January was a loooong month. Usually time flies by, but this time, my perception of time seemed to slow down. I hate January, it’s the worst month of the year. However, this year, even though it went by really slowly, I feel kind of satisfied. With myself that is, because the world is just a mess. I almost had to take a break from the news and social media, because it was bad for my mental health. It’s all about finding a balance in not feeling guilty about being so self-centred, and keeping up with the news, but I try to rather see it as self-care.
One thing that has helped me a lot with my mental health these last few months is dancing. I started dancing salsa and lindy hop in addition to ballroom dancing. And what a blast it is! The dance scene in Utrecht is really big and as I discovered all the places you can go to socials, it became kind of addicting. Going dancing every night makes me so happy. Just a few hours, moving to joyful music, meeting new people and drinking with friends. When you see the same people as passionate as you every week, it’s easy to make friends. Needless to say, my social kills have drastically improved! I am proud to say I am now able to enjoy the occasional small talk! A few months ago, I would have never dreamed of going alone to parties. But once you take the jump, it is really rewarding. It is also interesting to experience the music in a whole new way. As you become a more experienced dancer, it’s not only about staying on time anymore and doing the right steps, but listen carefully to the music, know the songs and when the breaks come, adapt your movements to it. It makes the whole difference.
Something else I have been enjoying this month is reading. I used to read more and a lot quicker. But I have kind of accepted that I am not that bookworm anymore, able to read for 10 hours straight. I am trying to read more classics instead of the go to epic fantasy and am slowly getting through Harper Lee’s “to kill a mockingbird”, Dostoïevski’s “Crime and Punishment” as well as the “A Very Short Introduction” on music (Nicholas Cook) and feminism (Margaret Walters.) Those little books are really nice to learn more about a subject without having to read a thousand pages. I brought these back from the New York Strand library, which was literally heaven! Sadly, my suitcase was too small to carry more books, so I took pictures of things I want to read. Does anybody else have a photo album with books to read? I am thinking of getting an e-reader, which would save many trees! I love to hold physical books but every little thing counts right? I also heard you can get the definition of a word by just clicking on it, which saves a lot of searches in dictionaries!
Another project to broaden my horizons, is the ListenWider challenge. If you follow MusicologyDuck on Twitter you have undoubtedly come across this challenge. So far, the Institute for Composer Diversity has helped me find new pieces, but I’m still looking for many of the list. If you have any suggestions, write them in the comments down below!
Finally, this month has been a month of daring to do new things, as I have finally applied for an internship. Scary, but also really exciting!
I hope you had an excellent January and to see you all at the next Hucborrel!