2018 Year in Review

Looking Back

  • What one event, big or small, are you going to tell your grandchildren about? Getting my vision corrected permanently!
  • If you had to describe your 2018 in 3 words, what would they be? Really. Damn. Difficult.
  • What new things did you discover about yourself? I have a great tolerance for hardship but once I overshoot that threshold, it’s a pretty steep drop to meltdown phase. This is likely because I am not able to express (or even recognize) my own warning signs sooner. 
  • Which of your personal qualities turned out to be the most helpful this year? Independence, though that turned out to be a double-edged sword.
  • Who was your number one go-to person that you could always rely on? My therapist? Does it count if I pay her to be reliable?
  • Which new skills did you learn? A lot of WordPress plugins, Adobe Illustrator
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for? Family
  • If someone wrote a book about your life in 2018, what kind of genre would it be? A comedy, love story, drama, film noir or something else? This was definitely the year of Asian TV drama full of major and minor tragedies and mishaps.
  • Which mental block(s) did you overcome? I don’t know about overcome but I am finally pulling out and dealing with some of my repressed emotions.
  • What 5 people did you most enjoy spending time with? Picking favorite people goes against my programming. I really enjoyed spending time with my local mom friends and the editorial team for PAAC, as well as many others in my group of crazy liberal Asians.
  • How did your relationship to your family evolve? The minion continues growing into his own personality, which has been a lot of fun to witness. My brother and I had our longest person-to-person conversation probably ever. The husband and I are working connecting and communicating better.
  • What book or movie affected your life in a profound way? Fascinate, by Sally Hogshead. It is now the foundation for my communication and branding work.
  • What little things did you most enjoy during your day-to-day life? Purely pleasurable activities are hard to come by for me. I enjoy snuggling with minion in the morning and looking at his pictures from school, reading, and writing with my brush pens.
  • What cool things did you create this year? A bunch of websites and a first (probably only) draft of a novella.
  • What was your most common mental state this year (e.g. excited, curious, stressed)? What I remember most? Frustration.
  • Was there anything you did for the very first time in your life this year? Attended the funeral of a close friend, which sucked on every possible level.
  • What was your favorite moment spent with your friends? I went to an Indian restaurant with two mom friends from church with no kids or spouses, and we just talked and ate food that we didn’t have to cook or clean up. It was glorious.
  • What major goal did you lay the foundations for? Exceeding my teaching income as a freelancer. My income kind of plateaued this year but I’m optimistic that some changes to my service menu, pricing, and client roster will make next year more lucrative. 
  • Which worries turned out to be completely unnecessary? Fretting about whether we’re going to move again in the next 12 months. (We’re not!)
  • What experience would you love to do all over again? The wedding of my friends Beth and Sam.
  • How did your overall outlook on life evolve? I don’t know if I’m actually more cynical or if I’ve just gotten used to venting my cynicism out loud. Either way, I’m not super happy about this.
  • What one thing would you do differently and why? I’d try to listen to my own signals asking for help sooner before getting to meltdown stage.
  • What do you deserve a pat on the back for? Losing my uncle, close friend, and grandmother within 3 months. 
  • What activities made you lose track of time? Writing and sleeping.
  • What new habits did you cultivate? My husband and I are checking in with each other’s mental and emotional state more often than we used to, which has been really helpful.
  • What advice would you give your early-2018 self if you could? Don’t give up. You will make progress even if it doesn’t feel like it.
  • Did any parts of your self or your life do a complete 180 this year? I had a couple overly dramatic shifts in my business plan that didn’t yield a ton of tangible results but at least helped me see where the weak spots were.


  • What single achievement are you most proud of? Same as last year, does not running away from my responsibilities and troubles count?
  • What was the best news you received? That I was selected to be Editor in Chief at Mochi magazine starting in 2019. 
  • What was your favorite place that you visited in 2018? I guess my hometown.
  • What purchase turned out to be the best decision ever? The Paw Patrol train table that has been babysitting my offspring for the last week.
  • What or who had the biggest positive impact on your life this year? Progressive Asian American Christians!
  • What was the biggest problem you solved? How to communicate and work together better as a family.
  • What was the funniest moment of your year, one that still makes it hard not to burst out laughing when you think about it? I can’t remember anymore so maybe it doesn’t count, but I’m sure it was some video on the Internet.
  • What did you think about more than anything else? Probably grief and loneliness.
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about? The world of Asian American literature and storytelling.
  • What was the best gift you received? Probably my digital piano.
  • What was your favorite compliment that you received this year? People sending me client referrals.
  • What was your biggest break-through moment career-wise? Realizing that I’m fundamentally a writer and thinking about how my craft can feed me instead of me slaving to feed my craft.
  • What was the most important lesson you learned in 2018? Uncomfortable is okay.

Looking Forward

  • What do you want the overarching theme for your 2019 to be? Hmmm, I’m not doing super well with these “word of the year” things. So much happens in a year that one word seems insufficient. (Plus I tend to use more words than strictly necessary most of the time anyway.) But I like the Mandarin word bao. It can mean full or satisfied (as in “full of or satisfied by food”), which is always a slippery concept in my life. It can also mean precious, which was my nickname as a child. Another meaning is “to protect or secure.” And of course, steamed buns stuffed with various delicious things. (Isn’t Mandarin wonderful?!) All of which I would like more of in 2019. So THERE, word of the year game.
  • What do you want to see, discover, explore? My Asian American identity and the craft of writing (specifically longer-form fiction). 
  • Who do you want to spend more time with in 2019? Honestly, probably myself.
  • What skills do you want to learn, improve or master? I’d really like to improve my Mandarin. You know, in all my spare time.
  • Which personal quality do you want to develop or strengthen? Forgiveness.
  • What do you want your everyday life to be like? Less stressful than it was this year.
  • Which habits do you want to change, cultivate or get rid of? I’ve started occasionally journaling again which has been helpful. I should probably just give up on trying to floss every day.
  • What do you want to achieve career-wise? I want to consistently exceed my teaching income without working more than my current hours.
  • How do you want to remember the year 2019 when you look back on it 10/20/50 years from now? Another one of these excessively high-level abstract questions. I would honestly just settle for fewer cultural and personal dumpster fires at this point.
  • What is your number one goal for 2019? Continue raising a well-adjusted human being and becoming a better version of myself.


  1. I’m sorry it was such a weighty year for you. I know those seasons are essential for growth, but it’s hard to have so much loss and pressure concentrated into a relatively short time. My hope for you is that 2019 sees joy and accomplishment sprouting up in all areas of your life! Happy new year, Jennifer.

    1. Author

      Thanks Jessica! In lighter news, I was able to access my old Xanga in the waning days of 2018. Still trying to decide whether to republish them or change my identity and leave the planet…

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