Monday, December 31, 2012

Year in Review: 20 Questions for a New Year’s Eve Reflection

I found these questions on

1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
If you've been following my plight, you know that it's kind of hard to identify much good that's happened, but I'll go with "being home with my family". I'd been living in a different state for almost a decade, and I'd missed daily contact with everyone. We were a tight unit throughout our whole childhoods, just the five of us, and it's nice to have some of that back. I didn't even realize how much I missed knowing my sister's kids, for instance!

2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
The flip side of the previous statement--"moving home as an independent adult". I'd gotten used to fending for myself, to living on my own, being my own person with my own life, and being forced, after a year of being out of work and being a burden on my best friend, to come back to live with my parents was hard. It's still hard. Not because we don't get along, but because almost everything I own is locked away in storage three states away and I can't afford to pay to bring it up here, because I have almost no income, because I went from having a whole house of my own to having a room and a bunch of shared space. It's crazy.

3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
How much fun it is to make my own nail polish! A year ago, I didn't even know you could make your own, and now I have a business where I get to make maybe a dozen new colors and finishes a month!

4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Depression--I didn't realize just how much these life changes were going to depress me and literally weigh me down. I've been next to useless more times in the second half of this year than I have been in ages.

5. Pick three words to describe 2012.
Sucky. Challenging. Poor.

6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2011 (don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).
I don't have a spouse, but I think an outside observer might pick: Overwhelmed. Choiceless. Annoyed.

7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2011 (again, without asking).
Again, no spouse, not even someone who could stand in for one. So I'm just not going to answer this one.

8. What were the best books you read this year?
Oh, man, picking and choosing! I listed all the books I read on the Writing Blog; my favs were:
All in all, a pretty good book-year!

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
Before I moved:
  • H and A, A and L
Since I moved:
  • Mom and Dad, Bro, Sis, and A1 and A2 and R

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Again, living in a new state, where I know almost no one outside of family, where I don't know the names of the plants or what they can be used for, where I don't know what to plant or when, or what to expect from the weather. It's been very strange.

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I've been learning a lot about what it takes to stay happy and non-depressed, and now to get out of depression when it strikes. I've been learning about reconnecting with family and letting people in again, not being so self-contained. I've been learning about not negating parts of my personality just because other people might think it's weird, which is, really, an ongoing learning experience since I was a kid.

12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to spirituality this year. Or last year. Or, really, much of the year before that. I have been missing the togetherness of having people with similar beliefs around, though, and I've been relearning that I do need to spend more time thinking in terms of spiritual awareness, if not religious stuff. I've subscribed to several emails that send little snippets of spiritual seeking each day, and it's been great having little moments to reflect, even a little, and to remember that I'm not just a brain in a body, I'm also something bigger than the sum of my parts, and I fit into a bigger universe still.

13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
Outward! I've put on so much weight since moving up here--a combo of readily-available junk food, less control over what I eat day to day, and laziness. I did sign up for the gym, and I was going every other day, rain or shine, for three months, but I've since lost the ability to pay for it, and my Bro has mostly decided to let it lapse and he was my workout partner, so I have to find some other way to get exercise in my life. I did learn, however, that I kind of do like working out, if the right sorts of activities are available--the treadmill with a book, primarily, or the elliptical with a TV on. And there's a soothing regularity to counting sets on a weight-machine that I never noticed before.

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
Probably not enough! I'm working on reconnecting, and on finding ways to find new friends--that's one of my goals this year, Find Friends. 

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
When the writing is going well. It was great finishing a rough draft of the novel, a fantastic feeling as all the pieces started to come together and pan out on their own! And as I said before, I love making nail polish, even if sales aren't enough to counteract the cost of supplies yet.

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Staying focused. Working every day, even when I don't want to and the whole world seems determined to annoy me and eat up my time. Revisions--I'm apparently a fast writer and a really slow reviser. Making money! Some day, I want to be able to live off the patchwork income of all my various passions, but I'm so not near that now!

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
I'm trying really hard not to think  in terms of time wasted and time not wasted. I think the days when I'm less productive are symptoms of other issues I should be paying attention to, and so they aren't wasted--they're just unexpectedly diverted.

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Writing. Always writing. If I'm writing, everything is right with the world.

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
I'm a holistic being with lots of different effects from lots of different sources, and I need to come up with ways to deal with myself in all moods and all healths, so that I can keep being creative and productive, even when I don't feel like it.

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2011 for you.
"Could've been a heck of a lot better, but seems to have turned out alright for now."
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