The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
-Theodor Seuss Geisel
As the exit music begins to play and we start the long process of drinking to forget the year 2016 ever happened, we should tip our hats to the stuff that wasn’t so bad about it, too. Josh asked each of us to share a bit about what we’ve learned during this particular trip around the sun, so I have been thinking hard about the things I hope to take away with me from this year. I look forward to reading what all of my coworkers have learned along the way, too.
At work, I cultivated some new skills, especially regarding some of our more frequently utilized platforms and tools, including Mailchimp, Squarespace, AdWords, Instagram, Wordpress, and Facebook. And I am in the process of building my first real website! High fives for all of us getting better at our jobs this year.
Because I am secretly 100 years old, I learned some of the new slang the kids are using. Turns out, SMH is an acronym and not an onomatopoeia.
At the beginning of the year I made up my mind that I would spend more time traveling, and not only did I stick to this, but it might have been the only thing that kept me halfway sane these last twelve months. I learned a lot on my adventures. I absorbed new art, people, landscapes, and places; I heard beautiful music, tried new food, and explored every bookshop I could find. I learned how to effectively use public transportation in both New York City and Madrid. I even took a taxi for the first time!
While traveling, I learned a little Spanish, but mostly on accident. Next year, I’d really like to be more deliberate in my language studying. I read somewhere that the more you learn, the more places you'll go.
I read books! Perhaps not quite as many as last year, since these have been busy, preoccupied times, but there was a good deal of reading accomplished when it was possible, especially over the summer.
I learned how difficult it is to plan a wedding that is also a giant, weird performance art piece. I also learned that you actually can pull off just about anything you set your heart on if you have the perfect group of dedicated, talented, supportive friends by your side.
(Speaking of which, this was the year we learned that sometimes these efforts can indeed be acknowledged, which is nice!)
What else? I taught myself how to play a handful of new songs on the piano. I quit my lessons around this time last year because money was tight, but was determined not to give up entirely.
Much of this year I consciously and deliberately worked to try new things, which results in a lot of learning that cannot always be quantified. Artistically, I spent a good deal of time collaborating with new people, sometimes in mediums which I am completely unfamiliar (for instance, the dance and spoken word performance I created with my insanely talented friend, George Ferrie). New tools found their way into my studio. I got a projector and started drafting stories that can be told via shadow puppets. I painted and printed. I sent a lot of mail. I made zines with friends more talented than I. I started a podcast with my friend Frank Darko of Pariah Art, and we released eight episodes, featuring writers from across the spectrum of poetry and storytelling. I suppose overall, it was a productive and instructive year.
It’s worth noting that 2016 was not an easy year for a lot of people, myself included. In an attempt to see a bright side, I do feel a little hopeful looking at this list ﹘ it reminds me that there are still good things to experience and look forward to, even when shit seems really fucking bleak. Here’s to tackling new adventures and finding reasons to keep learning and growing and working for the greater good in the coming year!