2016 - It's Been Weird

This is my 13th year doing this survey, and it's become an annual tradition I look forward to every year. While 2016 was pretty shitty for the world, it actually wasn't so terrible for me. Kind of weird, kind of transformative, mostly unexpected. 

Let's look back at this shit. 

Past years for reference:


1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I went to Big Sur, Portland, Maui, Malibu, and Santa Barbara. I went on a yoga retreat and held a handstand for more than a few seconds. I took a trapeze class and squat my body weight. I bought a real ass leather jacket. I got three tattoos somewhat spontaneously. I rode in a boat along the Venice canals. I purchased personal training and was willfully unemployed for a few months (RIP my bank account). I started doing contract work. I dated casually. 

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
My 2016 goals:

  • Stop using Jojo as a mental excuse for not working out, going out, being productive, etc. Success. I've definitely made strides this year in terms of not making excuses for myself and holding myself more accountable about going out and getting shit done. I still have brief moments of anxiety that I'm not doing enough, but they're fewer and further between. 
  • Follow through. Mother-fucking-success, my friend game was strong this year. 
  • Gain expertise in a new hobby. Yeah, this didn't happen. I used my camera a bit, made a few collages and opened Photoshop a few times, but I definitely didn't gain expertise (or competency) in anything new this year. 
  • Develop weekly grocery habit. I kinda did this! But later in the year, during my funemployment, out of financial necessity. Honestly, I did a pretty good fucking job this year with my resolutions, go me. 

My 2017 goals:

  • See a side project through to fruition. I want to commit to a more specific project next year vs. having these broad, overarching goals (i.e. "learn photography," "learn graphic design," etc.) that can be mentally intimidating to tackle. Something like committing to taking photos on my camera during my travels and posting a photo blog recap after each trip. Or committing to blogging at least once a week. Just something more tangible and specific. 
  • Stop playing games. I mean this literally, as in, I waste so much fucking time playing silly puzzle games on my phone. It's been a problem of mine since...basically childhood (except back then, I would multi-task playing minesweeper on my computer while simultaneously browsing the web and carrying on several phone conversations). Playing games eats up hours of my time, and it also prevents me from being fully present, whether when in the company of others or when watching some TV show or movie. Ultimately, being more present is really the main goal here.
  • Stop being selfish about food, and other weird character flaws. Most of the people close to me know that I'm really fucking weird when it comes to my food. For one thing, I eat everything with a knife and fork (yes, this includes shitty Domino's pizza and chicken wings). But the weirdest thing that I do is mentally appraise everything I'm about to eat and calculate in advance what specific bites of food I want to eat next and what I want to save for last, so that when it comes to sharing food, I get mild anxiety if people try to grab a bite of something I've already claimed in my head for myself. That, and even though I physically can't eat very much, I also tend to worry when eating family style meals if I'll get enough food, even though I always do and usually tend to get more food than I actually need. It is fucking. Crazy. Trying to be a normal person in 2017. 
  • Maintain grocery/exercise habit. I've done a really good job maintaining both of these the last 3 months. Don't fuck it up, self. 
  • Set aside time to give back on a monthly basis. Volunteering was always one of those things I wrote off for a version of me that had "more time." When I finally had more time during my funemployment, I started volunteering at L.A. Kitchen doing food prep, and it was a really awesome experience. Especially considering the clusterfuck that is today's political atmosphere, I'd really like to take the time to be more socially conscious and be a more active participant in my local community. 

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

4. Did anyone close to you die?
The most devastating death this year was of Penny, my sister's 12-year old dog who died suddenly and unexpectedly.

Also, democracy. 

5. What countries did you visit?

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Faith in America's political institutions and leadership. 

7. What date from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
November 8, Election Day. That day was traumatic, I've never had such a hard time falling asleep, then to wake up in a fucking nightmare. It still kind of haunts me. 

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Quitting my job on a high note, reducing my percentage of body fat by 7% (take that, diabetes risk!), and learning how to be happy in LA. 

9. What was your biggest failure?
I caused myself a lot of undue stress and anxiety overthinking shit. Trying to learn when it's appropriate to take things at face value. 

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Some colds here and there. For the most part, I've been pretty healthy since moving to LA, working remotely, and having significantly less contact with public transportation (and other humans). 

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My leather jacket. I'm going to be buried in that jacket. 

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Me and my entire group of friends. I'm so impressed at how many of us underwent significant life changes this year - buying homes, moving, making huge career switches, pursuing our passions, etc. I'm so fortunate to be surrounded by so many smart, intelligent, driven people who continually inspire me to want more for myself. 

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Donald-fucking-Trump and everyone who voted for him. Not looking forward to the next 4 years. 

14. Where did most of your money go?
Food (as usual), traveling and my exercise habit (in the form of personal training and athleisure purchases). Can't really complain about any of the above. 

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
I mean, dating's been kinda fun, not gonna lie. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Innerbloom - What So Not Remix by RÜFÜS DU SOL, What So NotOnly - Kaskade x Lipless Remix by RY X, Kaskade, LiplessSpectrum by GoldLink, Tearing Me Up - RAC Mix by Bob Moses, RAC, and, like, everything from HONNE's "Warm on a Cold Night"  album 

17. Compared to this time last year, are you happier or sadder?

ii. thinner or fatter?
Thinner and fitter! I'm not even going to be humble about this because I fucking worked for it - this is the best shape I've ever been in and I've been taking as many pictures as I can because I'm going to need them as thinspiration for when I inevitably fall off the wagon and start to gain weight again. 

iii. richer or poorer?
Poorer, but being unemployed for almost 3 months will do that to you. 

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I spent more time on hobbies other than working out. I still have a creative itch begging to be scratched. 

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Overthinking. Wasting time playing games. 

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Enjoyed a big Filipino Christmas with my dad's side of the family, who all came and crashed at my parents' house for the weekend. Ate way more than I care to admit, thank god I got stretchy yoga pants for Christmas. 

22. Did you fall in love in 2016?
With myself, and my life. 

23. How many one night stands?

24. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones, Black Mirror, American Horror Story: My Roanoke Nightmare. I'm tempted to say Westworld and Stranger Things, but while I appreciated and enjoyed both, I don't think I really loved either

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I hated Donald Trump last year too, but I feel like my hatred hit new levels this year, so.

26. What was the best book you read?
Loved Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur - beaaaautiful poetry 

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?
HONNE, GoldLink, Compton White 

28. What did you want and get?
A new source of income. Some other material shit.  

29. What did you want and not get?
Nothing really, I'm one of those annoying people that tends to get what they want (but I also don't want or ask for very much) 

30. What was your favorite film of this year?
Moonlight, The Handmaiden, 10 Cloverfield Lane. Also leaving space to love La La Land, which is likely, considering how much I enjoyed Whiplash 

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
In the days leading up to my birthday, I went to dinner at Pok Pok in LA with a few close friends, went to a boat party on the Venice canals, had dinner at Mare with my sister, my best friend, Marice and her bf, Dem, and bar hopped looking for hip-hop music. On my actual birthday, I feasted on seafood in Redondo Beach with my family. Overall, a satisfying way to ring in my 28th year. 

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Electing Hillary Clinton as president. Uuugghhhhhhh. 

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Somewhere between rocker chic and edgy museum curator. 2016 was also the year where I fully embraced wearing all black all day everyday, even to the gym. I once thought that I'd eventually have to wear brighter colors and shoes other than boots, but I've been pretty pleased with the realization that as an adult, I can actually wear whatever the fuck I want. 

34. What kept you sane?
Like last year, trips to San Francisco. My journal. My badass support group of friends. 

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you want the most?
I have a new one this year! Ben Barnes. So handsome. So overconfident and charming. 

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

37. Who did you miss?
You know who you are 

38. Who are cool new people you met?
There've been a few. In older surveys I've mentioned specific names of people, most of whom I don't even remember anymore. So I'm just going to say that if I've met you this year, and you're cool, you also know who you are  

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016?
Being vulnerable and making your intentions known are much more effective ways of getting what you want out of people and out of life 

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

Looks like I’m really overwhelmed
Feeling sorry for myself
But I don’t wanna ever come off like that
So I’ll hide until I’m ready to stand
I’ll hide until I’m ready
I’m ready

- Erin McCarley - Out of the Fog