New Year, New Hope

By Olivia Ford

“Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better (wo)man.”
Benjamin Franklin

First and foremost, a very happy New Year to all you STEM readers! It was a strange holiday season for me and, quite frankly, I’m a little relieved it’s over. Don’t get me wrong, returning home is nice, but sometimes that return brings on remembering that is less pleasant. Home cooked meals? Delicious. Parents bickering? Not so appetizing. Seeing your two closest friends? Wonderful! Meeting their boyfriends and hearing about how in love they are when you’re still single? Depressing.

Obviously, I’m really happy for both of them. One of my best friends, who lives down the street from me, has been dating someone since this summer and is convinced he’s the real deal. They’re considerate of one another, passionate about the same things and most importantly, she’s genuinely happy with him. It’s only when I put my single status in context to their relationship that I feel a little queasy.

See, my best friend is one of those girls who always seems to have a boyfriend. I’m one of those girls who are 22 and feel like they’ve never had a real boyfriend. She has an entire box of notes from boys, pictures of them together at dances, crappy drawings and Valentines from former admirers. I have a list of guys who I’ve had one-night stands with.

She and I met at the bus stop in sixth grade and I remember listening eagerly as she told me all about the boys she liked and who liked her. I was in the most awkward of awkward phases then and thought that surely it would only be a few more years of growing up before I caught up with her and no longer had to live vicariously through her stories. Well, joke’s on me because there I was this Christmas break, more than a decade later, sitting across from her and eagerly listening as she told me what it felt like to be in a comfortable and caring relationship.

It was a little hard to stomach. Eleven years later and am I still in my awkward phase? Will I ever grow out of it? Do some things just never change? My friend rolled her eyes when I expressed my self-concern and told me she was jealous I hadn’t put myself through the grief of so many break-ups and relationship hardships. “I used to be so upset all the time with these stupid guys who didn’t treat me well,” she lamented before adding, “Now I know, when it’s the right guy, everything is so easy. So easy.” I was happy for her triumph, but still wondering if I’d ever find my own right guy.

Still, the best part about the holidays is finishing all that Christmas-time reminiscing with a chance to start fresh again in the new year.

Today I came across a wish list I had made for 2011. It read:
1. A real relationship with someone who…
a. Is not gay (it’s happened before).
b. Is interested in spending quality time with me (i.e. not just on the weekends, or late night booty calls, or only wants to meet up at bars).
c. Doesn’t leave me wondering all the time.
d. Makes an effort.
e. I can laugh with, a lot.
f. Is good in bed.
2. A job I can handle and don’t totally hate.
3. An agreeable living situation.
4. A great birthday.
5. Hope for years to come.

Of that list, the middle three were certainly checked off, which only leaves the first and last one to carry over to this year. And, in the spirit of resolutions, maybe we can work on that last one right now: Maybe 2011 didn’t bring everything I wanted, but it brought me closer, and with hope, lots and lots of hope, 2012 will also.

On New Year’s Eve I went to a bar with my friends and found myself kissing a very handsome and laidback surfer from Argentina – not as the ball dropped, but a good 40 minutes after. Other guys had approached me earlier in the evening, but none that I was interested in. Midnight came and I hugged my friends, deciding that if how you spend the first minute of the new year is how you spend the rest of it, I’d be better off being happy alone than regretting wasting it making out with a guy who was no good. Then, lo and behold, twenty minutes later, I start talking to this really good-looking and nice guy who makes me laugh, a lot. He was just passing through and I doubt I’ll see him again, but still, I left the bar content with my first kiss of the New Year. Maybe my friend is right. Had I been in such a scramble to kiss someone at what I thought was the right time, I might have never ended up kissing the right guy that night.

Here’s to the new year. May it bring restored hope and many more worth-waiting-for kisses.

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2 responses to “New Year, New Hope

  1. Such a hopeful post Olivia :) Well-done!

    • have you ever wondered if being in an “easy” relationship where everything is hunky dory is the right thing for you? I thought it would be for me once, but now I am thinking there could be a more appealing grey area that involves love affairs, several perhaps, but nothing ever is the end-all. “the one” just sounds too restrictive to me, with billions of potential ones out there…I want to meet as many ones as possible. but good luck finding your one or ones, whichever it ends up being

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