2014: My Year in Review

Posted by Catherine Elms on January 1, 2015 Blog posts | | 3 comments

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While 2014 has been very bumpy in places, and contained some incredibly traumatic and formative experiences for me, the year has ended on a positive note.  On the whole I made huge progress, both in my personal and professional life, and right now at this point in time I’m happier and more settled than I’ve ever been.

Every year I like to reflect on the previous 12 months, and review my annual goals (read my 2013 post here, and my goals for 2014 here) – as my friend Lizzy wrote on her excellent blog post at The Pillow Fort, “taking time to review and reflect is really important; both for consciously creating your future, but also celebrating just how far you’ve come“. This post is all about what I achieved in 2014; tomorrow’s post will be all about my goals for 2015.

There was a lot of upheaval this year – I changed jobs twice, moved home twice, went on 2 adventurous holidays, and some personal circumstances had a drastic impact on my mental health – so I didn’t achieve all I wanted, but that’s ok.  I think on the whole, I did well considering the circumstances.  I’m going to try not to be too hard on myself.


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BIG SCARY GOALS:

 

 – Develop my music career and create regular products/recordings/videos/etc – completed!

This happened – I established a regular newsletter, went from 5 to 24 videos on my YouTube channel, played regular gigs which all went extremely well, had a photo shoot, established many more fans/supporters, and made some music scene contacts.  I only had 2 new products – a zine (Here. In My Head. #14) and a live EP – which is much less than I was hoping for, but on the whole I definitely made good progress!

– Complete all of the online courses I’m enrolled on

I completed about half the courses I’m enrolled on, which is pretty good.  Unfortunately I didn’t get much out of them – the singing technique warm-up course by Eric Arceneaux was brilliant, but the other 3 (a songwriting course, a “beginners” yoga course which was bloody impossible, and an unsigned musician business course) were rubbish.  

– Learn more about DIY music recording

I bought a “recording for beginners” book with the intention of teaching myself how to record music at home, but it was very complicated and put a lot of emphasis on buying very expensive specialist equipment, and after struggling to get through the first few chapters I decided that it wasn’t worth the mental energy.  I’ll focus my energies elsewhere for the meantime.

– Finish 2 EPs, an album, 2 zines, and some music videos – completed (sort of)

I released 1 EP, wrote 1 more, wrote an album, and wrote 2 zines, but only published 1 EP and 1 zine.  Still, the foundations are laid for more releases in 2015, so it’s a win.

– Complete Couch to 5k – completed!

Yes!  I completed it just in time for a 5k Race for Life in July, and I managed to complete the run in 36 minutes!  Incredibly proud of myself for that one.

– Establish good habits and drop habits that don’t serve me

My routine was disrupted far too many times for me to embed proper habits, so this didn’t really happen.  That said, I did manage to stop worrying/stressing about some things that plagued me in 2013, so that was a positive step forward.

– Find a new desk job – completed!

I’m over the moon about this!  I used to work in a Doctor’s surgery and I wasn’t very good at it (you can read more about my experiences and what I learned from them in my latest zine); I had been looking for a new job for a year and a half and had a series of unsuccessful interviews before I finally secured my current job.  I now work in Equality and Diversity at a local university, and I’m very happy there.  Plus it’s part time, which leaves me enough spare time to work on my career as a musician. :)

– Make my house a welcoming, creative and comfortable place to live – completed (sort of)

We did a lot of redecorating at the beginning of the year, then had to move out in a hurry due to structural problems in the house, then eventually found a nice home that serves us well.  It’s warm, welcoming, comfortable, with 2 spare rooms – an office/creative space each for me and my partner.  We haven’t started redecorating any of the rooms yet, as we’ve only been here for 6 weeks, but even in its current state it’s a lovely home and we’re very happy.

 


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SMALLER PERSONAL GOALS:

 

– Get at least 3 of the many tattoos I have planned out

I got 2 tattoos in 2014 – a treble clef on my wrist, and a feminist symbol on my upper back.  I intended to get a 3rd in the winter, but I couldn’t decide on a design, and ultimately I didn’t want to rush into anything unless I was certain.

– Read 2 new books a month

I read 22 books this year so 2 short of my target.  I think that’s ok on the whole.  (I have to say, I am so impressed and a teeny bit jealous of people who can read a book per week or sometimes more!  I wish I had the time for that!)

– Read 1 ebook a month

I think I only read about 8 ebooks this year.  Unfortunately reading dropped off my priority list in 2014.

– Do more yoga – completed!

I started attending weekly yoga classes in August, and probably went to about 10 classes in total (beating last year’s total of 3 classes)!  I have a tricky relationship with yoga – I want to like it and be good at it, but every class I attend leaves me feeling angry and tearful because it’s so so difficult, and I seem to be the only one struggling.  I’m not sure whether the focus should be on trying to “do” the moves, or on relaxing and gently stretching.  Or does it depend on what you want to do yoga for? (can’t I get fit AND relax?)  Perhaps I just haven’t found the right teacher yet.  I will try a few different yoga classes in 2015, but I’ll wait for my general fitness to improve a bit first.

– Sell a load of my old stuff – completed!

I sold a shedload of stuff on eBay and made a small amount of money (extortionate postage costs wiped out some of my profit though, tut).  Daf and I also sold loads of junk at a car boot sale and made over £100!

– Gig at least once a month – completed (sort of)

I didn’t gig every single month, but tended to have gigs in clusters, so I did 4 in August and none in September.  In total, I played 16 gigs :)

 


Uplands Music Festival, Swansea - August 2014Llanelli Music Scene's Band of the Month Catherine Elms Kilkenny Cat

OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS THAT I’M PROUD OF

 

1. Overcoming my stage fright and playing regular gigs in my local music scene

2. Investing in CBT and worked on my low self-esteem with a professional

3. Spent a fortnight in Japan (my first time in Japan, my first time outside of Europe, my first long-haul flight, my first holiday without my parents, and the furthest I’ve ever travelled!)

4. Became the co-chair of the Swansea Uni LGBT+ Staff Network

5. Went to Alive in Berlin and had one of the best weekends of my life!

6. Travelled abroad alone

7. Performed live on the radio twice

8. Attended my first Comic Con and cosplayed for the first time

9. Played my first music festival

10. Came out to my work colleagues

11. Made a (tiny) profit from my music career, for the first time!

12. Abseiled down a 120ft building for charity (read more about it here) – by far the most frightening experience of my life!

13. Prioritised sleep and self-care more than I ever have

14. Took care of my body

15. Spent less time on the internet and more time doing creative things

16. Donated and raised money for various charities.


 Up next: PART 2 – my goals for 2015!

 

 

3 Comments

  • Lizzy Goddard said on Jan 3, 2015 9:09 am

    I love your review posts so much! I look forward to them every year.
    Thanks for the mention/link to The Pillow Fort too.
    Looks like you’ve had a pretty good year – or at least can see the overall successes 😀

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