I recently experienced a Significant Life Change. I won’t get into the details, but it was one of those events that made me reevaluate whether my day-to-day life actually reflected my values. (You might remember how my dad’s hospitalization forced me to think critically about health insurance policy for the first time.)
Long story short, I realized that my brief, fabulous stint in Silicon Valley wasn’t as fulfilling as I thought it would be. Of course, I learned a lot and met kind, smart people. But I wasn’t learning how to write well, and I didn’t feel like I was making public education more equitable. None of my personal goals were being realized.
About last Saturday night: I was sitting cross-legged on the second-floor landing of an elegant rental house in the mountains of South Lake Tahoe, nursing a plastic cup that I hadn’t bothered to fill with anything and wondering if I was doing my youth wrong. Below me, in the kitchen, people with whom I had been affable all weekend were already several shots into the evening. They danced to Top 40 songs and occasionally erupted into peals of laughter.
I was persuaded to come on this trip months ago, when the long late-summer days exacerbated my loneliness. I was new to the Bay Area, newly far away from everyone I had loved. A snow-mantled weekend in the mountains, sharing a house with the other 20-somethings in my company, seemed like a good idea at the time.
I’m skeptical of New Year’s resolutions. There, I said it! If I were being completely honest, I think that New Year’s resolutions are inherently tenuous. At worst, they are destined to flounder by March. I usually make resolutions in September because the structural transformation of the new school year always seemed to make more sense to me.
January, though? Every December, we see a crop of articles giving people quantifiable(!), actionable(!) tools for keeping resolutions. And yet the reality is that gym memberships spike for the New Year, only for attendance to peter out as the year progresses. Yeah, take it in.
So this year, I’ve decided to move away from formula. I’m starting my year with a mindset, which I think is far more productive than a self-improvement-y “resolution.” And, more importantly, it’s easier to keep than a gym membership. And most importantly, it’s free.
Did you do National November Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) last month? It’s a month-long sprint that challenges writers to produce 50,000 words between November 1st and 30th.
Despite being involved with creative writing for my whole life, I’ve only participated in NaNo for the first time this year. (I know!!) Though I should note: Because Novembers are uncharacteristically busy for me—I prioritize a lot of family celebrations, which entailed traveling for almost half of the month—I set my personal word count far lower than 50,000.
So while I can’t speak to meeting that lofty goal, I learned a lot about myself as a writer, the creative process, and writing at airports.
If you live anywhere a source of news media, you will know that this has not been the best week for the world. You don’t even me to link to the events that have cast long shadows over the past few days. While bright things are happening every day – much of which I want to share with you – it feels disingenuous of me to share them without first addressing things that for all I know could be affecting you directly.
So this is me checking up on you. You ok? What’s helping you reorient?
My dad and I drove seven hours up the coast from LA to SF on Sunday, during which time: he gave me advice on making friends in a new city (maybe I should actually go out on Fridays?), we bought buckets of drive-through soda to stave off the 110° heat, and I found out that my dad can rap the first full three minutes the old-school funk classic, “Rapper’s Delight.”
We made the drive so that my dad could visit me, and so that we could cap off the summer by watching the LA Dodgers play the San Francisco Giants. It was more than a game — the victor of this match would settle, at least for a night, the grave and virulent debate of which is the superior half of California.
Loads of people on the Internet have more informed opinions on lip gloss and trends. I highly recommend checking them out. I’m still scrabbling for wisdom myself, so I’m really not in a position to impart any.
What you might get out of this blog is an exciting, impressionistic portrait of one person’s embarkation into a new city and post-grad life. This is where I’m documenting newness of moments before they pass.
Like this stage in my life, La Pia en Rose is bright and inchoate. It is, at least, a promise to myself to savor time, write more, and in doing so understand more. Maybe, at its grandest, this blog can be an act of love.
By way of this blog, I hope to generate new experiences, perspectives, pieces of text, and sending creativity into the world like messages in bottles.
Maybe they’ll wash onto your shore. Maybe you’ll even enjoy them.