40 Questions for 2022

These questions come from Stephan Ango’s 40 questions to ask yourself every year. Answering them was a good exercise, though I think I might modify the list for next year and make it my own.

  1. What did you do this year that you’d never done before?
    • Went on parental leave for four months and was Charlie’s primary caretaker during the day. I’ve never been off work for that long, and I’d never been the primary caretaker for a baby!
  2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions?
    • This is the first year in a while that I didn’t make resolutions. But a couple weeks later I started blogging weekly, which I kept up the rest of the year.
  3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
    • Some did! Sara and Josh, Eric and Whitney, Mark and Jill, Erin and Tyler, Lindsay and Casey.
  4. Did anyone close to you die?
  5. What cities/states/countries did you visit?
    • San Francisco, CA
    • Amherst, OH
    • Chicago, IL
    • Lake Placid, NY
    • Denver, CO
  6. What would you like to have next year that you lacked this year?
    • More family walks, more time in the workshop, and more time rowing on the Hudson
  7. What date(s) from this year will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
    • Charlie’s Birthday party – It was a small group of people who we are close with and who helped us through the first year of his life. It was special.
    • Going to DIA:Beacon with Charlie and hearing the echos of his voice inside the giant Serra Torqued Ellipses.
    • Not specific dates, but recurring memories of pushing Charlie on the swings we built in our backyard.
  8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
    • Connecting with Charlie during my parental leave. Spending all day every day as the primary caretaker for Charlie for four months was incredible and I cherished that time.
    • Building more of a community in Peekskill. We have more friends there this year than we have since we moved there!
    • Starting a weekly blogging habit.
  9. What was your biggest failure?
    • It isn’t a failure in the sense that I did something and failed at it, but rather my biggest shortcoming that I need to improve upon. I am aware almost every day that I need to get better at navigating my emotions and frustrations and how I express them. I also need to be more grateful for each day.
  10. What other hardships did you face?
    • Nothing awful. Mostly difficulties in the transition to becoming a father. It is a huge change and some days/weeks are much harder than others.
  11. Did you suffer illness or injury?
    • Mostly run-of-the-mill colds or upper respiratory infections. Once Charlie started daycare, he picked up various illnesses, which Amanda and I inevitably got.
  12. What was the best thing you bought?
    • Probably the Ooni Pizza Oven. We made a lot of tasty pizza and had fun hanging out on the back porch with friends making pizza.
  13. Whose behavior merited celebration?
    • Jason Kottke stopped posting on his very popular blog and took a sabbatical. It is worth celebrating people stepping away from something like that and taking a financial risk to take the time they need to recharge and reset.
  14. Whose behavior made you appalled?
    • Elon Musk’s shitty treatment of employees after taking over Twitter.
    • Sam Bankman-Fried – Paraded under the Effective Altruism banner, which seems to have been disingenuous at best and closer to a complete front, gave insane amounts of money to partisan political campaigns for personal gain, and knowingly defrauded investors and crypto users, setting the entire industry back at least 5 years.
  15. Where did most of your money go?
    • Top two expenses are our mortgage and Charlie’s daycare. That said, this year we put as much into our savings as we put into our mortgage, which we are proud of.
  16. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
  17. What song will always remind you of this year?
    • Either Wheels on the Bus or Barnyard Dance, two songs Charlie wanted to hear over and over this year.
  18. Compared to this time last year, are you: happier or sadder? Thinner or fatter? Richer or poorer?
    • Happier (more rested, out of the tough infant stage, less work stress)
    • Fatter (Gained a few pounds)
    • Richer (Savings and investments are higher and loan debts are lower than this time last year, and I feel richer because of a more robust family life now that Charlie is getting his own personality and interacting with us more.)
  19. What do you wish you’d done more of?
    • Took Charlie on more walks.
    • Made more things in the workshop.
  20. What do you wish you’d done less of?
    • Scrolling social media.
  21. How are you spending the holidays?
    • With my parents in Ohio, then hopefully visiting some friends in Pittsburgh on the way back home.
  22. Did you fall in love this year?
    • I’m happily married, and working together with Amanda to raise a child shined a light on some facets of love that aren’t talked about as often: Safety, acceptance, openness, shared purpose. Not that I didn’t feel those things before, but I felt them more acutely this year.
  23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
    • I don’t know about hate, but there are a couple people I dislike a lot more strongly than I did last year, and a couple people I like a lot more than I did last year. Not great to name names on a blog, though.
  24. What was your favorite show?
    • No stand-out favorite from this year, but Billions, The Wheel of Time, and House of the Dragon were all pretty good.
  25. What was the best book you read?
    • Non-fiction: Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter by Ben Goldfarb
    • Fiction: English Creek by Ivan Doig
  26. What was your greatest musical discovery of the year?
    • New: Michael Kiwanuka
    • Old: Slim Gaillard
  27. What was your favorite film?
    • Goncharov, Scorsese’s 1973 mafia film
  28. What was your favorite meal?
    • With family: There was one specific meal Amanda, Charlie, and I had in the backyard on a picnic blanket that sticks out in my mind. We had chicken shawarma over rice and we ate it on a picnic blanket under the wild cherry tree. The weather was perfect and we had a great time laughing and being present with Charlie. It was wonderful.
    • With friends: I really enjoyed having a giant meal at China Live with my coworkers in San Francisco. After a couple years of pandemic uneasiness, no work travel, and limited access to really good Chinese food, it was awesome. Christy Nyiri and I basically ordered for the whole table of 8, and it was glorious.
  29. What did you want and get?
    • Work-wise, I wanted to get back into more technical work, and we made that happen by moving me to be the lead of an engineering team. It has been a positive change.
  30. What did you want and not get?
    • I wanted to get out on the river more this year, but didn’t make it happen. I think next year I should consider timeshifting more to make it happen one morning a week.
  31. What did you do on your birthday?
    • It was low-key this year. Amanda made me a cheesecake and we probably ordered some takeout, but that was the extent of it. Charlie was still pretty young, so we weren’t yet comfortable getting a sitter. I expect that next year we’ll probably go to dinner since Charlie is more used to that now.
    • I started a yearly tradition of writing birthday posts. Here is this years: https://cagrimmett.com/thoughts/2022/02/27/thirty-two/
  32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
    • Probably more consistent sleep. That front is improving, but it made much of the early part of the year tough.
  33. How would you describe your personal fashion this year?
    • Two years of Pandemic has turned my personal fashion into more comfortable/functional. Fewer button-downs, more tshirts and sweatshirts.
  34. What kept you sane?
    • Having a toddler to care for kept me focused on the present more than ever before. It also helped me keep my work days constrained to standard business hours rather than leaking into the evening.
    • On the flip side of that, the quiet hours after Charlie went to bed helped me recover from the tough days where he was super fussy.
    • It has been a year since I started talking with a therapist, Steve, to help me counter my anxiety and stress and process my emotions in a better way. It has helped a lot.
  35. Which celebrity/public figure did you admire the most?
  36. What political issue stirred you the most?
    • I found the extreme sides of the COVID debates (“everyone should still be in lockdown” on one side and “anti-vaxxers” on the other) to both be very frustrating. There is a pretty reasonable middle ground that makes a lot of sense.
    • I also found much of the Roe v Wade overturn debate to be frustrating. So little empathy on both sides of the issue. While I can’t prove he wrote it, I’m pretty sure I personally know the clerk who wrote a lot of the leaked majority opinion from the Supreme Court case, and he is a person who I hold in low regard, so the idea of that individual writing a legal precedent of that scale really bothered me.
  37. Who did you miss?
    • I mostly missed my family this year. Living 8 hours away is difficult.
  38. Who was the best new person you met?
    • We made a lot of progress on finding a new group of friends locally this year after struggling with that for the past couple of years.
  39. What valuable life lesson did you learn this year?
    • Before having a baby, I thought I was even-keeled and had a good handle on my emotions. 3am inconsolable baby crying, lack of sleep, never getting out the door on time due to last-minute vomiting/diaper changes/messes, and baby throwing food taught me I have a long way to go.
  40. What is a quote that sums up your year?

Frustration has to do with expectations. Replace expectations with preferences.

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