2016: My Year in Review

Posted by Catherine Elms on January 1, 2017 Blog posts | | No comments

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Every year I like to reflect on the previous 12 months, and review my annual goals (read my 2015 post here, and my goals for 2016 here) – as my friend Lizzy wrote, “taking time to review and reflect is really important; both for consciously creating your future, but also celebrating just how far you’ve come”.

2016 has generally been a great year for me personally. The highlights were: getting a promotion, going on holiday, improving my self-esteem and mental health to the point where I no longer identify as mentally unwell, organising a vigil in Swansea for the Orlando victims, the Stonewall Top 50 UK Employers award, finishing my UK tour and publishing my tour diaries, winning a prize for my cosplay, speaking at a university IWD event, writing for and publishing various feminist fandom zines, and playing some excellent gigs.

The lowlights were: Brexit, Trump, Orlando, the political turmoil, the iconic celebrity deaths, and resultant fear and helplessness.

Overall, it’s been a great one, and I’m excited for new opportunities, experiences and adventures in 2017. :)

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GOALS

I set too many goals this year which stretched me too thinly, and didn’t allow for any flexibility when unexpected opportunities or challenges came along. I’ve learned this for my 2017 goal-setting practice, and have decided to focus on doing fewer things, and doing them well.

2016 goals achieved:

  1. Improve my confidence and social skills
    I’ve done a lot this year to develop myself socially and expand my comfort zone, both at work and in my personal life. I’m so proud of myself for the huge amount of progress I’ve made in 2016, and one of my 2017 goals will be about continuing to develop these skills.
  2. Complete ‘You Can Heal Your Life’
    This self-help/self-love book by Louise Hay had a huge impact on improving my self-esteem, especially the affirmation exercises. Highly recommended!
  3. Learn how to use Ableton software
    For Christmas in 2015 I got some home recording gear and tools, and spent the first few months of 2016 learning how to use them and trying to record some rough demos, which I managed to do successfully!
  4. Re-read all the Harry Potter books
    I’ve wanted to do this for a few years, especially since I started co-editing Sonorus and found it highlighted the gaps in my knowledge of the lore. This year, I finally got round to it! It was great to get back into the books and refresh my memory on the finer details. I’ve got lots of ideas for the next issue of Sonorus already.
  5. Establish healthy, nurturing habits
    I’ve established a morning and bedtime routine, a loose routine for the week, a Sunday night routine (which allows me to wind down ahead of the work week), and a piano and vocal practice routine. I don’t follow them every single day/week, but I think that’s okay, as long as I’m doing them more often than not.

2016 in review

January

  • Ended my So Far From Whole EP tour with a successful gig in my hometown (Llanelli)
  • Published a zine titled Here. In My Head. #17: EP Tour Diary, which you can buy here
  • Tabled at Weirdo Zine Fest in London
  • Won Swansea University a place in the Stonewall Top 50 UK Employers for the first time, and went to London for a fancy awards ceremony!

February

  • Successfully organised a suite of events to celebrate LGBT History Month, including a university-wide lecture on trans issues in the workplace
  • Celebrated Galentine’s Day with my best friends
  • Completed an NHS stress management course which helped a bit with some of my self-esteem stuff
  • Won 2nd place in the Nerdvana cosplay contest as Daredevil
  • Put together a tour diary vlog, which you can watch here (my first edited vlog!)
  • Attended an 8-week yoga class which I loved

March

  • Performed and held a zine-making workshop at the International Women’s Day Wales event in National Waterfront Museum
  • Spoke on a panel at the Swansea University School of Management’s International Women’s Day event (SO scary!)
  • Tabled and performed at feminist music night Birkenstomp in Cardiff (read my review here)

April

  • Learned how to use Ableton recording software and recorded some rough demos

May

  • Incorporated a 10-minute mindfulness session into my daily routine for the whole month
  • Attended my friends’ annual Eurovision party!
  • Performed at the first Punks 4 Mental Health gig, which raised around £200 for a local mental health charity
  • Published ‘Variations Under Nature: An Orphan Black Fanzine’, which you can buy here
  • Tabled and cosplayed as Constantine at the first Swansea Comic and Gaming Convention (read my review here)

June

  • Organised a city-wide vigil in Swansea to commemorate the victims of the Orlando shooting (press coverage and photos here)
  • Organised a successful seminar with Professor Jane Hill from University of York, on the subject of gender equality in academia
  • Made amends and rekindled an old friendship
  • Went to Oakwood for the first time in over 10 years, and rode the skycoaster!

July

  • Saw the new Ghostbusters movie and totally fell in love with it (I’ve since written about my love for the movie for this excellent fanzine, and a copy has been mailed to Paul Feig!)
  • Annual beach trip to Bracelet Bay on the Gower for fish & chips and sunbathing
  • Had a Harry Potter and the Cursed Child reading party hours after its release
  • My music was featured on internet radio station The Rumble

August

  • Tabled at Pride Cymru in Coopers Field, Cardiff – my second Pride Cymru ever
  • Performed at the Punks 4 Mental Health Pride gig and raised around £200 for my suggested charity, LGBT Helpline Cymru
  • Performed at Gwdihw in Cardiff
  • Planted lots of flowers and herbs in my garden, and built a bug hotel
  • Celebrated mine and Daf’s 4 year anniversary <3
  • My EP was reviewed in The Screever and a track was featured on their summer mixtape

September

  • Celebrated my 27th birthday (where does the time go?) and was treated by Daf to a surprise rock climbing session
  • Performed at the British Science Festival in Uplands, Swansea
  • Saw The Threepenny Opera live
  • Applied for a promotion at work
  • Completed ‘You Can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hay

October

  • Repainted 2 rooms at home
  • Survived the work interview and was offered the new job!
  • Went on a week-long all-inclusive holiday to Ibiza with Daf
  • Halloween
  • Was interviewed for and featured in Parallel Magazine
  • Was featured on an episode of XD Presents

November

  • Visited Nottingham for my friend Lizzy’s wedding (which was beautiful)
  • Started my new job
  • Tabled at Swansea Sparkle

December

  • Published the 4th issue of ‘Sonorus: Feminist Perspectives on Harry Potter
  • Performed at the Howl Christmas special and debuted a new song
  • Successfully organised a big Race Equality Charter launch event at the university, featuring a range of female BAME speakers showcasing their research work
  • Finished re-reading all Harry Potter books
  • Played my first Dungeons & Dragons game, which lasted 7 hours!

 

Hair Colours of 2016

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Fave Books Read in 2016:

  1. The Art of Asking – Amanda Palmer
  2. Reasons To Stay Alive – Matt Haig
  3. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child – JK Rowling
  4. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
  5. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down And Wept – Elizabeth Smart

Fave new-to-me albums of 2016:

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Fave Films of 2016:

  1. Captain America: Civil War
  2. Rogue One
  3. Ghostbusters
  4. Arrival
  5. Deadpool

Fave TV shows of 2016:

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Tomorrow: my goals for 2017, and my word for the year!

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