Monday, December 30, 2013

Best of 2013

As is my yearly tradition, here is a post of personal highlights from my year, ranging from factual to thoughtful. Thanks for riding out another year with me, friends!

10 Goals I Had for 2013:
1. Finish a draft of my novel “Starlings” (Not completed yet, though I made more headway on it, particularly in terms of plotting and world building)
2. See (and shoot) at least one band I haven’t seen before (I saw a few for the first time, but I don’t think I photographed anyone for the first time)
3. Make a more dedicated effort to keep up with guitar playing (Success here was mixed, since I didn’t have my guitar for a significant portion of the year)
4. Plan a wedding (more specifically, mine) (Well, this one I managed)
5. Learn to take more personal initiative (This one I also made tangible progress in)
6. Invest better in relationships that I have slighted much more than I should (Mixed success. This is a lifelong goal, I believe)
7. Keep up with Greek (Successful-- sat in on Greek class at my alma mater a few times, worked on translation projects on my own)
8. Learn at least one new piece on the piano (from sheets, not that I personally arrange) (I didn’t accomplish this one, though I arranged several more)
9. Drink less coffee (and learn to drink it black) (Mostly successful. I drink less than half of what I did, and though I usually at least need some milk, I never need sweetener anymore)
10. Volunteer more of my time investing in the ministries and causes I care deeply about (Done, but nowhere near to the extent that I would like)

10 Significant Events of 2013:
1. Getting to see Disciple with four of my siblings
2. Final few months living in Colorado, including junking my first car
3. Going to Sixflags and to see Skillet with siblings and longtime friend and fellow music fan Mikayla
4. Living in downtown Nashville for a month and interning with a record label
5. Spending a few days in Georgia getting my heart filled to overflowing by my “Fern” friends
6. Marrying my favorite person
7. My 6th CleanPlace Moot in Colorado
8. Moving into and setting up my first apartment with Jordan
9. Hosting my coworker and dear friend Sarah, plus attending and covering the Dove Awards
with her
10. My adopted sister Liz’s visit and the countless adventures we crammed into one awesome week.

10 Random Places I Visited in 2013:
1. A 24 hour Jewish coffee shop in Manitou Springs, CO
2. A side room of Frothy Monkey coffee house in Franklin, TN where Kevin Max was reading
3. An awesome boot store on Nashville’s Broadway that I wandered into with Sarah, complete with an adorable southern gentleman proprietor
4. Lovely, quiet gardens on a misty day in Georgia
5. A cow pasture in deep Texas where we ended up while trying to find a venue
6. The Manitou Cliff Dwellings, ancient Anasazi homes that I visited (and excessively photographed) with my friends Sarah, Rebecca, and Eleanor
7.  A little tea room in Shreveport, LA that I revisited with my mom for the first time since my mid-teen years
8. Side paths of Colorado’s Garden of the Gods in middle of the night
9. One of the most hillbilly gas stations in Tennessee, where I ended up with two Wisconsin friends in tow
10. A renovated caboose buried deep in the Colorado mountains

The 10 Songs that were the Most Special to Me in 2013:
1. “Hope of Morning” by Icon For Hire
2. “I Was Wrong, I’m Sorry and I Love You” by Derek Webb
3. “Jesus Jesus” by Noah Gundersen
4. “Closer” by John Mark McMillan
5. “Though You Slay Me” by Shane and Shane
6. “Salvation” by Skillet
7. “We Fall Apart” by We As Human
8. “Hold Me Now” by Red
9. “Beautiful Scars” by Disciple
10. “After the Storm” by Mumford and Sons

10 Miscellaneous Things I Learned in 2013:
1. The concept that cynicism and intelligence/wisdom are the same thing, or even strongly
related, is false and incredibly damaging.
2. People with different beliefs than those I hold-- even complete opposite beliefs-- are a whole lot less scary than I was raised to believe.
3. Nostalgia is a dangerous drug, to be taken in limited quantities with your feet firmly planted in where you are now.
4. The fact that joy so often comes paired with a dose of sorrow doesn’t mean that you should forgo the joy to try to avoid the sorrow; it just means you have to find ways to embrace and fully live both.
5. What employers value should never, ever be taken as any kind of standard of what are actually valuable character traits. And on a related note, the societal notion that being in certain kinds of jobs makes you a “higher” or “lower” kind of person is deeply flawed.
6. A very high percentage of discomfort in my relationships comes from my own pride.
7. Music and the music industry are two very different things, and navigating the latter means never losing my love for the former.
8. Most things we think are small (conversations, actions, moments) really aren’t small at all. Every detail matters. 
9. Overcoming dark in our lives is much less about constantly trying to starve the negative and much more about conscientiously, intentionally feeding joy, hope, and light (likely a blog post expanding on this coming).
10. There is no shame in holding to traditional beliefs and clinging to the basic doctrines about the reality and character of Christ. It doesn’t require becoming an intellectual infant. Some thought systems have endured for a reason.

10 Goals for 2014:
(This is always problematic because my life is so unpredictable. I’m going to try to nail down less nebulous goals this time around however.)
1. Run a race (10k at the very least).
2. Change my job situation (Lord willing).
3. Go to a festival again.
4. Write a letter to/have a conversation with at least one of my heroes explaining the impact they had in my life.
5. Find some practical ways to combat recurring anxiety episodes. 
6. Volunteer charity work through church at least once.
7. Wear skirts and dresses more (this being less shallow than it seems-- being confident enough to do so would be an accomplishment).
8. Read at least one book in the fields of theology or literature purely for learning/academic reasons.
9. Visit a place I’ve never been before (meaning a new state or town, not just a new coffee shop-- though I wouldn’t complain about that either).
10. Grow my hair out (also less shallow than it seems-- being healthy enough for my hair to grow is both new and a really big deal).


MangyCat said...

I love these lists of 10, especially gleaning from the wisdom you have learned over the last year. Also, these posts must serve as a great way to gauge your growth as a person. Even the way you talk about the things that happened over the last year is telling. You are, dare I say, growing more optimistic than I have ever seen. *hugs* Life is good.

Sarah Gray said...

You are amazing, Mary! Your lists tell so much about you. You will, no doubt, accomplish mach on your lists this year. Most people don't do as well with their New Years lists as you have done.