I’ve been on a staycation for the last week and a half, combining some vacation time with the paid holidays. For the first couple of days, I felt a little bit guilty about just staying home, like I was squandering a valuable resource. One thing that I’ve realized is really important to me in a vacation is not feeling like I’m rushed, and that there’s some kind of sense of abundance. So I’m glad I didn’t spend to go somewhere and then had to pinch pennies while I was there.
I wasn’t quite prepared to fall apart completely right after my last day of work, though. I’ve been trying to push myself out of my comfort zone and minimize alone time, the thought of trying to fill two weeks of free time caused me to dissolve and turn into a giant needy piece of shit. I sent out a series of poorly-thought-out OKCupid messages that dialed up the impatience and neediness by at least 300%. Over the next couple of days I was hit by a swift and severe case of the Christmas Special, Everyone-Is-Leaving-Me Blues. Once that passed though, I’ve been super content and chill and happily introverted.
I spent Christmas Eve at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral. Episcopalians know how to do a beautiful service. I misread the time that the service would start, and so decided to duck into a bar for a drink (I know, I know—what a rebel). It was kind of a shithole sportsbar that I would have hated anyway, but it was also a little bit too sad. I felt pretty uncomfortable and finished my drink quickly and just walked around the neighborhood listening to podcasts. Beautiful organ program, decent selection of carols, really nice choir program and performance. I saw that one of the apprentice musicians was somebody that I met when we studied with the same organ teacher. I had a huge crush on him back then, but I didn’t actually see him anywhere there to say hi.
I spent Christmas day and dinner with my best friend’s boyfriend’s family. It was really nice to observe family dynamics without having any skin in the game. I could sit back and watch questions go to him like “How serious is this girl?” and “So when are you having kids?” with both safety and the gleeful and perverse interest of the Best Friend that [He Has] to Keep Happy.
I finally had a “this is it” moment a couple weeks ago and decided to prioritize quitting smoking. This past weekend was really tough because I was drinking with people that I usually smoke with and there were plenty of cigarettes and smoke around. I can’t wait until my lungs come back and the cough goes away, I’m a little discouraged by how long that part of the process is taking, and there have been other side effects to the nicotine replacement that I’ve been taking that has me feeling a little bit worse off for all the effort right now.
I’ve also started walking every day—that’s a little more recent. I’m just trying to cultivate a new habit. Right now my mood is really good and filled with a real sense of possibility. Even as recently as a few weeks ago, certainly last month, I was really overwhelmed with this dissatisfaction at the thought that I was stuck in a cycle of mitigating the consequences of decisions I had made in the past when I didn’t understand what was at stake. What’s taken its place is a really nice optimistic mood, a feeling like right now I am at the beginning of my story, not at the end of a story or in the middle of one that’s in progress.
Some Bad News
One piece of upsetting news is that my therapist is closing his practice. I’m glad that this didn’t come at a more life-and-death time, but I’m really not looking forward to starting from the beginning with somebody new. I’m worried that I won’t be strong enough to be as honest with the next person as I have with my current therapist, who has really seen me at my worst and messiest.
I bought some tires yesterday. They were way past due, and it reminded me of the way that anybody who works at a job that interacts with the public (like I do) inevitably begins to judge people based on the way that they behave as customers. Please, Mr. Les Schwab, know that I am better than my bald tires.
Goodbye to 2014
It’s been a big year for me. I don’t have some big thesis about what it all meant, but as I look back, there have been a lot of highlights:
79 pages journaled • moved to a new job • got a raise • got to meet and work with some really special kids and families • finished some poems, and showed them to another human • Grand Budapest Hotel, Boyhood • moved to a new house, gained a new roommate • Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man • started therapy again to work on becoming the person that I want to be, not just out of a sense of crisis • reawakening my creative self • playing music socially • renegotiated and changed patterns with almost all of the friends that I have • made some new friends • cooked some ramen from scratch • Mindset • really attacked some of my issues of self-confidence and self-worth • walked in my first pride parade • became more comfortable flying solo and going to bars and social spaces by myself • saw Bombay Bicycle Club live • got a beautiful summer tan • went on a couple dates with boys • I had the confidence to dramatically change up my personal appearance • I partied hard a couple nights • I quit smoking.
I feel like resolutions are the easiest way to get angry at yourself in mid-January, so I don’t do them, but I’m hoping that 2015 will come with even more forward momentum.
Happy New Year