2014: A Brief Look Back

It’s insane to think tomorrow is December 31, but I suppose reality cannot be denied. December always goes mad fast. I am looking forward to a much slower January, even though it will likely be cold and muddy and gray.

But we’ve come to the time of year when we’re all simultaneously reflecting and planning, so I thought I would engage in the first activity today and the second on Thursday.

It’s been a solid year for me personally*–happier and more stable in many respects than 2013. And while I’ll be meditating on what I would like to do better as I plan for 2015, for now I’ll focus on the positive.

2014 was a year for big events. I finished my second Master’s degree in August. My brother got married (and I officiated) in June. I attended my five-year college reunion in May. I made a big life choice by deciding to pursue alt employment and writing (no regrets there, I am happy to report).

I was lucky enough to enjoy a broad range of experiences. I took the train down to Miami in the spring. I’ve written about my post-graduate visits to NYC, Philly, Florida, and North Carolina so I won’t rehash them here. I attended plays and readings and concerts. 21 baseball games. A college football game. A pro hockey game. I devoted hours to the Winter Olympics and the World Cup. I attended the National Book Festival and bicentennial events for the War of 1812. I voted in my fifth consecutive election.

I read 62 books, half of which were for school. The best of my independent reading choices were Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon, Blood Child by Octavia Butler, and Song of Achilles by Madeleine Miller. Those which stuck with me most from the year’s two semesters at St. John’s were The RepublicThe Prince, Spinoza’s Theological-Political Treatise, The Federalist Papers, Euclid’s ElementsOn the Origin of Species, and Descent of Man.

Writing-wise, I placed six stories and wrote eight new ones. I resurrected this blog and The Girl Who Loved Zombies, started Dead White Guys, became a contributing editor for Tate Street High Society, and was a guest contributor for Bitch Flicks. I’ve kept Seven by Twenty (7×20) going. I read for the Million Writers Award and joined the social media team for the Starfish Foundation. I volunteered for my undergraduate alma mater. On December 13, as you already know, I participated in the #Justice4All march in DC.

Personally, I am pleased with this year and excited for next year. But I think the most important things don’t even fit well in lists. It’s hard to itemize personal growth or global awareness or the healthy development of relationships. But I also know that the point is continuance, not achievement. We can’t cross these things off the list. We can only persist.

How do you feel about 2014? Can you put words to your greatest successes?

*There’s no nice or neat way to talk about how this compares with how the year went globally or nationally. Which isn’t to say I felt unaffected by those events–however, the effect of my privilege is that they did not impact me directly. I do want to acknowledge that here and add my sincere hope that 2015 is a year of progress and positive change for America and the world. I will certainly do my part to make that happen whenever I can and revisit the topic very soon.*

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