Reflection,  Skating,  Writing

2017: A Quick Recap

This post is exactly what it sounds like: a list of goals I achieved over the past year. For a list of things I resolve not to do in 2018, check out the following post.

Behold: all my 2017 doings in a gratuitous little nutshell.

Writing Achievements:

  • Entered a writing contest: Two, actually! I entered NYC Midnight’s 2017 short story competition at the beginning of last year. Writers were given a genre, object/subject, and character prompt, then required to weave all three into a story within an 8-day timeframe. I ended up with political satire as my genre, which was totally foreign. I can’t say I was entirely thrilled with what I produced, but I did finish something and received an honorable mention, which was pretty cool. I also submitted a Middle Grade short story about diverse characters (trans and Arab-American) to an anthology contest, which I turned around in two weeks. I’m starting to get more comfortable outlining and completing short-form stories, which is an improvement for me.
  •  Outlined my YA novel story idea: I’m an innate pantser. I like to start writing the moment I get an idea and figure out the details as I go. Nothing wrong with that, but it hasn’t been my most effective tactic. I’ve been wanting to write this YA story for about two years now, but I’ve been (maybe unnecessarily) nervous about writing myself into a corner I can’t get out of on something  that means so much to me. I’ve spent a lot of time researching the setting and brainstorming scenes. Last November, I sat down and started an eight-week adventure of writing my first-ever novel outline. Now I just need to connect all the dots and start writing the thing (after I finish ANA ON THE EDGE, anyway).

Skating Achievements:

  • Took my Junior Free Skate test: In 2016, I started taking lessons with a new skating coach. My only goal was to get back a jump I could no longer land after almost a year without lessons. My coach soon  discovered I hadn’t taken my final two freeskating tests so he suggested I train toward that. Even though I didn’t really believe I had much shot of getting my stamina to a place where I could realistically take the first test (or my performance anxiety appropriately controlled so as not to self-sabotage if I did), I agreed. Cue: four months of intense, daily program run-throughs and a surprise November 2016 attempt that my coach gave me mere three-days advance notice of. I failed by one popped (not fully rotated) jump. Years ago, I would’ve taken this as a sign that I wasn’t cut out to pass higher level skating tests. Now, though? I just got mad. I’d been skating clean run-throughs (sometimes double run-throughs, which, for the record, are close to actual athletic torture). I should’ve had that jump, no problem. I was so close, and I let my nerves get the best of me, which felt unacceptable after all the work I put in to get that program test-ready. Last January, I retook it and skated a clean program out of what felt like sheer determination. Passed high by all three judges. I hadn’t tested in eight years. Getting that achievement patch felt good. From there, I set my sights on my Senior Free Skate, the crowning achievement of US Figure Skating singles tests. I passed that just six weeks later, and also passed my Pre-Silver and Silver Dance tests in 2017. Even though Senior is a big deal, I’ll never forget the feeling of passing Junior, a test I thought was beyond reach. That’s the one that means the most  to me.
  • Became a US Figure Skating trial judge: The moment I passed my Senior Free Skate test, I applied to be a singles and dance trial judge. I’d been hearing for quite some time that there was a shortage of judges in Northern California, that test sessions were getting canceled because skating clubs couldn’t find the requisite judging panel. What I didn’t realize was a lack of judges translated to a lack of test-takers, especially in ice dance. I’ve had to travel quite a bit to get the tests I need to trial and I’m still not there with dance. I took an aggressive approach to trialing, traveling all over the Bay Area, from Fremont to Santa Rosa to Roseville and everywhere in between, plus Las Vegas, and submitted my Bronze and Silver singles appointments together back in September. I passed my promotional exam and became a Silver singles test judge last November so all I have left is my Gold appointment for singles. I’m still skating for exercise (and even competing), but some nagging injuries have made me question how much longer I’ll be able to maintain my current freestyle skill level. Judging gives me an opportunity to stay active in a new capacity and give back to a sport I adore.
  • Competed at a national-level competition: I’ve competed at US Adult Nationals twice, but that was a decade ago. I wanted to get out there again, and the National Showcase Championships, held in nearby Santa Rosa last year, gave me the chance. I qualified via a local competition in singles (actually got recalled, which I didn’t know was a thing until I saw my name taped up on the results wall) and also joined a group of seasoned show skaters to compete in the Production Ensemble event. The ensemble group placed second in the nation and I placed sixth individually. Moreover, show skating is a joy to watch. I had a great time that entire weekend.

Travel Achievements:

  • January-April 2017 | South Lake Tahoe, CA: Various end-of-season skiing (even snowboarding!) trips, including a weekend where a group of friends and I got snowed in, which was its own form of  adventure.
  • February 2017 |Monument/Colorado Springs, CO: 7K Adult Getaway skating camp, where  I met an amazing group of adult athletes and learned about realistic goal-setting, mental toughness, and just how hard it is to run a program at high altitude.
  • March 2017 | New York, NY: Our annual trip for my boyfriend’s birthday. We got snowed in three extra days (noticing a trend in 2017?), which gave us the opportunity to explore even more. I drank more coffee and visited more bookstores that week than I had in the past year. Living the writerly dream.
  • May 2017 | Humboldt, CA: Roadtrip to cheer on my boyfriend at his first 10K at Avenue of the Giants (alas, my hip injury prevented me from participating). He did great, and it was a beautiful, scenic weekend.
  • June 2017 | San Diego, CA: Weekend trip to San Diego. I <3 Coronado.
  • September 2017 | Las Vegas, NV: Trial judging at a local competition + weekend of visiting friends.
  • September 2017 | Rochester & Minneapolis, MN: Visiting family and attending the SQSA Adult Skating Camp. I ended up staying with a former skating coach, which was unexpected but wonderful. Rochester was also just as wonderful as I remembered it.
  • December 2017 | Ann Arbor, MI: The trip that didn’t happen. My synchro team ended up withdrawing from the Dr. Richard Porter competition due to some injuries and scheduling conflicts. At least Sectionals and Nationals are in Michigan in 2019, so there’s a chance to make up for it.

In sum, it was a good year, albeit  not without challenges. When I look back on 2017, though, everything above is what I want to remember most.

Photo credit: jodeng [CC0 license], via Pixabay

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