Thursday, December 29, 2011

2011: The Year That Was...

I've always loved New Year's because I like new beginnings. I'm also a big reflector (meaning I overanalyze everything, worry about everything, and drive myself crazy, but reflector sounds nicer). I enjoy looking back on the year that's ending and seeing where I've come and where I want to go.

2011 had many ups and downs. I had personal struggles throughout the year, but I also had some great triumphs. My first book got officially accepted for publication, which is a moment you can't really forget. I've had a lot of poems published/accepted throughout the year in magazines that I respect. I've also kept writing and blogging. This year I completed my first ever long distance bike ride. I did the Smart Ride from Miami to Key West and raised nearly $1600 for HIV/AIDS. These were all amazing moments. I'm also lucky that I get to share such moments with my partner. This year we celebrated our 8 year anniversary, which is an accomplishment all its own. We aren't perfect, but we keep trying.

I learned some important lessons in 2011 about myself. I realized that my biggest struggle in life is that I'm extremely hard on myself and I set really high expectations for myself and often for the people around me. I'm then greatly disappointed and angry when I don't (or others don't) live up to the expectations. This is probably what gives me the drive that I have, but it can also be dangerous. I'm looking for a good balance. I've also learned the importance of strong relationships and friendships and also that some don't know the meaning of that concept. I want to fill my life with those who truly value friendship.

I turned 29 in 2011, which means I'm facing my last year of my 20s. I'm learning more and more everyday that I'm going to screw up and I have to accept that. Perfection is overrated. Plus if I didn't do half the stuff I do, I wouldn't have anything to write about.

Each year, I do set goals for myself. I don't call them resolutions, because that has such a negative connotation to it. I did fairly well on my goals for the year. I had 11 of them. I did eight of them and the ones I didn't do I have plans to complete.

One of my goals was to incorporate different voices into my blog. I did this through an interview series that went really well. I'm thrilled with the results and it brought a lot of different perspectives and readers to my blog. If you missed my interview series with emerging GLBT poets, check out the tab at the top. I did just ten. November and December proved to be a bit busy for me. This is something I want to continue in 2012, but probably not monthly.

I also made a big effort to read more (you can check out all the books I read in 2011 here). I wanted to complete a new chapbook length work, which I did. I wrote a long poem called "A Brief History of How My Parents Didn't Die," which is currently being considered for publication in a magazine. Another goal of mine was to cook a new recipe every week. I love cooking, which is something I don't often mention on my blog. I did a really great job with this goal. There were a handful of weeks I didn't make something new, but many weeks I made two or three new recipes, so it all worked out.

I didn't do a poetry reading, but I have four scheduled for the first months of 2012, so that goal will soon be met. I also didn't get a critical essay written or published. I want to make this happen soon.

All in all, 2011 was a really productive year, but I think 2012 is going to be even better. I have big plans in 2012 and I can't wait to share them with all of you.

-Stephen (Reflecting)

1 comment: