I keep wanting to write these elaborate, or at least, complete posts or essays or thoughts, about so many topics that I wind up not writing anything. Lately my life is in total flux and I blame a lot of it on being 35, but really it's about adjusting to that constant flux, going with the flow, and figuring out how to maximize my happiness. I mean, that sounds easier than it is, but maybe it's not as hard as I sometimes make it.
This year has had some extremely low moments--stolen iPhone, Top Chef date and other pretty appalling dates, getting laid off, lots of failures big and small--but it's also had some wonderful ones, from a great relationship to a host of new writing opportunities. I'm trying to keep the balance in mind, to remember that every day is a chance to start over, whatever my age. I have so many ideas and I often don't sleep at night these days, or sleep at odd hours, trying to get them just right. I still am my father's daughter in so many ways, like yesterday when I totally lost my shit because I couldn't find Commerce Street and thus couldn't go to the free reading at Cherry Lane Theater. Will I try again next week, or just chalk it up to West Village crazy streets and park my ass at a desk and write? Who knows?
I know that if 35 is the worst year I ever have, well, that'll be fine by me. If you'd told me 2 months ago I wouldn't be sitting in a cubicle editing smut but would be enjoying sunshine (!!), cupcake wrangling for national TV, jogging (!!) and trying to simply take each moment as they come, I don't think I'd have believed you. It's so easy to get utterly stuck, mentally and physically. I forget sometimes that change is possible, which is one of the most basic things that makes us human. I forget a lot of things and I'm trying to use this time, no matter where I wind up, physically, jobwise, or whatever, to just own myself, my thoughts, my feelings, and use them to be the best person I can be. I spent too much of this last year wanting to impress or please other people, and maybe I needed to hear things like "it would never work out" to know that I can only please myself. I'm about to embark on a year devoted to self-love, in all ways, and I'm already feeling and finding the peace there, the capacity to push myself into foreign territory and even though I have no fucking clue if everything will be okay, and I don't have much faith on that score one way or the other, I know that I will be the one making the decisions, one moment at a time.
I could tell you I'd love it if I never took a sip of alcohol again, if I live up to my promise to myself not to date or have sex in this coming year, but who knows? I have so many dreams and goals and yet I too often fall down on the job of living up to my potential. I'm so fucking scared sometimes of even writing a single sentence, it becomes easier to do anything else than take that leap into the unknown, the place beyond knowledge, the place where I'm just utterly in the moment. I'm laughably bad at that but I know that in my little mental utopia, no, I'm not some yoga-performing mistress of serenity, but my hands don't shake, I don't cry on the subway for no reason, I don't take everything so personally, I don't place such a high commodity on the stuff that literally clutters every space in my life, but rather on clarity and bravery and hope and love. Yesterday I was so eager for some kind of pain to break through the hell of feeling utterly out of control. I have a scheduled pain appointment in the form of a tattoo coming up in 13 days, and I'm very excited to have all that amorphous hope for something I don't know if I'm truly capable, having a heart, permanently etched on me. It's so easy to see this year as one of listening to my heart over my head, and if I'm honestly, sometimes i want to take a knife to my heart and slice it into ribbons, or explode it in some fabulous fashion. It gets me in trouble and lead me down so many false starts this year. I don't wish I could take them back, exactly, I just wish they hadn't lead where they did.
BUT I'm grateful to be right here, in this beautiful weather, in this beautiful city. And yes, I'm excited for my closeup on live TV tomorrow, but that's external, and more than anything I need to work on, starting right now, ignoring external validation for the falsity it is. It's really meaningless, and you don't take it with you when you die, and you really don't even take it with you when you live. I know that for every time someone pays me some fake-sounding-to-my-ears compliment like "you do so much" and I want to punch them (I've discovered this year how much of a not pacifist I am, when it comes at least to those very visceral urges), or says the most boring thing on earth ("you have a lot of bags") that if I let that white noise get to me, if I let it penetrate even a millimeter below the surface, I'm gone, and I've been gone too much of this last year, letting myself erase all those hopes and dreams in favor of anyone else's. That's not how I want to live, and I have to accept that there will be days like yesterday, when I'm lost and confused and frustrated, that that happens, and you move on, and I can choose whether to stay in those rock bottom moments or rise above them. Writing, which is I guess is what I now do for a living, is so inherently full of rejection that I feel like I have to just paint a thicker skin on, maybe in multiple layers, and, again, believe in my own words first, so that when, as happened this year, I don't hear back, I have the courage to probe further.
People keep asking me what I'm doing for my birthday, and my shortest answer is, welcoming 36 with everything in my being. I don't want gifts, I don't want a party, I don't want a celebration. I just want to put this rocky year behind me and make sure I embrace this new one as a better version of me, as the Rainer Maria song goes.