Friday, December 28, 2007

In all my reading and searching and contemplating, I did come across a bunch of interesting and helpful tidbits that I squirreled away in my three journals of 2007. After pouring through them, I have come up with a sort of map, if you will. A rough guide to begin the journey to me. It is inspired in equal parts by Jerusha Stewart (The Single Girl's Manifesta), Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me and 30 Days), Lynn Jericho (Innner Christmas), Beverly West and Nancy Peske (Bibliotherapy)and countless magazine article written for the terminally dissatisfied. My plan for 2008 is an ecclectic, jumbled, chaotic, idealistic, non-sensical yet sensible, attempt at achieving as much fun as possible in one year.
Each month, I will attempt to do SOMETHING for 30 days straight. Something challenging, but worthwhile (maybe not in the global sense, but at least in the personal sense). Each month I will try something I have never done before. Each month I will go on an outing (not a DATE). Or maybe, more specifically, a date with myself. Each month I'll read a book from that inner list of "books I really should read, instead of this People magazine". Each month I'll buy something for myself that I always say "no" to. (Since I am not a shopper by nature, this may actually be the most challanging task) Each month I'll be good to myself instead of agonizing and beating myself up.
It'll be interesting to see where I am at this time, next year. Will I have the need to continue blogging a journey of self discovery? Will I call it a nice experience but chose to move on? Will I even resemble the person who is writing this now?
Who can tell? But for now, I'll sign off, pack for my trip to New Jersey, and get ready for a Year of Living Sensationally!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

I have the greatest friends on earth. I know everyone says that, but clearly, they are mistaken. Unless, of course, they are friends with the same people that I am. Then they are right on target.

While I was trying in vain to make myself feel whole again in 2007, my friends were right there with me. They offered up many solutions of their own. Unfortunately, none of those worked either.

The problem with having your friends try to make you feel better, is that nothing they say or do will be right. It isn't your friends' fault, of course. They are chock full of tricks that have helped THEM over the years. They also seem to think that if YOU had what THEY have, then you would be happy. The thing is, their dreams aren't your dreams. Their wishes aren't your wishes. Their life isn't necessarily the life you want for yourself.

Its especially hard when you are in a place where you don't even know what your wishes and dreams are, anymore. You don't know what you want, you only know that some things you don't want. It almost seems egotistical: "I have no idea what I want, but it isn't the life my best friend has." It's not, though. You aren't saying that your undiscovered dreams are better than your friends', just different. Now, if you could only figure out what they are!

At some point near the end of 2007, I started to think that maybe I was trying to fill my yearning with the wrong things. If I couldn't fill the emptiness with food or exercise or work or writing or reading or relentless pacing around the house; if I couldn't fill it with what my friends had or what they wanted for me, then maybe I should stop trying so hard to fill the emptiness up. Maybe I should just leave it alone and let it resolve on its own. Maybe I should stop obsessing about what I should be feeling or where I should be in life.

Maybe I should just structure my life not around fixing myself but around discovering myself. And that's how I came up with my master plan for 2008.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Heartache also leaves you feeling empty. Somwhere in between your chest and abdomen, heartache punches a great, gaping hole; a hole with a gravitational pull. All your self esteem, your pride, your laughter, your quirky sense of humor gets pulled inside and disappears into that hole. Yet it doesn't get any smaller.

If you are a perpetual problem solver, like I am, you could try to FILL the hole with something in an effort make it to go away. This does not work.

I tried to fill the hole with FOOD. I sat on my sofa and downed endless pints of mint chocolate chip, bags of kettle corn, pounds of M&Ms, piles of broccoli. (I know, I know. But I am an equal opportunity binger. And I love green food) The hole never got smaller. I only got bigger.

I tried to fill the hole with WORK. I went in early, stayed late, brought work home, made up projects for myself, reviewed and studied on weekends. The problem with that is, the more work you do, the more that is given to you. Eventually, you begin to get resentful of the situation you created for yourself. I found I was at work too much, but not connecting to anyone at work. I could not keep it up. So then I tried to find more balance in my life. But the hole was still there.

I tried to fill it with EXERCISE. Running and lifting weights did actually make me feel better. It still does. For short periods of time, anyway, there is nothing but me, my ipod, and the pavement beneath my feet. Its great. Exercise, I also suspect, helped me from becoming too much bigger, from the ill-fated attempt at fulfillment with food. But always, when the exercise high wore off, my muscles were sore and the hole was still there.

I tried to fill the hole with WORDS. I filled 3 journals with frantic, desperate, angry, frustrated, sad, hopeless, indifferent, tentative, and cautiously hopeful entries. I read more books than I ever had in one year, many of them multiple times. (I read "Eat, Pray, Love" 4 times in a row. Read the last page and flipped right back to the first page. Four times.) I brought home magazines from work, from the gym, from doctors offices, from friends houses. I read them all, trying to fill, fill, fill that emptiness up with something. And the hole was still there.

I could not make that empty, aching, gaping hole go away.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Not that I'm claiming to have had the worst year ever. I'm fully aware that there are many people who had a much worse year than I did. I didn't lose my job. Nobody close to me died. I didn't get seriously sick or hurt. I didn't total my car. Nobody I love was deployed to Iraq. Nobody stole my identity and wiped out my bank account (not this year, anyway). All my worldly posessions weren't swept away in a hurricane or tsunami.

Nonetheless...hurt is hurt. Pain is pain. Disillusionment is disillusionment. And heartache is...well, it's earth-shattering, to tell the truth. Heartache shakes you to your very core.

Heartache makes you unrecognizable to yourself. You become all those things that you hate; all those things that you pride yourself in NOT being: needy, clingy, whiney, weak. Heartache makes you question who you are. You don't just think "why did this happen?" but also "what is wrong with me?"

When you mourn for your lost dreams, heartache makes you think you have no right to still want those dreams. What is wrong with you to still want that life you had planned with that person who hurt you so much? Why can't you move on? Heartache keeps you up at night.

It makes for a very long year.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


As the year is winding down, I'm going over my Xmas list one more time, neatening up, and preparing for my New Year's trip down to New Jersey to see Nicole, just like I did last year. Unlike last year, we do NOT plan on going into Manhattan on the 30th but staying in, watching Dodge Ball in our sweats on the 31st. This year, we plan on doing the exact opposite of last year.

I'm not positive it was our ill-planned New Years activities that set up the tone for 2007, but we did accidently set her hallway on fire at 10:00am January 1st, and things just went downhill from there. For us both.

This year, we are going OUT! We will see a band, eat some good food, watch some weird performance art, meet people. The only concern we have is that line on the first nite celebration web site: "alcohol-free environment". What's up with that? Are they actually going to make us sneak drinks into the festivities? If we can successfully pull it off, I'm pretty sure we can undo the curse that we apparently put on ourselves last year.