At first, I was going to do a month-by-month highlight of the year, but that seemed a bit redundant considering that this year I started doing a literal monthly recap at the end of each month. Not implying, jokingly or otherwise, that you should go back and read those, as those really do tend to be more for me (as is this whole self-indulgent blog 🙂 ). I think instead I’ll just muse about some top things that I remember from the year.
That being said, this is focused solely on moi, and only on the highlights. There were lowlights of course, between larger global and national concerns, a loss in the family, and just other personal struggles. But I think that I’m slowly becoming a more resilient person.
One thing off the top of my head I was so, so grateful for was getting to see In the Heights performed. Not on Broadway or West End, just at a semi-professional community theater. I had turned down my chance to see it on Broadway when they cast a lead actor I don’t like, but have (hipster alert) loved Lin Manuel Miranda for this play and music far before Hamilton made him a household name. It was so awesome for me to finally see this story played out. Other than Junot Diaz’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (which has an audio book read by Lin! #meta)), this is the only thing I know that has such a wide-reach that really focuses on and celebrates Dominican people and culture in the United States. I’ve also been lucky that this year I got to introduce my boyfriend to this, as well as other musicals–he’d never been to one before this!
In small, not really noticeable ways (behind the scenes, under the hood, etc.), I really made headway on this blog/site, most noticeably switching it from a WordPress blog to a proper website (JenHurler.com whatup) and on my secondary project, AnimationComplex.com, which is still not something I advertise or have properly or officially “launched” yet. I’m further along with it than I’ve ever been before. The fact that it has a name puts me miles ahead of when I first wanted to start all of these projects 8 years ago. I’m still encountering hiccups DAILY with these, but I’m learning.
This is kind of stupid but a big highlight for me was getting a library card? A few weeks ago marks my 1-year anniversary moving to my new town, and though it took me a few months, I got a card and was first and foremost BLOWN AWAY by how nice and modernized this library is. It’s just gorgeous.
Thanks to said library, I definitely was able to cut my normal spending on books, and even didn’t buy too many art books this year. Most of my books were more academic books about animation. Or figurines. I got a little too into figurines this year, specifically with Digimon, the love of my life. I also bought a lot of art this year, and actually got a bunch of it framed, and supported small/independent creators. Probably need to be mindful of that moving forward though.
Love it or hate it (I’m somewhere in between, TBH), a book highlight of the year for me was the release of the script for new West End play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. It wasn’t so much the book that was memorable for me as the feelings that came with it–I attended a midnight release at a Barnes and Noble, as a younger me did so many years ago, and was just floored by the idea of revisiting these characters and their world again. This was one of 41 books I read this year, and tracked via the GoodReads Book Challenge. So first and foremost, I’m happy that I achieved by initial goal of reading 20 books, and then some. I read a lot more graphic novels than normal, and I’m trying to diversify my reading.
I’ve attempted creative shit, in small ways. I cooked more, partially thanks to Blue Apron, partially thanks to meal planning, large batches, and a new slow cooker (#blessed). I made Digimon game sprites with perler beads (those iron-on beads), drew a little bit (totally failed at InkTober though), wrote a little bit (totally failed at NaNoWriMo though), even going into the city for a game writing workshop! There were many more things I wanted to do, but I tend to overwhelm myself into inaction. Sad, sad irony.
I went home more often, saw family more. This is easily thanks to my bf doing the heavy lifting and driving me EVERY SINGLE TIME THANKS BUDDY.
My second film credit ever was earned through the release of Ice Age: Collision Course. As a direct result, the SVA chapter of my life officially closed, but frankly, that’s more of a relief than anything. The wrap party was held a few blocks from Times Square, and my time on it was challenging as hell. It definitely wasn’t like The Peanuts Movie, where I was very much still in the honeymoon phase, but it definitely made me savvier and gave me good perspective.
I loved the nerdy things I love more unapologetically. AnimeFanFest, the Museum of the Moving Image, the aforementioned Harry Potter midnight release party, Mini MakerFaire, a Richard Williams talk. I even finally got a paid CrunchyRoll membership, rather than the free-with-ads shtick I’d been rocking.
I was lucky enough to take a trip to LA, San Diego, and Tijuana, which included stops at the Getty Villa, Harry Potter world, Disneyland, and the San Diego Zoo, among others. This was my first time properly on the West Coast, and first time meeting the bf’s family. I also went to Acadia and Boston with friends, hiked Anthony’s Nose, and visited Bear Mountain’s rescue foxes. And the bf’s family visited us later in the year, so we got to introduce them to NYC. I was a little culture shocked both times I met them, but I think I just stress myself out in those situations.
I saw way more movies than I usually do. Between the amazing special screenings my job hosts, our library’s impressive Blu-ray collection, hidden gems and docs on Netflix, living near TWO snooty art house cinemas, and $6 matinees at our local chain theater, I had no excuse. I even got to see DIGIMON in the actual movie theater! FIFTH GRADE ME REJOICED (as did every other iteration of me).
I actually succeeded in making a 1 Second Everyday video for 2016. I’ll make a whole new post just about that and link back here. I finally did it!!
Again, those were just some little things that made my year brighter in this dark and uncertain pre-apocalypse we now live in. : ) Even despite saying that, and sincerely being worried, I am so, so lucky. Thank you to everyone who may read this, and to the people I keep in my life who push my forward.