09 January, 2013

One Thing

Why, hello. No, you are not mistaken, I am posting in my blog. You know why? Because it's 2013. It's a new year, ripe with possibilities and untarnished aspirations and countless goals and dreams for the coming months. New Years is a time to take a moment and take a deep breath, to spend some small amount of minutes reevaluating your life: where you are, what you’d like to do, and where you see yourself by the end of the year. At least, that's what it's always been like for me.


To me, New Years is the adult version of the first day of school. You gear up for it for weeks, imagining yourself in your best form, a person without that deeply annoying habit of biting your fingernails, of slouching, or of ending sentences with, "you know?," you know? When you're younger, you get a new wardrobe that can reinvent who you are, and more importantly, who you want to become. You get binders and pencils and books to make you smarter, and maybe even some new friends in new classes with new subject matter to make you grow into a more intelligent, more well-versed adult, the kind that knows things like where the golgi apparatus is inside a mitochondria and that can recite “Oh Captain, My Captain” at will.

Sadly, all that newness kind of goes away when you grow up. Sure, when you're older you get gym memberships that you're fully going to commit to this year (not like last year), maybe some new clothes for New Year’s Eve if you have a social gathering, but ultimately after school ends you lose that crisp exciting feeling of newness and resolve. Except for on New Years.

Looking at most of the adults I know, it seems like if you're lucky, you get a few days off from work to spend with friends, family, or Ryan Seacrest on tv, maybe sipping something deliciously bubbly but internally remarking how utterly unremarkable the stroke of midnight always seems to be. Except for New Years, because of the all-too-critical tradition of making important New Year’s Resolutions. Resolutions make the whole pomp and circumstance of New Years seem that much more definite, more life-changing. You can finally make a commitment to yourself on a significant day (and not just any random Tuesday) to run that marathon, to speak up more at work, to finally learn how to speak Spanish to seduce that sexy vecino of yours. You would know what vecino meant if you had committed to learning Spanish, already.

My resolution is a little different, and is something I'm referring to as my "one thing." Many moons ago, back when we Massachusetts people donned skimpy swim wear and visited tiny, rocky beaches and pretended that we didn't have work on Monday, I got sick with a little something that the doctors are pretty sure was maybe West Nile. The verdict is still out. But regardless of what it was, it was just plain awful. I spent many weeks slumped over, stuck over indoors, being ache-y, watching entire seasons of tv pass by on Netflix, and generally feeling a whole mess of self pity. I no longer considered myself a contributing member of society, heck- I just called it a small victory if I could get through the morning without puking. Those were not my shiniest, most noteworthy hours.


So, once I started to escape the confines of my sick bed, I decided I would do one good thing a day that would make me feel like a real person. Just one good thing. That good thing could count as me paying off a bill I had been putting off for far too long, or writing a little note to someone I had been thinking about, or spending an entire evening without the internet (gasp). These actions were not revolutionary or innovative by any means, but they did make me feel a little less guilty as I crawled into bed at night. Because if I did my one thing, then that day was not a waste. It was just one thing, but it made me feel like a better, more complete person, a real adult.

Gradually, I got healthier, but I still kept to my one thing. And as I got stronger, my one thing started to get stronger, too, expanding to include things like gathering friends I'd been meaning to see, taking trips home I'd been meaning to take, reading books I'd had on a wish list that dated back to well before college, maybe even high school. They started to take a bit longer than one day, and that’s why, for this New Years, I am expanding my list again. For it is, after all, a new year full of promise, opportunity, hopefully health, and god willing, going viral on YouTube. Because that is one thing that is on my list of things to do, see, or experience this year. Fingers crossed.

Some of these one things may be small, like spending an hour doing nothing (victory is only counted if I manage to not fall asleep), some may be slightly larger (like to take part in a protest for a cause I believe in), some involve other people (like to sing what is arguably the greatest sing-a-long song known to man, Walking in Memphis, at a karaoke bar) and some are just plain practical (learn how to shoot a gun, or to host an R. Kelly "Trapped in the Closet" marathon).

The point is to finally do all those things I'd been thinking, "hey, that'd be pretty cool, maybe one day.” Because today is that one day. This year is that year. And, of course, for posterity’s sake, I'll be writing about it and providing photographic evidence when possible. Because personal growth should be shared, and this is my blog, and if you think my life goals are dumb or this blog is dumb, you can take some advice from my crotchety old Armenian grandmother and go scratch. There, I said it.

My first resolution was to ring in the New Year sober. Did I fail the first of my resolutions? Or did I complete my first task because I remembered last New Years where I drank from a bottle of Kraken rum on the Longfellow Bridge, kissed random passersby, got sick in a car, and tried to give away my iPad to the kind women at the Blandford stop on the Mass Pike because I was convinced that a depraved being such as myself no longer deserved such nice things as access to the internet and touch screen capability? Will I tell you the whole story in the following post? Guess you'll just have to tune in next time to see.