[Draft Series] 2015: A Review

Original draft: December 3, 2015

Intro – promises and resolutions.

Things I Swore I Wouldn’t Do This Year (and then did anyway)

  • Use the phrase “On Fleek”: Hashtags I have either used or been associated with include #FluffingOnFleek and #OmeletteOnFleek
  • Get another tattoo: See ten.27
  • A Whole30: I’ve done two. Third planned for January 2. Sooo….
  • Finally become a crazy cat woman: See the holiday card I sent out this year.

Promises I Actually Kept in 2015

  • No dating. BOOM.
  • (It strikes me now I shouldn’t be bragging about how undateable I am. Oh well)
  • Aaaand that’s apparently the only one.
  • Update: Nope, actually strike that.
  • So apparently I didn’t keep any promises in 2015. Man I feel good about myself right now.

(revise if you stop being a lazy ass and make some) I don’t think I’ll set any resolutions this year, preferring instead to look at the year as a blank slate where I can create a new me, instead of “improving” the LB that was in 2015. Plus, she’s not all bad. A little manic, a little ridiculous, can’t hold her vodka and too loose with her tongue. But I don’t know that she needs improving through resolutions, really.

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Are you smiling?

Are you happy? Are you smiling? Are you doing exactly what you’d want to be doing right now?

My time off to relax into the end of 2015 was exactly what I needed, a few days in Connecticut over Christmas to celebrate time with the family and our new puppy brother, followed by a full 8 days back in the city to enjoy. The week was almost a blur of relaxing, wandering the city to catch up with G and E on Tuesday, E and I binge-watching Netflix and putting together furniture on Wednesday, and then a lazy New Year’s Eve day, ahead of a fancy dinner with M&N&E&me in Mount Kisco, ending the year by celebrating in sweatpants at home, champagne in hand and a kiss at midnight to start 2016 on a great foot.

I spent the last Saturday night of the vacation in Queens, of all places, and as I was gearing up for the long trek home, I decided to download a TED talk podcast on happiness. After a segment on an app that helps track your happiness, which will periodically text you something akin to the three questions above, I started to get distracted by the time, in a valiant effort to get to my apartment before the (eventually terrible) Jets game kick-off, and put music into my headphones instead to calm down. Wait by NF immediately came up in Spotify; the lyrics include “Are you happy?” and “Are you smiling?,” also noted above. Being asked these questions in two different mediums led to some interesting internal dialogue, as I tried to answer the three questions above on the long journey home.

On the one hand, HELL no, I was not happy, nor smiling, nor doing what I’d like to be doing. I had been stuck with a local train out of Forest Hills to Midtown, and then stuck with ANOTHER local train from Midtown to the Heights, which cinched my missing part of the first quarter of the game. It was cold outside which I strongly dislike, it was Day 2 of my third Whole30 so I had carb flu (IT’S REAL AND TERRIBLE), and I was less than 24 hours from returning to the office after an extremely-needed 10 day break. Also there was a weird ringing in my ears that wasn’t due to my headphones? Basically if I took a look at that exact moment, and the circumstances around me, I was not happy at all.

Taking a step back is something that’s not generally associated with the new year. Come January 1, we’re expected to step into resolutions with enthusiasm and fervor, this is the year I’ll get healthier and cancel cable and shop less and love more. Then, of course, most of these are swiftly abandoned after a few weeks or days, depending on how much champagne we’d had prior to making them. This year I took a different approach to the new year, in that my whole goal leading up to 2016, even the night leading into 2016, was to dial down my normal enthusiasm and enjoy a moment to step back and reflect. I don’t do that enough, I’ve realized, step back and appreciate or reevaluate for a moment, but with everything coming up in a few short weeks, taking moments to appreciate the little bits of the new year is something I want to prioritize.

Because if I look back to the moment above, the cranky attitude on a slow subway uptown; if I take a step back and look at the bigger picture, the answer to those questions is a resounding hell yes. It came after the perfect vacation with friends and family and love, and it came after a night with friends where I stuck to seltzer and still managed to stay out till 3am. It came after a lazy morning on the couch, bundled in t-shirts and coffee in hands while laughing along to Parks and Rec; and it came before NFL Sunday and a yoga class by candlelight to end the weekend. So yes, world. I am happy, and I am smiling, and I am exactly where I want to be right now. As with all things in life I’m sure that will change, but if I can hold onto my 2016 intention to step back a little and appreciate the big picture, then I predict I’ll have another wild yet wonderful year ahead.

Resolutions

“I just keep thinking about what it’s going to be like when it ends.”

About a month ago, I was sitting with my lovely friend M in her living room, full from our wonderful dinner in Nyack and talking about the next day. I had a first date in the afternoon in Williamsburg, and though I was calmly discussing it with M, internally I was freaking. the. fuck. out. She kept saying all these best friend things, as she started realizing how nervous I really was, like ‘You need to get out of your head and just enjoy it,’ and ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ She finally made a comment along the lines of ‘Hey, you never know what it could turn into,’ and I responded with the line above. M got very quiet after that, and I took a minute to curl my legs into my chest, staring at the floor, repeating the above mantra to myself, making sure my thoughts didn’t wander to the scary world of Maybes and I Wonders.

We were standing in her kitchen two days later, me rehashing all of the details from the brunch date that turned into the whole day and M cooking us dinner, per usual. Despite my best efforts to hide the fact that I really did have a great time, and I really couldn’t wait for the next one, M could tell that there was something different about me, different than any of the other random dates I’d forced myself to go on in the fall while getting over what happened with The Child. She made a joke about my having a plus one to T’s wedding in October, and my walls immediately went up; I started telling her there was no point in thinking about the future when it probably wouldn’t happen. I’ll never forget the way she looked at me after that: it was a mix of compassion and frustration, optimism and understanding, and she told me the words above had stuck with her since I’d said them that Saturday. “I get why you’re in that mindset,” she said, stirring the aromatic sauce on the stove, “especially after what you went through with The Child and all. But I don’t want you to think like that! Let yourself consider happiness instead of heartbreak. You never know what might happen.”

I’m not a guarded person. Well, correction. Up until recently, I’d never been a guarded person. I’m the girl that lives open and alive and obvious; I say I love you all the time and greet everyone with a hug. I trust easily and want to believe the best in people. It’s probably what set off everything as quickly as it did with The Child, as he came into my life with words that were bigger, sooner, more. I’ve noticed since all that fell apart that I won’t open up to new people, whether acquaintances, friends or dates. I’m quieter now, preferring to listen and figure things out in my own head; I’m not as quick to divulge details about anything, things as minor as apartment stories (#showergate14) and things as major as my last real relationship. I suppose it works against me, like people might think I don’t care or that I’m empty, but it’s not something I plan to change, at least not until I meet someone willing to give me the benefit of time and trust.

I hate believing in self-fulfilling prophecies, but as I predicted, the dates referenced above ended exactly as I thought they would: more fireworks, flashing just quickly enough to give me hope and then over just as quickly, leaving me exactly where I started. I won’t be telling M “I told you so,” though, much as the thought came into my head (/okay maybe I texted her that when it all went down). Owning the new parts of my personality that may be willing to talk about problems from high school, but unwilling to say what’s on my mind when all I can think is “You could be someone” is something I need to do for now. I have two resolutions for 2015, and only two resolutions this year. The first is just to believe in the possibility that there might be someone who inspires me to break down the tall, stone walls around me, and is willing to wait while I do. And the second is to know that I’m okay on my own, walls and all, whether that person exists for me or not.