Friday, December 30, 2011

Year in Review: A 2011 Survey

I'm stealing borrowing this survey from the lovely Kate at Effing the Ineffable. One of my secret delights in life is filling out forms (seriously!). Combine that with my fondness of nostalgia for a too-recent past and it's like these end of the year memes were made especially for me. Let's get to it, shall we?

1. What did you do in 2011 that you'd never done before?
There were a number of firsts this year, but I think the top three are as follows, and in no particular order: Drove a car from Texas to North Carolina. Taught a class of undergraduate students the fine art of creative writing. Went to a Korean Bath House and spent time, naked, with a bunch of naked strangers.

2. Did you keep your New Year's Resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I did okay with my 2011 resolutions, and I'm feeling pretty good about my goals for 2012.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? 
My good friend Scott and his wife Melanie welcomed a lovely new person into the world just a few weeks ago. I think that was it for this year. A far cry from 2010, aka Year of the Baby!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Three of my dearest friends lost parents this past year. It was a heartbreaking thing to watch and I did my best to be there for each of them.

5. What places did you visit?
I went all over Texas, as usual, mostly for races, camping trips, and yoga workshops/classes. I also moved to a new place, which was exciting, and spent a weekend camping in West Virginia, which was brand new to me. And I just got back from New York, after spending a long ten days visiting my family for the holidays.

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
This is a hard one. I didn't really lack anything in 2011. Maybe a new 5K PR?

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched in your memory, and why?
April 5: UNCW offered me a teaching assistantship and I accepted.
July 31: The morning we left Texas for North Carolina, and the way I cried until Arkansas.
November 11: Nathan asked if I wanted to get married; I said yes.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting accepted to a bunch of MFA programs, especially UNCW. Runner up: opening an IRA. Less exciting, but one of the most grown up things I've ever done.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Project 365. I think I started it three or four times before deciding daily photos just aren't for me. This is actually a small failure, so I consider myself quite lucky in 2011!

10: Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nope. I have a hearty immune system and, despite being very clumsy, escaped the year with no real injuries to speak of. (Knock on wood.)

11. What was the best thing you bought? 
Our new-to-us canoe. We haven't used it yet, and I hemmed and hawed because it was an impulse purchase, but I do believe it will serve us well. 

12. Who's behavior merited celebration?
Nathan. I'm lucky to have a partner that would quit his job to move half way across the country with me, who supports my dreams of being a writer, and who wants to actually marry me, even though I am stubborn and roll my eyes too often. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Most everyone I know was on good behavior this year, so I guess I'll just say the Tea Party. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
Paying off my credit card debt claimed most of my money. I also put a lot in savings, but then I spent almost all of it during our move and subsequent settling in. Moving is really, really expensive. 

15. What did you get really excited about?
Graduate school. Writing. My classes and amazing professors. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
I'm a very passive music listener. Mostly whatever comes on Pandora. That said, I really like the song "Home," by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. I first heard it in a car full of yoga friends, driving to an out-of-town Ashtanga workshop, after I had to decided to go to UNCW and move away. It was a bittersweet listening.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a. happier or sadder? About the same, but in different ways. I'm happier with what I'm doing, but sadder because I miss more people.
b. thinner or fatter? Same. My weight has been the same since high school. Sometimes things shift, but that's about it. I am very lucky.
c. richer or poorer? Oh, god. So much poorer. So much.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
I always wish I had written more and read more. Now that I'm broke, I wish I had saved more money.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Mindless internet surfing. I have a real problem with letting hours slip away while I click links that add absolutely nothing to my life. 

20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my parents' house on Long Island, eating frozen veggie burgers and canned soup while my dad chain-smoked. It was... okay. 

21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
I fell more in love with the same person. (Aw...) 

22. What was your favorite TV program?
2011 was the year of the television for me. Here's a secret: I prefer good television over film. It's an issue of time commitment - sitting still and focusing for two+ hours is difficult for me. That said, I really love Parks and Rec, Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Glee, and The Office. Mad Men is my favorite show (the writing! the costumes! the underlying feminism! the way I want to punch Don Draper!) but nothing brings me quite as much joy as a new episode of Parks and Rec. The characters are just so damn likeable.  

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate at this time last year?
No. I can usually find something redeeming about most people. And also I've hated Rick Perry for a long time. 

24. What was the best book you read?
I JUST reached my goal of 15 books in 2011 (go, me!) and my favorite was The Invisible Bridge, by Julie Orringer. I reviewed in on the blog, if you're interested. It's a perfect January book.

25. What music did you get excited about?
See question 16. Also, if you ever wanted to accuse me of being a hipster, my indifference to music would be my number one defense. I like music, of course. Who doesn't? But I do not feel compelled to seek it out. It comes to me (mostly via Nathan). 

26. What did you want and get? 
I got a new marathon PR (4:20!), a teaching assistantship, a wedding dress (yes! more on that later), and a house in Wilmington (to rent).

27. What did you want and not get?
A sub-25 minute 5K, a wireless printer, a wedding venue (but there's still plenty of time to find one).

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
We mostly watch things on Netflix Instant, though I did see the last Harry Potter in theaters, and now we have a theater in Wilmington that shows artsy documentaries and movies, which is nice. But I can't really think of a stand-out favorite.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 29 on August 9th. We had been in Wilmington for just over a week and I missed my friends in Texas, but Nathan and I ended up having a great day anyway. He gave me presents, we went to the beach, we ate delicious Thai food, and we watched a movie in our barely furnished home. It ended up being one of my best birthdays yet.

30. What one thing would have made your year more satisfying?
This is a tough one to answer, which is a good problem to have. I guess if North Carolina and Texas were a lot closer, I'd be happier. I'm not kidding when I say I miss my friends in Nacogdoches and I wish, every day, that I could spend an evening sipping wine on Amy's porch, or going out for coffee after Saturday morning yoga at Morning Glory. C'est la vie.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
"Concept? What concept?" Just kidding. Kind of. I am working on being fashionable, as always. But it's so easy to fall back on jeans and sneakers (in the fall) and skirts and sandals (in the summer/spring). I will say I'm a lot cuter when the weather is warm. Something to look forward to once winter ends!

32. What kept you sane?
Running and yoga.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
The kid who plays Blaine in Glee. I know his character is gay and I know that in real life, he was born in 1987. But there is something about choreographed dancing that makes me weak in the knees.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? 
This was probably my most politically unaware year ever, which is sort of shameful. Reproductive rights always get me going though.

35. Whom did you miss?
Missing people is what I do best, as you can tell from the rest of my answers. To sum up: Texas friends and my family in New York.

36. Who was the best new person you met? 
I met so many new people when I started my program that it's hard to choose just one, but I'll go with Erica. She's my writing friend, my kettlebelling friend, we're the same age, and she loves my dogs. A match made in heaven!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011. 
It's okay to stay home on a Tuesday night when you know a bunch of fun and friendly people are going out to the bar, especially when you want to have a productive Wednesday. You're 29 now. If being boring makes you happy, then by all means: be boring!

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year. 

I'm going to cheat and go with "Home" once more. I did a lot of thinking about the concept of home this year, and I love these lyrics because they're simple and true:

Ahh, Home
Let me come Home
Home is whenever I’m with you
Ahh, Home
Let me come Home
Home is when I’m alone with you