This has been one of the most eventful years for me so far, and I don’t really know how to sum it up. As my sort of year-in-review thing, I have taken this questionnaire from one of my favorite bloggers, Linda of Sundry Mourning. You should do it, too! Go on, you know you love a good questionnaire!
1. What did you do in 2007 that you’d never done before?
I wrote and defended a dissertation, was called “Doctor,” got a full-time college teaching job, drove across the country alone, and lived in New Wye, a bizarre and temperate state with far too much pleated khaki.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I rarely make resolutions for the new year, but I seem to recall pledging to make my bed every day or something random, unnecessary, and trite like that. Needless to say I did not follow through on that ridiculous plan. Bed-making minutes are precious minutes that could be spent sleeping, or perhaps applying some under-eye concealer to approximate the appearance of having slept.
One thing I did do, without really thinking about it or planning it or trying, was quit eating fast food. No more McDonald’s sausage biscuits for breakfast, no matter how magical their hangover-curing properties, if the fuckers have, like, 500 calories. Just no more. That was a good (and surprisingly easy) decision.
I don’t think I will resolve anything for next year. I think I will do whatever I fucking like! (Wait, was that a resolution?)
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! My lovely total BFF just had a baby boy in May, and he is glorious.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year, thank dog.
5. What countries did you visit?
The U.S.A., baby! Everything in between Zembla and New Wye, which unfortunately included Nebraska, my most hated of the fifty states. I loved doing the drive myself, in spite of my passenger tendencies. It is one of my favorite things I have done.
6. What would you like to have in 2008 that you lacked in 2007?
7. What dates from 2007 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
May 4th – My aforementioned friend’s baby was born — I remember constantly checking my messages all day, going, “Is he here yet? Is he here yet?”
July 15th – The day I left Zembla. Most of the day was spent driving through the Eastern Zemblan desert, which is a really lovely place to drive.
August 1st – The first day I had to show up to my new job. It was about 100 degrees that day, and one of the professors ambushed me as I got to the office and took my picture for the school website. I looked like a sweaty mess.
October 8th – The deadline for my dissertation draft. The week before this date was spent working on the draft as well as grading about 100 student papers and being observed in class. On October 8th, I finally put the draft in the mail and drank and slept the week-long caffeine buzz into oblivion.
November 19th – The date of my defense. I was wearing pin-striped pants.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
The PhD, of course. Not that I passed so much as that I didn’t give up before finishing. There were times, people, times.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Not keeping up with running (or any other exercise) when I got to New Wye. It’s just that there are no sidewalks here. Damned backwards redneck town! This isn’t such a big “failure,” or anything but it’s all I’ve got for this question. It’s been a good year.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Just a few running-related injuries – my old plantar fasciitis acted up again (fucking plantar fasciitis, I hate it SO MUCH) and the damned shinsplints.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A tie between my souped-up MacBook or my iPhone. Also, never in a million years would I have thought I’d answer this question so geekily. Sigh. I accept my nerdy fate.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
The dog’s. He stopped peeing on the carpet and barking at night. He also was very generous with cuddly lap time when his owner was feeling stressed, which was at least once every hour for a while there.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The cat’s. I had a mailer bag from Old Navy with a jacket I was returning, and before I could send it off the damned cat took a damned shit right in that bag. Fucking cat. She also bit the hell out of me in a hotel in Nebraska when I tried to get her out from under the bed. Hey, anyone want a cat? Um, she’s real nice?
14. Where did most of your money go?
Other than the usual bills, I would say it went mostly to the moving expenses and wine and cigarettes.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Graduating and starting my new job, the birth of my friend’s son, the graduation and new job of my other total BFF. The three of us have had a great year and with all of these events I spent a lot of time feeling proud, happy, and excited for someone. It was a good year, I keep saying!
16. What song will always remind you of 2007?
Can I pick a whole album? If so then I pick Rilo Kiley’s More Adventurous. I started listening to them this past year and fell in love, and this album was almost always on in my car or on my ipod. “More Adventurous” pretty much describes my year, too (the title, not the song/album itself).
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier. I was depressed and hiding under a blanket the year before. Thank dog that’s done with.
b) thinner or fatter? About the same, I think, but it’s hard to say since I don’t have or use a scale. I’m wearing the same size, though. You would think that the no fast food thing would have made me lose weight, but the no running lately thing balances it out, I guess.
c) richer or poorer? I make more money now, but only marginally more. I am still always completely broke. Metaphorically speaking, I suppose I am richer, though.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Running, hiking, visiting the Zembla Coast, non-dissertation-related writing and reading.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Procrastinating and wasting time.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
At my parents’ house with them and my brother. It was nice to see them all, but it was nowhere near as relaxing as my “grown-up” Christmas alone in Zembla the year before.
21. Did you fall in love in 2007?
No. I also didn’t fall out of love or get my heart broken, though. It was a completely uneventful year on the love front.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
That I watched this year: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, hands down. (HOW did I not watch this before?)
That actually aired this year: Veronica Mars. I was so sad to see that one go.
23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. My hate levels remain constant. Constant, fiery, and seething. Heh.
24. What was the best book you read?
That I read this year over all: The Real Life of Sebastian Knight by my boyfriend, Vladimir Nabokov.
That I read for the first time this year: either If on a winter’s night a traveler… by Italo Calvino (I’m not sure I didn’t first read this in 2006, though) or A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, by Dave Eggers.
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Rilo Kiley and The Decemberists. Both groups I had heard before, but I only really started listening to them this year. Love love love. At the moment I cannot stop listening to The Decemberists’ The Crane Wife. It is so fucking good. Hey, I think I’ll put it on right now.
26. What did you want and get?
Materially: a new laptop, phone, and car.
Really: A job, a PhD, good friends at the new job.
27. What did you want and not get?
Materially: Great knee-high black boots.
Really: Respect from the head of my graduate program. I am so glad to be rid of her shit.
28. What was your favorite film of this year?
I can’t say I have seen any that great so far this year. Instead, I give you the three movies I have not seen yet, one of which I am sure will wind up being a favorite: Juno, No Country for Old Men, The Darjeeling Limited. Without seeing them, I guess I would say The Namesake or Volver, both of which, um, came out in 2006. I am just so slow to see new movies — I usually wait for the DVD.
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
On the day itself I went out with a handful of friends and played pub trivia. We won a bunch of stuff: appetizers and free drinks and such. Then on the following weekend, my friends threw me a big surprise party with the jumping out of corners and the shouting and everything. It was nice. I was 30.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Sex, I assume. Hard call, though, as I only foggily remember what it is like.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2007?
Blazers and Heels Make Everything More Professional. Essentially it is the same concept I had in high school: jeans and tee shirts and a jacket. Chuck Taylors make frequent appearances, too, but, on teaching days, for the clack of true authority, one wants heels.
32. What kept you sane?
Friends, whiskey, caffeine, writing, music.
33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Along with the budding Buffy obsession, it would be either David Boreanaz or James Marsters. Milo Ventimiglia and Nigel Barker are frequent favorites, too.
34. What political issue stirred you the most?
Shamefully, I have been politically inactive all year. I vote and shit, but I avoid the news and most political discussions. When I think about the ridiculous insistence on this war, though, and the endlessly mounting toll of deaths because of it, I suppose I am “stirred.” Stirred to a tasty mix of nausea and despondence.
35. Who did you miss?
All my Zembla friends and my two aforementioned college BFFs. I miss them all a lot. Moving across the country tends to do that to a person.
36. Who was the best new person you met?
I can’t name one, but there is a solid bunch of fellow instructors and professors I have met here in New Wye who have made the transition so much easier. These are the ones who have been planning trips to Nearby City and nights out and surprise parties and the like. They’re all brilliant and fun and we all consider ourselves lucky to have been hired as part of such a good group.
37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2007.
My old favorite, qui patitur vincit, really held true this year.
There was also the discovery that college students everywhere, North, South, East, and West, are all equally whiny, self-centered, coddled little shits. Most of them. There will always be a handful who make it worthwhile. (The exception to this rule: my 8:00 class last semester, where NOT ONE OF THEM got an A. That has never happened before.)
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
I generally think quoting song lyrics is a bit lame, but here’s something not unlike my last year, and, hey!, it’s from my own album of the year, too:
Any idiot can play Greek for a day
and join a sorority or write a tragedy
and articulate all that pain
and maybe you’ll get paid.
But it’s a sin when success complains,
and your writers block don’t mean shit.
Just throw it against the wall and see what sticks.
Gotta write a hit
I think this is it.
It’s a hit.
— Rilo Kiley, “It’s a Hit”
Dude, you should really get that album; I swear it’ll change your life. Or your week, at least.
Happy New Year, y’all!