2015: A Year in Review
Oh hello there, 2016. I didn’t expect to see you so soon.
If you’re like me, you’re probably still trying to wrap your head around the fact that we just finished out another year. I keep thinking “2016? As in 16 years after all that Y2K hubbub that I still remember so clearly? How did I get here?”
If I’m completely honest, I’m not exactly sure how I finished out 2015 relatively unscathed. But I did it! So to celebrate my survival (and to reflect a bit) I’m going to take a little inspiration from Linda*, one of my favorite writers on the Internet. Linda had a long-standing tradition** on her blog of closing out each calendar year by completing a fun yet poignant Q and A of sorts. So I’m going to use this space today to do the same*** in front of all you fine people. It’s not all necessarily about being a mother—“mother” is just one word on a list of many that describe who I am—but much of it stirred up some important reflections on what parenting looked like for me last year…and what it can look like for me in the future.
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
My son started first grade in September, so this was the first time I got to have a back-to-school experience that didn’t involve wanting to throw up.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year I kept it simple with planning to read more books, run more miles, and write more words than I did the year before—and I did! In 2016 I hope to continue that trend and to also care less about stupid things.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
It feels like a more a more appropriate question would be “Did anyone close to you not give birth?” I think eight people I’d consider close friends gave birth this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
A very young and beloved member of our church family passed away. Heartbreaking doesn’t even begin to describe it. We miss him.
5. What countries did you visit?
I just stayed put in the good ol’ US of A.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?
More patience with my child. And more dates with my husband. We struggled to find free time (and discretionary funds) to really hit the town and hang out.
7. What date from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
On October 3rd we got to see a dear friend marry the love of his life. The ceremony was held on the Rappahannock River right around the time Hurricane Joaquin was blowing through. The skies were clear at the start of the ceremony, but by the time the bride made it down the aisle it started pouring. Without missing a beat, friends crowded around them with umbrellas, and we all sat there getting soaked to the bone as they said their vows. Then we danced for hours and hours. It was the best.
8. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Oh lots. The flu, norovirus a couple of times, bronchitis, and a a pretty serious/incredibly frustrating running injury (look up images of “Morton’s Neuroma” and wince in my honor).
9. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Other than professional achievements (this Latched Mama gig was a pretty nice feather to put in my cap), overcoming my running injury definitely felt like the biggest accomplishment. Doing so required discipline, patience, and persistence—three things that don’t necessarily come naturally to me.
10. What was your biggest failure?
Getting to bed at a decent hour. Ever.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Our Casper mattress. It might be the best thing I’ve ever bought in my life. So once I did get to bed, I slept really well.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband. He’s doing a great job showing our son what it means to be a responsible, loving, and committed husband and father. He also wakes me up every weekday morning by bringing me a cup of coffee.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
14. Where did most of your money go?
Our mortgage, veterinary bills (hooray for senior dogs), quarterly tax payments (hooray for owning your own business), pediatric dental bills (hooray for an upcoming post about that because GOOD LORD).
15. What did you get really excited about?
Seeing Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens in the theater with my husband and the child we are raising together. I cried multiple times.
16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
“Uptown Funk.” My kid and I jammed out to that one pretty much every time we were in the car this summer.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? I’m happier about my personal life but sadder about the general state of affairs in the world.
Thinner or fatter? I kind of hate this question, but it’s probably important to think about if you’re trying to get a handle on your health. I believe I am about the same.
Richer or poorer? I actually have no idea, and I’m fine with that. Thinking about money too much makes me crazy.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Volunteering in my son’s classroom. I figure I’ve only got a tiny window of time left before he’s mortified by my appearance, so I’d like to be there while he’ll still tolerate me.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Yelling at my kid to put on his coat. I can’t figure out why I care about this so much.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
We had a lazy and fun Christmas Eve with my in-laws and then a less-lazy but still fun Christmas Day with my side of the family. The following days involved a lot of napping and not leaving the house. It was great.
21. Did you fall in love in 2015?
Yes. With my Casper mattress.
22. What was your favorite TV show?
It’s a tie between Jessica Jones and Transparent.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
Nah, I’ve always hated Donald Trump.
Just kidding! I don’t hate him—or anyone.
24. What was the best book you read?
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It’s a delight!
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Natalie Prass. She has the voice of an angel, that one. I also discovered that my son really (really, really) likes Lady Gaga.
26. What did you want and get?
My Casper mattress.
27. What did you want and not get?
More time to sleep on my Casper mattress.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
The only movie I’ve been able to think about for the last two weeks is Star Wars, so let’s go with that.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34. I went for a run, took a nap, and went out for sushi and drinks with friends.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
This is a hard one. More money and more sleep would’ve made it easier. Fewer illnesses and fewer injuries would’ve made it more pleasant. But really, a better perspective of the big picture would’ve made me realize that my life in general is more satisfying than I probably deserve.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
Hand-me-downs from my more fashionable friends.
32. What kept you sane?
Zoloft and post-bedtime texts with fellow mothers of young boys.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Idris Elba. Always.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Are mass shootings considered to be a political issue? I guess they are more the result of a political issue. Anyway, the fact that I always have a tiny pit in my stomach dropping my son off at school really pisses me off.
35. Who did you miss?
36. Who was the best new person you met?
My friend Lauren. She loves books and my kid. And she’ll come over to eat chips and watch Gilmore Girls with me.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Showing up goes a long way.
38. What quote summed up your year?
As you know, I love quotes. I hate to repeat something I’ve already shared on this blog, but this quote from Virginia Woolf nails it for me—but probably differently than she intended when she was writing To the Lighthouse…
“They came to her, naturally, since she was a woman, all day long with this and that; one wanting this, another that; the children were growing up; she often felt she was nothing but a sponge sopped full of human emotions.”
Over the course of 2015, I learned that while not all people are built to hold the emotions of others so closely, I am. It’s a hard task, but it’s an honor that the people in my life trust me to do so. This year I’m embracing it—and this time next year I hope that quote is just as applicable as it is right now.
I’d love to read your responses to these questions, so feel free to leave them in the comments. And don’t feel like you need to answer all of the questions—I want to read whatever you want to share. So come on! Reflect with me a little!
*That means “steal but with love and proper linkage” when speaking Internet.
**She was “inspired” by someone else, too, I believe.
***With a few very slight modifications.