01. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
I have a vision of a cottage in the countryside, surrounded by green and growing things. I spend my days moving at my own pace, reading books or gardening or writing or hiking. This is the feeling I do my best to capture on weekends and time off.
02. What is your greatest fear?
My own death. More specifically, I fear that a complete lack of self awareness comes with it, so I guess my real fear is losing my faculties or self-awareness.
03. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
That I put almost everything before my own health.
04. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Lack of ownership over their life and choices, particularly when they are privileged and have opportunities that others do not.
05. Which living person do you most admire?
My five-month-old nephew. He finds joy in pretty much everything. It’s only worth getting upset if he is physically hurt, sick, hungry, or if he poops his pants. We should all remember that.
06. What is your greatest extravagance?
I buy lots and lots of books on impulse.
07. What is your current state of mind?
It’s spring. I’m happy.
08. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Of Aristotle’s virtues, patience. Don’t wait for life to happen to you, don’t wait for a bad situation to resolve itself. Take action. Control your destiny.
09. On what occasion do you lie?
My weight on my driver’s license and how often I floss.
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My excess fat. It feels alien and stuck to my real body, hidden beneath layers. It’s a symbol that my coping mechanisms aren’t healthy and a reminder that I continue to choose other things over my health, despite the way it makes me feel.
11. Which living person do you most despise?
It’s a bit pointless to expend energy thinking about them.
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
Like most people, I use “um” a lot more than I should.
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My family, whether by blood, if they are chosen, or if they are covered in fur.
16. When and where were you happiest?
I hope one single day never outshines all of the others, and that life stays filled with opportunities for happiness — but I always find joy and wonder when I’m out in nature.
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
I don’t believe that talent is only ever innate. Talents can be developed through perseverance — so if there is a talent I would like to have (truly want to have), why would I not work for it? That being said, I am working on developing my talents as an aerialist and yogi this year.
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
So, again: I think everything is changeable. If there is something I don’t like about myself, why would I not work to change it? I am constantly working on myself to be the best version of myself.
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I don’t want to ever have a greatest achievement. What would be the point of anything after?
Five years ago, I graduated with an Associate’s Degree, bought a house, and got married within the same four months and was working full time in my career through it all. At the time, I thought I had peaked. I had reached four major life goals in as many months. I was depressed for a long time. I knew I didn’t want kids, so what was I supposed to do next?
Now, I’m a director and my salary exceeds what I ever imagined making at 30. I was a terrible student in high school and it took me some time afterward to find my path. When I was 19 — heck, when I was 25, I never imagined that this is where I’d be in life now. I suppose that is a great achievement, but I wouldn’t call it greatest. It doesn’t diminish the things that came before.
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
21. Where would you most like to live?
I think I will always live in Wisconsin, but I hope to move to the countryside someday.
22. What is your favorite flower?
Lilacs. They bloomed by the front door of the house I grew up in, and so they will always smell like coming home. Lilacs are long days of sunshine, running in the yard, reading with the windows open.
23. What is your favorite bird?
I’m going to cheat on this one and say the Corvidae. I love all the birds of that family. But if I must pick one, it’s the magpie. I like collecting shiny things, too.
24. What is your most treasured possession?
My late Oma gifted me a 1918 copy of Womanhood and Marriage after my husband proposed to me. It offends my modern sensibilities quite a bit, but she gave it to me from a deep sense of love and desire to share her wisdom and that’s what it symbolizes to me now. It meant a lot when she gave it to me, but it means even more to me now that she’s gone.
25. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
To give in to the belief that there is nothing you can do to change your circumstance.
26. What is your favorite occupation?
The one I have, or else why would I be doing it? I loved and still love web development, but I feel so much more fulfilled when I’m managing people, building and supporting a team, and directing processes that reduce stress, increase efficiency, and encourage ownership.
27. What is your most marked characteristic?
I’m frequently told I have a big heart and that I love everyone. It’s pretty true (though certainly wasn’t as true when I was younger). I find grudges hard to hold. When I’ve needed to part ways or create distance with someone, I usually still feel nothing but love for them. It’s just what is best for my wellbeing, or theirs, or ours both. I believe that every human should have access to the water, food, and shelter they need to live. Baseline. I also can’t help but to help an animal I see in need.
28. What do you most value in your friends?
I treasure my friends that allow time to pass and pick things up right where we left off, and understand that it’s not because we don’t care. It’s because we have partners to date, families, houses to fix, work to do, hobbies to enjoy, gyms to go to, dependents to take care of, ourselves to take care of. I’m introverted as well, so I adore the friends that allow me my space and don’t judge when weeks or months go by without contact.
29. Who are your favorite musicians?
My taste in music is pretty eclectic, so my favorite really depends on the mood I’m in. Right now, anything upbeat that I can sing to.
30. Who are your favorite writers?
Laura Ingalls Wilder and L.M. Montgomery taught me to love reading. Also from my childhood: Brian Jacques, Juliet Marillier, Tamora Pierce, Weiss & Hickman, Jack London. I grew up with J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and it will always be special to me for that reason, but let’s be honest — the world-building needs to stop.
I will always love J.R.R. Tolkien, Ursula K. Le Guin, and Neil Gaiman. And the transcendentalists: Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman.
31. Who are your heroes in fiction?
I don’t look to fiction for my heroes as much anymore. But as a child: Wonder Woman. Poison Ivy. Alanna the Lioness. Hermione. Tonks. Xena and Gabriel. Willow and Buffy. Samantha Carter.
32. Who are your heroes in real life?
My grandmothers. My parents. My sister. My husband. My friends. My in-laws. None of them are without fault (no living thing is), and I don’t idolize them. But they are all so strong in their own way. They have all taught me so much. And they have all handed me my sword when I’ve dropped it, and let me lean on their shoulders to help me limp along when I need to face my monsters.
33. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
This may be a little odd because I’m not religious, but Joan of Arc. She has fascinated me since childhood, and I always admired her conviction and certainty and that she led an army. She is an inspiring archetype for many reasons.
There is also Boudicca. Ada Lovelace. Rosie the Riveter. Virginia Woolf. Shield-maidens.
34. What are your favorite names?
This is a weird question. Names for what? People? I don’t think I have any. Names for pets? I like clever non-human names. I think it’s cute when they’re named after food.
35. What is your favorite color?
Green. All shades. It’s the color of life and growth and vitality.
36. What is it that you most dislike?
Lots of things, but I try not to focus on them. Change it if I can, otherwise ignore it. If I can’t ignore it (i.e. it’s a migraine), know that everything’s temporary and get through it the best I can.
37. What is your greatest regret?
I do my best not to regret anything. I do my best to act with integrity. When I do make mistakes or fail, they aren’t worth regretting so long as I’ve learned something through them.
38. How would you like to die?
I want to be old and ready for it. I want to see it coming, and I want to be able to say goodbye. I want my loved ones to be able to choose how they say goodbye to me.
39. What is your motto?
Under promise and over deliver.