8 Things I Failed at in 2016

Mindfulness / Wednesday, August 9th, 2017

Some times with social media, people present a clean-cut version of themselves. It’s not necessarily a lie so much as a high-light reel ignoring the blunders. Y’all have seen the thousands of think-pieces about this. But there are some good things, like #TotallyHonestTuesday and hilarious photos people will post of themselves with a really nice selfie next to their worst/most unflattering/silliest face. Like any blogger, I’ve done my share of overindulgent pats on the back. Conversely though, I think that I’m pretty safe on here when it comes to the shit things in life, and the same goes for Twitter. Because this administration year has been such a rage fest for me on social media, I actually deleted a bunch of apps, including Facebook, from my phone. I rarely posted/post personal things on Facebook anyway, instead opting to overshare many a WaPo or Vox article that my conservative family will ignore. Instagram can be a little dangerous in terms of my only showing the good (and delicious), but I sort of justify it since I’ve got this blog to show all dem unflattering angles. Also the 1 Second Everyday I made of 2016 was a good mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve built up a world where it’s not okay to fail, and that’s just not how life works. Failure is all around us, and it’s crucial to growth. I think part of that is the weight we place on the word. A failure can be a simple trial and error that you immediately find the right answer to after the first mistake, a non-issue, or, sure, it can be a giant thing with actual repercussions. Regardless, it’s an often necessary step in any process.

That being said, I think it’s important to talk about failure. I think it’s important especially being an American, and having been steeped in a culture of results, of “America first” rhetoric, where we did indeed get participation trophies (that none of us asked for or expected, but whatever, parents/Boomers). God sports are the worst. I just wanted to take karate, man.

Anywho, I thought it might be embarrassing enlightening to take a look at some things I set out to do in 2016 and just totally dropped the ball on, for one reason or another, and maybe help that inform what is left of this year.


1. Inktober: Started by artist Jake Parker, Inktober is just a daily drawing challenge (using ink) throughout the month of October. There are prompts that he provides, but they are optional—the goal is to just get drawing! I succeeded for the first two days, and then stopped. I’d like to go back to basics with sketches and rough figure drawing, but with Inktober I felt a pressure to deliver fully-fledged (if not small) illustrations. I even had a theme this year, focussing on simple pen doodles of old sketches of Disney animals. I got two in. And then I just couldn’t be bothered. And by bothered I mean they didn’t come out how I wanted them too and know that I need to re-learn drawing and expecting Instagram-worthy sketches after not drawing for like properly 8 years was flipping stupid. This year I might just do calligraphy/lettering as I am not sure I will be up to par once again this year.

Mid-2017 Response: There is STILL a chance to do this for 2017! Will I? I think I’d like to this year. Just really go in and stop being all cerebral about it. Maybe use big brushes and large gestures so I don’t have time to question every single line.

2. Work-Life Balance: By this, I mean not using the limited time I have after work on weekdays, nor my weekends, to their fullest potential. I come home and I’m not motivated to learn Unity or storyboard or sketch or edit or be in the right mood to podcast or just CREATE. I’m tired, and that is especially true if I also have to cook dinner or if I go somewhere else after work and don’t get home until like 8pm. You just want to (and need to) unwind. And I don’t see myself really figuring this one out, as I am someone who is profusely happy lounging about watching every season of Digimon for the 14th time. But I’m also someone who then instantly regrets it. EXAMPLE:

I think the moral of the story is that it’s tough to try to do too many things, but I never feel like I’m doing enough so even when I succeed I feel like I lost. BOOM. PROBLEM.

Mid-2017 Response: How is 2017 looking? Still struggling with this, but in different ways. I don’t struggle with finding the time as much, but now I struggle with prioritizing all the stuff I want to learn.  I think I will always struggle with this want because I just WANT a lot of things for my brain. I want to learn so many things and I always feel like time is running out because I am always so fucking morbid. But I think that I am finally starting to be a teeny bit more disciplined about this. Definitely still need to improve on using time during the workweek better. I set pretty rigid schedules during the weekends, but am very lenient Monday through Thursday.

3. NaNoWriMo: Shorthand for “National Novel Writing Month,” NaNo is something I learned about and started doing with friends in college. It’s a month long writing challenge where you hit a daily quota to amass 50,000 words by free-writing through the month of November. I’ve done if a few times, then stopped in grad school, and wanted to pick it back up. I tried to focus on a specific story, with no planning–just see what I had–but it just wasn’t working. I fell behind and canned the whole thing, vowing to prep with some layouts and plot-points for next time.

Mid-2017 Response: I can totally try this this year and go in with a gameplan.

4. Thesis and MFA degree: Worthy of a whole post by itself, the shorthand boils down to time and place. When I accepted my current job at Blue Sky Studios, I knew that it would make my then ongoing MFA degree difficult to manage. But I was optimistic, as my program was in NYC and Blue Sky is a train ride away in Connecticut. Furthermore, I had a couple of very, very supportive teachers who work at Blue Sky who were willing to work extra to help me finish up my degree remotely, as the program I was in, though touted as a program for working professionals, did not leave much room for the working part. I felt so unsupported. Yes, I was asking for an exception to be made, but that wasn’t going to make the work any easier. It was just going to cut out a daily 3-hour commute of which’s time could be spent on actual production. It felt like I was being punished for managing to get a job. But at the end of the day, my IMDb page has more weight than any degree.

Mid-2017 Response: No going back to this, unfortunately. BUT I can still take classes and do work, which I am doing. Some times spite is the most powerful fuel. : P

5. Fitness: When I lived by myself (and barely staying afloat with inflated rent), one of the benefits was that I had more space to move around. I was also on the first floor of my building, so I did not have to worry about neighbors below me. Rather, I had a small little gym right below me with a treadmill and bike. So it was quite ideal. But now I live above a family, live in a single bedroom, and don’t want to pay for a gym membership. The struggle is real (at least in my mind, and that’s the mind that needs convincing).

Mid-2017 Response: Actually just finally started this. It’s still too early to really get into it, but I’d really like to create a routine.

6. 12 Videos for the Year: Last year, I really wanted to start making videos, so I gave myself a goal of one video per month. That seemed feasible, and a way to test the waters without making a full commitment. But I let my fear get in the way. Last year, I was able to make a couple of movies on my personal channel as a way to get some hiccups out of my before I tried to make one for my animation channel, which I did manage last month.

Mid-2017 Response: Hahahahaha nope. 2017 is awash. Like, technically there is still time, and I could bang out a few before the end of the year on my personal channel, but I want to make them for the right reason. But at the same time, “the right reason” is a stupid parameter I made up that has prevented me from doing lots of cool shit.

7. Drinking Water: Still tastes like shit. The saga continuessssssss…

Mid-2017 Response: Still tastes like shit. The saga continuessssssss…

8. Stupid Money Stuff: This will honestly make for its own interesting post in the future, but there were a couple of hiccups finance-wise that I experienced last year. Some of it was not my fault, like a receptionist failing to forward my insurance information along, and some of it, like letting my car registration expire, was totally me just being a shit adult.

Mid-2017 Response: Much, much better. Still a ways to go, but progress exists. I think I may do a post in the future about some specific money failures I learned the hard way over the last few years too. Because WHY NOT.

Like I said, there were some successes that I’ve already documented and linked back to at the start of this post, but it sort of felt nice to air all this stinky laundry for the neighbors to see. Like, yes, that is a tattered bra I’ve had for seven years. FIGHT ME, HELEN.

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