That time of year!

1.What did you do in 2010 that you'd never done before?
Attended an opera.

2. Did you keep make any New Year's Resolutions for 2010 and, if so, did you keep them?
I don't make resolutions

3. Any resolutions for 2011?
See #2

4. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No.

5. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

6. What cities and towns did you visit?
Chicago, Portland.

7. What countries did you visit?
None.

8. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Better health.

9. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
More confidence and appropriately applied apathy.

10. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Pulling off something in particular a lot of people thought would be nigh impossible. No details in public, sorry.

12. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Illness. Multiple.

13. What was the best thing you bought?
Tickets to a special show.

14. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My SO's.

15. Whose behavior, what situations appalled and depressed you?
An in-law.

16. Where did most of your money go?
Rent.

17. What events did you get really, really, really excited about?
Cataclysm.

18. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? – Happier
ii. thinner or fatter? – Same
iii. richer or poorer? – Richer

19. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Reading, video game playing, calling up friends to hang out.

20. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Stressing about things over which I have no control, not enough sleep.

21. How did you spend Christmas?
With family and friends.

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?
That happened a long time ago.

23. What were your favorite TV programs?
Glee, Desperate Housewives, DWTS

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?
No.

25. What was the best book you read?
Scaramouche

26. What was your greatest musical discovery or rediscovery?
Gogol Bordello, Abney Park

27. What political issue stirred you the most?
Health care.

28. Whom did you miss?
My dad.

29. What were your favorite films of this year?
Inception and Easy A.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I honestly don't recall what I did. And I'm not admitting my age here.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Being in better shape and health so I could do more physically.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
I have one? I just try to buy well-fitting, high-quality clothes that don't look cheap, trashy, or too trendy.

33. What kept you sane?
Video games,
Squeee! Found the continuation of scans_daily! I used to love that one on LJ.

Still trying to track down old friends who moved here.

Life is good.
I've already managed not to let myself feel extreme failure over something where I didn't meet my expectations. I've looked at what was important and tackled just that. I won't let it bring me down because next week, it won't be that important. It won't control my happiness.

I call that a victory.
Everybody has them. Of themselves. Of others. They can be internal expectations, ones we choose. They are at least as often external expectations that we allow others to put on us.

Some of these expectations are positive influences in our lives, such as expectations of honesty and integrity of ourselves and others.

Some are generally agreed upon as standards. I am expected to show up to work as scheduled and perform my job duties in a professional manner. I expect work to pay me regularly.

Some expectations are less obvious. What about the social expectations of your peers or coworkers? What has the media shown you to be the "right" way to act or dress? How much of this have you taken to heart and incorporated into your own expectations of yourself and others?

What about what you expect of people in your life? Is it fair to have some of the expectations you have?

Sometimes expectations get out of control. Some are just plain unrealistic. Others are more subtle and become clutter in our life because we have too many of them.

While a lot of people don't bother to apply heavy thinking to everyday situations, I'm finding that it helps immensely. Here's just two examples of recent applications of this thinking that have made me feel better.

I found myself fretting over something as trivial as a costume for a New Year's Eve party. I found that when I stopped and reconsidered it, it wasn't really that I wanted to dress up to the theme. It's that I thought I would feel out of place if I wasn't dressed to the theme. I let what I perceived as my friends' expectations put pressure on me. I wouldn't have felt comfortable dressed to the theme, so the expectation wasn't constructive. I've settled on something fancy that I'll be comfortable wearing and dismissed the expectation as superfluous.

On the other hand, I agreed to DJ for the party. While I feel some amount of pressure over it and the short timeframe, I know that I find joy in helping others have fun. I know there are some expectations surrounding the dance music and how the evening should feel music-wise. I expect myself to bring joy to others and I hope I will find joy in return. It makes the work worthwhile. I don't, however, expect my music selection to be perfect or think everybody will always be dancing and that the party will be uber-awesome because I put together just the right songs and people will constantly complement me on my 1337 beatmixing skillz. I'll be happy if some people dance and have fun.

These may not sound like much, but since it happens to be my week's major event, they could easily have overshadowed the rest of my day to day activities.

Do what I'm doing this week. Constantly reconsider your expectations. Are they...
external or internal?
reasonable?
constructive?
clutter?
worthwhile?

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