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the end of the beginning (part one).

26 December 2011

(photo by me, of the boy in a cemetary earlier this year)


“Everybody’s coming back to take stock of their lives. You know what I say? Leave your livestock alone.”

— Debi, Grosse Pointe Blank


I like reflecting on the year at the end of it, but one thing usually stops me dead in my tracks.  Okay two things: one, my severe holiday-induced laziness that only has food-related exceptions.

And the second—where do you start without it devolving into a list of the things I did this year, not the most important part of truly reflection?

I like the way that Mary Schmich, a columnist with the Chicago Tribune, does it.  She publishes (or used to) something about reflection each new years eve, and had a particularly good guide for reflecting on the year in 2007.   Here’s what Mary says about reflecting (from a 2007 column that I unfortunately can’t find the link to; emphasis mine):

When you consciously review your year, you may notice how little you noticed it as it whizzed past. To review is to re-view. To rewind, pause, look again. And in looking again, to see more clearly.

You may be astonished by how much happened. And how much didn’t. By how much has changed. And how much hasn’t. You may laugh or sigh to notice that your life remains its usual jumble of contradictions.

Wise, I think.  She should know, having delivered a book-worthy commencement address that spawned a really obnoxious song that rose to the charts in the 90’s by the director of the romeo+juliet remake.

I did do this once, in 2008, but haven’t since because, well, I was engrossed in other important things like wedding planning, finishing college, and figuring out why my insides insisted on going on the outside every morning of my new career.  Yeah, those things tend to take over your life, I tell you.  

And I like that it’s just that — life remains its usual jumble of contradictions, something that can’t be summed up in a color or word of the year.  I’ll be back towards the end of the week with my 2011 reflections, using her guide below, but I wanted to share it with you in case you wanted to join me.  (I’ll also come back to discuss beginning of the year non-resolution resolutions in part two, which is just the other side of the reflection coin).  If you do (please join me!) link back to it in a comment or email it to me.  Or, if you’re the offline journaling type, give me a highlight in the comments.  Happy nostalging*, all.


*nostalge = totally made up word


In 2011, I gained
I lost
I stopped
I started
I was hugely satisfied by
And frustrated by
I am so embarrassed that I
Once again, I
Once again, I did not
The biggest physical difference between me last December and this December is
The biggest psychological difference between me last December and this December is
I loved spending time
Why did I spend even two minutes ___ ?
I should have spent more time
I regret buying
I will never regret buying ————- even though with that money I could have bought ———.
I —————————————————- way too much.
I didn’t ————————————————— enough.
—————————————————- drove me crazy.
Was ———————- crazier than ever last year? Or was it me?
The most relaxing place I went was
I feel so ————————- when I write that down.
Why did I go to —————————————————?
The best thing I did for someone else was
The best thing I did for myself was
The best thing someone did for me was
The one thing I’d like to do again, but do it better, is


3 Comments leave one →
  1. 29 December 2011 9:21 pm

    I write a Conclusion to a Year every year and have since I was sixteen. I used to go back each year and read the previous year. I stopped that, really when I switched computers and the previous years were on disc, but all the same, it was a good transition not always looking back. I missed last year, but continue on this year. I’m considering compiling these and publishing at some milestone year…fifteen years? Twenty? Ten?

  2. 8 January 2012 9:21 pm

    totally great… I am working on this right now for my bloggy blog! I will post up when I’m done.


  1. i’m trading in my resolutions. « sara, darling.

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