Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Year of Jess

I'm b-aaaaaa-ckkkkkk.

Oh, by the way, I moved to Oregon.

Anywho, as many of my friend knows, August 11, 2012-August 11, 2013 (pending Mayan doomsday doesn't happen) has been proclaimed the YEAR OF JESS (Y.O.J.) (#yearofjess.  Just kidding, I don't have Twitter, but I like to speak in hashtags just so I look like I can keep up with the youngsters).

To be perfectly honest, I cannot take full credit for the Y.O.J.  My inspiration came from one of my favorite characters from one of my favorite new shows: Penny (as seen here):

Or, one could also reference the ever classic "Summer of George" a la Seinfeld:

So, what is the Year of Jess, you ask?!  This is essentially my re-invention, Jess 2.0 if you will.  For Penny, in a scene not showed in the clip above, it was about taking control of her life, making her own decisions, and doing things her way no matter what might come.  For George, it was about discovering his passions, what makes life rich, and apparently embracing literacy.

If you want to know the truth, the Y.O.J. was inspired because I came to the conclusion that I hadn't really lived.  Well, maybe only half-lived (or I only went "halfsies."  Half-speed.  0.5.  1/2.  You get the point.)  Sure, I had traveled a lot, seen a lot of cool places.  I have done a lot of fun things.  But I realized, as I approached my 27th year that 1) I only had 3 years of my twenties left: *push panic button--I got some ish to get done! and 2) I haven't taken very many risks in life.  I have played it cool, like the obedient rule-follower that has been ingrained in me for years.  I've basically always walked the straight and narrow (boring).  Where was the rebel?  Where was the Ponyboy in me from the classic novel "The Outsiders?" (yikes.  Okay, I just remembered that he murdered someone in that book, so...I was going with the rebel theme and...yikes.  How does everyone feel about The Fonz?!?)  Somewhere along the way, I had lost the girl who had no problem standing up in front of the entire school and belting out a rap about the Presidents of the United States (the father of our country, George Washington was ONE.  TWO was Thomas Adams, then Thomas Jeffer-SON).  I used to be fearless.

I don't know how it happened.  I imagine middle school had something to do with it--it has the ability to really beat the tar out of one's self-esteem.  I blame the ugly vests and barrettes I wore, but I never seemed to feel totally comfortable in my own skin until well after college...(CUE POWER THEME MUSIC).

It's no secret that I watch a lot of TV (and I totally also read a lot of books, not that I had to say that to justify myself, but I felt like I did, so...there.)  Perhaps it is because being a twenty-something and not knowing where you're going in your life is the trendy thing to write shows about, but I'm super into "New Girl", "Happy Endings", and "The Mindy Project'.  And what is the common thread about all of these shows?  Ladies who are trying to figure it all out.  But what else do these ladies have in their lives?  Confidence (and if they get beat down, they get right back up), great friends (BESTIES), and a lot of mishaps along the way (sometimes I wonder if my own life is being filmed).  And not that TV is reality (thank GOD, because I just watched a "Breaking Bad" marathon...yikes), but there is something about watching these characters and identifying with them and seeing that, as much as they stumble along the way, things turn out okay.  At the end of the day, they have people who support them and love them (and laugh at with them.  Perhaps, because in our day to day we don't see other people's lives lived out like our own, we come to believe we are alone, but when you're watching another character, interacting with the world in much the same way that you do, you realize that there is a common experience.  And there is power in that.  There were many other factors involved in proclaiming this THE YEAR OF JESS!!! but in many ways, watching these characters and reminding myself that at the end of the day, everything was going to be okay, allowed me to open up myself to the possibility of taking risks and embracing adventure (and at the end of the day, I can use all of these stories to develop an Emmy-award winning sitcom, so win win!).

So, with my move back across the country, came a desire to live as authentically as possible, tell it like it is and take risks.  For far too long, I could reason exactly why I should or shouldn't do something.  Logic was my crutch, and it was my perfectionism that kept me from trying anything or making mistakes.  (NOTE: This does not mean I am going off the deep end people--Illicit drugs are still not okay, kids!  D.A.R.E.)

This year is about finding the beauty in simplicity, delighting in the unexpected, and the discovering the art of contentment.  To SUCK THE MARROW OUT OF LIFE! (who said that?!  I know someone said that!)  It is about conquering fear and living fully. And it turns out that failing isn't quite as scary as I once thought.

Enjoy this little gem/theme song of the Year of Jess, brought to you by Rachel Berry: