2017 has been a turning point in my personal life – I’m moved to a foreign country (Scotland) and I’ve married, so yes, I can say that it is a year that made an impression. There have been no improvements with regards to my work situation unfortunately, but tbh as everything else was going on I didn’t focus on that so much. It’s definitely going to be my number one priority in 2018.
This year I seriously engaged in a process of making my life simpler, with less unwanted commitments and less stuff. This project has brought me to pay greater attention to where my money and my time goes – particularly significant since I moved house twice this year and I’ll have to repeat it next July.
In 2017 I also moved in permanently with the significant other (a few months before the wedding) and finally had the chance to pick our own place. It’s definitely a work in progress but I’m developing a clearer idea of what I want my house to look like and how to best take care of it. Plus I finally have a dedicated place for all my beauty products, my books and my shoes – which after years of shared space is an utter bliss.
I replaced an old product (my 2011 iPhone 4, may it rest in peace) with an iPhone SE (rose gold, because details matter). It’s a excellent product and I’m very impressed by the battery life. On the other side, I’m still ‘stuck’ with my 2011 13-inch MacBook Pro and my 4th generation iPad – which lately has become quite difficult to deal with, and no longer receives software update. I’m a bit pissed by the fact that I can’t even start enjoying a new product that I immediately have another one going rogue – I guess it’s the way things are managed now, but I’m definitely not happy with that (especially since Apple products are everything but cheap).
In terms of apps I’ve been downsizing a lot this year. In 2016 I was all about experimenting and trying out new things – well, 2017 has definitely inverted this trend. I’ve cut down a lot of the things I was using (or actually, not using) all at the same time, and most importantly every time I felt like a needed some new functionality I tried to figure out how to get it from the apps I was already using instead of looking for something external.
Apps survived to the purge this year are: Trello (of course), Wunderlist (of course), Apple Notes and Apple Reminders, Google Keep and OneNote. I still use Evernote but I’ve cut down a lot its purpose, as it’s now mainly a repository of my scanned documents, receipts and other boring stuff. I don’t agree with Evernote (not so) recent policy regarding the free plan and honestly, as good as it may be, I don’t find it irreplaceable.
Though I still use Shoebox to backup photos, I recently added Google Foto to the system as it’s super fast, super convenient with the free space it offers and it also backups unlimited video (which Shoebox does not, at least for the free plan). I’ve also introduced Zoho’s Notebook app in my system as it now has a desktop app for Mac, but I’m not sure whether I’ll keep it. I like the idea but I’ve already found many flaws that I don’t know if I’ll be able to overcome.
In general, during 2017 I’ve worked hard to streamline my system a lot in order to make it more efficient and pain-free; in 2018 I’m going to focus on maintaining it and making it even more functional.
2017 will be remembered as The Worst Year Ever in terms of planners. I started with a lovely A5 Muji weekly planner (week on one page plus notes) that I used for 2/3 months and then it went mostly wasted for the rest of the year. I tried and used a billion of different things (Strikethru system, GTD in a Filofax etc etc) and nothing really stuck – apart from my Paperblanks weekly slim agenda, which has been the only constant in this huge mess. I’m very disappointed at myself and as a consequence I’ve decided to (1) stay away from 99% of planner material on the web (blog posts, YT videos, Pinterest images etc etc) (2) strictly stick to one and only one paper planner for the entire 2018. No excuses admitted.
Study (Chinese, Japanese, etc.)
Main highlights for my studies in 2017 have been passing HSK2 at the beginning of the year and finishing Remembering Simplified Hanzi back in July. They were big achievements for me and I felt very proud of myself – unfortunately, the rest of the year hasn’t been as good in terms of study results. I aim at taking HSK3 in 2018 and realising how much I could have done and just didn’t has been a huge wakeup call for me. I’m definitely using my time more wisely in 2018.
I’m also determined to retrieve my professional training in the new year so this is another field I’ll engage myself in.
Books, TV Series, Dramas and Music
2017 has been thumb up for American TV series, and thumb down for Asian dramas in general (I talked about that here). I had many lonely evenings waiting for the plus one to finish work and Netflix has been my No. 1 companion (bad, I know). TV series I watched this year:
- Gilmore Girls S3
- Gilmore Girls S4
- Gilmore Girls S5
- Gilmore Girls S6
- Gilmore Girls S7
- Gilmore Girls – A Year in the Life
- The OA S1
- The Good Wife S3
- The Good Wife S4
- The Good Wife S5
- The Good Wife S6
- The Good Wife S7
- The Expanse S1
- The Expanse S2
- Suits S1
- Suits S2
- Suits S3
- Suits S4
- Suits S5 (in progress)
- Riverdale S1
- Riverdale S2 (in progress)
- The Good Place S1
- The Good Place S2 (in progress)
- Cold Case S5
- Cold Case S6 (in progress)
- 13 Reasons Why S1
- Gypsy S1
- That 70s Show S1
- That 70s Show S2
- That 70s Show S3 (in progress)
- You, Me, Her S1
- You, Me, Her S2
- Orange is The New Black S2
- Orange is The New Black S3
- Orange is The New Black S4
- Orange is The New Black S5
- Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S1
- Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S2
- Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries S3
- Stranger Things S1 (rewatch)
- Stranger Things S2
- Twin Peaks S1
- Twin Peaks S2 (in progress)
I watched one entire anime (Anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day) and about half of another one (Gurren Lagann, but it’s boring me to death). I also watched the anime-movie Your Name, which I loved – so much that I got myself both the manga and the novel version.
Best book of 2017 is probably The Lady of the Sorrows (so Cecilia Dart-Thornton features as my most enjoyed writer for the second year in a row). I love everything about her writing style – the descriptive passages, the character development, the rhythm at which the story unravels, the way characters interact with each other. I honestly can’t wait to finish reading the third book (I started it exactly one year ago, but I left it back in Italy and I’ve retrieved it only now).
I’ve also enjoyed the Avalon saga, which I mentioned many times in my book reviews, and I’ve re-read a few much loved books like HP and the Philosopher’s stone, City and Never let me go. I also tied a couple of different genres, like urban fantasy, cyberpunk and young adult.
2017 has definitely been the synthwave and new retro wave year for me. I’ve discovered some amazing artists and albums, and this will be forever the soundtrack of my first months in Scotland. My absolute favourite bands are FM-84 and Timecop1983, plus Duett (a new entry).
This year I also discovered a certain interest for Asia indie pop culture (mainly Korean, but also Chinese); I find it really soothing and calming, and it’s not wonder that it has become the default soundtrack of my morning and night beauty routine.
Best albums: Atlas by FM-84, Reflections by Timecop1983, Stranger Things 2 OST by Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein (keep up the good work guys!). My top hits:
FM-84 ~ Running in the night
Lord Huron ~ The night we met
Robin Bengtsson ~ I can’t go on
Imagine Dragons ~ Believer
Tanya Chua (蔡健雅) – 呼吸
Timecop1983 ~ Come back
Francesco Gabbani ~ Occidentali’s Karma
Coco Lee (李玟) ~ 能不能
Jost ~ Grab the moment
Double2 (樂團) ~零距離
Kristian Kostov ~ Beautiful Mess
Home ~ Head first
Pet Shop Boys ~ Love comes quickly
Duett ~ Future hearts
Belle and Sebastien ~ Too much love
Double2 (樂團) ~安全感
Timecop1983 ~ Girl (feat. Seawaves)
30 Seconds to Mars ~ Alibi
Duett ~ Heat (Luxar original)
Florence + The Machine ~ Never let me go
Kyon Grey ~ Millennials
Penny Tai (戴佩妮) ~ Sing it out
MTNS ~ Fears
Sunstroke Project ~ Hey mamma
Negrita ~ Radio Conga
Timecop1983 ~ Secrets
Dihai ~ Skeletons
Snowmine ~ Columbus
Frances ~ Let it out (KAASI remix)
Blossoms ~ Honey sweet
Lord Huron ~ Meet me in the woods
Timecop1983 ~ Wild love
2016 has been a good year, because it has been a year of change. I know many people fear change and the consequent feeling of uncertainty and instability, and I myself as an OCD person find it hard sometimes to cope with an unclear schedule.
Nonetheless, I think this is the year that helped me the most to understand many things about myself, which in turn has led to a clearer path of self growth and development. I already know I won’t accomplish everything that is on my goals list in 2018, but at least this year I start with a lot more motivation – and awareness.