Monday, December 31, 2018

2018: The year of baby steps

(Previous years: 20172016201520142013201220112010200920082007 

1. What did you do in 2018 that you’d never done before?
Sent both my kids on an unaccompanied flight (transatlantic, no less). Got super involved in public school politics and advocacy. Got an IUD stuck (!) and had to have a camera-guided procedure to get it out. Had my basement flood (twice!). Started down the path of managing ADHD in my kiddos. Started a real, habitual, extensive skincare routine (and stuck with it). Helped my child participate in feeding therapy. Took a solo trip to Hawaii (mostly for work, but still). Read 214 books. Have my kid figure out the truth about Santa et al., and then help participate in creating the magic for his sister. 

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I said, "I'd like to make some progress toward financial recovery from quite a few large unexpected expenses that we incurred this year, and I'd like to be more on top of keeping my photos organized." We did make some financial progress, but not as much as I'd liked, and I did get some of my photos organized, but not nearly all of them, so overall I'd say this was kind of a wash. For next year I'd like to stick to a more detailed budget as a family, and get some of the messy spaces in our house organized.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A very good friend from college.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?

Mexico. Domestically, I went to Washington DC, Baltimore, Oahu, Maine, Durham (NC), and Charleston (SC).

6. What would you like to have in 2019 that you lacked in 2018?
A president I trust. More financial organization. 

7. What moments from 2018 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Some moments related to figuring out kid mental health and support type stuff, some moments related to seeing our country take atrocious actions against vulnerable populations (oh hey I just noticed I said something very similar last year, how charming), Montana getting clear scans at her oncology follow-ups, some decisions I made for myself around my own health stuff, our absolutely incredible family trip to Maine and how FUN and relaxing it was (first time our kids have been old enough for us to really feel that way about a family vacation), my friends continuing to show up, over and over, in real, meaningful, complicated, loving ways.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
To my own surprise, my answer here is parenting-related for the second year in a row. Both our kids needed a lot from us this year as we tried to figure out their ADHD and associated challenges and support them in a balanced way. It was really tricky and demanded a lot from us in terms of both emotional as well as tangible resources, and certainly we don't have the whole thing perfected yet, but I do feel like I came through for my whole family on mental health and support this year, and we are all thriving, and I feel really good about that.

9. What was your biggest failure?
A fair bit of unnecessary guilt and self-blame. I was going to say that I should have implemented more financial organization measures sooner, but seeing the first point, I'm going to try to let go of that idea and just be glad we're in a good place now.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major (and nobody was hospitalized this year!), but it was definitely a year of working on family mental health stuff, which was both time-consuming and pricey.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Plane tickets. Do health care services count as a purchase? A couple pieces of art from some of our favorite places that we really treasure every time we look at them.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
I'm stealing last year's answer, because apparently last year I was feeling very articulate. On a micro level: Torsten's, like every year. He has done a ton of hard work and our whole family is benefitting. On a macro level: All the people who've stepped up to counter the appalling words and actions of our government by helping each other, supporting each other, protesting, donating, voting, and resisting.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
My answer from the last two years still stands: People who are irrationally and unconsciously (or consciously, for that matter) motivated by white identity and perceived threat to their desired world order. This year I'll put a finer point on it: All the people who've seen Trump do every horrible thing we expected and then some, and continue to support him.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Same answer for the seventh straight year: our mortgage and childcare, and I will keep last year's addition of health care.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our family. The work we did to make sure everyone's needs are met and they are thriving. Democrats taking over the house, and the door-knocking I did to unseat a Republican Congressman in a nearby district seeing results.

16. What song will always remind you of 2018?

No Tears Left to Cry by Ariana Grande

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

a) happier or sadder?
b) thinner or fatter?
c) richer or poorer?
a) About the same
b) Thinner
c) Poorer

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I'm gonna repeat last year's answer: Sleeping. Working out. Volunteering.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Driving? Somehow there was so much driving. Going to Target and generally running tiny errands all the time. Possibly these two items are related.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Visiting my parents in North Carolina, followed by Torsten and me going to Charleston by ourselves for a few days while our kids stayed with my parents.

21. Did you fall in love in 2018?

No.

22. What was your favorite TV program? 

I basically did not watch TV this year because I spent so much time reading, so I really don't know. I do have a long list of shows I'd like to check out in 2019, though.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Borrowing last year's answer: I'd say my hatred for evil, self-interested members of government has sharpened, if that counts.

24. What was the best book you read?
Real American by Julie Lythcott-Haims.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Like pretty much every year: I'm not sure I made any.

26. What did you want and get?
A happy family with a solid, comfortable life routine. 

27. What did you want and not get?

Like last year: A government that believes in the republic and cares about the people it represents (or any people, for that matter).

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

Incredibles 2

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

It was a low-key day... we just went out for a casual dinner as a family, and it was lovely. I turned 34.

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

A trustworthy government. 

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2018?

This year I discovered shorts. They're amazing! Did you know? They're comfortable and they keep your legs so nice and cool. Why didn't someone tell me about these magical things earlier? Also, hoodies featured heavily this year.

32. What kept you sane?
Same as the last four years: My little family. My group of best friends.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I'm bad at this.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Immigration, income inequality, class warfare, general corruption?

35. Who did you miss?
Similar answer to the past nine years: Most of my friends and family, since many of them live far away. 

36. Who was the best new person you met?
We met some great people this year, but in particular Callum made a close friend on his new soccer team, and his family is lovely as well, and they've been a great addition to our lives.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2018.
Feeling that the current circumstances are uniquely horrible is a privileged perspective, as this country has been treating vulnerable people like shit for centuries. Still, it's better to become woke late than never, and we can all do what we can to resist, even if it's not 100% of our effort 100% of the time.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
As last year: I don't think there is one. There pretty much never is.

Happy New Year, everybody!

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