Wednesday, December 23, 2009

2010 Manifesto: The Year of Yes

Some people tell me I complain about a lot. However, I prefer to call such things “observations”:

“I’m so hungry I could eat a horse.”
“Stop complaining.”
“I’m not complaining, I’m just observing my hunger.”

“My feet hurt.”
“No complaining.”
“Just observing…”

This year has been filled with many, many changes personally:
•    I became an aunt.
•    I became the last of unwed siblings.
•    I became single for the first time in 5 years (and out of school).
•    I grew my friends and independence.
•    I moved out of the District … and in with a stranger.
•    Both of my ferrets passed away ... in the same month.
•    I got a new nose.
     To name a few: So this year has been a mix of good and bad, difficult and necessary – and with all these changes I find myself sitting here hoping, praying and half-planning for more. With all the change I feel like I should want to stay at the same job, in the same city to keep my new “normal” normal. But now I want to travel. I want to relocate. I want to try new things. Everything.


    I recently realized that I have little adventure to speak of in life. I don’t have a passport; I’ve been to Toronto and the Bahamas. And while as kids we used to go to on little trips a lot: Pow-Wows, canoe/kayaks trips with my grandparents, camping in the fall. Once we went to a taxidermy convention (wherein I discovered how to realize if I smell pot when I got older: It took me about 8 times of saying “it smells like a taxidermy convention” with a retort of “It smells like pot” for me to realize that pot and formaldehyde smell oddly identical to me. To this day when I smell reefer, my initial thought is "taxidermy convention".). And one summer, when I was 13, we took a motorhome of 13 family members from western PA to our final destination of a re-enactment of Custer’s Last Stand in Montana, stopping at places like Wall Drug and Mt. Rushmore along the way. But that’s pretty much it.

    As an adult, any adventures have all but ceased to exist. This year I went to California…for work…that’s about it. It’s sad. And I hate it, but I’ve been going to school and chasing debt for eight years. (Wow…8 years…) I’ve been preoccupied with trying to get out of debt, while going to school and digging in deeper. Now, I’ve been working for two years and I live cheap: I don’t go anywhere, no adventures – nothing - in a futile attempt to get out of debt. While, I managed to pay off my $8,000 credit card debt from college last year, I ended up with $5,000 card debt one year later. And still…no adventures, and it’s not for lack of invitations.  What stories will I have to tell my kids? Mommy went to bars and got drunk? Where is my epiphanal (yes, epiphanial) moment? Where are my adventures?

    This is where my observations really begin to shine: I have been fiscally, socially and personally responsible my entire life. My most gutsy move was trading in my old Pontiac Sunbird and buying a brand new BMW M Series … just kidding… Mazda3. Woo! Livin’ large!!

    [Tangent: Alright, so this year I bought a new nose too, but to be fair, I had to do it now or I knew I never would. And it was half-necessary and I had a payback plan that promptly went to shit when my boss called two days after the procedure to inform me of 12 days worth of unpaid furloughs coming up. And instead of being hella-cheap like I anticipated, moving to the asscloth of a state of Maryland, it ended up being more expensive than DC.]

    So my point is…

    I have been living responsibly for 26 years with little to show for it; I have two degrees, a car, and a new nose – none of which I own. (Exactly what happens if someone doesn’t pay back plastic surgery?) Each year I attempt to claw my way out of debt, but I always seem to end up back where I started. It is infuriating.

    In this past decade I have:
    •    Graduated high school, college and grad school
    •    Lived in PA, OH, VA, DC and MD
    •    Saw the ocean 3…maybe four times
    •    Been in and broke out of 2 long term relationships (7 years worth)
    •    Endured the deaths of 6 family members and friend
    •    Went from $0 of debt to $96,000.00 worth of debt

    I kind of feel like I've done a lot and absolutely nothing all at the same time. And in the vein of “observations”, being close to six figures in the hole with no adventure(s) blows big donkey balls (that’s a technical term). And if I wait until I’m debt-free, or at least have more than $6 each month to live life, I’ll be 40…or 65…or probably dead. What happens when you waste you 20’s trying to be fiscally responsible instead of enjoying life and finding yourself? Your passion? Your happiness?


    So, I’m taking this observation and I’m doing something about it: Welcome to The Year of Yes. 

    For 2010 (and basically starting right now), any request, opportunity, adventure that is asked of me or comes my way, I will say “yes” to. A little like “Yes Man”, but not quite as cheesy (and it's not where the idea come from).  So, if an opportunity arises and I’m capable, I will find a way to do it.

    A few rules: 

    1. My credit card cannot exceed $5,000 (right now it’s at about 5,300, so there’s that).
    2. My nose needs to be paid off my Oct. 1.
    Those are my fiscal limitations. Other rules include:
    3. Going on dates count, sexual advances do not. (Note: The Year of Yes is also the year of me - yup, I'm taking a year to be selfish - and men/dating is of little importance.)
    4. Anything that is overtly dangerous is eliminated.
    5. First come, first serve – unless one is cheaper than the other or vastly more appealing. Backing out is discouraged.
    6. No taking (over-)advantage of the Year of Yes; life participants guilty of this are subject to “maybes”.
    7. Bar invites are discretionary upon fiscal limitations; as all small requests may turn to something larger, but this is more about big adventures (and I still have some fiscal limitations).

    This will be documented via WordPress blog aptly named "The Yes Year". Stay tuned and make suggestions in person or in my comments. Welcome to My Yes Year, the Year of "Yes".


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