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New Year's Meme 2017

[She lives! Yes, here's a post from me, for the one or two readers I might have left, after more than two months of silence. I'm not sure why I disappeared -- I mean, yes, I was as busy as ever, but that never stops me unless I let it. I'm thinking that maybe therapy has replaced blogging as my emotional outlet, at least for the time being. Still, I can't *not* do a New Year's meme, right?]

So here it is -- a few days late! -- the end-of-2017 edition of that New Year's meme that I've been filling out every year for longer than I can prove (some posts having disappeared in the Purge of Aught-ten). Over the years, I've added one or two prompts to the question set, and I've deleted others for which I could never, ever think of an answer); however, this year I have no new changes to report.

My answers, of course, are new, or at least freshly drafted. Ready? Here goes!

1. What did you do in 2017 that you'd never done before?
My answer to this question won't compare to Number Two Son's (*he* went sky-diving!), but back in January, thanks to an early BSI Weekend, I got to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and all the adjacent decorations, in place and in season. Pretty special.

I also visited the Newseum in Washington for the first time. Can't believe I waited so long. It might be the best museum in D.C., and that is saying something!

2. Did you keep your New Year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Like every year, at the beginning of 2017 I resolved to lose weight ... and, over the past 12 months, I lost 40 pounds, so make that a resounding "yes" to one resolution!

The other pledges I consistently make are to do things like de-clutter the house, cut back on the coffee and processed foods, see more live performances, and try a little harder to get over the Man. The house and the coffee consumption are, sad to say, still issues, but my Weight Watchers regimen did include a lot more fresh & unprocessed food than I had been eating, so I will give myself some credit in that category. Alas, I did not quite attain my live performances goal (a modest "one per month"), either -- like last year, I only managed eight in total. [For the record, they were four terrific B'way plays (all but one now closed), one concert performance of a still-in-development Sherlockian-themed musical, and jazz concerts in D.C., the Baltimore 'burbs, and Annapolis. Gosh, nothing classical!]

And last, but not least -- drumroll -- in September, a full seven years after the Man's devastating departure from my life, I finally started therapy. It seems ridiculous -- I likened it to having one's arm chopped off, applying kludge-y and excruciating but somehow-life-saving first aid at home, spending seven years training oneself to get by clumsily with just one arm, and *then* going to the emergency room -- but what can I say? I couldn't have begun therapy until I was sufficiently un-depressed to feel that there was any hope of healing, and *that* took somewhere in the vicinity of six-and-a-half years to happen. So, while I'm not exactly over him yet -- just like, at 40 pounds down, I'm not exactly svelte yet -- I want to consider the achievement unlocked.

And, yes, I am re-upping all of my same resolutions for 2018, because that's how I do.

3. Did anyone close to you get married?
Nope. But another dear nephew got engaged. Pretty soon all my siblings' children will be married, while mine aren't even dating. :-)

4. Did anyone close to you give birth?

5. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. My grandmother died in the summer, just a few months short of age 100. She was the last of my grandparents, and we were all very sentimental at her passing, but it was hard to be sad, as she'd been failing for a while. And she had a very good run, before that.

6. What countries did you visit?
No place outside the USA. But I sure thought about it harder than ever! ("Oh, Can-- ada!")

7. What would you like to have in 2018 that you lacked in 2017?
Maybe some romance? I've said that before, perhaps not really meaning it, but at this moment I'm more open to the possibility than I've ever been (since the Man left, I mean). Alas, where I am concerned, romance is no more likely than it's ever been.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
It was definitely losing 40 pounds, because thanks to that I regained the full use of my right knee *and* scored the best blood-sugar, cholesterol, and blood-pressure numbers that I've had in years.

9. What was your biggest failure?
Not losing more than 40 pounds. There were many ups and downs on my Weight Watchers journey, and far too many plateaus. I know I could have done better by now, given that I started back in January.

Also, not decluttering the house over the summer, which I had vowed would be one of the last -- if not *the* last -- in which I'd be unemployed.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
No. In fact, as noted, the weight loss really helped my poor right knee. I can take stairs again!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
The Weight Watchers membership (which I buy every month!) probably wins this category.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Besides my own? My sons spent the year lamenting Trump along with me, and Number Two, the gainfully employed one, donated to many worthy causes. That made me proud.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The President's and that of his party in Congress, not to mention the attitude of his supporters.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Possibly to savings! I would have to do the math, but it might have been the biggest line item in my budget.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Too many "really"s for a year with this many Republicans in power. Nothing. Now, if you asked me what I got really, really, really WORRIED about ...

16. Compared to this time last year, are you:
  • happier or sadder? Happier (despite daily sob-fests over the news, thereby proving all those sermons correct: happiness is more than a matter of circumstances).
  • thinner or fatter? Thinner.
  • richer or poorer? About the same.

17. What do you wish you'd done more of?
Exercise, maybe -- I did precisely none, and it might have helped with the weight loss. Also, referring back to those 2017 resolutions, I wish I'd seen more live performancs, because art.

18. What do you wish you'd done less of?
Crying about politics and the state of the country; however, I don't blame myself for this one. The administration keeps giving me things to cry about!

19. How did you spend Christmas?
As is our custom, the boys and I went to my brother's house for brunch with my extended family. I stayed longer than they did, enjoying my great-nephew and then totally vegging out in front of the Hallmark Channel. In the evening, I rejoined the boys at the Man's place, because his mom was there and I wanted to see her. She's been losing her memory, and I feel that we've reached the point where each visit matters. It was weird being in *his* apartment, but we're all adults, I guess.

20. How did you bring in the New Year?
Since the Boy was spending the night with the Man, I was at my parents' house more-or-less watching the "Thin Man" movie marathon on Turner Classic Movies (but mostly dozing). I checked my messages New Year's morning and saw that both Number Three Son and his dad had invited me to come over at some point during the evening before, but I'm kinda glad I missed those texts when they were fresh. Two holidays with the Man in the same week would've been a little too stressful. I still have feelings for him, and he definitely doesn't reciprocate, and a girl can only stand so much.

21. Did you fall in love?
No, but I developed a chaste crush on someone, and it was interesting to note that whatever part of me allows that to happen had not completely rusted over. At the end of last year, I responded to this question by confidently claiming that "I really, truly, honest-to-God don't want to anymore" ... but evidently, that was then and this is now. (See also 7 above.)

22. What was your favorite TV program?
In the autumn, Three and I binge-watched Friday Night Lights, which I absolutely -- sorry, make that abso-freakin'-lutely -- loved. I know, I know, a TV show about high school football in Texas: how many things in that sentence are *not* part of my core sensibility? And yet, I was riveted.

23. What was the best book you read?
It was Man's Search for Meaning, by Viktor Frankl. My counselor assigned it in our first session, and it was such a wonderful discovery. (One doesn't expect to make that many of them at this stage of life, so I relish them when they come.)

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Not sure I made a "greatest" one, but there were some nice things. I was happy to learn that there is a Hot Club jazz ensemble based in Baltimore. Also, the divine Rhiannon Giddens finally made it onto my radar. And so did Chris Thile, the new "Prairie Home Companion" "Live from Here" host.

25. What was your favorite film of this year?
Hmm ... I'm gonna go with The Big Sick, a very good movie that seemed aimed right at my sensibilities (talky, romantic, funny, smart, liberal, sweet). In fact, I'll say that Big Sick was not only my favorite, but also the *best* 2017 film I saw.

Can I give some runner-up love to the Pixar movie, Coco? It was surprisingly affecting -- Up-calibre affecting, IMO.

26. What was your favorite live performance?
The Hot Club of Baltimore concert I attended in August. They and their guest soloist were great, and that music is one of my most favorite types to listen to.

27. What did you want and get?
Lots of opportunities to do my parody song thing to receptive audiences at Sherlockian events. It was a fun year. Oh, and also, finally, to work my way back up to a full adjunct course load at College Number One, who had cut me back after almost forgetting to assign me *any* courses for the Fall of 2016.

28. What did you want and not get?
I'm not sure I should say this on the Internet, but I guess I let some people get into my head and, on the strength of my satisfying Sherlockian year and their kind comments, started to wonder whether I might have a chance of being invited to the BSI dinner. For reasons I shall explain at greater length some other time, I know that it is beyond pointless to let oneself get caught up in such hopes ... and, indeed, I was not invited.

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
It fell on a Thursday, and I worked. But a co-worker brought cake and wine, which was very nice. As for my age, let's just say I pushed even further into my middle 50s.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Since reconciliation with the Man is looking more and more pipe-dream-y, I'm gonna go with a new job. I really would like to have a proper job with a real salary and benefts, but meetings early in the year with a couple people who know about such things revealed that I have no actual qualifications. Adjunct teaching may feel like a curse, but I really ought to regard it as a blessing.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2017?
Ummm, my clothes now fit.

32. What kept you sane?
  • My sons
  • Seven trips to New York (five were only day trips, but still)
  • My Sherlock Holmes activities
  • Therapy
  • Commentary from Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, John Oliver, and new favorite Samatha Bee

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Stephen Colbert is still my chief crush, but I have developed a bit of a girl crush on Samantha Bee. Meanwhile, Seth Meyers is now at the top of my wish list to see live (I have already seen Colbert twice).

34. What political issue stirred you the most?
I'm not sure where to begin. Health care, the environment, guns, the whole national anthem business, the tax bill, Trump's "America first" attitude ... this year was a nightmare for me and those of my persuasion (by which I mean reasonable people). I can no longer deny that the USA is the Nelson Muntz of countries. I hope this isn't the year we become the Montgomery Burns.

On the good side, #MeToo put a tiny, long-overdue dent in the testosterone-dominated culture that my half of the population has suffered under from time immemorial. Hope it's not merely a flash in the pan.

35. Whom did you miss?
President Obama.

36. Who was the best new person you met?
There have been a couple of new Sherlockian friends, but I think my therapist has to take top honors. We aren't pals or anything -- he knows me *way* better than I know him! -- but he has proven wise and helpful and everything I might have wished for in a mental health professional.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2017.
I can't sum it up in an epigram, but in '17 I began to know, existentially rather than just intellectually, that it is possibly to outlast a personal tragedy (though I still totally understand the people who don't).

38. What was your favorite moment of the year?
I went to NYC seven times in 2017, and, given what the place does to and for me, I am sure my best moment was during one of those trips. Very possibly, it was singing my "Hallelujah" parody at a Sherlockian event during BSI Weekend 2017 -- which, yes, I know, puts my highlight in January and means that the rest of the year was technically "all downhill" from it, but there you are.

39. What was your least favorite moment of the year?
Trump's inauguration? In itself, it wasn't that much worse than any other Trump moment, but in my mind it sort of stands for them all.

40. If you could go back in time to any moment of 2017 and change something, what would it be?
Something *I* did? Hmmm ... maybe I'd delete that moment in November when I asked the Man if he was interested in moving back to the house. Why, in a year during which I made such emotional progress, did I feel the need set myself up for disappointment? (It's not like disappointment can't find me without extra help.)

41. What are your plans for 2018?
Possibly taking a trip to California with the boys. Also, losing more weight, spiffing up my house, and replacing my car. Sounds expensive! (Last year I merely mused about joining a book club!)


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Jan. 5th, 2018 11:26 am (UTC)
Aravis is blogging again, and now this. I was so sad that for the first year ever I was posting this and you weren't.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )