2014: a retrospective

Ringing in the new year with a friendly/vicious game of Spoons.

2014: what a year you’ve been.

I’ve traveled internationally and across the country, moved house, picked up hobbies, went to my first baseball game, watched beloved friends get married, and nurtured my community here in San Francisco. Professionally, I’ve juggled part-time classes, published posters, attended conferences, and applied to graduate school. This has been the Year of Being an Adult. Alternate title: Getting Shit Done.

All the while, this little space has been here to bear witness. If nothing else, I can at least say I’ve blogged regularly. I’ve always fancied myself a writer type, but typically fail at journaling of any kind. I’ll write an entry (usually while I’m super pissed off because my mom won’t let me go to the mall and dye my hair!!!) and halfheartedly add another hasty scrawl or two before abandoning the effort completely. Yours Julie has shown me that I can, in fact, be creative and routine simultaneously. Make no mistake — it can feel like an obligation or even work at times. By and large, however, I’m so, so grateful I’ve kept Yours Julie up. As a naturally sentimental person, it fills me with indescribable happiness to look back on previous entries and reflect on where/who I was in life at each moment.

With that said, it’s time for me to complete my annual survey. I’ve been answering the same 60 questions since 2006 (!!) — so I guess that’s another pretty impressive feat. Without further ado…

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

My resolutions for this coming year will be the same as last years’.

A. Learn to live moderately.

★☆☆☆ Umm… definitely still working on this one. I wrote this resolution with my health/fitness habits in mind and, unfortunately, not much changed during 2014. I fell into the same trap of extremes, always in a state of flux rather than one of stability — or even safety (a Big, Serious Post on this soon). This year, I’d really like that to change… right after my high school best friend’s wedding, that is.

B. Figure out my life’s work.

★★☆☆ I did it! I applied to graduate school! Now comes the equally serious business of actually getting in and committing to go somewhere. The decision-making doesn’t stop once I get my foot in the door — there’s still a lot to figure out — but I’m glad I’m on my way.

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?

Yes! Welcome, babies June and Alice.

3. Did anyone close to you die?


4. What countries did you visit?

The Dominican Republic and Mexico (Cabo San Jose).

5. What would you like to have in this coming year that you lacked in the last one?

A space I can call my own. I’d love to have a kitchen, especially, that I can equip, decorate, and make cozy.

A new computer. It sounds silly, but it’s about time to trade in my old MacBook for a shiny new one.

6. What date(s) will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

July 17th, the beginning of my two-week vacation extravaganza.

November 1st, beloved C+B’s wedding in Cabo.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Soul-searching and then deciding. I’ve spent so much of the previous years kicking my wheels, weighing options, going back and forth. This time around, I gave myself actionable goals and a deadline. I talked to as many people as I could, researched and read as much information as possible, and then acted accordingly. For someone who often gets analysis paralysis, that’s a pretty big achievement.

8. What was your biggest failure?

I can nearly repeat 2013’s failure, word-for-word, as 2014’s:

I almost filed away my diet & exercise regimen as a victory, but then realized that my peak fitness had come at the cost of my emotional wellbeing. Despite being in great shape, I continued being unhealthily obsessive over my body — and that became totally apparent when I completely rebounded after reaching my goal weight. (Truth, y’all.)

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?

I wouldn’t say that I “suffered” anything, but I recently discovered that I have a longstanding medical condition.

10. What was the best thing you bought?

Plane tickets.

Although technically I didn’t buy it, I “strongly encouraged” my mom to get a stand mixer. It has proved to be a very worthwhile investment (easily justifying its cost/paying delicious dividends within the few days I was home for the holidays).

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?

My sister’s. Somehow the child formerly known as Xena, Warrior Princess has become a career girl. Fucking fierce.

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

I can’t think of anyone in my personal life.

13. Where did most of your money go?

No-brainer: food. I spent very little on anything else. There used to be a time when I would drop three digits on a nice pair of jeans without hesitation. Now, I find myself in the middle of Costco, deliberating on whether or not I should fork over $30 for Kirkland Signature yoga pants. (I’d much rather put that money towards a nice filet of salmon. Oh my god, am I an old person?)

14. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

My trips to the Dominican Republic, New York, and Cabo.

15. What songs will always remind you of the year?

Chris Staples – Dark Side of the Moon

Jenny Lewis – Just One of the Guys

Magic! – Rude (umm, sorry.)

Mapei – Can’t Wait

Roykssop & Robyn – Monument

Sam Smith – I’m Not the Only One

Son Lux – Easy

Taylor Swift – Blank Space

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

i. happier or sadder? Perhaps a little sadder (please see item ii)
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter. Let’s not get into it right now.
iii. richer or poorer? Richer. I’ve been trying to be better at budgeting my money and squirreling away any savings… because, let’s face it, as a potential graduate student, I won’t be making much of anything.

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

Talking to my mom.

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

Harboring grudges (or, more accurately, grudge).

19. How did you spend Christmas?

Same as always: in the daytime with my family and at night with Jay’s. I love our big families.

20. Did you fall in love?

Six years and counting..!

21. What was your favorite TV program?

This year saw a lot of The Mindy Show, Master Chef, House of Cards, and Top Chef. Okay, fine. I also watched The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and even Bachelor in Paradise religiously (ugh, why, Juan Pablo?!). I’m also in the process of catching up on Mad Men, for which my love springs eternal.

22. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I don’t think so.

23. What was the best book you read?

I read a lot of self-help/career books. One of my favorites: Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School. I’ve been reading the Game of Thrones series in an effort to stay relevant, since I’m incapable of watching the show (too graphic). I also quite enjoyed Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

My girl Becky G.

25. What did you want and get?

Trips overseas and plenty of quality time with the ones I loved. An InstantPot. I also attended multiple White Elephant parties wherein I attempted to win a waffle maker… finally succeeding at the last one of the year.

26. What did you want and not get?

A whole new wardrobe.

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

Boyhood was wonderful. I also quite enjoyed The Grand Budapest Hotel and Maleficent. And um… I’ll confess that Jay and I are obsessed with Pitch Perfect.

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

I joined the quarter century club. In the afternoon, I presented my first lead-author poster at a conference. At night, my wonderful, beautiful friends threw me a surprise birthday party. I also had a lovely brunch and a small dinner with other groups of friends. Finally, because I am truly spoiled, Jay whisked me away on a day trip to Sonoma.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More money, with which I could travel.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in the year?

The same as all the past years: “grandmotherly, comfortable, quirky.”

The only difference is that, when I’m on vacation and/or fitter, I’ll wear shorts. (!)

31. What kept you sane?

Cooking/eating. Writing. Lifting weights. Hiking. My monthly brunch club meetings.

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

Corey Stoll. Is that weird? I hope that’s not weird.

Photo: thewrap.com

33. What political issue stirred you the most?


34. Who did you miss?

My mother, my sister. On another plane of existence, my grandfather.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

So very grateful to have grown closer to so many incredible people. I’m especially happy to have met T+V!

36. Was this year a good year for you?

Yes — even better than the one prior.

37. What was your favorite moment of the year?

My surprise birthday party. I’ve never had such a strong sense of community or belonging — so many people who cared about me in one place. I definitely shed some tears of joy after recovering from the shock.

38. What was your least favorite moment of the year?

There was a period of time, early on in the year, when my body image issues/eating habits grew overwhelming.

39. Where were you when the year began?

At L and S’s apartment.

40. Who were you with?

Friends decked out in sequins and sparkles.

41. Where will you be when the year ends?

At J’s rugged digs.

42. Who will you be with when the year ends?

Friends swaddled in flannel and wool.

43. Did you break up with anyone?


44. Did you make any new friends?


45. Who are your favorite new friends?

Weird question.

46. What was your favorite month?

Predictable… I always enjoy my birth month because (a) it’s all about ~me~ and (b) it’s still early enough in the year that I still have relatively high levels of energy and optimism. However, I really enjoyed my vacation months of July & August this year.

47. How many different states did you travel to?

Two: Portland and New York. Let’s not forget the many trips to Orange County and Russian River I make annually. Also very special: a girls’ trip along the central coast. California, so lovely.

48. Did you lose anybody close to you?


49. How many concerts did you see?

Definitely not as many as the previous year. I attended a few local gigs (my friend E’s band, Jay’s old classmate G’s senior recital), but otherwise really only saw Royksopp and Robyn (at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium) and attended my annual rendezvous with Conor Oberst (at Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, going on 4 years now).

50. Did you have a favorite concert?

Royksopp and Robyn was super fun.

51. Did you drink a lot of alcohol?


52. Did you do a lot of drugs?


53. Did you do anything you are ashamed of this year?

Yes. I hunkered down by the pantry late at night, shoving candy bars in my mouth and praying Jay wouldn’t come out and find me chocolate wasted.

54. What was the worst lie someone told you?

Hmm. I’m not sure.

55. Did you treat somebody badly?

Though I love my family with an intensity unrivaled, I still could’ve been nicer to them. Cue bone-bred Catholic guilt.

56. Did somebody treat you badly?

Not especially. However, I’ve found that it’s important to recognize that some relationships can become toxic, even if both parties love and respect each other. I’ve started really trying to set boundaries/protect my personal space so that I can be a better partner, friend, daughter, sister, etc.

I also feel that my workplace isn’t a place of growth, but that is out of the control of any individual persons — an institutional problem. (Here we have another fine example of why I’m interested in workplace psychology!)

57. What was your proudest moment?

Successfully fermenting my first batch of kombucha!

I also aced three part-time classes while working full-time and going out of town on vacation. Not too shabby, I guess.

58. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Eating shit while ziplining in the Dominican Republic. I tucked my legs in when I really should’ve jack-knifed into the water — thereby cannonballing something awful and earning an enormous, gnarly bruise along my entire backside.

59. If you could go back in time to any moment and change something, what would it be?

I wish I hadn’t taken part-time classes — they weren’t necessary. It’s not a huge loss, since I learned a lot about myself and kept my faculties sharp, but it was money, time, and energy I didn’t need to spend.

60. What are your plans for the new year?

I’m going to embark on my final body recomp journey for my friend’s wedding in March. And then — I hope to finally let go of my body image struggles and focus on what is truly important. I want to squeeze every last drop of joy and interconnectedness I can out of my remaining time here in San Francisco. Beyond that — who knows? If the stars align, I’ll go to grad school in the fall. We’ll have to wait and see. 2015 is going to be a big year…

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