She looks better out of her clothes than in them. And she looks pretty good in her clothes.

She looks better out of her clothes than in them. And she looks pretty good in her clothes.

These are the words that I have chosen to define my twenties. Not because I spent them naked. Or because the decade was defined by how I look, but because I seemed to do alright when really I was over the top incredible.

That said, the phrase has been expressed more than once (if with variations in vocabulary) and other girls boyfriends have nodded sagely, their eyes glazing over with brief remembrance, before coming to their senses. They’ve never actually had the sense to date me for more than a couple of months, but that had nothing to do with me. Probably. Hopefully.

Anyway, there’s more to life than love, and there’s been plenty to love. Three careers in, I started a company in a foreign country with no money and while it’s mostly felt like a Prometheus and the rock sort of experience looking back I’ve done quite a lot that I’m really rather proud of. Happy clients, rent paid, and a few astonishingly supportive friends. My threshold for thriving possibly needs to be reassessed.

While still secretly baffled at what winning at life would actually look like, I’ve decided to give the woman I’ve been a break for not exceeding every expectation on the grounds of having chased every dream, and more than a few whims. Not to say that they were all met with rampant success, but, especially in that case, I did it anyway and I can forgive myself a host of other mistakes on that alone.

I’ve tokened myself the queen of trying, and the failure analytics are irrelevant when there is some success to focus on and an almost entirely empty slate of regrets.

As with every new year, I will look to take the good into the next decade with me, and leave the mistakes behind. My clothes will have to do their best to keep up.

Do Not Open Until

Pretend for a second that these are your favorite pair of underwear (this may be awkward for you if you are a male person, but just go with it). What scenario would justify wearing them? A date? Your birthday? Tuesday? Not until your 20th wedding anniversary?

How we include our favorite things in our lives can be very telling about how we are as people, I think. For a very long time I have had a favorite everything- shirt, plate, lipgloss, scissors, pen, and, of course, underwear- and got a weird sense of satisfaction out of not using it. I would come up with elaborate fantasy scenarios for the circumstances that would give me the permission to use or wear whatever it was. This nail polish is so perfect and beautiful, and cost three dollars more than any other nail polish I own, so I will only wear it when I go out for strawberry milkshakes with my true love. Cut to finding this four dollar bottle of nail polish in the back of a drawer (which it was fused to) looking semi-exploded and a completely different color than it started because it is so old and gross.



I do still believe it’s nice to save some things for special occasions, but what qualifies as a special occasion should be something that is likely to occur in the regular course of your life at least two or three times a year, or more depending on the longevity of the item. The logical reasons for this include expiration dates (not always just a suggestion), value, and the very nature of indulgence. Lots of things are at their best when they’re fresh, and not just the perishables. Clothes go out of fashion and handbags get much less dusty if you use them. And if you’ve bought something because you love it more than the usual things in your life then it’s purpose for existing, and your purpose in buying it, are squandered by it’s being put on a pedestal of seclusion.

It took  me a long time to realize this was stupid, and even longer to do something about it. Now that I have consciously become someone who does and uses what they like I’m extremely aware of it and hyper appreciative when I do. And I have to say it’s so much better than not doing it or using it- as you probably knew, because you are not a freak with a five year old sample pouch of luxury shampoo.

While “you’re worth it” (and you are), “life is short”, and “YOLO” these extreme philosophies shouldn’t be necessary to get into the practice of enjoying your life. Definitely keep a nice bottle of champagne in the fridge in case something exciting happens, but if no one has commited their lives to you or decided to give you more money by the end of the year, then drinking it while you eat pie and watch your Buffy the Vampire Slayer box set in novelty leggings is a worthwhile special occasion.

Secondary Education

 The thrill-a-minute ride that is my life had a particularly exuberant swoop lately. Luckily it included an increase an age, which without a doubt made all the difference when the high school administrator giving me the keys to my classroom incredulously asked how old I was. Twenty-two sounds SOOO much better than twenty-one. Not. I’m going to let them be occupied with their ignorance and blind assumptions rather than reveal myself as their younger and more competent replacement. Even if it is only for a day at a time. 

Before I got to teach high school for the first time though, I had a whole day to wallow in my Birthday. If you don’t know how I feel about my birthday then please refer to “Better Than Yours” a little further down the page. Anyway, Mickey loves me and I spent the day at Disneyland for free. I’ve recently learned that many people would consider this a bad thing, and that the joy of doing things alone is lost on them. I don’t understand that, even a little bit, because when else to you get to make every decision based on your own preferences and desires. I got to ride Storybook Land without any judgment, and skip the monorail because I think it’s stupid. And I still had a whole park full of people wishing me a happy birthday. (I also got asked out by a girl, but that’s neither here nor there.) Carrying a pink parasol- I’m pale, this was a strictly practical addition to my costume- and semi-molesting a caramel apple as I walked through New Orleans Square I got to be the belle of my own ball. This was followed by dinner so good all the neighboring tables knew about it (and started ordering it a la Harry Met Sally) and mildly sexually harassing a very hot waiter. Sorry Bret.

There may not have been sexy escapades this year, but there was lots of love, and a ridiculous number of promises for lunch and drinks, which I suppose goes along with the whole ‘being an adult thing’. Not that sexy escapades and adulthood are mutually exclusive- at least they better not be or I’m going to be redefining adulthood for my own purposes. But things have been distinctly drab since the completion of college and the acceptance of a living with my parents, scandalous-less reality. Twenty-one may have been so fantastic that it will be hard to beat, but damned if I am going to let twenty-two be the dip after the peak.

Anyway, my glorified babysitting job has recently come with some interesting challenges- some of them more expected than others. For instance, it didn’t seem at all out of line for me to explain the French Revolution with a bagel slicer as visual aid. But, talking about the first stage of psychological behavior (0-2 years old), while trying not to look at the girl in the second row that is 7 months pregnant was almost entirely beyond me. Threatening the class with various forms of dismemberment for talking during the test (i.e. “I will rip off your leg and beat you to death with it- and fail you”) comes without thinking. But trying to be my witty and charming self in a class half full of deaf students- when I don’t know whether to look at the student or the interpreter- was a challenge almost beyond my adaptation skills. The beauty of being a substitute is that all of these issues are only yours for one day, though you do get a whole new set the next day. If knowing how to handle that isn’t a resume booster then I don’t know what is.

Newsflash of the Week: I wore a dress to do my holiday shopping- for the express purpose of receiving exceptional service- and accordingly, it was bestowed upon me. I also managed to make one man trip. Apparently walking and thorough appreciation of my legs is not compatible. No permanent damage was sustained.

Better Than Yours

January092009-01-14_7My twenty first birthday could not have been more ridiculous or fabulous than it was. This was most likely due to the great number of friends and random people on the street whom I shamelessly informed that I LOVE my birthday, in the days leading up to December. You know that all encompassing thrill and obsession that the average five year old vibrates with when their birthday is coming up? You know, the “oh my god, I’m only 4 and 364/365ths for another four hours! Ahhhh!” Well, whether luck or insanity, this spirit has been preserved in my annual celebrations- except for the counting part. Math is not my thing. Parties are.

It’s amazing what people will do for you when they know that you’re pretty much guaranteed to flip out over it. The celebration of my entering the ranks of the drinking, in Boston, was celebrated over a period of about two weeks wherein I drank every single day, virtually gave up sleeping, and the only food I remember eating was hastily acquired in the interest of drinking more. Taking place at the end of the semester this means I completed all of my finals while drunk. Except the one that I missed entirely because of the boy in my bed- woops.

Since the actual day of my birth fell on a Monday I planned for it to be pretty low key with the whole having to go to class the next day thing and all. Went to the BU Pub for a couple ceremonial drinks, since I could, but the friends I went with somehow turned it into a Boston bar tour through the 10 degree weather. One of them lost her phone which was later found in her bra. I almost ate the origami flower in one hand instead of the chicken finger in the other. And I’m fairly certain I did the splits more than once, in more than one bar (it’s apparently my go-to drunken party trick).

Then there was the actual party- on the weekend, when normal people go out. I’d already been drunk for five days at this point, but now I was dressing up for it. In a wonderful stroke of genius my roommate had organized a James Bond Pub Crawl, thus allowing for all the girls to dress like sexy Bond girls and guilting the guys into wearing tuxes (and I may have told them they didn’t have to get me a present if they dressed up). The night was perfection. A friend who had flown out from California for the occasion was lost between bars 2 and 3 when she wandered into a fire station. I gave my shoes to another friend. Being a massive lightweight I’d had enough to drink that I probably should have been dead a few times over, but the alcohol gods kept me going all night without even an inkling of a hangover. 

The walk home was slightly more difficult in having to keep one girl from going home with strangers, realizing we were barefoot at 2 a.m. on Comm. Ave., and getting a short-lived piggy back ride from Christian, a nice boy walking his bike home while holding his broken light saber. That night ended in the amazingness that is challah grilled cheese sandwiches, but the shitshow continued.

Went to the back bar of Our House (around the corner from the foosball tables) where I got to pick drinks out of ‘the book’- I can recommend Sex in a Hot Tub only because it’s the one thing I remember drinking. Edited my entire final movie project with a beer in my hand and my professor thought it was somewhat incredible. Inevitably, since I was treating my body like the rum punch bowl at the assembly hall (read some early 19th c. literature, you’ll get this reference and be very sophisticated- like me), I got a pretty nasty case of the flu. Thus I added a healthy dose of Nyquil to the mix, and a few more naps. This did not stop me from attending $1 draft Thursday night at An Tua Nua upon request. I was not so sure I wouldn’t collapse, but had a couple assurances that someone would catch me, so I danced and drank with energy that came from god knows where. I also vaguely recall agreeing to be somebody’s little spoon.

The ramifications of those couple of weeks followed me for a bit after that. Got a call from one gentleman asking me out who came up on my phone as Creepy Boy. I told him I was moving to California, he asked if I was blowing him off, I said yes. I also garnered a reputation for being a lot cooler than I really am. I suppose I felt the need to live up to that when I flew to London three weeks later.

Basically the festivities of my 21st birthday are so marvelous as to be virtually unmatchable. But I am turning 22 soon…