Friday, December 19, 2014

New Years are Weird

Some things never change as the years pass. One thing that is always funny to me is how people begin the New Year. Often times people make too many promises to themselves before going into January that they believe will lead them to a "better life." That's fine and dandy, and I do admire that. There's nothing wrong with striving to be better. But, you should do so everyday. Not just on Mondays, and not just on January 1. Why wait out the whole year to do something deserving for yourself, when you have a fresh start each morning?

In retrospect, it scares the hell out of me that another year has slipped through my fingers. I never even made a New Year's Resolution... I'm still thinking. Don't get the wrong idea, I won't make one this year, either. I've been turned off the idea since I've proven time and time again my addiction to diet soda is bigger than myself.

Resolutions can be fun. It presents you with a challenge, and sometimes the opportunity to work out an internal conflict. However, they are not for me, and never have been. Put simply, I am the biggest loser of resolutions. I simply can't keep them.

One year, I swore up and down, left to right, and on every grave in the state of New York that I would speak like a lady all year. No cursing. No exaggeration, five seconds after the ball dropped, I went to hug my mom and she spilled champagne all over my lap.

"What the fuck," I complained.

So much for that. Now that that's soiled I can just sail away with my sailor's mouth for 364 more days until I can try again.

If resolutions are your forte, power to you. However, there are a few rules to keep in mind:

1. Be realistic- stick with one goal to seriously work with throughout the year. "Get a promotion," "Gather the courage to finally ask for a raise." It is highly unlikely that you're going to "never eat Taco Bell as long as you live," "never drink another soda in your life," or "go to the gym three times a day, five days a week." (However, if this was your resolution, maybe wait until February when everyone who has this resolution cancels their membership. It'll be less crowded.)
2. Be fair to yourself- this is why I say pick one! It is easy for an unfulfilled goal to lead to disappointment, having ten may get messy. There can only be one Taylor Swift.
**3. If you're going to set any kind of resolution, don't start making a years worth of mistakes at midnight! The urban myth that "the new year resolution" kicks in as soon as you wake up is full of shit. Behave yourself. 

At the end of the year, I like to reflect on the year passed, and make some goals (not resolutions) for the future. My goals could be considered more of bucket list items that I hope to achieve within the year. The difference is a longer deadline, and it's not something I have to work on everyday.

A few promises for 2015...
-I will still drink enough diet soda to potentially harm my health 40 years down the road, but I'll worry about that if and when that time comes
-I will curse at my leisure. I'm a journalist, it will happen. A lot. Besides, I always wanted to be a sailor.
-I will not work out five days a week. If I go to the gym twice in a week, it's a miracle.
-I will still steal my sister's close every time the opportunity prevents itself (Sorry, Al.)
-I will still date losers, bad boys, and rednecks my mom won't approve of.

-Publish more articles
-Get a paid reporting internship for the summer
-Stay in Tampa for more than two weeks when I'm not in school (make a home base).
-Talk more when it's important, and less when it's not.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Secret Romantic

I did everything I possibly could to save the remnants of a relationship that was never there. Anyone who knows me will say I'm not much of a dater. I'm not yet sure whether this is an entirely conscious choice: my heart building shields of steel around its perimeter to defend itself from its past muddy history, or simply an unconscious rebellion against societal beliefs, which are dangerously skewed. However, when I have my heart set, I never stop fighting for what it wants. No matter how impossible it may seem in our day: with rap music encouraging promiscuous behavior and shaming monogamous relationships, I wholeheartedly believe in the sanctity of love. Love is a beautiful and rare thing, which is why when it exists, the feeling should be appreciated, cherished. At the same time, love should be easy. This is something that cannot be forced and cannot be feigned. I never understood the concept of "couples therapy." You are willing to spend thousands of dollars to talk to a stranger about your frustrations how another person isn't loving you the right way? Isn't it cheaper to accept the fact that maybe, just maybe, you were never right for each other in the first place?

I don't date often. Not so much that I don't enjoy dating, I do. More often than not, it just doesn't go as planned for me and my heart is left battered. I'm not much of a dater, but I'm a closeted hopeless romantic. I say closeted, because in the society we were raised in, yes, it's seemingly embarrassing. I don't utter the word often. Yes, I have a wild spirit, but I have a calm heart. If I promise it to you, it's yours and only yours, until circumstance demands otherwise.

I wonder: why is it in our society that the idea of romance is so off-putting? The simple act of proving you care for another person in ways greater than 140 characters? Gross!

Surprises are my favorite. I don't know how I know this on a count of I have never been surprised, but I imagine it would be great. Just once to not have a set plan, just go out on a whim, and have someone tell me they'll pick me up in five minutes, and we'll figure it out from there. That will probably never happen. This is a high paced world we're living in. People want to know that their time won't be wasted. They want to know where they're going, they want a signed and notarized contract from Google maps on where the place is, they want to know how long they can expect to be there, who else will be in proximity. Everything is pre-determined. God forbid something wonderful happened. Something spontaneous. Let your guard down. Allow yourself to live, and deviate from the plan you so eloquently developed for yourself. Everyone has a plan for themselves, what are the chances the numbers in your plan systematically match up with another person's plan? Let it go.

 I get it, though. This world is tough. Barriers are built, steel walls with alligator-filled moats surround your heart to protect the chance that God forbid you fall in love and something beautiful happens. Why do we do this? We want promises. We fear the unknown, and we fear rejection. If you never jump, you can never fall. In the same breath, if you never fall, you can never heal.

Another thing I never understood is why people let a day dictate when they're going to show love for someone they love? I don't want your flowers on Valentine's day. I want them on February 1st, or November 10. I don't want to be waiting in the doorway, tapping my foot with my hand out. I don't want to expect anything. Don't buy me gifts for Christmas that I needed in October. Be nice, because you want to, not because the florist told you to, and you couldn't pass up a 2-for-1 deal getting flowers for your mother and me in one shot.

What can we do to bring it back?:

  • First things first, stop playing games. If you have feelings for someone, let them know. Don't analyze how long you should wait before texting back, how often you should be busy, etc. Text back when you open the message, and see them as often as you're free. 
  • Drop the plans. Instead of "do you want to hang out?" and "what do you want to do?," try "I'll pick you up in ten minutes for dinner." 
  • Drop the notion that everything is about money. Not everyone is after your below-average pay check. Get over yourself. Go for a walk on the beach, go hiking, rent a movie, it's simply about being together.
  • Forget dates. Yes, I said that. Giving flowers on Valentine's day is super cheesy. Try giving flowers when it's least expected or when you feel someone needs them. The gesture will go better appreciated. 
  • If there's a problem, talk about it. People can't read minds, therefore aren't going to always understand when and why you're upset. Life is too short to leave words unsaid, the only person you're harming is yourself. Holding grudges causes wrinkles. Open up, and let things go [within reason]. 
  • Relationships are a mutual effort. If one person is pulling all of the weight and making all of the sacrifices, there is an unbalance that needs to be worked out, in order to avoid tension later on. 
  • Relationships should be easy. If you often spend a lot of time fighting, making it feel like a chore to talk to one another, it's time to cut the line. Enough of this notion that you "invested so much time," blah, blah, blah. If you're more miserable than you are happy, it might be time to throw in the towel. You'll start to breathe easier. 
  • Stop the crazy. Trust is essential. No snooping. 
  • Be loyal. Face reality. Cheating on your significant other will not turn you into Leonardo Dicaprio, or Kim Kardashian. Cheating makes you an asshole. That's a fact. 
  • Break down those walls, let the alligators loose and fill in that moat. Open up your heart. It could be as simple as that.