Don’t look back in anger

This evening, while I carefully uncork the champagne bottle without throwing out my back for the second time in a week, I will reflect not on the year that has just past, but the decade that stomped all over my body.

I will think about what my 35-year-old self would say to my early-twenties self and wonder if it would’ve made a difference or if I would’ve injured my eyeballs from rolling them so hard toward the back of my head.

Thanks Justice Mitchell!

I’ve written a few lines – and just a few because I’m not sure if the past me knew how to read yet – to my younger version. And, yes, I’m fully aware that I am unable to time travel, but maybe, just maybe some twenty-something will stumble across this and roll their eyes so far back into their head that they will end up at an urgent care and miss out on destroying their stomach lining at a New Year’s Eve party. Oh who am I kidding, that kid is still trashed from Halloween.

Anyway, here goes…

Dear twenty-something year old me,

What are you wearing? Muster up the energy to get out of those blue basketball pants with the white stripe down the leg and wear something flattering and stylish. In ten years, your adorable little frame will be unable to contain the bags of fat that dangle from your back and front sides.

Are you not going to eat anything before going out? Seriously, you need to have a meal. Sit down and eat. Now. You can’t leave this house until you eat something. And take Mylanta with you. Oh, and some Tums. You should also take a huge bottle of water with you to keep hydrated. Also, remember to eat afterwards. And an English muffin at Denny’s at 3 a.m. is not a meal! Neither are three french fries from some stranger’s plate.

Being the pioneer of drunk dialing, is not an accolade to be proud of. Do not call your parents, ex girlfriend or long-lost cousin at any point of the night. It seems like a really great idea and even if you plan out the entire conversation, your mouth will not be able to move in a way that can produce audible and intelligible words. You are saying “I love you,” but the person on the other end only hears you say “Fluffy,” over and over again.

You are not a stunt double. You will never be able to break down a door with your shoulder. Even with a running start. There is also no need to show people you can put your ankles behind your head. It turns out you will need that tendon to be strong in the future, you know, to walk up the stairs. So, stop hyper-stretching it.

And finally, be a nice person. Here come the eye-rolls. I’m serious. Spend more time being a nice person to others and yourself. It will ease a lot of the regret you’ll carry around later.

Oh and good luck getting out of that bill from Columbia House. You don’t even own CD’s anymore.

Love always,

The older me.

P.S. Thanks for all the memories I can’t remember.

Red letter year

As I was putting away my Halloween costume I missed Thanksgiving and Hanukkah. And while I was trying to figure out who won “Dancing with the Stars,” the librarian asked me to go pick up a Christmas tree. The speed in which this year is leaving us is equivalent to a Porsche GT in the hands of an actor from a movie franchise about illegal street racing.

Two-thousand and thirteen has been a strange year. A year of dichotomies and contradictions. Of simultaneous joy and pain. A year when the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, but the House of Representatives won’t bring the Employment Non-Discrimination Act up for a vote. A year when three women and a six-year-old girl were rescued from captivity, but a woman in Florida was sentenced to 20 years in jail* for firing a warning shot at her abusive husband.

A year when George Zimmerman was found not guilty for 2nd degree murder, but O.J. Simpson is still in jail for robbery. A year when two bombs exploded near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, but the Boston Red Sox won their 8th World Series. A year when South Florida did not get a single storm this Hurricane season, but the Philippines received the brunt of the strongest typhoon ever recorded.

A year when a mentally unstable navy contractor passed a background check, but the NSA is keeping track of everyone’s Facebook status. A year when the minority party exercised their power to shut down the entire U.S. government over healthcare, but Americans are now signing up for insurance by the droves.

A year when I changed jobs, but kept the same salary. A year when I traveled to Nicaragua through my job in academia, but have traveled nowhere through my job at a cruise line. A year when I quit my magazine, but also quit smoking. A year when I turned 35 as a human, 12 as a partner, and 11 as a pet parent, but 10 as a half-orphan. A year when started I a new writing project, but failed to finish it.

A year that should end as quietly and subtly as this post, but followed by a better and more meaningful year like the posts to come.

*Marissa Alexander was recently granted a new trial date and was able to post bail.

Chair woman

On the eve of New Year’s Eve it is tradition to archive important emails and papers and discard the things that are no longer useful.

How that translated into throwing away my thinking chair, I’m not sure. But out the door it went and straight to the dumpster.

Image by "dmhergert." (CC) Some rights reserved. Source: http://www.flickr.com

My thinking chair! I typed out screenplays and treatments sitting there. I researched information for articles and took naps with my dog while pretending to brainstorm. And now it’s gone. There is an empty space with a dust bunny where the chair used to be.

Oh my chair! It was the first piece of furniture I bought in this apartment. It was supposed to be a temporary filler in the living room until I was able to afford the two chairs and ottoman  I had eyed at a furniture store.  But it became more than just a filler. It became mine, because it was so ugly and uncomfortable that no one wanted to sit in it. But still, very much mine.

These are the compromises one must make when you share your living space. Although there was not much compromise.

I heard rattling in the kitchen this morning at 7:00 and smelled the goodness of a homemade omelette and fresh coffee. This type of breakfast is reserved for the weekend, never the weekday, but I thought it might have been a left over sentiment from the holidays. It wasn’t until I found myself sprawled out on the floor in the spot where my chair used to be that I realized what that breakfast really meant.

“Very funny! I could’ve broken my coccyx!” I yelled. I really didn’t hurt my rear, but I thought I would play it up to make her feel bad about pulling a prank so early in the morning.

After a few bars of that well-known song, “You’re kidding, right?” I realized that she had in fact thrown away my chair. Gone.

Somehow, deep down inside, I feel liberated from the chair. I’m a little glad it left. It was really ugly and not that comfortable. The chair has now become my greatest contribution to the cycle of death and renewal, which is really what Father Time and the Baby New Year represent.

I hope she feels the same way when I throw away her collector’s edition Brooke Shields pink hair dryer.