Better late than never! The end of year holidays were lovely but completely bonkers, and I am only now sitting down to finish this. I should be taking down my Christmas tree instead, is how late this is. Regardless, I love reading everyone's end of year reviews and couldn't bear skipping out on summing up this crazy year. My 2014 is here.
2015 was...whew. I think in general most years don't usually go quite the way we expect when they're still fresh and new and 12 months of a blank canvas. But man, 2015 sure was full of curve balls and craziness.
1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Joined a crew team! Learned to scull and sweep row. Rowed in a boat with 8 other women. Sculled a single by myself. Had a broken jaw. Had 3 broken jaws. Been on a liquid-only diet. Twice. Stayed overnight in the hospital. Twice. (Huzzah, jaw surgery!) Carted around a life-sized cut-out of Kate Middleton to entertain myself and others. Spent an entire calendar year working for myself and not getting a regular paycheck from one single source. Drove to San Francisco through the central valley. Visited a wine region of California that is not Napa. Lived a whole calendar year in California.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions, exactly. Instead, I pick a word for each year and focus on a few things around that word to help shape my year. 2015...oh man. My word for 2015 was "control". As I mentioned last year, my husband laughed heartily when I told him. And laughed. And laughed and laughed, no matter how much I kept saying "No! Not like that! I can explain!". I did intend to write more about that word here, and I didn't. I chose it because 2014 was so chaotic, I wanted to focus on what I could control in 2015. And to a certain extent, I did. I took up a new sport, I took control of my career and did something different. Focusing on what I could control in my life helped me handle all those things that I couldn't, like waiting around for jaw surgery and then having jaw surgery. Twice.
I haven't chosen a word for 2016, and I don't think I'm going to. I feel a pull and a drive for this year that I can't put my finger on or assign a word to, and I'm going to embrace it. (So maybe my word for this year is "zen", by default!)
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
YES! My cousin who lives nearby-ish had a beautiful baby girl who is the light of all our lives. She is a joy and makes everything more fun, and we are all smitten.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. Where did you travel?
We explored wine country in Temecula in February or March.
In May we spent a weekend on Point Mugu, which was beautiful and lovely and cheap as all get-out and just what we needed for a quick getaway.
In June we went 'home' to Rhode Island and Massachusetts. I was in my college roommate's wedding in Boston, and we were in the northeast for ten days, running around trying to squeeze in all our friends and family. It was lovely but utterly exhausting, and we learned that a week is about our max for that sort of thing. It's the kind of trip where nearly every meal is scheduled as a visit with someone, and it makes me want to lie down and nap just thinking about it.
In early July we went to Tucson, back to the ranch we stayed at on our cross-country trip in 2014. It was heaven.
Later in July we drove to San Francisco to see family who live there and family who were visiting. I love San Francisco, and I love getting to explore more of California. We drove up the 5 through the central valley, which is hundreds and hundreds of miles of orchards, nothing, then more orchards. We googled the trees we saw that couldn't place and determined that we passed almond, pistachio, and fruit orchards. A unique experience for these New Englanders! After San Francisco we drove to spend the night in Vacaville with our lovely friends Sarah and Chris. Our other lovely friends Elizabeth and her family came to join us for dinner and it was a blast. We then took off for Napa to spend the night with Zach's cousin and his husband, which is also always a wonderful time.
We were trying to squeeze in a lot before my surgery, which was scheduled for early August, and man was that the right move. We spent the next 4-5 months in surgery and recovery mode.
In August I spent the night in the hospital after surgery. I did the same in October. That sort of counts as traveling, right?
In mid November, a few days after I was able to start chewing again, we went back to Boston for a quick weekend for a family wedding.
Throughout the year we peppered in several trips to Orange County to see family.
And then we closed out the year with a trip to Orange County to stay at my aunt & uncle's with our friends who were visiting from England. On January first (2016, I know!) we took off from there for Paso Robles for a trip we'd all been looking forward to.
6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you didn’t have in 2015?
I would like to get my braces off and be done with all of this surgery nonsense. It's been 2.5 years with braces, which were required for surgery, and I will likely need them for another 3-6 months. Fingers crossed they're off before my cousin's wedding in the spring!
I am ready to stop working for myself and get back to a regular job. I am putting it out into the universe: I would ideally like to be an in-house copywriter/content producer/marketer for a brand I am excited about and believe in. That is my goal for 2016.
When we moved to California I didn't know when I would be having surgery, but we were under the impression that it would be Soon. I didn't feel right about getting a job knowing I would then have to be out for at least a month because of my surgery. It felt wrong to me. I had no idea how long it would actually take to have the surgery (a year after we moved!), or that there would be so many complications that would lead to a second surgery and a much longer recovery period. It is certainly not what I would've chosen, but in many ways I'm grateful for it. It led to me working for myself and gaining some wonderful experience and helping to figure out what I really wanted to do and where I really want to be.
7. What days from 2015 will be etched upon your memory, and why?
August 5 - my first jaw surgery.
October 2 - when I had to go back in and have the lower jaw done.
November 13 - when I was finally cleared to chew again.
Are you sensing a theme for 2015? 2016 is going to be FULL of chewing and unbroken jaws.
8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?
I'm proud of the feedback I've gotten and keep getting about how I handled my jaw surgeries and protracted recovery with humor and a positive attitude. It's something I made a point of, and it is gratifying to know that it was noticed. Having it noticed also sort of feels like the positivity is reflected back at you and thus doubles on itself. It made me feel even more like I was in a positive environment and surrounded by extra love, support, and good vibes. Pretty amazing, and something I know I will keep coming back to and learning from.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Same as last year: Succumbing once again to that most vile temptress, Candy Crush. Getting to bed at a reasonable hour. (Although, due to so many 4am wake-up calls for rowing, I actually got better at that second bit.)
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
(I also closed out the year with a vile cold that spread through my family like wildfire. 2013 was the year of the Great Christmas Flu in my family. This was The Great Christmas Cold of 2015.)
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Same as last year: Rent that is slightly higher than we'd intended to pay, but is entirely worth it for living a block from the beach. (Walks on the beach are entirely free.) (Well, I guess not entirely.)
Different than last year: Small trips here and there sprinkled throughout the year. Trips to see family. Sourdough toast for myself and others.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband. As I said at one point in a personal Facebook post: "...my tall, dark, and handsome husband. He's been steadfast through all of this and I truly have no idea how I'd get through it without him. He deserves all the love and thanks and encouragement here, truly, because I'm just in it & don't have a choice: but he chooses it, over and over again. In a million ways, every day, he shows up. ...pour a little out tonight for the poor guy who married the biggest lemon in the bunch, but somehow manages to convince you his favorite food is lemons."
My parents. They waited around for the first surgery date just like we did, so that they could fly across the country to stay with us for 2.5 weeks and help take care of me afterward. I truly don't know how we would have done it without them. My mom is a handy one to have around in these situations not just because she's a retired nurse, but because you're apparently never too old to need your Mom when you don't feel well.
My friends, including some of you who might be reading this. The love, support, caring, and endless and thoughtful cards, gifts, jokes, packages, texts, and a million little things I got to make my recovery days brighter cannot be described. You were all my sunshine on a cloudy day.
13. Whose behavior didn't merit celebration?
14. Where did most your money go?
Same as last year: Well it’s boring, but it’s life: Bills. A mortgage. You know. All that stuff your 15 year old self would roll her eyes at heartily.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Going back to the ranch in Arizona that we visited last summer. Getting to see some familiar faces when we were there. Our friends from England coming to visit at the end of the year and traveling to wine country with them. Having a life-sized cardboard cutout of Kate Middleton show up on my doorstep thanks to a good friend who gets me. Having jaw surgery, finally! Learning to row (which also made me really, really, really nervous). Being invited to become a member of my rowing club after rowing there for a while. Seeing my baby niece, holding her, rocking her to sleep, and basically every tiny thing she does because she is scientifically proven to be the best baby in the universe, obviously. Getting to chew all the things again after weeks and weeks (12 total) of a liquid diet. Not having my mouth banded shut. Being able to speak via my mouth and not a white board.
16. What songs will always remind you of 2015?
HELLO. It's me.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier, same, same.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Read! Reading more is a big goal of mine in 2016. I didn't come close to my goal of 25 books in 2015, but I'm going to blow it out of the water this year. Are you on Goodreads? Let's be friends!
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Live on liquid foods, but I suppose that couldn't be helped.
20. How did you spend Christmas?
With my family, eating too much and laughing tons and enjoying each other and getting the baby to sleep, thus defending my World Champion Baby Whisperer title. (Secret: Get them to lay back and relax with a bottle, then rub their nose like a cat until they're down for the count. Then don't move a muscle and text your cousins to bring you snacks and cocktails. Feel like you have won Christmas, because you have.)
21. Did you fall in love with 2015?
Oof. I am grateful for where it brought me. I can't say I wish to relive it.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Oh, so many! Have you heard of this show called Breaking Bad? It's so good! I bet it's going to be a hit!
PARENTHOOD. The Good Wife. The Great British Breaking Show - we need more seasons, guys!
24. What was/were the best book(s) you read?
25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Have you heard of this British gal called Adele? I think she's going to be big.
(I actually don't know that I discovered any new artists this year.)
26. What did you want and get?
Jaw surgery to happen and be over!
27. What did you want and not get?
Braces to be off! Soon, though.
28. What were your favorite films of 2015?
Wild. This is Where I Leave You. The Way. The Martian. (My yearly movies here.)
29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 34 and like last year, I rode a horse on a dude ranch in Tucson, AZ with my husband and some new friends. I once again rode a horse up and down a mountain and into a canyon, even though I'm afraid of heights. I sat by a pool and read a book and swam and got a massage and shared cake with friends. It was lovely.
30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I think this year was what it needed to be.
31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2014?
Working from home and rowing a lot and having surgeries meant a lot of yoga pants, spandex, and pajamas.
32. What kept you sane?
My husband, my dear friends, twitter, laughter.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
(This is a politics-free zone, just like the holidays and family gatherings should be.)
34. Who did you miss?
As always, my friends and family who are far away.
35. Who was the best new person you met?
I've met so many wonderful people and made so many new friends through rowing. They're a smart, funny, dedicated, hard-working bunch, and no one is there who doesn't want to be there. It has been an absolute highlight of my year.
36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
As I said in yet another personal Facebook post, at the risk of sounding preachy and pardoning the language: "Every day, no matter where we are, we get to choose. We always get to choose. I don't always choose right and I'm not always my best self...But a 'good attitude' isn't something that somehow magically happens to certain people. It's something you get to choose. And just like a bad attitude, it's infectious. So spread that shit EVERYWHERE."
37. What are your goals for 2016?
Books. Tea. Sleep. Vegetables. Yoga. Rowing. Friends. Casual dinner parties. Landing that job as an in-house copywriter for a brand I love in a place that I can learn and grow. Getting my braces off. Having exactly zero surgeries. Having a wonderful, fun year that's challenging in all the right ways.
38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
LOOKS LIKE WE MAAAADE IIITTT!
It was a wild year, friends. And I’m ready for whatever’s next.