1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?
When the judge said: “You are now officially a family.”
2. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?
Forgiving Jessica (and myself)
3. What was an unexpected joy this past year?
Getting paid to be a newspaper journalist again.
4. What was an unexpected obstacle?
Trying to be a paid newspaper journalist again, and also still a full-time, 100 percent parent.
5. Pick three words to describe this past year.
“Turn the corner.”
6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your year—don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you. (If you’re not married, have fun guessing the answers from other friends and family, or just skip this question.)
“You’re good enough!!”
7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their year—again, without asking.
“No more corporation!”
8. What were the best books you read this year?
“The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman; “West with the Night” by Beryl Markham… others I can’t remember at the moment.
9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?
My mom, my sisters, my dad, Colin. Certain friends. JD.
10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?
Realizing that it was ok to say to my Mom “Hey, can you please finally just accept that this is how I am?” and having her say: “OH! OK.”
11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?
I felt like I went backwards emotionally this year. But it’s all cyclical. I’m probably wrong about that anyway. Everyone says I’m too hard on myself.
12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?
I really miss certain parts of the Catholic church and the nuns that raised me. I am happy to see this new pope. I am not sure what that means.
13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?
I fell and damaged my knee and my toe not long after running two 5ks. I haven’t gotten back into the swing of running, but I found physical therapy to be amazing and enlightening.
14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?
It’s been a more introverted year… more layers and complexity in my family relationships. Confusion in my friendships.
15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?The kids are the perfect age right now… and I am writing again!
16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?
Writing around kids and their schedule of course! Valuing myself equally against my partner as a working person.
17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
Panicking! I tend to panic and freak out and calm down and then fix things. That’s the pattern. I think I need a new pattern.
18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Two things: 1) camping at Pres’quile with the other Phillipses, which meant just utterly switching off, and being outside, and being with people who were very amazing and balanced; and 2) being much more organized and calm about the birthday/holiday gauntlet.
19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?
I keep figuring out again and again that people are just big kids, and when they get hurt or angry, what you are seeing is their kid-fear arising to the surface: the vulnerability of the kid feeling exposed and alone on the playground.
20. Create a phrase or statement that describes this past year for you.
If something is overwhelming to me, I ask: do I really want or need to do it, or keep it. If not, it’s like instantly losing 25 pounds.