One Year Out

Last night, I went on a date that I, honestly, had invested way too much in before it even happened. We had been talking via text for about three days, and–if I can be candid–I thought this was going to be one that I took home to the parents. Essentially, I was Ginnifer Goodwin in He’s Just Not That Into You, and it played out exactly how the movie title reads: not. that. into. you. After the date, we had a brief discussion about how I wasn’t relationship material, and then I came home and drank a bottle of wine… because that’s how you handle rejection. I had never done this on a date before… putting that much pressure on a first meeting. I blame my recent trip home, where I met all my friends from home who are either married, engaged, or about to be engaged: going to Tennessee is essentially the equivalent of visiting a group of 16 year old traditional Indian girls… everyone is getting married off. But, as I was consuming my entire bottle of 3.99 wine on a Saturday night, I thought to myself, What is your life? Look at your decisions. And then I was hungover for work, and that’s never cool.
It’s been 14 months since I graduated undergrad, 13 months since I started this blog, 11 months since I moved to Washington D.C., and 12 minutes since I last ate an entire sleeve of Oreos. Not to be cliche, but time goes by incredibly fast. I’m not saying that I feel like the past year has aged me immensely, but I will say that I saw a guy in front of me at 7-11 the other day with a pint of Ben and Jerry’s “Strawberry Shortcake” and a Coke Zero and thought to myself, “Damn. That looks like a good night. I wonder if he’d want to be friends.” The past year has been exhausting, and I had a ton of people tell me that it would be the hardest year of my life that I’ve faced thus far, and it was.
But there’s a caveat to that–it absolutely was the most trying 365 days I’ve faced in my life, and in the same breath, it was also the most amazing days that I’ve ever seen. I suppose in comparison to a lot of people I went to school with, the journey that I’ve taken has been a little bit different. I decided to move to a new place with new people, and with all of that being said–it hasn’t gone half bad. On the outside, it looks pretty good, and by most standards, I’m doing okay for a 23 year old: good job, decent friends, solid school record… but below the surface, there’s all these questions and issues that you can’t know about–the things that we just don’t talk about.
But this is not a place where we keep secrets: we established that a year ago. This is a place I come to share with the rest of the world all the things that make us nervous and scared and a little embarrassed. In public relations, we’re told about the value of the infographic: a way of conveying data to people that makes them more receptive to actually taking it in. So after I found out that I would be alone at home tonight because my roommates had actual dates, I started an infographic at work. Even I need a picture to describe what’s going on in my life. So I jumped in and reflected on 2013, because tackling the entire past year was just too hard for my heart to handle.
What I learned, other than the fact that I turn to pizza when I’m lonely, and that I am a raging chain smoker/wino, is that we shouldn’t be ashamed of the things that make us a little less than perfect. The dates and the pizza and the singing and the wine: well, it makes us human. I once thought that I knew exactly what my life would look like once I was at this age, and it doesn’t look like that at all. Life is a little bit of a complexity: it can be a tragedy or a comedy, all depending on the way that you look at it. A year ago, if you asked me how I would feel about living with three sports buffs, remaining single, and ordering approximately two Dominos pizzas a week… I probably would have been pretty sad about it. But when you put it in perspective, it’s a pretty funny life–mostly because it’s the last thing I would have planned.
I think we all try and prepare for things so that we can do our best at outsmarting life. We follow an unspoken syllabus because we think that’s what will make us happy. I see it done every day: by people back home, by people in DC, by people everywhere really. But it’s pointless because your life is yours, and if you want to go and get a pint of Ben and Jerry’s with a Diet Coke… well then damn it, you should. And it shouldn’t matter that it makes you feel old or lame or socially awkward because that’s your life, and honestly… no one else has any more idea of what’s going on than you do. So, for you seven year olds that read my blog, my advice is to plan your future very loosely. Know where you’re going, but don’t Google Maps the directions or anything… because inevitably, you’re going to miss a turn or take the exit two before the one you were supposed to take. And for everyone else, myself included, we know the big secret to life: there’s absolutely no controlling it, and even more than that, there’s absolutely no stopping it. Because very similarly to my car, when you have it figured it out and fixed, something else is inevitably going to break down. And that’s okay because we’re a resilient species. We do what it takes to make things work.
So, since I’ve started this blog tonight, I’m about four beers deep, a couple cigarettes in, and about to pee on myself because I haven’t taken a bathroom break. It’s been almost a month since I submitted my last entry, and even though it’s almost 3:00am, and I’m about to pee on myself–there’s a satisfaction that comes with writing another post. It’s an idea that’s sat in my head for weeks, and originally, I anticipated that it would be filled with wisdom and insight, when in reality–it was more of a display of the embarrassing things I do on a daily and/or monthly basis. But that’s the point: no one is wise. This world isn’t particularly about being smart–it’s partially about luck and partially about determination. You have to be at the right place at the right time, but most of all, you have to be determined enough to keep going so that you eventually hit that string of luck. And in the mean time, you can always run down to 7-11 for a bottle of wine.


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