introspection

Year in Review: 2017

I started this earlier, but didn't finish before the new year. Better late than never?

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?

Quit a job. Visited Tennessee. Did an out-of-state race (in Tennessee). Got my own cellphone plan (to share with Stephanie).

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

  • Finish grad school

Yep! I mean, it was a sure thing when I made this resolution, since I finished in February, but still.

  • Keep my condo tidy and make necessary improvements

Nope... I'm not sure when I'll accomplish this, since it hasn't happened...ever. I kept it tidy enough that I wasn't COMPLETELY embarrassed when the dog walker came, but other than that...nope. I also didn't get my carpet replaced, install ceiling fans, or remove my fireplace. I did, however, get a portable A/C unit from Kathryn when she moved! I set it up to work with Alexa, along with several lamps and other home electronics.

  • Read 24 books

Nope, I read only 12... Though that was better than the three I finished in 2016!

  • Work on my mental health

I went back to my counselor for a few months, but then we decided she wasn't the right fit, and I haven't started looking for someone new. That said, I feel like I'm mostly in an okay place. I take Prozac and have only had a couple panic attacks since starting it.

And yes, I'll do resolutions for 2018, too.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yep, Christina had baby Camryn in March and Adrian had baby Enzo in June. And Carmen and Martin adopted baby Alexander, born in November.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Nope.

5. What places did you visit?

Florida (end of March/beginning of April and early June), Arizona (April) and Nashville (September).

6. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?

Muscle mass. My fitness went down the drain toward the last four or five months of 2017, so I need to get back on track.

7. What days from 2018 will you always remember?

June 18 when I had my 10-year workiversary. September 27 when I started a new job.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Finally leaving my job, which had made me so unhappy for too long. (Also, initiating a happy hour with a few girls at work, which all of them came to!)

9. What was your biggest failure?

Procrastination, usually with getting things done at home. Things build up and then I want to do them less and less, so the problem just gets worse.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I got peroneal tendonitis AGAIN. Ugh. I didn't do physical therapy this time, and instead just mostly stayed off of my ankle and iced it a lot. It felt okay by the time we went to Nashville for their half marathon over Labor Day, but only enough to run the 5k.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

My new camera, a Nikon D7200, and a bunch of accessories, like lenses and filters.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

The ladies are all stepping up these days, especially between #MeToo and the Women's Match. (#TimesUp was 2018, so maybe we'll talk about that at the end of this year.)

13. Where did most of your money go?

Probably a lot of stuff I didn't really need, like a stand-up paddleboard. But, also my new camera and airplane tickets.

14. What did you get really excited about?

Starting a new job.

15. What song will always remind you of 2017?

Probably Sylvan Esso's "Just Dancing." That was easily my favorite of the year.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Probably not sadder? Maybe happier, mainly because I'm not in my old job anymore.
b) thinner or fatter? For sure fatter. Ugh. I'm heavier than I've ever been, and by a lot.
c) richer or poorer? Richer. Partially because I still need to sign up for my company's 401k program, so not as much is getting taken out of my paycheck...

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Working out and running, especially the last third of the year.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Drinking, maybe? I had a lot of social activities, especially the last few months of the year, and it got to where I was drinking every day of the week, except maybe one.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

The Seahawks played on Christmas Eve, so I watched at my parents' house. It started snowing during the game, and I kept going outside to take Snapchats. One of those times, we got a pick six, so then my parents kept making me stand out there whenever we were on defense... And we won, so I guess it worked?

After the game, we went to my grandma and grandpa's house, as usual. It was still snowing, and there were several accidents that we had to drive around on the way. Literally everyone was at the house this year, except Makayla, so it was packed: 31 adults and seven kids. It was still snowing when we left, and we got rear-ended on the way back home (which is really only a 7-minute drive). Luckily it wasn't too bad, though.

Christmas Day was super lazy, and I didn't get out of my pajamas. We opened presents while drinking mimosas, had breakfast, watched Christmas movies, played Illimat, ate dinner, drank wine... Pretty solid!

20. What was your favorite TV program?

 I really liked The Handmaid's Tale, and how they updated it from the book to be more appropriate for today. Elisabeth Moss was excellent, and this was the first time watching Alexis Bledel, despite being a huge Gilmore Girls fan, where I said, "Wow, Rory can act!"

21. What was the best book you read?

Probably Commonwealth by Ann Patchett, but I also really liked The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.

22. What music did you get excited about?

Sylvan Esso's new album, What Now. I also was excited about St. Vincent's new one, MASSEDUCATION, but it didn't get quite as much play time for me.

23. What did you want and get?

A new job!

24. What did you want and not get?

Stealing this answer from Kate: Trump's impeachment.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

I'm not much of a movie person, so I didn't see too many of them. I can't even remember what I saw. La La Land... Star Wars... I feel like I'm missing something big.

26. What was your favorite podcast this year? [New question!]

Was there a day after April where I DIDN'T listen to My Favorite Murder? They were few and far between. I have listened to almost every actual episode (so, excluding minisodes) three or four times at this point. A lot of the time, I'll turn it on just to have some noise at home. Georgia is the call-back queen. I wish I was friends with Karen. My sister and I now say "I'M sorry..." on a regular basis. I bring it up all the time, including at work when it may or may not be appropriate to discuss murder. I hope they come back for another Seattle live show soon, since I just barely missed it...

27. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

32. I decided not to have a friend party this year, so I just got pizza and dessert with my family at Resonate in Renton. Earlier in the day, I ran (literally) to and from the Fremont Solstice Parade, and met up with Raj, Amy, Carmen and Martin there. Nothing too exciting.

28. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?

Same as usual. Jeans. Sweaters. Tennis shoes or boots.

29. What kept you sane?

Having (mostly) weekly meetups with Drew and Sarah, usually for trivia, but sometimes writing, dinner or bingo.

30. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Sarah Paulson.

31. What political issue stirred you the most?

What didn't? Honestly, though, I really hope something comes of all this Mueller craziness. Come on, impeachment!

32. Who was the best new person you met?

Hmm, probably my new coworkers, especially the ones I've been hanging out with outside of work.

33. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.

Less that I learned it, and more that I'm trying to: People usually aren't thinking about you or over-analyzing your actions. Trying to read into why they do--or don't do--something is usually more hurtful to yourself than it is beneficial.

34. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

[Redacted, but I know the answer]

Year in Review: 2016

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?

Visited Spain. Went to an NHL game (Tampa Bay). Went to an away Seahawks game (Tampa Bay). Kept most of my plants alive!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

  • Use all my vacation time

Check! I mean, mostly. I did end up working during some of my days off, but at least I wasn't in the office.

  • Read at least two books per month

Nope... I read three books in January and nothing else, though I had another few in progress all year.

  • Keep my condo tidier/organized

Yes and no. I realized that this got out of hand when I started grad school, and it was just really hard for me to get on top of again between that, work, seeing friends, etc. But, my mom is the best mom in the world and came over three times to clean, organize and help me get rid of things. And I've kept it looking good since mid-October!

  • Pass three sections of the CPA exam

HA! I am now eligible to take the test, and I've paid for Audit, but I haven't scheduled it yet...

And yes, I'll do resolutions for 2017, too.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Not this year, but I know of some babies coming along next year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

There are a couple who I think I could have been close to... And while obviously I wasn't close to Carrie Fisher, losing her (and then her mom a day later?!) during this disaster of a year stings. I remember the first time I saw Star Wars at age 11 and she was the biggest aspect of it that made me such a fan. I thought she was incredible.

5. What places did you visit?

Spain (May/June), France (side trip in May), and Florida (November).

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?

Spending more time with friends and family, since I'll be done with school!

7. What days from 2016 will you always remember?

November 8, for reasons obvious to any American, especially those who were disappointed/disgusted/in disbelief. November 9, when I had a panic attack during the Neko Case concert in Tacoma and again while driving home.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

See #32 below.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Procrastination. It's been a very significant part of my school and work lives lately, and something I'm struggling to overcome. Trivia nights and watching Netflix just sound so much more appealing!

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Peroneal tendinitis from running. Shin splints from running. Stress fracture from running. Sprained foot from an apparent inability to walk down stairs. I'm sure there's more, but at least I'm well-stocked with KT tape, ace bandages and crutches now.

Also, #anxietyprobz... 

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Flight to Barcelona.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

This was a difficult and stressful year for so many, but also for one friend in particular. You were and are so much to so many people, and I'm so proud of how you handled everything life threw at you, bap!

13. Where did most of your money go?

Other than mortgage, tuition, etc., it went to my vacation to Spain for Capri's wedding.

14. What did you get really excited about?

Going to Europe for the first time in seven years. Also, it was my longest vacation since that same England/France trip!

15. What song will always remind you of 2016?

I don't think there is one, really. Maybe "Feel So Close" by Calvin Harris, since we did a flash mob to that at Capri's wedding.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? I suppose sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter, tbh. I did really well running and swimming regularly during the first part of the year, but that fell apart after a series of injuries, and it was hard to get back into the routine.
c) richer or poorer? Richer, I guess. Insignificantly so, though.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

I probably could have and should have spent more time with friends. There are some that I haven't seen in literally six or more months. 

I also probably should have written here a bit more. I started and abandoned several posts, mostly about bigger things like the Spain trip and Ragnar. I'll try to be better about it next year.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinating.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

The Seahawks played at home on Christmas Eve, and I had bought tickets to the game back in July. Since Mariana and Luther were in town and going, too (yay!), we did a big tailgate, getting there by 9:30am. I really should have worn more layers, though, as I was freezing and took forever to thaw out after! What a crappy game, too. They came back to tie it, but then Hauschka... Why can't we beat the Cardinals?!

Afterwards, I drove to my grandparents' house in Renton for our traditional Christmas Eve dinner. Everyone was there except Stephanie and Kenny (two grandparents, two parents, two aunts, one uncle, 10 cousins, nine cousins' kids, 11 significant others and myself), and a lot of people actually stayed past 8:30pm! When we got home, we got on Skype with Stephanie, since she and Ryan weren't coming to town until the 29th. She had already opened her Christmas pajamas, but watched me open mine, and then Mom, Dad and I watched It's a Wonderful Life before wrapping presents and going to bed.

On Christmas morning, we Skyped with Stephanie again and watched her and Ryan open the presents Mom had sent to California. After that, the three of us opened our own presents upstairs and had french toast and mimosas for breakfast. We later saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them at the Factoria theater. (I had heard they served alcohol after a recent remodel, but that wasn't the case.) When we got home, we watched Elf and the Sunday Night Football game while making a turkey dinner, and then played Mexican Train while watching Home Alone. I lost...

20. What was your favorite TV program?

I finally, finally watched Orphan Black, and I can't believe I waited so long! I watched all four seasons three times through, back-to-back. And then again this month. So. Good.

21. What was the best book you read?

I didn't really read this year, because of grad school. (Well, kind of. I felt like if I was going to read, I should be studying, so I often did neither.) So, I only finished three books, and those were all in January. I liked Carrie Brownstein's memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, but it didn't feel super cohesive. So, my favorite book was probably You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine by Alexandra Kleeman, which was pretty bizarre and unlike anything I'd read before. And it has this too-real quote:

"Loving someone was no guarantee of how they would treat you. All it did was raise the stakes."

22. What music did you get excited about?

I listened to Ladyhawke at Christina's suggestion, and her music became my go-to for much of the summer. I also met her after her show at the Tractor Tavern (immediately following seeing case/lang/veirs at Woodland Park Zoo) and she signed the copy of the record I bought there. The new Phantogram album had some awesome songs on it, and they were great live, even though I couldn't see much of the show. #shortgirlprobz

23. What did you want and get?

The West Elm bar cabinet I'd had my eye on! I'd wanted a bar cart for years, but none were exactly what I wanted. This one comes pretty darn close. I need a few more glasses for it, but it's fairly well-stocked.

24. What did you want and not get?

I started casually looking for a new house or townhouse, but the Seattle market is just too insane, and the timing wasn't (and still isn't) right. I'd like to have some more space and a small yard for Ellie, but for now I'm settling on making my condo a little better.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

I didn't see many movies this year (I think only three), but Rogue One was definitely the best of them. I wish it wasn't a standalone film, but I'm glad these other stories are representing the series so well. Felicity Jones killed it. And that scene at the very end...

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

31. My parents picked me up from work, and we went to Six Seven at the Edgewater Hotel for dinner. About a week later, I did a separate friend party. We were going to go to a small bar for classy drinks before going to Waterwheel for divey karaoke, but I didn't think everyone would fit in the venue for the first part of the evening. Christina and Ben stepped up and offered to host at their place instead, which is walking distance from Waterwheel. Ben made cocktails, I brought snacks, and it worked out really well! Unfortunately, Waterwheel was packed, so only Annie and I got songs in (Salt-N-Pepa and Fleetwood Mac, respectively).

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?

A sweater and jeans, most of the time, with either Vans or Converse. Maybe my brown Tieks, if I felt slightly more like trying.

28. What kept you sane?

My little disposable vape pen with high CBD levels was pretty handy.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I mean, with how much I watched Orphan Black, it has to be Tatiana Maslany. Specifically in her role as Cosima (especially when with Delphine), though all the clones are amazing. Except Rachel. Fuck Rachel.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

Election 2016 in its entirety. I mean, that's the case for everyone, right? It's scary that the country is in Trump's (tiny) hands now, and that there's so much uncertainty for many marginalized groups. At least people are angry and making something of that anger. I've been donating money to charities (Planned Parenthood, ACLU, etc.) and would like to be more involved going forward.

31. Who was the best new person you met?

I don't think I knew Kathryn last year, and I had only met Carrie one time last year before we all started running on Thursday mornings. I've been out of the habit the last several months, but they're a fun group and so sweet, and I would like to spend more time with them. Kathryn organized a fantasy football league this year that is about half Oiselle girls, and I wish we'd gotten together to watch a game or two!

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.

Well, this is the big one, I guess. After dating for years yet never feeling right with any of those guys (both wonderful and otherwise), I'm finally starting to accept and acknowledge what I've felt constantly throughout my life. It's only been a little over a month since I've started "coming out" and exploring this new aspect of my life, so there's a lot of uncharted territory here. There's so much I still don't know and likely won't know for a while. But at this point, I do know that guys aren't for me, even when on paper it seems like we'd be perfect together. I know I won't ever be happy if I keep looking for something that I know in my gut isn't right. For a very long time, I told myself I could. I wanted to be like everyone else. But something clicked in me recently, and I knew I couldn't continue on like that anymore. I couldn't continue to hide behind my fear of so many unknowns, especially not with Trump taking office in a few short weeks. This isn't the time to hide. To do so would be to ignore a part of myself, a part I openly celebrate in others. I haven't told many people yet, but those who know have been supportive, which is about as much as I can ask for! Thanks, friends!

33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"Your heartache is not forever
It’s another road that we walk together
And our lives become much stronger
As the world goes on much longer
I wandered far to find the answers
What keeps me alive while taking chances

When you’re always almost lonely
You forget to take it slowly"

- Ladyhawke, "Wild Things"

Year in Review: 2015

1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?

I went on an overnight backpacking trip to the Enchantments in June (recap). Before this, I had only ever been car camping, and this was much more work. So worth it for the views, though!

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I think I did a bit better than last year, at least...

  • Use all my vacation time

Last year I lost eight days, because I had maxed out how much could get carried over into the following year. This year I'm "only" losing two.

  • Buy a new car

Finally! I traded in my 2001 Chrysler PT Cruiser for a brand new 2015 Subaru XV Crosstrek. I love it! My phone automatically connects over Bluetooth and starts playing audio as soon as I start the car, and the adaptive cruise control is like magic. I started paying for parking at work, so now I spend my mornings commuting with podcasts like Comedy Bang Bang, Womp It Up, Nerdist, Best of Friends, and Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig. It's pretty perfect. So long Petey the PT, and hello Monica the Subie. (She's named Monica because I was listening to Best of Friends on my car's first mini road trip, and I had a minor freakout when I spilled my chai latte in a cupholder.)

  • Figure out how to get my 5th year of college credits, in order to take CPA exam

Done! My therapist (and others) helped me weigh all the different options, and I finally made a decision. In May I started classes toward a Master's in Accounting at DeVry's Keller Graduate School of Management, and I just finished my fourth of 11 total classes. While it is fairly expensive, I went this route instead of a more traditional school since they own Becker and the CPA test prep classes count toward course credit. Also, there was no need to take the GMAT, they waived any other admissions tests, and they gave me a scholarship. It's going well so far, and pretty soon it will be time for the CPA exam...

  • Keep my condo tidier

Nope... I got really busy in June, and things went downhill from there.

  • Read 40 books (or 14,000 pages)

Nope. Mostly due to starting school, since it seems like if I'm going to read, it should be a textbook. But also, it's way easier to distract myself with Netflix, and I'm in the middle of re-watching the entire X-Files series, in preparation for the new season in January.

  • Go to at least one new country

Nope. After deciding to start school, this plan got put on hold for now.

  • Go to at least one new state

Not this year.

Yes, I will make more resolutions for 2016. (And they're here!)

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yep, two! Adrian had her son Ellis on March 4th and Katy had her son Murray on October 12th. Both are too cute!

Also, two of my cousins had babies: Taylor had her son Clark in April and Shauna had her daughter Brooke in September.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Nope. (Phew.)

5. What places did you visit?

Arizona twice, Oregon and Florida.

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked in 2015?

This year was a little better on the dating front (fewer first dates, more fourth, fifth, etc. dates), but I'm getting tired of it. So, is a boyfriend too much to ask for...?

7. What days from 2015 will you always remember?

June 17 when I turned 30. August 27 when Marshawn Lynch randomly showed up at the Getty summer party. November 9 when I was at work for 27.5 hours straight for our Oracle project launch. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Pulling the trigger and getting started on my fifth year of school to be able to take the CPA exam. I put it off for far too long because I was always busy, but the fact is that there's never a good time, so I couldn't keep waiting for it. And I'm not doing too bad either, considering how hectic work has been (3.75 GPA)!

9. What was your biggest failure?

Probably the state of my condo. I don't think it was ever in a state where I felt comfortable having people over, except maybe at the very beginning of the year. Hopefully next year will be better.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

It honestly seemed like I was always getting hurt this year. Did I suddenly become a huge klutz? Among more minor scrapes and strains, I sprained my neck working out, sprained my ankle on a hike, got nailed in the knee by a softball, fainted twice, and, most recently, had my bloodiest injury of all time. (I will probably think of that last disaster at every Seahawks game from now on, but I am glad to know I have friends who will step up and keep me from freaking out.)

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I bought too much. The best thing was probably my flight to Florida for October to visit Mariana, especially since that trip was perfectly timed in the middle of work craziness. I was so unbelievably stressed out in November, and it would have been 10 times worse without that trip! #manateezetherapy

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

No idea, honestly.

13. Where did most of your money go?

Other than the downpayment for my car, it went toward backpacking/hiking gear, but at least I won't need to invest in that stuff again for a long, long time.

14. What did you get really excited about?

The Seahawks beating the Packers in the NFC Championship. Getting a really good (for me) pace in a 10k in June, even though it was mismarked and wasn't actually a full 10k. Buying my new car, and driving it constantly.

15. What song will always remind you of 2015?

Probably "Clearest Blue" from the new CHVRCHES album "Every Open Eye," since it's awesome and their live show was pretty memorable.

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Sadder.
b) thinner or fatter? Probably about the same (unfortunately).
c) richer or poorer? Poorer due to tuition payments.

17. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Cleaning, organizing, and getting my condo in a state where I actually like it.

18. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Spending my money on unnecessary things, like parking lots instead of paying for monthly parking and fines from not paying bills on time. I had a $15 toll bridge bill go up to $140, no joke. I need to do a better job at tracking that kind of thing.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

On Christmas Eve, we went to my grandparents' house for dinner, as usual. I love that this is a tradition we continue, even as the family grows exponentially. This year there were 40 people (including the babies) in the small rambler, and 26 people in the cousin (and cousin's kids/significant others) picture alone. Stephanie's boyfriend Ryan went with us, so I started getting the questions about when I would bring someone, too. Sorry, but don't hold your breath, Grandpa.

Christmas was spent at my parents' house. We opened presents and drank cran-orange mimosas all morning, and my cousin Jobie came over for breakfast and to hang out. After that, I watched some Christmas movies (A Christmas Story, Elf, Home Alone 2, etc.) and kept drinking mimosas. Grandma and Grandpa had dinner with us that night, and were thankfully pretty mild on the racism front. And no one mentioned wanting to vote for Donald Trump!

20. What was your favorite TV program?

Wow, did Master of None come out of nowhere or what? I watched it twice within two weeks, and it is still just as good the second time.

As for older shows, I may have rewatched all of Friends in its entirety three times (plus many, many random episodes), and I went through all of The X-Files once, in preparation for the new season's debut in January.

21. What was the best book you read?

The First Bad Man by Miranda July. What a wonderfully weird creature she is to have written that book, which I immediately added it to my list of all-time favorites. No, it isn't for a lot (or even most?) people, but for everyone else, I actually felt inspired while reading her articulate and insightful sentences (in between the ones that made me shield my Kindle's screen from roaming eyes on the bus).

"If you were wise enough to know that this life would consist mostly of letting go of things you wanted, then why not get good at the letting go, rather than the trying to have?"
"I wondered how many other women had sat on this toilet and stared at this floor. Each of them the center of their own world, all of them yearning for someone to put their love into so they could see their love, see that they had it."
"You will eat, you will laugh at stupid things, you will stay up all night just to see what feels like, you will fall painfully in love, you will have babies of your own, you will doubt and regret and yearn and keep a secret. You will get old and decrepit, and you will die, exhausted from all that living."

22. What music did you get excited about?

I loved Courtney Barnett's Sometimes I Sit and Think and Sometimes I Just Sit and listened to it on repeat during the spring. I also finally understood why Sleater-Kinney is awesome, first with their new album, and then more so with The Woods and some older stuff. I wasn't really looking forward to the new CHVRCHES until I heard it (I got kind of burned out on their first one), but it was somewhat (read: very) awesome, too.

23. What did you want and get?

As mentioned above, I wanted to buy a new car, and I did! It had always been my goal to do this by the time I was 30, and I waited a couple months longer, but I think it still counts.

24. What did you want and not get?

I wanted tickets to the Super Bowl in Arizona, and even went as close to the stadium as possible (a nearby Greek restaurant charging $400 for a seat inside), but tickets were between $6,000 and $12,000, so that wasn't going to happen... 

25. What was your favorite film of this year?

Star Wars: The Force Awakens! I mean, obviously. I wore an R2D2 Christmas sweater to the showing, and was pretty bummed not to find Star Wars leggings in my size, too. During the movie, I could not stop smiling when Han and Leia each showed up, and I loved all the references to the earlier movies. I'll probably see it in the theaters another time or two.

26. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

For the first time ever, I took the day off from work, but I left my wallet on my desk, so I had to stop by the office that morning (looking really cute, too.........). My parents and I went up to the Alpental area for a gorgeous, sunny hike to Snow Lake, followed by Trailhead IPAs at the car and dinner in Magnolia at Palisade. That weekend I planned another celebration with friends, and it was fun to see multiple friends groups in one place! We started at Reuben's Brews, and then went on to the Waterwheel for cornhole, ping pong and karaoke. I was so surprised by how many people came, and felt so lucky to have found them all! (Longer recap here.)

27. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?

I was a little too casual in 2015, honestly. I wore sweatshirts to work more times than I should have (despite our general lack of a dress code), and hardly ever wore shoes with more than a half-inch heel. Most days I either wore my beloved brown oxfords, or the black leather Vans I got for my birthday.

28. What kept you sane?

I ran a lot more this year, and really enjoyed it when I was able to get out consistently. It was nice to be able to take a break from school and work, and zone out while listening to podcasts.

29. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Steven Hauschka. I may or may not have a picture of him looking so model-like in red pants saved on my phone. And John Krasinski, always.

30. What political issue stirred you the most?

Guns. Fuck those guns. The gun control debate needs some serious attention and action ASAP. I'm tired of seeing news reports about mass shootings every few weeks.

31. Who was the best new person you met?

I'm not sure if I knew Lynn last year, and if I did, it wasn't well at all. We started hanging out mostly doing trivia, and then gradually started hanging out a bit more during the softball season. She got me to join her Ragnar Relay team, which was amazing, and we did a few other runs together, as well. And she just started working a few blocks from my office, so now we can be lunch buddies! 

32. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.

Time and circumstances change things, and it's best to be adaptable rather than dwell on the way they used to be. It's not healthy or productive, and can actually be damaging, whether with work or relationships.

33. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I'm on the outside of love
Always under or above
Must be a different view
To be a me with a you

I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
I'm standing at the gates
I see the beauty above
I wanna know what it's like
On the inside of love
Of course I'll be alright
I just had a bad night
Nada Surf - Inside of Love

Expectations vs. Reality

I watch a crap load of TV. Like, way more than a normal person should even admit to watching. Yes, there are shows I haven’t gotten to yet (e.g. The Sopranos, The Wire), but I can breeze through a 13-episode season of an hour-long drama in a day, and sometimes a whole series within a week or two, depending on how long it ran. I get caught up in the drama, cover my eyes when something gross happens, and feel withdrawals once I reach a series’ end. Sometimes I go back and re-watch certain scenes that I relate to in some way (or wish I could). I have no involvement with these “people” or their lives, but I feel like I do, to an extent. I connect to them, but don’t get the same back in return. I’m on the other side of the screen, on the outside looking in.

It’s hard not to take this approach in life, as well, observing from a distance; keeping to the periphery; there, but not too involved; taking what I can safely get and accepting nothing beyond that. When something happens to disrupt my semi-content little world, it’s easier to change course, to be the one who accommodates. I don’t fight the current, for fear that to do so would have a greater consequence. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, and I am the one who reacts. I avoid asking for or expecting anything different—fearing that disappointment and reality would be worse—and instead rationalize/over-think to cut to the chase and accept things as they are. I try to stay neutral and don’t speak up for myself, not wanting to upset whatever semblance of balance I’ve found; a balance that seems safe, though not fulfilling; a balance that maybe isn’t really a balance at all and tilts a little more toward others than to myself.

This extends further than I thought, though, and is not sustainable. The over-analyzing gets in the way of finding what I want (need) by assuming that what could happen will happen, so I avoid those situations entirely and/or close myself off from better relationships. Next week is my birthday (the last one of my twenties…eep), and I don’t have anything planned. It seems like more trouble than it’s worth after imagining the horror of setting something up and no one coming, or friends not having a good time. I don’t want to be a burden, or for them to feel obligated, and such thoughts keep me from the potential of good experiences. Those outcomes seem inevitable, and trying to think otherwise feels like setting myself up for disappointment.

I don’t know how to change this yet, and doing so will likely be terrifying/messy/draining, but identifying it, at least, seems like a step in the right direction. It’s lonely feeling inconsequential, like an after-thought…but hopefully good things can come from this awareness. And in the meantime, there will at least be beerz in the summer sun.

Sometimes you need a kick in the pants

And sometimes it has to come from a stranger.

January is a beast of a month. Between recovering from the holidays, figuring out how to make all your New Year’s resolutions fit into an already tight schedule, and summoning up the energy to brave the cold weather, it creates a strange mix of expectation and apathy, determination and excuses.

For Christmas this year, my sister got me a one-hour session with a psychic medium. Even then, knowing it was free for me to try, I was hesitant. I didn’t understand why anyone would pay for someone to tell them a load of crap, especially given that the reading would happen over the phone. How could that possibly work? What could she tell me that would legitimize it at all? (And, also, what if it gets too real?) Prior to this, my familiarity with psychics was pretty much the Miss Cleo commercials that ran in the 90s, but my sister insisted that this one was great. After each reading, she would text me with questions about our genealogy to determine which ancestor it was who kept coming through. Three sessions later, we still don’t have a clue (you know, assuming this is real). Even so, she said that each time was a profound experience and gave her some clarity on her life.

A few weeks went by and I still hadn’t made a decision to call or not, but then January began to live up to its reputation. A friend whom I was used to seeing just about every day moved (far, far) away, I started feeling lost at work, and all I could think about was that I didn’t know what I wanted (for my future, for lunch), let alone how to get there. It’s a scary thing to feel like you’re in some sort of box looking out a one-way mirror, trapped in place and unable to engage with the world or people around you. So, since my sister’s reading had been fairly advice-centric, I finally caved.

Going into it, I wanted to give the least amount of information possible. I mean, she’s psychic, right? Let’s make her work a little bit. I did this to a degree, but the way she conducts the reading makes that somewhat difficult. At times she would phrase something bluntly (“Why are you bored with life?”) and at others she would ask a question to get to an answer (“Do you have a cat?” “No, I don’t have a cat. I have a dog.”) Regardless of how she got there, though, throughout the hour she made relevant points and made me question how I’ve been living my life these last several years. When one area of your life is stable, it’s so easy to get into a rut and not push yourself further. I would stay late at work, the one place I felt productive and useful, because I didn’t want to be at home alone, even though my dog was there. I stopped going to shows, wasn’t working out as much, and couldn’t have made less of an effort toward dating. And that has been my last year (at least).

So now here I am, with January almost at its end, wondering what to do next. Wondering isn’t enough, though, and if things are going to change, I need to make the effort. And not just once or twice, but consistently and thoroughly this time around. She told me to write, so I will write. She told me to finish school, so I will take the GMAT and determine the next steps. But, mostly, I will say yes when I want to say no, stop talking about adventures and actually take them, strengthen friendships while opening myself up to new ones, and stop being so self-contained. She said it’s okay to mess up, and that’s nearly petrifying, but it’s something I will have to be okay with in order to get out of my bubble and become someone better, someone I would want to be friends with.

I still don’t know if I believe in psychics, but at the very least this lady appeared to understand me a whole lot better than most people I’ve known for years. I suppose as long as what she’s saying is accurate, what difference does it make whether it’s real or not? And who knows, maybe I will meet a tall, “old book” who looks like Johnny Depp when I’m traveling (in Iceland? Switzerland? Spain?) in the next four years.