(Steller)

The Year, Gone

(Journal)
Published – 30.12.2018
(Writing)

So as it turns out, I barely know anything. I’m almost twenty-four, which is not a traditional landmark in any sense of the word, but it’s been a trip. This year, I’ve realised that most of the things I thought I knew weren’t true and all the things I didn’t know stayed unknown. I’ve been collecting bits and pieces to take with me, though, things I’ve tripped over and come undone about. fifteen things that I learned this year:

1. I set myself a myriad new years resolutions at the end of 2017 - personal resolutions, professional resolutions, financial resolutions - and I mainly lay on my bedroom floor and ate corn chips when I could have been “baking bread”, “turning my phone off more” or “taking German classes”. Resolutions are, as it turns out, not for me, and I think that’s okay. I had greater success with my yearly goal (I only set one, because they’re generally a bit esoteric and I don’t fully know what they mean), which this year was learn to be okay asking the stupid questions. I went to Germany and listened to Stockhausen at 7am to achieve this and I’m so very glad I did. Here’s to another year of stupid questions.
2. In 2018, I gave over ten public talks about classical music, and in only one of them did I speak about the wrong composer. Here’s to reading the program properly but also here’s to making mistakes and carrying on anyway.
3. If your best friend really wants to see the movie you hate the look of, go anyway and have an expensive, popcorn heavy nap.
4. There is a playlist on Spotify called “Slowdown Slow Jams” and it sounds a bit like being at a Year 10 social in the 90s and that is a feeling that I am chasing down, particularly come mid-afternoon of a work from home day.
5. Speaking of working from home, oh boy, that’s a challenge and a half. Hot tip: if your bed and desk are in the same room and sometimes you don’t leave that room all day, you should move your wheelie chair over to your bed at night and then in the morning, just roll onto it and push yourself over to the desk. Really cuts down on commute time. My apologies to all people I told that joke to during the year. I only have five good jokes.
6. Moving out of home is really great if you’re an adult who knows how to do things but it’s really hard if you are an overgrown child who still needs advice on whether to eat the chicken that’s been in the fridge for more than three days. Short answer: don’t eat the chicken. Long answer: if you’re freaking out about stuff in your house, you should definitely call your mum or your dad or a trusted adult, because they probably miss you and your general clumsiness and un-worldliness will give them an excellent anecdote to share with their work colleagues. Hi Mum, I know you’re talking about me during your lunch break.
7. Watching young people achieve massive things is the most exciting part of being a semi-grown up. I got to work with a bunch of developing musicians through 3MBS and the University of Melbourne this year, and holy moly, those kids are great kids.
8. There is nothing quite as good as going to a regional city on your only weekend off and having two glasses of wine at lunch. Bonus points if you’ve got an excellent memoir to read and you stay in the restaurant so long reading it the waitstaff have to kick you out to get ready for dinner service.
9. Watching all of Mad Men for the first time does very little for your life, other than making you get weirdly obsessive about hats and encouraging you to drink during the day. Try not to drink during the day, particularly if you work from home, as previously mentioned.
10. There are few things I like more than a fancy restaurant. I also cannot afford to go to any more fancy restaurants. SURPRISE, this bullet point is about budgeting, which is something that I promised myself I would do in 2018, but absolutely did not. It’s going back on the list for 2019, I’ll keep you posted.
11. Similarly to the budget situation, I’ve had the “Couch to 5k” application on my phone for almost all of this year, and I’ll tell you what, it has not encouraged me to leave the couch. Occasionally it makes me feel a little guilty, so I move back to my desk to watch Netflix. Getting fit is something I’m mildly interested in, so I’m popping that on next year’s list too, but the point of this bullet point, is that your body is a great body, no matter what shape it is. You should move it sometimes, and put a vegetable in it from time to time, but you should never let anyone make you feel like what you’ve got isn’t good enough. If they do, you have my permission to lightly punch them in the upper arm and say “not today, my dear” and walk away.
12. If you don’t put any concerted effort into locking the bathroom door, you can’t be angry at the person who innocently walks in on you sitting on the loo. I’ve been the walker and the sitter in this scenario, and sometimes you just have to laugh off the embarrassment.
13. Pasta alone is good, as is pasta with other people. Pasta on a date and pasta in a group are both equally excellent situations, and if you get sauce on your chin and you don’t find it until you get home (after a 20 minute tram ride), it’s a sign of a good time, and that’s something I know to be true.
14. There will be circumstances where you need to buy a fancy outfit approximately three hours before the fancy event and in that moment, it’ll feel like nothing will ever be more stressful. This is incorrect. I learned two things from this: if you don’t think you’ll be bothered by the event in three weeks, it’s not worth panicking about. And please just buy a dress in advance.
15. If someone asks you to dance, and you think they’re generally good, just dance with them. We could all use more dance time.

Next year’s goal? Learn to listen better, to take time, to relax a little.

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