Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2011 in review

I've seen this at a couple of blogs over the years and decided to do it this year. So.

1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?

Well, there were the obvious things. I graduated from college, got engaged, got married, officially owned a car, signed a lease, went shopping for a whole week's groceries...

Also, I drove over 200 miles by myself. Twice. (The previous record was 75 miles.) Well, I had Scott with me both times, but he can't drive. He did serve an important keeping-me-company and handing-me-crackers purpose. (Those Triscuit knockoffs from Aldi? BEST DRIVING FOOD EVER.) However, I did the driving and that is a really huge deal for somebody who tries to keep her eyes closed on the highway because she's scared of semi-trucks. (Please note that I do NOT close my eyes while I'm the one driving. Which is why it's hard and I avoid it whenever possible.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

The only resolutions I really made were writing related (to finish the second major draft of Novel #1 and the first major draft of Novel #2). I didn't accomplish either of those. I also didn't win NaNoWriMo, though I did manage to write 37,500 words in a month and then eked out another 3000 the next month to wrap up the story. So now I have a total of four novels languishing on my hard drive, ranging from 40,000 to 150,000 words apiece. (The one I wrote when I was 12-15, the one I wrote when I was 17-20, the one I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2009, and the one I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2011. They've been getting progressively shorter. I like to think I'm getting more succinct.)

I think this year I'm going to try something like monthly writing goals. I can't sustain the necessary concentration for a year, but I can for a month. Or if I can't at least I only feel guilty for 28-31 days before I can start fresh with a different goal.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

I had two or three college friends have babies. And Scott's oldest brother and sister-in-law had a baby. I'm not terribly close to them friend-wise, but I'm working on that. And two of my cousins had babies. Basically it's all baby all the time lately.

I'd also like to give a shout-out to Matthew's birth mom, though I'm unlikely to ever meet her in person.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

No, thankfully.

5. What countries did you visit?

Does Indiana count as a country? I went there last week after not crossing that particular state line in about a decade, despite spending most of that decade within half an hour of said state line. (I also went to West Virginia and Pennsylvania. And maybe Kentucky. But I think I actually avoided Michigan this year. The Michigan relatives came down to visit us twice, for my graduation party and my wedding.)

Seriously, though. I'm going to have to go to Canada sometime in 2012 just so I can say I've been out of the country.

(I think it's weird that this survey assumes people will have visited multiple countries in any given year. Even people who take annual vacations won't always leave the country, will they?)

6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?

Oh, I am full of wants, ranging from a new mantilla to my own Sims 2 disc (I haven't been able to play since I left home) to a dining room table of my very own (we're borrowing a folding table from Scott's parents) to a gainfully employed husband to...well, you get the idea. I am one big appetite.

7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

Do I really need to answer this question?

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

How about I list a few and you can decide? I wrote a 30+ page double thesis and got an A from both advisors. I graduated from college with a 3.95. (My roommate graduated with a 3.98. I still let her be a bridesmaid.) I planned a wedding, which was a total pain, let me tell you. I drove 200+ miles at a stretch and signed a lease and grocery shopped and all those things I talked about earlier.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Wow, survey. That's kind of a rude question.

I failed at not freaking out over everything and bursting into tears at random intervals. But that's nothing new, and if I get all worked up about it I fall into a death spiral of anxiety. So I prefer not to think of it as failure.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Not really. I got cold/flu/blah stuff a lot (my immune system rolls over and dies in the face of stress) and just a week or two ago I tripped going down the stairs and pulled my knee out of joint, but that got better in a couple of days.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I still really really like my wedding dress. Does that count?

12. Where did most of your money go?

The wedding. Also, I spent an obscene amount of money on gas this year.

13. What did you get really excited about?

I was too tired to get excited for most of the year. Graduating was fairly exciting after I finished my thesis and got some sleep. And I did manage to get excited about getting married despite being up to my eyeballs in stuff to do.

14. What song will always remind you of 2011?

I don't know about always, but I was just listening to this song and it made me think of the first half of 2011.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Soooo much happier, it's ridiculous.
– thinner or fatter? Probably about the same, which is an accomplishment for me considering that when I'm stressed my preferred coping mechanism is to EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE!
– richer or poorer? If you just count the bank account in my name, much poorer. If you count Scott's bank account (which does not have my name on it yet, but Scott will hand over his debit card whenever I ask), richer. If you count gainful employment, about the same. (Scott didn't have a job last January 1 either; he got a job offer on January 28. There's a funny story behind that which I might tell sometime. I had my student newspaper copy editor job, but if I still had that job I wouldn't even be making enough money to pay for our groceries, so it's not a big deal.)

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Reading and writing and going for walks and taking quiet time for prayer and all the other things that help me manage stress.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Stressing out about stuff, obviously.

18. How did you spend Christmas?

We stayed home together, ate good food, and watched a few episodes of Angel. And I cried at one point because the frozen chicken hated me, but let's not talk about that.

19. What was your favorite TV program?

Firefly. I watched the entire series from start to finish twice. (Which is less impressive than it sounds since the whole series is only 14 episodes.) And I watched Serenity three times.

20. What were your favorite books of the year?

The Samurai by Shusaku Endo, which I had to read for a class, and the Harry Potter series, which I read of my own free will. I also read Watership Down for the fourth time last week. Overall 2011 was not a big reading year for me, sadly.

21. What was your favorite music from this year?

Well, I discovered Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog this year. Other than that, my guilty pleasure was still Taylor Swift, and my not guilty pleasure was still Matt Maher. (I like Christian rock and I don't care what anybody else thinks.)

22. What were your favorite films of the year?

I hope this question doesn't mean movies that came out in 2011, because unless my memory fails me I did not go to the movie theater at all in 2011. This was the year I was introduced to Inception, however. Also The Hunt for Red October and Serenity. (I saw Inception twice and Serenity three times. I need to introduce Scott to Red October if it's still on Netflix instant play.)

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

I babysat my former youth group director's three adorable children. The day before my birthday, I found out our application for this apartment had been accepted. The day after my birthday I babysat said adorable children again and then pretty much went straight from their house to the apartment to sign the lease. (We celebrated my birthday the Sunday before; we had lasagna and dirt cake.) I was 22.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

Telepathy. I'm serious. Not the uncontrollable kind where you hear everybody's thoughts all the time, though. I want the kind of telepathy that enables me to take an image or sound or concept out of my brain and deposit it directly in someone else's. It would have made wedding planning so much easier.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?

"Whatever's clean and comfy." Just like all the years before 2011. For about a month I had a vague desire flopping around in my soul (like a landed fish...) to Start Dressing Like A Grown-Up. I'm not sure how grown-ups dress but I have a feeling it's not in a denim skirt and a school-related T-shirt every day except Sunday. (During the summer I wear my St. Thomas More Hall t-shirts; during the winter I wear my March for Life t-shirts.)

26. What kept you sane?

The recognition that it's necessary for me to do something brain-rotting like Sims or whatever in order to sort of "reset" things. Otherwise I spend my whole life on the anxiety hamster wheel.

27. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.

That God loves me and wants me to be happy--and therefore there must be some other explanation when it seems otherwise.

Also, that I don't need to freak out about fulfilling my role in God's plan. I don't need to be all hyper-vigilant lest I miss the window of opportunity and RUIN EVERYTHING! God is a big boy. He can take care of himself.

I've been writing this post for 48 hours, so now I'll just post it and be done. Maybe my life lesson for 2012 will be letting go of perfectionism. :)


DavidD said...

Re: #5:

You must have blocked out of your mind your visit to Muncie in 2006.

The Sojourner said...


Yeah, that entire fall semester is just a vague blur in my mind.

millelacuna said...

Wow, reading your #27 just now made me feel so much better. Because you are so RIGHT! ~ Andi

The Sojourner said...

Thanks. :)