The year is soon at an end, and it's time to reflect on the year that has passed. As I have mentioned previously, this has possibly been one of the worst years in my life thus far - perhaps even the worst. As a result I've had recurring problems with depression and other related feelings. But the year hasn't been all doom and gloom, and I haven't been feeling too bad the last few weeks. I'm crossing my paws 2012 will be an overall better year though.
Here I'll be summarizing a few events, whether they be unique to the year or ongoing. Some are a bit more mundane or low-key, others less so. I'll start off with the bad ones, before going into the good ones, then looking towards the future.
~ The Bad ~
My knee. Late last year I banged my knee on the big-ass TV in my room. It didn't feel too bad at first, just funny, but by the end of the year the funny feeling had given way to pain and it was getting increasingly worse. For the first few months of this year I pretty much stayed inside, not able to move or go out much. My knee is certainly better now than it was as I can now actually walk and move about, but it still hurts, and still keeps me from being as mobile as I'd have liked to be. Also makes it hard to really exercise and lose weight.
My knee also makes it hard to apply for jobs, since I always have to consider whether the work might involve a lot of standing, lifting, or walking, and whether I'd be able to stretch my legs comfortably on occasion. Which leads to the next point...
A lack of income. I'm still unemployed, with no real income. I've applied for a few positions here and there which have seemed decent and like they would be agreeable with my knee, my education, and my prior work experience. So far I've had no luck, and have not even been called into an interview. I should make more of an effort and apply for more jobs more frequently, but with my knee and overall poor mood this year it has been hard to stay motivated.
Rarely cubbing out. I'm still stuck living with my parents (since I don't have a real income and can't afford my own place) and don't have any local infantilist or babyfur friends. Consequently I very rarely get to cub out. It's been one or two years since I last got to cub out properly at home. It's frustrating, to say the least. More so when I hear how others are able to do it fairly freely, and even have people with whom they can indulge with IRL.
Cancelling a concert - and a convention. One of the things I've been working at this year is to get gigs: having short concerts at small venues. Finding places hasn't been easy, but I did get myself invited to play at one pretty nice, artsy café gallery place in Oslo. But two weeks before the concert date I got very ill, which included a sore throat and a funny sounding voice, and it lasted for over two weeks. So I was forced to cancel. There was no way to postpone it either, rescheduling it for another date, as the one in charge of arranging concerts was quitting her job and they would stop having any concerts there all together. So it was my one and only shot to perform there.
There was also an annual anime and manga convention taking place in Oslo in that interim, which I'd been planning on attending - and had even planned on attempting some cosplaying for. A lot of furs were attending, and a big furry party took place in the evening after the first day. But being sick, I was in no shape to attend conventions or parties.
Getting dumped. In early March this year, my boyfriend dumped me. The reasons for the break-up? He wasn't able to handle the long distance anymore, with me living in Norway and him in the UK. (There's also my asexuality which I can't help but feel was a factor as well.) We had officially been an item for about 1.5 years.
Fortunately he still wanted us to be close after the break-up, and he was even positive to the idea of me visiting sometime again and us getting cubby together, even wanting to help me live out some of my babyfur fantasies to what ever extent he would be able. This really helped soften the blow of the break-up, making it a lot gentler than it would've otherwise been, and we kept talking a lot together online. While we were no longer romantically involved, he still cared for me enough that he felt we could still meet up and share a certain level of friendly intimacy of the babyfur variety. There was even some hope that we could get to share a room at Eurofurence some year, like we were supposed to do this year. (Though the reason that didn't happen had nothing to do with our break-up.)
Then a few weeks back I was informed he no longer felt fully comfortable with the idea of being cubby together anymore, of being intimate with me on that level, as he was getting increasingly intimate with his new boyfriend. It felt like getting dumped all over again, having lost a "babysitter" and "cubbing out buddy", and getting further knocked down on the intimacy scale, getting closer to the dreaded casual friends category.
While I'm still recovering from all this, and still feel hurt and sad and even somewhat angry, I do genuinely hope he will be happy with his new boyfriend and I wish them both the best.
~ The Good ~
First concert in Norway. While my first scheduled concert had to be cancelled, I did manage to get another gig later on in the year, after a certain number of e-mails. Though this gig wasn't a solo show, consisting of me and three other bands, and the place was more of a typical rock concert place and less cozy and artsy than the other venue.
My set wasn't flawless and I was pretty nervous, but my friends were impressed and the audience seemed entertained. Plus, there was free red wine backstage! So all in all, it was a success, and hopefully it'll make it slightly easier getting more gigs next year.
Meeting hukka. I finally got to meet one of my oldest furry friends, hukka (fa!hukka) from Finland, whom I've known since the early years of my involvement in the fandom. So I guess I've known him for around 10 - 13 years; or since I was around 14 - 16 years old. He turned out to be a pretty nice guy too, and I hope I'll get to meet him again.
Weekends galore! I had some very nice weekends towards the end of the year: a surprise visit from Trax (fa!TraxSwe), a slightly less surprising visit from Trax and Hassel (fa!hasselvargen), a weekend of cubbiness in Denmark with Wolfspawn (fa!wolfspawn) and DarkFoxDK (fa!darkfoxdk), and finally a weekend in Göteborg, Sweden together with Trax and DarkFoxDK and various Swedes. Definitely helped give a good end to a less than stellar year, even though both jul and my birthday were a bit underwhelming. I do have a furry new year's party left to help re-lift my spirits though!
Trax. He has been a really good friend to me this year. Those who want to know our "back story" can read my Eurofurence 17 2011 convention report. As mentioned above, he actually made a surprise visit to Norway, and visited again shortly thereafter. He lives in Sweden, and the train ride is about 6 hours one way.
We've talked a lot online, Skyped, written long e-mails, and gotten to know one another. He has included me in several commissions he has gotten (and I don't think I've ever actually known about them in advance), and he agreed to send out a Christmas card with me this year (since I wanted to continue the tradition I started last year with my then boyfriend, but doing one all by myself I felt would be too depressing). We've gotten along well (though he seems to get along well with most people), and I've really enjoyed spending time with him and getting to known him. I've grown very fond of him.
I do wish we lived closer to one another so we could hang out more casually and frequently, but I'm very glad Trax doesn't seem to mind making the effort to travel to see me on occasion (and getting to hang with other Norwegian furs at the same time, who are generally a welcoming and generous bunch of folks). I really hope our friendship will continue to grow throughout 2012 and the years to come, but I do fear I might scare him away by getting too whiny, needy, or affectionate - and with this having been a bad year, I think I'm currently prone to be all three.
The Dog Island. I played through what's now one of my favourite games, The Dog Island for the Nintendo Wii. It's one of the more absurd games I've ever played, and it's charming as all heck with some of the best video game music I've ever heard. Like the game's opening song.
Receiving a stipend from Tekstforfatterfondet. I sent in an application to some public Norwegian fund, get money to write song lyrics for a specific album I'm working on. And I got it! Not as much as I'd applied for, and certainly nothing to live off of, but it was a decent sum and very exciting. It made me almost feel like a proper lyricist and musician.
~ The Future ~
Attending Eurofurence 18 2012. I'm still considering both whether I want to attend Eurofurence in 2012, and if I can afford it. Eurofurence 2011 was a mixed bag, in part due to suffering from heart ache, and in part due to not having anyone in specific to hang with (and consequently having a hard time finding people to eat with, which is an odd thing I seem to obsess about and which can easily spoil my mood). But there were enough Norwegian furs attending that I could, for the most part, bump into people I knew by just walking about the lobby area, and I did have some really good times and I made some new friends and acquaintances. So overall it was probably worth it, and that might be the case next year, too.
But there's still the money. In total, I think the trip would cost around 5.000 NOK. That's a lot.
Finding a mate slash caretaker. I would love to find someone new, someone I could be affectionate and romantic with, and who would make me feel loved and who would indulge me in my babyfur side. But the dating pool for us unemployed Norwegian gay semi-asexual babyfurs is rather limited. Might not help that I'm a slightly shy and neurotic elitist hipster, either.
Making progress with my creative career. I'm trying to build up my creative career, mainly as a musician and lyricist. Currently I'm working on two albums, and I'm hoping to get them both finished next year. Still a lot of songs to finish for both. I'll be trying to find more live gigs too, which isn't easy. Still dreaming of making it big, getting signed to some big label, writing a song (or at least lyrics) for some popular artist, and so forth. Would be great if I could progress to a point where I could actually get an okay income from this.
Work on a thesis proposal. I applied for one scholarship position this year. Not unexpectedly, I didn't get it; I knew my thesis proposal wasn't very good. So I should start studying more by myself, reading up, and working on making it better so I have a better chance at getting a scholarship position. I really would love to be able to work with philosophy and have a position within the academic world, but the competition is pretty tough and I'm not really sure if I've got what it takes.
Get a steady-ish income. Finding some sort of job, make enough money to afford to move out and attend one furry convention a year, maybe even make enough money to realize my dream of visiting the US! In short, living the sweet life.