It’s that time of year again: time to review and assess and (most importantly!) boast about how much happier, thinner, and richer we all are. That’s right: it’s new year’s survey time! Here’s last year’s, if you’re interested. Also, please feel free to do this on your blog or answer any of the questions you want to in the comments. If you do a blog post, leave me a link so I can go read about your year!
1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?
A lot. Chiefly in sports: I ran a half marathon, a marathon, competed in a triathlon, swam over a mile at once and biked over 30 miles at once. At work, I taught an honors course.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Last year, I wrote: “I would like to get another article published, present at at least one conference, complete the triathlon I signed up for (June 5th, baby!), and waste less money on entertainment.”
I think I did well on all counts except for the first. I am working on said article, but it’s nowhere near ready to submit yet. Other than that, I presented at a conference, did my triathlon, and kept my movie-going to a minimum. Success!
For 2011, I would like to: run a half marathon in under two hours, bike a half century (50 mile) ride, compete in at least one more triathlon, publish that article, and take action to achieve better job security.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My BFF Mel in Las Vegas gave birth to her second child just a few days ago, on Boxing Day! Little baby girl Carys, welcome to the world! Can’t wait to meet her. Three women I work with also gave birth to sons this year. I wonder if there is something in the water at work?!
4. Did anyone close to you die?
I’m thankful to answer “no” to this question.
5. What countries places did you visit?
As usual, I traveled all around in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee. I also visited Kentucky and Missouri for scholarly conferences and Ohio for a wedding. All of my trips, even the business ones, included good friends. Nothing too exotic, but all well worth the mileage.
6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?
Better job security, stronger hip abductors and gluteus medius (to prevent knee problems), clip-in bike shoes and pedals (to increase biking badassery).
7. What dates from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 17th – personal reasons!
June 5th – first triathlon
December 11th – first marathon
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing my first full marathon. I plan to crow about that one for a while, you’d better believe! Also I reached my weight-loss goal and have been maintaining my weight successfully for over 5 months now. One hundred ten pounds gone, hopefully never to return. Life feels much better back at my healthy/happy weight.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I don’t really consider that I’ve had any failures this year. I suppose I could have worked harder on my scholarly research and writing, but I’m happy with where I am academically — even though I’m not a super high achiever in that realm.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
The usual running over-use injuries bothered me off and on (IT band troubles, tight hamstrings, a hip-flexor strain), but I was largely illness-free all year. I think the clean living has really helped me fight off any potential bugs.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I want to say my Nikon D3000, but I technically bought that in the last couple days of 2009. I guess it was my CSA membership. Other front-runners for best purchase: gray knee-high boots, marathon race entry, khaki trench coat, padded bike shorts.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Many of my writing students this fall semester were absolutely a delight to teach. I felt quite lucky to have had them. As always, my close friends have been there for me when I needed them and they made getting through a few rough patches this year much easier.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Oh, I don’t know. Fred Phelps? Monsanto? The people trying to re-name HFCS as “corn sugar”? Those are kind of cop-out answers, but true nonetheless.
14. Where did most of your money go?
I probably spent quite a bit on sporting accessories (shoes, a Garmin, race entries, cycling and swimming gear). I am quite happy if that’s where my money goes, though. I’m sure I used to spend just as much on alcohol, cigarettes, and bar food. Other than this stuff, of course, I have been paying down debt and getting closer and closer to having credit cards completely paid off. That will be a cause to celebrate, for sure!
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sports! Running and triathlon, of course, but also (weirdly, for me) college football.
16. What song will always remind you of 2010?
I think “Dynamite” by Taio Cruz. It is incredibly cheesy but I can’t even count the number of times I have pulled it out of my mental music bank in the middle of a tough run or ride to get myself through. “I came to move, move, move, move….”
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? The same or maybe happier. I’m pretty happy now, but I was pretty happy last year, too.
b) thinner or fatter? Thinner, by… (checking records)… fifty pounds.
c) richer or poorer? The same! Dammit!
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Strength training, reading books for leisure.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Mindless time-wasting on the internet (i.e. not reading blogs, but just absently clicking around on things I don’t even care about). My answer from last year, having hypothetical arguments and rants in my own mind, also still applies, but less so. I think that mental behavior is hormone related, so I’ve been regulating it better just by knowing that.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
I drove up to Tennessee to spend the holiday with my family, cooked Christmas dinner with my brother, attended mass, and woke up to snow on Christmas morning. A mix of old and new traditions and a lovely trip.
21. Did you fall in love in 2010?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
The Vampire Diaries, Dexter, or Castle. I’ve really lessened the amount of TV I watch this year, but I made the time to watch these shows.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
24. What was the best book you read?
Man, I really wanted to say Infinite Jest, but it looks like I read that last year (as it was my 2009 answer). I’ve been re-reading it for a scholarly project this month, so can I say it again this year? If not I will go with … uh, nothing. Nothing I read for the first time was worth mentioning here. SAD STATE OF AFFAIRS.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
As above, I don’t think I really discovered anything new this year. I’ve been listening to the same things, for the most part, that I was last year. I continue to be obsessed with Neko Case’s Middle Cyclone. The new Blitzen Trapper is good, and I got the Jenny & Johnny album and a couple of New Pornographers albums, too. Nothing I’d call a “discovery.” Allow me to mention, however, that I am waiting with bated breath for the new Decemberists album due out in January. Be still my heart!
26. What did you want and get?
Some race medals, a new wardrobe in a much smaller size, a new camera lens.
27. What did you want and not get?
A new road bike, the relationship I thought I should have had. Still want the bike.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
Probably Inception. I still have not seen 127 Hours or Black Swan, though.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I recovered from the day before (a marathon and a night of karaoke with my friends), drove back to Auburn from Huntsville, and spent the evening out with all of my friends at our favorite cocktail bar. I turned 33. It was a birthday weekend to remember.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
It sounds horrible, but more money. Or fewer bills, your pick.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?
I got much more interested in clothes once I met my weight loss goal and my size was staying steady. I went with skinny jeans and boots a lot and wound up buying a few quite short skirts. I guess my concept amounted to: LEGS. Running that many miles, you know, I think I am justified in enjoying my legs for once in my life.
32. What kept you sane?
Running, friends, writing, cooking. The usual.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Ian Sommerhalder or Nathan Fillion.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell, I suppose.
35. Who did you miss?
I always miss the friends who are too far away to see regularly. This year I managed to see people a little more than usual due to weddings, conferences, and random travel, so I’ve been very thankful for that. I really need a private plane, though, so I can see my favorite people whenever I want. The curse of grown up life — having your friends spread all around the GDMFing country.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
I’ve met a couple of new faculty types who are great, as I do almost every year. One of the pleasant counterbalances to my answer above.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.
As every year, qui patitur vincit.
Also: don’t accept less than what you deserve.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I could go two ways here. There was a lot of this for a while:
Baby, why’m I worried now,
did someone make a fool of me
before I could show ’em how it’s done?
Can’t give up acting tough,
it’s all that I’m made of.
Can’t scrape together quite enough
to ride the bus to the outskirts
of the fact that I need love. […]
It was so clear to me
that it was almost invisible.
I lie across the path waiting,
just for a chance to be a spiderweb trapped in your lashes.
For that, I would trade you my empire for ashes.
But I choke it back, how much I need love.
— Neko Case, “Middle Cyclone”
But then there was also a lot of this, which seems like a good note to end on:
‘Cause I have had something to prove
as long as I know there’s something that needs improvement.
And you know that every time I move
I make a woman’s movement.
And first you decide what you’ve gotta do
then you go out and do it.
And maybe the most we can do
is just to see each other through it.
— Ani Difranco, “Hour Follows Hour”