Like last year, I’m mercilessly plagiarising from Shauna Reid (see hers at http://www.shaunareid.com/2013/01/2012-review-thingo.html). It’s a great way to figure out where your year went right, and where it went not-so-right, and what to focus on for the year to come. 2013 was relentless, surprising and more than a little surreal, and I’m looking forward to 2014 being a bit less of each, thank you.
1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
I took over as head of a large research programme following the death of a friend. Very, very big shoes to fill, and I’ve spent much of this year trying to re-imagine something already wonderful that didn’t belong to me in a way that’s respectful and doesn’t throw out the baby with the bath water. I’ve been to new countries, sat in the Emirates lounge, spoke in front of a number of senior policy makers a number of times. Lots and lots of new things from a work perspective. From a home perspective…? Still no sky diving, still no international espionage. Still need to work on that.
2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next this year?
Um, still didn’t manage to write resolutions for last year, and with the chaos following A’s death, I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing. But this year, I’m making three big resolutions: 1) this blog, 2) getting healthier and 3) investing something beyond our pensions/the kids’ college funds.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
My friend, Nick, had a little girl. Two dear friends had devastating miscarriages, though, and I feel their losses. I’m crocheting a blanket right now in the hopes that one of them will need it before 2014 is out.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
A, although I would never say I was very close to him. We were friends, though, and I’ve learned a great deal about him this year that I didn’t know before.
5. What countries did you visit?
USA, Australia, Singapore, India, France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Denmark, UAE.
6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked in this one?
Time to breathe and to reflect on everything that’s happened. I’d also like to write a book.
7. What dates from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
22nd November, when I was supposed to be in the States at my grandmother’s 90th birthday party but was instead at a policy event in Delhi, and then 30th November, when my family celebrated my grandmother’s birthday with me there.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Winning another new research contract, hiring several new colleagues (and, now, friends). Creating a ‘buzz’, from what I’ve been told. Getting promoted was pretty cool too.
9. What was your biggest failure?
One of my dearest friends lost his father in April, and I found out about it in November… My friendships have paid the dearest price for the relentlessness of this year. My children haven’t coped very well, either, with all of the travel, and nor has my long-suffering husband. Complaining about a colleague who was trying to undermine me behind his back, which is just as bad.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
11. What was the best thing you bought?
The perfect coffee table in a Red Cross shop for £30. And my kindle for off-line reading.
12. Where did most of your money go?
Interest and my children.
13. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Almost everything to do with this new research programme, but especially the chance to work with the loveliest team ever. Going to Australia. My sister’s first book selling fantastically well. Getting an assistant. Really, really excited about the last one!
Watching my husband up on stage with Gabby Young and Other Animals at my kids’ first ever live show was pretty cool too. It was only for a few minutes, but it’s a memory we’ll have for a long, long time.
14. What song will always remind you of this year?
Hmm…I don’t feel like I’ve listened to a lot of new music this year. I’ve subscribed to Rdio, and I’ve been listening to a lot of older music. Lots of Eagles in my office.
15. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?
Happier. Grateful. Blessed.
b) thinner or fatter?
Neither. I’m exactly the same as I was this time last year. Which is depressing and definitely needs to be remedied!
c) richer or poorer?
Richer, but only marginally. Need to get serious about saving.
16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing for pleasure. Spending time with friends. Being in the moment with my kids. Sex.
17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Up to a point, travelling. Too much of it all bunched together with no time to breathe.
18. How did you spend Christmas?
At home, as usual, and really chilled out.
19. Did you fall in love this year?
20. What was your favorite TV program?
Luther on Netflix and on flights. Borgen. The Vikings.
21. What was the best book you read?
Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent. Susan Cain’s Quiet. Joyce Maynard’s The Good Daughters. Graham Alcott’s Productivity Ninja. Lily Baldwin’s To Bewitch a Highlander (shameless plug for my sister’s book!).
22. What was your favorite film of this year?
Watching Pacific Rim in Imax 3-D with my 9 year old son was a real experience. Like being hit with a wall of sound. ‘Did you enjoy that?’ I asked him. ‘Hmm…on a scale of 1 to 10, I would give that A MILLION!’.
23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I was 41. I was in the States with my own family for the first time in a long time. My parents made a great dinner, and all of my siblings came over. I spent much of it consoling one of my brothers who has gone through a rough divorce though. Come si, comme sa.
24. What kept you sane?
Sauvignon blanc and cups of tea with good friends.
25. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
At the risk of sounding very shallow, Travis Fimmel from Vikings. Kind of hard not to growl a little bit when he’s on screen.
26. Who did you miss?
My sister. Always my sister.
27. Who was the best new person you met?
The manager of my new research programme, Heather. I’m not sure I could love her any more if she actually was my sister.