Wednesday, December 30, 2015

My Struggle With "My Struggle"

Moments ago, I finished a novel I started in May. May. Seven months ago.

It's something that I am not so proud about concerning this past year. I read far fewer books than I have at any point in my life since probably I learned to read. A lot of non-book stuff was read - status updates, quick takes on whatever the latest scandal is, articles linked to and unlinked to. And that stuff is beneficial. I am not devaluing social media or the unique forms of knowledge and entertainment it provides. What I am saying is that my heavy engagement with social media this past year, especially since starting to work in it, has eaten up whatever moments I otherwise would have spent curled up in bed with a book. Now, I curl up in bed with my iPhone next to me, scrolling through Facebook, reading articles and watching videos friends and friends of friends have posted.

The book was Karl Ove Knausgard's My Struggle. I started it on a flight to Iceland and London this spring, thinking I would read it on the trip. I didn't. The book rather was a stowaway and got a free trip to Europe from me is all. On that same trip, I met up with my ex, Jacob, who was reluctant to meet up with me, which was depressing. He looked just as beautiful as he did when we broke up a few years ago. A month after eating lunch with him in a London park he would be married. That event, which I saw pictures of on social media (instead of reading My Struggle), was perhaps the finality I needed, to realize that it was never going to happen, whatever slight hopes I still harbored of someday reuniting with this guy.

Stay with me here. I am not sure where I am going with any of this, but we'll figure that out as we go along and try to recap what 2015 was and what it wasn't and what it is we as human beings, and me a specific human being, hope to get out of life.

Let's stick with this theme of romance and longing for just a bit longer though, tie these strings up, so we can move on to the bigger things (and, yes, in 2015, I finally after 34 years on this planet, realized that there are bigger things). At the end of the summer, Nik moved away to Atlanta. Another heartbreak. Another unsuccessful romance. He was my best friend this past summer and I was in love with him and it's a position I have been in too many times in my life.

There were guys that I maybe hooked up with once, maybe twice. These guys I can count on one hand from this past year and still have a finger left to flick off the world.

But, really, where am I going with any of this? This has gone so far off the rails from what I initially meant to say, which is this: 2015 was a fucking fantastic year. Yes, there are the above paragraphs that might give the impression it wasn't, but yes, folks, yes it was.

I finally got a paid job in advertising at a cool agency, finally in my mid-thirties started to feel like I knew what I was doing with my life, finally started to feel like an adult in the career-sense of the word, which is a big part of that word. This is a big deal and contributed to my happiness in ways I never even imagined it would. I was deeply unhappy and dissatisfied working in hospitality, aware that I could be doing better, that I wasn't living up to my potential, and that I wasn't utilizing the skills that I wanted to utilize in my life, namely writing. To get paid for writing, even if it's writing social media for various brands, feels so fucking good. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a writer as my job. Yes, this is not the type of writing I imagined I would be doing then, but it's still fucking writing and I am getting fucking paid for it, and that feels so damn good, it's indescribable.

So that gave me a bit of a confidence boost when I finally no longer was an intern but a paid employee, and allowed me to shake off some of the insecurity I had otherwise been dragging around. Pair that with a renewed physical confidence from actually having to get dressed up each day to go to work and going to the gym regularly and just finally getting over whatever sense of shame and inhibition I had for so long allow me to hold me back publicly in some ways.

I am really in love with my body, and not necessarily in a narcissistic way, though maybe, and also I am not necessarily sure that'd be a negative thing given the prevailing sentiments in our culture toward one's body -  self-harm, self-loathing, or some combination of the two. I feel really connected to my body, present in it in a way I hadn't in the past few years. I don't drink as much as I used to. I rarely smoke now. I am trying to take better care of myself because I have more respect for this body, and an awareness that I am this body.

There were trips to Fire Island, to Vegas, to Miami, to New Orleans, to Colorado, and those already mentioned trips to Iceland and London. A lot of fun was had.  I have really embraced my love of burritos in a way that I am continuing to explore and mine with

There is so much fucking beauty on this planet. I am happy with the friends I have, with my living situation, and for the most part with my career situation.

This upcoming year though I do want to working on becoming a better person. There's always something to improve, work to be done, things to learn, and so my resolutions for 2016 are:

-I want a better job - hopefully more money and hopefully doing stuff not just in social media
-I want to become more fit
-I want to read a lot more fiction
-I want to write better and write more
-I want to finally learn Spanish

And literally every single one of those resolutions has been a resolution of mine for probably the last decade or so, and you know what? Who the fuck cares? Just keep on putting those intentions out there and trying. It's all you can fucking do. Live your life.

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