Hello 2020

December 31st is always lovely. For the past five years, I’ve welcomed midnight and the new year with friends at Lindy Focus, dancing and wandering around Asheville for an entire week. The next day I’m welcomed back in Orlando with anniversary celebrations and my own warm bed. Or couch if I can’t make it that far.

This time, it hit me. I’ll be turning 23 soon. Which is not far from 25, or 30, or 35. Not that that’s a bad thing! But time seems to be moving differently lately and the existential dread set in enough to hint at what my midlife crisis will be. I’m hoping I’ve already experienced most of it and all that’s left when I reach 40 is taking up yoga or something.

In a the middle of a minor meltdown, all I could do was rant to Nick about my personal and future insecurities, only for him to tell me “No, you’re not overweight or ugly” and that my dancing and art are both great.

And then the new year Facebook trends reached my feed. For once, I’ll participate. Not for the encouragement or the couple of reads this will get, but as a reminder to myself that I did do something with myself and with my life in 2019 even when I was stuck in an episode I couldn’t shake or an awful routine or a horrible job or when I was counting my pennies or dealing with a ’99 Honda that keeps breaking down.

I’m proud of myself. Here’s why. In 2019 I:

  • Prioritized my quiet moments
  • Prioritized a lifestyle that creates less waste, reduces animal product consumption, and almost completely eliminated fast fashion purchases.
  • Participated in a Lindy Hop routine and was so displeased with my own dancing I made a conscious effort to step it up.
  • Traveled to Huntsville, AL
  • Took more photography classes even though they were challenging.
  • Participated in (half) a solo jazz routine choreographed for Army of Follows.
  • Left a job I hated and started a new one I really enjoy.
  • Traveled to Columbia, SC and made finals in an amateur competition
  • Performed with some friends
  • Traveled to Louisiana for Welbourne Jazz Camp South, danced, learned a few ukulele chords, and ate a bunch of crawfish
  • Traveled to Tallahassee, FL
  • Traveled to Gainesville, FL and placed second in the Sweet Swingouts competition.
  • Watched my best friend of in the whole wide world graduate from FSU with majors in Biology and Writing, Editing, and Media before starting her new big girl job at Moffit. (This is really her accomplishment but I’ll take any opportunity I can to brag about her)
  • Ended my two year leadership role with Swing Knights
  • Started as an Orlando Lindy Exchange organizer
  • Traveled to Richmond, VA
  • Traveled to Cleveland, OH and did a Pro/Am
  • Traveled to Huntsville, AL and made finals in an amateur balboa competition.
  • Traveled to Virginia for Welbourne Jazz Camp, danced, had lots of coffee, and swam in the most refreshing creek.
  • Traveled to Los Angeles, CA
  • Taught two month-long Lindy Hop and Balboa lesson series
  • Updated my work portfolio and started
  • Traveled to Athens, GA and placed in the advanced track.
  • Traveled to Richmond, VA (again) and placed in the masters track.
  • Started a new sketchbook with the intention of documenting and brainstorming ideas versus aiming for perfect sketches
  • Sold a couple pieces of art.
  • Traveled to Key West, FL with my family
  • Completed an education internship
  • After not reading for pleasure in what feels like forever, read three books in the month of December.
  • Decluttered my closet even more and am now on the path towards replacing/investing in certain items that will be essentials.
  • Passed all of my teacher certification exams on the first try and applied for graduation in Spring 2020.
  • Went to several concerts throughout the year completely alone like I used to do freshman year of college and had a great time.
The Reign of Kindo
  • Dyed my hair purple!
  • Traveled to Asheville, NC for Lindy Focus. Did another Pro/Am and had the most wonderful dances.
  • In all my travels, went out and explored alone.
  • Celebrated my three year anniversary with my best friend.

Now that I’ve lost about an hour of sleep to write this list, I’ve decided to try this again at the end of 2020. It’s more therapeutic than I realized and a reminder to be optimistic against my nature. I can already think of several things I’m looking forward, and I’m proud of myself for being excited for the things I’m not expecting yet.

Hopefully next year I’ll be proud of myself too, because I should be.