Prompts is a new joint creative exercise between my friend Matt W. and I. We will choose a different subject at the beginning of each week and post around 500 words on said topic on Fridays.
My One-Word Philosophy For 2014: Celebrate.
As the temperature outside my apartment dipped into the low 20s Thursday evening in advance of this year’s first snowstorm, I lounged on my couch obsessively refreshing my Twitter feed, dejected and bracing myself for disaster. Recruiting analysts predicted earlier in the week five high school football standouts would commit to my favorite college football team LSU during Thursday’s Under Armour All-America Game. Of the four who made their intentions known during the game’s first three quarters, only one – safety Jamal Adams of Dallas – donned the purple and gold hat of my home state Tigers. Worse still, rumors swirled on Twitter that the nation’s top recruit, running back Leonard Fournette of New Orleans, planned to spurn LSU in favor of Texas. My addictions to college football recruiting and social media collided in a perfect storm at this instant. I envisioned throwing my MacBook Pro out my fifth-story apartment window onto the powdery pavement below.
I refreshed and refreshed and refreshed some more. Nothing new. Only panic, panic and worry over an 18-year-old’s college decision (pathetic, I know). The moment of truth at last arrived. Fournette announced he would attend LSU. My laptop had been spared my homicidal wrath.
This brings me to the word celebrate, a term that greeted me one afternoon in early December as I traversed Manhattan’s crowded avenues. The word’s import clicked in my mind. Celebrate your life. Celebrate the people around you, the opportunities you’re presented, the time you have, etc.
Fournette’s commitment struck me as a metaphor for my one-word philosophy for 2014. A significant portion of LSU’s fan base zeroed in on the fact the team lost three top recruits instead of reveling in the decisions Fournette and Adams made.
I liken this to the internal strife I have wrestled with since moving to New York City 15 months ago. Namely, how do I enjoy this wonderful place sufficiently when I don’t have what I consider enough money? … when I am not on the career path I expected? … when I struggle to stay connected with friends from years past?
In these moments of doubt I must remember to celebrate A) I live in one of the greatest cities in the world – a city I never imagined calling home – and reject fears over poverty that would preclude me from enjoying my time here; B) my year away from journalism has spawned some amazing experiences, such as setting foot on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, standing in the same room as One Direction and John Goodman while working “Saturday Night Live”, and seeing my ginger dome on a video billboard in Times Square; and C) the people in my life who have remained present through my nomadic existence from the bayou to the west and east coasts and the new friends who have enriched my time in the Big Apple.
As an LSU fan and a New Yorker, I have many reasons to celebrate in 2014.