I could focus on how the holidays are hard. Engagements. Baby Announcements. Births. It's a reminder that I'm alone and as much as I enjoy my freedom, it does get lonely. Or I could focus on the positives, which is precisely what I'm doing because #teamnofeels.
For those of you who don't know me, I'm a huge Lady Gaga fan. Have been since the beginning. I finally got to go to her concert this past September and it was everything I could have wanted and more. She has a documentary that came out on Netflix recently which I obviously watched. Her opening monologue hit home. In it she is talking about the issues she was having at the time with her now ex-fiancé:
"And I'm just in a different time of my life now where I just kind of like, I don't know I just feel like my threshold for bullshit with men is, is just I don't have one anymore. I just don't care. I don't know if it's because I'm 30, I feel better than ever, you know. All my insecurities are gone, I don't feel insecure about who I am as a woman, and I'm not embarrassed or ashamed of what I have. I just feel more sexy and sexual and all that shit is better." Lady Gaga, Five Foot Two.
Her words hit home in a way I've never been able to completely vocalize. I've had a year of changes, and that's putting it mildly. New job, new apartment, overall a new life. I'm learning and growing still with all the changes I'm making. I finding what I want, what I enjoy, what I won't put up with, and don't care if that fits into society's mold. It's glorious; it's frustrating. It's invigorating; it's depleting. It's abundant; it's lonely.
I was having an off hours conversation with my manager. She asked what I was doing for New Years, and I told her I had a few invites but no solid plans at this point. She said it was her favorite holiday. It was the only time, when her children were young, she would ask her ex-husband to take their two children, and she would have the night to herself. Not to do anything fancy mind you. But rather to take an evening for HER. Sip her own champagne in the quiet of the house while taking a bubble bath. A night to relax for herself.
That's what I decided that regardless of the invites I have, I WANT THAT. This article by Jezebel only solidified my decision. So much of what I've done this year has been for me...why wouldn't I want to ring in a New Year with my fur-baby celebrating this new life I'm creating for myself? I don't need the glitz of going out to to a crowded bar, or worrying about paying a surge priced Uber to ensure getting home safely.
I get it, this makes people uncomfortable. Even the Treasurer at work made a comment as he left Friday that "Natalie's definitely going out New Year's" Nope, I responded, think I might be staying in. Shocking to everyone, apparently, how can this smart, hilarious, hard-working, attractive (according to some) woman not have won't-want-to-miss-it plans for New Years?!
I've realized that society formulates us to not compute an individual, especially a woman, as able to be okay with being alone. I happily shatter that fucking notion. I am the best I've ever been, alone. So good, in fact, that since my Match.com membership is due to renew, and since I only seem to (still) be attracting men that are the same age as my father, I've already discontinued my account for the beginning of January. It's been a year of me actively attempting to try online dating, to no success. I've decided I'm taking the entire month of January to NOT do any type of online dating, paid or free. I'm just going to focus on me.
I look back at my year and overall all the bad or frustrating events have been far outweighed by the good. And I'll be honest, I've made some of my own hurts. I'm not perfect, certainly won't claim to be, and can only hope I've learned from the mistakes I've personally made over the past year. But I've rediscovered my love of music and live music. I've gone to numerous concerts on my own. I've gone to a number of movies with lunches in between all by myself. I went to the beach about once a week this summer. I've learned to jet-ski, boat, and fish at my parents. I took a girl's weekend in September with a friend I haven't seen in ages. I became a godmother to my best friend's son. In October I took the most relaxing vacation I've had in years. I traveled to New York City a couple weeks ago for the new Star Wars movie with friends for the simplicity of the adventure....because I can.
Does it get lonely? Without a doubt. Thankfully I've gotten better at managing that loneliness. A few months ago when I was feeling down (before some family insanity occurred that we're still dealing with), I did something for the first time in ages. I reached out to my girlfriends. And they reached back out. And as shitty as I was feeling for being alone, I wasn't, and suddenly I had plans for a Saturday night. Just weeks ago I got an unexpected girls night dinner just from sending a random text. I'm so lucky, I have these girlfriends who want to be there for me, and I love each and every one of them. They support and laugh at all the mistakes I make along the way, and always give me a home to come visit to. I may not live in the area anymore, but seeing them always reminds me I can come home. We pick up right where we left off without missing a beat, no matter how much time has passed. For that, I am forever grateful. I have a family that loves me unconditionally, and no matter where we are in the country, when we're together the laughter never ends. The bond I have with my family and friends is one I don't take lightly, and am so grateful can't be broken.
So you want to know my plans for this New Year into 2018? Unlike years past, I will be alone, but I won't be crying as that ball drops. I'll make sure to have a pizza, some snacks, and all my favorite booze in the apartment. I'll have plenty of treats for Homer too! I plan on spending the day doing what I want: reading, watching movies, napping, dancing in my kitchen, maybe being responsible and doing some laundry (#adulting). I will take a bubble bath at some point in the evening. Just before midnight I will pour a glass of champagne and cheers to myself, with Homer my sidekick, with the promise to make to 2018 an even more fun and adventurous year than 2017. And I will promptly fall into the comfort of my bed at 12:10 AM after texting all of my family and friends that I love them wishing them a happy New Year. Because I can.