I'm going to shamelessly steal a page from my friend Patrick, font of many lovely and generous ideas.
I've mentioned a few times over the last month that 2012 was a pretty lousy year for me, overall. It's true; I'd say it ranks right up there with 1998, the year my mother died, and 2003, the year I struggled with wanting to pursue my own future and thus leave my husband and everything else I knew behind. But you know, both of those years also had their highlights: 1998 was the year I started this journal, which has taken me in some wonderfully unexpected directions (and introduced me to fabulous friends like Patrick, among others), and also the year I started working on my Master's degree. It was our tenth wedding anniversary, and we went on a second honeymoon trip to Salzburg. In 2003 I went to my first academic conference, in Miami, which was an amazing trip I still think of often.
So, this year certainly also had its jewels, which are worth noting. Let's have this year go out not with a whine, but with an influx of gratitude. And thus I bring you:
My Top 10 Highlights of 2012 (in no particular order)
- Discovering lifting. I've had to set it aside for now, but I'm itching to get back to the gym. Lifting made me feel immediately better about myself in a way that no other exercise ever has. I don't mean just the endorphin rush: I mean I liked myself more, felt more attractive. And I naturally felt more badass, even though of course the numbers I was moving were puny in absolute terms. Still, the experience was really enlightening, quite literally empowering, and definitely a high point of the year.
- Event Horizon. This is the name of the two-person show I've been working on all year with my friend Bill. We finally have a debut date set (Groundhog Day!), and I can't wait. The next month is going to be pretty intense in terms of practice, but the work we did this past year in figuring out the different elements of our format, and how to make them work for us, was creatively and intellectually stimulating in the most satisfying way.
- Also on an improv note, PIF (the local festival) was amazing. Not only did my troupe perform for the second time--and have a much better experience than the first time, last year--but everything around the festival was also great. I was a "den mother" to a troupe from L.A., and they were terrific fun to be around. There was also an associated conference, in which I participated as a panelist (twice!). Really, just a great experience all around.
- The Case of the Mysteriously Expanding "Side Project." I mentioned this a bit in my last entry, but dwelled mainly on how it had become a lot more unwieldy than I'd expected. However, what I didn't mention was how very satisfying it was. I got to work with my friend Nina, which was fun and very productive (and since collaborating with friends doesn't always turn out well, I'm especially glad this one did). We had some exciting results, and got to share them at three conferences and in two papers now under review. Definitely a success, and fun along the way.
- Speaking of conferences, one of those was in Chicago. That trip was pretty awesome. Chicago is one of my favorite cities, anyway, but this trip was special for a few reasons. I got to see a live performance by the inimitable TJ & Dave at IO, which made me super happy: the show was every bit as great as I'd hoped, plus we ran into Craig Cackowsi there and chatted with him a bit. Randomly bumping into people I know in distant cities makes me feel all cosmopolitan and stuff. And I got to spend some time with people I haven't seen in a while, especially my friend Sue, who is now a rockstar scholar and a mom and more awesome than ever. I even did some actual professional networking, something at which I am (rather ironically) notoriously bad. I managed to get sick and lose my voice while I was there, but it was still a great conference.
- There was another big conference that happened to be held locally, in May. I wasn't an official attendee this year, but that meant I kind of got the best of both worlds: time to catch up with still more people I hadn't seen in a while, with none of the stress of having to present. Among those people was my PhD advisor, with whom I had a lovely extended brunch. She's such a great person. I was heavy into my love of lifting at the time, and I discovered that she, too, was a lifter! She had to stop for health reasons a few years ago, but her bench press numbers give me something to aspire to.
- My new apartment definitely rates a mention as a highlight. The moving process sucks mightily, I think we can all agree, but I adore my new neighborhood, and the fact that Fred has some outdoor space to explore (under close supervision). And weirdly, even though the decision to move (or rather, realization that I needed to) came rather suddenly, in the process of looking for a place I discovered new neighborhoods, and met some very cool new people. I had a lot of great conversations with potential landlords, and fell in love with my adopted city all over again.
- In May, my two closest friends here in town got married. Their wedding was definitely a highlight of the year. Not only was it an absolutely lovely ceremony, a simple but elegant backyard affair, but there was dancing, and great food, and even pool time. (I actually wore a bathing suit in public, something I usually try to avoid at all costs, but the Earth continues to rotate on its axis--who knew?) Despite the fact that the groom's uncle had the unpleasant habit of sidling up behind me and grabbing my ass, the evening was a rousing success. Not to mention the fact that I can't imagine a lovelier couple. They are blissfully happy together, which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.
- In October, two friends came to visit. N. has been here before, the first summer I moved out here (a really good friend is one who will visit you in the desert in August). S. is Canadian, and has been obsessed with the southwest since birth. The three of us met on an online forum and have had an ongoing Facebook chat for five or six years (!!!), sharing all of our personal and professional ups and downs. This was the first time we were all together in person, which was great. They were staying a couple of hours away, doing lots of touristy stuff, so we didn't have as much time together as I would've liked, but we did spend a spa day together and they came into the city one day for shopping and dinner. They also got to pet Fred, which I suspect is the main reason most people want to come over.
- Movies are not usually a big part of my personal landscape, especially not first showings, but 2012 was different. My three favorites were Cabin in the Woods, Moonrise Kingdom, and The Avengers. The first and last were notable not just because they're both Joss Whedon films, but because I saw them with a group of friends. It's been a really long time since I did that, and I hope there will be more of that sort of thing in the future. For CitW, we even went to the very first showing, just past midnight, which was extra fun.
So I can't really wish 2012 into oblivion: too many good things happened. Oh, you know what? I could totally add Holidailies as the 11th highlight: not only has it been fun to do some non-work-related writing (longer than a Facebook status update or a tweet), but to my great surprise, I've actually set a personal record with the number of entries posted (and even more surprisingly, netted three Best of Holidailies mentions!). The previous crown belonged to 2003. I think the moral of this story is, crappy years make for better Holidailies. In which case, I must also hope that next year I fail miserably at this thing.
My wish for next year is that there be even more highlights to choose from--and I wish the same to everyone reading. Happy New Year!