We can do better than this.
I. I can do so much better than this.
This morning, 27 years old, I drank the coffee I’d left on the kitchen table the night before. I carried my bike down the stairs and surveyed the driveway for black ice. Even at 10 am, it was too cold for pedestrians. The streets were empty, and the cold burned my eyes at stop signs. I pedaled through town to the canyon path and climbed. It was time to acknowledge my fears.
I am afraid of failure. I am not terribly unique.
I am afraid of failure, of looking stupid, foolish, and desperate. I am afraid of people knowing that I am. I am clawing at the walls, falling to my knees, slamming my fists on the floor demanding more out of life. And I fell prey to the belief that this sort of desperation was unattractive. I swam in the pool of laissez-faire, thinking that not giving a fuck made someone fuckable, loveable. But I am beginning to believe that is wrong. I am beginning to believe that desperation is the burning, the furrowed brow. It is the speakers at full blast and the rain soaking through your clothes. I am tired of not showing my desperation because I am tired of pills that slow my heart rate, of conversations that glaze over issues, of polite laughs and don’t worry it’s cool, ‘cause it’s not cool – it’s bullshit and I am learning to say so without the disclaimer, without the “cool girl” cover.
I am afraid of failure, but I am redefining it. Failure is not rejection. Failure is not unrequited love. Failure is not second, third, or last place. Failure is silence. I made a misguided promise to myself when I was 22 that if I didn’t “make it” by the time I turned 25, I would stop trying. I wanted my failure to fit in a box of my own deciding, tucked away on the shelf of things I could say I never really wanted anyway.
I want to burn that shelf. I want to shred it into slivers and swallow them into nothing.
I used to think that 27 sounded old, but the older I get, the younger I feel. We are crushed by our own inadequacies, by headlines like “30 Under 30.” There are 30 fucking people on that list and millions of people in that age demographic – am I really supposed to be upset I’m not on it? Am I really supposed to read that article on my iPad in my one bedroom apartment, well fed and well dressed and think I’m a failure? Fuck you.
I got better this year. I got better at communicating, cycling, climbing, and all sorts of other ‘c’ words, but I limited myself by believing that opportunity came with youth. Youth is a spotlight on success, but you poison yourself believing that you need to have your named carved in stone by the age of 23 to reach glory. That’s not glory, that’s a tombstone.
Look in the mirror and feel lost. Feel useless and confused and without direction. But feel it deeply. Ask how you got here so many times that the only answer you have left is you. Feel this desolation to the point of desperation and get better. I don’t care if New Years resolutions are corny. I’m corny. I am ensemble-romantic-comedy corny. I’m a dreamer, a star-gazing, love-declaring desperado. I’m a bad Jennifer Lopez movie, a Demi Lovato pop song, champagne in the park, and a proposal on the ballgame big screen. I am a hip switching, heel clicking, hair flipping movie montage and I am tired of acting like that’s a bad thing. I am foolish and foolhardy, stupid and proud, cinematic and desperate to live the life I envisioned for myself. And I’m going to get exactly what I want because of it.
Yeah, there are rules of etiquette we’re gonna follow. There are tried and true pieces of advice we should all listen to, but what star of history ever said placate your fire, squelch your dreams? What adventurer, what explorer, what dreammaker ever said “23 is past your prime.” We’re so drugged up, we’re so in line, we’re so yes sir yes ma’am, and we fade to the pale gray of the background assuming that if success does not come young, it does not come at all. You want a happier life? You want a colored sky? You want a real New Years Resolution?
Get better at shit. And be desperate to do so. Because life is a long, long time to complain about being past your prime.
My List of 12 Kinds of Resolutions for the Year 2012
spiritual resolution: go to church more often. go to confession when necessary.
physical resolution: take my vitamins. eat healthier.
- accept my newfound smoking habits, but don’t let it progress any further.
- clean my apartment more often and don’t let it get to the level of brothel crack den.
- now that I possess a well functioning cellular device, text people back right away since my phone is no longer an excuse.
- improve dental hygeine and prevent my teeth from falling out. gah.
- stop being late and putting things off until the last minute.
emotional resolution: be a little less proud and a little more vulnerable. it’s okay to wear your heart on your sleeve sometimes. taking risks and getting hurt is okay. you will live because you are strong.
career resolution: go after what you want. go above and beyond what is asked of you. put your best foot forward always. network and maintain connections. be bold. ask questions. work hard and when that’s accomplished, work harder. strive for maximum efficiency. always be aware there is room for improvement. leave a good impression.
financial resolution: stop spending so much. budget your money optimally. save money for Paris and traveling abroad. pay all bills on time.
family & friends resolution: hang out with my parents more often when i’m home. call ashley and my parents more often. take the time out to catch up with friends from home and update them more often instead of just once in awhile no matter how busy i am. always remind them how important everyone is to me.
love resolution: learn from past mistakes and make new ones. take a chance and fall. be honest, authentic, and transparent with my feelings.
past resolution: muster up the courage and eventually tell him. tie up loose ends. let go. move on.
present resolution: eat, drink, and be merry! a good night out over a good night’s sleep is always worth compromising over. no regrets in the choices that i make and no shame in the lifestyle that i lead.
future resolution: make it to new york city after i graduate doing work that i love. make the most out of my remaining semesters at school. no matter what happens, always hope for the best. maintain the mindset that no matter what happens, everything happens for a reason and things will work out for the best. everything will be okay in the end.
personal resolution: follow through with all these resolutions and embrace the shit out of the inevitability of change and time passing. make every second count.
5 Goals for 2012
- save up enough money to travel abroad to Paris and Ireland for the ND VS Navy opening game for the summer.
- if I can make it, try to visit Michelle in Peru
and attempt to see the end of the London Summer Olympic games. - make it to Philly to visit Amber and Mimi at their schools. get all A’s this semester to make up for last semester’s mediocrity.
go to more sporting events and concerts
- go to a Jets game.
- go to a Nets or Knicks game.
- go to a Devils game.
- make it to a Rutgers football game
- see a Fordham basketball game.
- see every band/artist that I am remotely interested in at NYC and Starland Ballroom when time and financial means permit. try to maintain the wildly excessive drinking and partying “so college” lifestyle that i lead because i’m only in college once.
fuck up. live a lot. make mistakes. never stop learning.
Looking back on the resolutions that I set out in 2012, I’m actually shocked to find that I’ve accomplished almost everything that I set out to do.
In terms of my spiritual resolution, I do go to church and confession and pray more often.
In terms of my habitual resolutions, I don’t smoke as often as I used to now compared to earlier on in the year. I’m still set on my resolve to quit smoking after graduation. My apartment is way cleaner and better maintained than a year ago. I text and call and leave messages and respond as soon as I can with my phone and my voicemail isn’t a rambling mess(age) like it used to be. Actually, now that i’m thinking about it, my phone hasn’t even been lost or broken to the point of missing numbers/being unreachable in the past year and this actually speaks volumes about how much i’ve changed about the way I treat my possessions and how reckless I am with my belongings and means for people to try to get into contact me. I do however still need to work on my dental / eye health and stop being so last minute with things, but I’m sure I can work on this in 2013.
In terms of my emotional resolutions, I’m definitely more vulnerable than I used to be — my feelings are pretty much written and screamed out loud on my face. You’ll know when I’m happy, upset, joyful, drunk, depressed, or pissed nowadays and i’m less inclined to hide those feelings just to make the other person feel more comfortable and at ease with their actions. If i’m mad at you, you’ll feel my rage. If i’m happy, you’ll hear my laughter. If i’m sad, you’ll see my tears. I don’t hide my emotions as much as I used to and while I’ve shocked some people, i’m glad that my feelings are more known than letting myself just keep them bottled or just sweeping them away for others’ benefit.
In terms of my career resolutions, I’ve done a lot of things this year that I never knew I had the gall to do. I realized what kind of job I wanted to work at, I’ve had grown and mature conversations about where I see myself with people higher up than me and with my own supervisor and boss. I’ve worked with clients and handled documents that were an absolute privilege to work for. I hated my job. I loved my job. I felt inadequate a lot, worked really hard, and was congratulated and told that I did a good job by the company’s CEO. I was missed. I came back. I’ve learned a lot. There is still so much left to learn. And while so much is left uncertain, I’m proud of all the work that i’ve accomplished at all the jobs I’ve held and am looking forward to the work and more career soul-searching that next year will bring.
In terms of my financial resolutions, I still tend to spend a bit too much on going out, eating out, and drinking. However I did manage to save up all my money to travel abroad and pay my bills on time which is a feat that i’m so proud to say that I accomplished independently on my own.
In terms of my family and friends, my parents know more about my life than ever before. They’ve helped me go through so much and were so supportive of me in Europe even though they wanted me to get on a flight home that first night in Dublin. My sisters are here and I plan to celebrate the advent of 2013 with them in a few hours and I wouldn’t want to spend it any other way since we’ve already survived an apocalypse together. I’ve learned a lot about my friends and have accepted a lot of them for who they are - for better and for worse and have decided appropriately on who is real and who is authentic with their words, thoughts, and actions. I was able to make new friends, reminisce with the old ones, and i’m so glad that I can look back on all the friendships that I have right now and realize that they’re all based on true, solid foundations and have helped shape me to become the person that I am today — someone who has grown up and changed and matured and be able to befriend people from all over the world and from any walk of life, but still so much the same that I can still hang out and relate and talk to friends that i’ve known for decades and never lose touch of my roots, where i’ve come from, and who my friends are.
In terms of my love resolutions, I’ve learned from my past mistakes. Still lament over him from time to time. Other times I feel nothing about him. Then there was the friend I fell for. Deep down I know that he won’t be willing to admit that things won’t ever be the same even though we’ll pretend to be but he’ll always be the one that I laid everything out for and i’ll never regret anything with him except for the fact that we could’ve worked out if there wasn’t an unnameable obstacle. We still talk from time to time and i’m grateful for that even though I miss him more than he misses me. Then there was some ghosts from the past, some friends with potential, the boy from Brooklyn, the bartender from Hoboken, and all the other one night conversations that could’ve been more. The most love I’ve felt and confessed to though were to my friends and family this year and i’ve realized that i’m quite content with this for now but who knows 2013 - i’m down for a surprise as long as I’m ready but i’m glad I can recognize and honestly say that I’m not.
In terms of my past / present / and future resolutions, they’re still the same just like every other year — remember the past and revel in the nostalgia, but let go. always live in the present so there’d be no regrets. and always look forward to the exciting and challenging events in store for the new year.
Actions speak much louder than all these words though and if I didn’t truly live it out like I really believed that, or say the words that I really meant to say, 2012 would not have been such a successful, wonderful, challenging, lovely adventure.
So here’s to you 2013! I’m ready to change and stay the same, i’m ready to keep these resolutions and resolve to reach the new ones.
Fuck it — if I set my heart out to make it to Paris and Philly in 2012, I can sure as hell make it to my first Jets game and Peru in 2013.
i made a tumblr for my online journalism class and i’m so goddamn glad that i’m done with it AND that i’m so proud of it.
must’ve put in honestly 24+ hours into it at this point.
cccccccccheeeck it out.
i’m so over this semester.