Questions to Consider (Or: "I Don't Make Resolutions, But if I Did, This Would Be A Cool Way to Go")
Jess, of Skyscrapers and Skylines, posted a list of questions on her page a few weeks back, and they got me thinking.
Supposedly, the answers to these questions help you to evaluate the past year and make plans for the new one. I had never considered some of them before, and others turned out to have some pretty uncomfortable answers...
What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
I went on holiday by myself- to Grahamstown during the National Arts Festival. I also attended a book launch, and had my book signed by the author.
Did anyone close to you get married, give birth or die?
One got married, quite a few others got engaged and gave birth. No one died.
What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Confidence and faith, in myself and in the world- so that I can be assured that I am capable of doing and achieving all that I want to, and the world will help me to be great.
What events from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The Grahamstown National Arts Festival: it reminded me how much I loved being close to the arts- watching, experiencing, and documenting it all. Time in Grahamstown also had me reflecting on how differently my life went compared to how I hoped it would back in 2009/10 when I first sent my applications out to universities.
The death of former president Nelson Mandela: I didn’t realise how much I thought about him, and about politics in general, until I was confronted by everyone’s opinions and theories about who he was and what he did for our country. I was forced to identify my own thoughts on issues, and keep them in mind so I would not be swayed by the ideas of others. Basically, I think watching the way the country was consumed by this event reminded me to make sure that I have a stance that I am confident about, and that I can share with people. Watching people say all those things about Mandela and how much they will miss him had me thinking about how I want to be remembered- in fact, it made me think about the fact that I would like to actually be remembered, instead of just having a basic tribute that reads “she was a pretty nice girl, shame that she’s gone”
The closing down of Seventeen magazine in South Africa: I never worked for them, but it was my plan for 2014 to get to those offices and finally contribute to the publication that I had been so loyal to for about 8 years. Hearing that that was not going to happen made me rethink my plans for the future, and I had to realise that I would have to work hard to achieve the status I want in the magazine journalism world- it would not just be as easy as walking into the Seventeen offices and being their most valued writer or editor in a matter of months, like I thought it would be. Hearing that the magazine would no longer be published in South Africa forced me to get a little more serious about planning what I really wanted for my career.
What was your biggest achievement of 2013?I'm stumped. Probably because I spent most of the year associating "achievement" with "graduation", and since I didn't graduate (like everyone else around me seemed to be doing every other week), I felt I hadn't done anything.
However, there are most likely a lot of smaller personal achievements that I overlooked... Let me get back to you on this one.
What was your biggest failure/disappointment?
That I didn't graduate; that I waited so long before taking control of my studies (and by doing so taking control of my career and the general direction of my life) *sigh* It's nothing that can't be fixed.
I also kind of felt disappointed that I still didn't have a driver's license... But again- nothing that can't be fixed.
What was the best thing you bought?
Black ankle boots from Legit, and a pair of earrings from a craft stall in Grahamstown.
Where did most of your money go?
Airtime and magazines. I can’t resist a beautifully-designed cover (or, as I discovered, certain types of celebrity scandal), so I bought a lot more magazines based solely on that this year, on top of the R60 I spent on my two favourite titles every month. I also bought international magazines: I’m becoming really invested in the UK’s Company, and I bought the US September issues of Vogue and ELLE.
I went through airtime at a ridiculous pace- data bundles or no, the way I use the internet on my phone costs me way too much. *hides*
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The Grahamstown trip; AKA at PUMA Social Jozi
What songs will always remind you of 2013?
ASAP Rocky – F’ing Problems (O-Week)
Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
A little happier, because I am slowly starting to take back control of the direction of my life; probably a little fatter- looking in the mirror I noticed that my body is not shaped the same in some areas anymore, but I still wear the same sizes…maybe I should try to make that one size, by exercising a little? I could stand to be fitter; I am going to say I am a little poorer, because I can already see that 2014 is going to be the year where I will be forced to work for my money instead of relying on my parents for it, and learn how to use it properly- and that is going to be difficult. But not impossible.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had enjoyed my life a little more, instead of always worrying about how I looked to others, how they would perceive me, what they would say about me, whether I would embarrass myself in front of anyone, or whether people would think I was “cool”. I realised this year that a lot of the time I act like a kid in primary school- seeking approval from peers, when the only approval or permission I really need is my own.
I would also have liked to be more proactive- I was passive, and sort of just let a lot of things happen to me, instead of taking action to get what I wanted. I wish I had been less hesitant to make things happen for me in my own life.
How will you spend the festive season?
I spent it with my family, doing the same thing we do every year, and it ended up being more frustrating than festive. Next year, I need to do it differently- I can’t go through life always dreading holiday time because of the qualities that it brings out in me.
What was your love life like?
What “love life”? I spent the first few months of the year finally letting go of thoughts about a guy I met and developed a crush on in 2010/11, while wondering if the other guy I had met, who kept behaving in what I assumed was a flirtatious way towards me, was worth pursuing or not. All of this happened in my mind and in the pages of my diary- I never said anything to either of them, so it isn’t as if they could even clarify anything for me and help me move on or anything.
And in-between all of that I was thinking more and more that I would actually like to be in a relationship soon, if I could work through my own insecurities, doubts and apprehensions. I don’t know how to do that yet, but hopefully by the end of 2014 I will have figured myself out, and been able to let someone into my life. Though I still don’t want to hinge too much on this relationship thing, because I don’t believe that my life would be tragically incomplete if I never met anyone (which seems to be the attitude of most of the people I have spoken to), I am willing to try it so I can maybe understand more about myself and what I really want my life to look like.
In 2014, my “love life” should actually exist outside of my diary- that would be a huge improvement for me.
What are some of your favourite things from this year?
Lilly Singh, whose YouTube account (iiSuperwomanii) I discovered by accident through the “Suggestions” function. Lilly and her humour, irreverence, and all-round positivity have made my hours and hours on the internet seem like a little less of a waste.
PUMA Social Club, where I spent quite a lot of my Friday nights. The free entrance, great atmosphere and spectacular music (though sometimes admittedly too “alternative” for me) made for some memorable times.
What was the best book you read?
The Shining Girls – Lauren Beukes
What was your greatest musical discovery?
I rediscovered JoJo, and I kept a close eye on my 2012 new discovery Elle Varner. I was glad to find out about Beatenberg (thanks, PUMA Social Club) and I am starting to think I could really be a fan of Tamar Braxton. Also, Kendrick Lamar. And DreamTeam.
What did you want and get?
I have wanted to go back and see my friends from George since 2008, and it finally happened.
What was your favourite film of this year?
Baz Luhrman’s The Great Gatsby
What did you do on your birthday?
Lunch and shopping with my sister and a friend, supper in Newtown with my cousins; the next day, another lunch with friends at Tasha’s. It felt good to celebrate with people I was sure were my true friends- it’s a small group, but it feels right- I think that’s a sign of growth.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A better appreciation of time, and of the space I was in- if I had peace of mind, and approached everything from that place, a lot less stuff would’ve stressed me out and I would have lived more.
How would you describe your personal fashion concept?
My style is evolving- I am much more aware of trends, and they are influencing what I buy and what I want my “look” to be. I was more drawn to pretty dresses and mini skirts, and I discovered that Woolworths slim leg, regular rise jeans work better for me than skinnies. I like to look put together, but not too formal, using colours and accessories that are on trend. I learned the hard way that “in fashion” does not equal “good for you”- I gave away the peplum tops I bought.
Not too feminine (frills and flowers), but more like sensual- fabrics that work with my body and make me feel like the outfit gives me a confidence boost.
I am making “dress for the job you want, not the job you have” my goal this year.
What kept you sane?
Blogs and YouTube: checking in on my favourite accounts, Tumblogs and the Tgether network helped me to focus on what I would like to fill my life with (fashion, writing, travel) so that I would be a little less worried about the direction of my academics.
My sister, who has always been my sounding board- though this year I realised that it is unfair for an older sister to burden a younger one with her issues. I'm grateful that she was there for me, but I'm working on being able to find more of my own answers when I'm in a fix.
Which celebrity/public figure stood out this year?
Beyonce and Jay-Z, for the way they capitalised on their influence on pop culture and made themselves indispensable; Kanye West for the way he pushed boundaries with his music (it seemed more like putting on a show than actually rapping at times); Pharrell for the way he came back and was just as relevant as ever, One Direction for the way they became such a crazy phenomenon- I thought they were game show contestants who would soon fade into obscurity, I was wrong. Khanyi Dlomo, for starting Luminance, and the way she handled the criticism she got about it- it reminded me why I once listed her as one of my role models.
What political issue stirred you the most?
Politics doesn’t “stir” me, per se, but 2013 being the year before elections (and some of the news stories that were in this vein) did have me thinking about who I would vote for, and whether I even believed in voting at all.
Who did you miss?
A friend who I had lost touch with because of a third party and some ensuing miscommunications. I don’t like friend drama- especially since I am never the one causing it. Thankfully we’re back in contact now.
Who was the best new person you met?
It wasn't so much a new person, as it was someone I had known all along that I decided to become better friends with. (Check out her work at Project Saluda)
The most valuable lesson I’ve learnt this year is:
Not everyone's lives progress along the same trajectory. It is unfair for me to put pressure on myself to reach milestones at the same pace as my peers, even if we did all go to the same primary school, attend the same church and have similar "when I grow up..." stories. We are all individuals, and that's okay. By extension, it is okay not to have found all the answers the same way as they all did. I am making my own life.
(I will have to repeat this to myself a few times throughout the year, because being confronted by everyone else's achievements and happiness does bring me down a little, but I will be okay.)
Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
No one line comes to mind, but I will say that JoJo's "All I Want Is Everything" is a song that gave me more of an idea of where to start with my plans.