A New Year

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“So how did you come up with the idea for this?”

Over the last year, I’ve heard that question asked in a dozen different forms. Most times, I respond by shrugging my shoulders and sheepishly replying “New Year’s resolution.” And usually, no one asks further. But there’s a longer story…

A few days after turning 23, I had the rug pulled out from under me.

After graduating from college in June 2011, I moved to San Francisco for a job and a girl. Two months later, in the span of a week, I lost both. To save you the melodramatic hyperboles, I’ll just say this: it sucked.

The good news is that—besides a couple instances of literally crying home to mommy—I pulled my shit together and followed through on my dream of starting a company.

A couple weeks into my newfound self-employment, I was enjoying all the benefits. The freedom to wake up whenever I wanted. Freedom to work on cool projects with amazing people. Freedom to watch Bizkit the Sleep Walking Dog seven times in a row. It was amazing.

But that freedom brought downsides.

I started to notice a few bad habits forming. The most prominent was constantly checking my ex-girlfriend’s Facebook when I should have been working. Scrolling through pictures of us together, subconsciously comparing myself to new guys she had friended (pshh, this douche bag went to Sonoma State), and dwelling on the fact that I missed her.

One day, while browsing her Facebook for the 3rd time instead of working, thinking “well maybe there’s a chance we’ll get back together…” I woke up. Alright dude, enough is enough. Time to snap out of this.

So I made a simple resolve: unsubscribe from her Newsfeed. Don’t check her Facebook for a month.

And I did. And to the surprise of my oh-so-broken-heart, it wasn’t actually that hard. Looking back on it now, it was a huge step that helped me get over my first heartbreak.

If I’m being honest, I still look at my ex-girlfriend’s Facebook. However, this random experiment crystallized a truth I had known theoretically but had never witnessed so clearly:

I can change my habits.

And that little thought planted a seed which grew into a Sequoia-sized Venus flytrap. It would become the most ambitious undertaking in my life to date. It’s why I found myself with 10 of my closest friends at Benihana’s skipping over the hibachi steak and ordering fried tofu. It’s why I found myself renting a sailboat to sail underneath the Bay Bridge en route to a Berkeley football game. It’s why I found myself, at 9am on a Sunday, hungover and anointing my forehead with holy water at the entrance of a Catholic church.

But that seed first needed a little nourishment to germinate. Near the end of December, I thought: you know what? I could stand to change a few bad habits. In particular, one that’s bothered me with increasing annoyance throughout the years. But I don’t think I can give it up for a whole year, so why not just start with a month?

And thus, the monster that would dominate the next 12 months of my life was unleashed.

I would open January by giving up my worst lingering habit from college, but just for a month. A mini-New Years Resolution if you will.

I would start the year off without smokin’ the reefer.

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