Like most people, I like lists. I like making them, checking things off them, and reading lists that others have made.
But I wonder if I like lists more than the average person.
Throughout my adult life, I’ve made to-do lists for work and home. I’ve made lists to help me sort out who I am and what I’m doing with my life. Several years ago, I made a list of all the roles I was playing, which included mother, stepmother, wife, ex-wife, daughter, daughter-in-law, sister. . .you get the picture. I’m not sure why I made this list. Maybe it helped me sort out the complexity I was feeling at the time.
And, in a journal from 2009, I found a list I made detailing what I wanted then. I wrote: “more peace and quiet, more spiritual centeredness.” I also included “a cleaner, better-smelling basement.” I don’t know how much progress I’ve made on those first items, but eventually, I bought a new dehumidifier, replaced the carpeting and gave the basement a fresh coat of paint.
Because of my lust for lists, I decided to reflect on 2021 by making some. These are not about who I am or what I need to accomplish. They’re just for fun.
The best things I watched in 2021 (in order):
1. “Ted Lasso” (Apple TV+)
2. “The Chair” (Netflix)
3. “The Morning Show” (Apple TV+)
4. “Outlander” (Netflix)
5. “The Crown” – Season 4 (Netflix)
6. “Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu)
The best books I read in 2021 (not in order):
1. “Unacceptable: Privilege, Deceit & the Making of the College Admissions Scandal” by Melissa Korn and Jennifer Levitz
2. “An American Marriage” by Tayari Jones
3. “Manhattan Beach” by Jennifer Egan
4. “In the Garden of the Beasts” by Erik Larson
5. “The Empathy Diaries” by Sherry Turkle
6. “Nomadland” by Jessica Bruder
7. “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor
8. “The Glass Hotel” by Emily St. John Mandel
9. “Revolutionary Road” by Richard Yates
10. “Smile: The Story of a Face” by Sarah Ruhl
Small things that made me disproportionately happy in 2021:
1. Diving off a starting block into a pool for the first time since I broke my leg in 2016.
2. The bird feeder and birdbath in my backyard.
3. My new weighted blanket.
4. The Spelling Bee game in The New York Times.
5. Jigsaw puzzles. (I took up this hobby at the height of the pandemic.)
6. Having coffee on the patio with my husband on summer mornings.
Surprisingly cool places nearby that I visited in 2021:
1. Trivoli Tavern in the West Loop. (The cobblestone entryway!)
2. The rooftop lounge at the Robey hotel in Wicker Park.
3. Middlefork Savanna in Lake Forest.
4. The Shakespeare Garden on Northwestern’s campus.
5. Rosehill Cemetery in Ravenswood.
A list of things about my lists:
1. I am not an expert or authority on anything.
2. Some of the books are new and some are old. But I read them in 2021.
3. I watched all of the series in their entirety in 2021 except for “The Crown.” I watched only Season 4 because I had already watched the previous seasons.
4. I may be forgetting some shows, books or experiences. But I’m the only one who will know.
5. You may disagree with my choices. I guess that’s what the “Comments” section is for.
Happy New Year!