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  • Writer's pictureSarah Schreck

2021 In Review

This lovely list of questions has been egregiously stolen from one of my favorite professors, Aaron.

1. What did you do in 2021 that you'd never done before?

Starting off on a somber note, I lost a close friend for the first time this year. It came as a surprise, but also a wake-up call about the value of our days.

2. Did you keep your new year's resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I'm not sure if I made too many resolutions. This year, I did a year review for the first time, with the guidance of Tim Ferris and muchellb. I vaguely recall wanting to be gentler to myself this year, and to generally take it easier. If that's true, I definitley didn't keep the resolution, but am in a much better place to approach it this year.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No one super close that I recall, but it's wild to see old friends on Facebook become parents.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. I lost a professor who vastly improved and changed my life, Mark Brotherton, and a friend from grad school named Sarah to her battle with cancer. These were the first major losses outside of family I've ever faced, and it's taught me a lot about what it means to connect with important people. I miss them dearly.

5. What countries did you visit?

No new countries! But I did visit Montauk, New York, more than I ever thought I would.

6. What would you like to have in 2022 that you lacked in 2021?

Free, unstructured, leisure time with friends.

7. What dates from 2021 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

I don't remember a single date-date besides maybe September 27th. My dear friends from college were married that day, and my ex was their best man. Attending with our current significant others and other dear mutual friends, it was a perfect final chapter on my longest relationship, and an even better first chapter for my friends' marriage.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Little ones. The first one that comes to mind was attending the most yoga classes at my studio for the month of June, which won me a free month membership. I performed live at a house party, learned how to surf, and went back to dance classes; So in short, I pressed my confidence forward significantly.

9. What was your biggest failure? I think I dumped copious amounts of time into a relationship instead of friends. (Also stayed up too late, slept in too late, and spent a bit too much money.)

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? The most yet! I had my first legitimate surgery, and went to the ER for the first time. Recovered well, albeit slowly. Had the best support.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Probably my iPad. It makes me feel like I have my life together. (I also do plenty of work on it these days.)

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? My boss, Kristen. She has put up with so much these past two years, but continues to be a gorgeous, supportive badass.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? Vaguely, those who make decisions that compromise our health in this time of lingering sickness. Also, various people whose partners share stories on TikTok about them being awful. Videos of people being awful on TikTok. A big mood-killer. I should get off of TikTok more often.

14. Where did most of your money go? Relationship spending. Hosted a great surprise party, though.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? Yoga Teacher Training! I will be embarking on that next year. Also poledancing, rock climbing, and meeting my super cool half-sis, Jess.

16. What song will always remind you of 2021? I am picking the Wellerman only because my partner will not stop playing it, and it is part of a very happy summer memory. Otherwise, I'd either say Lorde's Solar Power (also a summer vibe) or dodie's Hate Myself (seeing her in February!).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

a) happier or sadder? Happier.

b) thinner or fatter? Thinner, but losing muscle.

c) richer or poorer? Poorer, but better invested.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Relaxed, especially with friends. Cooked, eaten, and lifted more weight. Volunteering and reading.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Crying, spending, and sleeping in.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

Spent it at home with my family and reconnecting with old friends. Made a very concerted effort to help out around the house more, and it's paid off, though I'm running behind on some deadlines. Rededicated myself to learning Japanese, have some books for studying, and some character design work to keep me busy.

21. Did you fall in love in 2021?

Yes? I fell in love in 2020, but fell out of the honeymoon phase in 2021. Still very strong.

22. How many one-night stands?

Not sure if this question will ever quite suit my style. Going to leave that at zero.

23. What was your favorite TV program?

Amphibia and Mystery Incorporated. Jack has started me on New Girl, Community, and a handful more.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?


25. What was the best book you read?

Really ought to read a whole lot more, didn't quite adore anything I did read. In the middle of a few.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Leadly's "Love Me Like That," but my friends were more impressed by The Honeybrains.

27. What was the best piece of theatre you saw?

Only saw one piece of theatre, The Magic Flute, my first opera. I felt I should have loved it more - not an opera gal, I fear. Regardless, someone get me to a theatre again.

28. What did you want and get?

A promotion and raise.

29. What did you want and not get?

A cleaner apartment.

30. What was your favorite film of this year?

Possibly King Richard, but I'm sure there were more moving ones as well. Was it Portrait of a Lady on Fire that I watched this year, or 2020??

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

I spent my birthday at a Harvard/Yale tailgate, followed by airbnbs and a goat sanctuary. I turned 26.

32. What new recipes did you make this year?

I honestly don't know. Didn't enjoy my kitchen as much I have previous years. I remember a vegan scallop dish -- and my most popular recipe of all time, this vegan esquites Mexican corn dip. Stole the show at every party.

33. What were your cocktail obsessions?

Didn't drink much, but drank the most in my life in one night on my partner's birthday. Three shots, spread out. Not too daring. More cocktails to come in the new year.

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

More friends and more money - it wouldn't take much of an increase in either of those, just an increase to a level of comfort.

35. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2021?

"I put it on to work out in and it's now 11pm."

36. What kept you sane?

My partner, his dogs, my family, and my beautiful therapist Ashley. By extension, Bowen's Family Systems Therapy. Brilliant stuff.

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

Can't say I really fancied anyone like that, really. Andrew Garfield may come to mind this week, if anything.

38. What political issue stirred you the most?

There is no easy way to answer this question. Partially, I divorced myself from really politically engaging in conversation, just due to a lack of energy. My focus was pointed at DEAI in the arts before, during, and after training with ArtEquity. Perhaps I can hone a meaningful political purpose in 2022.

39. Whom did you miss?

Friends I haven't contacted enough this year. Mark.

40. Who was the best new person you met?

My half-sister Jess, aforementioned!

41. Tell us a valuable life-lesson you learned in 2021:

If you feel like a relationship with someone is a job, you're likely not connecting with them as a self. If you want to learn more about who you are, it's important to connect with people not "as a partner" or "as a daughter" but just as who you are, with no job description.

42. Share an important quotation from 2021:

This Mary Oliver poem really stuck out to me during a Yom Kippur service. It's how I like to wake up:

"Hello, sun in my face. Hello, you who made the morning and spread it over the fields and into the faces of the tulips and the nodding morning glories, and into the windows of, even, the miserable and the crotchety – best preacher that ever was, dear star, that just happens to be where you are in the universe to keep us from ever-darkness, to ease us with warm touching, to hold us in the great hands of light – good morning, good morning, good morning. Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.”

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