The Round Up

Last summer, two different friends told me that 2013 would be ‘my year’. This is something that at the time I treasured, and it gave me confidence going forward, but then after a while I forgot these kind words, New Years came and went and I didn’t think much of it. However, this year has been an extraordinary one in so many ways; personally, romantically, professionally. And I’ll throw in a few pieces of theatre favourites too.

Personally, this year has been a time of unbelievable self-growth. Ending my second year of university was difficult as I didn’t want to have to return for a third; however, I managed to get a strong first, and now have a good chance of getting one overall for my degree. Despite finding it hard to remain motivated, I can’t help but be grateful for the effort I put in over the course of the year to achieve what I have so far, including co-directing Look Back in Anger with one of my best friends.

Similarly, my blog has faded a little over the past few months because of deadlines and busy schedules, but this year saw a huge spike in my readership (thank you all!), and the opportunity to begin reviewing productions as press in my own right, without associations. That in itself is a huge step that I’m proud of, even if it doesn’t lead to anything more than a few hits.

My rock climbing is slowly but surely improving. Despite a back injury in February which I’m still battling with, this year I climbed abroad for the first time, and am now ticking through some grades with a proper training plan in place and big goals for 2014. For the first time in a decade of climbing, I’m setting myself a proper training plan which is bringing that 7a tick ever closer once more. I also went back to South Africa for the first time in seven years, and only the second time in my life, and reconnected with family in a way I never expected. I’ve travelled the world, seeing more than I’d ever anticipated for just one year. Oh, and I hiked 5000m of Mount Kilimanjaro.

Now for the cheesy section – I began the year single, with friends and acquaintances, but one person popped out of nowhere in November 2012 and provided a steady stream of conversation. That one person turned out to be pretty special; we’ve been together nearly ten months, have a lovely little flat, and lots of plans for the future. I’ll keep this section short, but I’m pretty confident it’s been the best bit of the year.

Professionally, I managed to pass my Climbing Wall Award assessment making me nationally qualified to instruct climbing sessions in indoor centres. A small feat, but one I’ve been working towards that I’m very pleased to have out of the way, and makes me feel more justified in my part-time job. I’ve been steadily expanding my CV with bits of work experience, creating little links, and in January I’ve got two weeks at a local children’s publishers which (fingers crossed) may lead to something post-graduation. It’s been a little part of my year, but gaining a second job duty managing a theatre and just becoming more adept at instructing is undoubtedly just as important.

Now for a brief theatre review; my three favourites this year:

  1. The last production at Southwark Playhouse’s London Bridge venue, Feathers in the Snow was comical, heart-warming, and magical. A beautiful start to my theatrical year.
  2. I’m not a dancer, and never claim to be an expert on the art form. However, Balletboyz was one of the most phenomenal performances I have ever seen, theatrical or otherwise. Showcasing strength, grace, and musicality, I was truly blown away. (see also my review of Swan Lake)
  3. Something more recent, and special in that it was my first press ticket for this blog. The Island at the Young Vic, now seemingly more poignant with the death of Mandela, was an insightful and sensitive look into Robben Island, cleverly humanising the criminals within.

I might not have summited that mountain, seen as much theatre as I’d have liked, or made any real progress in the hunt for a graduate job. However, 2013 has been one in which I can look back on and say I was truly content. Sad things happened, things went wrong, but there was a fundamental shift in my attitude towards myself and the way I approach life. And that, I think, is the most important thing to learn.

Ending with a manic, busy, but incredible Christmas with a heck of a lot of family old and new, lots of good food, and learning to fire a shotgun, and a celebration of the New Year with friends, it’s safe to say this has been a damn good year. Here’s to another.

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