We’re already a full week into January, but it still feels like major reflection/planning/goal-setting time up in my brain. Lists of “hits and misses” of the past year normally seem really artificial, but this one seems to corral all the high points in a way I’d want to remember years from now. (Which is kind of what this whole enterprise is about, right?) So…
1. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions and will you make any for next year?
I made resolutions during the summer, actually, as one more way to keep torts and property at arm’s length. I’ve done pretty well on some of them, like going back to ballet class and reading at least two books per month. Others, like learning Spanish and establishing “girl dates” . . . not so much. Although, I have been going to Zumba with Dani almost every week! Does dance cardio with our fabulous instructor count? Either way, that list is technically supposed to last me until the summer of 2013, so I still have time (to, uh, learn a language, learn to paint, and do a pull-up. No big).
2. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Trina! Dane was born on M’s birthday. It was the first birth I’ve ever seen live, and while I knew in theory that there’d be “nothing greater than the miracle of birth,” that platitude did not even begin to prepare me for the actual experience of seeing my friend bring a human being into the world. Sheer happy insanity, the kind where you have to go sit down and be quiet for a little while afterwards to put all your pieces back together.
3. Did anyone close to you die?
I almost got to say no to this, but my sweet uncle Chris passed away on New Year’s Eve. It was both inevitable (cancer) and rage-inducing. It is so, so unfair to lose your father before he’s kissed you at your graduation or made a toast at your wedding, or to be the partner left to face all those milestones alone. It’s just incredibly sad, and we’re all hoping my aunt and cousins get through it ok, which they definitely will. We had some other really serious family health problems recently, and taking care of them meant that I wasn’t able to be across the country at his memorial service. There wasn’t really another option, but I’m just deeply sad that’s the way it worked out.
4. What countries did you visit?
In August and September, we went to:
and Ireland (where we played with family).
I doubt we’ll have another year to match this one (travel-wise) for quite a while, but we have a store of amazing experiences to draw on from this bar trip.
5. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
Mostly, I’m aiming for non-work time that revolves not around the TV, but on meeting up with friends for drinks/live music/plays/whatever. We live 40 minutes from LA (where, obviously, everything is 20 minutes from everything else), and even in Long Beach, there’s a total hipster music/playhouse scene. Even going to the Art House Cinema on 4th Street would count here. I’m really not picky, I just want my free time to be human- and culture-packed. 2013 is going to be the year of Taking Advantage. That sounded creepy. I’m pretty sure you know what I mean.
6. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory and why?
July 24-26, 2012. Also known as the bar exam, or “Thanks, I’d rather not.”
7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Even though it was a multi-year venture . . . finishing law school. For sure. There was celebrating/whining/growing/procrastinating all over the place for those three years, and it was a huge check mark on my life list. So glad I did it, and even happier to be in the “after” that I’d been dreaming about for so long.
8. What was your biggest failure?
Falling back into my old habits and procrastinating on the foster care paper I worked on for the last year of school. This is an area I fully intend to make (part of) my life’s work, and I had a whole year to do research and make something truly great. Instead, I distracted myself and didn’t do half the research or work I could have. You never get time back, and if you’ve really wasted it, that’s pretty gross. Jury’s still out on whether I’ve learned my lesson on this one.
9. What was the best thing you bought?
Can this be the best thing I rented instead? Because we haven’t bought a house yet (and I don’t think that’s in the cards for quite a while), but the apartment we’re in right now is hands-down my favorite place I’ve ever lived. When we moved in, the woman showing us around poked her head into the master closet, saying, “This could easily be a nursery!” I love it here so much, I hope she’s right and I get to paint little blue elephants or pink tutu-wearing hippos on those walls. Like, in a while. But still.
10. Where did most of your money go?
Travel and loan payments. Aside from all the necessaries (food, shelter, books), travel is definitely the way I want to spend my discretionary funds. Maybe not month-long trips with too few clothes, but smaller, more frequent explorations. Really want to check out New Orleans this year, and some sort of wine-tasting adventure seems to be on the docket for FriendFest 2013.
And loans . . . well, what is there to say about them, really? We both went into this adventure with our eyes open. And our checkbooks, apparently. It’s cool.
11. What did you get really excited about?
FriendFest and New Year’s Eve. While I might be (really) awful about week-to-week friend catch-up, our people have started a tradition of spending New Year’s and a weekend in the summer together. This year was the first FriendFest (in Palm Springs) and the second NYE party, and both were stellar. I am obsessed with these people, and am just totally not ok at all with letting life take its course and drifting away from them. Not interested. I’m like a really friendly barnacle. Hope that’s chill with everyone.
12. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Honestly, the sound that will remind me most of this year is audiobooks. This was the year I discovered Audible, and as long as I live somewhere that requires driving, this concept and I are going to be best friends. Books for life! In whatever form possible!
13. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying (about the bar, about everything). It’s crippling and demoralizing and I’m really, really good at it.
Also wish I had less sickness (on the part of people I love). One hundred percent totally done with the feelings of impotence that accompany seeing sickness and trouble strike those you would do anything for. Guess this isn’t exactly resolution-ish, since I don’t wield the baton of health and wellness, but it’s just an accurate reflection of what the end of 2012 was like. Frustrating.
14. How did you spend Christmas?
Doing our patented all-day drive: Christmas Eve, drive up to my parents’ house. Christmas morning, wake up, do presents, have breakfast, drive back down to Long Beach to exchange gifts and have “tea” with M’s immediate family. Then drive further south to Huntington Beach to celebrate over dinner with his extended family. Finally, back in the car up to my family for (second) dinner. It’s not as bad as it sounds.
15. What were your favorite books of the year?
Cutting for Stone, The Emperor of All Maladies, Gone Girl, and a zillion others. And if you come over, I’ll probably make you sit down and go through every single one of them with me, whether you want to or not.
16. What was your favorite music from this year?
Um, just a little song called “Lullaby” by this great new band Ramshackle. Aka my crazy-talented brother. Every time I come home, he pulls out his guitar and spiral notebook and I get to hear what’s coalesced in his brain since the last time I saw him. Astounded every time, and so glad to see him begin to get the recognition he deserves.
17. What were your favorite films of the year?
Argo, which I think is legitimately a perfect movie. Barely went to the movies at all this year…it just wasn’t something we did very often in Boston, and then we were traveling, and then working crayfish hours. We did go see Silver Linings Playbook last week, though, and I remembered again how much I just love the sensory experience of seeing a movie in an actual theater. Everything about it is great…escaping inside from the chilly air (into chillier air, sometimes), the darkness and snuggliness, the crazy old people who just straight talk back to the film and provide wonderful, obvious commentary (“Ohhhhh, he didn’t see her coming!”).
18. What did you do on your birthday and how old were you?
I turned 27, and got sworn into the California bar. Our firm had an event for all the new associates in the office, ostensibly so our families could celebrate our “achievement.” Clearly, the real purpose was for our mothers to take endless pictures of us “being adults” and for our siblings to pose behind our desks, then come over to our apartment, drink 4 Newcastles and start dance parties. My mother has all those pictures, so I’ll be seeing them in the year . . . 2025. (I love youuuuuu!)
19. What kept you sane?
The first half of the year: my husband. I fully understand if everyone in my life is tired of hearing me talk about the bar at this point (samesies) but it really, actually was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. (Except maybe 1L, and that was because it just went on for longer). Even though we have nonsense fights like every other couple, one of the truest statements I can make about M is that he is good in the trenches. I tried to do my part and reign in the crazy, but he carried me (emotionally) through that summer on his back.
The second half: being in physical proximity to my loves again. One of the most stressful parts of living in Boston was vacations, honestly. There was only so much time, and it was never enough, and no matter how well I tried to strategize, someone’s feelings got hurt. Now, trips to see our people take several minutes and a phone call or text, and being around them is a support.
20. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.
Stress helps nothing. This is a hard one for me: I process everything via emotion, and am constantly mulling over my life, M’s life, what’s going on with my parents, my friends, etc. If something crops up as an issue for myself or anyone I care about, I obsess over it. I do what I can to help, and then it lodges itself in my mind, pulling my focus away from anything else I might be thinking about or doing. How can I be happy/watching SNL/reading when someone I love is sad?
It doesn’t help. I know that’s nothing revolutionary, but for whatever reason, it’s finally starting to resonate. I can only take action to help myself or anyone else. I guess theoretically the cosmic energy generated by my worry machine could affect the universe a la The Secret, but . . . that just doesn’t seem to be happening. What’s going on in my personal little life makes me really, truly happy on a daily basis. If I can’t summon some kind of inner equilibrium in dealing with the problems of the people I love when I’m young, healthy, employed and in love, how am I going to get over life’s hurdles when I’m tired, or sick, or there are several children and all associated chaos thrown into the mix? So, I’m focusing on my new mantra: take action, and then be happy. One life, right? Might as well not waste it on worry, and fill it up instead with brunches and babies and Manhattans.
Happy 2013, everyone.