“You guys, I’m gonna be so much better this year!” Is what I said on January 1st about writing a post every night after work instead of, for example, watching the entire season of House of Cards in one sitting while shoveling vegan, gluten-free chocolate macaroons into my abnormally small pie hole. I’m sure you’ve noticed how it’s now February. And cue what I am now trying out as the theme of my new year — the year of giving up before I even sta-, er… the year of coming back from behind! Because what’s even better than starting off strong? Starting off horribly and still winning! That way, you already know what failure tastes like having been so close to it — it’s sour and the texture is a lot like uncooked tofu sitting in its’ own white frothy liquid.
The underdog spirit gives you resiliency! That go-getter from college that just wrote a Facebook status about her seventh promotion doing a job she actually got a degree in can’t get you down. Never mind that you just posted a picture of your dog curled into the “tiniest, tightest ball you’ve ever seen!” for the hundredth time. You have the determination of a chronic late bloomer and it’s going to get you places! And after you make it big (well past your physical prime, obviously), when those severely creative people come up to you with their pixie hair cuts, ironically puffing a cigarette and say, “I knew you could like, put it out there if you tried,” you’ll curse them inaudibly under your breath for not inviting you to their writing circle and say, “cool cigarette.” like Ray said to Shoshanna in that episode of Girls. I can almost taste the delayed success now and it’s a lot like cake batter without the raw eggs.
In all seriousness, I blame my struggles with moving successfully into the future on my tendency to dwell (others refer to this as “anxiety). That coupled with a crippling necessity to romanticize nostalgia relegates me to a consistent state of dwelling on why I can’t and don’t want to grow up. Then I get stuck on the what-if past, like what if my mom breast-fed me? Would I be better at math? Or what if my parents embraced my love for dramatic monologue instead of my ferociously competitive appetite for winning at organized sports? Would I feel more comfortable with imperfection?
So, basically, I’ve always got a foot in the door, just, you know, in the doorway behind me. For me, this is why I need to embrace the existence of the underdog. Because at some point my brain always stops me from playing the fun game of “Who would I be if my parents enjoyed Scrabble as much as the Patriots?” and makes me realize “Oh yeah! Making life decisions outside of coordinating Miralax doses with my intake of cheese is actually a positive and rewarding experience!” I’m just hoping the feeling is gonna stick. And sure, hoping has turned into some actual trying. Like the other day at work, I let it be known that I have larger career aspirations outside of bringing La Croix back to the break room or finally getting Almond Milk stocked (although, good for me, right?)
And then, a few days later, driving to work, wishing I could go back to sleep, something amazing happened. I was distracted by an oddly inspirational sign:
I got angry at first because obviously this was a personal attack against my tendency to delay goal-getting. Then I got nostalgic about my childhood which led to questioning my upbringing: If my parents didn’t buy me a television as a child would I have grown up to be an early bird? But then, in true underdog steed, I was like, “Fuck. That quote’s actually pretty deep. I should probably get some shit done today.” And then I did.