I did not make resolutions for 2015. It seemed redundant and futile, as though setting myself up for a year of continous little failures. Avoid processed sugar? Take full advantage of the gym membership that costs 1/3 of my salary? Attempt to write this marvel of a blog more than once a week? These are generic promises that I make to myself on a weekly basis, with often questionable results.
Instead, I went to Amsterdam with my teenage niece and indulged myself in a recklessly fun New Years Eve celebration that any die-hard stoner would sell their soul for. On the way home, the kid and I stopped in Brussels, where our median age of 22 attracted the attention of every Euro bro squad in 50-meter vicinity. Somewhere in-between, we visited the occasional museum and activated a mission entitled #nocarbleftbehind, consuming all the gaufres and frites that Belgium had to offer. I returned to Paris feeling elated and young, resolving to jump-start the year with a positive energy, avoiding repeating familiar mistakes and staying open to new experiences.
Then, three days after the city had returned to its daily hustle, two men with Kalashnikov guns stormed the Charlie Hebdo journal and orchestrated a massacre that sent a sweeping wave of terror through the Paris and the rest of the world. This was immediately followed by an equally strong wave of support, so powerful that I could not peel my eyes off my social media screens as I watched the world unite in its stance for the freedom of speech. That evening, I attended a vigil on Place de la République, where I proudly watched the inhabitants of my newly adopted city peacefully tell the world that they are not afraid.
The events of this week opened a discussion on a wide range of topics, from freedom of speech and its subsequent consequences, to satire versus pointless offense, to what the world has come to and where it is going. At the same time, it has evoked an infectious sense of unity, of openness and tolerance, of the clear idea of what is right and what is wrong. I think I speak for everyone when I say that many of us feel upstirred, and yet infinitely more purposeful and resolved. And so, here are some New Rules that I would like to elect, for 2015 and for life.
Grow a pair. I was not born with a set of balls, but with a strong desire to grow one. And yet, I continue to constantly feel squandered by a strong fear of what people may think of me. Having a dating blog that touches directly on my personal life has resulted in me sitting at my friends’ kitchen table wailing “What am I doing with myself? Nobody’s going to marry me!” far more times that is acceptable. If there is anything the Charlie Hebdo tragedy taught us, it is that freedom of expression is a sacred right, one that some people have paid their lives for. While a blog about dating douchebags is hardly anything to be proud of, if there is anybody who’s day is made slightly better by one of my idiotic stories, I will continue to deliver them at whatever the personal expense may be. Hence, no more Mr. Nice guy! Date me at your own risk.
Live young. Have new adventures. Turning twenty-eight, watching my niece become a full-fledged human being that I am proud of, finding that I have more in common with her than I do with some of my friends – these things have made me realize that in certain ways age really is but a number. Never stop exploring life and having adventures, the kind of adventures that have you running through the streets of Brussels with a teenager, feeling like a teenager, looking for a bar famous for its variety of 2000 beers. The kind of adventures that make you kiss a boy in Silencio and go back to his place and slow dance to a his record player and send him off to Berlin at 9am (coming up on the blog sometime soon). The goal for 2015, and life, is never to say “I’m too old for this” – or to say it and do it anyway. The goal for 2015 is to make new mistakes, which demand using your newly acquired ball sack to actually make changes in your life, to move forward, leaving the past behind.
Meet new people. They say that it becomes harder to make new friends as you get older, but I will contest this theory. For one, you know yourself better and you are more at ease with yourself, inadvertently drawing people who are more similar to you. Secondly, you are a far better judge of character, allowing yourself to wean through fakeness and bullshit at a quicker pace. On that note, it might also be time to leave some people behind. There’s only so much time in the day, and its time to stop giving your energy to those who don’t deserve it.
Travel. Learn. Because only by traveling do we realize that we are small, and that our lives are small, and the douchebags of the moment are particularly small, and that the world around us is immense. Traveling and learning are amongst some of our biggest liberties that we must never forget to take advantage of. On my agenda for 2015: going to Japan and learning Spanish, if only to connect with my crazy gaggle of Latin friends. What’s on yours?
Laugh. Because there is nothing more uplifting and uniting. Because by laughing we keep going. Because by laughing we show that we are not afraid.