Halfway through the second glass of scotch, he asked, “So, what is 2014 the year of?” I had just been yammering on about my year of being an asshole even though it was only a second date, because I am bad at small talk. I didn’t have an answer. I thought back to the time that I was really looking forward to turning thirty, then halfway through being thirty realizing that I was going to turn thirty-one, and in that moment nearly driving into the back of a parked car.
By the time I got home, the thematic trajectory of this year was obvious. 2014 is the year of Fuck It. I woke up antsy on New Year’s Day, and was out for coffee by 10:00 a.m.. The world felt different; one of those rare, crystalized moments of feeling my life change for no apparent reason. At some point between falling asleep listening to the last of the new years partygoers laughing in the kitchen and waking up and slipping out the door without disturbing them as they slept on the futon, something I had been clinging to or resisting with white knuckles and clenched jaw just let go, and suddenly I was an adult in a way that I hadn’t been for the preceding 38.70136986 years.
An intense few weeks followed – a lot of work, little sleep, and some personal bumps. One afternoon in mid-January I was lounging on the couch when I saw a groupon for a cheap trip to Cancun, and thought with a whine, “I want to go sit on a beach right now.”
“Then fuck it, go sit on a beach,” I thought back to myself.
I nearly drove my couch into the back of a parked car.
Then the Fuck It part of my brain just rolled its eyes and started looking at the fine print. The groupon was for July, so good old Fuck It logged on to Orbitz, and sent a text to my best friend to clear her next available weekend. Ten days later we were sitting on the beach in Miami. When I’d told her to get packing she asked me if I was sure, and my response was Fuck It. Fuck it, I’m a grownup, I can go on a trip. Fuck being afraid of flying for my whole life, fuck being cheap and worrying about money even when I have it, fucking fuck fuckity fuck it all, the world can spin without me for three days. Life is hard enough without intentionally not going to the beach when you really can.
A few months ago I was in my car at a stoplight at sunset. I watched the traffic pass, the sun slipping down the sky, the dull lights of the closed post office, restaurant, fur store, and boutiques to my left and right, and also noticed that one day, none of them would be here. Nor would I. Or anyone. I imagined it all shot through with trees and kudzu, then dark, then dust, the sun having slipped down the sky for the last time long ago. None of this will matter, or does matter, none of it has any meaning. Everything is ridiculous.
I’ve had hundreds of moments like this in my life, but for whatever reason, this one stuck in a different way. I don’t know why this one did it. To get all eastern about it, it was a complete experience of impermanence, liberation. To get all literary about it, it was an epiphany. To get all western about it, which ultimately I am, it was the moment I went cinematic.
Sometimes you just gotta say, “what the fuck.” So, fuck it. The world is turning to dust. Nothing matters. Not my intellect, or my relentless drive toward spiritual growth, not my success or failure. Who came up with these rules, anyway? When something moves me, I’ll move with it. When it doesn’t, fuck it. The metaphorical parents have gone out of town.
That’s it. 2014: Fuck It. I plan to spend a lot of time this year dancing in my underwear. Sometimes literally. And sometimes metaphorically, because as much fun as a 24-7 underpants party sounds, the big surprise is that all the big grownup stuff like good work, compassionate living, and not being an asshole most of the time actually moves me anyway. It doesn’t matter, but fuck it, I love it. Fuck it, I’m going to be a grownup.
Just be aware that the next time you run into me, even if I’m wearing a suit, I’m still doing an underpants dance.
*Recommended reading: F*ck It, by John C. Parkin, which until this week had been sitting unread on my bookshelf for four and half years. Thanks, JN, I finally got to it.