2013: The Year of the Year

New Years: For resolutions, contracts, silent wishes to break a bad habit (eating in bed) or create a new one (doing lunges down my hallway). The several days of the year you might still feel fresh despite showering, straying from ordinary routines, or actual personal achievement.

January 1: A combination that translates to “begin” and concurrently, “end.” On December 31, one might have felt triumph/defeat/loathing/indifference over the past year, but at midnight, you’re as good as gold. Wipe away that slate, friends, and grab a new quill because henceforth everything is going to be FAB-U-LOUS! No pills, caffeine or meditation required. The calendar will do all the work for you.
I’ve become sharply aware of this, not only because I have a 4′ x 3′ Stendig calendar hanging over my bed, but also because the number ‘1’ visually makes me really happy (I’m sure I’m not alone in this, and a brief study conducted amongst athletes and spelling bee champions revealed they, too, love the ‘1’). Without talking about loving numbers much longer, I’m just going to say that yesterday I felt a lot better about life, because whatever I started belonged in 2013, and whatever I left unfinished, well, might become finished in 2013. I use the word “might” so as not to disappoint myself.
This is the miracle of January 1: You could sit someone on a merry-go-round, blindfold them, spin them around 10 million times, wipe their mind with some sort of seasonal amnesia, fly them to the North Pole, then the Caribbean, then to some temperate climate, say, San Francisco. After this confusion of space and time, you could bring them into a completely empty, windowless room (I’m thinking Willy Wonka style) and tell them, “Congratulations, it’s January 1.” And they will be elated, even if it’s actually September 16. Because if they were told, “It’s September 16,” the response would be, “Well, what was all that about?” It’s the January 1 effect. If January 1 is a fresh-picked organic fair-trade kabocha squash, then September 16 is beyond composted — and people love keeping things fresh.
I can now impart this theory, since I’ve had a few days to think about it. Last night I whipped out a sketchbook, finished a book, and started a new TV series — at the same time. January 1 effect. This morning I had a lightbulb moment in the shower, the first one this year, something I was hardly capable of in 2012.
Before the calendar flipped over on Monday night, I was asked what my resolution(s) would be. At the moment all I could think of was the classic “be more active!” response, which brought an exchange of motivation with my roommate with similar aims (as each other’s fitness coaches, we’ve deemed 2013 the year of poor woman’s Milk Jug Rice Dumbbells). What else is 2013?
The Year of the Quarter Life Triumph
Full disclosure: I’m going to turn 25 sometime in the next five weeks. Not only does that mean I’m entitled to a zero-judgment passing month(s) of possibly gaining a few extra pounds and marathons of re-watching episodes of Modern Family and/or Breaking Bad, it also means I can officially look at my mistakes as being part of the much-embraced “Quarter-Life Crisis” and just keep moving right along. Like NOTHING can stop me. Thank you, countless former-and-present-20-somethings, for reassuring me that the 20’s are a scramble of figuring out, oh, EVERYTHING — to think, I used to think my teen years were confusing. CAKE.

The Year I Stop Shopping in the Juniors Department
Everyone should be 5’1″ for a day, and experience the world of a tiny person. Climbing on counters, nestling a pillow between our back and the driver’s seat just to reach the peddles, and bound to the two most horrifying departments of every department store: PETITES and JUNIORS.

In honestly I don’t have a problem with the word ‘petite’ when applied to someone’s physical appearance. “She’s petite,” or  “What petite feet you have!” are acceptable. As soon as the word references inanimate items, such as clothing and food, I’m gone. Too weird. People are petite, and clothes are Extra Small or Small. I feel like a woman child when I’m looking at a size 2P, which translates to me as, “Not big enough for a two, but your petite baby legs should fit in these.” The very thought of petite clothing brings to mind many teeny, tiny senior women in shades of pastel polyester pantsuits with elastic waistbands. They used to be 5’5″ 30 years ago, but they’re petite departmenters now, where everything fits in all the right areas. If you think you sense some jealousy that their slacks are hemmed to just the right length straight off the rack, you’re absolutely right.

The Juniors department is the same beast, but on the other end of the spectrum. Since I’m closer to 15 than 55, I’m still finding more relevance in clothing with screen printed hearts, as opposed to embroidered angels. Need a t-shirt with an authority-defying, boyfriend-denying phrase on it? Juniors department. Bedazzled jeans? Juniors department. How about something that says, I’M 16 HEAR ME AND MY VERY DEEP V-NECK ROAR!!! ? Juniors department. You might wonder how I know all this, and I’ll tell you: I’ve been shopping in the juniors department since I grew out of my OshKosh B’Gosh bibs in 1998. I know so much that I could work for them, or just wear their junior-ish clothes, and I DO.
My biggest grievance about the Juniors department is as you would expect, the opposite problem of the petite sector. Petite clothing follows the formula Too Much/Not Enough, meaning there is always too much fabric where you don’t need it (big shoulders, long sleeves to cover unsightly wrists, a generous yet loosely covered backside) and not enough babe appeal. Gently put, it’s for the petite, the off-the-market, the comfortable. Junior clothing is Not Enough/Too Much/Too Much, or not enough coverage, too much inseam, and too much sexy. (I stand by my theory that there was something in the water from 1990-onward, because Junior clothing always has a minimum 30″ inseam, and their tops are exclusively for the thin and chesty.)
If someone could invent and/or direct me toward a department that sells petite woman clothes for 25 year olds (I’m talking about 28″ inseams and mature clothing for the 12-year old-like body) my 2013 would be exponentially more enjoyable. Someone else needs the graphic tees and baby cardigans more than me. 
The Year of the Yes
No, I will not be attending. No, I can’t come. Nope. I’m tired. I’m feeling funky. Actually, I’m just saying no because it’s what I usually do. UNTIL NOW.
At some point I was introduced to the phrase, “Make improvements, not excuses,” which frequently enters my mind when I begin thinking of different reasons not to do something, go somewhere, or own up to something. The Years of the No are exactly why 2013 is the Year of the Yes. Yes, there is a Jim Carrey movie with a similar storyline, but let’s not get crazy. I’m not saying yes to everything, but I will say yes to ideas and invitations I might otherwise dismiss with excuses. Without getting crazy.

The Year of the New Karaoke Song
In 2001, my then 18-year old sister did something that unintentionally changed the course of my career. After my family retrieved her from a college dorm, she handed me a mixed CD (a national sign of affection in the early 2000s) that she’d made on her Dell PC in the comfort of her dorm room (I equate this early luxury to how people now feel while DVR’ing every show to watch again on a 70-inch plasma TV). I promptly plunked the mix into my discman and for the first time heard the words…
EHHHHHHHHHHYEAH I WANNA SHOOP BAY-BAY.

…a tune that I have since logged away every syllable and performed on stages from North Dakota to France, in some occasions yielding standing ovations, unwarranted phone numbers and a mild respect from part-time karaoke DJs in several small bars in the Midwest. 
This is the only song I will do karaoke to, no questions asked, day or night, Minnesota or New York, inebriated or sober — because I know it so well, or “as well as Salt ‘N’ Pepa themselves.”*
But it’s 2013, and if I know there’s one thing 2013 doesn’t need, it’s a one-hit wonder. 

The Year of the Basic Cooking Skills
Learning how to cook a perfect egg. Expanding my seasoning vocabulary beyond “salt’ and “pepper” (or Salt ‘N’ Pepa, as I like to call it). Coaching myself out of microwave meals, one can of black beans at a time. Learning how to flip the perfect egg. Learning how to pronounce “CuisinArt” (Cuisine Art? Qweeeezinart? Coooozinart?) Etcetera. 

The Year of Adapting to Mid-Twenties Things
I’m approaching the age where if I’m not reading every section of The New York Times, I should definitely be reading the The New Yorker (I tried this once on the train, for intellectual purposes, and I’ve never been so easily distracted by people around me doing nothing). I should probably start investing, dry-cleaning, and brunching more, I should certainly be dropping off my laundry for someone else to wash and fold (people sing the heavens about this), and I will need to acquire more kitchen gadgets (I’m thinking things that I would put on a registry if I were in the position to do so). Going to have to up the thread count of my sheets, too. It’s officially time to start embracing trendy foods — squash everything, kale anything, beds of quinoa, sushi, Dim Sum and all those infused, glazed, pickled and dusted in saffron and rosemary. I am going to gradually start weeding the Ashlee Simpson and Dashboard Confessional from my iTunes library, but only when I feel it’s safe to do so. There will be more NPR Podcasts, farmers markets, and references to television shows I will start watching, once I catch up on the first five seasons. 
Maybe I’ll start getting eyebrow waxes or manicures, or memorize a list of New York Magazine‘s best of everything to whip out as needed (“This place? They have the best arugula-pear-crumbled-goat cheese-slivered almond-with-honey-lemon-vinaigarette-EVER. Unless you’re feeling like polenta.”). Now might be a good time to revisit all the Ayn Rand and George Orwell books I “read” during middle school, as I have a feeling that mid-20’s people like to show they still remember things they’ve read 10 years prior. Perhaps I should expand my vocabulary, and increase use of the words “spearheaded,” “gentrification,” “indubitably,” “strategically,” and “ultimately.” I am also going to need a ZipCar membership and more home furnishings from West Elm if this is going to work.
Or maybe I’m just getting ahead of myself, and I should revert back to 1998 Jenny in OshKosh B’Gosh bibs, coloring with Crayola magic markers and thinking about how I was going to survive Y2K.


Let’s roll.
—jc
*I told this to the DJ who asked before I performed recently, concluding with “I’m the best in Brooklyn.” He did not agree nor disagree after the performance, which I will take as approval.

2 thoughts on “2013: The Year of the Year

  1. I don't think my previous comment went through. Anyway, I saw that you were in Minot and was somewhat disappointed you didn't give me a ring. On a brighter note though your creativity shows through in this thread and the random thoughts keeps it interesting. Write a book and I think it would really do well! Glad to see everything is going well for you though!

    Devon

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