2015: a retrospective

We are nearly finished with the first month of 2016, and only now am I getting around to  posting my reflection on 2015. It’s cliche to say, but it really has been a whirlwind. I can’t believe how drastically my life has changed in one semester, let alone an entire year.

I spent the last few weeks of 2015 all over the map, both emotionally and geographically. After clawing my way out of statistics hell via 100-page final, I immediately dove into writing a 40,000-word textbook chapter. Fortunately, I was able to do so in my beautiful home state — in Orange County, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. Strikingly, however, I couldn’t wait to return to Texas by the end of break: to the new home I’ve built in a new place with new people. Life is full of surprises, y’all.

This year also marks the 10th (!!!) year in a row that I’ve completed the same survey. Without further ado…

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

My resolutions are the same, three years strong. Does this mean that I haven’t been making enough progress? Or does it mean that my goals are just very long-term? Or maybe that ~ my life is a work in progress ~ ?  W/e.

A. Learn to live moderately.

★☆☆☆ Yup… still working on this one, particularly in the eating/exercising department. I’m heavier than I’ve ever been, but I’m doing my best not to launch into some soul-sucking diet/fitness regimen (or, alternately, no-holds-barred binge-eating) like I have before. I’m also trying to be more honest with the fact that I’ve struggled with body image issues, even when others might’ve thought I was super fit and healthy. I think I’m getting a little better about being real and self-compassionate, but it’s a struggle.

B. Figure out my life’s work.

★★★☆ Making good progress here! I’ve signed away the rest of my 20s to grad school. I’ve bought myself at least five years of time before anyone asks me what the fuck I’m doing with my life. (Despite being here, I still/often feel lost. Maybe this is a feeling that will never go away? Am I always going to feel like I’m winging it? Maybe so.)

2. Did anyone close to you give birth?


3. Did anyone close to you die?


4. What countries did you visit?

Sweden, Thailand, Vietnam, China.

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

Some publications. Real nerdy.

Last year, I asked for “a space I can call my own” (which, to an extent, I do have here in Houston!) and “a new computer” (which I definitely possess).

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

April 15th: when I decided to attend Rice.

July 11th: the end of my trip in Thailand & beginning of my sojourn through Vietnam and China.

7. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Starting graduate school. This entails: disentangling myself from San Francisco and moving halfway across the country.

8. What was your biggest failure?

I wish I’d been better at the whole grad school decision process. I really tore myself up over the whole thing, holding onto offers out of fear and making other students wait on me. I also wonder if I could’ve been more decisive in other arenas of my life. To be fair, though, I’m an incredibly indecisive person; I’m not sure that I could’ve done anything differently, given my circumstances.

9. Did you suffer illness or injury?


10. What was the best thing you bought?

My yoga membership.

Also super glad I splurged on my bed, complete with luxxxurious bamboo sheets and a silk comforter.

11. Whose behavior merited celebration?

I’m just gonna go ahead and say myself. I was a fucking champ this year.

12. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?


13. Where did most of your money go?


Graduate school applications.

Relocation to Houston.

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

Meeting new people in a new city.

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

So, so many. I’ve started heavily using Spotify, creating monthly playlists of songs on heavy rotation. A few of the favs:

Brandi Carlisle – I Belong to You

Yellow Claw ft. Becky G – Wild Mustang

James Bay – Let It Go

J. Cole – Wet Dreamz

Miguel – Do You…

Steve Aoki & Moxie Raia – I Love It When You Cry

Kygo – Stole the Show

Shawn Mendes – Stitches

Childish Gambino – So Into You

and of course… Justin Bieber – Sorry.

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

i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Fatter.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

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

See last year: talking to my mom.

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

Focusing on others. I’ve always known that I am an other-oriented person, but this year really put that part of myself in the spotlight. I’m making a concerted effort to be a little more selfish — to ask how I‘m feeling about things first. It feels very wrong and unnatural for me to not immediately take the temperature of the people around me, but I think it’s important for me to learn how to set up safe boundaries for all my relationships.

19. How did you spend Christmas?

With my family.

20. Did you fall in love?

Um, what is love? (Like, really?)

21. What was your favorite TV program?

Master of None, hands down, with You’re the Worst not far behind. I will always cherish Bachelor in Paradise, which my sister and I binge-watched on our road trip to Texas. And to fill my time: The Great British Baking Show, Mindy Project.

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


23. What was the best book you read?

To be honest, I haven’t had very much time to read. I was on the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but have since abandoned it. I read a good number of self-help books on graduate school, particularly Getting What You Came For (so highly recommended for those considering higher education). I also inhaled A Lover’s Dictionary in the half hour I spent at a bookstore, though technically that was at the very beginning of 2016 and 2015… so nevermind.

24. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Other than rediscovering Bieber, you mean? I was really digging Troye Sivan, Blood Orange, Frank Ocean, and Sevyn Streeter. All about those smooth R&B vibes this year.

25. What did you want and get?

Adventures. So many adventures.

Also, an iPhone 6S. That was pretty cool, too.

26. What did you want and not get?

A better grad student stipend?

27. What was your favorite film of this year?

I can’t even remember what movies I watched this year. In recent memory, I only watched Spectre, and I don’t even remember what happened in it. Maybe Pitch Perfect 2? I also just watched Trainwreck (again, technically in 2016), but fully enjoyed that.

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

I turned 26. I was interviewing and traveling constantly in the winter and spring, but I managed to fit in some dinners with friends between trips. On the actual weekend of, I was a bridesmaid in my high school best friend’s wedding.

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

More decisiveness.

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

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

The difference this year: I’ve ditched the bangs and returned to the perm.

31. What kept you sane?

Writing. Therapy sessions over boba with my friends.

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

Justin Trudeau’s been doing it for me.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

In addition the usual social justice topics (feminism, racism, environmentalism) — the bombings in France hurt a lot.

34. Who did you miss?

My mom.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Like, every friend I’ve made in Houston. I am especially grateful for my gang of three and my incredible cohort.

36. Was this year a good year for you?


37. What was your favorite moment of the year?

Umm… Maybe the day I turned in my statistics final? I was almost literally floating down the hallway.

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

Because I always strive to be honest completing these surveys: the day I realized my long-term relationship was doomed.

39. Where were you when the year began?

At J’s lovely apartment in the Sunset, having soup and cake.

40. Who were you with?

C+B and crew.

41. Where will you be when the year ends?

In LA.

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

My beloved swan squad.

43. Did you break up with anyone?


44. Did you make any new friends?


45. Who are your favorite new friends?

Refer to #35.

46. What was your favorite month?

September! Everything about Houston/grad school was shiny and new. I was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

47. How many different states did you travel to?

A bunch! During my interview circuit: DC, Portland, Pennsylvania, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Michigan. During my road trip: Arizona, New Mexico.

48. Did you lose anybody close to you?

In terms of death, no.

49. How many concerts did you see?

Ratatat. Technically I also heard Taylor Swift singing from outside the concert stadium in Houston. Let’s also not forget the goth punk concert I stumbled into whilst in Sweden.

50. Did you have a favorite concert?

Prob the least concert-like of them all: T. Swift.

51. Did you drink a lot of alcohol?

Definitely upped the consumption once I came to Texas.

52. Did you do a lot of drugs?


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

Other than eating two orders of Wienerschnitzel’s chili cheese fries in one night? I don’t think so.

54. What was the worst lie someone told you?


55. Did you treat somebody badly?

Again, I don’t call my mom very often. Cue guilt.

56. Did somebody treat you badly?


57. What was your proudest moment?

Discovering I’d passed my stats class (!!!).

58. What was your most embarrassing moment?

Umm… Probably handing my phone to someone when I hadn’t thought to clean out my browser history. Amateur hour. That, or maybe a very Seventeen-like moment when I started my period when I was around other people. I’m 26 going on 16.

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

I’m honestly not sure. I think everything played out as it was supposed to, even when parts were incredibly, agonizingly difficult to live through.

60. What are your plans for the new year?

I’m going to try and really understand what I want outta life emotionally. I’m so fucking excited to be navigating this uncharted territory — but I’ll also have to stay super-cognizant of my needs and goals throughout. Get at me, 2016.

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