Today’s entry on Budgets are Sexy contained an important reminder: the New Year is not just a time to make resolutions and feel bad about failing at past resolutions, but to look back on your past year's accomplishments and feel good about them! Even if you didn’t end up doing what you said you would do, you probably ended up doing something interesting with your 365 days. For me, this was most definitely a year I didn’t do remotely what I thought I was going to do, but wound up going in a completely different direction I never would have predicted! I sure zagged on ‘em in Twenty Serpentine!
GenderThe biggest change was my transition, a giant break in my life that will henceforth break my life into pre-2017 and post-2017. Considering I only started partway through the year, I got a ton of stuff done!
- Came out… to myself!!
- Came out publicly in a bunch of difficult ways: to friends, family, at work, here on the blog
- Began binding and dressing in clothes from the men’s department
- Saw a therapist and obtained a diagnosis needed for insurance
- Joined a support group
- Changed my name
- Updated my name and gender marker on a bunch of important documents
- Met surgeons and booked top surgery
- (Just under the wire in November) Started testosterone!
Body & HealthI don’t know if transition gave me the courage I needed to do more things I’d been afraid of, or if it just focused me in on my body, but I made progress on some other physical stuff I’d been thinking about for a long time.
- Got LASIK. I don’t wear glasses anymore! This hasn’t been true since fourth grade!!
- Decided on a tattoo design and artist and booked a future tattoo appointment. I’ve been on the verge of getting a tattoo for about 7 years, but I never felt confident in my ability to settle on a design and not change my mind. Actually picking out a design that I feel confident about and booking in with an artist feels huge. My chosen artist has a long wait list, though, so I’ll actually make this happen in 2018, I hope.
- (Pre transition) Got a set of adjustable weights and started home weight lifting. I almost take them for granted now, but at the start of the year I could only do bodyweight/yoga-mat exercises at home. I feel like having access to weights has made a big difference in my workout routine.
- (Pre transition) Had a surgery to correct a longterm pain issue. I almost forgot to include this because it was way at the beginning of the year, but it was super important because it (1) took a chronic pain issue I’d kind of resigned myself to after 2 years and made it just go away like that! Which is totally significant and huge improvement in my quality of life! And (2), it cleared the runway for me to actually think about this other body stuff because I wasn’t in constant pain anymore!
ResistanceFor so many of us here in the United States, 2017 was a year of impotent rage, relentless waves of fear, and constant, tiring vigilance as our government busily worked at decimating our healthcare, robbing us of our wealth and ability to retire, and deporting some of us, among other horrible things! For many of us, it was a year of political awakening. Although I know I could have done more, I’m proud of the ways that I did contribute:
- Attended protests
- Actually made a few phone calls to my representatives, which completely terrified me. I didn’t hold myself to making daily or weekly calls - I admit I only made a handful in the entire year - but it was a huge hurdle for me and a phone-phobic, and something I never thought I’d be able to do.
- Sent postcards, texts, emails and Resistbot messages on the regular.
Learning & CreativityI mostly felt that this was a year of creative stagnation, and I felt bad about it. In past years, I’ve written novels, drawn comics, learned new art forms… But, looking back, this year certainly wasn’t without its own mental and creative accomplishments!
- Summer 2017 was truly the Summer of Plants! I took an online class in plant biology and volunteered for a citizen science project in plant observation, which caused me to learn a ton about plants. I can identify so many more plants than I used to be able to, and I feel like I have a framework for making better observations about plants I don’t know. I also improved a lot in my ability to draw plants. Drawing flowers used to be dead boring to me, and now I love it.
- Got rid of a bass guitar I was “meh” about and (eventually, after almost the whole year of not playing music at all) got a new instrument I love! I think that I proved to myself that (1) I like playing and it’s worth it to have a means of doing that, and (2) I can tell the difference between how different instruments sound, and it matters to me and makes a difference in how motivated i am to practice.
- Did the cover art for a relative’s book. This motivated me to begin to teach myself how to use a drawing tablet (not very successfully, but I tried!)
- Did the New York Times Crossword Puzzle almost every day since April. Maybe not always on time, maybe not always without cheating, but I think I really improved in my puzzle prowess!
More New ExperiencesThis is a weird one to be proud of, but in 2017, at the age of 31, I smoked pot for the very first time. Most people I know got this out of the way in their teen years, but I was a pretty straitlaced repressed nerd. One of the things I used to say was, “I don’t want to be out of control of my mind!” I think that, perhaps, there was some element of knowing that I needed my full faculties to maintain my white-knuckled grip on my repression, and being freed from that has helped me to be open to new experiences.
I also obtained one (1) hacky sack. Completely unrelated.
I’m glad I took the time to write all this out; in retrospect, I had a transformative, important, eye-opening, exhilarating year and I look forward to continuing to be a wide-eyed mind-blown up-for-whatever 32-year-old teen boy in 2018!
What are you proud of this past year?