2009: Year in Review

Yes, I know. We are already well into 2010 and I’m still reflecting back on last year. But really, I find that this time of year — the whole end of December and most of January — puts me in a very contemplative and reflexive mood. And this year it has taken me a little longer than usual to process all of last year. For me, a very hard one. It was a great year, too, in so many ways. I got to experience my kids as they grew and hear all of the hilarious things that go through a 3(now 4)-year-old’s mind as she processes the world around her. And I got to be there for important milestones in my son’s life — crawling, walking, and now running FULL SPEED. But, as always, along with the amazing there was plenty that was frustratingly challenging, and the answers to my yearly survey will likely reflect some of that, too. Like many other people, when 2009 finally ended I was filled with relief. But man, if I’m not so excited for this next year. Bring it on, 2010. I’m so ready for new challenges and adventures. And I think I’m in a better place to deal with them and experience it all. So without further ado, I wanted to answer this list of questions so I can remember 2009 in all its glory and angst. (If you’re interested, 2008’s answers can be found here.)

1. What did you do in 2009 that you’d never done before? Celebrated the 4th birthday of an awesome little girl and the 1st birthday of a cool little dude.  Joined a CSA and supported our friends’ local farm. Enrolled my daughter in “drop off” school.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? In 2009, I made a goal to take things a bit more seriously with my photography, going further than the couple photo shoots I managed to pull off the year before and to sell even more of my work. And I did! I ended up licensing some of my work through Getty Images and….wait for it…SOLD some. I think before even being flattered, my first emotion was surprise.People are going to buy these?” I thought as I listed the photos. And then they did. And they kept doing it. And so I keep shooting. I also made a resolution to try  ”to be present and aware wherever I am at the moment” (my words from last year). Hmm…I think I struggled with that one. I had a really hard time sometimes just staying present when things started getting crazy, as they do with toddlers and preschoolers, and I think I mentally checked out more often than I’d like to admit. My last resolution was to focus back on myself a little bit, most specifically with health and fitness. And although it took me until the summer to get my act together and start working out again, I did finally get around to it. And you know what? It feels fantastic! Dear lethargic, sleep-deprived Amy: get yourself on an elliptical machine and stop complaining already!

For next year, I think it’s about time I stepped it up a bit. I don’t have specific goals in mind for fitness yet. I do want to lose a few more pounds, but mostly I want to feel strong. I was getting there last year until I made that unwise decision to take December off. But it feels good to start up again with a new perspective. And I’d like to compete in some physical challenges this year, whether that be a race or a team sport or something else equally challenging that makes my lungs bleed and pushes me a little farther than I think I can go. As far as photography goes, I’d like 2010 to be the year where I officially get my business rolling. I’m pretty unofficial right now, with a photo shoot here and there. But 2010 is the year for websites and calendars and proofing options, oh my! I’ve also resolved to take and post a photo every day to get myself back into the habit of shooting and editing (and learning!) on a daily basis. And, most importantly, 2010 is the year for me to back off myself with all the pressure and simply allow myself to enjoy life and my kids and time with my husband.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth? My dear friend Teresa had a beautiful son in May. And in August, my adorable nephew Finlay was born to Jeff and Julie.

4. Did anyone close to you die? My Uncle Bob passed away of colon cancer on January 1, 2009.

5. What countries did you visit? Does Candy Land count? How about Sesame Street? Those are places, right? The only world exploring I did last year was with Dora. I think that will likely be the case for at least a little bit, while the kids are still so little. But soon. Soon! We will see the world again.

6. What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009? A little more gentleness with myself. More motivation. Firmer abs. A toddler who is not constantly trying to find new ways to kill himself. And, as always, more sleep.

7. What dates from 2009 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? Nothing really stands out for me this year. As far as news goes, I wasn’t the greatest at keeping up with current events and trends. But when remembering back on this year, I really loved getting away with Chris for our anniversary to a gorgeous little bed & breakfast on the beach. That was amazing.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? I think finally taking myself seriously as a photographer and beginning to sell my images on Getty. Also, taking control of my wellness–both mental, emotional and physical.

9. What was your biggest failure? Not reaching out sooner when I was in a dark place. Having a short fuse with the people I love.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? Nothing serious. Just a cold or two.

11. What was the best thing you bought? My beloved 24-inch iMac. Yes, 24 inches of monitor goodness. It is bigger than both of my children combined.

Oh, and this for Chris. Awesome.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? There are so many people in my life that inspired me last year. My best friend who has two small kids went back to work full time and is a rock star at balancing it all. A couple close friends with babies took brave steps towards making connections with me and other moms who had gone through it all before. My husband decided after too long of inactivity that he’d dust off his recording equipment and start making music again.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? That balloon boy’s parents, FOX News commentators, those hacks who steal my photos.

14. Where did most of your money go? Rent, groceries, lots of miscellaneous sundry from Target. (I wish I could quit you, Target. You complete me.)

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? I really loved getting back into a fitness routine. And although I sort of fizzled out for all of December, I suffered the consequences that month with stress and poor health and depression again and have quickly jumped back in with both feet. I really like the way I feel when I’m taking care of myself (duh, really?), and I don’t want to be reminded the hard way again that getting my heart pumping and my body sweating is the best drug out there for me.

16. What song will always remind you of 2009? Chris got himself all inspired this year, too. He started writing music again and recording. And he even played live a couple times at an open-mic night. In December, for a Christmas themed open-mic he wrote a song for me. When I hear it forevermore I will think back to the end of this year.

Oh yeah, and I kept hearing this darn song everywhere last year. And now it remains permanently lodged in my brain.

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

a) happier or sadder? Happier, getting there each day.

b) thinner or fatter? Thinner. I heart you, elliptical machine.

c) richer or poorer? Richer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? I wish I’d taken more photos and that the ones I did take didn’t just get lost into the black hole of my computer files. I took a photo a day in 2008 and then sort of put the camera down for a good part of last year. I also wish I was more consistent with blogging. And, of course, sleep. Always more sleep.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? Less wishing. More doing.

20. How did you spend Christmas? Christmas Eve dinner at my brother’s house. Christmas Day at home with my family — some snuggling, some cookies, a big bowl of chili. With Ian being 19-months and just starting to “get it,”and Sophia being as into Santa and Rudolf and Frosty as a kid could get, it was pretty great to see both of my kids experience Christmas and everything leading up to it this year as much as they did. We celebrated with something small each day through our Advent calendar and the build up to the actual day of Christmas was pretty special.

21. Did you fall in love in 2009? I love you, Beatles Rockband.

22. What was your favorite TV program? Battlestar Galactica (R.I.P.), Biggest Loser, Community, Flash Forward, 30 Rock and any show where someone decorated a cake with fondant.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? No.

24. What was the best book you read? I read a lot this past year. It was one of the things that kept me sane. I think I’d choose Love Walked In and Belong to Me, both by Marisa de los Santos.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery? The Beatles. I mean, I was always aware of them as a band. But I really never loved them way they deserved until last year. Again, thank you, Rockband.

26. What did you want and get? To lose some weight. I didn’t lose as much as I wanted, but I did gain a new perspective on where and how fitness fits into my life, which to me is far more valuable than how many pounds I lost. Besides, it’s a whole new year, right? Got to save something to resolve in 2010.

27. What did you want and not get? Oh Nikon D300, you haunt my dreams with your loveliness. Soon we shall be together at last.

28. What was your favorite film of this year? Since I just saw it and remember it most vividly I’d definitely say Sherlock Holmes (and also, I have a toddler and a preschooler so I saw like three movies last year in the theater). We also rented Julie and Julia recently, and although it wasn’t necessarily my favorite of the year it definitely stuck with me as inspiration to start up my daily photo challenge again. I mean, if this woman could cook over 500 of Julia Child’s recipes in a year and blog about it every day, I can pick up my darn camera and take a picture once a day, right?

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? I went to Disneyland with my kids. My best friend and her kids came, too. We had a blast. After that I had dinner with my family. There was ice cream cake involved. Then we went up to Big Bear for the rest of the weekend to skip rocks in the lake and lie around watching movies. I turned 32.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? A maid. Ha, no really it’s probably the same as last year, which would be us being completely debt free. We’re getting there. Slowly, but surely.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2009? I definitely started noticing fashion again last year. It’s been a while since I was not either pregnant or having someone hork milky fluids on me. So once I got past that stage I sort of took on a personal quest to revamp my style. I guess I’d say last year it was a random mix of hippy and preppy (with many days of jeans and a ponytail). But I’m sort of moving this year towards a more vintage, classic look. Ready to start dressing my age, I guess. ;-)

32. What kept you sane? A fantastic husband. Great friends. Working out. A well-timed glass of wine.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? I’m going to go with Robert Downey, Jr., thank you very much.

34. What political issue stirred you the most? The whole healthcare debate. But again, don’t ask me for any fine details. Toddler on the loose, remember?

35. Who did you miss? I missed my best friend when she went back to work full time and got herself a busy life. Scheduling phone dates sucks.

36. Who was the best new person you met? My daughter’s preschool teacher. We really love her and feel like we totally scored in the teacher department. And little nephew Finn. Cool little guy.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2009. To be more gentle with myself. I am really critical when it comes to what I expect of myself. Like an over-demanding boss who needs things now now now and better better better. I expect that of myself, when I would never think to expect that from anyone else. I think I also (re)learned last year to take deep breaths and remember to find joy in the little things.

38. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.  How about a quote instead that I came across again recently. “If you want to be happy, be.” - Leo Tolstoy. It’s not like that is so profound a thought, but it sort of is profound in its simplicity, you know? I think that sums up my year nicely. Or how about the really simple, non-Tolstoy version: I was tired and sad. I got help. I decided to be happy. Life is good.

There you go, 2009. All summed up neat and tidy. It seemed a bit messier as I lived it, but looking back I realize that it was a great year, even with a setback here and there. Here’s to a 2010 filled with inspiration and laughter and deeper friendships and gentleness! And of course enough chocolate to make all of that possible and fun.

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