A Quick Guide to Celebrating the New Year

As we are reaching the home stretch of another year, our eyes begin to widen and twinkle with hopes for a New Year. Out with the old and in with the new, many of us might say. But what makes New Year’s so special? Why do we celebrate and drink the night away long after the hour of midnight just to wake up with the same familiar headache as the previous year?

Many of us, including myself, get very nostalgic during this time of year. We reflect on the events that have happened in the months past. We hold onto the good memories as we attempt to forget the bad ones. We remember the friends who have come and gone. We carefully evaluate the seasons of change.  We think back on the defining moments. Then, we try to construct a plan for how to make the next year even better than the last. We write resolutions and make promises to ourselves and to each other that we often know we cannot keep. Why do we do this?

We do this because New Year’s is our opportunity at a clean slate, a fresh start. So here are a few tips for mentally preparing for that flip of the calendar:

Celebrate with the people that you truly care about

Getting sh*t-faced in a beat-bumping, crowded club with a thousand strangers is fun…once in a while. Try to spend your time with the people who are truly worth your time. If you’re somewhere that you don’t want to be, you’ll always look back and think about the people who weren’t with you rather than those who were. These are the moments you can’t get back. Celebrate with your real friends and the loved ones that matter.

Don’t set unrealistic expectations for the night (or the year)

Just remember that you can’t control everything. Things don’t always go as planned. You might not be able to meet up with your friends across town. You might lose your credit card. You might not get that magical midnight kiss. Go with the flow, enjoy the night as it comes, and be understanding that your “perfect night” doesn’t always look like a scene from the movies. The best moments are the ones that are unplanned. Setting unrealistic expectations just sets us up for failure. Have fun and embrace spontaneity.

 Don’t dwell on the past

The past is there for you to remember, not to dwell on. The past is the past. As cliché as it may sound, a New Year means a new you. Take what you have learned from the past and apply it to the present. Don’t get hurt all over again by the same person. Don’t let ghosts from the past haunt you. Sure, there were tough times, heartbreaks, and moments when you felt defeated, but you have the opportunity to move forward. Don’t dwell.

We celebrate New Year’s because we are celebrating life. We celebrate the unpredictable moments. We celebrate making it past all of the struggles, the sad moments, and the disappointments. We celebrate new relationships, new jobs, new places to travel, and more. We can never know exactly how far we can go until we’ve gone there. In light of a New Year, we look back at how far we have come and we celebrate the opportunity to go even further.

As we scramble to make plans with our friends and anxiously await that momentous countdown to midnight, we prepare ourselves for the unknown. Put on your party hats, search for that fabulous sequin dress, and get your bottle of champagne ready, 2015 here we come!

Advertisements

Get Your New York On

I assisted in the activation of Runner’s World‘s participation in the New York City Marathon Expo and race for the past two years. I experienced the devastating natural disaster that was Hurricane Sandy in 2012. I watched the terrible disappointment and deep sadness that overcame participants, supporters, the entire community of New York City, and those who came from all over the world. Then, I experienced the revival of the 2013 New York City Marathon where runners came back even more passionate and fired up than in previous years.

This year, I left my job at Runner’s World and I will not be there as a Runner’s World representative. Instead, I will be there running as an individual – representing myself. There are a vast amount of reasons why this race means so much to me; reasons that specifically have to do with the fact that this is NEW YORK CITY. This race takes place in the city that shaped my post-college experiences and has made me the person I am now. New York City has beaten me down, discouraged me, brought me joy, and uplifted me over the course of the past three years. This year, in particular, has been overwhelming to say the least, so I couldn’t be more excited to run this race for those reasons.

I haven’t trained as long or hard as I have in prior races, but I will use every ounce of pain, sadness, and discouragement that has struck me this year.

I know that there are endless reasons for why people run marathons or even run at all. In the end, the finish line is what matters. Getting through something difficult, whether it be a marathon, a sickness, a loss, or any type of hardship is never easy. Sometimes, you want to just give up. Just trust me when I say that making it through is and will be the most rewarding feeling in the world. In the end, this is why we endure any pain at all – getting through it and coming out stronger than before.

Tomorrow, I’ll be ready to give everything I have to finish this race. Although I’m not as prepared as I’d like to be, I know that I can push through. Though it may seem cliche, life is like a marathon. You’re as prepared as you can be, but a lot can happen during the miles in between. You just have to get through it.

Chaos versus Order

Have you ever had one of those days that just ends up being magnificent without having planned a single event? As if the day couldn’t have gone any better than if you actually did plan it.

Have you ever noticed that those days end up being magnificent because of the fact that you didn’t plan anything?

Some of my best and most memorable days were the unplanned ones. The days when something great would happen and I didn’t expect it at all. They were great because I wasn’t trying to control anything or think ahead of what should happen next.

Yesterday, me and my sister’s band, Until Love, played at our favorite open mic spot called Pete’s Candy Store in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We’ve been singing there for a few months now and have made many friendships through continuously going and connecting with other singers and musicians.

There is a certain degree of intimacy that we lose with people after we’re done with school. Friendships often tend to die out if you don’t make an effort to incorporate them into your ever-changing life. We’re less inclined to reach out to people as we become busier.

I’ve always agreed that the best way to really get to know someone is through forced togetherness. And I’m not referring to the notion of physically tying someone down and holding them hostage against their will. I’m referring to the notion of being around someone all the time and just naturally becoming closer to them because they are in your immediate environment. When we see the same people, we often develop a specific relationship with them. It may necessarily be a positive one, but a certain type of relationship develops. You get to know their mannerisms, the things that bother them, the way they react to situations, etc.

Yesterday, my sister and I hung out with friends that we’ve gradually become closer to in the past few months through our involvement with music. On top of that, we became friends with people who were visiting from another state. We had amazing conversations with these people whom we had just met and it ended up being the most fun I’ve had in quite some time.

One of the topics that we came across while conversing with our new friends was the idea of chaos versus order and how the world goes through a natural cycle of destruction and rebuilding. It, then, got me thinking about the cycles that we go through as humans. In our lives, we need chaos and order. They go hand in hand and you can’t have one without the other.

This unplanned day, although not to be termed chaotic, was somewhat chaotic in the sense that there was no order, no plan.

Sometimes, we need to shake things up in our lives to avoid stagnancy. We need to step outside of our comfort zone for the possibility that something truly magnificent can come out of it.

After all, life is about taking risks. You should do one thing every day that scares you.

Sure Things

It’s strange how distorted memories become when you look back at them. In that exact moment, you may have been so sure of yourself. Everything seemed just right. Then, when you reminisce, those moments seem so hazy and you can’t separate what was good from what was bad.

They say, “there’s no such thing as a sure thing”, so how do you ever really know what’s right or what’s meant to be?

If sayings like these are so accurate, such as “anything is possible” or “anything can happen”, then how can someone ever put all of their faith into something or someone?

It’s hard not to become jaded lately now that we live in a time where people are constantly re-locating, changing jobs, and refusing to settle down.

It’s common now for people to put off the serious stuff. Instead, we just want to stay young and be free. It’s becoming harder and harder to find people who want the same things.

So, how do we keep up with anyone these days?

We meet hundreds of people who come in and out of our lives. All of them somehow contribute to our experiences and growth. We pick and choose which ones we want to hold onto and which ones we should let go.

Often, we try to hold on as long as we can. We don’t want to let go of the feeling, the connection. Then all of a sudden, when it’s gone, we don’t know whether to go back or move forward.

Because nowadays, it is much harder to really connect with someone the way people used to.

It’s rare.

I used to think that I had a pretty clear vision of where I wanted to go and who I wanted to be. It was easier when you were young; to think that things won’t ever change. You envision that you’ll end up with a certain person or live your life a certain way. But it’s never that easy.

It makes me wonder if I ever really knew what I was doing.

Lost Generation

When I was younger, I used to take pride in my generation for representing a generation of independence and individuality. The vast amount of opportunities that we have in comparison to those of our parents and grandparents allows us the freedom to become whoever we want to be. The courses that are now offered in college plus the alternative options for those who don’t want to go to college can yield a countless number of careers and lifestyles. Just the thought of it can easily overwhelm a young person these days.

However, as I’m getting older, I’m starting to wonder what kind of toll this freedom is taking on us. The more friends I talk to about this topic, the more I learn that we seem even more lost and confused than our parents were at our age. We’re constantly wondering which path is right or wrong versus what we really want. We don’t know how to settle.

It makes me wonder if we can handle this freedom. We’ve become so spoiled with the privilege of being able to say “No”

I’m beginning to ask myself, “Did our parents have it right?”

I’m not in favor of reverting back to times of our parents and grandparents, but I am in favor of choosing one thing and seeing it through.

Although I’ve grown up in a generation where I can be whoever I want to be, I still wish I had someone to steer me in a certain direction because I can’t seem to make up my own mind

Between choosing the right job, the right place to live, the right person to marry, it gets exhausting trying to always figure out when everything will be “just right”.

When I was in college, one of my favorite classes was Social Psychology. One of the theories I learned really resonated with me. To this day, I can’t exaggerate enough how well it applies to my generation now. In a nutshell, the theory outlines the idea that when people are given too many options, they often become more regretful with their choices as opposed to if they only had a limited amount of options.

Say for example, you are at an ice cream parlor and there are 30 flavors to choose from. Our eyes become wide open, we take several tiny spoonfuls to try different flavors, and then we get frustrated because we are overwhelmed with the choices we have. But of course, we now have the option to take multiple flavors in one cup.

For those who are fortunate enough to be firm in our choices, there will be no regret. But for those who have hindsight bias, it becomes a little more difficult to appreciate what we have.

My major concern is this:

Will I be okay with the choices I’ve made and follow through with the things that I now have?

When will I stop seeking out other things to make me happy?

When will I settle?

It’s an impossible question to answer at the moment because I don’t know what the future has in store for me. I don’t know the person that I will become in a year, five years, twenty years, and so on.

I just hope that the path I choose as I am on it leads me to a better place.

Searching in the City

Have you ever re-watched something (a movie, a show, etc.) that you saw when you were much younger and thought to yourself, “Wow I really had no idea what was going when I first saw this”?

Well right now, I’m doing that exact thing with Sex and the City episodes and I’m five seasons deep. Lately, I’ve been re-watching every episode of Sex and the City all the way from the first episode of the first season and it is truly mind-blowing to finally understand what they were talking about now that I actually live in New York City. I guess there are still going to be people who will never fully digest how accurately this show depicts the city and life as a whole. It may be pompous to say, but you never really understand it until you live here.

Now, I’m not trying to be melodramatic, but I was in need of something to relate to (I probably should have started reading a book or something) Watching this show has somehow brought me to this existential realization which I am slowly manifesting through this blog entry.

I have only lived in New York City just shy of two years, but I feel as though the number of experiences I’ve had far surpasses that time frame.

The recent episode of Sex and the City that I watched really hit home for me.

The main character, Carrie Bradshaw, narrates as she types,

In New York, they say, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend or an apartment. So, let’s say you have two out of three and they’re fabulous. Why do we let the thing we don’t have affect how we feel about all the things we do have?

As I once again compare my current situation to where I was last year, I look back and notice that I’m always searching for something or someone. I always wonder if anyone can really have it all.

Last year, I can remember loving my apartment, loving my job, and loving every bit of New York City that I was soaking up.

This year, I find myself in a not-so-content situation.

It is true what they say. In New York City, you’re always looking for a job, a boyfriend, or an apartment.

I can tell you this much: I’m definitely still looking for one of those things.

In a city that’s constantly undergoing change through the lives of the people who are coming in and out of it, it’s hard to really keep it all together. You never know what’s going to happen here, but I think that’s the exciting part. Yet, at the same time, it’s absolutely terrifying.

Happy Anniversary, Big Sur Marathon

The 2014 Big Sur Marathon took place in Monterey, California today. Waves of nostalgia have been flowing in and out of my brain for the past few weeks. As I’ve watched the seasons change from the bitter Winter to the slow immersion of Spring, I’ve been trying to think of the things I’ve accomplished so far in 2014. My immediate response: “Nothing”

We already have 4 months of 2014 under our belt, and I can’t help but feel like I’ve been on cruise control for the past few months. This past Fall, my life had undergone some drastic changes. I was in a very uncomfortable place between settling into a new apartment as well as a new job. Now, I’m on the complete opposite end of the spectrum. I’m craving for some kind of chaos. Some kind of challenge.

With the 2013 Big Sur Marathon being my first marathon last year, I can’t help but look back and think about the training that I did last year in comparison to my training this year. My next marathon is the San Francisco Marathon coming up in July and I’ve been starting to worry about how calm I’ve been towards it. I feel less anxiety, less excitement, less seriousness, less motivation. I don’t know what happened between last year and this year, but my fire has been going out in terms of running; not even just running. I’ve also felt my steam running out in terms or writing as well.

Maybe all of the drastic changes that were happening to me in the Fall were actually a good thing. Maybe it’s exactly what I needed to keep me on my toes.

When we feel like we’re losing our fire, our motivation, our drive, how do we get it back?

I know I shouldn’t be complaining because this is the calmest I’ve been in quite some time. But as they say, there’s a calm before the storm.

I guess I’m just waiting for the next storm to come in my life…

Roots

I wouldn’t say that I’m the most experienced person when it comes to traveling, but over the past few years, I’ve definitely broadened my horizons in terms of drifting away from the place I call home (New Jersey) I’m most grateful to my ex-boyfriend for inviting me to be more open-minded about venturing into the unknown. The first plane I ever got on was when I went to San Diego, California for my cousin’s wedding in 2009. I was 18 and a freshmen in college. Leaving for college itself was overwhelming enough and I was only a 45-minute drive away from my parent’s house. Even then, I didn’t make the cut with sticking it out for all 4 years there. I eventually transferred to Rutgers University, which was about a 5-minute drive from my parent’s house. So much for venturing into the unknown.

Now, getting back to the first time that I was on a plane; it was a pretty frightening experience for me to be honest. I was overly excited to even be inside of an airport. Growing up, my parents weren’t extremely wealthy and we didn’t have the luxury to take summer vacations like all of my friends did. As a child, I had never even gone to Disney World. DISNEY WORLD (A sad realization when I think back on it)

Going to California for the first time was one of the most memorable trips of my life. I was blessed enough to have relatives that took it upon themselves to pay for both mine and my sister’s plane tickets. We just had to take care of our own expenses once we were there. That trip opened my eyes to realizing that there was so much more than what I sheltered myself to.

Spring Semester of my Sophomore year of college, I met the man that defined my college love life. I dated him for three years, and loved him with every ounce of love that I had to offer. A majority of it was because I loved his spirit, his personality, his carefree nature. I always wished I could be like that. Throughout our relationship, he would surprise me with mini get-aways. Eventually, the mini get-aways became big get-aways. And they extended further and further. It opened my eyes, and we hadn’t even left the United States.

I’d like to publicly thank him for giving me those opportunities to explore those unfamiliar places. It gave me the courage to move to New York City and embark on one of the greatest adventures I’ve ever been on. But, it won’t stop in New York City. He planted a seed in my mind to be brave enough to travel to where-ever I wanted to go. I learned that traveling exposes you to learning so much about people, places, and more importantly, yourself.

I caught up with another high school friend yesterday and we ran through the typical routine of reflecting on old memories and then moved onto to conversation of updating him on how much has changed in my life and how different I’ve become since high school. I’d like to say that it was mostly just age and maturity that has changed me, but a large part of it also has to do with the fact that I left home to find out who I am.

I have a lot of friends from back home who like to do nothing, but tell me how ridiculous it is to live in New York City for various reasons; too expensive, too dirty, too crowded, the list goes on.

It upsets me to hear them say these things though because although many of their claims have proven themselves to be true, I appreciate all of it. I’ve been able to find myself in a place other than my home in New Jersey. I stepped outside of my boundaries, outside of my comfort zone. And for that, Brandon, I’m forever grateful. You’ve helped me become the person I am, and you’ll continue to help me become the person that I will be.

For all of my upcoming trips to where ever the destination may be, I know that I will continue to learn more about myself. The seed that was planted has strong roots and no matter how far I go, they will always lead me back home.

All or Nothing

I had all of my wisdom teeth removed yesterday. Not exactly a life-changing moment or milestone, but whenever something out of the ordinary happens, I tend to get uber-philosophical and try to find some sort of meaning in that particular experience.

Now, I’m not going to create some kind of ironic metaphor for how having my wisdom teeth removed is a rite of passage or how it marks my official “adulthood” because it’s not and it doesn’t. I am, however, going to write about something else (which honestly could have been attached to any other experience) The timing for this just happened to be right, and in all honestly, I’m just alone and bored at the moment.

Lately, I’ve been especially bored with my life. The month of January has been rather dull and un-eventful. They say that’s how it usually goes though. After the holidays, everyone is just in recovery mode and the New Year starts off pretty slow. It’s funny how life works like that. Two months ago, I had way too much going on. I was completely over-whelmed and in desperate need of a break. Yet, now that I have this quiet time, I’m begging for something interesting to happen.

My roommate texted me a quote a few weeks ago. The quote went something like this; “Life has many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen all at once”

It seems that these words are finally sinking in for me.

Some people live off of chaos. I’m that kind of person. I’m not talking about destructive, evil chaos. I just mean that I like the rush of when there is a lot happening all at once. It gives me something to write about.

Whenever I know that I have a busy weekend, week, or month coming up, I can’t help but countdown the days until it happens. I try to hide it, but I’m not very good at concealing my emotions. So, ever since I scheduled my appointment to have my wisdom teeth removed, it was all I could think about because I really had nothing else to look forward to. I had mentioned in my previous blog entry that I was a good planner. Well, it’s because I like seeing how things will pan out. I enjoy witnessing the fruits of my labor.

I always complain about how I’m such a stressed person. I guess I really shouldn’t complain because in some sort of weird, masochistic way, I like the stress in my life. I thrive off of everything happening all at once because honestly, whenever nothing is happening, I get anxious and am begging for some sort of dramatic situation.

I know that it’s only the start of 2014 and I’m sure things are going to pick up soon, but I just can’t wait until the next chaotic period to come. As they say, it’s all or nothing.

The Future

If there’s one thing that I can never stop worrying about, it’s the future. I think it’s safe to assume that I’m not alone in that.

I envy those people who have mastered the art of “rolling with the punches”. I haven’t quite gotten there yet.

I guess it’s fitting that I was promoted to a job in which the main responsibility revolved around planning. And it’s no surprise that I’m pretty damn good at what I do.

My entire life, I’ve chosen every path, made every decision, committed to every action in order to reach a certain goal; yield a particular outcome. The buildings blocks to the foundation of my entire life were created specifically so that I could get to where I wanted to be.

Unfortunately, your 20’s take that foundation, flip it around, and place you on a roller coaster ride that makes you question everything.

People are considered adults once we’ve hit our 20’s (Young adults, that is). Well, it’s a scary thought once you’ve reached that point. We start to question if we’ve made the best of our youth thus far and begin to examine all of the things that we haven’t done yet. Those who are brave enough, tend to act on it.

As I’m continuously going through these new experiences, I’m finding out that life doesn’t adhere to your plans, nor does it care to follow your rules. Things just happen. I’d like to say that some things happen for no reason, but I’d have to disagree with myself and admit that things really do happen for a reason. That reason is to simply gain experience and knowledge and show yourself that things don’t always work out the way you had hoped. And that’s not a bad thing.

I connected with an old friend from back home who happened to be in New York City the other day. She had just gotten out of an interview for a company that she really wanted to work for, but they’re only offering her an Intern position. She expressed her emotions to me and I could feel her frustration of not understanding why her big break wasn’t happening yet. I told her that I’ve been there; that it’s hard and it’s a struggle, but in time her big break will come.

I may be repeating myself frequently when I write about time and patience, but it’s only because this is the core of my confusion and hardship at this period of my life.

I continued to comfort my friend and explain to her that life tests us with these trials when we’re most vulnerable and scared and lonely. Eventually, it will get better. I told her what I constantly tell myself; that finding the right job is just like finding anything else in life. It’s all about the right fit, and timing of course. Whether you may be looking for an apartment, boyfriend/girlfriend, job, pet, city, hairstyle, pair of shoes, or what have you, it’s all about finding the right fit and have the timing be right.

Even if we’ve been thrown into a situation where we feel like we’re not ready, trust me when I say this: You are ready.

From what I’ve learned thus far, at this young age of 23, it’s that things happen when you are ready.

I don’t know why I continue to stress over the future. I don’t know why I haven’t learned yet, even after documenting all various major life moments in this blog. I don’t know why I still have a hard time trusting that things will come together and things will work out and will get better.

We have no way of ever knowing what life has in store for us. We can’t predict the future. We can only deal with the present. We may have an idea of where we are going, but we’ll never know for sure. That’s the beauty of life.

The future…