On the year of OPEN

Let it be known that today, finally, after at least a year and a half of reading tiny chunks at a time on the bus, I finished reading Crime and Punishment.

*wild applause*

It didn’t take so long because I hated it or anything. I actually really loved it and would read it again. But I’m going to need some time set aside on the beach or something to get it done again. That is no small tome. It took so long because I kept setting it aside to read shorter, easier books or books that would be due at the library soon. And my commute got shorter in the middle, so I only got to read 3-4 pages per day. Needing closure in all things, it drove me bonkers that I didn’t finish it for so freaking long. But today. Today I finished.

It was actually perfect Valentine’s Day fare, too, if you know how it ends. You can take that either sarcastically or literally. Doesn’t matter much to me.

Speaking of Valentine’s Day, which I celebrated by wearing my once-a-year giant cubic zirconium heart earrings (Oddly enough, only one person in my office seemed to notice. So maybe people thought I was wearing them not ironically. This probably says something about my daily style choices.)…

You probably remember Jenna, my friend who graciously informed me that I had a mouse living in my glove compartment. Well, I had dinner with her sometime last winter, I think pre-mouse scenario, and she told me about one of her co-workers who had declared 2016 THE YEAR OF OPEN. She was open, she said, to dating anyone. There would be openness and no pre-judgment.

I’m not really sure how that worked out for her, since when I mentioned it to Jenna recently, she couldn’t even remember which co-worker had said it Maybe she went back on her resolution. We’ll never know for sure. Oh, the mysteries of life!

But I, on the other hand, thought that was a brilliant idea. Sure, people say you need to make S.M.A.R.T. goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-Bound), and “OPEN” is just about as vague as you can get, but it’s a lot easier to remember at key points in time and gives one a frame of mind that can inform the specific situations.

So I adopted it. And I told my friend Emma, and she said she thought that was a great idea.

Of course, I think my situation is a little different than the co-worker, because there is no line of men requesting dates. I’m not filtering through the options because I haven’t needed to. So, realizing that this is the truth of the situation, I decided “OPEN” meant just being ready for new things and considering what I might not otherwise consider. Or at least stepping as bravely as possibly into the unknown with as much positivity and hope as one can have.

And hope does not put us to shame.

It might not have been a direct result of that decision, but last year I made big changes and chose some things I might not otherwise have chosen. I met people I would not have met before. I went places I never expected to be. I learned new things about myself I might not have wanted to know before (sometimes these things are painful and stinky).

And when 2016 ended I asked Emma what that meant for 2017, “Does that mean 2017 is the year of closed?”

I was joking.

I’m currently reading Shonda Rimes’ book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person, which is not my typical cup of tea, but I’m trying to expand my horizons by reading more books by people of color and by taking recommendations from people. (THIS FITS BOTH!) Basic premise of the year of yes is that she never said yes to anything, so she started saying yes to the things that scared her, just for a year.

And she realized at the end of that year that she couldn’t go back. Saying yes had given her a new mindset, totally transformed her life. so she just kept going.

I wouldn’t say THE YEAR OF OPEN turned me 180. I’ve always liked to try new things, but it put an intentionality into my choices and gave me a perspective of challenging myself to be braver and have fewer preconceived notions about how something will be.

So, no, 2017 isn’t the year of closed.

OPEN will live on.

(Also, I’d like to acknowledge the elephant in the room that I haven’t blogged in a very long time. I’ve been busy being open.)

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