I was inspired to write this post from the lovely Jessica at Chronically Vintage. I hope she doesn’t mind me stealing the title of her post, but I really loved the idea.
I tend to view myself as a pretty grateful person, so I don’t spend a lot of time on gratitude lists. If anything, I usually feel guilty about being undeserving of the wonderful things in my life. But I like the idea of finding twelve things that I did to make my life better this year. Sometimes I feel like my life is passing me by and I worry that I’m not using it the right way. That I’m not making enough of what I’ve been given. But I did make some big steps this year, and celebrating them will be an acknowledgment that I can make my life better and that I am taking charge of my life and trying to take advantage of and enjoy the opportunities I’ve been given. Some of these will be vintage-related, and some not.
1) I went to therapy. This is a big one, and precipitated most of the good change in my year.
2) I acknowledged and accepted my issues. This really tied in with therapy, but it’s also what helped to get me into therapy in the first place. I acknowledged that I have struggled with an eating disorder for a long time, and have dealt with depression without getting help. I thought I could take care of everything on my own, and that actually caused my loved ones more distress than if I had just sought help earlier.
3) I went on a big, life-affirming trip. In the entertainment industry there are a lot of messages saying that you can’t ever be out of town. If you take time off, you’re missing opportunities and there are thousands of people working harder than you. But even though I love my chosen career, I am not my career and I need more out of life. I left my job and my life for a month (putting my comedy career on pause and not knowing if I’d have a job to come back to).
And I got this.
4) I moved into a new apartment with two roommates. I really loved living alone but it was too expensive and exacerbated my natural tendency to isolate myself. My roommates are really wonderful people and they make my life better.
5) I really put an effort into making good friends. Making friends does not come easily or naturally to me, and there have been many times in my life where I had only a few. But this year I made a genuine effort to reach out to people and I think I came out of the year with some really wonderful friendships and people I really value.
6) I was upfront with people about my problems and insecurities. After years of not telling anyone I had an eating disorder, I told everyone. I was warned not to tell people that I’m on medication for Bipolar II, and I’m telling everyone anyway. When I was struggling in a social interaction, I said so. And everyone was super fucking nice about it. I hope I put some other people at ease, too.
7) I started trying to find some joy in my appearance, which led me to wearing vintage full-time. For years I dressed mostly in a couple pairs of terrible jeans and t-shirts from the Target boy’s department and thought that everyone probably thought of me as the chubby friend and it was time for me to accept it. My therapist encouraged me to try dressing up and wearing clothes that made me feel pretty – not only because it’s wonderful to feel pretty, but you generally take better care of yourself in general if you’re caring for your appearance. I realized that vintage clothes are what I love and feel excited about and now I really enjoy taking care of myself and getting ready because every day is an excuse to wear one of my gorgeous vintage dresses, pin curl my hair, and put on some red lipstick.
8) I started this blog! I needed a hobby that wasn’t work-related, and I’m really enjoying it.
9) I bought a swimsuit and a gym membership. I’ve always exercised, but often out of obligation and very seldom out of enjoyment. I’m now trying to take pressure off of myself and just enjoy using my body. I actually wrote a snarky post about my “exercise goals” on my Tumblr that I really liked.
10) I fostered four cats. Unfortunately I won’t be able to do it again in my new apartment, but I loved being able to give them some love and attention and I got a lot back from them. I cried when I gave them up to people who could adopt them, but that’s part of it, too.
11) I saw Titanic 3D in the theaters. 😀
12) I created my own show, found writers and a director, and we shot our pilot in December. It’s the best accomplishment of my life, and even if nothing comes of it, it will remain a point of pride for me forever.
Oops and I just thought of a bonus one – I started doing standup this year!
This post feels a bit self-indulgent (but why can’t I just feel good about myself and not try and undercut that?), but it’s also nice to realize that I’m not totally wasting my life. I think.
Also, it’s my birthday tomorrow! I’m turning 24 and hopefully 24 will be even better than 23. And when it isn’t, I’ll go to therapy and talk about it.