Monday, January 3, 2011

5 tips on how to have a shitty year

1) Pick the most implausible thing in the world that could happen.  Experience it and resent 

Right out of college my company sent me to Indianapolis.  I cried on the phone when they told me this.  I had taken the job with the expectation that I would be living in Boston and DC.  Even though I was born in Chicago, I'm not a fan of the midwest.  I dreamed of east coast cities the way little girls dream of their wedding dresses.  The day I moved into Indianapolis I felt like shit.  I continued to feel like shit until I moved to Boston.  I spent as many weekends as possible driving back to Chicago or visiting friends in other cities.I made minimal effort to make friends because I did not want friends who lived in Indiana.  And at the time my doctor prescribed me with Ambien to help me sleep so basically I was experiencing a chemically enhanced Indianapolis.  The neat thing about expectations is that they come true.  I was determined to have a shitty experience there and I did.  Then I found out I was moving to Boston and spent the next month researching, dreaming, anticipating that move.  When I got to Boston I fell in love with everything I saw.  Looking back at those two times in my life I realize I had shitty times in Boston and good moments in Indianapolis but the script I wrote for both determined the outcome.  

2) Start drinking and touching everything you see.  

I love stats.  I trust them.  This is probably because the most influential man in my life works as a psychological statistician.  When the number of people you have slept with in three months is 400% more than the number of people you've slept with in the previous two years there is a problem.  Tell yourself that men aren't interested in your brain or what you have to say. Tell yourself that this is normal.  Convince everyone else your behavior is normal.  Drink more to make the convincing of yourself and strangers easier.

3) Overachieve at work as a way to ignore everything else in your life

Workaholism is just as painful to your body and your mind as alcoholism.  The former is not only socially accepted but it's rewarded.  Start finding reasons to work until 8 or 9 at night.  Start getting to work earlier.  Find reasons to have to work on the weekend.  Stop engaging in conversations because there are work emails to send at dinner parties.  Conveniently tell everyone else in your life you cannot be there for them because you have to work.  Convince yourself this is normal.

4) Pick the one thing you are truly passionate about and stop doing it

I am a natural writer.  I have a point of view.  I have a writers brain.  I wrote voraciously for the first 20 years of my life and then I stopped for an entire decade.  Tell everyone it's because writing is self indulgent.  That you missed the boat on your journalism career and there's no way to recover your talent.  Tell good friends that they are crazy when they say you're a gifted writer and should get back into it.  Stop reading because it reminds you of writers.  

5) Hang onto one way relationships

Let someone have the best of you.  Keep giving it to them.  Let them off the hook when they give you nothing in return.  Let them convince you that you are crazy, that you need to change everything.  Change everything to make them happy.  Ignore how unhappy you are.  Tell yourself you want to be snow boarding in Colorado when you really want to be at a museum in New York City.  Give up your hopes and dreams for the other person.  Tell yourself their happiness will make you happy.  Ignore how miserable both of you are.


  1. The first one - so true. Experienced it myself!

  2. Speaking of our conversation about "stop writing the story and enjoy".... I realize I had shitty times in Boston and good moments in Indianapolis but the script I wrote for both determined the outcome. :-)

    this is good stuff. all of it. sweet, simple, to the point and so very true.

  3. #4 hit home. i haven't been writing for the last 15 years, and i wonder why i'm so tightly coiled sometimes.

    i've been loving the blog, but now you've gone and inspired me. damn you. ;)

  4. These are all very true. I especially needed to be reminded of #3.

    BTW, love the title of your blog!

  5. hmmm...very interesting. I like this post. I definitely relate to #5. Story of my life!

  6. Regarding number four: why is it that artists are so often equipped with the perfect balance of flakiness and low self-esteem, so as to practically encourage abandoning the pursuit of artistry altogether? Let's hope that if nothing else, 2011 will help us to buck up, get over it, and keep on with the writing.

  7. interesting twist on post about the new year. well done! i think you know which one is hitting home with me...thanks for the reminder :)

  8. Congratulations - this post is awesome enough that it earned a spot on Lad Named Felix's blogroll. That, bitch, is classy.