Dearest Friends, Family, & Strangers on the Internet,
Another year has gone by, undoubtedly it has been one filled with its share of ups and downs. As 2018 approaches its closing, I have decided to write and share a review of it (from my perspective) with all of you. In this review I would like to highlight some of the most influential moments, medias, and things, which had a large impact on me and contributed towards shaping who I am as a person going into the year ahead.
Why write this post? Well, there are several reasons…
1 - As a way to share some of the things I like, with the people I like
2 - To practice self reflection. Sometimes it is really easy to get bogged down by all the hard times a year can bring, and I have found that writing this has been a great way to remember some of the better things 2018 has brought me
3 - To serve as a record which I can look back on in the future. I am thinking of continuing to do this in future years, which over time a collection of reviews in this fashion would serve as an excellent time capsule of the things that have played a large role throughout my life
4 - I am in the process of starting up a personal blog. Therefore writing this is an easy way to get started on it, as writing about the things I like is incredibly easy
5 - I have great taste… (I kid, I kid, that’s not why I am writing this)
In this post I’d like to share with you the top 5 things, in several different categories of things, that influenced my life in 2018. As a rough idea, I would say that the item listed at the *top* of the five would probably be my favorite of the group, but generally the other four are in no particular order, as they are all close runners up, and I do not particularly favor one over the others.
Without further ado, I’ll get started. Here are my lists of top 5 things of 2018. I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I did writing it.
Music — Albums
Here are some of the albums released this year that I have had on repeat continuously. These five collections of music had served as the majority of the soundtrack for my life in the past year. In this list the song name written in (brackets) is my personal favorite song from that particular album. I have included a link to the albums Spotify page if you click on its name _underlined_.
- *Swimming by Mac Miller (What’s The Use feat. Thundercat)*
- Nina Cried Power — E.P. by Hozier (NFWMB)
- Black Panthar by Kendrik Lamar, The Weeknd, SZA, and Various Others (Pray For Me)
- Scorpion by Drake (Don’t Matter To Me feat. Michael Jackson)
- Earthtones by Bahamas (Way With Words)
2018 was an interesting year for the development of my musical tastes. In 2017 I LOVED Kendrik Lamar’s album “Damn.” and since then I have been craving for similar sounds. This year I found myself listening to more Hip Hop and R&B then I ever have before.
My favorite album this year was “Swimming” by Mac Miller. Songs from that album like “What’s The Use?”, “Small Worlds”, and “Ladders”, I found so lyrically creative and relatable. Mac Miller passing away earlier this year was incredibly sad, losing another talented young artist is so unfair. Though there can be solace found knowing that his last pieces of work given to us culminated in such a beautiful album from start to finish. I sometimes find it difficult to listen to “2009”, not because I think it is a bad song (it is a great song), but because the tone of the song I find incredibly saddening when thinking of Malcom’s passing . When I hear 2009, I hear the voice of someone having revelation and coming to peace with their past in order for them to move forward with their future, and it makes me deeply sad knowing that Malcom will not have that opportunity anymore. Every time I listen to the song I always feel moved in ways I find myself not always prepared emotionally to experience.
Drake’s “Scorpion”, along with the soundtrack to Black Panther, were two other fantastic hip hop albums that I listened to this year. I do not have a tonne to say about these albums, other than they are two great collections of sounds that catered to what I was looking for after my journey into hip hop last year. Off of Scorpion in particular, I really love the song “Don’t Matter To Me”. I find it incredible that all these years later Michael Jackson’s voice is still being featured in brand new music — it makes me wonder what sorts of sounds he would be producing if he was still alive today.
More in line with my more traditional taste in music; “Nina Cried Power” by Hozier and “Earthtones” by Bahamas also make the list. I had the privilege to see both of these albums performed live in 2018, and like most folk and blues music, both are incredible experiences when listened to live in full arrangements. On Nina Cried Power, in addition to the song sharing the same name of the album, I also particularly love the song NFWMB.
Music — Singles
These are my top five favorite and most influential songs from 2018 which were either released as singles, or I enjoyed individually without the compliment of the rest the album they may have been featured on. If you would like to give these a listen, there are Spotify links on the _song titles_.
- *Movement by Hozier*
- Summertime Magic by Childish Gambino
- Still Feel. by Half•Alive
- Happier by Marshmello feat. Bastille
- Sunflower by Post Malone & Swae Lee
My all time favorite song this year, both within this category and music overall, was “Movement” by Hozier. The song has a tendency every time it comes up on one of my Spotify playlists to make me instantly break into dance (or want to dance… you know, if I’m in public). The sound Hozier produced with this song resonates deeply down to my core; it’s soul, it’s blues, it’s gospel — it’s incredible. In the second half of this song, when it comes out of its bridge, and the whole arrangement is playing in full, it makes me realize that songs like this are everything I could ever want out of music. I am in love with the sounds that Hozier can produce, and because of this over the past few years he has quickly become one of my favorite artists.
Speaking of other songs that make me want to dance when I hear them — “Summertime Magic” is such a catchy song that for so long I couldn’t get out of my head, and I was totally okay with it. This summertime anthem was a great compliment to many long summertime road trips and fun evenings spent with friends. Seeing Childish Gambino perform and dance live to this song was also a great highlight of my summer. “Still feel.” by Half Alive is another song that makes me want to dance when I hear it, but this time not in a fun groovy way of dancing, but instead in that move your body awkwardly kind of way, as seen in the songs music video (which I recommend seeing if you haven’t).
“Happier” by Marshmello featuring Bastille was a song that has really grown on me these past few weeks in particular. This song does a really good job at bringing a smile to my face and making we want to sing along (as of the time of writing this post, it is my go-to shower song). The lyrics and upbeat tempo of this song had also helped me maintain an optimistic frame while navigating a particularly emotionally difficult time of the year for me this past month.
“Sunflower” is such a great song. Both artists responsible, Post Malone and Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd are two artists who I overlooked at first, initially thinking that their breakout songs from earlier this year were mere one hit wonders. Hearing this song is a beautiful way to remind myself of not judging books by their cover (or musicians by their initial sounds?). This song has helped me explore and be more open to similar music by these artists, music which a year ago I feel I would not have given a chance. Sunflower was also the main theme for one of my favorite movies of the year, more on that in the next list.
Let me start by saying that “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” is everything I could want from a super hero movie (sorry Avengers: Infinity War). The direction that was taken while making this movie was superb. As a fan of the Spider-Man comics, I really loved the art style they decided to go with; using floating dialogue boxes, split paneling, and giant action words (THWIP!, WHAM!, Etc.) at certain moments throughout the movie was a really nice touch. This movie also had a really nice balance between light comedic moments and heavier emotional moments. I am also a bit of a Spider-Man fanboy, so seeing all the different ‘spider people’ they decided to bring in, as well as picking up on all the subtle references to comics scattered throughout the film, was a joy.
I am not a huge horror or thriller film fan, though “A Quiet Place” is slowly turning my into one. Yesterday I watched the hit movie Bird Box (that everyone is talking about), and although I did enjoy it — it really just reminded me more and more of how much I loved A Quiet Place. This movie kept me sitting on my sofa’s edge clinching my hands from start to finish. Even if you aren’t a big fan of thrillers, I would recommend watching this movie.
“Black Panther” was my favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe film this year (into the Spider-Verse doesn’t count as it is not in the MCU). I think this film was much better than Avengers: Infinity War in terms of its plot and score. Also can we talk about how amazing that casino 'heist' and chase scene set in Korea was… that has to be one of my favorite scenes from an action film ever! I also really enjoyed the motivation of the film’s primary antagonist, Eric Killmonger. I believe that the best villans in stories are the ones who believe they are in fact the good guys doing the right thing — and Killmonger is a great example of one of these types of villans. I am really glad Marvel has started bringing some of these lesser known super heroes to the big screen, because these movies have been great. I eagerly await Black Panther 2!
In this post I have now mentioned Avengers: Infinity War twice, but haven’t featured it on my list. I want you guys to know that I did very much enjoy that movie, I loved the large scale battles and the inclusion of so many amazing characters was incredible. I just felt like due to the movie’s nature of being so large of scope, its narrative suffered as a result. For that reason it did not make the list.
“Bohemian Rhapsody” was a very touching film of the life of Freddie Mercury. I have been a long time fan of the Band Queen (my parents are large fans of them, so I grew up listening to a lot of their music), but I never really knew much about the front man of the band himself. This movie was an excellent journey through the ups and downs of Freddie’s life. It had me captivated in the theater from start to finish, and at many points in the film I caught myself stomping my feet, snapping my fingers, and wanting to burst out into singing along to all the songs.
Although it came out in late 2017, “The Shape of Water” still makes my list for this year as I didn’t end up seeing it until early 2018 — and I enjoyed it so much that I couldn’t leave it out. This movie is a beautiful piece of art, and has turned me into a fan of Guillermo Del Toro. This year I would like to go back and start watching some of the directors other films, if anyone has any suggestions for good starting points, let me know.
I have been a lover of video games ever since my dad gave my sister and I our first console, a Super Nintendo Entertainment System with a copy of Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong’s Double Trouble in the mid-90’s. Since then story telling in video games has played as much of a part in my life as the stories told in books and movies. 2018 was no exception to that truth, and this year brought some amazing games and narratives into my life. For that reason I could not leave out video games from my lists. Here are the top five games I played this year. In [brackets] is the console on which I played the game.
- *God of War (2018) [PS4]*
- Celeste [Switch]
- Shadow Of the Colossus (2018) [PS4]
- Super Smash Bros Ultimate [Switch]
- Marvel’s Spider-Man [PS4]
“God of War (2018)” was definitely my game of the year. After not originally giving this game a chance and stopping only a few hours in well before the first act of the game even ended, it did not grab me. Sure the combat was awesome(the way Kratos pulls his axe through the air in particular has such an incredibly satisfying feeling to it), but the games narrative lost me. It wasn’t until about six months later that I went back and picked it up again to give it another try that I fell in love with it. Without going into spoilers, there was a turning point for me in the second act of the game that just made everything click. From then on I loved everything this game was doing, so much so that the day after I finished this game I went out and purchased Neil Gaiman’s novel “Norse Mythology”, just because I wanted more. The game’s story was also highly relatable to me. Although I have never journeyed across the realm to scale a mountain, nor have I slayed ogres or giants; I have shared a similar relationship to that of Kratos and his son Atreus, with my own father. I connected with their journey together of initially not understanding one another, and having to undergo revelations and reflection before truly connecting and forging a relationship for themselves. Due to this games thrilling action, fascinating mythological story, and relatable character relationships, God of War (2018) was my favorite and most influential game of this year.
“Celeste” is a simple, yet brilliant game. In essence it is a challenging ‘puzzle platformer’ about a young girl on a journey climbing a mountain. What sets this game apart from other games in its genre, is the story it manages to tell — which is an incredible feat considering the simplicity of the game’s art style, mechanics, and short length. This game so eloquently explores difficult topics such as mental health, specifically depression and anxiety. Although this game was challenging and fun, my main take away from playing it was the self reflection it gave me in regards to my own mental health.
Although “Shadow of the Colossus” is not a new game, but instead a remake of a nearly 14 year old game, it still makes my top 5 for 2018. The developers did such an amazing job recreating the world of the original game in stunning visuals. I played this game on a 4K TV this year which proved to be a real treat while replaying an old childhood favorite, and a video game masterpiece overall. When the game originally came out in 2005, it was one of the first games to really show the general non-gaming public that video games could be more than just mindless time-sinks, but instead could be treated as an art form in their own right. Through minimalist combat mechanics and character interaction, this game still manages to tell an incredible immersive story about a young boy willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the one he loves. For those who have never played, I highly recommend it. The original can be played on that old PlayStation 2 you have in a box somewhere in your parent’s basement, or if you have a PlayStation 4 you can play it with stunning new visuals. In essence it is a short game (around 5 hours long) in which you challenge 16 different boss battles — and it is a blast.
“Super Smash Bros Ultimate” is an amazing game. This game is not on this because of how its story has influence me, but rather because of the many amazing times it has provided me spent laughing on the couch with my friends. It is a game in which you and your best buds face off head to head as over 70 different characters from many Nintendo franchises. Donkey Kong, Mario, Zelda, Samus from Metroid, the Belmonts from Castlevania — you name it, if the character is from Nintendo, they are in this game. I have been playing the Smash Bro games since I was a child, and with every iteration it just keeps getting better and better. I have already had so much fun playing Smash Bros Ultimate in 2018, and I know I will have more fun with it well into 2019 (and beyond)! Also can we talk about how the makers decided to put King K. Rool in this game, the king of the kremlings himself— there is no way he’s not becoming my new main character.
“Marvel’s Spider-Man (2018)” was an incredibly fun game, and the game I have certainly put the most hours into this year on this list. I have done everything the game has to offer, achieving 100% completion. This game’s combat system is excitedly fast and fun, especially when building up incredibly high combo numbers on baddies - but that is not the main reason to play it. The main reason to play this game is for Spider-Man’s web swinging mechanics. The game developers nailed the physics and web slinging, and playing this game reminded me alot of playing the old “Spider-Man 2” game on the PlayStation 2 when I was a child (I’m a little sad there are no pizza-delivery missions this time around though…). I’d like to also just point out how 2018 has been an amazing year for Spider-Man, two movie appearances and a video game!
- *Falcon Heavy Test Flight*
- Mac Miller: NPR Music Tiny Desk Concert
- Kindness VS Power | Under The Skin #46
- Dragon Quest XI: The Kotaku Review by Tim Rogers
- Why you should make useless things | Simone Giertz
I am still in awe from the Falcon Heavy test flight earlier this year. Watching those duel thrusters land simultaneously has by far been one of the most inspiring, memorizing, and jaw dropping things I have ever seen in my entire life — I equate that moment to our generation’s moon landing. Also the launch of the Star-Man payload into space was so incredibly peculiar — I still can’t believe that even happened. Anyone who knows me probably knows how much of a fan I am of Elon Musk, this video only furthered how much I (as a young engineer-in-training and technology enthusiast) look up to him as an inspiration and role model.
The NPR Tiny desk concert featuring Mac Miller was truly a touching performance. Coupled by the fact that this was one of his final live performances before passing away a few months ago, this video was one of my favorite videos this year and is one that I am frequently re-watching. I particularly love when Mac Miller and Thundercat groove out together over the bass line of “What’s The Use?”, it’s easy to see how genuine the fun they are having performing together is by the way they make eachother laugh and smile. I know I will be playing and enjoying this video for years to come, though it’s a crying shame we won’t be getting anymore of this.
The episode “Kindness Vs Power” from Russell Brand’s Under the Skin podcast makes my list because it was one of the best conversations I have seen this year between two people with rivaling opinions. In this episode Russell Brand brings on the controversial Jordan Peterson for a discussion on philosophy, self-purpose, and the relationship between kindness and power. The two share some great ideas with one another; some of those ideas they agree on, but more often those ideas clash with one another due to some fundamental disagreements between the two of them. What I liked the most about when this happened, was how well Russell and Jordan kept the discussions surrounding these disagreements respectful and constructive, as well as how they constantly tried to seek understanding and common ground with one another. Discussions like this make it very apparent that as humans, although we often disagree — there is more that unites us than divides us. It was also refreshing to see this postive side of Jordan, as a lot of the appearances I have seen of him portrayed in the media over the past year or so since his 2016 controversy have certainly been negative ones. Although the controversy surrounding Jordan which made him infamous to begin with did come up a few times during this conversation, it is clear that Russell did a good job grounding the conversation back into philosophical territory, whilst maintaining civility and insightfulness — I appreciated this as a listener. Earlier this year (before seeing this video), I initially stubbornly passed a judgement on Jordan for being just another one of those right wing provokators who shouldn’t be given the time of day. After watching this video, I became aware of the prejudices that I myself had developed — as my initial dismissal of him and my unwillingness to hear what he had to say wasn’t particularly fair. Throughout this year I have been reflecting on how easy it is, due to social media echo chambers, to get really wrapped up in sensationalized news cycles which perpetuate divisive mindsets. My take away going forward is to now realize that it is okay to disagree with others, so long as these disagreements can be conducted respectfully, and with the intent of both parties to listen and to learn from one another. In 2019 I hope to practice leaning in to more difficult and uncomfortable discussions, even with those who I fundamentally disagree with, in pursuit of truth.
Tim Rogers review of Dragon Quest XI is one of the greatest reviews of any piece of media I have ever seen. The review is over 36 minutes long, and I have now watched it over three times in full — and I have never even played a Dragon Quest game in my life, that’s how good this review is! The detail Tim goes into, the tangents he goes on, the anecdotal stories he shares; all of this review bleeds his affection towards the Dragon Quest game series, and it is infectious. The only thing that stopped me from getting out of the chill as heck candle-lit epsome salt bath I was enjoying that night whilst I first watched this chill as heck video and then driving to the game store to immediately purchase this game, was that I learned it will be releasing on the Nintendo Switch sometime next year. I know I will be buying this game when it comes out on the Nintendo Switch , and I attribute that to this amazing love-letter of a review. I am convinced this video would make even a non-player of videos games want to go out and buy Dragon Quest XI, and subsequently love the game — after all in Tim’s words, “Dragon Quest XI isn’t a video game, it’s a bed time story”. In addition to this video review, Tim Rogers also has an entire collection of other amazing reviews on Kotaku’s YouTube channel. His reviews are so good that they even have their own dedicated playlist on said channel. In my opinion, this video in particular is Tim Roger’s pièce de résistance.
For a few years now Simone Giertz has been one of my favorite YouTubers. Her personal journey to where she is today is such a great story, and I love all the positive videos she shares. If you don’t know her, she is a young woman who built herself a career where she designs “useless” robots, and she posts very fun and unique videos on her YouTube channel of those robots operating. As a young engineering graduate myself, her videos and personal journey has served as a large influence to me. She has shown me that creativeness does not necessarily require usefulness to be justified, and that sometimes you do things just to learn, develop, and self express. I also really appreciate how she built herself her own individual career by using her uniqueness as her greatest asset — I hope to also achieve this throughout my own journey. Her one video in particular that is on my list is this TED talk where she talks about her personal journey. It was one of my video highlights of this year, and I recommend anyone in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Mathematics, & Engineering), or really anyone at all, to watch it. Her journey this year has also been a touching one, as she unfortunately found out she had a brain tumor that needed to be surgically removed. She put out a very emotionally moving video about the struggles she faced before and after the surgery, and the strength and optimism she shared in that video was very impactful to me. It makes me happy that she came out on the upper hand of her surgery, and I look forward to the great content she will put out in the year ahead!
TV Shows, Netflix, etc.
I actually took a large step back this year in terms of consuming TV shows. I realized that in the past few years, 2016–2017, I binged watched a pretty substantial amount of shows. This year when I looked back and reviewed what I’ve been watching, I realized that I really didn’t watch many shows — at least not many that had a large influence over my life. So for this category I am only going to list one.
- *Black Mirror: Season 4*
This was the only show this year that I binged once it came out, nearly all in 1 or 2 sittings. This show has been a personal favorite of mine, as I am highly interested in Science fiction, and more generally the relationship between technology and society. This show serves as an excellent cautionary tale and has had the most influence over me this year in terms of shows. Although this season of the show technically released in 2017, it was the tale end of December on the 29th, so it was not until January of 2018 that I sat down and consumed it.
The only other shows I have really been watching this year were the Office and Planet Earth 2, neither of which are new, and neither of which I watched for the first time. Both of these shows have been my standard go to ‘background noise' show that I just put on for comfort. I hardly even consider these shows anymore, but rather they are warm familar blankets.
This year I actually did not read many 2018 releases. So I am going to keep this section very short with just a few of the most influential books that I read (or re-read) this year.
- *Own the Day, Own your Life by Aubrey Marcus*
- Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
- Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
- Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson
- Brave New World by Aldus Huxley
“Own the Day, Own your Life” gets top place on my list — being a self-help book, by its own nature it was designed to be influential on my life. It also makes the top because it is one of the few books actually released in 2018 that I read this year, and the only one featured on this list. The author Aubrey Marcus is a gem who radiates charisma and optimism. He has an amazing character and reading his book (a long with watching his YouTube videos) certainly brought me joy and inspiration. Trying to improve yourself can sometimes be overwhelming; this book taught me how to break down my desired improvements into more micro bite-sized actions. It also taught me a great deal about adopting more personal responsibility within my life, and that it is up to me to take more ownership over my own shortcomings and misdoings. I would recommend this book to any of my friends who may be stuck in a rut that they wish to get out of — it certainly helped me.
For those who don’t know, I am a bit of a geek who LOVES fantasy stories. My favorite fantasy novel I read this year was “Words of Radiance” by Brandon Sanderson, which was a marathon to get through over this summer (1087 pages), but I loved every mile of it. If you love large scale epic fantasy novels similar to “The Lord of the Rings” or “A Song of Ice and Fire”; stories that involve medieval style kingdoms, politics, swords, and sorcery, then I highly recommend getting into Brandon Sanderson’s novels of the “Cosmere” universe. A great starting point for a new Sanderson reader would be the novel “Mistborn” (this is the one I started with a few years ago) or “The Way of Kings” (A little heavier than Mostborn, but so far my favorite novel of his overall). I don’t personally know many other Sanderson readers out there, but if you are someone who loves his work please let me know so we can geek out about how good these books are sometime. Seriously, I wouldn’t be surprised, in fact I’d bet on it, that if in a few years these novels become the new “Game of Thrones” with their own feature television series and/or movies.
“Warbreaker” and “Edgedancer” are two additional Sanderson novels (of a more standard length) which serve as complements to the much larger “Words of Radiance”. I read both of these novels this year before and after, respectfully, “Words of Radiance”. These two novels are amazing examples of how fantasy stories today can still have new original ideas (they don’t always have to revolve around slaying the dragon). In Warbreaker and Edgedancer, the protagonists use magical systems involving consuming colours and food, respectively. Sanderson does such an excellent job creating worlds that revolve around such simple, fun, and original magical ideas, and these ideas are quickly turning Brandon Sanderson into one of my favorite authors.
“Brave New World” is the final book rounding off my list. I re-read this book again this summer. It has influenced my life a lot , especially how I think about philosophy, technology, and society. It was even the inspiration for the alias I took for writing these blogs, “bravenewmatt”, more on that another time. This masterpiece by Aldus Huxley’s continues to be my favorite book of all time — and I will probably end up re-reading it again next year.
- *My sister got married*
- I climbed to the top of Piedra del Peñol in Guatapé, Colombia
- I saw the Wailers perform in Toronto
- I visited the Colosseum in Rome
- I went to my first concert by myself and saw Hozier
This year the most important event in my life that happened was my sister getting married! She had one of the most fantastic weddings spent out in the countryside, surrounded by so many friends and family members. This was the first wedding that I had ever been to in which I knew pretty much everyone in attendance. With all the different groups of relatives and friends in attendance, the day felt like the largest cross-over event in my life (sorry Avengers: Infinity War, again). The summer day was perfect, full of sunshine and smiles. I am so excited my sister has married the person she loves, and I know they will have a happy future together.
In April-May of this year, I traveled with my best friend to Colombia — the trip in itself was no doubt a massive highlight of my year. However, for this list I decided I would just pick one particular moment from that trip to share. My favorite moment overall of that trip was when we traveled to Guatapé to climb the famous Piedra del Peñol. The day was brutally hot, and the climb was over 740 steps at an elevation that makes a person easily winded, but the view from the top made it so worth it.
Bob Marley produced some of my favorite music of all time. I grew up listening to his Reggae music, and still to this day his album “Legend” remains one of my all time favorites (certainly top 5). In October this year I had the opportunity to see his old band, The Wailers, perform live in Toronto. For so many years I listened to these songs exclusively on the albums, hearing these songs performed live for the first time was incredible and breathed so much new life into music that I have been so familiar with for so long.
My whole life I have always wanted to go to Rome; I grew up loving architecture and studied a great deal of it throughout university. Getting the opportunity to finally go was an amazing experience, and I am so happy I got to share that experience with a group of some of my most longtime friends. My highlight in Rome in particular was exploring the Colosseum, as well as other great structures such as the Pantheon, Roman Forum, and St.Peters Basilica.
I love Hozier’s music, one may have been able to tell from some of the earlier sections of this post. Getting to go to see him perform live in Toronto was an amazing experience musically. It was also an amazing experience personally as it was the first time I ever went to a concert by myself. I couldn’t find anyone to go with last minute, so I made the spontaneous decision to buy a single ticket off of someone online the morning of the concert— and it turned out to be one the best things I did for myself the entire year. From the simple experience of going to a musical performance alone, I have learned that sometimes being able to indulge yourself into something free of a possible judgement by someone else can be very liberating. I found I was able to immerse myself more than ever when I was attending alone; although there were thousands of others in attendance, I strangely felt one-on-one with the performer. Going alone to this has also helped make me more comfortable in enjoying my own company. When I was there alone I made the active decision to stay off of my phone (only pulling it out a few times to capture a few pictures), even uninstalling my Facebook app before going, as I know how easy it can be to slip into the trap of social media at the first feeling of loneliness or uncomfort. Since this show in September I have already attended two other concerts alone, and going forward into 2019 I intend to not hesitate to keep doing so if I cannot find someone to go with.
Well there you have it folks, my collection of the most influential things 2018 brought into my life. I hope you enjoyed reading it (if you made it this far). Please feel free to ask me anytime (in person, or online) about any of these things and I would be happy converse about them — maybe you had a similar experience with something I mentioned, if so I would love to hear about it.
I would like wish you all a wonderful 2019! I hope the new year brings you new adventurers, personal growth, and so much happiness. Our journey continues friends!