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A year ago I shared everything I did in my first year of post-liberal arts college depression frustration bliss.  To recap, I wined, I dined, and I cried. Often. Sometimes I cried into bowls of delicious soup.

Being one of those recent college graduates the New York Times loves to profile is really terrible. It’s so terrible that I would wish this predicament on my worst enemy. (Please ignore that my worst enemy also happens to be someone my age so he and/or she is probably already in this predicament.)

Some good things did happen during that first year after I graduated. I went to the Kentucky Derby and I took an awkward picture with Joe Biden. But mostly I complained, lacked goals, had minor anxiety attacks, and feared for my future. In retrospect, my first-year after college was mostly great and I shouldn’t have complained (too much) about it. Because then year two happened and it was… a year… that happened.

For instance, I went to a free Blondie concert and was yelled at by middle-aged New Jerseyans sitting in lawn chairs… because I was blocking their view.

I spent this past weekend traipsing around my beloved alma mater for my two-year college reunion. I know what you’re thinking. “A two year college reunion? That’s absurd!”

You’re right. It is very absurd.

In addition to being an out-of-body experience, being back at Mount Holyoke made me reflect on what a wonderful shit show this past year was. Literally. In August I found myself wading through feces-infested flood waters during Hurricane Irene. (Sometimes you really need a bottle of wine and no natural disaster should get in the way of that.) Because of that little hurricane, I have forgotten most of what happened last year.

Do you blame me? My house looked like this.

I honestly cannot remember what I did before the hurricane and while it was being repaired. I know I was interning at TheGloss because there is evidence of this on the Internet. I know I spent time with friends because there is evidence of this on Facebook and YouTube. Without my Internet life, I would have really lost my damn mind more than I actually did. (That freak October snow, for instance, turned me into an irrational, crying mess for a few hours.) But c’est la vie. I lived. 2012 has been formally dubbed the Year of Penny (thanks Happy Endings!) and some good things have developed. Here they are.

1. I became a podcaster extraordinaire.

Do you know about the Ally and Joanna Show? It’s great. And I’m not just saying that because I am the Joanna of this duo. Unlike this blog, which I often find stressful to maintain on a weekly basis, the Ally and Joanna Show is fun way for me be a conossieur of pop culture. Plus, I get to hang out with Ally and together we are taking over the Internet. We’ve only been at this podcasting experiment for less than a year and so far, it is working out great.

2. I have spent so much time with my cat that we are now unhealthily codependent.

After the huricane my cat Salem developed a terrible case of PTSD. At least this is what I have decided has caused our inexplicably close relationship. He’s the most important man in my life. (Probably because he keeps all his shit in a box.) Salem and I do everything together. Like right now. Salem is currently suffocating me nuzzled against my chest as I write this post. To avoid sounding like a sad, lonely, cat lady, I will stop oversharing now.

You don’t want to see the pictures I didn’t post.

3. I found a random famous person to take a picture with.

Suzan Lori Parks is this year’s Joe Biden. No, we did not discuss sharing a quesadilla in Cannes. I did, however, get to go on the stage at Porgy & Bess, the first and probably only time I will ever do something like that.

4. I went to the movies. By myself. Frequently.

Two years ago, I would have told you that going to the movies alone was something I dreaded. Today this couldn’t be further from the truth. Going to the movies by myself is one of my favorite activities. I love it. I don’t have to plan a screening around someone else’s schedule, I can tweet snarky things at my leisure, and I don’t have smell someone’s disgusting bucket of popcorn. I can get in and get out with limited hassle. When my life became very hectic and stressful during the last few months of 2011, the movies became a great refuge for me. It was the only place I found peace and quiet.

I saw 11 of these movies by myself. Each time was glorious.

5. I found new ways to be a grown up.

Last year, I went to every winery in New Jersey. This year I stopped eating Ramen noodles. Therefore I am now an adult.

Clearly

6. I embraced the Year of Penny.

So 2011 was rough. I basically gave up on 2011 being a good year around October. But 2012 has been infinitely better. Once I embraced a sitcom’s subplot as my mantra, stopping worrying about everything, and became just a little bit selfish, things started working out.

So far, my twenties have been filled with too many ups and downs. I’ve been told that more ups and downs are on the way. And I am praying my life stops looking exactly like an episode of Girls. But for right now, I am less of  a crazy woman, my hair has stopped falling out, and my cat is awesome . These are good things.

Ew. I don’t like all this positivity. I am going to watch an Elvis movie and tweet snarky things now.

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