Saturday, 31 December 2011

The Annual Day of Reflection and Introspection


Queen Victoria Building

Mango Pancake

It is that time of the year again where reflection and introspection is often undertaken by a lot of individuals. In many respects, New Years Eve celebrations are a bit overrated and yet I do believe that they have a place in life. The presence of a definite cut-off does provide benefits as I feel it almost forces an individual to reflect upon the year in its entirety. Per usual there are a list of questions that I strive to answer this time each year. However rather than answering it question by question, I shall try to merge it into paragraphs, elaborating where I see fit.

2011 has been an unusual year for me as I feel as though my emotional maturity has increased and yet at the same time it is almost as though I have not changed since 2010 or any other earlier year. Perhaps that is what it is meant to be however; growth is subtle and yet is obvious when examined over a longer period of time. This year I have become more self aware and comfortable with myself and have finally passed the stage where I felt the need to conform to the majority's perceived normality.

Consequently I have spent a lot of time alone intentionally and explored new places that I had always wanted to visit by myself. This is not necessarily different to any other year, however what is different is my perspective towards such outings. This year a lot has happened: I went to Hong Kong and saw it as an adult, truly appreciating the differences with my homeland; someone close to me died; and I have become well adjusted into university life.

Without consulting my diary, I cannot remember all of the memorable dates of 2011, however one of them would be Christmas Eve when my friend surprised me at my house with a gift. The gift was not something that I would have necessarily wanted but the thought and effort was all that mattered in the end.

New Year's resolutions are made every year, however for the past 3 years they have been the same 3 resolutions: lose X kg and two other personal goals. I do not feel as though I have made any progress in two of the resolutions however indirectly I am satisfying one due to my gaining maturity. Being the cynical person that I am (although I prefer to refer to myself as a realist) my personal achievements are something that I can never identify; I am definitely my worst critic. I could name internships or gaining job opportunities as my biggest achievement, however I feel more comfortable in naming my increased self contentedness as my greatest achievement of the year. As I am so critical on myself, I have multiple biggest failures such as: exchange application, job application, university result for one subject and one other personal issue.

The biggest pet peeve of this year has definitely been people's opinions, or more correctly, people's reaction to conflicting opinions. There are so many examples that I can think of one of which I shall blog about at a later date, but namely feminism, politics and the creationism. This was recently brought to my attention with the Kelly Clarkson and the Ron Paul tweet a few days ago. Disclaimer: I know nothing about Ron Paul and even more broadly, I know nothing about American politics, hence I have taken each opinion as 'fact'. The 'fact' is that Ron Paul is a homophobe and racist. I personally find it somewhat irrelevant if someone else's view clashes with my own. It is unsettling without a doubt however, I feel that people tend to forget that people are allowed to have opinions and ultimately right and wrong is all subjective, especially when it comes to politics, and it is incredibly childish to send so much hate and insult people for merely having an opinion. Why should the person with the conflicting view conform with what the majority's/ the other person's view? What I believe is that people need to respect other's opinions, no matter how ill-informed, ignorant, stupid or conflicting it may seem because ultimately, it isn't black and white and it is incredibly ignorant to assume otherwise.

Onto lighter matters. The song that will remind me of 2011 would probably be Jewel's What you Are, Adele's Someone Like You and Pink's Who Knew. I wish I'd done less planning and analysing potential activities and actually gone out to do them instead. I did not fall in love per se, but I grew to love myself more. My favourite tv show would definitely be Once Upon a Time and my favourite novel of 2011 is Emma by Jane Austen. I am not a Jane Austen fan; the grammar and writing makes it very difficult for me to fully immerse myself into that world. I first read the book back in 2009 right before my HSC exams and after I watched the BBC miniseries with the beautiful and talented Romola Garai. With book to movie adaptations, I tend to refrain from making too many comparisons as I feel that the movie should be able to stand on it's own without the help of the novel. As it is the visual medium of television, naturally the story moves a lot faster than the novel and I tend to read the novel before watching the miniseries or movie. However Emma was an exception as I had previously failed to appreciate the story beforehand. There is something quite charming about the novel that appeals to me and it would probably be the Emma character herself.

If the year could have been 'immeasurably more satisfying' it would have been completing one, if not all, of my 2011 resolutions. The most valuable life lesson I have learnt in 2011 is to love yourself and be content with yourself (which is not the same as happy) because at the end of the day you are all you have. Also, Ingrid Michaelson's quote is something I try to live by:
As long as you feel like you are doing the right thing then in the long run that’s all that’s gonna matter because, yno, you’re the one lying awake at night alone in bed and thinking about your life. And if you have compromised your life you’ll know.

So here is to the last few fours of 2011 and I shall be sitting on the couch watching the fireworks on the television, hoping that 2012 will be an even greater year.

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