So it’s almost the new year! Gaaaah. It’s crazy. I found this huge list of things to reflect on, and I thought it’d be fun. Here are 100 reflections of mine from this past year:
Top 10 Year End Review Questions
What did you do this year that you have never done before?
I skydived, had my voice recorded for a radio ad, and designed the cover of a book.
What was the smartest decision you made this year?
Hmmm…I guess the smartest decision I’ve made this year is to actually ask Heavenly Father to help me put my burdens on the Savior’s shoulders. Many times I’ve asked Him to help me to be bolder than I am and to get over all of these traits I’ve called problems for so long, but it wasn’t until I asked for the application of the Atonement that I felt any change. The one time I asked, it completely changed the way I think about myself. I still struggle, yes, but I am not the same person that I was when the semester started because of that one prayer.
What one word best sums up and describes your last year experience?
Well, since it hasn’t happened yet, I’m making a prediction: quaint.
What are you most happy about completing?
The Voices in Print book. I’ve been interning with the editors this year, and it was humbling to see a finished product on the bookstore shelf.
What was the biggest risk you took?
I don’t know. Jumping out of an airplane at 12,000 feet…? No. The biggest risk I took this year was to open myself up to and love the people I work with on the Institute council. It is extremely hard for me to be myself around people that I look up to and want to befriend. Extremely. It seems like a lame risk, but to a girl who went her whole life not opening up to anyone for fear of getting hurt, it’s a big one. One that’s blessed my life more than anything.
What are you most grateful for this past year?
I am most grateful for people who serve selflessly. Those people have changed the lives of my family members and inspired me to be better than I am.
What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Um, probably getting to the point where the things I’ve called weaknesses for most of my life are really quite endearing. In general, getting to the point where I’m not always berating myself for failing. Also: I kind of figured out makeup, which is really shallow and unimportant, but yeah.
What do you wish you had done more of?
Spending time with people and in the mountains.
What do you wish you had done less of?
Spending time on the Internet, because really, it’s a terrible thing sometimes. Also: complaining about problems instead of finding things to be optimistic about.
Knowing what you know now, if you could write a letter to yourself that would travel back in time so that you would receive it at the start of the year, what advice would you give your younger self?
I’d tell myself to let things go and to not let my fears get in the way.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Relationships
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life last year?
I have more than three. So many, but if I have to narrow it down, probably my bishop, my Institute adviser Brother Bateman, and a boy named Joe who I worked with for a few months in the bakery. Groups of people? My little publicity committee and the Institute council by far.
Did anyone close to you give birth?
Pretty much everyone. That’s a slight exaggeration. I think every one of my married cousins had a baby this year, my aunt had a baby this year (unless it was last year), and a few friends from high school.
Did anyone close to you die?
Not close to me, no, but close enough to my friends that I felt the effect.
What important relationship improved the most?
Probably the relationship with my sister. And a good friend from high school.
What important relationship suffered the most?
There were a couple, namely a close friend whose life is quite different than mine now (which isn’t anyone’s fault, really) and a guy I knew for a few years and liked who ended up being a tool.
Whose behavior merited celebration?
In general, lots of people I know. This is probably a cop out, but my boss/stake presidency member. He’s the most loving, cheerful, and selfless man you could ever work for.
Whose behavior made you appalled?
Golly, I hate this question. Really, I’m just appalled by American adults who teach their kids to feel entitled and who, paradoxically, take offense to everything and nothing. And Congress. Always Congress.
How had you positively influenced a child this year?
I taught one of my little cousins the proper way to play ping-pong. Does that count?
What well known person dead or alive influenced you the most this year?
Malala Yousafzai. She is ten times a better person than I am or will ever be.
Who made you laugh the most this year?
All those dorks who make Vines. And most of the Institute council boys.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Health
Did you suffer illness or injury?
Not really, although I did get a horrendous trampoline burn at the Jump Zone.
What decision did you do to become healthier?
I decided to buy a slackline and to go rock climbing more frequently. After working in the bakery, I’ve decided to cut down on my donut consumption BIG TIME.
What was your favorite exercise this year?
Climbing, climbing, climbing.
What was your favorite meal?
Lasagna. Garfield is a wise sage when it comes to dining options. And sushi. Lots and lots of sushi.
What restaurant did you eat at most often?
El Toro – a family favorite. And also the deli at Lee’s. I literally buy sushi at least once every two weeks there.
What medications are you currently taking?
Aspirin . . . ? Not really any.
Did you have any surgeries this year?
I had a root canal.
How did you manage your stress this year?
Um…I still don’t know how to manage my stress. The best thing I can come up with is sleeping on it and then getting up bright and early to go to work.
What was your biggest health achievement this year?
Climbing enough walls and lifting enough pans at the bakery to realize I have nice, strong muscles coming in.
What do you wish you would of done differently in regards to your health this year?
Exercise WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY more. And not call it exercise so I can enjoy it.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Pop Culture
What were your favorite TV Programs?
I got into Once Upon a Time for a few weeks, I got into Downtown Abbey for, like, three days, I’m a big fan of Dr. Phil. Really, the only show I’m caught up in is My Little Pony.
What were your favorite books?
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis — basically the closest thing to scripture that you can get outside of scripture.
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain — this book literally changed my life and the way I think about myself.
Counseling with Our Counsels by M. Russell Ballard — I think anyone with a calling in the LDS church should read this book, even anyone outside of it, because it’s excellent material on leadership.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien — because it’s truly magical.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green — because it makes you realize the importance of moments and it made me cry like a baby.
Richard II by Shakespeare — because it’s an amazing play on politics and representation.
Massacre at Mountain Meadows by Ronald W. Walker — because it’s a fascinating and fair representation of a horrifying event in Mormon history.
Bad Guys of the Book of Mormon by Dennis Gaunt — because it was funny and brilliant.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart — because it’s basically the most magical, suspenseful children’s book I’ve read in a long time.
What was your biggest musical or art discovery?
Imagine Dragons and We are the Strike, as far as music goes.
As far as art goes, I’m a big fan of those hipster filtered star pictures. Not gonna lie.
What was your favorite movie this year?
Frozen. Cutest and most incredibly inspirational movie I’ve seen in a long time.
Austenland was pretty dang funny, too.
What song will always remind you of this year?
Probably Brave by Sara Bareilles
What musical artist did you listen to the most this year?
Definitely Imagine Dragons.
Did you attend any concerts, plays or art events this year?
I went to a, get this, Imagine Dragons concert. Also: We the Strike. Not many plays or art events, unfortunately.
What did you wear often in your closet?
My Institute shirt and a pair of lacey shoes I bought awhile ago. I’ve also got a native-print maxi skirt I adore.
What was your hair style this year?
Free and messy and long.
Describe your style of this past year in one word?
Improving. Eventually: granola, native-girl, hippie-esque.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Celebrations
What did you really, really, really get excited about?
The fact that I got a job at a bakery. I didn’t apply for it, but I got it!
How old did you turn on your birthday?
How did you celebrate your birthday this year?
I jumped out of a flying plane.
Did anyone close to you have an important milestone birthday?
Pretty much everyone — my brother Jesse is now 18, Ridge turned sweet 16, and Kori just turned 20.
How did you spend the Holidays?
At home playing board games and listening to music while also pigging out.
What was one memorable gift you received this year and who was it from?
My brother knew I was reading a book and bought me the sequel. Small things like that are a big deal in Ari World.
What was one memorable gift you gave this year and who was it to?
Kori and I saved up to get Mom a KitchenAid mixer. She’s wanted one for years and had no clue.
How will you be spending New Years?
Partying it up at the Institute with a bunch of singles. YEAAAH.
What vacations did you take or where did you visit last year?
Um…none, actually. I haven’t been on an actual vacation for at least ten years. Brigham City, maybe.
What was the biggest surprise of this year?
That I passed my Studies in Prose class. And got a job.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Finances
What was your biggest financial decision this year?
I took out my first loans. Ick.
What was the best thing you bought for yourself this year?
Probably my slackline and skydiving.
Did you invest your money anywhere?
Where did most your money go?
Where it always goes: the big man at U State.
Did you make any charitable contributions?
Yep. Full tithe payer right here. And a few other things.
At the end of this year how much money is in your bank account?
*glares suspiciously* None of your beeswax.
Are you in debt? How much?
A few couple thousands — student loans, man, student loans.
How much a month do you pay in rent or mortgage?
I’m livin’ the dream at home, so zip.
How much does it cost to fill your car with gas?
A little over $20.
What is your salary for this year?
Above minimum, I can tell you that.
10 Questions to Ask About Shchool or Work
Where do you currently work or go to school?
Lee’s Bakery and Utah State
What is the title of your position?
Bakery Clerk and Student
What is your typical day?
Wake up early, go to class, go to Institute, not do the homework I need to do, hang out in the Institute council room, go to work, go home, go to bed.
When did you feel most inspired at work or school?
Definitely at school.There was a moment when I really loved what I was learning about, and it bled into all of my other classes. But generally, Institute inspires me every day up on campus.
What is one way you grew professionally this year?
I’ve got a lot of new skills I never realized I had — graphic design, marketing, management, etc.
What do you hope those who work around you the most remember about you?
That I was kind and hardworking.
What was your greatest challenge/lesson at work or school?
Balancing everything and realizing that procrastination makes me physically sick and IS NOT A GOOD IDEA.
How did you adapt at work and school?
Listening and asking questions. I was kind of thrown into both.
How have you grown as a person because of your work and school experience?
I’ve grown more mature and independent — I like talking about things that matter — I can stick up for myself because that’s what you have to do in school — I’ve grown to adapt myself based on how those around me work — I’ve grown to be fascinated in many different subjects and learning.
What strengths did you tap into?
My artistic abilities, my ability to voice my opinions well in writing, my listening skills as well as my sensitivity to others’ feelings.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Spiritual and Existentialism
Because of this past year, what do you believe is your purpose?
I believe my purpose is to stick up for God’s children and defend those I can. I think, too, that my purpose is to bring happiness and hope and understanding through my talents.
What is one word that describes your relationship with God this year?
Codependent. I realize that I depend on Him for everything, and He depends on me to do what is right.
Where did you find the most peace and calm this year?
At Institute and at the temple.
Where did you feel most connected to God this year?
Probably in the mountains and in the middle of every service project I’ve been involved with.
What is one miracle you witnessed this year?
I saw the Atonement literally change someone I love very much. It changed the way they act and their relationship with people, and that, to me, was an incredible miracle.
What was the most loving service you performed last year?
I don’t really know. I can tell you that the most loving service anyone gave me was to tell me how much they felt Heavenly Father loved me. The timing for that could not have been better.
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business?
I’ve got to work on self-discipline and get myself in the temple on a habitual, weekly basis.
What is the greatest lesson you have learned this year?
I have learned that my weaknesses don’t define me. I find that definition wherever and whenever I can love and serve another human being. Side note in relation to dating: I learned that differences are what make people attractive and beautiful, not always similarities.
What was the best part of this year? What was the lesson learned?
The best part of this year was working on the Institute council. I’ve learned why delegation is so important, I’ve learned why service is so critical, and I’ve learned how people love and how I love people.
What was the worst part of this year? What was the lesson learned?
The worst part of this year was realizing, through myself and through the ignorance of others, that I get in the way of a lot of my opportunities. I let the fear of vulnerability direct me, and it usually ends with me breaking my own heart or someone else doing it. Lesson learned: vulnerability is the reason, but also the solution, for heartache.
10 Questions to Ask About Your Time
What date from this year will remain etched upon your memory and why?
Oh, man. Is it bad that I can only think of bad ones? I puked on one and I got stuck in really awkward conversations on some others. Truth be told, I don’t date enough to have a good response to this question. We did a service project on one, and that was really, really nice.
AWKWARD EDIT: We’re talking about day date, aren’t we? Sigh. Well…probably January 27th. It was the worst day of my life, but also a day where one of my relationships improved and changed significantly.
What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?
THE INTERNET. BY FAR.
What slowed you down this past year?
My fear of being vulnerable.
What was the best way you used your time this past year?
Magnifying my calling. It has blessed me immensely.
What were you doing on most Saturday mornings this past year?
Sleeping in before going to work. Wow, I’m lame.
During this past year, what were you doing at 3pm during the weekdays?
Sitting in the middle of a class, going to work, or longboarding and climbing during the summer.
How did you spend your Sunday evenings this past year?
Spending quiet time at home and with family when I maybe should have gone to ward prayer.
What person(s) occupied most of your time?
You guessed it. The Institute council. Always.
What was your bedtime and wake up time?
I usually went to bed by 11:00 pm and woke up by 7:00 am.
If you had more time to invest in this past year what would you do with it?
Take more risks, go on more adventures, and serve more people.
10 Fill In the Blanks Questions
I want a ‘do-over’ with….
my communication with people. Sometimes I can be aloof and inconsistent when I really love and admire someone, and it’s frustrating for everyone, I’m sure.
my childhood. Being an adult is stressful.
I would use a magic wand to change…
the amount of money in my wallet. I would love to travel so much.
I want to repeat…
a summer of bridge jumping, climbing, longboarding, and long conversations under the stars.
I was embarrassed by…
how awkward I am.
a lot of time.
a lot of courage.
not being honest or always consistent with how I feel.
I am thankful for…
being around people who love and accept me.
I felt most alive when…
I shared laughter with friends and climbed mountains.