mentioned: England, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, Russia, Finland, Sweden, and France
  6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013? – Discipline. Much more discipline. Most of my unhappiness stems from a lack of discipline.
  7. What dates from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? – I’m not sure if any specific dates from this past year will be etched into my memory forever. I’ve never been one to remember many dates. I can barely remember my graduation date. I do remember that my vacation was 26 July to 12 August, but I doubt I’ll remember that a year from now.
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? – Graduating college? Although it didn’t feel like a very big accomplishment in the moment.
  9. What was your biggest failure? – Trying to defend my lack of life direction while I watched my friends start out on their journeys to achieve their dreams.
  10. Did you suffer illness or injury? – Not really. I bruised my butt skiing last week, but otherwise nothing big. I had my wisdom teeth removed? Does that count?
  11. What was the best thing you bought? – The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition was one of the purchases that made me happiest this year, to list one off the top of my head.
  12. Whose behaviour merited celebration? – Many of my friends, who have gone on to do such amazing things, truly
  13. Whose behaviour made you appalled? – My own? My roommate? The administrative coordinator at work?
  14. Where did most of your money go? – My new computer (RIP old computer), gifts, new clothes, and food
  15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? – Visiting Europe, The Little Mermaid Diamond Edition, red pants, getting a local Yelp job
  16. What song will always remind you of 2013? – As far as if I hear it I’ll remember that it came out in 2013?
  17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer? – (a) Neutral, I don’t think I’m happier or sadder than I was at this time last year, I’m about the same; (b) Fatter; (c) Richer by a bit, since I worked almost all year this year
  18. What do you wish you’d done more of? – Dancing, karaoke-ing, smiling
  19. What do you wish you’d done less of? – Crying, yelling, punishing myself and others
  20. How did you spend Christmas? – Eating food with my family and watching The Wolf of Wall Street, then back to the house for some more food and more movie-watching
  21. Did you fall in love in 2013? – With a person, no. With a thing or a movie or a character or a place or a moment or a song or…? Yes
  22. What was your favourite TV program? – Once Upon a Time was easily my favorite show this past year, although I did get quite into Doctor Who as well
  23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?– Hatred, hatred. Hate is such an intense emotion that I don’t know who would matter enough to warrant it. I’ve spent quite some time wondering if I truly hate anyone.
  24. What was the best book you read? –  Oof I didn’t do a lot of reading this past year. I read a handful of mediocre books and stopped reading another handful. Dommage.
  25. What was your greatest musical discovery? – I think I added some new stations to Pandora: Always on Time (by Ja Rule), Ludacris, House music, Video Game music; these are more like rediscoveries?
  26. What did you want and get? – To visit Europe, to graduate, Funko POP! vinyl toys, tickets to see The Nutcracker
  27. What did you want and not get? – A sense of purpose in my life
  28. What was your favourite film of this year? – That came out this year, the movies that I enjoyed most were Thor: The Dark World and Saving Mr. Banks
  29. What one thing made your year immeasurably more satisfying? – Not being a student anymore, even though I do miss it, is a huge relief to me. The weight of my virtual unemployment has obviously not quite set in yet 😛
  30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?– Not bad when I tried, I finally got to incorporate more blazers & cardigans, I let myself bare my legs, but when I didn’t try well…
  31. What kept you sane? – My boyfriend, this blog, strangers talking to me through Youtube
  32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? – Hahahahahahaha. Well, I went through a pretty big Tom Hiddleston and Chris Evans phase, as well as some major adoration for Josh Dallas & Robbie Kay
  33. What political issue stirred you the most? – Gay marriage, as per always, but I did get myself into a few debates about things like healthcare
  34. Who did you miss? – I think I missed people less this year, but there are some friends to whom I still cling to the frayed threads of our relationships. I also quite miss my family, but I know that missing my family and wanting to see them don’t go hand-in-hand 100% of the time
  35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013. – If you want to do something, you have to clear that path to do it. If the obstacles are external to yourself, avoid them or annihilate them. If the obstacles are part of who you are, you must try extra hard to work through them. Talking is not the same as action.
  36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. – I’m pretty rubbish at song lyrics, sorry!

☺ | via Tumblr

Looking Back on 2013

I am currently writing my annual resolutions post. Often, resolutions blog posts make me feel really frustrated with what I haven’t yet accomplished. They’re rarely things like “Continue to be awesome!” or “Keep being perfect!”

Even though this was another admittedly difficult year, I am more than aware of how many wonderful things happened this year.

So, without further ado, a quick little rundown of the things I accomplished this year that made me happy and/or proud:

  • I took a voice class
  • I played intramural basketball
  • I had an A+ in a biology class, if only for a brief moment
  • I produced, directed, and starred in a short film for class
    https://vimeo.com/65606058
  • I graduated college
    Stone and I on graduation day
  • I watched my brother graduate high school
  • I quit being pre-med
  • I saw Saturn
    IMG_1863_thumb.jpg
  • I started getting help
  • I began blogging more regularly
    • I made new friends as a result
  • I had my wisdom teeth removed
    IMG_1921
  • I got a smartphone whoa
  • I became Yelp Elite
    Embedded image permalink
  • I went to Europe, where I was able to check off bucket list places like:
    • London
      • I took my first-ever bike tour

        Helmet = ready!
        Helmet = ready!
    • Paris
    • Berlin
    • St. Petersburg
      • I learned that I should not be THAT scared of vodka

        Coming soon in my St. Petersburg posts!
        Coming soon in my St. Petersburg posts!
    • Copenhagen
    • Helsinki
    • Stockholm
    • Tallinn
  • I experienced a cruise ship for the first time

    2013-08-03 20.09.32
    The views were unreal.
  • I sang karaoke in front of strangers
  • I attended the Maryland Crab & Beer Festival
    2013-08-17 17.50.59
  • I attended two free, very different, movie screenings and thoroughly enjoyed them both
  • I finally walked along the Brooklyn Bridge
    2013-09-28 16.01.40
  • I ran my first-ever 5K (and lived!)
    My first time wearing numbers pinned to my shirt?
  • I attended my first-ever real concert

    Muse!
    Muse!
  • I took a ballet class

    My ballet classmates, instructor, and myself on the right.
    My ballet classmates, instructor, and myself on the right.
  • I met Buzz Aldrin

    Getting a signed book (and a compliment!) from Buzz Aldrin
    Getting a signed book (and a compliment!) from Buzz Aldrin
  • I sort of met Ice Cube

    Yeah, I could've touched him, no big deal.
    Yeah, I could’ve touched him, no big deal.

I had my Snow White costume featured on the Disneybound blog

Thank you Brittany for this screenshot!
Thank you Brittany for this screenshot!
  • I visited the Wall Street bull for the first time

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

All in all, I was so incredibly fortunate to have all of these experiences and more this year. I’m happy to have been able to experience these wonderful things and that I was able to share almost all of them here with my small bunch of readers.

I think that 2013, with its extreme ups and extreme downs, has made me a better person than I was in 2012. I’ve become more of a person of action. Mind you, I still have a long ways to go with this, but I didn’t say no to as many opportunities that I wanted so badly to say yes to. Resume vocal training? No more talking about it, time to register for a class and sing. Take up ballet again? Oh, maybe I could… or maybe I’ll just register for a class and dance.

I tried to not just talk about doing things with the false air of being too busy to actually do them. In truth, I was, and often am, too embarrassed to do things, Singing in front of complete strangers without a spotlight blinding me to their presence? Biking around a city that I don’t know? Paying MONEY to RUN even though I am slow and have poor endurance?

What’s more is that many of these experiences are actually the result of my own agency. Yes, my dad booked us for the bike tour, but I’m the one who called it to his attention and suggested it. He bought my tickets to The Nutcracker but only because he knew how badly I wanted to see it. (So badly that I was actually vocal about it, instead of willing people with my non-existent psychic powers to know.)

I am proud of myself for many of the things I accomplished, but maybe I’m most proud that I acted on things I wanted to do. Instead of “Oh, I wish I could do this…” I actually got up and did. I feel empowered by my newfound sense of agency.

This is what assures me that I will be a better person in 2014.
This is why I am grateful for 2013.