1.What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I finally finished writing a story! A piece of fanfiction, to be exact but don’t hold that against me. It clocked in at a little under 120k words. Then I gave myself a month before deciding to start another one. Boy was that a mistake (a statement I could pack and unpack for days and is worthy of its own entry at some point).
I also bought a house with the fiancé. I’ve never done that before with or without a Ginger. After renting our whole adult lives, we’re finally getting some bricks and mortar to call our own. Debt has never been so exciting. As I write this, and for the next five months or so, it’s being built. But all the mortgage bollocks and authorisation happened in 2016. Technically we won’t get our eager hands on the contract until May-ish 2017, but the groundwork has been done. Pun absolutely intended.
I went to Scandanavia.
I’ve hosted a few gaming streams and even one sort of art stream. Not likely to do the latter again, but the former was fun and hope is to make it a semi-regular thing.
- Did you keep your 2016 new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for 2017?
I can’t remember what resolutions I made for 2016, but if I made any, then I have almost certainly let past me down. Sorry, past me. I don’t know what was going on this year.
I have made a list of things to work on in 2017. There are a few definite statements in there like “move house”, but for the most part they’re fairly open statements like “Host more” or “Water isn’t so bad. Drink more of it”. They’re very much guidance on how to be a less shitty me rather than absolute resolutions.
Such things make the srs bsns person inside me twitch with their vagueness (they don’t conform to SMART criteria, damnit! How can I possibly tell if I’ve been successful in completing them?”) but that’s Okay. A lot of the things on that list aren’t intended to have a 2017 end goal. They’re lifestyle improvements. Some of them are attitude and routine changes which will take time to take hold. Putting a deadline on that or quantifying it in some way is a one way trip to fail town.
“Welp, 2017 is a giant failure. Looks like I screwed up one week and had a few glasses of wine on a work night. Might as well spend the other 360 days of the year drunk”.
Having “Cut down on drinking on [work]nights” might seem vague and unsatisfying to some people, but I know what I mean. I know what I want to come out of that. If I don’t quite achieve what I want to, then so be it. Providing I’ve at least made some dent in the amount I drink, for example, then I’ll be happy.
It’s the difference between going on an unsustainable fad diet, and changing your overall approach to food and exercise. Only one of those things should stick and will be healthy in the long run.
Incidentally, this isn’t an attitude I think is helpful for everyone. Some people work better with specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timebound objectives. Personally? I seem to use them as an excuse to fail.
- Did anyone close to you give birth?
No one super close, but people I consider acquaintancey-friends did. At least four of them, in fact. Apparently my extended friendship group is hitting That Age now.
- Did anyone close to you die?
Again, no one super close, no. Here’s where I could talk about various celebrities and how their deaths impacted on me, but that feels cheap, like I’m cashing in on someone else’s more meaningful grief. Throwing names in here as by-lines feels like name dropping. An “I liked them before they were dead” sort of elitism. At some point I should dedicate time to talking specifically about the hows and whys and their influences on me.
- What countries did you visit?
I visited Denmark and Sweden for the first time. That was rather awesome.
- What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Energy and drive.
After revisiting this question, I’ve decided to strike ‘energy’ off for the same reason as I’ve been vague with my 2017 resolutions.
Drive ≠ energy.
I could’ve picked a direction and at least crawled towards it in 2016, but I didn’t. Instead I pissed my reserves away on pointless things which didn’t contribute to anything of significance. If I’d had a direction or at least a few aims in mind, then I could’ve used what little energy I had to make headway.
Low energy isn’t something I want to be an excuse for 2017. Sure I can feel a little disappointed in myself for not making as much progress as I might hope in some areas, but if I’ve at least attempted to be the better person my 2017 resolution list wants me to be then 2017 will be a substantially better year.
If this energy level thing is as a result of something outside of my control, then I don’t want it to colour me a failure. No one with any chronic energy-sapping illness is inherently a failure. What energy there is needs to be spent well.
- What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I can’t think of any one date in particular. 2016 was marked by moments.
- What was your biggest achievement of the year?
There are a few contenders, but nothing that feels significant. Flying was a big deal, but I wasn’t exactly piloting the plane so much as crying a lot. I’ve already talked about my writing, however, the vast, vast majority of that completed fic’s word count happened in 2015 so claiming it for 2016 feels cheap.
I learned about 5 words in Swedish. Does that count?
- What was your biggest failure?
My personal hygiene and general well-being has fallen to shit. These are two things I’m planning to focus on in 2017. If nothing else, if general, global circumstances continue to be crap then I can at least be healthy and halfway
sober groomed while the world burns.
- Were you seriously ill during 2016?
No. Not so much as a single trip to A&E which is astonishing. I might have something slow-burning going on, but it’s been difficult to find time/motivation to do something about it. Oh the irony. Especially when the first thing any doctor is likely to call me up on is how little exercise I do and how poor my habits are. I want to get them sorted before I take myself off to get poked and prodded. It’s entirely possible that my own lifestyle is to blame so I’d rather cross that off the list before wasting anyone’s time.
- What was the best thing you bought?
Does a shitload of Undertale merchandise count? Oh wait – a house! I keep forgetting about that.
The Ginger’s birthday present was also a very good call (I backed the new edition Unknown Armies release on Kickstarter and some very exciting things have come out of it!)
- Whose behaviour merited celebration?
The Ginger’s. As always, he has been my rock and pace-maker. If it weren’t for him, this year would have been so much worse. I don’t understand how he can tolerate all my wallowing and complaining.
- Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?
[insert obligatory venom and froth about politics and generalised statements about demographics here]
[insert further froth about family shit here]
Sorry, I know that 2016 has been a year of political and familial upset, but I need to turn a lot of this bile inwards. In the most healthy and constructive way possible. I’ve let me down a great deal. I could’ve been more helpful to my family, I could’ve been a lot more supportive of my friends. I could’ve been more involved in my commitments, and I could’ve been more reliable. I wasn’t, and I have contributed to things being a little bit shittier for those around me.
- Where did most of your money go?
Travel, accommodation, gifts, and wine.
- What did you get excited about?
I was super excited about meeting online friends in meatspace, especially going to see Moonphanter in Sweden.
- What song will always remind you of 2016?
It’s a close call between ‘If We Were Gay’ and ‘The Decision’, both by Ninja Sex Party. NSP provided the soundtrack to my summer and made it more awesome.
- Compared to this time last year, are you…
i.happier or sadder? This is difficult to answer. I think I’m sadder. I ended 2016 at a low point but I’m optimistic it can be better. When I ended 2015, I was coming to the end of my fic and was surfing high on a crest of attention, chatter, and excitement. I don’t have that right now.
ii. thinner or fatter? Pretty sure fatter. My skin doesn’t feel especially comfortable at the moment.
iii. richer or poorer? About the same. I have less debt overall (ignoring the impending mortgage for a moment), and my credit rating is better. I’m not exactly rolling in spare funds though.
- What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting out and about. Being active. Roleplay. Being engaged and involved in the projects I committed myself to.
- What do you wish you’d done less of?
Sleeping. Idling online.
- How will you be spending/did you spend Christmas in 2016?
I had a super quiet one. Seems that a lot of people left Lancaster or had organised their own entertainment this year. Christmas Eve was spent watching Die Hard with the Ginger with tasty food. Christmas Day was food with housemates. Boxing Day saw us joined by a few friends from around Lancaster to play games, and watch Disney. Some tabletop one shots were scheduled to happen, but – again – the lack of people around Lancaster meant there were cancellations. A shame, but I don’t blame people for wanting to mix things up this year.
- Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Just the same arsehole I’ve hated for at least a decade. But it’s fine. The damage he did is being unpicked and after a long time coming, he’s been publically humiliated. It’s not over yet, but things are looking significantly better than they have done for a while.
- What was your favourite TV programme?
I really enjoyed Rick and Morty and Steven Universe.
- What was your greatest musical discovery?
Ninja Sex Party. I mean, I’m sure there are others I could list here like Kai Engel. NSP saw me stood in a church muttering “dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick” under my breath. I have to give them credit for bringing joy during a difficult year.
- What was the best book you read?
I remember being pleasantly surprised by ‘Salem’s Lot (holy shit – a King book with a good ending??). Mostly I’ve been reading fanfiction. Because I’m just that cool.
- Are you happy with your situation?
In part. I’m not happy with myself or what I’ve been doing with it, though.
- What did you want and get?
- What did you want and NOT get?
Not sure. I had very low expectations going into 2016. I think I basically got everything I wanted, but my aims – such as they were whenever they came up – were pretty low.
- What was your favourite film of this year?
Maybe Deadpool? I can’t recall what new movies I’ve seen this year.
- What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 33. I can’t remember what I did. I was 32. Not only can I not remember what I did, I can’t actually remember how old I am.
- What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A Remain vote in the Brexit referendum.
- How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
PJs and that one black dress with leggings.
- What kept you sane?
- What political issue stirred you the most?
I’m not touching this question with a shitty stick. 2016 made me appalled and very far removed from the people in my country and the human race in general. I’ve spent a great deal of time trying to understand this.
- Who did you miss?
Newt. Always Newt.
- Who were the best new people you met?
Although I first met my Internet friends online at the end of 2015, meeting many of them face to face in 2016 was a real highpoint.
- Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016:
It doesn’t matter how big your bubble is, unless you pop it, it’s still a bubble. Expanding it doesn’t expose you to any different attitudes or alternative perspectives.
- Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
Dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick dick balls.