Hello, darlings! I am drinking prosecco and I am happily at home on this New Year’s Eve, and I am thinking back over the past year and looking ahead to the next one. So to begin, let me re-instate a New Year’s meme that I haven’t done in a few of years:
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
- Learned to knit!
- Gone on a vacation that had nothing to do with work or family – and, as a corollary, visited Napa Valley for the first time!
- Chaired an important college-wide committee for the first time.
- Discovered that chairing an important college-wide committee is not what I should be doing at this point in my career.
- Got scolded by both my chair and my dean for my shitty attitude. Which I think is ultimately a good thing, but maybe not in the way that either of them wish it would be.
- Played blackjack at a casino!
- Saw Alice Cooper in concert!
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
- Well, what I wrote last year for resolutions was this: “And in 2011, I want to carry that positivity forward. And you know, I think that’s my only real resolution. I’m pretty happy with myself. I don’t want to make any gigantic changes. I don’t feel like I have to do anything other than keep doing what I’m doing and keep feeling how I’m feeling. I suppose I feel like I’m headed in the right direction and so I should just keep doing that.” So, yes, I did make a resolution, however vague, and I did keep it. Will I make more for next year? Yes. But I’ll talk about those at the end of this post.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
- People both close and less close gave birth this year. And people got married, too. I think that 37 might be the new 27, at least for people who spend their 20s in grad school, when it comes to people getting hitched and having babies. For the first time I feel like I might maybe should be doing both of those things in a concrete way – as opposed to in some sort of abstract off in the future somewhere way – except for of course that I’m not in a personal life situation where I really see either of those things happening immediately. Huh.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
- Not really. My godfather’s wife died. FL’s mother’s husband died. An emeritus professor in my department died. But nobody died who was close to me, personally. And I’m grateful for that, even if it seems bitchy to be grateful for that. I’ve had a lot more close personal death in recent years than is good. I’m glad not to have lost anybody near and dear.
5. What countries did you visit?
- No international travel this year (or last, or the year before). And that’s totally fine. But I feel like I might get back to the international travel if not this year then next.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
- Honestly? I have most everything I want. I’m not saying that to be a jerk, but rather because I’m grateful and because I really do have most things, more things than most people. But you know what I want this year that I don’t have? True love. Which I know is gross and disgusting and whatever, and it’s not that I don’t have “love,” as I’ve got a lot of love – from friends, from family…. But I want LOVE love. I want to be IN love. And I’m not.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
- Honestly? Not a one. I’m not a big one for dates, generally, and nothing horrible happened, and nothing spectacular happened. So I’ve got no special 2011 dates. And that’s fine.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
- I feel like I’ve actually accomplished some great things (at least for me). Getting to study with one of my scholarly heroes this summer was great, continuing to make progress on my book (and contacting publishers about it and not having them laugh at me) was great, managing not to totally fuck up my fall classes in spite of all the things was great. I don’t have much on paper in terms of “final products” to show for this year, but I think that I’ve accomplished a lot in terms of heading forward. I feel good about what I’ve done, even if I haven’t “done” much, if that makes sense. Aside from work, I have lost 20-25 more pounds (so since Aug 2010, I’ve lost somewhere around 40-50 lbs.). In spite of not paying a whole lot of attention to the weight loss thing (for it turns out that lifestyle adjustment really is just that).
9. What was your biggest failure?
- Hmmm. My biggest failure. Well, I think my biggest failure was in being honest about my failings and frustrations with administrators (my chair, my dean) and getting scolded for my bad attitude. I’m still upset about this, even though I’ve figured out how I’m going to address things. I don’t like feeling like I did something wrong by being honest. But maybe being honest isn’t always the wisest policy, even if it is the best one. Maybe that was my lesson this year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
- I had strep throat, and it was horrible. Horrifying. And horrible.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
- Seriously? I think it was this perfume.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
- My Lebanese step-cousins. Who all interrogated me about why I didn’t change my last name to my stepdad’s name (their name) because I am “really” their cousin. And my half-brother C., who is the most awesome 15-year-old ever and who thinks that I can give him insight into the minds of teenaged girls, even with my checkered romantic past.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
- I was about to say nobody’s. But then? I remembered how my male chair told me that my workload issues were “my problem” and that my problem was, specifically, that I, a female junior colleague, “need to figure out what I want to be when I grow up.” Now, I do not believe that he would ever recognize that I would be offended by that statement, and I like him as a person. But you know what? Yes, I am appalled and depressed by the fact that a person whom I otherwise like and respect would tell me, an adult, professional woman who has published a fucking book, that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. I’m a grown ass woman. I am a colleague. I am not some fucking little girl. FUCK that.
14. Where did most of your money go?
- Honestly? I think that this year most of my money went to clothes. On sale clothes, but stylish clothes – delightful dresses and jeans and things that fit me and look great. Oh, and I also bough some yarn. A good deal of yarn. And knitting needles and accoutrements.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
- My current book project. More than anything else. Really. And I hope it stays that way until it’s published. (I also have been kind of excited about this guy who took me to an Alice Cooper concert, but I’m not sure if he has the same staying power.)
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
- happier, thinner, richer. It was a pretty good year.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
- spent time trying to fix things that were not in my power to fix.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
- You know how I spent Christmas.
21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
- I don’t think so.
22. How many one-night stands?
- Not a one.
23. What was your favorite TV program?
24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
- I don’t think so. I tend not to be terribly filled with hate. Or if I hate, I hate on sight – not after a while. So if I hate anybody, I hated them last year as much as I would hate them this year.
25. What was the best book you read?
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
27. What did you want and get?
- I don’t know, everything?
28. What did you want and not get?
- Honestly, I can’t think of a thing that mattered that I didn’t get.
29. What was your favorite film of this year?
- I only finally watched this yesterday, after having been encouraged by a boy from high school over facebook (whom apparently had a crush on me in high school, and then we kissed when we were like 22 in a bar, and then we had a weird non-date after my grandmother’s funeral a few years ago, and then we didn’t talk after that because wow was that whole thing uncomfortable, but then I had to contact him a month or so ago because I needed to know whether it was really true that his older brother who used to hook up with my friend J. was really having a baby with his 21-year-old girlfriend who never went to college…. Anyway, he told me I would love this movie, which I thought I’d like to see anyway, but apparently the high school boy has a savant-like insight into my taste in movies in spite of all of the history….) Midnight in Paris. It is delightful and enchanting and charming. And I adored it. And let’s note, I also think that Young Adult is rad. I also “liked” Blue Valentine as much as you can like a movie that makes you feel like you should kill yourself. Oh, and I saw that on Valentine’s Day, ‘Cause I’m ironic like that.
30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
- I drove home from my hometown, after having celebrated my birthday there, and I didn’t go to my department retreat. For I decided a long time ago that I would never attend a retreat (i.e., a day-long meeting of pain) on the day of my birth. I turned 37, but I swear I have the attitude of a 17-year-old (in ways both good and bad).
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
- You know? No comment. Because if I say the thing that I’m thinking it’s probably saying more than I want to say. And it also might jinx some things.
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
- Dresses! With bold prints and/or colors! Dresses!
33. What kept you sane?
- Colleague-Friend and California Colleague (in equal portions)
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
- I dunno if this is true, but it’s the most fun answer: Feminist Ryan Gosling. Also, see this article as to why.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
36. Who did you miss?
37. Who was the best new person you met?
- A person who took me to a casino on a date and taught me how to (forced me to) play blackjack and who took me to an Alice Cooper concert. For serious.
38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 20011.
- I think that the biggest lesson that I learned is that when people tell you that you need to take responsibility for yourself, when people say that they won’t help you or that it’s not their job to make things better for you, that you should listen to them. That it’s not a terrible thing. That’s those people giving you power. That’s them relinquishing power that you were giving them over you. And if they don’t like the consequence of that? Well, they asked for it.
39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Rate yourself and rake yourself,
Take all the courage you have left
Wasted on fixing all the problems
That you made in your own head
But it was not your fault but mine
And it was your heart on the line
I really fucked it up this time
Didn’t I, my dear?
So, what are my resolutions for the coming year? 1) Workload Watchers (or Work Watchers, whatever you prefer); 2) Recommitting to Weight Watchers (for my 20th high school reunion is coming up this summer); 3) Knitting and more knitting, as I love it; 4) Year 2 of dating, as was year’s Year of Dating was good, but apparently I’m still single. 2011 was just fine, and I’m not unhappy about it in any way, but I’m excited to see what might come next. I mean, really. What might come next might be grand.