Reinvent

Just like last year, I’m choosing one word to be a kind of overarching theme for this year: the verb “reinvent.” After focusing on acceptance, I feel now is a year where I will have to reinvent myself—something I don’t think I do very well.

I’m a creature of habits. My ways may not be as set and I may not be as stubborn as a 70-year-old me, but I’m quite resistant to change even if I am hesitant to admit it. Trying exotic (or not so exotic) foods, listening to new music, meeting new people, attending parties (basically any kind) are things I seldom do, and only when friends insist. Put me in a room with coffee, classical music or some Jorge Drexler and Damien Rice, books, one other person, and that does it for me. If it sounds like I could have all that in a coffee shop, there’s no reason to wonder I spent much time of my days in one.

With reinventing myself, I’m not thinking about saying yes to all the things I’ve said no to. I’m also not talking about trying new things for its own sake. The second half of this year will see me enter a completely different atmosphere from the one I know and I want to do more than just adapt—more than just change a few things to survive. Whether I attend grad school and remain in the United States or move to Mexico City, the circumstances will be quite new.

I’ve seen many reinvent themselves when things are just not working out. At least that’s my perception. Well, things have not exactly been easy this past year. Now that I accepted my “lot,” I want to take the next step.

I think I’ve started the process already, if only slightly, and I want to continue doing just that: reinventing who I am.

Happy new year!

I worry

I worry a lot and I worry often. It’s like the exercise I’m supposed to do but put aside because, well, I need time to worry about life—always so general, always so specific. Worrying takes up most of my time, a full-time job with not benefits. And because there is always more time to worry, I’m worried about how much I worry.

Worrying is easy, at the beginning at least, before it’s all-consuming. It then becomes necessary. The natural response to uncertainty creates anxiety and finds its way into your regular life, and it disrupts it. When you realized you haven’t eaten a proper meal, with some greens, because it just didn’t seem that important, you worry. Or you worry about still not caring about your diet.

Taking a break seems like a healthy thing to do, right? Except, if you take a break you don’t make progress on those things you’ve been anxious about. So, you go back to worrying.

Netflix, The New York Times, and a Schubert piano sonata are all wonderful ways to relieve your worrying self. But you finish the new season of Narcos, read your healthy dose of David Brooks and Frank Bruni, and listen to the piano come to rest on a G major chord, and you’re back to worrying—if you were lucky enough to forget about it in the first place.

Im okay, I tell myself, and I believe it. I may worry a lot, but it’s just that: worry. I know it’s unhealthy, but it’s the one coping mechanism I have at my disposal. I don’t want it, in case you’re wondering.

When will I stop worrying? I might have to worry about that later.

Life (a week) after college

Now that college is over and I join the ranks of the unemployed, I should have some time to write. I can write all those things I wanted to for the last six months, but just didn’t find the time to do it.

After a senior clarinet recital, a conducting recital, and an honors thesis, I can feel quite accomplished and happy to have a break. Moreover, having to wait about three months for the government to either approve or deny my application for OPT (basically a one-year work permit as part of my student status in the US), would force me to stop.

That stop for me, of course, means having time to work on personal projects and read tons of books on all kinds of topics. I can read Eduardo Galeano’s “The Open Veins of Latin America,” a Christmas gift, or Jorge Catañeda’s “Amarres Perros.” Also, it is a great time to read that one Kent Haruf novel I have not read.

I could resume my creative writing efforts and start a second short story. Perhaps it is time to write those creative essays I’m scared to write. Or I could also try to begin a novel that I’d probably abandon by August.

It is also a great time to review music theory, work on my aural skills, expand my music history knowledge, attempt to finish some compositions, become familiar with more orchestral repertoire, and improve my staccato and altissimo register on the clarinet.

Honestly, I won’t accomplish most of these things. Above all this, I need to learn to become an adult. That seems to be the priority if I wish to survive a world I’m not prepared to join and yet I must.

This is all to say, it’s been a week since I finished college, five days since my parents returned home, and I’m ready to admit I do not like this.

While the break comes every summer, this time it does not arrive with the (sometimes feared) promise of school in the fall.

Whether I like it or not, though, doesn’t matter. I know it is time for a transition and I must go through it. There is no way around it.