Lessons From a Polywog

September/October seems to be my "new year". That's always been when I've reflected on the past and noted what I've done and looked forward to the coming year. Coincidentally, the Jewish new year is October 3.

I did this last year, too, and I invite anyone who reads the following to gain whatever wisdom they can from my 22nd year of living, and feel free to apply it to their own life. I in no way recommend that you do so; you are merely invited.

Anyhow, since October 2004, I've learned, realized, or come to the conclusion that:

...I like dental assisting, but it's not really what I want to be doing with my life. I have no idea what I actually want to be doing with my life, but I know that I can do whatever I want. Professionally, I need to be a bigger risk taker, but in my "personal life", I'm really good risk-taking.

I like it that way.

I'm not snooty, and should not, therefore, work in snooty restaurants, or any restaurant for that matter. Speaking of resturants, Hooters makes me uncomfortable. So do men's underwear ads. I am Holden Caufield to the extreme.

I should not date any of the following: LARPers, Gamers, guys with girlfriends, guys that still live with their parents, guys who smoke lots of pot, or Tom...he was an asshole. I should also not date guys from Ohio, Emily's boyfriend's brother, or guys who say, "I'm just not ready for a relationship, but, um, do you want to have sex?" Also: guys who are either more timid or less hairy than I am, guys who are desperate to get laid, guys who think they deserve to get laid, or hipster councilmen. I shouldn't live with hipster counsilmen, either, at least, not disorganized ones. I should not date guys whose eyebrows smell weird because as nice as he may be, there are just some things a girl shouldn't have to put up with. I should not date guys who show me their penis on the first date and then justify doing so with the line, "I felt a connection with you".

I should have connected my fist with his fucking head.

I've learned that you don't take your bra off at Byron's. Even if you do it for decent, wholesome reasons, like "I was crashing on your couch and took it off to sleep" (or not so decent ones like, "Your friend is super cute, so I did him on your living room floor"), it will end up hanging from the ceiling.

If you're going on interviews in NYC, take your iPod, wear comfortable shoes, show up early, speak fast, and don't take anyone's big city attitude too seriously. Take the opportunity to snap photos out of the windows of the high office buildings; the views are amazing, and this will very often prove to be the most enjoyable part of your trip.

If someone calls you drunk on New Years Eve, and scares you into thinking he's gotten arrested, it is perfectly acceptable to move into his basement for a few months in return, as a sort of karmatic equalizer. That said, you should not stay in said basement for very long.

Strip clubs are fun! On a completely unrelated note, so is Seder dinner at the Coopers. Spa treatments: not so fun.

Inviting people to your birthday party by sending out paper plates is a fun idea, and everyone will like them. Also: if it's your party, you can get drunk if you want to.

I don't do pediatric dentistry, church, or egg shaking very well. I drive well in snow.

I learned something about myself that surprised me: if I'm going through something really horrible, I'll deal with it myself.

Patrick thinks he's a badass, and he kind of is, but I can make him unsure of himself. (I try not to exploit this.) He is more than willing to kiss a dude on a dare, but other male friends of mine, ("Hemmingway") not so much.

Working for Starbucks will make you question the following: your sanity, your self-worth as a human being, and how in the hell anyone can bring themselves to a screaming fit because you messed up their latte. You will have visions of yourself, 35 years old, still a Starbucks barista, and these visions will make you openly weep.

I simply cannot wear dresses and I'm going to stop trying.

Whenever you travel, find a local's bar.

If I'm stuck in Grand Central Terminal, I should call my dad, and not my mom, unless I want useless advice like, "Oh, Honey, you should panhandle for the money to get a train ticket home!"

Eight shots of Jack is about 7.5 too many for me. That one was a bit painful to learn.

I like sushi.

Going to Providence, RI is a great way to celebrate being unemployed, and Sue is a great person to go with.

Living in a rental apartment with three other people who have no vested interest in your life beyond your rent check is difficult. Living in the ghetto of Bridgeport is difficult. Inconsiderate neighbors is a difficult situation to deal with, and there is no way to deal with it at all if they are ignorant. On that same note, some people just don't want your help, no matter how much you'd like to give it.

My "gut instinct" really is as good as I thought it was, and I should believe it more often. I would have saved myself a lot of lessons I didn't need to learn the hard (and sometimes gross) way if I had.

I'll spare you those.

When you have a really bad sense of direction, don't trust someone else with a really bad sense of direction to get you home. Stop and think for a few minutes before you drive miles on I-84... in the wrong direction.

In the most horrible of situations, you can (almost) always comfort yourself with the knowledge that it will eventually be alright, and you will eventually be happy again.

I have always always always despised the following sentiment: "If you love something, set it free, and if it comes back to you, you get to keep it, because it's yours, and if it doesn't, it was never yours to begin with." I still hate that saying. But I'm beginning to believe it. I'll let you know in '06 wheter or not I still do.

And last but not least, I have learned that life with Robert in it > life without Robert in it.