Christopher Antila

It’s the End of 2016

I didn’t have enough tuna melts.

Do you remember my focus statement for 2016? It’s 我们都对也都错 , 都不想犯错 。 Now at the end of 2016, I get to tell you how it went!

Song of the Year

What I didn’t write about a year ago is that I chose “ 都对也都错 ” as a “song of the year” with the intention to listen to it every day at the start of the day. I expected I would be tired of the song and stop listening by the end of January. I expected I would forget about the focus statement shortly after. That’s why I described it as “a phrase to contemplate periodically,” and why I didn’t mention my intention to listen to the song every day. If somebody asked me about the song, I didn’t want to have to tell them that I stopped listening.

Was I ever wrong!

More about the Year

I was right about one thing though:

I have some big plans already, and based on the past several years, one thing I’m already quite sure of is that there will be lots to write home about!

There is indeed “lots to write home about.”

Throughout November and December 2016, there has been a growing consensus throughout English North America that 2016 has been a bad year. I primarily chalk this up to two things: an unexpected result in the United States federal election, and an unlikely number of celebrity deaths near the end of the year. And Harambe, depending on whom you ask, whose death couldn’t be offset by the wondrous heights we reached with “Damn, Daniel.” For the people complaining or worrying about those things as though they’re personal emergencies, I don’t have anything nice to say so I’m not going to say anything at all. (Finally following my mother’s advice).

Yet for me personally, 2016 was definitely the worst year I’ve had. I hit more lows, more often, and for longer than ever before. From crushing loneliness, staring at a wall for ten hours because I couldn’t do anything else, being hungry for three days because I couldn’t even eat, right on through to the panic attacks and crying myself to sleep while ostensibly “on vacation,” plus the other things I’m not mentioning, my 2016 has been a disaster.

But guess what? I’M STILL HERE!

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year, it’s to believe in the strength of people. Maybe it’s surprising to see after the last paragraph, but it’s true: no matter what happens, I know beyond question that I’m going to make it through somehow, and that a handful of people will support me along the way. I may end up crawling to the finish, but damnit I’m going to cross that line.

Back to the Song

So what about my Song of the Year? I really did listen every day. Sometimes I didn’t remember until later in the day, but it really was every day. And it’s become part of how I think now, to the extent that “don’t stop walking” is a phrase I use at least once a week, inspired by the chorus of “ 都对也都错 ”.

In fact, my programme of listening every day was successful beyond what I would have imagined, and “focus statement” is the most accurate way to describe that sentence. It’s with this song that I’ve been able to pull myself out of bed every day, and when things start going poorly I know I can count on this song still being there. On good days, I listen just once; on bad days I listen many times. And every time I sing along, thinking about the meaning of the words.

This song has brought me focus and clarity in my worst moments, and I’m not ready to give it up. So I’m going to keep listening every day in 2017.

But There’s Another…

I’m adding a song too! For this I will be seriously judged by anyone who knows anything about mandopop, including probably by everyone who likes this singer. But this is my website, so they can shut up.

This song is called “Blossom 2.0,” sung by Chinese-American singer Sharon Kwan (or Cleverpoetry Closed if you’re an asshole like me who has to know what everything means). And it’s a very positive song that fits the perspective on life I hope every 20-year-old has. This song is a reminder that every day gives me a new opportunity to write my own story and to love everything I see. Because not everything in 2016 has been bad. Check it out:

  • I gave a well-received presentation at the Music Encoding Conference, supported by my fellow nCoda contributors, some of whom presented posters, and who have continued to be a strong source of inspiration and positive energy.
  • I learned more than I could imagine about my place in the world.
  • I’ve been on dates with some fascinating people (and some boring—sorry!) who have taught me to have faith in the world and have given me the confidence to keep trying to meet people.
  • I go my first job as a non-music-related software developer, which has given me confidence in my skills and the platform with which to raise myself even higher than I’ve ever been.
  • And so on!

Make no mistake: 2016 really was my worst. But I did the best I could, and things have already started to get better. I have every reason to believe 2017 may be my best year ever, and if not, it’s sure as heck going to be better than 2016 was!