Forward

9:50am New Year’s Eve. Home alone. Still in bed. Nowhere to be, the day at my complete disposal. You have no idea how happy I am.

Normal me would disapprove of staying in bed past 9am on a weekday, but fuck it. The week between Christmas and New Years is always a period of blurred, ignorant bliss; between traveling to see family, friends coming to town, and endless indulgences too easy to lose track of time. My typically structured days are replaced by spontaneous whims, my often rigid eating habits a bit more lax (Italian, anyone?) I enjoy getting lost in it all, immersed in the abundance of love, gratitude and sugar.

11:00am Its hard for me to stay in one place for long, so I book myself a bike for 12:00pm HIIT in the city and finish my morning lemon water. Anderson Paak sets the tone for the rest of the day.

Cliched as it may be, one of my biggest accomplishments this year was making fitness a priority. I have been involved in sports since I was a kid, but for the first time I’ve really come to enjoy the benefits of a good sweat. In the past, I would work out either in advance of or right after a period of unhealthy eating, as a way to “offset the damage” I was about to do to myself, especially around the holidays. I now truly understand the connection between fitness and nutrition, how my body works, what it responds to, what it likes. I love that feeling of achievement after a particularly challenging burn, especially when I almost opted to go home and watch Game of Thrones instead. I am now one of those sick fucks who actually prefers to go to cycling over happy hour, and I am okay with that, because it has improved not just my physical health but my mental well-being. I want to get even better next year, and I want to inspire people to do the same. Sorry in advance for being annoying about it.

1:00pm Sweaty, happy, hungry. As opposed to going and buying a green juice, I head back home and make myself a salad.

A 2018 goal of mine that didn’t end up manifesting until almost 365 days later: cut out the bullshit. This was the year of my financial awakening in that I realized how much of my money was spent on absolute bullshit non-essentials that were contributing only to my present happiness: $5 daily matchas and bi-monthly mani pedis, pricey nights out followed by Uber rides home, $14 lunches when I have fully-prepared meals in the fridge.

When I was living with less intention, not only I was content with my aimless spending, and I had come to think of it as simply a part of living in New York.  It took almost a year of podcasts, books, and looking at my bank statements to truly understand the gravity of this behavior. It is really fucking hard to break these habits that have been engrained since childhood, but it’s imperative that I do, because unless you have a trust fund or 6-figure salary, things do not just magically work out. Not to say that I am going full-on minimalist by any means – I have festivals to attend, restaurants to try, and French classes to buy – but I am thinking ahead, now more than ever. One day, I want to buy a home. I want to travel. I want to work voluntarily, not to make ends meet. I don’t want to be a slave to the almighty dollar at 55, so leftovers it is – for now. Future me will thank me.

Here’s to a new year of living presently, but also thinking forward. To standing up for myself and saying no more often. To not letting my experiences of the past limit my future potential. To new experiences, more love, and even more growth.

Dating 101

With Valentine’s Day coming up, I think this is a better time than ever to talk about dating. Despite the rise of “Netflix and chill” sessions, going outside of each other’s bedrooms is still an important part of dating. And contrary to what Twitter wants you to think, girls do not need a man to drop $200 on a date to be happy.

Around this time of year I see a lot of people out here acting up on and offline, saying the likes of “I’m doing me, I love myself enough for the both of us” and “I’M SAVING MONEY BY BEING SINGLE THIS YEAR.” These people are a) hurt b) in denial or c) have deluded themselves into thinking that dating has to be extremely expensive and are mad because they don’t think they can compete. It is one thing to be truly working on one’s self, getting your money up, and generally being comfortable in your single status, but I don’t think those people are crying for attention on social media. There is nothing wrong with wanting love or seeking out a companion, and you should not let the process of dating, your financial status, or anything else intimidate you if that is what you truly want.

In a world filled with gold diggers, users and girls just out here looking for a meal, I can understand a man’s hesitation to spend money on a woman, especially in the initial stages of getting to know her. What if she’s not as cute as she looked online? What if she orders everything on the menu and spends all your money?  It’s risky, sure, so many times people take the safer lazier approach and try to “kick it at the crib” instead of going out. I do not care if you are just out of college working part-time to find a job or you are making six figures in some morally corrupt Wall Street gig: take her out! Abandon this notion that dates need to be an expensive dinner and a movie and think outside of the box. Museums, concerts, art shows, going somewhere new are just some of the things hardly cost a thing. Not to mention they are more memorable and impressive than a guy throwing down half of his paycheck on dinner then asking when you are going back to your place.

Ladies have a responsibility when it comes to dating, too. I am all about girls picking up the phone, making plans and introducing a guy to something he has never experienced. Hell, I’m even cool with *GASP* picking up the tab sometimes. If anything, it shows a respect for the guy you are getting to know (if a true partnership is what you’re after.)  A man should make a good amount of effort to express genuine interest, but let’s not place the financial completely on his shoulders. Remember: dating should be fun, not stressful. If you are looking for a trick, then by all means let that man take you out and order an appetizer, steak, dessert and whatever the hell you want on his dime. If you are looking for a partner, eventually a guy taking you out over and over again without any sort of reciprocation will lead to resentment. If your outlook is “men have to pay for everything” then you cannot get mad when a dude asks you why you are not abiding by traditional gender roles by making him a sandwich in the kitchen.

Side note: if you are strictly looking for sex, you do not have to do the whole “dating” thing.  Both men and women have the power to establish a sexually-based relationship from the beginning, and you never even have to leave the house! In 2015 I would love everyone to please stop the bullshit and tell people what you want. Taking a girl out solely so you can smash is disingenuous and shady will have a girls angrily showing up at your home because you sent mixed signals. If you are looking to actually connect with someone, make efforts that aid the process (i.e. going outside and bonding.) I completely understand that house dates are a low-effort way of getting to know someone, but trust me you can save the boring stay at home stuff for when you are exclusive or married.

The perfect date allows two people to comfortably explore each other’s personalities and experience something new all while staying in their respective financial lanes – the possibilities are endless! I just told this guy that I wanted to take him to a BYOB ceramic studio ($15) because booze + crafts sounds like a win-win situation to me.