1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Went to Africa. Stomped grapes. Learned to pole-dance. Got an assistant. Caused a car accident.
2. Did you keep your New Years’ resolutions?
I traveled and decided on a grad school program, but I didn't write much, and I didn't learn any Italian except what I needed to get around Rome and Florence politely. Too bad I didn't resolve to work out, lose weight, advance professionally, volunteer, floss, and keep in touch with my friends and family. Those things--those impossible things!--got done. Blogging, though, is apparently too much to ask.
3. Did anyone close to you have a child?
No, and I seem to recall specifically asking for some babykids LAST year, guys. Would someone please get on that? I need chubby little cheeks to nibble on. (Sock!)
4. What countries did you visit?
Italy, Turkey, Aruba, the Dominican Republic, and Egypt. And I went to New Orleans for the first time, too, with two Senior VPs, who showed me around Bourbon Street. Ha.
5. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I forced myself to overcome a major personality conflict at work, despite a very rocky start and two stubborn streaks. I like my job so much better now that that's cleaned up.
6. What was your biggest failure?
I didn't trust my impulse to start working towards vet school, and may have therefore put off my possible start date for a year.
7. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a traumatic toe injury involving a blister, a sharp rock, a filthy river, and some Dominican antibiotics. I cannot seem to conjure the proper respect for my injury from anyone, because describing my pain and suffering accurately necessitates using the word "toe," at which point everyone laughs.
8. What was the best thing you bought?
My solo plane ticket to Italy and Turkey. That was purchased to celebrate my promotion and huge raise. Learning how to enjoy traveling solo was one of the smartest things I've ever done.
9. Where did most of your money go?
For the first half of the year: airfare, again, and excellent food. Second half: under my mattress, as my industry is not known for its stability during recessions and I would not be surprised by a layoff.
10. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Melissa's wedding, which I have been looking forward to pretty much since I met Melissa. That girl sure can throw a party. Seeing a fennec fox up close in the Western desert. Starting my new volunteer gig at the animal shelter's medical center. Classes starting, because I am a nerd with a plan now. Going on my first real vacation since college, which was to Aruba, and which was delicious. Turns out I am a beach vacation kind of girl.
11. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? I'm more content than I was this time last year. I'm not sure "happier" is the right word for it, though.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner, thanks to easy gym access and a bunch of really good workout songs that have come out lately. Although I am going to fall off the elliptical one day while swinging my hips to Kanye's drums.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer! We got pay cuts at work last month. It's not a hardship, and it's good to have a job, but still.
12. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I'd taken Otter for more walks when it was nice out. It feels so good to hit my stride around the lake, sing with whatever is on my iPod when I'm sure no one is nearby, and see the evening come down.
13. What do you wish you’d done less of? Reading chick lit. I will never get that time back, and I think some of these books actually made me dumber.
14. How will you be spending Christmas?
At home, with my family, harassing them. Everyone but me likes to read and chill out at home all day, while I go stir crazy. It's "Let's walk the dogs" and "Watch this movie with me" and "Wanna make cookies?" and "Can you please turn off the Loreena McKinnett CD before it sucks all the joy from my heart?" I'm hoping that Jess and I can make a pilgrimage to see the nativity scene in her neighborhood where the baby Jesus is played every year by a ham.
15. What was your favorite TV program?
How I Met Your Mother, The Office, 30 Rock. Bridezillas, too, although nothing can top the, uh, genitalia cake episode and thus I've sort of lost interest.
16. What was the worst book you read?
The Lost Army of Cambyses, a Dan Brown-style hardcover I lugged all the way to Egypt (because that's where it's set) before I realized it wasn't any good. It included a scene in which a cobra menaces our heroine, and the cobra is described as "hose-like."
17. What was your favorite song of 2008?
"Love Me Dead," by Ludo, which I am only not linking to here because I've probably forced everyone to watch it already.
18. What did you want and not get? An apartment in the East Village.
19. What did you want and get? Over it.
20. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
Cashmere sweaters and black Anne Taylor pants aren't just for classy girls. They're also for girls who like to sleep until 45 minutes before they're supposed to be at work, and cannot be bothered to put together a real outfit. You can tell the real classically-trained dressers by their hairdos--they have them!--whereas lazy girls run their hands through their riotous curls, say either "Thank God for my low-maintenance look" or "Fuck!" and jump in the car.
21. What kept you sane?
Champagne Tuesdays, my warm and witty friends (I know, it's such a stupidly obvious answer. I like listening to music and having fun, too!) and Otter. I've said this before, but nothing says "keepin' it real" more than waking up with dog feet in your face.
22. Who was the best new person you met?
I didn't meet them this year, but I got to know them much better: Anne and Lane. At their wedding reception, their first dance was to "I Believe in A Thing Called Love" by The Darkness, including an air guitar duet. This pretty much makes them my relationship idols.
23. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?
Yes. I got very upset at someone I love very much for something ridiculous. Thinking about it still makes me cringe, because I was acting like a child. I'm sorry, friend.
24. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
No matter how grounded and self-aware you are, you are not exactly the same girl who's going to have to go through the rest of your life in your body, with your name. You don't know how she's going to behave when faced with a circumstance you've never been in. She is tougher and more compassionate and more easily tempted than you know. She will find reasons to break her own rules. She will look back at you and wish she could tell you what it's like to be her. You can try to give her advice, set limits, and she might listen, but you cannot control what she will want.
25. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
"Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I'm through with playing by the rules of someone else's game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It's time to trust my instincts, close my eyes...and leap."
26: What are your plans for 2009?
Get excellent grades in all my classes. Visit Kristen and Mark in San Francisco. Trust myself, but pay attention to the signs that say I want something that might not be good for me. Go to India with Meg. Go to Chaney's wedding in NC. Go to Embassy parties, improv theatre, and speakeasies. Read the books and watch the movies that I really should have seen by now. Continue to stay close to the people I love most. Dye my hair chocolate brown.