With thanks to ejshea, who’s made an admirable habit of using the same list from year to year. I think I’ll do the same.
1. What did you do in 2011 that you’d never done before?
Oh, good lord, so many things. I spent a week on a road trip with my brother. I ran a 5K. I finished grad school.
2. Did you [live up to] your New Year’s [word], and will you [select another] for next year?
I picked courage for this year and I think I’ve managed it all right. I’m pretty sure I know what 2012′s will be…
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I’m 34 — this is true every year. For 2011, the list includes a cousin, my mentor, and several friends.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
In my own family, we managed to lose only a great-uncle and a great-great-uncle this year. I think. They’re not always quick to tell me about the great-greats…or the greats, for that matter. No, this year, it’s my friends who’ve lost parents, and I’ve found myself in that weird spot where you’d think I could offer some comfort, having been through it, but I can’t, really, because each loss is so personal, and so huge, that all you can do is be there. With brownies.
5. What places did you visit?
Gardnerville, NV. A lot.
6. What would you like to have in 2012 that you lacked in 2011?
A place to live for longer than a year at a time.
7. What dates from 2011 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
March 22. According to our lease, that was the first official day of Happily Ever After.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Making most of what happened this year happen. It took planning and patience, neither of which are my strongest suits.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I let my thesis stretch out longer than it had to. In fact, I’ve graduated, but I’m still on the hook for an archival copy for the Hopkins library…which the program director keeps reminding me.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really. A minor head cold manifested Christmas night. I attribute this directly to my Thanksgiving post, in which I was too obviously thankful for my health to actually get away with it. But hey! Not lupus.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
The future I wanted. I took some financial risks in moving the way I did, and they paid off…or, at least, they haven’t completely bitten me in the ass yet.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Graham. Every day, I’m grateful for how even-keeled he is.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Every single candidate vying for the Republican presidential nomination, most of their handlers, and a great many of their most vocal supporters. There’s no talking sense to people who make shit up and stand by it no matter what.
Also! Every contestant on Survivor. You can expect this to be a perennial answer.
14. Where did most of your money go?
First: Moving and road-tripping. Second: Rodneycare.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I’m excited every day to be back in California for good. I love that this is my home, that we chose it together, and that our kid(s) will be native Northern Californians.
16. What song will always remind you of 2011?
Train’s “Save me, San Francisco.” They couldn’t have timed that one more perfectly for me, could they?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? So much happier.
b) thinner or fatter? About the same.
c) richer or poorer? A bit richer, I think. There’s more of a cushion, anyway.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
More running, more yoga, more time with friends.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Less time in front of the TV and, not unrelated, a little less wine drinking and pizza eating.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2011?
We had Christmas in Nevada with Graham’s folks, where I cooked The Dinner: Roast beef, baked mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, and breaded butternut squash. I’d have liked something green, but Graham’s mom changed her mind about the green beans she was going to steam. Something about too much food? Whatever. I cook for leftovers, and holidays are certainly no exception.
21. Did you fall in love in 2011?
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Bones. Merlin is growing on me, and I watch Survivor because Graham is one of the two dozen remaining fans of the show.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2011?
Defended my thesis, got a six-month contract (which is being extended into 2012), and went to the beach.
24. What was the best book you read?
I’d love to give that honor to the newest series in the Paksenarrion canon, Paladin’s Legacy, but I read the Hunger Games trilogy this past week and it blew me right out of the water.
25. What did you want and get?
A life by my own design, rather than one by default.
26. What did you want and not get?
A “permanent” job with all the usual benefits and the will to keep as fit as I’d like.
27. What was your favorite film of this year?
We didn’t see too many movies, so the final installment of Harry Potter wins.
28. Did you make some new friends this year?
I did. Work helped.
29.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Not a thing.
Wait! I take that back. A non-snowed-out Grand Canyon experience would have helped. The pictures still make me angry.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2011?
Tech Company Chic
31. What kept you sane?
Rodney, when he hasn’t been worrying me to death.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Was it Miley Cyrus who just told the media to knock off policing her body? Her, then. Otherwise, I couldn’t care less.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Equal rights (for everyone, always) and socioeconomic disparity (and the circular causes and effects thereof).
34. Who did you miss?
This is a loaded one to answer after Christmas, which is when I miss my mom and the rest of my family the most. I’ve also missed living practically equidistant between Alicia and Shotgun, with plenty of cozy places to sit and chat on both sides.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2011.
It’s absolutely worth it. This year was the first time I really acted — for the long term — on who and where I want to be when I grow up, and how I want to live. I had to think about what I was willing to do, to risk, to face, to get started on that life. I had to find a balance between planning and letting go of the pieces I couldn’t control. I gave up a lot of security, which I know seemed extra-super-crazy in today’s United States, but I’m where I need to be, where I should be, where I’m happiest.
No matter the cost, it’s absolutely worth it.