The ends of years are exciting times for someone like me who loves to log, record and plan. The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day I generally devote to gathering materials for the coming year (new planner and notebooks), sorting out my goals and progress lists (I keep a wealth of information stored once in spreadsheets, now in Airtable) and tallying up my media logs (I might miss my yearly book reading goal, but I crushed my film watching one, so we’ll call it square).

I know, however, that not everything can be quantified. Not every piece of progress fits neatly into database tables or numbered lists. So I broke down this year’s overall reflection into months, to pay better attention to the moments in between the numbers. There are still some numbers. I like numbers. But the numbers don’t mean much without context.

January: I started the year in New Orleans, on vacation and unemployed.

open journal page with handwritten words 1 January 2018

I loved New Orleans. So much so that this year it felt natural that I should go back over the holidays. I didn’t go, but I thought about it. I spent a week and a half there and travelled to various parts of the city and ate all the food. New Orleans felt slightly fantastical and yet utterly real.

French Quarter balconies decorated with greenery and red bows

Later in the month, Bright Wall Dark Room published my essay about Lady Bird and mothers and daughters and the names we choose for ourselves.

February: I did some heavy adulting and created a will and trust documents. A strange exercise in contemplating finality, but it feels better being entirely prepared. Also for a period of time I got to refer to having meetings with my “estate laywer,” which was fun. I continued my new job search. I officially started focusing on creative side projects, including learning more about filmmaking and storytelling. I also launched a premium version of my weekly newsletter.

March: My daughter and I travelled where everyone dreams of going in March—Cleveland. There we met a friend and saw Neil Gaiman as he answered questions and read stories and poems to us (and the rest of the audience).

ticket for An Evening with Neil Gaiman at the Playhouse Theater

Towards the end of March, I began a new job as a curriculum writer at Flatiron School. Several months down the road, I can say that this is one of the rare instances in tech when I found a place that seems to accept and support me and where I feel genuinely proud of being a part of the company. Overall, it was a good move.

April, May & June: It was a fairly uneventful spring. I got used to a new job. In April I gave a talk and ran a Code and Cupcakes (beginning coding workshop for mothers and daughters) event at the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City, Iowa. In June I got a new little bumblebee tattoo (by Michelle Wanhala at Pioneer Tattoo).

stylized bee tattoo on inner wrist

July: I turned thirty-seven years old. To celebrate, I took myself to one of my favorite spots: House on the Rock in rural Wisconsin. Esmeralda was indifferent at best about my future, but I will maintain my optimism anyway.

mechanical fortune teller

I also stayed in the (relatively) legendary Don Q Inn which was … an experience.

lunar module themed hotel room

August: August was busy.

I ran my second 5k.

participant race medal

I went on a quick company-mandated trip to a field in England.

sunset over a line of tents in a field

I got a glimpse of London.

view of the Thames from Lambeth Bridge

And then I went on our annual end-of-summer trip to Disney World.

back of a girl's head wearing a rose gold Minnie Mouse ears headband

three young women posted with Gaston from Beauty and the Beast

I also got my motorcycle riding permit.

September & October: Fall was quiet and pleasant. I went to a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room at the wndr museum.

endless mirrored reflections

And I returned to House on the Rock with family and friends in tow, as is now traditional for our Halloween celebrations.

an entranceway shaped like a monster in the House on the Rock

November: I was sick and busy and it took forever to get back on track. Until well into …

December: This hadn’t been a particularly stressful or eventful year, but I was tired in December. I just focused on getting myself back to a routine of exercise and relative health.

I also went to the biggest video game arcade in the US. So I had that going for me.

line of video game machines

A few things more to note (with numbers!):

  • Read 94 books total (so far)
  • Watched 184 films total (so far)
  • Watched 28 films from “greatest films” list
  • Read 17 books about storytelling/writing/filmmaking
  • Volunteered at 2 film festivals
  • Saw 7 theater productions
  • Wrote and sent 45 newsletters
  • Wrote 32 newsletter essays
  • Filled 3.5 journals

two notebooks stacked one with worn corners

And I redeveloped this section of my website to serve as a more regular blog, which is something I first created almost twenty years ago. I abandoned the practice several years ago. It’s nice to be back. It will be even nicer to fill it up over the coming year.