Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in review

When I was thinking about this year’s wrap-up post, two themes stood out most clearly in my mind.

The first one – music – should come as no surprise since I've posted heavily about it (“How Mischa got her groove back” – April 25, 2013 and “Ch-ch-ch-changes”– Aug. 27, 2013). This has been a year of rediscovering the importance of music in my life, both live and recorded. I attended concerts by Sigur Ros, Muse, Steven Wilson, Anathema, Pet Shop Boys and Paramore. I started collecting vinyl again, buying about 70 records in the latter half of the year. I also upgraded my home theater with a new Yamaha receiver and a Rega LP-1 turntable with an isolation platform. I brought out from storage my Samsung SACD/DVD-A player and reinstalled it with 5.1 analog Audioquest cabling for playing Super Audio CDs and other high-resolution digital recordings again. Also taken out of storage is my old analog-to-digital interface so I can make digital copies of my vinyl to play on my iPod. I attended live listening sessions with Classic Album Sundays for “Remain in Light” by Talking Heads, “Blue Bell Knoll” by Cocteau Twins and “Avalon” by Roxy Music. It has truly been a Renaissance year for me in music.

The second theme that most people are probably not aware of is that 2013 is my first full year of real singlehood since the mid-1990s. So this year has seen a number of new and existing friendships grow and strengthen through various activities, including opening up my previously very insulated space to my closest friends. We did Firefly and BBC Sherlock marathons, and Piper helped me host a successful Oscar Night party (“Oscar roundup 2013” – Feb. 25, 2013).

However, a flood of additional work responsibilities that has made it much more difficult to reliably make it home in time to host or attend events on a regular basis. My colleague left to pursue an MFA in creative writing, and I was subsequently transferred from a supporting role in the Wholesale group to the more dynamic Corporate group to replace his role. I do a lot more writing and messaging on short notice for executive speaking events and issues management. Professionally, it’s certainly a much higher-profile role to be working directly with the CEO and senior management, so I'm not complaining about it.

Instead of hosting events, I've been able to schedule one-on-one time with my closest friends doing various things. Piper and I finished our Stanley Kubrick marathon this year and started on the AFI's Top 100. I love spending time with Liz and Josh, together and separately, going to performances, parties and movies (our apple-picking trip to Fishkill, NY was one of the year’s highlights). Kacey and Becker continue to be a welcome presence in my life. Natalie and I watched Season 3 of Downton Abbey together, and she joined me, Puck, Morgan and her new fiancé Bruce on a trip to the Renaissance Faire. The recent deepening of my friendship with Katie is an exciting development that may inspire me to make significant changes in how I view the world. And as always, I’m grateful that Puck is still my closest family and we continue to keep our connection healthy through things like our Connecticut DCI trip and spending Christmas together, even though we were apart for long periods of time this year.

Creatively, I've made some good strides. My cooking has gotten more ambitious, with some mixed results, and I made a lovely Christmas ornament this year, the first one I've made myself since 2010. My annual Love Letter project was a great success this year with five letters sent, up from two last year and just one in the first year. The Unchained Love Playwright Competition has also been a modest success, with more than 75 plays entered and several poly-themed plays as well. My Poly Women’s Group has enjoyed a small resurgence in popularity, so that's very gratifying for me.

When I look back on this year, I'll remember the music and time spent with friends, and my first real steps toward building a long-term intentional family around me. I am reminded of Frank Herbert’s quote from Dune: "Without change, something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." For me, it’s a fertile time for change, growth and creating new ways to express my love for the people closest to me.