I wrote a blog post about New Year’s resolutions in 2015.
I blasted people for setting unrealistic goals and hammered on about consistency and loving the process and hard work. Blah blah blah.
It was a typical piece from mid-twenties Aaron, obnoxiously self-assured, critical, yet simultaneously optimistic and positive in tone. The things a man can do with a full head of hair.
At the end of my rant, like a true smart-ass, I made a resolution for 2015 anyway, proclaiming, “this year I am going to travel.”
Well shit… that changed my life.
2019 Aaron has nothing bad to say about New Year’s resolutions. How could he?
Just do me a favor and pause before you commit to the 200 dollar monthly membership fee at your local Equinox. We don’t have warmed eucalyptus towels, but Fitness 19 is happy to have you for… you guessed it…19 bucks a month. You won’t feel so bad when you stop coming by February.
The smashing success of yesteryear’s facetious resolution in mind, I set aside time for reflection and personal inventory during the holidays. Where can I improve? What can I change this year? How can I be better? You know, those super unique questions that no one else is asking themselves at the end of December.
After answering all of the ubiquitous questions I came to a realization, a personal truth of sorts: I sucked at being ME in 2018. Now I’m not saying I’m the bee’s knees or anything, but I have some redeeming qualities, one or two at least. And one of the qualities that defines me most is my persistent pestering. Seriously. I am a professional nuisance. The prince of pests.
And not always in a bad way. Let me explain…
I love people. And if I care about you, you will hear it. If I am thinking about you, I will fire off a quick text and let you know.
If we ditched work when were were 19 and drove to Rosarito listening to the T.I. vs T.I.P. album all the way to Mexico, I will text you EVERY time I hear Big Shit Poppin’ (what’s up Cory? Miss you bro). If I walk past you in the mall and we make eye contact and you’re with your side-chick and really don’t want to stop for a chat, I WILL come over and say hello. If you call me, I will answer. Text me and your boy will text right back. If I drive by your house, chances are I’ll pop in for a quick hello around dinner time. I keep in close contact with my family and my friends and just about anyone with a pulse.
My craving for layered and genuine human connection can also have residual effects. I’m no Anthony Bourdain, but I LOVE cooking for the people in my life. And nothing makes me happier than sitting back and observing two groups of friends meeting for the first time and hitting it off.
Softball friends, meet my surfing buddies.
Falicia, we suck together romantically but I think you should meet my brother’s girlfriend, Lacey, she needs friends. I bet you’ll become besties and she’ll ask you to be her bridesmaid one day.” Boom. True story.
That’s me, and I learned from the best.
Even though she passed nearly seven years ago, our family is still finding unopened letters and handwritten notes letting the recipient know that she was simply “thinking of them.” I still have the voicemails, “Hey mijo! I was thinking of you and missed your voice. You’re probably surfing, let’s Skype when you’re done!” Her love was not passive, it was work.
Every time I told my mother I loved her the response was the same. Three words. “Love you more.” She didn’t, but she sure as hell was better at showing it. She spread it too. Ana always had an extra place (or three) at her table. Family gatherings were familial only in name. My mother built a community of friends that otherwise would have never mixed. A home built on inclusion, never exclusion. A home with doors wide open, laid on a foundation of active love. That is her legacy, a legacy I was pretty damned good at perpetuating.
But I lost something when I came back from Spain.
No seriously, my phone was on Do Not Disturb most of the year and people really seemed to hate that.
Jokes aside, my mother’s legacy is a taxing one. A vast amount of emotional capital is invested when you’re constantly the person reaching out, bridging gaps that space and time can bring. When the love isn’t reciprocated, it stings. A few unanswered texts and calls can make the life of a recluse seem alluring. Perhaps the move back to the States had me feeling lost, and when you’re lost and lonely a cocoon looks pretty damn comfortable. I know I said I bug, but I ain’t no caterpillar.
Damn it. No more bug jokes.
And no more Do Not Disturb. My phone is now set on vibrate. 2019 is the year of the buzz (NOT a bug joke).
Sometimes, without noticing, and for no apparent reason, we deviate from prior successes. We tend to get swept up by the shimmer of new and forget that we were already pretty damned good at a few things. The self-help/change your mind, change your life industry is just that, an industry. An 11 billion dollar industry! Let me save you some change friends… do you. Do more of what you’re good at. Maximize the gifts that you have been blessed with and spread them ’round. Answer your phone. Write a love note. Call your grandma! I’m off to call mine.
Happy New Year!