The 2015 Survey



I’ve done the same survey every year for longer than I’ve had this blog. Past iterations: 2010 // 2011 // 2012 // 2013 // 2014


1. What did you do in 2015 that you’d never done before?
Ran more than five miles; snow skied and enjoyed it; attended a gala; became a blood donor; sold and bought a home on my own; briefly reigned as the Friends Trivia co-champion of Memphis; got on Tinder and dated random strangers; went to Iceland; rode 17 miles in the Midnight Bike Classic; visited the National Civil Rights Museum.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My OneWord365 for 2015 was enough. I have a lot to say about it, but here’s a quick summary: Enough is a concept I’ll be learning and wrestling with for the rest of my life. I did not master it in 2015 – my personal sense of enough-ness is battered and bruised, and while I successfully declared “enough” in a few areas of my life, I made little progress in others. This year was a starting point, if anything. Barring unexpected divine intervention, I’ve chosen a word for 2016, and I WILL talk about that after the new year.

3. Did anyone close to you have a child?
No, and this is so unusual, I feel paranoid I’m forgetting someone.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
My ten-year-old cat, Peach. No one of the human variety.

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2016 that you lacked this year?
Love and purpose.

7. What dates from 2015 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
February 13: my house went on the market. March 21: saw my new home for the first time and knew it was the one; got a cash offer on my old house the same day. April 16: closed on both places and moved. June 5: put Peach down. July 11: my wonderful housewarming party. September 16: brought Rufus home!

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
9. What was your biggest failure?

After some reflection, I think these questions have the same answer: I gave myself amnesty in 2015. I’d hovered around burnout level for most of 2014, so this year, I did what I needed to do to stay above it. After my move in April, I thought I’d be back to full throttle in a month, tops, but it never happened. My current schedule is very relaxed compared to what it’s been for most of my adult life. I’ve gotten better at quitting activities, saying no, and/or staying home without an excuse. Around the time I moved, I also realized I could no longer keep up three “jobs” – my paid full-time job, freelance writing, and regularly writing this blog. Obviously the first one isn’t optional, and it’s also zapping my creative energy for the other things. So my writing has suffered. I hate that, and it’s been detrimental to me, but I’m trying to have faith that it won’t always be this way.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Two bouts of hardcore laryngitis (which I’d never had before), and water trapped in my middle ear for a month after a dive trip. Other than that, I feel great and am thankful for my good health!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Aside from my house, my original Hillary Butler painting; my new living room rug; and a humidifier.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
My mom’s. She spent much of this year going back and forth to Miami to help care for one or both of her parents – usually my grandma, who has been extremely difficult to deal with. She’s also been incredibly supportive and encouraging of my decisions and who I’m becoming. I feel like we’ve learned a lot together this year, and it means everything to know she’s not disappointed in my non-traditional life. And it’s even more special because it wasn’t always this way. I’m thankful for her and our relationship.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
A lot of dudes on Tinder. I’ve had a post about my Tinder experience (and why I quit) sitting in drafts since October, so I won’t elaborate right now, but trust me, Tinder Nightmares is real. Also: Donald Trump.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Travel and concert/event tickets. I’ve made good on my intention to spend more on experiences and less on stuff.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Living in Midtown; going to Iceland; the Tiger Basketball Alumni Game in July; starting to write for Memphis Type History; my (extremely slow) running progress; getting a new cat; MEM’s new direct flight to Ft. Lauderdale; the Tigers going 8-0 in football; my sister and her family moving back to Nashville (which will happen next week!!).

16. What song will always remind you of 2015?
Can’t Feel My Face by The Weeknd. See also: My 2015 Soundtrack (which doesn’t include that song, but I did name my Iceland photo album after it).

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
Happier on a surface level; sadder on a deeper level. About the same. Slightly poorer (but I don’t regret it).

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Yoga. Praying. Writing. Reading (my book count is down).

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

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I’ll spend it here in Memphis with my parents and brother.

21. Did you fall in love in 2015?

22. What concerts did you attend this year?
Third Day; Paramore, Jenny Lewis, Bleachers, Ed Sheeran, Hozier, and St. Vincent at Music Fest; Beck; Switchfoot and NEEDTOBREATHE at Moon River Fest; Rob Thomas; alt-J with San Fermin

23. What was your favorite TV program?
The Mindy Project. Thanks again to Hulu for saving it!!

24. Do you dislike anyone now whom you didn’t dislike this time last year?

25. What was the best book you read?
Top-20 book post is in process.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
alt-J, as I have said before.

27. What did you want and get?
A fresh start in a home that exceeds my expectations. A new healthy, happy cat companion. Lots of fun adventures with people I love. Some dates.

28. What did you want and not get?
A kiss. A boyfriend. Something else important.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
I only had time for the heavy hitters: Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World, and Mockingjay Part 2. All awesome.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 36. I went to church in the morning, and later had dinner with friends on the patio at Slider Inn followed by fun and games at Rec Room.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A sense that my life is meaningful and going somewhere.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2015?
I pared down my wardrobe this year and am continuing to simplify my style. I recently noticed I have a lot more leggings than I used to. I also officially gave up on any non-denim pants ever looking good on me, and discovered Joe’s Honey Fit is my Holy Grail of jeans.

33. What kept you sane?
The support of my friends and family.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I went suddenly and unexpectedly heart-eyes over Ed Sheeran. It must have been “Thinking Out Loud.”

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Is it me, or was 2015 overloaded with passionate political issues? Too many to name? I will say, my political opinions have shifted pretty drastically over the last couple of years. Many times in 2015 I found myself having a strong emotional reaction to events and thinking, “Oh wow. I guess that’s how I feel about that now.” It’s alarming but also kind of exhilarating.

36. Who did you miss?
My siblings. But my sister and her family are about to live much closer!!

37. Who was the best new person you met?
I met many wonderful people this year, but I have to give extra props to my friend Hannah. She came to Memphis at the beginning of June for a weeklong work training. About a month beforehand, she asked if she could stay with me. I barely knew her – I’ve been online friends with her sister for years and she was the one who suggested the whole thing – but I was up for a visitor. Well, when the time came, Hannah arrived to a distraught, weepy hostess and a sick cat’s last days. I felt terrible that she had to witness it all, but her presence and companionship that week were such a comfort to me, and we actually had a great time together. I’ll always be thankful to her for that. PS: during her visit, she had a mutual feelings confession with a longtime friend… and they got engaged last week!

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2015.
Reinvention is not automatically a detour, downfall, or mistake. It’s often not only okay, but also necessary and part of the plan. (Thanks to my pastor and U2 for that one.)

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
Another day older, everyone you knew
All chasing bells and ahead of themselves
And you know you can’t move.
One step forward, step right back
Run for the hills, honey, run for the hills, honey
Run for the hills, don’t look back.

Want to live like an animal, by the skin of your teeth
Put your good face on, you’re fooling no one
You’re a jackrabbit underneath.
One step forward, step right back
Run for the hills, honey, run for the hills, honey
Run for the hills, don’t look back.
– San Fermin

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.

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