canistillshopatforever21

and other burning questions of a 22-year-old.

Metaphors and Similies and Questions: OH MY!

Have you ever felt so happy you were terrified? Like you just felt on top of the tiny world you’ve created for yourself? It feels as if you’re peering down at all its beauty and peace and loveliness, but you just know a strong gust of wind is going to come and knock you down, back into the depths of the gross parts you know are there but can’t see or even hardly remember from the vantage point at which this feeling has carried you. It feels tentatively peaceful. Have you ever felt that way?

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Have you ever accepted every part of your life as utterly wonderful, but not quite every part of yourself? Have you ever felt blessed with even the boring bits of life like logging onto your computer at work, brushing your teeth, or sending an email? Lately I’ve just been getting carried away with those things- the mundane things, and the ordinary things. It’s as if I’d been doing them all wrong before, like I’d been doing them under a cloud that cast a weird scary light on everything and that is why I couldn’t see how much fun they really were. Life is so exciting sometimes it panics me, and some moments are so happy I’m scared of what I’ll ever do if they end.

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I feel like a lion that was captured and held hostage in a zoo for a couple of years and then released back into the wild. Everything feels so familiar and new at the same time and the world is open and I am free, and I just want to run full speed ahead just because I can for the first time in a long time. But in the back of my mind, I am just so sure I’m going to get locked up again. I worry I’m going to make the same mistake that allowed me to get imprisoned in the first place.

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I’ve been living under Plexiglas for so long, kept just outside of life, seeing it through a filter that didn’t let me really touch it. Now that glass is gone, and everything feels different because I can feel it. But I’m not so gullible I don’t worry that window won’t close again, because I’ve already thought about closing it. I know that outside is so much healthier, but I find myself missing that darkness inside the house and the company that kept me there for so long. I find myself missing that stifling, uncomfortable safety of the glass. That glass emboldened me the way a soldier’s shield, or a bullet-proof vest, or a parachute encourages people into dangerous situations and to take ridiculous risks. The false sense of security of that glass allowed me to make scary choices because I knew that behind that glass I was already broken and contained and in no danger of worsening the situation that was already so bleak. The glass absorbed all the responsibility I didn’t want to take. Like a fish dropped into a tank, I just had to keep swimming around in the filthy environment my captor created and try not to die inside it. But out here-it’s different. Out here I know it is up to me. Out here I know that I have to continuously make the choice to stay away from the allure of that chaos and confinement.

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Out here is scary.

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Let go or be dragged

The lock screen on my cell phone is a pretty important screen. I see what’s there probably no less than 875 times a day, give or take 26 times. My cell phone is something that’s pretty much always with me and I’m not that popular really, so I’ll just check it over and over by hitting the button at the top and it flashes that lock screen to me, so I see it a lot. I tell you all this to say that I’ve attempted to utilize this screen by setting an inspirational and magnificent background for this screen. It’s just a white screen with the words “Let go or be dragged” written on it. It is a Zen Proverb, apparently, and I gotta say, it’s a powerful one.

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For so long now, in a certain situation, I feel like I’ve been dragged. Through the mud and the barbed wire and the shit. Like really gross, horrible stuff. Like acid and sulfur and appalling rotten eggs and broken glass and thumbtacks. Or something. Basically unpleasant things. But lately, just very recently, I discovered that if you can’t let go, that if someone chops your hands off you kinda just have to. And then you do. And then you’re okay.

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Okay, I know that sounds a tiny bit ridiculous, but really. I know that I was infuriated when someone chopped my metaphorical hands off. I’ve never had hand in this particular relationship, but this was a whole new level of bad. Do I miss my hands? Sure. You wanna have them to be able to flip that person off, or slap them in the face, or maybe hold within them a sharp object that you can use to shank them… hard… right in the.. okay so I’m losing focus here. Basically, yes, at first you miss your hands. Then you realize that you didn’t bleed out from the severing of that connection and maybe your wrists are better off and maybe you are finally free of being dragged down and through all that junk. The air starts to smell weirdly sweet and fresh and things look much different when you’re upright looking out instead of being horizontally dragged around.

Basically, the ridiculous random point of all this, and there is one.. I think, is that sometimes the things that anger and frustrate us and make us wanna commit homicide/suicide/mass genocide, are actually sometimes kinda great. You know when you look at it the right way… which is to tilt your head to the left and squint… and ya don’t miss your hands. Sometimes you gotta let go or be dragged, and sometimes you have to be cut loose. Either way, you’re free.

Counting Counting

Sometimes when I sit and think about what I sit and think about, I think: girl, you need help.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about counting. Yes, riveting stuff here, I know. But think about the time we spend counting, the things that are counted. We learned to count when we were little, our teachers practiced with us, we watched Sesame Street and The Count helped us out; we got so many accolades for achieving this task of counting. Once we learned how, we never stopped. We count points to decide the winner, count votes to elect the president, count the days until a vacation.

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It seems I am always counting. Counting calories, counting costs, counting minutes until I feel it is acceptable to reply to his text message without seeming overeager. I hate counting. I hate math. If I were to count up all the time I spend counting, I’d probably be down for the count.

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It’s funny how that word means so many things. Words are like that, I suppose, which is why I like them much better than numbers. The word count is one of those funny ones that you can say a few times, repeat it to yourself over and over and it starts very quickly to seem completely ridiculous. Count. Count. Count. What does that even mean?

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We’re often told of chances we have or time we get to “make it count.” How exactly do we do that? Does that mean we should line up our opportunities and make them count… what? Pennies? Grains of rice? The number of times Kim Kardashian is on the cover of a magazine? Of course not. That would be ridiculous. It’s too many times.

We need to count our money then make our money count. We aren’t supposed to count our chickens before they hatch, but we are supposed to count our blessings. We think we can count on people, schedules, our fingers and our toes. Whether it is used as a noun or a verb, it’s about determining the total number of things.

Now, I’m certainly no expert on life or counting and certainly not the two put together, but I know a few wise individuals who said a couple cool things on the subject. Mae West said “It’s not the men in my life that count; it’s the life in my men.” And Albert Einstein said “Everything that can be counted doesn’t necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”

What do you count? Are they things that count?

Summer 2013

Sitting inside an office for 8 hours a day kinda puts a bit of a cramp on getting a tan. Well so does my pasty, papery pale skin that could get sunburn from sitting too close to a lava lamp. But I will blame my job for my complexion, which could be mistaken for the after photograph of a white bathroom tile after being oxy-cleaned because it’s that bright white- in June. Looking down at the pale arm coming out of my white T-shirt and not being able to clearly tell, at first, where one ends and the other begins, I wonder to myself “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY SUMMER?”

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Now, the season of summer officially begins, or so I’m told, on June 21. But summer for those of us in any way shape or form involved with a university or a school know that summer begins when classes/finals end. I’ve been in summer since the end of May, but haven’t really gotten in summer mode yet! I’m realizing that summer is slowly slipping past me and I need to do something about having one before it’s totally gone! That is why I am creating a Summer Manifesto! A mission statement for the summer 2013.

Now I’m not the best at planning or deciding or following through on things of this nature or things of any nature, really, so this is going to be a work in progress kinda thing. Pretty open to interpretation and vague on the details, but isn’t that what summer should really be all about?

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Basically I’m looking at making a sort of summer bucket list that I’m sure will be added to and subtracted from depending on the minute and the mood. Here’s what I have so far:

• Go on two mini-road trips
• Play horse shoes with family at cookouts
• Watch fireflies (too much work to catch them)
• Stand in a summer rain
• Get day drunk on a weekday at least once
• Stay up all night watching horribly hilarious horror movies with my aunt
• Kiss a cute guy or seven
• Take lots of stupid pictures/vines with friends
• Go walking/jogging on the regular
• Master SYTYCD Cardio Fit
• Go on an adventure somewhere random in the middle of the night
• Ride in the back of a pickup truck
• Karaoke
• Have a board game night with peeps
• Play poker
• Write stuff

This is what I’m starting with.
What’s on your Summer 2013 To-Do List?

A Melodramatic Letter To a Man who is Extraordinary in all the Most Terrible Ways

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There are days and days when I don’t exist.
Re-affirmed and confirmed again and again by all of the times I couldn’t resist and tried to insist you show me I was wrong.
Sometimes, when I’m feeling painfully inspired by the thermostat that hangs on to the wall facing me, I’ll think of you and I’ll reach out with a completely mundane thought.
It’s a thought I should keep thinking to myself, but I want to share it with you in the hope that you’ll know I’m thinking and understand why and validate my thoughts.
You never do, though. My thoughts go unanswered like all of my prayers and I pray to you, such an imperfect entity unworthy of my hopes and beliefs in you. But isn’t it the unworthy that need it the most?
I pray for you.
I pray for you in every sense of the word for. I pray for you to be happy, for you to be safe, for you to be mine. I pray selfish, contradictory things. I pray for you like God is just an employee of a fast food restaurant and I want to order you into my possession. This confession will fall on deaf ears but nevertheless I’ll still confess.
I’ll confess to the crimes I’ve committed against humanity and conformity and my own barely beating heart. I’ll confess to my giving you all of me when you didn’t ask for any of it right from the start.
When I am sitting in a desk housing thumbtacks and paper clips and sticky notes scribbled with reminders for me to do pointless tasks for no fucking reason at all, all I can think about is you, sitting right down the hall at a desk that’s just the same, in a chair that’s only slightly better, with a disposition that is so much worse.
And I just want to fix you. I want to fix you before some other girl does, and she finds in her fixed up you that truth that I always searched for but couldn’t find. If she finds it first, I’ll never get to see it. It’s finders, keepers, right? I want to fix you so that maybe I can be okay again.
Sometimes, I can feel you whispering into ears that aren’t mine and it sounds like the hissing sound of the old worn out tire that is my soul. Deflating. With tread too worn to hold any of the promises I made myself.
And sometimes I can feel your eyes landing on faces and bodies that aren’t mine and it looks like I’ve made it my mission to balance out all the smiles they slip so easily into your pockets by hoarding mine with tight-lipped stares. They wouldn’t slide them so slyly across the table at you if they knew how you can take them and never give them back.

  Thoughts on a Feeling

Love is supposed to be unexplainable, right? Because, see people don’t come in a bottle with a list of ingredients on the label to be read and re-read, as you search for the one that did it. That one ingredient that isn’t in the rest of the people that caused such a volatile reaction in you. If they did, you could read all the labels of all the people and cross-reference them and you could pick and choose without even opening the bottle. That would save a lot of time and a lot of mess and a lot of heartburn, wouldn’t it?
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Love is supposed to be unexplainable, right? Because when it is good and you are in it, you don’t want to know the hows and whys. That would tarnish it. You want to believe it is a onetime happy accident that couldn’t be duplicated and couldn’t be comparable to anything ever before or anything that ever will be again. It’s not a formulaic fusion of fractions and figures calculated in an equation to equal the sum of the feeling. 
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It is a mystery. One of those wonderfully seductive stories that sucks you in and has you turning each page hungrily, completely engrossed in a wonderful story- one that you can’t wait to find out how it ends, but don’t want to finish.
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It is magic. A magic show that leaves a look of wonder on your face from the very beginning. A magic that makes you feel like a little kid again. When you didn’t question the mechanics or the motives of each magnificent movement of the magician. When you believed fully and fearlessly in every single possibility. When you didn’t see the magic as acts or tricks or illusions; but the revelation of a reality where people sawed in half could be put back together again.
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 It is a secret recipe. It’s a decadent and divine taste resulting from the artful inspiration of a chef whose imagination for blending and baking indecipherable ingredients we will never know. And don’t really want to know. Because it is understood that we couldn’t recreate this taste. For it isn’t the combining of the right ingredients in the right order that made this, and to attempt to do so would ruin it.

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Love is supposed to be unexplainable, right? But sometimes that is all you want to do—figure it out. Because when you are in it alone, a little explanation would be nice. An explanation would be kind. For when you are in it alone, it isn’t a mystical, magical, marvelous miracle of an emotion you hope to always endure, but an annoying, gnawing, never-ending nuisance that negates all other feeling and numbs your very core.  It is an algebra problem on a test that you just cannot solve; you know the answer but can’t figure out how to get it.  

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 It is a horror. One of those terrible stories where you know everyone is going to die; you’re just not sure in exactly what order or the exact method of their demise. There is nudity, stupidity, pain and knives and psychopaths and so much blood. You don’t even want to keep reading, but you feel like you have come this far and you now have to finish it, even though you’re going to have nightmares about it for years.

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It is sorcery. It is a voodoo doll of you locked away in someone else’s possession and you have an obsession with finding out where it is and why they have it and why they keep sticking you over and over again and again with such sharp pins right in the chest. And you feel such shockingly constant pain. And even when you have that rare day or moment when you don’t feel it, you still fear it, for you know any time now they’ll stick you again.
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It’s a burnt birthday cake. It’s doing everything right, following the rigid recipe ridiculously. It’s measuring meticulously and monitoring religiously the masterful mixing of the incredible ingredients. It is testing the temperature and tasting and toiling, all to produce a bland and burnt and boring version of what was supposed to be. You crafted what the recipe called for, but it just doesn’t taste like you know it should. You still eat it, hoping maybe some part of it tastes right, or that you can figure out what you missed. But it doesn’t, and you can’t.

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When you’re in love alone, you just want to get out alive. You just want to hop off at the next stop and land somewhere new where everything may not be magic, but it won’t be torture. You just want to understand.  You want the magician’s secrets revealed so the tricks lose their power and you want the recipe so you can make it without relying on anyone else and you want to dissect the problem of the feeling right down to its core so you can no longer be impressed by product. Because ignorance is bliss, but knowledge is power, and that’s all you want when you feel that kind of love that shows you every day how little you have. At least those are my thoughts on the feeling.

Makin’ The Grade

This is my first semester of graduate school, which is my tenth semester of college, which is in my 19th year of school. I think. In all that schoolin’ I never really developed a love for math. It doesn’t love me either. It just struck me earlier, that I have been graded since I was four years old. I realize this may not be a revelatory thought, and I am certainly not the only one who has lived this life, but I really started thinking about it today. While talking to a friend about a reading response we both had due, I wondered what a life would be like with no reading responses and just responding to life. What would that look like, feel like? Would I even be able to do it?

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I still have at least another year of college planned, because that is as far as I can plan. I have absolutely no idea what to do with my life, and that is the entire reason I even went to graduate school, to postpone a bigger decision. I know how to do school. I know how to read and respond to that reading. I know how to go to class (usually late) and I know how to live a life in process, not quite there but on the way. I just wonder if I think I am ever going to get there. “There.” Wherever that is. I’m living like I’m waiting and I am afraid to start. Like I am in a perpetual waiting room that is the classroom and I’m flipping through magazines that are out of date and looking through useless apps on my phone, just waiting. Waiting to go to the next room to get an injection of purpose. Waiting for inspiration. Waiting for purpose. Waiting to try because the longer I wait to try the longer I can still imagine that I can do whatever I want.

I have been living my life from semester to semester, assignment to assignment, grade to grade. I just don’t know how to do anything else. I have been wrapping the title of student tightly around me, clinging to it like a security blanket. Student. Those seven letters can cover a multitude of sins. Don’t have your life on track? “Oh, I’m still a student.” You don’t have any money? Student. You still live at home? Student. You go out every weekend, bar hopping, shooting tequila, and talking about sneakies? Student. You eat a half a jar of Nutella straight out of the jar while binge watching The Golden Girls while wearing whale boxers that say “thar she blows” on them? . . . Student?… Okay, maybe that one can’t be totally covered, but you get the point.
Basically, I’ve been nestled in the cocoon of a classroom my entire life, and I am scared I won’t ever become a butterfly. I’m scared I may just live in the cocoon forever, or just kinda slide out of it all caterpillary still, and crawl through life with a desire to fly but a fear of my own potential for wings.

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I guess I could continue writing about my fear of life, or I COULD attempt to start living now instead of waiting until later. But procrastinating is kinda my favorite thing to do. So, we’ll see.

Galentine’s Day

Today is a beautiful day. It is February 13th- Galentines Day. A day to celebrate the ladies in yo life.

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This celebrating of Galentines Day this year has caused me to pause and reflect on the wonderful ladies in my life. I don’t wanna get all crazy sappy or anything, I just want to say how blessed I really feel to have such wonderful, positive female friendships in my life right now.

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I have many wonderful strong women to look up to look up to; many role models who are all very different but perfect in their own messy ways. Each has attributes I admire and aspire to emulate in my own hot mess of a life.

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I have single friends, engaged, and married and I realize that no matter what the state of our relationship status on Facebook or the involvement with partners, our friendships remains.

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Girlfriends are always there for each other, as sounding boards, drinking buddies, partners in crime. We are advice givers, despite the likelihood of taking (or not taking) the advice given.

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We poke fun of each other constantly, but fight for each other with the same vigor. We enable and inspire. We keep each other grounded. We watch Girls and be girls while reminding everyone we are women.

We play wingwoman

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We keep our priorites in line

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I am so glad for Galentine’s Day and all it represents. It makes a special day to encourage us to remember to celebrate the women in our lives.

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I have such a Lady Boner for you all. G-Day really hits the G Spot. That’s right, I went there.

Consider This

You insinuate indifference with your calculating cold
I wonder what it’d take to break you, shape you,
change your mold.
Your mouth is set now in a hard line, but can move in such moving ways
It’s warm and wet when it kisses
it smiles and dances and plays.
Your oval eyes seem angry now, avoiding me at all cost
They open slowly for me in the middle of the night
Finding something in me when they had been lost.
Your ears each appear to be working, but they are closed to words that burn
I count the tiny perfect freckles that speckle their lobes
and wonder if I’ll ever learn.
Your hands are busied, breaking; destructive, even at rest
I want them to destroy me again
I liked how they took, liked how they pressed.
Each part of you plays its part in telling me you don’t care
But reminds me of a time when you might have
What you consider a dismissal, I consider a dare.

#poetry

Resolution Solution

In 2012, we survived the end of the world, a presidential election, and another season of The Jersey Shore. I completed my undergraduate career, pared down to just one job, and I turned 23. After surviving the end of the world on the 21st of December, you’d think a gal would be thankful for every waking minute and really resolve to make the most of this one precious life we live. You’d think that. That just isn’t how I roll. I only feel inspired to make changes and seize the day and all that jazz when I get all hopped up on newness, like the first of the month or the first of the semester or, like today, the most addicting new high there is: January 1ST. In the spirit of the newness and the fresh start, the erasing and re-writing of my dry-erase calendar, (which still has September on it) and the scribbles to come of wrong dates written on everything, a constant struggle to break a habit and the reminder that things are new, I wanna make some resolutions.

 

The idea of making a resolution for an entire year, however, scares me to death. Who can commit to anything for a YEAR? I can barely commit to a thought for a minute or two, much less an action for a year. So, in the spirit of my flakiness and commitment issues and general laziness, I am going to make monthly resolutions. I will make a New Year’s resolution to make monthly resolutions all year. Oh, and, um, stick with them, of course.My thought process on this is that by breaking it down, I feel more likely to follow through. I mean the idea of exercising every day for a year seems crazy. That is 365 times. That’s every day. For a YEAR. I am already tired just thinking about that. But just for a month? Just 31 days or 30 days or February really will be easy, well you can do anything for a month. I can even do anything for a month. That’s my resolution solution.

Resolutions for January 2013:

1.      Work out 5 Times a week

This is such a cliché, I know. I KNOW. But this is a legit need in my life, so I must resolve it. And, ya know, do it.

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2.      Blog at least twice a week

Hey, look, I’m already doin it ! WHOO!

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3.      Journal every day

I have got to, or I will forget all this random ridiculousness of my life. That’d be tragic.

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4.      Listen to the Podcast “Coffee Break French” two hours a week

I need to learn some French for my upcoming trip to Paris in May, and I have so much time in my car, I could listen one way to The Quah twice a week and meet this goal.

5.      Cook/Bake/Create something edible once a week

I really wanna learn how to cook, and this means only four times I gotta commit to this.

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6.      Try new things with my hair

This sounds weird and arbitrary maybe, but I have a pinterest board full of fun hairstyles and I am so boring with mine, I think it’s good to try something new. 2 times a week at least.

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7.        Have seven resolutions this month

7 is a good number. I like it.

 

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So, I know I just said all that great stuff about monthly being more manageable and whatnot, but just to see if I can have a little bit of effort to stick to something for the long-term, I will make a couple New Year’s resolutions as well.

2013 New Year’s Resolutions

1.)    Make and stick with new Resolutions every month.

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2.)    Read 23 Books this year

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3.)    Do some random acts of kindness

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4.)    Be more outgoing and friendly in general. Be in every place I am in.

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5.)    Kick ass this year in all aspects of the phrase.

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These are all lovely thoughts and plans, I hope to legitimately stick with at least a few of these resolutions. I also want to not be afraid to mess up, slack off, and get back to things. I won’t be afraid to make a new resolution in the middle of the day on the 12th of the month, either, because sometimes that could be the best time to start something. Or quit something. There is no magical time of day or year to change or to begin.

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Remember that. I hope that you make some happiness for yourselves in 2013, whether they are through resolutions or reasons or resolving not to make any resolutions. Whatever makes your year, I hope it is a great one! Bring it on 2013. I have never successfully made and kept a New Year’s Resolution before, but hey, 23rd time’s the charm, right?

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