Monday, December 31, 2007

happy (recuperating) new years!

So here I am writing this at 9:30pm on New Years Eve, instead of being out on the town, out and about, out taking names, out (and i think i'm out of metaphors for going out). Why you ask? Well I made the very (in my opinion) grown up choice to spare my poor, ravaged stomach the onslaught of alcohol that it would inevitably receive if I went out tonight. Yes, the dreaded, stalker stomach flu hit me full force Friday night, and while I feel tons better and have actually been able to eat fairly normally today for the first time, I feel like going out and drinking would be the equivalent of telling my poor, recovering stomach to go screw itself.
Looking back it really was inevitable. We fell like Dominoes. First my sister a couple of days before Christmas, then my dad the night after Christmas, then my brother-in-law the night after that, and my mom the night after that. And I feebly maintained the hope that my youthful vigor would keep me healthy. Well I was an idiot. It took one, tiny queasy feeling Friday night for me to know that it was coming. And within a few hours I was the sickest I've been in a long time. Saturday was spent in a feverish haze. It was weird in a way, because I haven't been sick like that in a really long time, especially not at home. And any fears I might have had that my mom would not be as dutiful a caregiver for me at 22 as she was when I was younger were quickly put to rest. Even though she herself was still recovering, she kept my ginger ale glass full, asked me about once an hour if I was warm enough, and allowed me to remain in bed for a full two days. God bless her. Obviously I've had bad colds and a couple of sore throats and coughs and such since I've been in college, but I haven't had the not being able to do a thing for yourself kind of sickness, the kind where you sleep for sixteen hours straight but still can't get out of bed to get the chap stick the next day, or wake up a in a puddle of your own sweat from a high fever, or kind of abandon hygiene temporarily. It sucks. And I guess if I had to get the stomach flu this year I was lucky to get it while firmly ensconced in the comfort my family home. Although by the same token, my family are the little germ carriers who got me sick in the first place. It is amazing that tiny, invisible little germs can take down five people in less than a week. All pride in my youthful vigor is kind of out the window. Also, I'm no doctor or scientist, but it seems a little unfair that a virus that goes by the nickname stomach flu does not just attack your stomach but it also attacks your entire body. Kind of a case of false advertisement if you ask me. From now on I'm calling it the crippling head ache, throbbing legs, appetite destroying, life sucking stomach flu of misery. It's a lot more accurate. Ugh. I just can't wait until I'm 100%. I feel like I have a lot of eating to do to make up for lost time. I'm still on the slightly bland foods phase, but as soon as I'm completely better I am going to eat the spicest, tastiest, most flavorful meal I can find. I'm thinking Thai.
So my bout with the stomach flu kind of makes a nice transition into the New Year. It was an involuntary, painful thing, but it kind of served as a forced detox. I wanted to start eating healthy after the New Year anyway, and now I have a clean slate to do it with. I haven't drunk coffee or alcohol in several days, and I lost three pounds with the whole not eating for two day thing. So I'll channel my inner Pollyanna and make some lemonade out of my sickness lemons (I was so close to finding some really clever sour lemon, sour stomach analogy there, but I just don't have the energy at the moment, please create your own if you care to). Other than healthy eating I'm not making any other resolutions. I used to always make a lot of resolutions, but I've kind of stopped believing in the utility of New Year's resolutions. I think it's wonderful to want to challenge yourself to be better or do better by making goals for a new year, but I also think unless you have more will power or self control than I, it's hard to make goals for an entire year. I prefer taking things one day at a time. And I'm fully aware that one day this year I might be the best version of myself I can be; avoiding bad carbs, volunteering, writing a brilliant work of fiction, spending less time watching tv, etc. But I'm also fully aware that the next day I might desperately need to order a large, Hawaiian pizza from Gilroy's, plop down in front of a mindless America's Next Top Model marathon, and make fun of people from my bedroom window. I can't make choices for an entire year. I can only make choices for one moment inside of one day. The best I can do is try to make the majority of those choices veer towards bettering myself, and only occasionally give into my inner couch potato, junk food loving misanthrope.
So goodbye 2007. I can honestly say that creatively this was the best year of my life. It started with my last fiction workshop in the spring which emotionally kicked my ass (as a fiction major I've learned that while other majors or careers for that matter might be catalysts for self esteem and warm fuzzy feelings, writing fiction and putting it up for criticism more often than not ends in tears) But, it's because the only way to get better as a writer is to get criticized, no matter how uncomfortable that is. And with three semesters of workshops and criticism culminating in the spring, I do feel like I've improved. I do, however have a long way to go. But after the spring, I kind of took a partial leave of fiction (at least fiction for public consumption) and dove headfirst into the world of non-fiction and journalism. Summer and fall brought me two wonderful, challenging, rewarding, life influencing internships with two wonderful magazines. I can in no way categorize or number the things I learned. I am so thankful for those experiences. A non-fiction class this fall also gave me the chance to take a break from writing about other people's lives and start writing about my own. It was pure self-indulgent, self-exploring, self-everything bliss. It's easy for someone who loves to create fictional stories to forget about the vital importance of documenting your own story in life, no matter how ordinary it may seem compared to fictional adventures. But I learned it's just as challenging and just as rewarding (albeit in different ways) as writing fiction. Which brings me back to this very blog, started in 2007. I hope it goes well beyond this year into many more to come. So if this year has been the year of creative changes and challenges, my hope and wish for 2008, with the (sigh) end of college and start of who knows, is that the year brings just as many personal changes and challenges for me. I'm looking forward to diving into the unknown. I don't know where I'll be in life when 2009 rings in. What a terrifying/thrilling year it will be :)

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