This will be my year


It's 9:00pm and I'm in my apartment with my dog on the couch listening to Semisonic sing, "This Will Be My Year."

Today I'm 34 years old. It's the oldest I've ever been. And it's the youngest I'll ever be again.
If you know me, and you likely have to, because it's Facebook, you know that the last two to three years have been completely transformatory for me. (Nope, not sure if that's a real word, but I'm 34 and I'm allowed not to care.) I'm about to get into it.

Three years ago, I was with someone, owned a condo in Chicago and was in a job that fulfilled me zero percent. No, things were not dire, but I'd allowed my life to get to a point where I was no longer trying to be happy, but trying to maintain... something. I suppose just the status quo. And it wasn't working. And no, I wasn't happy.

So I changed it. It wasn't easy. And it didn't happen all at once - far from it. I split from my (SEVEN YEAR) relationship, put in motion the sale of my condo, took Neptune (god bless Neptune) and found a new apartment for myself.

I stuck with the job for a spell. Let things settle after the end the relationship and the sale of the condo. Then the next change had to happen. I needed to find something I WANTED to do.
It's a strange thing being forced to get to know yourself, one on one.

I quit my job and pursued a coding bootcamp (Dev Bootcamp, RIP). My family was ever supportive and excited for me. I appreciate that beyond belief. It was a leap. Who knew if it would actually work out?

But it did! I'm now 4 months into my first job as a Software Engineer.

My life is unrecognizable from two, three years ago. And I love it. For the first time I'm doing things for me. I'm the focus. Which is something I'd never learned to do. Or thought worthwhile on spending the time to invest in.

Moving on.

For whatever reason - and I remember specifically thinking this thought when I was 19 years old - I KNEW, I just KNEW that being 34 would be the best year of my life. I didn't know why. Or what it would bring. Or how. Or whatever. But, this will be my year. I'm finally ready to take on anything. Change doesn't scare me, I jump at adventure and, most importantly to me, I'm not afraid of being alone. That's one that's been haunting me. But it turns out, me alone is quite alright.

NEXT POINT. Jerry. Yes, my name says Jerry these days. There's a story to it, which basically amounts to the fact that I've never enjoyed being one of many Sara(h)s. Yes, of course, I've always been unique. But this is just the current manifestation of my dealing with it.

So call me what you will. I answer to Sara and I answer to Jerry. Maybe it's weird. It seems weird to talk about now. But new people know me as Jerry. It's like an era. It's like a mile marker in my life. I feel like I'm finally comfortable in my skin.

I've gone on for far to long.

And yet, I've gone on for far too long not being me.

It's my birthday. And I never like to "make a big thing" about my birthday, but I wanted to say some shit.

Thank you for listening.

I'm going to kick ass. 

"This will be my year."


Happy New Year, Me!

It was my birthday last week. Everyone at work passed a card around and wrote co-worker happy birthday wishes in it. I hate being on the other side of that. Should I be funny? Wait, I am funny. But will they think I'm funny? Yes, their birthday becomes a dilemma for my personal insecurities. I should just start signing, "Happy Birthday! I hope you know I'm funny."They're so pointy Anyway, most people stick with "Happy Birthday," "Happy B-Day, "Have a good day," I hope it's a good one," etc. Someone let me know I share a birthday with Mahatma Ghandi; trivia is always welcomed with a smile. Some people put in inside jokes like, "I look forward to many awkward bathroom stares," prompting someone to write below it, "What? I don't want to know."

But someone wrote, "Happy New Year!" and that's right, motherfuckers. It's a new year. It's my new year. And for whatever reason, that gives me a boost of inspiration. I'm a sucker for inspiration. It's the wind beneath my wings. So what do people do at the mark of a new year? They write out their goals, call them resolutions, get excited for change for about 3 days and then fall off the wagon.

Too much pressure is put on the idea that the New Year will bring something completely different. Things don't change that drastically and even less so, people.

So, here I am all excited about being excited about something, but slightly discouraged because I feel like it's setting me up for failure.

So what can I change in my life that will be slight enough that it is achievable, but drastic enough to be a visible improvement down the line?

That's a great question if I do say so myself.

I'm setting weekly goals for myself. I've got a weekly calendar I carry around and inside it, I've created a list with check boxes. Obviously, if I achieve one of my goals, I get a check. Filling in check boxes gives me a great sense of satisfaction so that's just like a dorky bonus.

Things on my list for this week:

  • Exercise (5 times)
    • Ubiquitous resolution, but important to keep noted.
  • Write fiction for one hour (3 times)
    • It’s hard for me to stick to this. I get myself all worked up about the fact that I never write and it stunts my motivation even more. So I need to just do.
  • Do something new (5 times)
    • I thrive on routine and new things scare me. This resolution could just as easily be called, “Do something that scares you,” but that seems too scary a thing to commit to.
  • Tell a lie (3 times)
    • I’m not talking about stealing or killing or breaking any laws. I’m talking about exercising my ability to screw with people. This is an actual goal. I find myself feeling obligated to tell someone the truth and give them all the accurate information. Why? It doesn’t matter. So, for my own entertainment, or just because I’m bored, I’m going to lie.
  • Be brutally honest (daily)
    • Although it seems contradictory to the previous resolution, it is not. On the flip side of the honest coin, I know that I’m never as honest as I could be about my feelings in the moment. I bottle things up, creating issues for later. Fuck that. It’s exhausting. It’s keeping me from being me.

Yeah, that’s enough for one week. It’s all about keeping the goals achievable. I can’t realistically say, “And now, I will completely change and be the kind of person who speaks her mind, isn’t afraid of change and works out every day forever!”

Set yourself up for success. It needs to be fun, fresh and exciting. Otherwise how can someone be expected to care or stick with it?

They can’t be.

Also, I have absolutely no authority on the subject. I might fall off of this wagon even though I've gone and prematurely painted it.

But for today, maybe even this week, I've got inspiration on my side. In fact, I'm adding a new item to this week's list:

  • Be inspired (daily)
    • If I'm open enough, it shouldn't be a chore to let inspiration find me.

And now, I shall release a butterfly into the cosmos.

Two Steps Forward

This just in: time changes everything. I know, it's deep. I recently got together with a friend I was briefly BFFAWs with. At the time-stamp of that label (Best Friends For a While), I was hurt, but the label was 148% accurate. We worked together, drank together, laughed together, cried together, had Disney movie sleepovers, etc. It was everything I wanted/needed at the time. I imagine it was reciprocal, but it felt belittled to know that this person knew that our time in the sun would run out.

But whatever. This isn't about being upset. It's about being happy.

We both left our mutual work and our lives intersected less and less. My thoughts of her became less frequent and I would see people that I thought were her more often than I actually saw her.

I emailed her the other day. We set up a time to meet up, eat together, drink together and potentially laugh together.

It's strange when you see someone for the first time in a long time and there's an understood level of intimacy that's still there. But the situation is different. Everything is different. Why is everything different? Our old friend, Time, has slowly shifted our reality into something else.

I know I'm not the same person I was three years ago. And clearly neither was she. Maybe? There was a familiarity to the tone and topics of conversation and the frank sentences and the unpredictable diction. But it wasn't the same. And I wouldn't say it made me nostalgic, but it did make me wish that it felt more comfortable - as comfortable as it had been once upon a time.

Don't get me wrong. It was a good time. It was everything it needed to be. We caught up, traded stories, shared some food, drank some beers. It was exactly what we planned for it to be. Just with an undertone of homesickness for that time that was accurately tagged "a while."

The less people have in common, the less they have in common. That sounds obvious. But with our separate lives now separated, there is less to keep us together. That sounds obvious too. But believe me, it's profound.

Life passing, time passing, people changing - it's a strange thing to witness. It happens slowly; so slowly in fact that it isn't necessarily easily observed in one's self. But in a time-shocked get-together, it's fascinating and strange and sad.