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Notes from a year in the Merde

August 10, 2011

I turned 28 on Monday. It was a good day. Then it was the day after my birthday. It was not a good day. At the obscenely grown-up age of 28, I ended my evening by crying my eyes out to my mommy. I cried for all the things I thought I would have accomplished by now, none of which I have managed to do. I cried for the novel I haven’t finished, the screenplay I haven’t started, the tax bracket I have no hope of reaching, my current financial situation, my failed relationships, my failed friendships, and the fact that I have yet to save the whales.

It wasn’t feeling-sorry-for-yourself crying. It was anger-at-yourself crying. I was raging at myself because all of the unaccomplishments I listed were my responsibility. There were circumstances I could not control, of course, and anything that involves another person is exactly half your responsibility, but at the end of the day, my life was still up to me and I felt like I had failed myself. I think I scared my poor mother.

I woke up this morning with a puffy face, red eyes, and a headache. Not hot. But as I showered and got dressed, I thought about the past year or so, and decided that I had, in fact, accomplished a lot. The one thing I did this year was learn. A lot of things, about people, life, and myself. Since it’s the off-season, and this is my soap box, I’d like to share a couple of those lessons with you, my five readers.

  • There is nothing less attractive than entitlement.
  • Go running. Or dancing, or boxing, or hiking, or… you know… ing. The best cure for hating your body is finding a way to be thankful you have it at all.
  • It doesn’t matter if that chick is wearing leggings as pants. Are you happy with yourself?
  • Constant outrage is exhausting. Avoid it, and everybody who engages in it.
  • Buy my novel, when I finish it and if it gets published.
  • Don’t spend money you don’t have unless it’s on your education or a house. Debt SUCKS.
  • If you want someone to go away, you have to be honest and not try to spare their feelings. Disclaimer: I failed at this, and will likely fail if the situation ever comes up again.
  • If someone wants you to go away, you are better off without them and it’s their loss.
  • Seriously, debt really, really sucks, and credit cards are the devil. Very few people can control their spending and their credit card balance. Learn to become one of those people.
  • If a human is using advanced stats in a hockey argument, there is a 99% chance that they are using them incorrectly.
  • Don’t ever let anybody ever, ever, ever make you feel like you have to change things about yourself in order to be acceptable to them. People who love you will ask you to compromise, not change.
  • There are exactly zero people in the world who are completely mentally healthy. People who understand and accept that are the people worth keeping around.
  • Also don’t be ashamed that you’re not mentally perfect. We’re all screwed up, I promise.
  • Is everything conspiring against you? Are you the victim in all your interpersonal relationships? Yeah, grow the fuck up and do something about your life.
  • There is a fine line between being smug and being smugnoxious. Don’t cross it.
  • If someone seems too good to be true, then they are.
  • You can complain about the fact that your plane was late and your luggage stayed behind, or you can revel in the fact that you’re in Paris. You choose what vantage point you experience your life from.

That last one is hard to keep in mind sometimes. I’m obviously still working on it, as evidenced by my childlike tantrum from last night. I’m hopeful that one day I will have no more weak moments like that, and ignore the bad and see only the good.

I’ve decided to tackle the issue of accomplishments by listening to the advice of a crazy ginger dude named Conan: I will work hard, I will be kind, and [I will have faith that] amazing things will happen.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. August 10, 2011 12:35 pm

    Great perspective! It is hard to look at your life and think of all the things you wanted to accomplish by a certain age and to realize that you’ve probably given up on your ideals, or at least some of them, but realizing that can empower you to refocus your life to do what you really, truly believe in. I made a big decision about three years ago on what I would actually focus my life on and I’m finally starting to see the differences in my life, and in my future. You’ll get there.

  2. August 10, 2011 12:40 pm

    I too am mentally unbalanced and too good to be true. 😉

    PS – you’re too hard on yourself.

  3. Andrew permalink
    August 10, 2011 1:04 pm

    First, and most importantly, Happy Birthday! 🙂

    You give some fine, sage advice. Attack each day with kindness and love in your heart, and you can’t go wrong. If someone lashes out at you in anger, give an equal measure of kindness back.

    Take care of yourself!

    A

  4. August 10, 2011 3:10 pm

    Happy birthday!!!1

  5. August 10, 2011 3:30 pm

    Hey dude,

    So as your fifth and final reader, I feel compelled to comment. Remember all that stuff we emailed about? Yeah, I was 27. Now I’m in the best possible place in my life. Just keep at it and focus on yourself, and everything will eventually fall into place.

    ❤ you!

  6. August 10, 2011 3:38 pm

    Your 6th reader here … I understand where you are coming from, and rest assured that you are not alone. Things don’t always work out the way we thought they would, but if you don’t believe in yourself, you will not accomplish anything. Conan’s got it right.

    Besides, 28 is still young. At least that’s what I am telling myself because that’s where I’ll be 3 months from now. It will get better though. Sometimes we need to learn things the hard way. I always do.

    happy birthday!

  7. Amanda permalink
    August 16, 2011 11:14 am

    You should be proud of everything you have learned and everything you have accomplished, rather than lamenting the things you *think* you should have done. Everything you have learned and done makes you who you are, and you are wonderful.

    I have always admired the way you are willing to lay things out – the real, unvarnished truth. It’s hard to be authentic in a world that seems to reward the superficial, but you are true to yourself and for that, you should be very proud.

    And let the people who don’t value you for all that you are, go. You don’t need to waste your beautiful mind on worrying about it. There are people in your life who love you and want nothing but the absolute best for you.

  8. August 17, 2011 11:59 pm

    I will totally buy your novel (as long as you’ll buy mine)!

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