Resolutions 2014

What a deliciously odd year 2013 has been. I think I’ve done so much, but also lived most of the year in a daze which hasn’t subsided. One of the perils of a whirlwind year, I suppose.

Looking back at my resolutions for this year, while I’ve checked so many of them off the list — more than I would have expected — I still feel the year was a bit of a failure in many regards. It was like winning all the battles but losing the war. Re-reading that old post, I wanted to put down some roots; in actuality, I feel even more lost than before. As tweeted, I threw everything to the wind to see what would fly.

Of the five resolutions for 2013, I think four are probably successes to varying degrees:

  • Get promoted. It didn’t happen in the first cycle of the year, which no doubt triggered some (most?) of the craziness that was the latter half of the year. But it did happen in the later cycle. So things are good.
  • Not be afraid to say I love ballet. This was a banner year for me in many ways, from doing some great shows to meeting awesome friends in adult dance camp. And given that this was the year that I’ve felt genuinely pained and anguished by certain aspects of ballet, it must be love, right? Not to mention just how annoyed I am about my ankle preventing my dancing right now.
  • Buy a house/condo. A partial victory here as I enter the slumlord business.
  • Not be too depressed about that birthday on the horizon. Things aren’t quite so bad, and I think I’ve made my peace with much of being on this side of thirty.

And of course, “be in a relationship”, a perennial favorite, remained ever elusive. I’m a slow learner, but I think there was a little progress even here.

My resolutions for 2014:

  • Tell my family I love them. It’s not that I don’t feel it, but I’m not sure I’ve ever said it. They’re not sentimental types, as far as I can tell.
  • Write more. I have no idea if anyone derives any pleasure reading all this junk, but I’ve begun to realize that, for me, this is a necessary catharsis. There’s something strange and wonderful about sending all your thoughts and grievances out into the aether, knowing that anyone can read it but so very few — the ones that matter — will. Yes, this feels more and more amateurish each passing year, but isn’t that life?
  • Shoulder sit or quit. It’s getting to be a little embarrassing this glacial progress in partnering. If my ankle heals up, I think it’ll be time to double down again on dance, and if that fails, find something new to pursue.
  • Keep chasing unicorns. Never give up that sense of wonder. Believe that dreams can and do come true.

And if I finally exit this zombie-like trance, that would be fine by me.

Never Good Enough//The Dreamer

It’s been an Alice in Wonderland past couple months. I don’t think I’ve ever been so spaced out for such a long time. I feel like I’ve been walking through a dream world, and even more tired all the time than usual. Everything has seemed so bizarre and detached, like the things that I found meaningful before have stopped and become inverted. My motivation has plummeted and I don’t know how to regain that spark. Maybe the pendulum is swinging back from idealism to realism, or maybe I’m just completely losing it.

By all rights, it’s been a rather productive latter half of 2013, and I probably should be pretty happy:

  • I survived the John Muir Trail, which was absolutely stunning and an amazing hike. I really need to write things up, but knowing me, it might never happen at this point. Highly recommended.
  • I’ve somewhat acclimated to living in San Francisco. Despite the fact that it’s almost always foggy and cold and parking sucks and the 2-hour round-trip weekday commute makes me want to stab myself in the face, I’m slowly warming up to the city and discovering some of its charms and (shall we say) character.
  • I bought a house down in San Diego. It’ll be a rental property, and my dream of being a slumlord is becoming a reality.
  • I got promoted.

And yet, I feel this nagging dissatisfaction, which unlike most times, I think goes way beyond the lack of a girlfriend thing. Hard as I try, everything I do never seems to be good enough for myself. Which, fine: I know I’ll always be my harshest critic, and fundamentally, I think that being complacent is the kiss of death. I can’t help but wonder, though, if life really should be this endless struggle for betterment. Shouldn’t there be a point where we can call it quits and be satisfied with the results of who we are and what we’ve accomplished? Even knowing that there’s the next mountain to climb, can’t we appreciate the view from this one?

At some point in the past, I had a meditative refuge to where I could retreat. I don’t think I have that anymore. I feel perpetually restless. Sleep doesn’t reinvigorate me.

Maybe it’s this ankle that’s been sapping my motivation in ballet. It’s not that I can’t dance, but the soreness and weakness just makes moving so frustrating. It’s only tendonitis, so it could have been a lot worse. But I also feel like I’ve not improved much, if at all, over the past year or so. I told myself that I’d stick with ballet for five years, or would quit when I stopped getting better at it. It seems like the two are coinciding quite neatly right now, and so I wonder — after an especially frustrating rehearsal — whether it’s about time to move on. What do you do when it stops being fun, and yet you can’t quite seem to let it go?

There was this article about how Taylor Swift’s view on love has migrated away from the “daydreamy prince-and-princess place” (link). I think a little part of me died when I read it. A lot of my friends wonder why I like listening to Taylor Swift and other teen-oriented pop, especially given my otherwise rather pessimistic worldview. Notwithstanding that there’s no accounting for taste, I think that I’d much rather live in a world where there exist such dreamers, where people still believe in things like true love, and where there is such a thing as innocence. Even if I can’t be fully convinced of such things, at least others still believe. Isn’t that what life is about, pursuing the stuff of dreams?

Maybe the JMT has affected me more than I thought. After all, the first and lasting impression upon coming back to civilization was that so much of this is so unnecessary. We can live with so much less than what we have; and I’ve never been convinced that, despite all the good that technology supplies, whether any of it makes us any happier. And yet how quickly I returned to business as usual, my quotidian routine.

It’s always been a promise to myself that I wouldn’t get so caught up in the rat race that I would lose sight of my dreams and what really matters. Have I strayed again? Have I gone so far from my true self that I don’t even realize it? Or do I not even know what my true self is to begin with?

Catch Up

It’s been a long time. All of this feels rusty; I feel like I’ve lost what little ability I had to craft sentences. So many thoughts clutter my mind that I’ve realized that I need to write, to organize some of this internal, maddening dialogue. So even though I feel like I should just keep a lot of this bottled up (most of you, much less the world in general, probably don’t care), I don’t think I can without my thoughts eventually crippling me. This will be lumbering and perambulatory despite my best intentions.

Where to begin? Let’s catch up since the last post, which was way back in May(!). There were many times this year when I told myself that I should just shut this website down, but here I am again. I guess it’s been quite an interesting year, mostly by my own design, but I do see my queue lightening up, with a semblance of a break after all the activities in September. Maybe I’ll have a relatively quiet end of the year after all the birthday bashes.

The BANDW show earlier in May I thought was the most challenging, and I can’t help but feel that my partner slipping was at least partially my fault. Although the floor was a bit inconsistent as well. BANDW was also the most intimidating because everyone else performing is for real. But I definitely learned a lot and enjoyed the experience.

The WB spring show went really well, I thought. It’s always an inspiring and humbling experience to see both the girls and the fellow adult dancers in action. Such an honor and so proud of everyone. Makes me think I should do Nutcracker this year, even though it’s kind of a long drive every Saturday for rehearsals. I really do miss Saturday rehearsals, though, odd as it sounds.

The there was the PDA show in June. Given that I only had like 6 weeks to learn the choreography, I’m so happy that I didn’t forget anything. I have no idea if I looked good or not, but I felt like it came together. Many people dislike the greater flash and bang of competition schools, but there’s some equally real talent among the guys and girls there, too. And I’m equally awed and inspired by this group of dancers as well.

Somewhere in that blur of a performance schedule, I moved to foggy San Francisco. With the performances and other trips, I’ve not really had too many weekends to enjoy and explore the city, so my sentiment about this move has been mixed at best. The additional two hours of commute each workday has really worn me down, and I don’t think I’m really cut out for city life. That being said, this neighborhood is really quite nice, and it’s also nice to be able to more frequently catch up with friends living up here (although at the cost of less frequently catching up with friends in the south bay).

The big birthday came and went. I was planning a big birthday bash, but things turned out much more modest: dinner and karaoke with some good friends on Saturday, and then a mini concert and housewarming party. I could have wished the weather to be a little better, but overall, it was great to see a whole bunch of friends.

Then the week of July 4th was spent at dance camp. If you told me that I’d spend a week’s vacation to just take classes and dance in a weird suburb of Portland, I’d have thought you’re crazy. It seemed like a strange and ridiculous dream to sell: a ballet summer intensive for adults. Yet, somehow it works. It was definitely a physically tiring experience, but the most surprising thing was how refreshing it was to not have to spend a full day at work before dancing. The mental exhaustion from work really does carry over to those evening classes.

Of course, the best thing was meeting people as crazy as me. People crazy enough to take a week off work to just dance, who are as passionate about ballet despite most of us having no professional aspirations. It’s been a fun summer of dancing, and I’m certainly glad that I had it to balance out the rest of my life.

The past month has been spent in equal parts trying to prepare for and dreading the upcoming John Muir Trail hike. At some point earlier this year, this sounded like a fantastic idea. But now that it’s coming up in a few days, the thought of having to hike 220 miles is filling me with quite a bit of apprehension. And considering how much the Sykes hot springs hike we did a few weekends ago still has my ankle in bad shape, I’m beginning (a little too late) to question my physical readiness, in addition to my mental readiness. At the very least, after the umpteenth trip to REI and thousands of dollars spent, I think I’m about set on the gear front. The fun part (shopping) is over; time to get serious.

One day, I’ll try to understand why I willingly go on such grueling vacations. So many friends are in Hawaii right now, I feel a little jealous.