January 3, 2022 by 8junebugs
1. What did you do in 2021 that you’d never done before?
2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
Not too well, really. I ended this year more disconnected than I’d like…from work, from my crew, and from myself. I did get the chance to reconnect with my Vermont folks, though.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
We have a teeny tiny neighbor! Okay, he’s growing super fast, but Ari James brought a nice little spark to our corner of the hood.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Complicated question. I lost my last grandparent when Grandpa died in October, but I can’t say we were close. We hadn’t been in a long time. It’s hard to be too sad about his death when he had been failing for so long, but it marks the end of an era.
5. What places did you visit?
We spent spring break trying to explore Mt. Lassen. Not our most successful vacation, but the waterfall excursion was nice.
I returned solo to Vermont for Grandpa’s memorial service. But for the reason, it was a really, really lovely trip.
6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?
Well, I’ll have two COVID-vaccinated kids, which will make a huge difference.
More than anything else, I would like—which is to say, really freaking need—to race my ass off in 2022. I want a fast boat at SDCC. I want medals at Nationals, which will be here in Oakland (deferred from 2020). I want Head of the Charles. To do all of these things I would very much like, I will very much need the space to train appropriately…and that’s the trick, isn’t it?
7. What dates from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Ugh, I don’t even know. Everyone’s vaccination appointments, maybe?
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Still safe from a global pandemic. That’s still the biggie.
9. What was your biggest failure?
I have to say work, I think. I’ve struggled mightily with focus and execution this year and have only recently started to sort out why instead of just “powering through” and then beating myself up about not doing as well as I should. It is incredibly frustrating to be really good at something and somehow not be able to do it reliably.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really. We all had a nasty cold (not COVID, we checked) right before school started and a number of my little issues (carpal tunnel! tennis elbow! metatarsalgia!) are worse than usual, but that’s it.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Grayson, in particular, has come a long way this year. We finally have access to the support he needs at school and he’s settled into himself for the first time in years. We love his school, and they’ve had the chance to love him back, which he sorely needed after his last school.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Alex’s, frankly. Younger siblings pick up all kinds of phrases from older siblings’ exposure to…whatever, and I stopped watching South Park for a reason.
Um, also, we’re still in a pandemic. I’m really fucking tired of managing excess risk because half the country finds their individual desires more compelling than the needs of the overall community.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Hmmm. We have a lot of house changes on deck. I’m looking forward to a reliable drainage system, new floors on the lower level, and a brand new kitchen. These will improve our daily routines IMMENSELY. Technically, that money will be spent in 2022, but it’s promised via contract now, so…definitely the house.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Sending the kids back to in-person school. Getting vaccinated. Seeing my niece solo at her a cappella show in Vermont. Spending some serious quality time with my sis and her mom. Seeing my family in person again. Hiking the mountain I grew up on. Deciding to embrace my love of orange and thread it through the house.
Not a bad list, honestly.
16. What song will always remind you of 2021?
Theme songs from various Star Wars movies and shows. The boys really dove in this year.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier, I think? Still troubled and managing concerns, but happier (yay, puppy!).
b) thinner or fatter? Fatter. I did great with solo training last year. When I needed to switch back to it this year, I didn’t anticipate the things that would throw it off in the last two months. I also fell off my eating habits, which are there more to keep my sensitive tummy from rebelling, but also manage my weight.
c) richer or poorer? Poorer, unless you count the house value, now and about four months from now.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Almost everything, but racing above all. I need fast starts and screaming legs and open water on Marin. In general, though, I wish I’d spent more time outside.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Whew, still true –> Sitting. Hunching. Scowling at a screen. Micro-managing IEP shit.
20. How did you spend Christmas in 2021?
We. Did. NOTHING. With massive storms, the omicron variant, and varied vax statuses among small humans, it seemed wise to keep to ourselves for the most part. Grayson and I went to Costco, I rowed twice, we saw close friends for Christmas Eve…otherwise, I left the house only for medical and dental appointments.
21. Did you fall in love in 2021?
See: PUPPY! Madly in love with that little guy.
22. What was your favorite TV program?
Still loving Star Trek Discovery. We also rewatched The Adventures of Merlin for the first time in 10 years and it’s still a fun and lovely escape.
23. What did you do for your birthday in 2021?
I don’t know, 10k or so? I definitely rowed. I definitely got a massage. The rest is a bit of a blur.
24. What was the best book you read?
Tough one this year. I was incredibly moved by Hanif Abdurraquib’s A Little Devil in America: Notes in Praise of Black Performance. I also tore through Octavia Butler’s Patternist series and Lilith’s Brood series.
25. What did you want and get?
I was able to return to team rowing after my team was fully vaccinated.
26. What did you want and not get?
I wanted to race HOCR. I wanted a strong D boat for SDCC and Nationals, given the bench we’ve got. I wanted to use my sabbatical for east coast travel and family visits instead of spending six weeks decompressing to prevent a proper breakdown.
I also really, really wanted our drainage problem and lower level fixed before the holidays.
27. What was your favorite film of this year?
Did I watch any movies this year?
28. Did you make some new friends this year?
Yes, but my favorite is my puppy. No offense, humans.
29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Less risk management and decision fatigue. I feel like I spent 90% of my time thinking and worrying and deciding but got virtually nothing done.
30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?
I’m just getting more Basic Bitch every year. Graham bought me a pair of Uggs for our anniversary. I don’t even remember why I decided I wanted a pair, except that no thyroid + perimenopause = cold feet. I swear to you, I don’t know why I scoffed at them for so long.
31. What kept you sane?
Perennial answer: Crew.
But I claim no particular level of sanity. I am burnt to a crisp.
32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Amanda Gorman blew my face off with her performance at the Inauguration and I can only read her work in her cadence, which gives me goosebumps.
Also: Dolly. Always Dolly.
33. What political issue stirred you the most?
Mostly the ones that shouldn’t be political issues at all: Whether we should all do our part to stop the spread of a devastating virus, whether we should be honest with children (and ourselves) about the history and current effects of racism in this country… Those sorts of things.
I can tell you this, though: Every time I hear someone scoff at the “low” fatality rate of COVID-19, I think of everyone I know who’s lost someone to it, or lost something of themselves to their experience with it. I will never understand being so cavalier about the suffering of so many.
34. Whom did you miss?
It’s the whom, but also the how: I knew that I missed sitting around kitchen tables with my family and with friends who understand that the kitchen is the heart of a home. I did a lot of that when I was in Vermont and missed it even more when I left.
35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2021.
It was more that I embraced it more fully than learned it: With very few exceptions, everyone does well when they can. When they can’t, what’s in the way?
I’ve worked on relentless forgiveness for a while now, and this is tied to that lens. Initially, it helped shift my perspective on kids and behavior; applied to adults, it softens the edges in a world that feels pretty sharp sometimes.
What if, instead of assuming the world is just full of assholes, we spent more time wondering if too many of us are trying to be heroes in the wrong story? We’re beating our heads against a table of contents we didn’t even write and creating surplus drama by simply not fitting the narrative, and not knowing whether or how to change it.
And…what if we gave everyone a little more space and grace to find or write the story that fit better? What if we saw each other as stories unfolding, instead of trying to immediately slot each other into a dusty old card catalog?
What’s this year’s word?
As each year passes, I learn more about myself; 2022 feels no different. My narrative, I think, will need a bit of an edit to better enable whatever heroism I can manage.