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2012: taking care

I've been writing this post in my head for weeks, as the close of 2012 looms at the end of the giant calendar page on my desk at work -- a period, an end of a sentence, an end of a chapter. hell, for all I know 2013 is going to start a whole new book. and what I've been writing about in my head (which I can't saytype without remembering the saying about how thinking about writing is like swimming about bicycles) is the two-sided coin of reflection of the twelve months past and hope for the twelve months ahead; what I set out wanting and what I wound up learning, and what reframes are necessary going forward. all of that, tied up with dreams and hopes and a few regrets -- as is common practice for this part of the year for a lot of us, so far as I can tell.

when I went into 2011, I had a Plan. a theme, goals, Things On A List That Needed To Get Done -- and I did them. I was able to look back and reflect at this time last year and have a big, checked-off list, more under my proverbial belt: a change of pace, a new website, a new home, a few fundamental shifts in my core. super satisfying, right? totally. then, 2012's start came around the bend, and I went into it a little less structured, a little less clear. I had an idea that I didn't want to phone anything in, which meant mostly no fluff writing, no shooting anything I didn't like (without getting paid for it), that kind of stuff. and what wound up happening, creatively at least, is that I did / didn't do those things -- in the good way -- but with somewhat of an adverse impact: I went to less shows, wrote less, and did less Things. I balanced it out with self-care, of course, but there's a part of me that looks back and starts to Feel All Of The Bummed Out Feelings, and it seems as though all I can see are all the things that didn't get done, what I turned down and turned away from, and where it was lacking.

and this is why we write, because in the very sayingtyping of that (which I've been saying in my head for weeks) (I know, there's the thinking / swimming thing again) I want to fetch myself up sharply and go on a reminder binge of all of the good things that happened and the way this year opened up and took shape. it looked different than 2011, of course -- but 'different' doesn't have to mean 'bad'. I've got a weird perspective like that, and also a forgetful brain: I can have the best weekend in the world, and get to work on monday and not remember for the life of me what happened, and I used to have this habit of documenting everything so that I'd be able to recall it all on instant replay for times like right now. perhaps I should pick that habit up again, because a lot of good shit went on this past year:

  • I tried running (but decided I'd rather save my knees),
  • I moved into a section of my house that's big enough to include a permanent photo studio (that I've even used a couple of times), and I've learned a lot about photography -- in fact, I've gotten the most paid photography jobs this year that I've gotten since picking up a camera,
  • I left the country three times and went overseas for the first time ever, spending ten days in Italy, a long weekend in Canada, and a week in Mexico;
  • I helped organize a half-dozen events for TIG to celebrate our tenth birthday-nniversary, posted close to a hundred times on the site and booked a show that broke even,
  • so far as that feeling-like-I-didn't-do-a-lot social schedule thing? in reality, I averaged an event a week (be it a show, wedding, book reading, in-studio at KEXP, day trip, or what have you),
  • I've volunteered for a handful of organizations,
  • went to four festivals,
  • chipped away at my debt,
  • almost got let go from (but then got a promotion at) my day job,
  • hugged Charles Bradley in a women's restroom,
  • had a really lovely girlfriend for a few months, and
  • as of a few weeks ago, adopted a new kitten and got a new car.

that's a lot, y'all.

and all while I managed, somehow, to maintain connections with all of the wonderful buddies and loves and chosen left-coast family members in my life. and on top of all that, there's the Actual Care that I've gotten into this past four-plus months: I've fixed almost all of my bum teeth at the best dentist in town, started seeing a naturopath that changed my life, and have fallen gratefully into the metaphorical arms of an incredible sage of a talk therapist (who I wonder how I lived without for all these years) (THANKS MAGGI), as I'm beaten to the ground occasionally with the realization that I'm parentless, or dealing with the trials and tribuations of being Out and having Come Out as an early-30s adult, or struggling with some low-grade seasonal depression.

so you know what, 2012? I think we did alright. I think we did just fine, better than just fine. we did great.

when my friend loryn asked me what I was doing for new year's, I responded with a List Of Things I had as options for the night, and that I was unsure as to which one of them I would wind up at. she (gently, beautifully, smiling-y, as usual) pointed out that if I focused on how I wanted to be feeling instead, that it wouldn't matter where I was -- and of course, she was right. I wanted to go to a beachside hotel but didn't have the money or the time, for example, and that sentence became a 'feed' in my brain until I focused on what I wanted the feeling to be like instead. and then I learned I wanted a good view and a clean slate, and that I was capable of doing those things from within the walls of my home. most of today was spent nesting, washing things, vacuuming behind stuff that hadn't been moved in months, cleaning out three bags' worth of crap and dropping it at goodwill, washing the car, purging my portions of the cabinets and the refrigerator, and just getting to all the to-dos that had been chasing me for months. because I wanted to feel good about the new year, and I wanted to Set Goals and Figure Out How To Save Up For A Better Camera and Write About How It's All Going To Feel and stuff -- but what I really wanted is to have that feeling that I have when I'm cleaning a pomegranate. and I can do that beachside, sure, but I can do it at work too, or even right in my very own kitchen.

so, in the coming days I'll likely write about All Of The Feelings and (realistic) Ways To Be Better that I'll impose upon myself in 2013, but for now, I'm just... happy. grateful. I've got a good sense of perspective, a lot to be thankful for, and a great space (literal and metaphorical) to move forward in. the only thing chasing me from 2012 is a mix I promised to make for a friend, but I know that will just come when it's ready to take shape, just like everything else.

so here's to the zen of pomegranate cleaning, and the year ahead. I'm loving lucky '13 already.

Victoria Uhl