Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Because We All Know Tomorrow Never Comes

I’m really quite terrible at being an adult and doing things that seem like second-nature to other responsible adults. 

Things like laundry and dishes.

And vacuuming.

And showering.

I have video games to play, beer to drink, Netflix to watch and friends to high-five, all right?

It all comes down to procrastination for me.  I procrastinate doing housework and say I’ll do it later, or “Tomorrow”.

As any good procrastinator knows, eventually, all of those things you’ve been putting off build up to the point that eventually you have to spend an entire day or weekend or month or decade setting things right.

The thing about procrastination is that putting off what I need to do doesn’t actually ease the underlying anxiety (no matter how slight) I feel about needing to get it done.  This makes way for a whole new slew of negativity to wash through my brain.  Whenever I’m putting something off, the entire time I’m doing whatever I’ve decided to do instead, in the back of my mind is that angry voice saying “Hey, Stinky! You should be doing the dishes instead of killing Templars!”

The angry voice gets even worse when I realize I’ve been procrastinating doing things that propel my life closer to the “grown-up” life I want to lead.  I’m talking about things like improving my skill at piano, getting a degree, learning to balance my budget, exercising, eating healthy, taking a political stand, helping friends, building a family – I keep procrastinating doing things that can help me to further who I am and really love the life I lead.

When I procrastinate these important things, my negative self-talk gets worse and I stop believing that I am worthy of living a life I can love and be proud of.  I stop believing that everyone has the right to live a good life and I start believing that happiness just isn’t in the cards for me. 

When I’m on top of my game, I know this isn’t the case.  When I’m on top of my game, I know that I am in control of my destiny. I remember the old saying: “If you’re looking for a helping hand, take a look at the one at the end of your own arm.”  I remember that I am the one who is putting off doing things that will make me happier.

Several months ago I started a new system.  It was that every day I would do at least one thing to encourage my personal growth.  I was sitting at home, watching Netflix (Doctor Who, so really, it was kind of like I was helping my personal growth) and those negative voices in the back of my head were keeping me from enjoying David Tennant’s gangly awesomeness. 

That was when I finally figured it out: If all I do is put off doing things that are good for me, I’ll never enjoy my relaxation time.  And I really love my relaxation time.

So now, when I get home from work, I make sure that before I just settle in with a video game or a Netflix marathon that I do something that helps me to grow.  It might be something as simple as jogging in place while I watch an episode of HIMYM.  Or I might practice painting something new.  Or I might just finally breakdown and do the damn dishes. 

But by always doing at least one thing to help myself grow as a person, I’m bringing more positivity into my life and I’m enjoying my relaxation time guilt-free.

You are in control of your destiny too.  What have you been putting off that will help you feel better about the direction your life is heading?

Much love,
Annie Jay

UPDATED: Just wanted to add - the exercising in front of the TV thing came from this link.  Definitely worth checking out for some new exercises to try out in lots of different situations!

Friday, January 18, 2013

H-E-Double Hockey Sticks!

Whew!  The last two weeks have been insanely busy for me.  I’ll talk about that and other important things later (like maybe two years weeks from now) but for now, I want to talk about fun things.

I’m going to a hockey game tonight! 

I remember going to hockey games as a kid and the highlight for me was trading Starburst with the other little girls so that I’d end up with all the red ones.  These things are were important.

I vaguely remember going to a hockey game several years ago with a couple of my guy friends.  We only went because I had won free tickets from… something… let’s just agree that those years are all a bit of a blur for me.  Before we went to the game we smoked copious amounts of…um… cigarettes.  Halfway through the first round (Period? Quarter? Trimester?) I was aching for some nachos and a nap.  We ended up leaving after the first thingie and going to smoke cigarettes and stare at the sky instead.

So I’m calling tonight my first ever hockey game!

We’re going to celebrate The Bear’s and Mr. Tightpants’s birthdays.  We’ll be hitting up a nearby restaurant before the game for delicious pitchers of Long Islands. 

As I might have made clear in the past, I’m not much of a sports person.  Ok, seriously, other than professionally cycling (which I only understand because my papa was in races every weekend when I was a youngin’) I know pretty much nothing about sports.

When Francesca and I lived together she hosted a Super Bowl party at our house and I was just like “Oh, sweet! Someone brought wings!” So the hockey game itself isn’t really drawing me there, mostly I’m just going for the drinking company.  My plan is to get a good buzz on before the first buzzer (GET IT?!?) and then continue on long into the night. 

Just in case I feel boredom creeping up on me I’m going to bring activities in my purse, like you do for toddlers when you’re taking them on airplanes.  Except I’m 27 and going to a loud hockey stadium thingie.  But still, activities are probably going to be necessary.

Hopefully I get to catch a fly-ball!

I hope you all have a lovely weekend,

Annie Jay

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sniffle Sniffle

I’m sick.  I hate being sick.

If you’re following me on Twitter you know that today was the first time I’d left the barpartment in days.  I don’t think I’ve even looked out a window since Sunday afternoon.

I guess getting sick couldn’t have come at a better time.  It’s the beginning of the year, which means all of my sick time at work is restored so my pocketbook won’t be hurting from missing two days of work.

But my email count at work is definitely hurting.  I came in today to 371 emails in my inbox waiting for me to do stuff.  And a new boss. 

I expected the emails and had an inkling that the new boss would be here today as well.  But it’s definitely a good thing that my motto whenever I’ve been off sick is to “Look the way you wish you feel”.  Meaning I actually woke up early enough to sneeze and cough my way through the better-than-usual get ready routine.  My hair is done, I put on make-up and a fancier than usual business outfit.  I always try to trick my body into feeling better by looking better than I feel.

It works.  Sometimes.

Today is not one of those days.  But at least I was able to introduce myself to the new boss this morning with a confident handshake and enough sparkle in my eyes to convey that “I’m a winner!” attitude I wanted him to see.  Then I went back to my desk and sneezed and coughed my face off.

In order to power through the pain I’m working my butt off, getting done with lots of projects that I’ve been meaning to get through for months.  This was already my plan for Monday (but I was sick) because it goes along with my goal that I talked about in last Friday’s blog – to actually accomplish things and not just try to get through the monotony.

Even though I’ve been sick I’ve been trying to keep that goal in front of me – do things that make you happy and feel accomplished, don’t just breeze through the days.

In the last couple of days that I’ve been home – when I wasn’t sleeping in a Nyquil-coma – I was reading and writing.  Ok, and I was watching Grey’s Anatomy on Netflix.  Don’t judge me.

I started reading Tom Brokaw’s book The Time of Our Lives.  I bought this book over a year ago and never got around to reading it.  It’s been a little slow-going what with the Dayquil/Nyquil haze I’ve had going on but it’s thought-provoking and makes me have hope for the US again.

I also tried to sort out some of the details of the story I’ve been writing.  It’s a post-apocalyptic sci-fi/fantasy story I’ve been working on for over a year.  It all started with a dream I had that featured a desolate landscape, a racing heart and a run-down warehouse with metallic blinds.  Like most dreams it was just a lot of feelings and flickers of images - not a lot to build a story from.  It’s been an interesting process, building this world and these characters, but I’m in love with my two main characters and the world they live in is starting to make more sense.  When I get the details sorted out once and for all I might post an excerpt on here.

Saturday night, I got up the gumption to contact a friend of a mutual friend to ask him if he and his boyfriend wanted to go out for drinks with me.  (For the purposes of this blog, they've asked me to call them Bubbles and Mr. Tightpants.) They came out and we had a great time together.  It was great feeling like that take-charge person again and it was wonderful getting to know these boys a lot better.

So I’m staying on the right track.  Now, if only my immune system would get itself in gear!

Much love,
Annie Jay

Friday, January 4, 2013

Step 1

I know a lot of people (yes, Mom, I’m talking about you) don’t understand why I called this blog The Grow-Up Plan.  If you’re a frequent reader you know that I typically write about drunken mishaps, failures in love and just sheer randomness. Sure, occasionally I’ll throw in some positive life advice for everyone, but that stuff is few and far between.

The reason I’ve named this blog The Grow-Up Plan, is because that’s what I’m trying to do.  I’m trying to learn who I am as an adult while simultaneously holding onto the whimsical, irresponsible side of my personality.  It’s just that sometimes, that’s the only side I listen to.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I have no idea what I'm doing.

I bet you've probably figured that out by now though, huh?

My ideas of how to navigate the waters of life aren’t any better than anyone else’s, and really, if you were hoping I’d be your savior who could point you to Happily Ever After, I suspect you’ve instead ended up with a drinking problem and possibly an STD or five. 

Sorry about that.

But I digress…

2012 was one of the roughest years of my adult life.  I've been floating in a state of limbo for the last nine or ten months and I think I’ve just figured that out in the last couple of weeks. 

The first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

I keep reaching out, lashing out, stomping out - doing different things outside of myself, but somehow also pulling back, pulling myself in.  I'm sure that doesn't make sense, but I can't find any other way to say what I mean.

You know how people send those "Here are all of the awesome things we did this year!" letters with Christmas cards?  My parents have never really been the type to send those, and I'm not the kind of person to send Christmas cards, period.  But this year, I found myself wishing I had done enough stuff to warrant a "My year was awesome!" letter.

Why did I care?  These kinds of things have never mattered to me.

But I’ve finally figured it out – I’m feeling that way because I've been so lost, looking back, looking in, looking out - at everything that was just so wrong.  Like the kid who's teased by his older siblings and becomes the schoolyard bully for lack of anything else to do with all of that pain, I was hoping for something to show off.  I was hoping for some kind of bandaid to put over all of this listlessness and loneliness that would sparkle and make the world think I'd finally arrived.

Fucking hell, have I really become that person?

No.  I'm not that person.

Earlier today I was doing the dishes and I had a revelation.  You know how a while ago I wrote about Confidence Girl?  She is great, she really is.  

The problem with Confidence Girl?  She used to just be called Annie Jay.

I mean – goddamn – I hope this doesn’t sound too arrogant, but…

Annie Jay is a fucking badass, awesome chick.

I don't need some gimmick to make me feel strong and confident.  

I am those things.

But somewhere along the way, I forgot.  Somewhere along the way, I lost those feelings.  But now that I've remembered what was lost, I think I'll have a much easier time.

I’ve been spending so much time just killing time.  I’m so done with that. 

I’m going to start this weekend.  This weekend I will do things that make me happy and not just try to pass time and end the monotony. 

I’m going to get back to being the girl who focuses only on the positive and stop living in this land of negativity I’ve secluded myself within.  I’m going to get back to being the leader I once was.  I’m going to get back to being the active person I used to be.

I’m going to remember that I am the girl who got two black eyes when drunkenly walking into a street lamp on a company trip and got a promotion the next week.  That’s the kind of presence I have and I won’t let myself forget it again.

I’m maafuckin Annie Jay and I’m not about to let myself forget it again.

Anniy Jay

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Happy Happies Everyone!

Oh hey! 

Happy New Year!  

I hope you all rang in the New Year in style, or in grungy t-shirts and sweatpants - whatever made you happiest! 

My own NYE was quite lovely.  I wore a cocktail dress and ankle-high motorcycle boots for the first part of the night.  Because I’m classy.  And because it was freakin freezing outside.  Don’t worry, I changed into attire-appropriate but seasonally-impractical footwear when I actually went out in public.

We had a nice low-key start to the evening at Sofie’s house where we played cards, watched Dick Clark’s rocking NYE, toasted the East Coast New Year and watched Jenny McCarthy possibly get herpes from a sailor. (yes, I’m sure it was lipstick) 

Then we headed downtown to the karaoke bar where Francesca was working.  If you have to work on NYE, you’d better hope that you; 1.) have friends that love you enough to not even think about celebrating the countdown without you; 2.) work at one of the most fun places in the tri-state area; and 3.) have awesome friends that will wait for you to serve other people their drinks before giving you your New Year’s kiss. 

Keeping with my tradition of the last…hmm… 3-8 years I kissed everyone at midnight.  Well, not that one guy.  But pretty much everyone else.  I even sneak-attacked Natalia with a kiss and got a love bite in return.  Ooo, tiger!

PS – I’m the one who gave Jenny McCarthy’s sailor all of those lip herpes.  You’re welcome.

I ended the night in the eastern den of sin and inequity, around 4:30am with my favorite gay men, a couple of my favorite straight men and several of my favorite women of undetermined sexual preferences.  There was a lot of dancing and a lot of kissing and snuggling.  I got a broken beer bottle stuck in my foot (which wouldn’t have happened if I would’ve kept the boots on) but didn’t bleed all over the place like the last time that happened (which is a story for another day).  It was really quite magical.

At the end of the night, I was alone and quite happy. 

Then I slipped and fell on the ice.  (Not due to drunkenness, I swear.  It was all the fault of those damn impractical shoes!) My skirt flew up above my shoulders and I’m pretty sure I did the splits. 

But I’m still calling it a win because I didn’t get a single bruise (I guess the plus side of all that holiday eating is that I’ve gotten a lot of iron).

All in all, I had a fantastic New Year’s Eve.

The last few weeks have been busy!  Work has been chaotic and life has been, well, let's just say it’s been chaotic as well (more on that to come later this week.  Maybe).  

And hangover-y.  Life has been really hangovery. Season of giving, yeah right.  Season of binge-drinking is more like it.

Yesterday when Francesca and Sofie came over to the barpartment before we went out to lunch I had to greet them by saying, “Please excuse my mess, the barpartment is hungover.”  There were still empty beer bottles from Saturday night sitting on the dining room table.  Yes, this was on Tuesday morning.  Don’t judge me.  I just hadn’t had time to deal with them yet, ok?  Ok, so they’re still sitting there. 

Nursing a month-long hangover is hard freakin work.

I was going to write a “year in review” post.  Then I realized there wasn’t a whole lot in 2012 that I wanted to review.  So instead I’m just going to say –

2013, let’s kick 2012’s ass this year, ok?

Hope you all had a fabtastical 2012!  Anyone have any particularly fun NYE stories to share?

Much love,
Annie Jay