The year opened stressfully but closed fairly peacefully. Along the way, it was packed full with projects, music, friends, and good hard work.
At the beginning of the year, I had no thought of joining the Board of Directors for the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, nevermind becoming the Chair, but as things unfolded, it was clear that if we didn’t all jump in and pull together, the festival was done. So we did, and I couldn’t be more proud of the amazing people, both on the Board and in the community generally, who worked so hard and with such a good will to keep this beloved small festival running.
Work has been busy – from the Music City Summer Series, to the PANAMANIA festival (an official part of the 2015 Pan Am Games), to the longest and most successful iteration of the Toronto Christmas Market, it’s been quite a year. It’s my second year at the Distillery District, and I feel like I’ve got a good handle on how the place works best, which is an accomplishment that I’m quite proud of.
I sadly had to miss my regular emceeing gig at Hillside this year due to the Pan Am Games, but did travel to the Folk Alliance International conference to curate and host a showcase room, as well as emceeing at Shelter Valley, Walk the Line in support of the Green Wood Coalition, and Don’t Give Up, giving a talk at Imaginate, and running a Women in Music networking session at Folk Music Ontario. It’s nice to see a steady increase in the number of emceeing and speaking gigs I’m getting, as it’s something I’m pretty good at and love doing.
In the Autumn, my mom and sisters and I spent two weeks driving around the Scottish Highlands in a 1972 Volkswagen camper van, which was pretty awesome. We visited Skye, and Orkney, and tiny villages where our ancestors had lived and fished prior to immigrating to Canada in the 1800s. It’s every bit as beautiful as you’d hope, and I’d love to go back sometime; I’ve been meaning to share some more photos from the trip, and will soon.
I registered Secret Frequency as an incorporated non-profit, and am looking at opportunities for that organization. I wrote OAC Recording grants for Kristine Schmitt and David Newland, one of which was successful and the other we should hear about in the new year. My sweet little old black cat moved in to our apartment, and has settled in well. I marched with the NDP in Toronto’s Pride Parade, and it was amazing and awesome. I started learning Brazilian drumming with Maracatu Mar Aberto, and played the Kensington Solstice Parade with them. Canada finally voted out the Conservative party, and I got a selfie with the new Prime Minister.
It was a busy year; I did so much, saw so much, accomplished so much. But unlike other years, where I’ve ended up feeling exhausted and wrung out, I feel like I managed my time well this year and didn’t over-work myself. This is a major accomplishment for me – it may have something to do with my health issues (which I talk about below, and which I think have been ongoing of years), but it’s also due to having a much better handle on how to manage my time and attention.
Some goals for 2016:
Start Podcasting, finally
I’ve got a subject, a Producer, a studio, and almost everything that I need in place; really, the big stumbling block right now is getting over my own weird fears about starting a new project in a new field. This has been mentioned in my year-end wrap up for about three years now, but I think I’m ready to go.
This year, I started learning to drum with Maracatu Mar Aberto, and it’s been really satisfying. There are lots of great classes that I could be taking in this city, and I should take advantage of it, since learning to do something new and make something with my hands is basically my favourite thing.
Manage my Health
I followed last year’s resolution, eventually, to take a look at my health, and finally got it together to get a new doctor and dentist in Toronto. In late August, I was diagnosed with pernicious anemia, a vitamin B deficiency that used to kill people but is easily treatable with injections and/or supplements. Now that it’s under control, I feel my energy levels coming back, but I really need to find ways to be more active – I’m never going to be the person who regularly goes to the gym, though, so finding ways to be physically active in ways that I enjoy is a priority this year. Also, taking a look at the things I eat, and adjusting them to make better choices overall, is important.
Be kind to myself
I’m pretty hard on myself a lot of the time, and before I was diagnosed with the B deficiency, I wasn’t very nice to myself about my lack of energy and bad eating habits. Now that I know it was medical, I should remember that beating myself up because I was too weak to get out of bed and make dinner is pretty mean and counter-productive.
Celebrate and Be Grateful!
I resolved to be better about this last year, and it flew out of my mind pretty quickly. Feeling grateful for the many excellent projects that I get to be a part of might be an easier way in to celebrating – it’s easy to forget, as I race from one project to the next, to celebrate what I’ve accomplished and feel grateful that I’m able to do what I do for a living and for leisure.
Get my Finances in order
Overall, I’m in a pretty good place financially, but I’ve never done anything like financial planning. I really need to sit down with a proper professional and figure out what I’m doing with my cash, and to give myself a budget so that I don’t fritter away what money I do have on silly things. If I have goals, I’m pretty good about meeting them, but I’ve been a bit flighty about cash since paying off my student loan, and it’s time to rein myself in and start thinking about what I want to do next.
I’ve got big dreams, big ideas, and big goals, but I’m never going to achieve them if I don’t push myself right out of my comfort zone and into places that I’m pretty convinced I don’t belong, don’t have the right to aspire to, or aren’t qualified to go into. Since being totally comfortable all of the time is not one of my life goals, I need to remember not to indulge in the sort of inertia that keeps me comfortably cocooned. And I also need to remember that my fear and discomfort are usually signs that I’m embarking on something that’s going to change my whole life. Since that’s precisely what I want to keep doing, I need to push past that and get on with things.
I have a good feeling about 2016; there’s so much that I want to do, and so much potential; I feel ready to leap again. Send me your crazy ideas; let’s do them all!