I've said before that I don't make New Year's resolutions, and I don't and I didn't. I think change has to be gradual and built up to, not declared and seized by the throat. At least I believe that is the case if you want the changes to actually stick.
Depending on how you look at time, I'm either "only 44" or "already 44", and I've learned from my own life that change, particularly internal personal change, is a long, difficult and slow road. I'm not the person I was when I was 26 or 30, but I'm probably pretty much the same person I was last year. The only question is whether I've inched ahead over the last year or crept back. I'd say that in most ways I've inched ahead.
On a personal level, 2008 was, by and large, a very good year. Nothing spectacularly bad happened and that probably makes us rare compared to a lot of people who had a very bad year, particularly economically-speaking. Nothing spectacularly good happened either, but if I ask myself some important questions about personal growth, I'd say it was certainly an improvement over the previous year. Those questions mainly would be about whether I was spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually richer this year compared to the person I was in previous years, and I believe I can say yes on all three counts. By no means am I perfect, but I think I'm better than before on these points. I ask about these points because I think they're the only ones that can possibly be carried with me after this life has ended, if anything can be carried and if there is anything after this.
On a more concrete note, I will leave you with my very first meme. I have avoided memes in the past, yet I enjoy reading the replies others give in them. I guess it's simply the idea of interviewing myself rather than writing out what I have to say which has made me resist, but I'll say that I'll give that little emotional barrier up this year.
This was most recently pinched from Helen, but I've seen it on many other bloggers sites recently as well. I'd enjoy seeing this on everyone's site if they have the time or inclination to do it:
1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before?
Visit a Japanese shrine on New Year's Day.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I don't make resolutions.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No, and I'm pretty sure they're all happy about that given their respective ages and situations.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
5. What countries did you visit?
None. I didn't even leave my neighborhood last year.
6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008?
Better health. More free time.
7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 4, 2008 - the day Obama was elected.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Managing to cook most everyday rather than ordering take out food or delivery once a week as had become a bad habit of ours.
9. What was your biggest failure?
Being too dependent on my husband for the vast majority of my happiness.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
A new and very cheap PC a month before my old one died.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My husband's. He has the patience of a saint and rock solid emotional stability.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
The press and media, who have seemed to delight in spreading as much gloom and doom as possible and lowered their standards steadily.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent and food.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The announcement of Diablo 3.
16. What song will always remind you of 2008?
None, as I don't listen to music.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder
About the same.
ii. thinner or fatter?
About the same. (You can tell a woman created this meme by the presence of this question.)
iii. richer or poorer?
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Reading the Internet.
20. How will you be spending Christmas?
I worked and knew I'd be working.
22. Did you fall in love in 2008?
I'm always in love with my husband. This never changes.
23. How many one-night stands?
Now I can tell this was written by a single woman. :-p Not applicable.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
The Adventures of Robin Hood from 1955, which I discovered late this year.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
26. What was the best book you read?
Walking Through Walls by Philip Smith
27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
28. What did you want and get?
Kindness, compassion, and friendship
29. What did you want and not get?
30. What were your favorite films of this year?
No new films really jumped out at me.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I don't remember well, but I think I was just lazy and had my husband do everything.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A new and healthy body.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008?
I could care less about fashion (and this is the third sign that this meme was written by a woman).
34. What kept you sane?
My husband, sister, and friend, Shawn.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Oh, please. (Now I wonder if this meme was written by a 15-year-old girl.)
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
I've spent most of my year trying not to get too stirred up politically, but I'd say that the lack of adequate welfare policies to assist the poor, homeless and those suffering job losses in several major developed countries has troubled me on and off all year.
37. Who did you miss?
My former boss, Darryl.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
One of my new students who is fun to discuss a variety of topics with.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008.
That death comes as a surprise no matter how old you or those around you are. No one leaves this existence happily of their own volition.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
This is tough since I don't listen to music anymore.