Thursday, December 6, 2012

Looking Back on 2012

Well, the days are short, the nights cold, and there are just a few short weeks left in 2012. It's hard for me to really wrap my head around the past year: it's been a whopper, and I feel eons from where I was a year ago, for both good and bad. I had an amazing senior year at Stanford but struggled all year with grappling with and worrying about the future.

I still don't have a clear vision of what I'm supposed to be doing with my life (something that my emotions about range from accepting to despairing on an approximately hour-by-hour basis), but I think I'm in a good place. I feel like I've spent the past few years of my life racing around from one place to another, spinning aimlessly at times like a whirling dervish, and so being at home and allowing things to quietly flow for a little while is good for me. I've been happily surprised with the number of opportunities that had slowly come my way in the past few months, so even though I'm struggling with feeling a little 'out of the action' being home on the farm, compared to my friends who all seem to be doing big things in the big big city, I know that I'm in the best place for me right now.

(Plus I'm pretty sure they don't have views like this in the city...)

At the beginning of the year, I wrote some goals for 2012 that have been sitting at the top of this blog ever since. Unlike in pervious years, I haven't done monthly goals and analysis (mostly because my year has been a little too erratic for steady tracking of that kind), but have tried to keep these annual goals in the back of my mind. So, how did I do?

-Get my Bronze Medal- 
Yes! Success! Good boy, Ray :)

-Start working towards my Silver Medal- 
Yes, though I don't have any scores yet. Though my Fourth Level debut was, well, somewhat embarrassing, it was still a good learning experience. Coupled with the weekly lessons I've been taking this fall, I'm feeling a lot closer to the work that's going to be required for the Silver Medal. The move from Third to Fourth is a big one, but I'm feeling closer to being able to successfully make that leap. 


-Graduate from Stanford- 
Success! And I even graduated with Stanford's top prize in photography, which was an unexpected and wonderful treat. 

-Get a job!!- 
Well, yes, then no, then sort of yes again. I had a job, left it, was completely unemployed for a while, travelled all the way back to California for another short-term job, and then returned home. Now I have three part-time jobs, two of which are paid. I'm feeling pleasantly occupied, though I obviously don't have a traditional 9-5 'job' job at the moment. I'm ok with it, though talk to me again in 6 months and I might be telling a different story.

(One of my current part time jobs is as a squash coach at my high school - it's been fun to get back into a coaching/teaching role, and to get back to a game that I absolutely loved in high school but sort of lost track of in college)

-One word: RESOLVE. I want to find myself the first day of 2013 a more confident, tough, and happy person.- 
Sigh. I've tried. I cannot lie, however, and say that this year has been without some pretty low lows. I had an absolutely miserable year from a love life perspective (not a topic normally covered on this blog, to say the least) that's left me feeling pretty crushed, and while I'm definitely on the upswing, I'm not completely back to normal yet. My inability to figure out what I want to do with my life has also been a massive source of stress and unhappiness, as I'm not used to not being able to come up with the 'right answer' to a question. I'm finally realizing that perhaps this is a question without a 'right answer,' or at least without a correct answer that one can find right away, but it has taken its toll. But I'm still trying. I'm not going to stop trying. 

-Call into my favorite radio show, "Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me"- 
No. Fail!

-Get my photography exhibited somewhere, even if it's just a coffee shop or something- 
Yes! This was a great year for me, photography-wise. I got my photographs published in a wide variety of publications, had my own senior show at Stanford, and even got a piece shown in a special exhibition at the DeYoung in San Francisco. I also made a full-length photography book from scratch, right down to the binding, and I'm currently hoping to get another exhibition in the spring (more details to follow). It's been a real source of happiness for me. If you'd like to check out what I've been doing, photography-wise, check out my other blog here


-Get her back into shape successfully, filling in holes along the way- 
Well, I didn't, but Robin has done an absolutely amazing job with her. I'm so happy that they've found each other, and can't wait to see what next season holds for them.

-Return to eventing, positively- 
Yes! Kiki and Robin successfully moved back up to Training this fall: Kiki's first Training since August 2010. Good girl, Piggy!

-Find an instructor that I feel really positively about to improve Kiki's jumping technique-
Yes. Robin has been taking lessons with a variety of people and Kiki's jumping technique has improved by leaps and bounds. 

So, not a bad year, all told. I competed less but learned more this year than I have in many years previous. I feel like I grew immensely as a rider--especially in my ability to catch-ride (thanks, IDA), where I went from being a competent pilot to a tactful and active rider on most unfamiliar horses on the flat. I'm still not perfect by a loooooooooong shot, but I'm proud of the progress I've made. I sit the trot better, ride with better timing, more tact, and more feel than ever before. I'm excited to see what 2013 will bring. 

(Meanwhile, Ringo got one last bath for 2012 yesterday in the incredible mid-50s temperatures we had!)

Check back tomorrow for my 2013 goals!


SprinklerBandit said...

Gold star for using "whirling dervish" in a sentence. I have been wanting to do that for so long, but it's not exactly a part of the common vernacular.

Alia said...

Don't feel bad about taking some time off to breathe... I did the same thing after college (had the same misgivings, too) and I think things are turning out pretty well! In fact I think it was one of the best things I ever did.

Katherine Erickson said...

Haha thanks man, I try. Can't say I've ever successfully used it in writing before today!

Katherine Erickson said...

Thanks, Alia! It's always good to hear from other folks who went through similar situations, especially since it feels like most of my friends somehow got their acts together a lot faster than I did and have moved on to bigger and better things. I know I'm not alone, but it definitely feels that way sometimes!

BeBe said...

It took me some figuring out too...but what is meant to be will find its way to you. For now, just enjoy being at home (free living) and enjoy the horses. They are afterall what brings us happiness.

Also, feel free to discuss the relationship issues more...I give great advice :)

Katherine Erickson said...

It's true about the horses! I feel so lucky that I'm getting to spend so much time riding these days. I know how unusual my situation is and am definitely super thankful for it.

My relationship issues weren't that complicated: I just basically got rejected worse by someone that I liked more than has ever happened to me before. Then I immediately moved home, where my social life isn't exactly popping, and so had nothing to do but sit around and think about how sad I was! Not the best combination, haha. But I am definitely doing better! It's just a process.

Me said...

Considering how much change you've gone through this year (both planned and unplanned), I am seriously impressed by how many goals you were able to accomplish.

I totally hear you on the job thing - sometimes I just want to crawl into a hobbit hole. ;)

BeBe said...

Been there...done that. Take the time to move on. It's so hard but when you look back years from now, you will be thankful it didn't work out.

Patrick Freeman said...

As always, so incredibly proud of you for everything you've done and so thankful that I've had you as a friend and riding mentor for the last year and a half. You're an inspiration and don't ever forget it!

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