Monday, January 4, 2016

A Year in Review - 2015

Happy belated New Year, everyone!  For me, New Year in a time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future, and this one was no exception. I've been answering this survey for more than a decade now (here's last year's and here's 2013's) and I hope you enjoy reading it. If you decide to answer these same questions, leave me a link in the comments!

1. What did you do in 2015 that you'd never done before?
Got a domestic partnership with my favorite person in the world! Ran a marathon (and then never posted about it - but Shelby did)! Finally brought Roger to my childhood vacation spots, Rhode Island and Disney World! Got strangely interested in horse racing! Took tennis lessons! Sailed New York Harbor on a historic ship! Went to trail running camp! Bought something from Lilly Pulitzer (sort of)! Went to Toronto! Attended a reunion at Hobart and William Smith! Got really into historic houses! Joined the Park Slope Food Coop! Konmari-ed my clothes! Started going to an Episcopal church!

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
In 2015, I wanted to read 45 books, send out 52 submissions, be better with money, get back my healthy habits, and visit every Historic House Trust house in New York City. It didn't go so well, but it wasn't terrible either. Here's where I was at the halfway point. Ultimately, I read 27 books, never sent out more than those 19 submissions, and saw just one more historic house than I had then. My healthy habits sort of waned and waxed this year. I started playing tennis in the fall, but then the gym where I was doing that closed. I lost about 7 pounds in November, but gained it all back over Christmas break. As for money, I'm in better shape than ever, thanks in large part to two big freelance projects I took on in November and December. I've saved up enough to go to India with no problem, and I'm 52% of the way to a full emergency fund. I'm really proud of that.

In 2016, I'm turning 30. It doesn't look at all like what I'd imagined, but I'm really happy with where I am now. So, I don't want to set any real quantifiable goals. Instead, I'd like to live a little harder. I want to love harder and work harder. I want to be more conscious of myself and my surroundings. I want to buy only things I'm proud to own. I want to apply to grad school (again) and get more freelance work. I want to take better advantage of living in New York City, and I want to spend more time with my friends and family. I want to set big goals for myself, even if I don't reach them. I also want to buy myself a signet ring.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My best friend from college had a beautiful baby boy right at the end of the year and my heart just about broke with joy. And, my cousin welcomed his daughter in the summer. She's since become one of my very favorite people on earth.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Thankfully no.

5. What countries did you visit?
We made a concerted effort to travel a bit less this year, in order to recoup some of our savings from the previous year. Our only international trip was to Toronto in February (I went for work, Roger went for museums), and though it was freezing, it was also a blast. In the states, we went to Rhode Island and Disney World together for the first time, and spent time in the Finger Lakes, Philadelphia, and DC. I went upstate for a weekend of trail running, and we both spent Christmas week in Vermont. For

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
Some steady, healthy habits. It was an up and down year for me, as far as diet and exercise go, and I'd like to get back into a healthy, permanent routine.

7. What date from 2014 will remain etched upon your memory?
Spending New Year's Eve with some of my favorite people on earth, all together again for the first time in five and a half years. Seeing my baby cousin growing so quickly in just four months. A really lovely brunch with some Nosies.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Getting a new job was a huge one for me. I was really and truly heartbroken to leave OUP, my very first company and one I still love really deeply. But, moving on has really been moving up for me, and I think I've done well at my new position. I'm excited to be working with students again, and I'm so glad that I finally found my calling when I discovered copywriting in 2014.

9. What was your biggest failure?
After the marathon—a pretty big accomplishment!—I sort of let fitness fall by the wayside. I decided I was a little burnt out on running, and two bouts of back pain made me think I needed to give it up for a little while. I did discover a new sport that I love, tennis, but sadly the gym where I was taking lessons has closed. I'd like to find a new, sustainable routine in 2016.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had one bout of back pain in March, mostly due to leaving my job and stress, I think. Although, this is now the 3rd year that I've had back pain in March so maybe I need to start getting preemptive massages in February this year...

11. What was the best thing you bought?
It wasn't something I bought, but a gift: I think the memory foam mattress pad my parents gave us for Christmas is going to go down in history as one of the best purchases ever.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
All of my pregnant friends and family! There have been a lot of them this year, and they're all rocking the socks off of this reproduction business. Seriously, none of them have complained at all. It's almost scary.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Select politicians, as usual.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Still spending more than half my income on rent, groceries, and utilities. The rest seems to go to travel (how did I spend more than $6000 on this when I barely left the states?!), eating out ($2,500 - still too high but I'm working on it with my cash budget), gifts ($1,600 - maybe I can find a better way of showing people I love them in 2016?), and health and fitness ($1,400 - will probably be lower this year, since I won't be joining a gym and might not have as many race fees).

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Our domestic partnership! It was pretty fun to make things a bit legal. Also, the engagements of our friends Laura and Jeff and Emily and James. I was pretty over the moon for them.

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
"Hotline Bling" by Drake, Roger's new role model.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you
i. happier or sadder? Happier, I think
ii. thinner or fatter? About the same, though I wanted to be thinner
iii. richer or poorer? Much richer - my net worth went up about 25%. I'm glad I worked on this.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Oh, I don't know. I did the best I could, I think. Joining the coop meant that I worried less about not being at the farmer's market (and working close to Union Square meant that I did more of it, anyway). I always want more poetry, but I also did a lot of other things, so I'm forgiving myself.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?
I feel like I got a lot better about aimlessly being on social media, but that wasn't down to 0 or anything, so I guess a bit less of that. But really - I'm proud I was off of twitter most of the time!

20. How did you spend Christmas?
We spent Christmas Eve with my family, Roger's family and Liz at my parents' house, and ate a massive quantity of seafood as usual.  On Christmas day, my family and Liz headed over to Roger's parents' house for our third annual Christmas day dinner. Things felt a lot smaller and more casual than they have in the past, perhaps because my parents just bought a new house to retire into, and they decorated less because of work pressures and that stress. It's pretty certain that next year will be our last doing the Christmas Eve tradition at my childhood home, and so I'm looking forward to one more. After that, I suppose we'll all have to readjust and find a new normal again.

And, we spent Christmas week in beautiful Vermont with James and Emily, friends from HWS. It was restorative.

22. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Every day, including the month-long period where I stopped pestering Roger about getting married, so that he would take care of his retirement accounts. I was shocked at how quickly that worked. I'd still like to get married, though, if you're reading this, Roger.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
Definitely The Walking Dead, still. Kind of enjoyed Mildred Pierce, though I fell asleep for the last episode.

24. What was the best book you read?
2015 was a weird year for reading. The only book I marked as a "favorite" on Goodreads was Fun Home, which I did love. I also really liked Affluenza, The Two-Income Trap, and Garbology. It was a year of learning about consumption, in the hopes of being a better consumer in 2016.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
WQXR's holiday station. It was glorious.

26. What did you want and get?
A higher-paying job that I love.

27. What did you want and not get?
A Barbour coat. Again! (But, I did get a real beauty of a Boden coat, so I can't complain.)

28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Oh, goodness. This question is always so hard for me! I watched a documentary about fast fashion that I am still thinking about, so that.

29. What did you do on your birthday and how old did you turn?
Oh, it was lovely. Lunch with my parents, a museum opening with Roger, drinks and pie afterward with Danielle.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
As it was, it was pretty satisfying! I suppose I wish I'd had a bit more freelance work during the first 10 months of the year, but beggars can't be choosers.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I'm still working toward more preppy traditional, and I made a few swaps and purchases to get a bit closer. Still need a good pair of khakis, though!

32. What kept you sane?
Roger's incredible ability to step up and take care of my entire life while I just freelanced all my free hours away in November and December. My god is he a keeper.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Oh, Kate Middleton, of course.

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
The presidential race. Sure only to increase in 2016!

35. Who did you miss?
Oh, at this point, I'm always missing someone.  My dream is that one day we'll all live on the same block together again.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
I didn't just meet her this year, but I did get to know my friend Cat a lot better this year, and she's even more wonderful than I knew before!

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
A cash budget will remove all the money stress in your life. Or at least a lot of it.

38. Quote a lyric that sums up your year.

39. What are your plans for 2016?
Living harder!

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