2014: it's been real

January 4, 2015

Right after my car stalled on my 32nd birthday, which was probably symbolic of...something.
One more reflection-- with feeling!

2014 was the year of THRIVE! This means that I tried to figure out what this word means for me -- how to prosper and flourish at my own life. I will say that this is no small task, and I maybe (just barely) carved off the tip of the iceberg or whatever that phrase is. 

For the first part of the year I thought that thriving meant throwing myself into everything fully. It was a packed few months! I began my little neighborhood tour of Small Dances the day before we closed on our new house. We painted everything and then moved, just a few days before I started a new full-time job at the Walker. This meant that I was till searching boxes for proper clothes to wear to work, and then coming home to go produce a show in a new location. And then I faced some  great big personal challenges, smashed between getting settled in a new house and trying to keep up my freelance work in the evenings. Oh, and then Open Field season started in June, and soon we were making over 70 programs happen over 8 weeks, often 8 or 10 at a time. Needless to say, a lot of this time didn't make me feel like I was thriving. I learned a lot from that.

I learned that thriving is not convenient. You don't get employee of the month from it, because thriving people set boundaries and go home rather than picking up extra shifts. Thriving has meant relying on the support of friends, finding doctors (and even a dentist) that I trust, trusting that it's ok to let my goals and lists rest for a while, and opting for sitting in the sun rather than going to an event out of obligation. There's never a good time for these things -- you can wait for your schedule to clear, you have to learn to insert them into your current chaos. The word 'thrive' felt a bit like a bully whispering in my ear for a good portion of months. I thought I'd need to push on through to thrive, but instead I needed to ease the hell up and let go. When I succeeded at that, the results were fairly awesome. No one died and no fires occurred because I was taking care of myself and not conquering mountains-- just in case you were wondering. 

Not surprisingly, as I look back at the year I remember much more fondly the leisurely things I did this year, rather than the more impressive accomplishments. I'm glad we walked our neighborhood a lot, sat on the patio and grilled throughout summer, had really great spontaneous days with friends (one in particular involving cupcake decorating and frisbee throwing), made it up to the cabin a few times (cabins are a Minnesotan thing-- and they usually aren't actually cabins), took a foodie vacation, road bikes around the lake, re-watched all of 6 Feet Under (and cried our faces off). That's the good stuff. 

Other things I got excited about in 2014--

+ Driving stick shift: Not so much because a manual transmission is that exciting, but because it scared the sh*t out of me, and conquering a personal fear (right next to the dentist) feels ridiculously good (especially after failing on multiple occasions over a couple of years). 

+ Eating at Westward in Seattle: Seafood meets Greek food, and we ate these white beans with tomatoes, feta, marjoram and breadcrumbs that I still think about. Also, smashed potatoes with lemon and garlic served with octopus.

+...and Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis: I finally tried Pizzeria Lola, which is easily the best pizza I've had in the Twin Cities. I'm partial to the La Creme, which has cream in with the tomato sauce. This summer they served a special of spring peas and ricotta on toast that was so damn good.

+ Cocktail class: Craft bartending is alive and well in the Twin Cities (and sort of obnoxious, if I'm being honest). Still, I was fairly excited to win a private cocktail class for 4 at Eat Street Social, where I learned the 6 Pillars of Cocktails. I can't remember exactly what they are without referencing my notes, but all cocktails are just a version of these 6, which I  did find interesting. And delicious.

+ Acupuncture: Megan Odell at Qi Nordeast is a gem of a human. She's that magical combination of compassionate and knowledgeable, and I wish there were doctors like her. Also, acupuncture is great for anxiety.

+ Winter: I had a fierce enthusiasm for winter last year-- one of the worst winters I've ever experienced since moving to Minnesota. I'm trying to rally up the same excitement for this year. It looks like the high of the week is going to be 3 degrees. 

+ The things you (and others) make:
        + The blog My Husband's Tumor
        + The books Delancey and Creative Block
        + Evie's tiny letters

        + Serial (I think we all did)

         +  The Mindy Project

       + A lot of the bands/musicians I was introduced to through Acoustic Campfire (the Open Field music series I curated), like Jayanthi Kyle and Alicia Steele (soul), Toussaint Morrison (hip-hop/spoken word), Orkestar Bez Ime (Balkan) and Father You See Queen (experimental/electronica)
       + Levi Weinhagen and Jen Scott's new monthly comedy/music/talk hour That's Fun!
      + Kenna-Camara Cottman's Choreographers' Evening, which was stunning (you should check out a review here)
       + Detroit at the Jungle Theater
       + Laurie Van Wieren's celebration of 100 choreographers
       + April Sellers' Girlywood

+ Collaborations: I remembered that I really like working with other people, and my creative endeavors wouldn't happen without these other people. Thanks especially to...
       + The people who shared on the 5 With series (starting back up this week)
       + And those that invited me to perform Small Dances in their homes
       + And those that took part in Open Field
       + And my Open Field team and Blueprint Project collaborators

Reflection complete. Hellllo, 2015!

[2013's list is over here, and 2011's is here.]


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