Annus Mirabilis

Annus Mirabilis (n.) (phr.) a remarkable or notable year in history; a year of wonders or miracles, used to speak hopefully of the future.

(Are end-of-year posts going to become tradition? Looks like it!)

I started this post 12 months ago with the intention of turning it into another letter from the past, but never managed to actually sit down and write anything, so this has been a blank draft until around 2 hours ago. Oh, Past Anna, with your incessant Tumblr blogging and nonexistent WordPress blogging. It’s a shame too: this past year has been a pretty eventful one as far as years go. Here’s a list of ten notable things that have happened, for the sake of posterity.

  1. Graduated from high school! Wow!
  2. Went to a bunch of places in Europe, which has been on my bucket list since the day I learned Europe is a continent.
  3. Enrolled in college! Look at me, adulting.
  4. Did the scary AP English exam that I have honestly been dreading since grade ten! Lived to tell the tale!
  5. Decided my future!
  6. Finished some poems; started 38462 poems, most of them still drafts! I’m not even joking
  7. Learned how to drive! Also lived to tell the tale, which is a miracle, if you ask me.
  8. Survived finals season for the first semester of college without too much crying! *cheers*
  9. Started and finished 61 anime series! (This time I’m actually not joking. I counted. If you ever need recommendations, I’m your gal.)
  10.  The most important of all: I baked brownies and they didn’t turn green like the Green Muffin Incident*. All is right in the world.
*Once, long long ago, I decided to try baking muffins. It was from a box mix so I thought, “What could possibly go wrong?” When the muffins came out, they were green. Evidently, a lot went wrong.

Looking back, more Big Events (graduation, starting college, etc.) have occurred this year than other years. When I started this post back in January, I was more than a little terrified of all of them. My thinking was, “How am I ever going to survive until December?” Now having survived, I’m not too sure what I was scared of. That’s life, I guess: you stress about things until they’re over, then look back and wonder why you were stressed. Your Future Self is looking at the current you through the memories you are making right now and thinking, “Man, I didn’t even need to worry,” which is both comforting and aggravating: comforting because everything will work out, aggravating because current you doesn’t know how it all works out. (If only letters to the past were a thing.)

But hey, we’ve survived yet another year of agonizing over whatever it is we were once stressed about. We’ve all become the Future Self of the person we were in January, and we’ll keep evolving into subsequent Future Selves. Letters to the past may save us a lot of stress, but they take the excitement out of the process of becoming, which is kind of what life is all about, yeah?

Unfinished Business

Unceremoniously shoved into a corner of my living room is a scarf. I started it when first embarking on my knitting misadventures, somewhere between grade eight and freshman year — so, a couple of years ago. Ridiculously — but sadly not surprisingly — it’s still in a messy state of incompletion. At this rate, I’ll finish it when I’m halfway through university.

The problem is that I keep telling myself that there’s always too many math problems to groan about, too much Tumblr dashboard to scroll through, and not enough time to haphazardly do all the things I want to (which are all terrible excuses, given I have a friend who forges knitted masterpieces in a matter of hours. Fun fact: if you make her angry, she will not hesitate to stab you with the same needles she used to make a six-foot, Harry Potter-themed scarf. Everybody knows of the TMNT but she is a veritable TKGG: Teenage Knitting Grandma Goddess).

Truth is, I’m not a finisher. It’s rare I ever finish anything that’s doesn’t have an unforgiving deadline like piano recital pieces or school assignments do (yet, that still didn’t stop me from handing in a novel analysis essay a month late . . . sorry, Mr. H), which is probably why I went through as many extra-curriculars as people lose bobby pins. I can’t remember seeing anything through to the end except for swimming, and that’s only because my mom was convinced that one day I was going to fall off a ship and into the ocean. To her credit, that did sorta happen once.

So, no more extra-curricular for me anymore, but the unfinishing continues:

  • I pick up new sheet music, half-learn four songs, then drop them. As a result, you could say I know lots of pieces, but only in pieces. It’s slightly annoying, but probably more so for the place I volunteer at — they endure my choppy playing for an hour every week.
  • I don’t finish novels sometimes. Actually, there’s an obscene amount of books in this cardboard box mentally labelled “Yeah . . . no” shamefully tucked into another corner somewhere. (Oh life and your unforgiving corners.)
  • Don’t even talk to me about draft folders. Every time I open one of those, it’s a nightmare — blog draft folders, email draft folders, physical folders that hold hand-drawn drafts . . . no folder is safe.

Perhaps my inability to finish will be my undoing, but in terms of my scarf, I’m not worried. It gets worked on every time I have a sleepover, which means that when it’s finally done, it’ll be a scarf born from party times with friends.

And besides, isn’t there that quote that says the journey is more important than the destination?

(Ah, but I guess never getting to the finish line isn’t that commendable either.)


Instilling Fondness

Have you ever just looked at someone and thought, “I really love you”. They’re just talking or humming or watching a movie or reading a book or laughing or something, and there’s something about them in that moment—their body is alive, there’s a light in their eyes, something—that makes you think, “I just really love you.” It’s a weird sensation to think this, but it’s pretty awesome that we can feel this way about another being. -Tumblr user text-pistol

There’s injustice all over the world and humans have done unspeakable things over the course of history, but I’d like to think that the real essence of humanity is captured in those fleeting moments where you look at someone and cannot help but love them.

Full of Others

It’s really important who you hang out with.

At least, that’s what my mom told me a lot when I was younger. Her and many parents take friend influences seriously, and with good reason: none of us would be the person we are today without the influences of the people we surround ourselves with.

There’s the nature vs. nurture argument as well: the idea that our roots take precedence over our upbringing and environment, and vice versa. But individuals become who they are due to a mix of both nature and nurture, and also what they aspire to be. Perhaps that’s why so many of us admire our friends* – because you hang out with people who possess qualities you like (either subconsciously or consciously).

*Of course, you can also admire your friends simply because they’re your friends. The moment you become chummy with them is the moment you don rose-coloured glasses.

I have kind friends and hilarious friends and thoughtful friends and artsy friends and musical friends and intellectual friends and strong-willed friends and protective friends and ohmygoodnessCUTE friends, and most of them have all of these qualities packed into one body. Since friends rub off on you after awhile (several times I’ve noticed myself using my friends’ little mannerisms), we’ve all probably picked up a bunch of things from each other accidentally or through emulation.

It’s this kind of thinking that spurs questions: which qualities have we picked up, and from whom? (As Tumblr suggests, we should all get a book that says which qualities we’ve adopted from people we know. That’d be cool.) Are we all inspirations and catalysts for change in the eyes of each other? Is it in this way that people carry pieces of us with them, wherever they go? Will we always be present in the way they run their hands through their hair or in the little catchphrases they say?

It’s pretentious to want to leave a mark on the people you hang out with, but there’s something nice about thinking that a fragment of yourself is alive in another.

Romanticism of Hollowness

You are made of the earth.
You breathe the same air
As the migrating butterflies and
Your bones are the dust of the planets.
You do not curse the mountains for being too vast.
You should not curse yourself for being
More than empty space.

You are so much more than that.
So much more than just a number
Or a glossy magazine page
Or the daylight streaming
Between your thighs.

You are moonlit window
And the horizon at dusk;
Your heartbeat is someone’s gospel and
You have unborn worlds hidden behind your eyes.

I am not a good judge of poets
But you are living, breathing,

-r.i.d. and my thoughts

The Perks of Procrastination

For a student enrolled in classes that should be taken seriously, I still end up putting everything off till the last minute.  It adds unnecessary stress that I would’ve otherwise avoided, but procrastination sessions are inspiration hotspots. 90% of most anything creative happens when I should be doing something else, which makes me wonder how that’s going to work out for me in the future.

For example:

The slam poem for last year’s English class? Illegally worked on during every history lesson.

Any good art you find in my binder? Chemistry class.

Those last four blog posts? Weren’t written because I was totally working on quadratic functions for my math final. Not.

It gets frustrating at times because every summer* I make a vow: “I’m going to read 28469 books and marathon all the tv shows and write the next great Canadian novel and learn to play a bazillion songs and draw the graphic novel accompaniment to my novel and be super productive!” Yet without the pressure of procrastination, most of those plans become me sitting and tumbling down Tumblr – so, basically turning into a GIF-blogging meat sack.

*last summer was a surprising exception: I travelled a lot and actually did read a myriad of books. My hair still has highlights from being outside so much.

In conclusion, when do things not get done? When there is ample time to do them! Which will lead to problems in the future (and present, as the second semester is starting up and it has arguably more difficult classes than my first semester).

But I’ll probably still choose spontaneous creativity over successful time management.