2019: a year of saga conclusions and luxurious sweaters

Here we are at the end of the year as well as the decade.* Decembers are chaos --it’s the busiest time of year for me at work, and it doesn’t help that I’ve been fighting off a respiratory infection this entire calendar month. I saw Little Women in the theater the other day and feared that I’d break into a coughing fit during the scarlet fever scene, which would be the rudest.

I’ve actually seen several movies in the theater in recent weeks, which is one of my absolute favorite things to do during this time of year. Of course, this includes Star Wars Episode IX: Rise of Skywalker. Like many Xennials**, I can’t remember life before Star Wars. It’s part of the fabric of my childhood, as elemental as Capri Suns and velcro kangaRoos. As a kid, I longed for a stuffed animal Ewok (Princess Kneesaa!) thanks to this commercial. And guess what, I finally bought one while at Disney Springs because being an adult with a credit card is the best. Starting in late November, I did a chronological rewatch of every Star Wars film, and besides having seen SO MANY planets explode in the past month, I came away with a newfound appreciation for the way each volume fit together. Besides adding a layer of poignancy to the upcoming final film, all of my childhood memories came rushing back—watching VHS tapes in so many friends’ wood-paneled basements, seeing the special edition releases at a suburban mall which no longer exists, and watching the actors age in ways that are now all too relatable.

It feels somehow fitting to end this decade with Star Wars, in a year full of saga conclusions. Last April, three monumental events occurred in one weekend: the Avengers saved the world, the Starks fought the Night King in the Battle of Winterfell, and I turned 40. I left Chicago for a 2-week birthday road trip the morning after seeing Avengers: Endgame on opening night, and I probably didn’t stop talking about it until we crossed the border into Oklahoma. Two and a half days later, Kurt and I camped out in the desert just outside of Roswell and propped up an iPad on a picnic table to watch one of the last 6 episodes ever of Game of Thrones. My obsession with the books began in 2011, and I dove headfirst into MCU fandom roughly around the same time. 10 years is a long time to love something, and I am the kind of unabashed nerd that loves HARD. Days into our road trip, I’d still spontaneously cry if I even thought about the moment [mild spoiler alert but c’mon and get with the program already] Steve Rogers picked up Thor’s hammer, or when Jaime Lannister knighted Brienne of Tarth. 

Seeing three beloved sagas conclude gives me a nice sense of closure that aligns with the closing out of the 2010s. It makes me feel like in the ‘20s, everything I look forward to and grow to love will be something brand new. I’m ready for new stories, new worlds to explore, and new reasons to geek out. (I mean, besides the upcoming Fast & Furious 9, featuring the Family we know and love but now with John Cena AND Cardi B!!!). 

A few other things I loved in 2019:

  • Between Succession and Knives Out, many of my faves this year involve wealthy people behaving horribly while wearing really nice sweaters. I enjoyed Ready or Not but I wonder if it would have made a bigger splash had they dressed Adam Brody in a luscious merino wool cable knit. If you haven’t seen Succession yet, the post-holiday season is the perfect time to get caught up on my #1 show of this year.

  • I saw Carly Rae Jepsen touring with her newest album Dedicated and it was one of my favorite dance parties ever. Her infectiously fun album plus her tour outfits catalogued on Instagram are my 2020 mood board.

  • Everyone knows and rightfully loves Lizzo by now, but I had an afternoon of pure joy dancing to “Cuz I Love You” while riding shotgun on my birthday, wearing a pink novelty tiara and singing lyrics out the window. Lizzo and I are birthday twins so I like to think that she was living it up at the exact same time as me.

  • I was enjoyably creeped out by Midsommar, had fun with Fighting With My Family, and low-key wept for the full runtime of Little Women, so it’s safe to say I’ll watch anything with Florence Pugh. I’m looking forward to Black Widow (FINALLY) in 2020.

  • The Mandalorian was a treat to look forward to on a weekly basis, and I love Baby Yoda as much as the next nerd but my personal favorite was the Armorer.  She have a bad-ass fight scene AND her beskar was the most fashionable with helmet points that looked like Ariana Grande cat ears, 10/10 would wear to Comic Con.

  • Watchmen, OMG just drop whatever you’re doing right now and binge it on HBO GO.

Some 2020 Resolutions:

  • As a writer and occasional freelancer, I like using social media for promoting and networking, but it can also be a slippery slope into major time suckage. I find myself more and more likely to sit down with the intention of reading a book, stop to glance at my phone for a quick sec and click innocently on a hashtag, and then next thing I know it’s 45 minutes later and I’m still scrolling through an “Unofficial Chris Evans” Instagram maintained by a Brazilian teenager. I need to set some boundaries and I plan to experiment with removing Facebook from my phone and instigating a nightly Twitter/Insta cut-off.

  • This isn’t pop culture-related, but every year I add to my list of resolutions “learn to cook,” and every time I know deep in my heart I have zero intention to actually do it. Cooking stresses me out and I have a tendency to wander away to read online celeb gossip and forget I was supposed to stir something. I’m super lucky to have a partner who not only enjoys cooking but is fantastic at it, so I’ve gotten real lazy. But I should probably be a better household contributor so THIS YEAR, I PROMISE I MEAN IT. The sad truth is that I’d probably be more eager to learn how to use the instant pot if we got the R2-D2 one, but I will learn to soldier on with the branding-free version we already own.

Happy New Year! xoxo

*controversial! but I am going with what I committed to back in 1999.

**I hate this phrase but I was born in 1979 so it is the cross I bear.

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