We've reached the end of the year, and while I haven't been at all good at keeping up any kind of writing habit, I do have enough of a sense of tradition to fill out the annual questionnaire (here's the one from last year).
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before? Watched my child graduate from preschool and start kindergarten. Volunteered in a library (so relaxing). Spent a week at the beach with my best friend and parents. Took my child to Disney. Walked the Freedom Trail. Turned 40. Went backstage at the New York City Ballet. Adopted a rescue dog.
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? Last year, I resolved "to continue doing the things I've been doing that make me feel good: focusing on love and positive things; being accepting of myself (and others, though that's always been easier for me); seeing the good in people and situations; running at least five times a week; reading as much as I can; getting plenty of sleep; hugging my daughter as much as she'll let me; and, most importantly, spending as much time as possible with family and friends. I'd like to do less of the things that sap my energy or make me feel like a lesser being -- basically anything that makes me feel less connected to other people than more, anything that saps my hope for humanity (Internet comments on controversial topics and any onslaught of terrible news must be avoided at all costs), and anything that makes me dwell in my own head too much."
I'd say I did a pretty good job on all of these things over the past year.
What I want to do in 2016 is to get back into writing more (both here and on a couple of projects that I have going on the side, neither of which I will finish in my lifetime if I continue to neglect them), which means that when I am home, I need to make better use of my time, like putting my phone away in the evenings and on weekends to the extent possible.
I am also going to make myself more accountable in terms of food choices, because it seems that when I turned 40, my metabolism became less able to overcome my lazy eating habits. I'm not one who would ever eliminate entire food groups or ingredients, so this is probably just a matter of keeping a food journal and not letting sweets into the house except for special occasions -- I don't need drastic changes, just awareness. So trite, I know, but I'm in good health overall and I run five times a week, but to maintain everything and continue to fit into my clothes, I also have to be more mindful with consumption. Blergh.
3. Did anyone close to you have a child? Yes, although not anyone who lives close enough for me to abscond with their baby for head-smelling.
4. Did anyone close to you die? Our sweet dog, Miles.
5. Where did you travel? To Disney World for spring break with family (SO MUCH FUN); to Boston over Fourth of July; to Block Island in July; and to St. Simon's Island, LaGrange, and Atlanta, GA in August. I would like to have done more traveling, but all of these were very good trips.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015? More mental focus/engagement and less slack-jawed staring at my phone.
7. What moments from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory? Felicity reading a whole book to me for the first time. Getting acceptance letters from a bunch of great ongoing schools for Felicity. Choosing her school after a very meaningful meeting with someone who helped us decide. Felicity hugging her cousins and my brother on our trip to Disney. Traumatizing my child with a ride on the Seven Dwarves Mine Train and through the Haunted Mansion. Seeing the kids' faces light up at the breakfast with the princesses. Watching my brother rocket off the water slide into the pool. Riding Thunder Mountain and Space Mountain with my family. Joe loving the Tiki Room so much we went back three times. Felicity dancing on Joe's shoulders during the light show at Magic Kingdom. Holding Miles in my arms as we ran to the vet. Seeing Magdalene's face for the first time at the dog shelter, then watching her face light up on her freedom ride home with us. Felicity hugging her friends and teachers at preschool graduation (TINY MORTAR BOARDS). Mark holding Felicity on his shoulders to touch the giant flag in Boston. Felicity and Maggie twirling on the beach. Going to get DQ with Allison. My mom pantomiming "fanny pack" in our game of Headbanz. Felicity skipping through the park to school in the golden autumn light. Felicity and Oaklie holding hands. Christmas morning joy.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I didn't do anything particularly impressive or notable. Successfully completing the kindergarten admissions process was certainly satisfying and a relief, though. I guess also juggling work, parenting, volunteering, marriage, and friendships. I certainly do not do it well all the time, however, and I could do a lot more (or do less, but a better job at each thing).
9. What was your biggest failure? I could stand to do a better job of clearly communicating my feelings/needs at times. I bend myself into pretzels trying not to hurt or offend other people, or to avoid conflict at all costs, which in some ways can be a good thing, but at times crosses over into needless self-effacement. I am working on figuring out when I should assert myself instead. I also would like to be more proactive in planning outings, trips, and social stuff.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury? I got a terrible stomach virus early in the year that seemed like it was never going to end.
11. What was the best thing you bought? Our new living room -- the designer, painters, new furniture, rug, etc. It looks one million times better and lifts my mood every time I come home.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration? Felicity's. I am continually astonished at what a good person she is.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Pro-gun advocates. Donald Trump and most other Republican candidates for the presidential nomination. Internet commenters.
14. Where did most of your money go? Toward living and raising a child in New York City.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? All of our trips. Spending quality time with family and friends. Felicity's new school. Taking some time off in August to be with Felicity. Going backstage after the Nutcracker. Christmas morning.
16. What song will always remind you of 2015? I sure did hear a lot of Taylor Swift.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer? About the same, happiness-wise. A little thicker in places. About the same financially.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of? Planning occasional weekend getaways/outings. Reading and writing.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Pretty much the same as before: worrying about things I cannot control. Also the aforementioned tendency to bend to other people's will instead of considering what I want or prefer.
20. How did you spend Christmas? Here at our place, with my parents. We played lots of Uno and Go Fish, went to the Nutcracker and the circus, strolled along Fifth Ave to see the windows, soldiered through the annual Christmas pageant, and had a glorious Christmas Day of presents and kringle and a very long walk through Central Park.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015? Well, I am always in love with my family, but I also fell in love with our new dog.
22. What was your favorite TV program? Fargo.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? We can do better than spending energy on hate.
24. What was the best book you read? A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery? Well, I will confess that I really like Justin Bieber's song "What Do You Mean."
26. What did you want and get? Time with family and friends. A month off to spend with Felicity.
28. What did you want and not get? Perennially: a winning lottery ticket and/or for our apartment to magically grow a third bedroom.
29. What was your favorite film of this year? We recently watched Short Term 12 and it was very good. I can't think of anything else that was even remotely memorable.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I turned 40 (AAAAACK). That day, I took delivery of a bunch of our new furniture, a friend brought me cupcakes, Joe and I went out for dinner, and we went to some friends' house for champagne and cake. The next day, we flew to GA for our week at the beach with my parents and Allison's family, so we celebrated more with bundt cakes and a dinner out at the Lodge at Sea Island. And then after we got back, Joe and I went to dinner with some more dear friends at Per Se (the lounge/bar, not the dining room). It was a very well-celebrated birthday.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? I wish we could have gotten to Nantucket this year, even for a long weekend. Also I still wish everyone we love would move next door. Too many goodbyes.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015? Needs serious help.
33. What kept you sane? Running, having Fridays off from the office, taking that extra time off in August, our trips, texting with Allison, reading before bed.
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? President Obama.
35. What political issue stirred you the most? Gun control. Why haven't we done anything about this yet? (AGAIN.)
36. Who did you miss? Pretty much everyone I care about who does not live right next door, which is TOO MANY PEOPLE. (Same as last year, same as forever unless people wise up and move into my building.)
37. Who was the best new person you met? I met a bunch of great people this year.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015. Listen.