Its’ the last day of the year 2016 and you know what that means: Time for the Year in Review!
This year has been certainly one of a kind (well, aren’t they all, the years?!). It seems that the continuous line of change, which has been a very strong part of my life since 2014 perhaps, is slowly but surely progressing. Change – in every way possible – I feel that is the code word of 2016, if any.
Although I know that a lot of people are really upset about most recent celebrity deaths and other “bad” things that have happened throughout this year, I cannot help but think that most of these negative people have perhaps forgotten how great this year started and what a nice spring, summer and fall it was. Yes, even winter, although it barely started. It appears that this year was not everyone’s cup of tea but I refuse to make the worst out of it (just like in last year), because some people have lost all drive to make it positive (especially after the election results and the past month). It’s true, the past 8 weeks have not been a pony ride, but isn’t that what is so great about this roller coaster we call 2016? Well, let’s start the review with the obvious (at least to me). Let’s start it with travel, since travel is something I am most passionate about:
I’ve travelled as much as never before during this past year, and possibly even the most in my adult life so far (to be only topped by the upcoming years, of course). Out of 52 weeks, I’ve spent 7 weeks on the road. One amazing week by itself was spent in Iceland – a trip I will most likely never forget. What better way to begin my February, than going on my very first glacier hike and exploring my very first ice cave? I don’t think there is a better way to the first third of any new year, but I might be wrong (and once again, everything is top-able).
Of course the yearly homecoming followed shortly thereafter, but I also got to see another country I hadn’t visited before: Scotland! Overall, three weeks in Europe was quite amazing, although during a total off-season time, in the middle of the winter and in February. If I could do it all over again, I’d pick this time again, since travel prices are cheap, places are not overrun, and coming home feels more like I’m coming back to a normal life (and not during a stressful holiday time).
For my 29th birthday, I made a long dream come true and visited a continent I had never been to before: South America! Colombia was the perfect country to combine cool, chilly temperatures with mountain ranges, to see beautiful sceneries and ending it with a scorching hot week at the coast. The Caribbean Sea over there is as marvelous as elsewhere and I still can’t get past the white sand beaches and crystal clear, emerald green water.
To end the summer and start the fall, I made my way out West. This time taking with everything I could: California, Oregon and Washington State. Mount Rainier Park was certainly one of the highlights but all states had something beautiful to offer and two weeks altogether went by in a whim.
Summing it all up, I spent a little less than two months on the road. Something I could have only dreamed off in the years before, when I had a regular office job and maybe 10 vacation days out of the year (oh don’t you hate American vacation policies!). Luckily my current job is more lenient on me being gone for longer but sometimes I still think it’s just not enough. I could easily spend 4 months on the road and I am always aiming towards becoming a full-time traveler. Goals for the year(s) to follow.
Work has been consistent this year, something I have perhaps said only a few times before. Indeed, this will be my first job as an adult in which I’ve stayed for longer than 18 months. Although I wasn’t aiming towards consistency this year at all, it’s good to end the year with at least one point of stability and therefore staying at my current job for so long is something I see as highly positive. Especially since almost all other aspects of my life have been a constant up and down.
Friends and Love:
While 2015 was indeed quite disappointing relationship-wise, 2016 made up for all of it. In March I bit the bullet and started dating again, first online and then with people I met randomly when going out. Even though I had to overcome the initial impulse of shyness and unwillingness, I started enjoying chatting up strangers more after a few trials. Still, I decided the entire online dating ordeal was just not for me anymore. In May I re-connected with an old friend and we have been together ever since. I wasn’t aiming for the relationship to happen, but some things happen for a reason. Being in a relationship for most of 2016 has certainly made an impact on my quality of life, my time, and my overall activities. I discovered new party venues like the House of Yes in Bushwick, for example. I’ve also learned how to dress up more and throw on masks, glitter, and feather boas.
Overall, I have to say that partying as a couple can be the same if not more fun than partying solo. Despite being occupied for a good amount of my free time due to dating someone, I still made enough effort to meet old and new friends. While the previous year was better in terms of making new friends, I’ve stayed in touch with most of my old friends this year. I did meet a good amount of new people, especially when traveling. But this year was not necessarily about keeping in touch with them. It was more-so about strengthening old ties, whereas I have to say that a good deal of old friendships have also disappeared for various reason. One reason I believe is that the friendship was simply not as strong as I thought it would be. Another might have been that our interests and point of views were not complementing each other the way they had before.
Regardless, I’ve never had as many fun parties and other occasions than this year, and that in itself speaks for a great 2016. Distancing myself from the people that are just not a good fit for me anymore just speaks for the universe trying to find the very best for me, which I can then take with me into 2017.
Tough Months of Summer:
This summer has been tough, not only for me, I’ve seen it in a lot of other people’s life. From break-ups to divorces to roommate drama – I feel I’ve had it almost all this summer (and it started end of May already). Although there were a lot of tears and a lot of hurt feelings especially during the three sad weeks of July and August, I’ve also seldom had such a great summer. I didn’t go to the beach as often as I wanted but I finally made it out to Fire Island again. The boyfriend dug up quite a few masquerade and burlesque parties, which were amazing to attend, since most venues are rather lame during the hot summer months. Altogether, my love for being and staying in New York over the summer has been rekindled and my thirst to explore more of upstate, such as during Fourth of July weekend, has also been awakened.
When I look back at 2016 I see a dramatic shift in almost everything I thought I was and thought I’d be in the beginning of the year. Creatively speaking, I’ve had an amazing year of photography (and also writing, although not nearly as much blogging as I would like). I exhibited some of my work in a Soho Gallery for the first time in my life. Today, I can almost smell my book publication and I am eager to start working on it the first month of 2017. But I would have never been at this point, had I not gone through other projects, such as the B&H Portfolio Development, and various ups and downs throughout this past year.
Finishing up one project also gives me perspective to finally start new ones and I am therefore going to deepen the photography passion with other outlets, such as creating more portraits and exploring a different way of marketing. It’s all still so very much in the beginning of it all but if there is anything this year has shown me, it has shown me that creativity is the single most important thing I want out of my life right now. So I am off to finding how to express it and make a living out of it.
I’m sure 2016 been a hop and a jump for many more people. I’d love to know your views on this past year and what you take with you into the new year!
Until then, I wish you a HAPPY NEW YEAR and may you all have a great celebration into 2017 (which by the way is going to be the year of the number 1, your year, time to focus on just you).
Perhaps these words summarize what I feel so deeply about 2016. For 2017, I wish to re-connect with my soul and life’s journey deeper and tighter than ever before.