8 Things I Failed at in 2016

Some times with social media, people present a clean-cut version of themselves. It’s not necessarily a lie so much as a high-light reel ignoring the blunders. Y’all have seen the thousands of think-pieces about this. But there are some good things, like #TotallyHonestTuesday and hilarious photos people will post of themselves with a really nice selfie next to their worst/most unflattering/silliest face. Like any blogger, I’ve done my share of overindulgent pats on the back. Conversely though, I think that I’m pretty safe on here when it comes to the shit things in life, and the same goes for Twitter. Because this administration year has been such a rage fest for me on social media, I actually deleted a bunch of apps, including Facebook, from my phone. I rarely posted/post personal things on Facebook anyway, instead opting to overshare many a WaPo or Vox article that my conservative family will ignore. Instagram can be a little dangerous in terms of my only showing the good (and delicious), but I sort of justify it since I’ve got this blog to show all dem unflattering angles. Also the 1 Second Everyday I made of 2016 was a good mix of the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’ve built up a world where it’s not okay to fail, and that’s just not how life works. Failure is all around us, and it’s crucial to growth. I think part of that is the weight we place on the word. A failure can be a simple trial and error that you immediately find the right answer to after the first mistake, a non-issue, or, sure, it can be a giant thing with actual repercussions. Regardless, it’s an often necessary step in any process.

That being said, I think it’s important to talk about failure. I think it’s important especially being an American, and having been steeped in a culture of results, of “America first” rhetoric, where we did indeed get participation trophies (that none of us asked for or expected, but whatever, parents/Boomers). God sports are the worst. I just wanted to take karate, man.

Anywho, I thought it might be embarrassing enlightening to take a look at some things I set out to do in 2016 and just totally dropped the ball on, for one reason or another, and maybe help that inform what is left of this year.

DIVE INTO MY MEDIOCRITY!  DIVE! DIVE! DIVE!

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30 Before 30 and other Life Goals

Today marks the 7th anniversary of this blog, despite only having started consistently blogging on it in 2014/2015. I recently detailed these woes in a post called “How To Succeed in Posting Without Really Trying, Starring Daniel Radcliffe,” so I won’t go back into the details. But I’ve always struggled with being a non-starter, with having amazing ideas and talking myself out of them. I manage to convince myself that I’m not qualified to even have the ideas that I have–that “someone like me” can’t possibly do X, Y, or Z. WHAT DOES THAT EVEN MEAN? she asks yet again. Because of that, my creativity has noticeably declined. Because of this though, there are a lot of ideas and projects I’ve had gestating for a long time. It will be interesting to revisit them as the totally different person I am compared to when they were first conceived. I wish I could see some of the earlier posts that I deleted. I think this also highlights an important blog question, and that is when should I actually celebrate by blog’s anniversary? 😛

That all being said, I wanted to acknowledge something on this site: I made these a while ago, and quietly published two pages to my site with little fanfare. But a couple of friends mentioned them to me, telling me that it made them think about replicating the 30-item list, so I thought I’d actually post in the blog for posterity’s sake, and also give a  shoutout to my cousin, who is probably mad at me because I forgot to text her back. Again. This is nothing new if you’re my friend, unfortunately.1

My cousin has a blog called Planes, Trains, and Running Shoes. She’s had it for years, and when she first started blogging, it was called 25Before25, as it was her way of documenting 25 things she wanted to do before she turned 25. They ranged from the simple pleasures, like making a sand castle, to learning new things like cooking through a cookbook, to more ambitious things like visiting every major league baseball park. One of them was even starting and maintaining her blog, and seven years out she’s still going strong, which, in a really basic way, sums up what I admire about her.

Since then, her list has evolved into a 30 Before 30 list, and while 1) I don’t think it’s important to achieve all of the things on one such a list2, and 2) I don’t think it matters at what age, I couldn’t help but find the appeal in it. The itemized list does give you a chance to step back and assess what you want right now for the future, and offers many a chance to reprise this and hold you accountable. And the age, well, the age lights a fire under your ass, doesn’t it? When my cousin first made her list, she was….like 23 I guess…giving her a limited amount of time than say a 23 year old with a 30 Before 30. It’s not about those details, it’s about the ~*JoUrNEy*~ and I mean that as fucking corny as it is to say and type out like a 14 year old on myspace.3 And guess what? Journeys change man. I mean, even Journey has changed their lead vocalist like three times!4

But in all seriousness, I just wanted to think about some of the things I’ve either been putting off or want to learn, and put them concretely (for now at least, because again 2) out in the world, all The Secret-style and whatnot. My 30 Before 30 list is a mishmash of things. A number of them focus on the oft-neglected and barely tolerable NYC. A place I love, hate, and love to love-hate. (Or is it hate-love?) So if I move any time between now and 2019 I’m gonna already have to swap dem bad boys out. They are much more internalized and directly tied to immediate goals that I have, as I hinted at when I mentioned my mind-mapping in my Passion Planner, as well as my bullet journal.5 There are also more than 30 in there, and I’m not just talking about the Medieval Times, so much as #25, which is a laundry list of eateries in NYC I want to visit, and one of 5 NYC-centric posts which means a minimum of 5 NYC trips, but definitely more because you can’t do all this in 5 days.6

These are all multi-step goals that require further breakdowns and skills to build up to them, some planning, etc. etc.

Then there are my general goals. I didn’t want to call them “life” goals nor did I want to call it a bucket list because I just think those sound dumb. Even calling them goals is dumb and adds an unnecessary weight/pressure to achieve them or else I failed, when these are just meant to be things I wanted to do on my own anyway. I guess that’s that whole argument about whether or not you should even tell people about your goals or plans or just do them. I said before that in some way this was accountability, but it’s for myself.

The goals are further down the line. While, yes, the 30 Before 30 crowd require previous skills and steps, most of the Goals require prior achievements  (either skill-based or other) to accomplish them. Many would be the result of succeeding at the earlier goals.

All of that being said, I think I’ve gone meta enough with the blog posts about the blog itself. That’s no fun. It’s like when half of a YouTubers videos are about their channel and updates and strategies for it. Unless it’s general information about blogging that could help someone–that’s a different story than just general housekeeping. Like, it’s interesting, but not if it detracts from the other stuff. Granted, this site doesn’t really have any particular theme other than it being about my life, and me figuring out my digital footprint is definitely a big part of that.

Speaking of digital footprints, you can check out goal-tracking tag I created to find all of the blog posts I’ll write in the future about the items on both lists.


Footnotes:
1. “I am the worst.” -Jen Hurler
2. “Fuck your dreams” -Hank Green
3. Only 80s kids will remember
4. Fuck you, that joke was too good to not make.
5. Will def have to blog about those in the future.
6. Or can you…? Challenge, accepted, Past Jen.

2017 Resolutions

Between sickness and incidents (see my last post), this year has already started off a bit rocky. But I’m determined to regain the momentum I lost.

I already did a quick recap of 2016, which covered some things I was focusing on this year. Some of my goals also reflect in my recap from 2015, which already feels like so long ago. Say what you will about resolutions, argue about the negatives of sharing your goals out-loud, cite articles about how silly it is to wait for an arbitrary date to implement life-changes. The way I view them is pretty casually, and more like inciting incidents. Like, hey, if I do the bare minimum I’ve set for myself, then I’ll have done all of this stuff in a year. Rules set that you some times break are better than none. That’s just what’s always worked for me. I used to try to treat my birthday as the time to start my resolutions, as that is literally my personal new year/life anniversary, but it just doesn’t make sense for me what with my birthday right before the major slew of year-end holidays (read: chaos). That, and I was embarrassed to be one of those people who did sort of take resolutions “seriously.” Get over yourself, PastJen. 😛

It’s a bit of harmless fun that should only be meant to help you along.

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