Another month of 2016 already gone, and another month where…frankly I didn’t do too much. I’m normally a bit of a homebody, but I am also going to LA at the end of May, so I’ve been especially reluctant to go out and spend money. For me, this month was just a bit more chill, with a couple of little highlights.
I’ve already skipped posting during the month of February, so I am not going to mess up another consecutive month–even if it means posting a simple recap post at 11:32pm on the last day of March. Ta da!
That being said, March was…better. Much better than February, and the personal and familial pangs that come with simply living. I do wish that The Little Prince opened in theaters in the US as was intended, but now I’ll just have to
continue to place my trust in Netflix. Butttt if that’s really the only bad thing I can think of, I think we’re doing much, much better.
I have been caught in the planning trap for most of my adult life. Also known as the research trap, this sad, sad phenomenon gives me the false impression that I am doing things–that I’m moving forward, and taking small steps towards the things I want (or think I want, at this point). And in some small, teeny tiny ways, it’s not untrue. But it’s definitely more untrue than true.
When there is something I want to learn more about, or learn how to do, I, like any person, go on a Google-spree. But then I turn into one of those people who starts to read an article and a bit into it, when I realize, “Oh this is good stuff,” will move to something else and decide to come back to it later in order to “give it the proper attention it deserves.” What does that even mean!? Typically, these articles contain good information I’d like to refer back to in the future, but I have no good bookmarking/way of saving things in place. So they stay there, unused, with the end result of initial Googling remaining unrealized. Some times the amount of information is overwhelming and daunting, and halts me right in my tracks.
An example of this comes from a sincere desire to self-improve (as do most of them): I want to become a more financially literate young adult. And honestly, there is no logical point to having over 20 different articles from The Financial Diet open in Chrome. Call it FOMO, call it “covering all of your bases”, but I’ll call it a problem. This is definitely a site where I’m prone to leaving articles open and unread for weeks, knowing there there is so much information I want to retain and implement into my life. I have begun the slow process of cleaning up a younger me’s bookmarks (honestly, I know what folders and subfolders are, so WTF past-me?) as well as other sites like Pinterest and Pocket.
I read this HuffPost article the other day, “9 Excuses Artists Need to Stop Making in 2016” and damn, did some of those sting. Particularly the first and last ones: “I Don’t Have Time” and “I am a Perfectionist.” The first can be be-bunked when taking an honest look at one’s priorities, and the second might require me to get the phrase “Done is better than perfect” tattooed in reverse across my head so that I see it every time I glance at a mirror, because seriously, DONE IS BETTER THAN PERFECT. The article links to then another fantastic article about being content and embracing imperfection (that stays open in a tab, unread or partially read for several weeks) that would be super helpful if I didn’t trap it–and myself–in this very pointless cycle.
This definitely won’t be the last time I write about dealing with this issue. I think in a world of perfectly filtered, curated, and selectively shared lives via Facebook, Instagram, et all, the problem has come to affect everyone, either subconsciously, or blatantly. I think it causes us to react in different ways, where you have some who hustle and bustle to keep up with the Joneses, others who become resentful, and some of us (lol hi) who sort of stagnate somewhere in the middle. I’m not blaming social media here by any means, as I know this has affected me personally since my childhood days pre-Windows 97. It has definitely augmented the problem, but let’s face it, the main obstacle is yourself…your own opinion about yourself. I think our collective sense of humor (at least over here in NYC area) has become very self-depreciating, but if you keep telling yourself something enough, even as joke, it starts to take hold one way or another.
On the flip side, a little envy can be a good thing too. Being in a field where there is not a whole lot of upward mobility, I can’t help but feel jealous and have those fleeting moments of doubt/insecurity when others succeed. It has and still takes me a lot to digest that other people’s success does not equal your own failure. We live in such a competitive society that I think it’s important to un-learn many of these gut-reactions and behaviors. Seeing people around you succeed should motivate rather than discourage.
Even now, writing this, I’ve felt compelled to stop on multiple occasions because I don’t feel it is good enough. I have over 80 articles for this blog saved in the drafts, and I chip away at them from time to time, but I am always letting myself be deterred. I gave myself challenges this year to both write and read more to help me improve my writing and formulating and articulating my thoughts better. So I just need to fucking do it. And a million other things. I want to get back into tangible art (watercolors, sculpting, papercraft, calligraphy), and explore more digital art (motion graphics, 3D modeling, YouTube videos). I want to cook more and work on collaborative projects with people and make video games. There are so many things I want to jump into, which I know will require me to pick and chose where I invest my time, but for the time being I’m investing none of it, and it’s a goddamn shame.
A plan, therefore, was what made the most sense. It’s the last day of January, and I am still trying to figure out what goals I want to set for myself for the year, and how to best go about accomplishing them. It’s been on my
pointless to-do list all month. I don’t want to be one of those people whose blogs/work become super meta in the sense that most of their work is explaining or talking about their work (or lack thereof). I don’t want to become one of those people who is all talk and no action, so here is my talk, which will ideally be followed by action. So I think it helps. I hope this helps.
Cliche, I know. Doesn’t matter. I want to write about this.
A lot has changed for me this year. A lot of good things. 2013 was frankly the worst year I’d ever had. Prior, I didn’t even know you could have a “bad year.” I’d heard the lyric in the Friends theme song1, but the idea that you couldn’t have anything past a rough week had come from a very naive and fortunate perspective. 2014 fared quite better, but bared the brunt of the aftermath. Now, don’t get me wrong, there were of course, some great things to happen in those years. But in general…no bueno.
I had my one year anniversary at Blue Sky Studios, detailed in a post from October. As a result of this employment…
I got my first credit in animated feature film, The Peanuts Movie!2
I finally started blogging more consistently. It’s not much to the seasoned blogger, but I wanted to write at least 12 posts this past year (one per month, theoretically, to help me build up consistency). Blogging is something I have wanted to do for easily six+ years now. Though I did “skip” two months, I kept things going and wrote 15 posts prior to this one this year, and tried to keep it all centered around animation/games.
I attended more events that really took me out of my normal comfort zone, and stopped going to things I sincerely didn’t want to go to. Some were repeat events, like New York Comic Con, AnimeNext, another visit to Seattle, and seeing a Bill Plympton talk, but others were the New York International Children’s Film Festival and seeing The Lord of the Rings in concert. There were a few other cool talks I attended through Blue Sky that I took notes about (such as an Anomalisa screening featuring Charlie Kauffman), but just haven’t posted about, as well as some other trips, like to the NY Ren Faire and many screenings.
I moved from NY to CT (and now only spend around 35% of my monthly income on rent rather than a crippling 77%). Like, damn. I’m honestly so excited that I can start managing my finances better: save up for things, pay off loans, invest in the long term, and really just having options/some breathing room. The move also had me downsize, which gave me the chance to start streamlining my life a tiny bit. Plus, I cannot stress enough how much having stable financial footing has already helped me mentally and emotionally.
I left grad school, for real this time. It was not an easy decision, and
probably definitely needs its own post, but frankly I don’t really care to talk about it right now. To put it simply, I couldn’t handle the demands of both it and full-time job, along with all of the other things I would rather invest my time into.
I started kickboxing, rock-climbing, and cooking more, largely thanks to a boy I met this year. I’m still not a fit or healthy person by any means, and I still lack discipline when it comes to personal care. I have succeeded in many small ways that I wanted to at the start of the year, but it’s still not consistent enough or effortless enough where I don’t need to constantly remind myself3. My SO is annoyingly good at calling out my laziness, and getting me to think in different ways about improving my overall quality of life. I did stop climbing after a few months due to finances, but I am happy that I tried something I never would have on my own.
I haven’t had many expectations or going into the last few years, rather, just looking to have a less dramatic year than the previous. But this one was a good one. It was what I needed–a recovery, I guess. I’m finally finding some stable ground, and figuring out what I want to do next both to grow into my career and as a person.
1. “…when it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month–or even your year, but, I’ll be there for you!”
2. Achievement unlocked: Having an IMDb page!
3. Not gonna lie, resolutions 3, 6, 8, and 10 were a total bust this year. The others were pretty all right, but I wouldn’t be lying if I said they could all use some shaping up!
I had the strange phenomenon of celebrating my birthday on the same day as Daylight Savings Time, a useless concept that, nevertheless, added a 25th hour to November 1st, 2015. As my father said, not many people can say that had an extra hour to celebrate! Had I realized this ahead of time, maybe I would have done something silly, like do something every hour on the hour. It would have been more amusing if I was turning 25 (which I was not). But alas, it was more just a fun fact than any actual catalyst for anything–which is fine in my book.
I had a wonderfully simple birthday, which is frankly my favorite kind. Having recently celebrated the crew screening and wrap party for The Peanuts Movie well into the night, I’d had enough fanfare1. Even the day before–Halloween–was a simple hiking excursion and viewing of Laika’s Coraline.
For my actual birthday, I celebrated with some shrimp dumplings I love, actually sitting in bed a reading2, a visit to the craft store, a nap, free Starbucks, delicious ramen, Tous Les Jours cake, and ended strong with one of my favorite movies, Whisper of the Heart, and two episodes of one of my favorite anime Shirobako. Were there other things I wanted to read and eat and watch and do? Sure, as there are every day. But some times it’s so nice to just take these days to appreciate little things and spend a whole day relaxing and unwinding. It was nice to spend a weekend not staring at a monitor, be it my work computers, my devices at home, or my phone. It was refreshing to be active outside, and passive inside.
The weekend made me revisit all of the different things that I want to learn and try to do, many of them more tangible artistic endeavors away from technology, or just things I’ve never done before. It reminded me of many of the simple goals I wanted for myself back in January that revolved around my health, and how I am finally taking them more seriously and paying more attention to these things little by little. It also made me want to try NaNoWriMo again, which I used to do every year back in undergrad uni. We’ll see how that goes!
Hope everyone has a happy November!
1. Especially considering I went into work the next day, after not going to sleep until almost 3am after a night of drinking and dancing!
2. Sadly one of my favorite activities–reading–is one that I have barely done the entirety of 2015. So the fact that I got to read a bit about Will Eisner’s life was fan-fucking-tastic.