- Paid off my student loans, totaling nearly 6 figures over almost ten years, right before my 40th birthday.
- One of my best friends had a much-awaited and adorable baby in December. Baby L is my newest NYC buddy.
- Returned to Senegal, two times!
- Experienced the height of awe-inspiring culture at the Fête du Vodoun in Benin.
- Visited seven new-to-me countries (Togo, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Mozambique, Kenya, Iceland, and Côte d’Ivoire).
- Visited one new-to-me state (Michigan).
- Turned 40 without major depressive incident (this was a real fear/possibility).
- Went to a lot of delightful shows including my second opera ever (Porgy and Bess), a musical (Kinky Boots), theatre (Swan Lake/Loch na hEala), concerts (big: Phil Collins; small: ESG), museum exhibits (Leonard Cohen at the Jewish Museum, Egungun at the Brooklyn Museum, Camp at the Met), new museums (Poster House), and new-to-me museums (Cooper-Hewitt).
- Got in lots of good French practice so my speaking skills didn’t erode too badly.
- Got excited about a documentary project for the first time in a looong time (ultimately it didn’t work out but I now know the fire is still alive, and I needed that confirmation).
- Saw lots of amazing movies in movie theaters, which ranks among my favorite pastimes (new: Atlantics, the Farewell, Booksmart, Letter to the Editor; old: Friday Night, Daisies, Boys N the Hood, Crooklyn).
- Read some wonderful books (Washington Black, Thich Nhat Hanh’s How to Love, The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, very belatedly I know).
- Experienced the mystical magical quirky amazingness of Iceland and stored up months’ worth of peaceful feelings.
- Spent lots of quality time with my niblings and visited my sister and brother-in-law in Portland.
- Solidified some new friendships, caught up in person with friends I hadn’t seen in years, and in general spent lots of quality time with amazing people that I’m thankful to know and love.
- Started running again after an almost yearlong lapse.
- Shit my pants.
- Attempted to pee in a plastic bag, unsuccessfully.
- Spent 45% of the year bouncing around abroad, and it was unexpectedly neither a fun nor a good thing.
- Continued to question life’s meaning and my purpose.
- Panicked about how I am going to fill 25 more years of my working life before retirement.
- Various body parts started to malfunction and I realized that post-40 is just a slow march towards death.
Not sure that anything can really outweigh shitting one’s pants and enduring debilitating existential angst, but on the whole, I feel like the good at least balanced out the bad in 2019. I’ll call that a fairly good year. And I’m aiming for an excellent 2020.
Happy new year! May all your 2020 visions be realized.