In the New Year

In past years, I’ve posted breezy summaries of the past year but 2010 is a much harder year for me to sum up in the same simple way.

(Point Reyes: Bear Valley to Arch Rock trail, February 2010)

Unlike past years, 2010 was less about places I traveled or things I ate and more about the things I thought about and worried over and the often-paralyzing pressure I felt in the face of so many Major Life Decisions (kids? home? work?).

Although I tried many new things in 2010 — a new kind of yoga, working at the farmers market, doing volunteer work, taking a night class –  I felt stuck for much of  the year. I’m tempted to judge 2010 as a nothing year, a wasted year even, but I’m trying to think about it in a larger context.

I work in the financial industry and at my work, it’s often said that although many investors focus on calendar year returns, major stock market trends don’t start in January and end in December. Looking at last year’s returns may only show you a small part of a larger picture. In that light, I’m hoping that 2010 may turn out to be part of a larger transition for me – and ultimately that matters more to me than what I did or didn’t do in the last 12 months.

Already 2011 seems better. I’ll take cold over rain any day and these first crisp, cold weeks of January have felt invigorating to me.

There were some obvious highpoints in my year and here are some of them:

  • My sister’s wedding – Without a doubt, this was the best part of my year. Sister weddings are the best: you get all of the emotion with none of the stress of actually putting on a wedding.
  • Mr. WholeHog’s whole new career –  In this so-called job-less economy, he’s ended up with too many jobs. It’s easy to forget how many of us dream of walking away from our dull jobs and trying something new or finding work that we actually care about and so many people  — myself included — have been inspired and excited to watch Mr. WholeHog do just that.
  • Working at the Farmers Market – This fall, I got a chance to sell heirloom apples (and once, heirloom beans) at the Saturday market. It was totally eye-opening, from riding the bus at 5:45am on a Saturday morning to leaving the market after 2pm, exhausted and feeling almost jet-lagged.
  • Exploring Eastside SF – Perhaps because we spent most of 2009 living in the East Bay, in 2010, I explored many new-to-me parts of the City, like Bayview/ Hunters Point and the Excelsior.

2010 On Film

  • In Treatment – I still miss The Wire (and am anxiously waiting for Treme to come out on DVD) but this year, I started watching and loving episodes of In Treatment.
  • A Single Man – This movie came out in 2009 but I didn’t see it until mid-way through 2010 and it still lingers in my mind.

2010 Soundtrack

Sharon Jones: She’s a force of nature – you can hear that in her voice — she injected a whole new energy into Hardly Strictly Bluegrass. And there’s something about soul that just seems so right these days.

But the song that stopped me in my tracks and brought tears to my eyes was The Arcade Fire’s Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains). See the performance on SNL here.

“They heard me singing and they told me to stop
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock
These days my life, I feel it has no purpose
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface”

2010 Bookmobile – Coming Soon?

I’m embarrassed to admit I’ve been working on a post about books I’ve read for months now. But the salient points are that while I read a slew of books in 2010, only two really got to me: One Day, a novel by David Nicholls and Dan Savage’s non-fiction book, The Commitment.

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