40 questions to ask yourself every year, 2023 ed.
Back at the beginning of December I saw someone on Bear do these, which piqued my interest enough to look up the original post and decide to answer the 40 questions myself. I didn't publish my answers because I didn't really like the questions or my responses after I got through them. After reading (and thoroughly enjoying) Mei's answers today, I figured if the questions are good enough for Mei, they're good enough for me.
What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
I went to therapy for the first time! I'm not sure if it's because I have the wrong therapist or if I'm just a tough customer, but I can't say it's been very helpful. It wasn't an unpleasant experience, though, and I might try again next year with a different therapist.
I also lived in New York (Brooklyn) for an extended period of time, which I enjoyed. I hope I can return soon for longer.
Did you keep your new year’s resolutions?
No. I'm pretty sure I made them and promptly forgot about them like I do each year. I've been trying to finish a book (literally any book) in Spanish for four years running! I also still can't do a split, despite half-wanting to a long time now.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Did anyone close to you die?
Not this year!
What cities/states/countries did you visit?
San Diego, North Carolina, NYC, Boston, Washington DC, Dallas, Seattle, Puerto Rico, Iowa. It's been more than three years since I last left the country, which I find hard to believe.
What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
A full-time job, some peace and quiet, better emotional health. A place of my own.
What date(s) from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
I'm no good with remembering dates and it's probably better that way. If I had to pick maybe March 30 and October 30, the days I broke up with my ex and lost my job, respectively.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Outside of simply making it to the end of the year, probably being kind to my ex in spite of everything. I'm proud that I can still recognize that I love someone even after they wrong me, and that I don't have to say something mean even if I really really want to. (Spoiler alert: saying mean things to get back at someone makes you feel worse, not better. Take the high road for your own sake.)
I'm also very proud of how much I've blogged last year. I never thought I'd be able to write 173,042 words (almost a third of Infinite Jest!) over twelve months, and am excited to see how far I can take this passion project.
What was your biggest failure?
Not being able to hold onto my job. I'm so relieved to finally be out of there, but not being able to leave on my own terms stings like a failure and probably will until I find another one.
What other hardships did you face?
Losing two close friends. One of whom was my language exchange partner and closest remaining confidant.
Did you suffer illness or injury?
I caught COVID-19 twice in January and fainted on a NYC subway platform in July for reasons unbeknownst to me, but other than that, I don't think so.
What was the best thing you bought?
I don't know. No purchases stick out as great ones in my head.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
My close friends who checked up on me and supported me when the going got rough.
Whose behavior made you appalled?
Do I really need to answer this one?
Where did most of your money go?
New York City restaurants and vacations. I'm a cheapskate but spend wantonly when traveling.
What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Not a whole lot, I think. The thing I got most excited for was probably living in New York.
What song will always remind you of this year?
All at Once. Not because I listened to it a lot, but because the lyrics will always remind me of what happened this year. I miss you, Whitney!
Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
I don't want to say sadder, but I'm certainly less happy than I was last year. I weigh about the same and technically have more money, though I am no longer generating income.
What do you wish you’d done more of?
Write. Read. Play the piano.
What do you wish you’d done less of?
Eat. Feel sorry for myself. Stress about work. Cling onto things.
How are you spending the holidays?
Reading, writing, catching up with friends. Trying to mentally prepare myself for the job hunt.
Did you fall in love this year?
Goodness, no. I'm still trying to fall out of love and have no idea how long that will take.
Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
No. (Okay, maybe one individual, but I literally signed an NDA so I can't write their name here. With all due respect, they can go fuck themselves.)
What was your favorite show?
I don't watch many shows. The only one I can remember watching is Physical: 100, so I guess it wins by default.
What was the best book you read?
These Precious Days by Ann Patchett. I would read her grocery lists if she let me.
What was your greatest musical discovery of the year?
Bob Dylan. Blood on the Tracks is a great breakup album, and in my eyes probably the best album ever.
What was your favorite film?
I cannot remember watching any films this year. I'm not really a movie person.
What was your favorite meal?
Khao mun gai (Thai steamed chicken over rice) in Greenwich Village!
What did you want and get?
My freedom from work. Not on my own terms, but I got it, and I'm glad for it.
What did you want and not get?
I was really looking forward to getting to see my ex (back then, still my girlfriend) when she came back to the States after a year away. For obvious reasons, that did not happen.
What did you do on your birthday?
I went to a hospital in a different state to see a specialist and got sick on the way back. It was awful.
What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A proper apology would have been nice, but I'm not holding my breath anymore.
How would you describe your personal fashion this year?
Denim on denim.
What kept you sane?
Writing—on the blog, to pen pals, for myself. Bob Dylan. Big cities. My close friends.
Which celebrity/public figure did you admire the most?
I don't believe in admiring celebrities/public figures and don't follow them much either. George Santos was peak entertainment though.
What political issue stirred you the most?
My knee-jerk response was the Supreme Court overturning Roe, but the internet tells me that was back in 2022! I'm going to go with that anyway. I can't believe we're going backwards out here.
Who did you miss?
José, answer this one for me.
Who was the best new person you met?
I don't like the word 'best' here. (What makes one person better than another, anyway?) That said, I met Kayla back in March and she has made my year a whole lot better. My other blogging friends have been lovely company too, especially Mei, Eve, and Aco. Thanks heaps, you all. ♥︎
What valuable life lesson did you learn this year?
You don't know how something will feel until you have been through it yourself. Even after you have, you still don't know exactly how others feel because everyone is different.
Before getting cheated on I'd read about and listened to people going through the same experiences, but none of it could prepare me for the overwhelming pain, the nightmares, the uncontrollable emotional breakdowns. It gave me a new perspective on grief and mental illness; many people are struggling with things the magnitude of which I cannot even fathom.
Also, you don't really want what you think you want.
What is a quote that sums up your year?
"Everything I've ever let go of has claw marks on it."