Wednesday, December 12, 2018

End of Year Self-Reflection Questions

I found this list at this site and thought this was one of the more thoughtful reflections about the year was (almost). I am thinking about these and may post some of those in future posts.
  1. What was a new discovery you made this year?  What did you discover that you loved?  Your answer could be anything like a new recipe, a podcast, or you joined a gym and found you really liked it.
  2. What was one of the biggest pleasant surprises you experienced during the year? For instance, you were able to pick up a skill that you doubted your ability to master, you were dreading going to a conference but it was really good, or you were sad when your boss left for a new job but their replacement turned out to be great.
  3. What achievement are you most proud of from this year?  (If you find it hard to recall, try thinking back to each season of the year. For instance, what did you achieve during spring, summer, fall?  You can go with your first instinct rather than attempting to recall the perfect answer.)
  4. What was your favorite purchase of the year and why?  Mine was my robot vacuum cleaner!
  5. What was a new habit or routine you created this year that has improved your efficiency at home or work?  This can be really small.  For example, I got into a good habit of charging my laptop at night and every time I go out so that, whenever I'm using it, I don't need to be attached to the cord.
  6. What did you face head on this year rather than avoiding, such as you dealt with credit card debt or a difficult conversation?  Again, your example could be something very small.
  7. What did you ask for help with this year where you're glad you did?
  8. What relationship was the biggest positive surprise to you this year?  For example, you developed a closer relationship with a colleague you hadn't previously been close to, or a cousin you don't know well was at your family thanksgiving and you really enjoyed talking to them.  Perhaps someone you don't know very well was very supportive or encouraging of you, even if they might not even be aware their actions were important to you.
  9. Who do you need to thank for their role in your life this year?
  10. What's an aspect of self-regulation you've gotten better at this year?  Your answer could be anything from going to bed earlier, using moisturizer, putting your appointments on your calendar so you don't forget, or eating more vegetables.
  11. What's a goal you gave up on this year, and you're glad you did that because objectively it wasn't your highest priority. 
  12. What's a skill you have gained confidence with this year?  Your answer could be related to technology, home maintenance, cooking, work, or anything you want.
  13. What simple pleasures have you especially enjoyed this year?
  14. What was a goal for the year that you followed through on, or partially followed through on?
  15. What's a type of technology you've integrated into your life this year and it's working out well for you?  You might feel that technology doesn't always benefit you, but try learning from your successes.  Use this self-knowledge to give you the confidence to curb ways in which technology isn't serving you in your life.
  16. What did you change your mind about this year?
  17. What did you try that didn't work out, but the process of trying it moved your thinking forward in a helpful way?
  18. How did your self-perception change this year?  In what ways have you started to see yourself more positively than you did previously?  For example, you've realized you've got inner strength or a capacity to cope that you didn't realize you had.
  19. What's a thinking bias you've become aware of this year?  For instance, you've become aware that you overcomplicate decisions, and this self-knowledge has been helpful.
  20. How has what you enjoy shifted this year?  For instance, you're enjoying staying home more and going out or traveling less.

Monday, December 3, 2018

When Mother Comes to Visit

My mom is visiting. It's becoming a tradition that when she visits I plan a short trip somewhere fun and frivolous. Last year it was Universal in Orlando. This year we are in Los Angeles, a city that was the first city in this country that I visited. I was sick at the time and bewildered by the enormity and how to navigate my way around. But I remember the trip to Universal and Disneyland as being marvelous, if only because of how far removed they were from anything real. Between that memory and S's gushing praise for the city from a recent visit, the plan was solidified.

Getting her from Chicago was not a nightmare even though our original flight was delayed enough for us to have missed our connecting flight and so Southwest rebooked us onto a direct flight with no fuss. Our suitcase didn't arrive with us and honestly it was remarkable how easily they found it and delivered it to our hotel. I was both grateful and also unperturbed by this -- losing a suitcase is not fun but it is also not the worst thing that could happen. As long as all lives and limbs are intact, it could always have been worse.

Yesterday was spent taking a bus tour of..well not just LA but also surrounding cities. Griffith Observatory has to be my favorite and if I ever come back, I plan to hike the trails there. Everything else, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, Rodeo Drive, while entertaining was so far removed from what I think of as reality that it didn't really interest me much. Learning about the likes of Petra Ecclestone is hardly a way to feel good about yourself and I am working hard to avoid comparisons these days, I find that I am leaning too easily into the dissatisfaction that comes with them. Hollywood boulevard was lively and had stores we could enter knowing that of something catches our eye, we could buy it (Marshall's, Forever 21). It was also good for souvenirs (I'm a sucker for a whimsical magnet).

I type this from a 30 minute long queue for a Matterhorn ride that better be something special because this is an interminable line, further disenchanting me from this fairytale world.

My favorite part so far is the fact that my mom and I both enjoy the downtime at the end of a day full of touristy activities. Being able to buy my own wine (as opposed to the exorbitant hotel prices) also makes my holiday better.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Almost October

 Last week was oddly stressful. There was a surprise meeting with no details and that is never a good sign. This however was a an appreciation meeting, all the more reason for people to use the details section of a calendar invite but oh well.

I do puzzles almost each night, a little bit, it works very well for my brain. This is a 1000 (minus one lost piece) puzzle that I just finished. After this, the big pieces of a 500 piece puzzles seems inelegant and bulky.

I visited a Little Friendly Library (actually two) for the first time. I love the idea, the selections were...meh but that means zilch. I am glad they exist. I have been reading a lot more lately, partly because I bike to the local library some weekends (my bike rides are more fun if I have a purpose such as groceries or books)

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Septembers/End of Summer

The days are flying by, so sometimes I let the weekends crawl and it feels glorious except when I remember the entirely uncertain premise my life is built on here and all the things that remain undone or unlisted or un-imagined. Also I got a matching night suit set and it makes me feel much more grown up. As does the weight, a general sense of worry about the little family I have, the dawning realization the different forms drifting can take. This may not be my last city stop in life and that is, as the kids would say, totes okay, but that won't stop me from slowing down just so I can remember some moments.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

And suddenly its August

Chicago evenings

It has been a while hasn't it? To be fair, between April and now, things have been very uncertain (more so than in general) and so I was mostly focused on existing, ping ponging between stress and coping, stress and coping, mostly unhealthy ways of the latter. I honestly don't remember much until early July for what it is worth, although I know a lot happened. I was out at a park with a friend today and this was around 8:30 pm -- the days are getting shorter and summers are coming to an end. My fourth summer in Chicago, if you can believe it. I can hardly believe it.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

On Languages

This a piece I wrote a long time ago and I think it never got published anywhere (not as far as I can remember) so here it is:

Learn English! Learn Spanish! Learn French!
Brightly colored billboards dot highways, city streets, town alleys all over the world. They promise you a job, a better life, the entire world in an unreasonable span of time. Their lurid colors and bold fonts mask the dismalness of your life and firmly position language as your exit path to the promised land. Language, not for love, not for life, but to escape.

I’ve always loved languages, because they allow me to lament. To lament the loss that was given to me in my childhood and has carried me all the way to my adulthood. This is the companion of a lifetime, more constant than any loves and hatreds. At this point in my life I have lost an entire country and several cities and the counting hasn’t stopped. Of course, I must not be unfair. If I look at the scorecard, there are countless additions as well. Researchers claim that women have a richer vocabulary than men; feel free to blame my voraciousness on that. All I ask is that you allow me to put you in the category of people who need gender binaries to navigate the world. A stereotype for a stereotype is only fair.

Friday, March 30, 2018


One of my all time favorite poems is One Art by Elizabeth Bishop. Every time I read it, the words just pull me in a little bit more. How could they not?

"The art of losing isn’t hard to master;

so many things seem filled with the intent

to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster

of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.

The art of losing isn’t hard to master."

I think about these lines a lot, especially in the past year or so. A lot has been lost and most of it never really belonged to me. When I am feeling particularly self-indulgent, I tell myself, what have I not lost? I have lost a parent who I never really felt I had. Now in my early thirties I feel that I have lost my youthfulness, whatever that ephemeral term meant. I have also lost my metabolism and that is a pretty concrete concept.