What I’ve Learned About Life and Love in 2014

IMG_8599Contrary to what you may have heard, I did not give up the written word to run off with Justin Timberlake (kid? what kid?) in my wine-filled Tuscany villa. Oh Hey, Nina is still alive and well.

That said, it’s been nuts juggling the many aspects of Ninaland these past few months. Luckily, I’ve made time to reflect on the madness and, as we all should, flip it into something beneficial you can laugh at.

Here’s what I’ve learned this year:

#1: Dating is a necessary evil. Evil because it takes too much effort to sift through whom I assume I could tolerate until the end of time. (I’d rather have it all handed to me, like a relationship stork.)* However, dating multiple people in order to find the closest Mr. Salt to your Mrs. Pepper (where my 90s babies at?) is what makes it necessary. I recommend not stopping after the first decent person you meet, even if he pays for everything or she has that “sexy but cute” thing goin’ on. You must discover what values these people subscribe to and who they want to become before committing. I cannot stress this enough in the journey of finding true romance (picture me pronouncing that in a slobbery French accent).

#2: If it’s not easy, it’s not worth it. I don’t care what your friends think, if a guy does not make it obvious he’s interested right off the bat or you find yourself constantly questioning his feelings before you’re a couple…THEN HE IS NOT THE ONE. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm believer of doing your work in relationships, but the courting/dating stage should be as smooth as buttah. Quote me on that.

#3: An adult apocalypse happens once you turn twenty-six. You are no longer fun and your body stops defying gravity. You also start to subconsciously challenge your friends to the game: Who can fall asleep the earliest on a friday night!? Then when you DO manage to go out, your favorite drink will turn on you and before you realize it, you’re whipping out your Disneyland Pass to impress the masses. (Not a good look.)

#4: Treat yourself kindly. Even if you’re destined to marry the love of your life and somehow die together, you must still prepare to be stuck with yourself. She is the only person you are guaranteed to be with the entirety of your life…might as well give her what she deserves (which is a whole bunch of high praise, for you pessimists out there).

#5: The mind is the most powerful accessory you’ll ever have. Stuff it with sincerity, fresh air, red wine (or a strong IPA), and tons of affirmations. Flaunt the shit out of your self-discovery and the stains of change will blend in.

#6: Forgiving is a hell of a lot better for the soul than obsessing over your pain. Use anger or hurt as a creative outlet or an excuse to end what should have earlier, but do not carry it around in your mental purse forever. Humans fuck up. It’s best to accept this, even if you have to fight yourself to do so. Your mental and emotional health will be thanking you for not forcing them to become bitter and deranged once stepping back into the interacting-with-humans pool.

#7: The entertainment industry does not save children’s lives. It also does not cure cancer, ebola, anthrax, the black plague, or your cold sore. Don’t let it affect your sanity more than spraining your ankle would.

#8: Superiority does not always equal wisdom, intelligence, or respect. Keep this knowledge as your own internal joke and laugh about it often.

#9: Ladies, men aren’t as pretty as us. They may never fully understand what it’s like to be catcalled, harassed, discriminated against and so forth, but don’t damn them for it. Tactfully open up their minds. Ask if they’re willing to listen. Our genders will never be on the same page if we start this conversation annoyed that their experiences have tunnel vision. We will get to a better place in society once we start including men on our team and they include us on theirs.

#10: If love has taken a hiatus or peaced out from your sector…know it will return fuller, healthier, and equipped with two steel legs that refuse to leave this unique entity it has discovered (hell, it may even be cuter). That’s the fucking truth.

#11: It’s our right to pursue happiness, not necessarily find it. So if you’re going to do anything in 2015, do something that fulfills the shit out of you and make sure it sticks. I’m not talking about visiting Hobbiton for the first time (that’s just me?), I’m talking about committing to something that happily gets you out of bed. (I hear countries are throwing tantrums over motion pictures, so you better do what you’ve always wanted NOW before the world dissipates.)

#12: You are with (or without) for a reason and that reason may be as simple as because you’ve got some learning to do. There’s nothing wrong with ditching the negative that belongs to familiar faces and taking time alone to figure out what is best. No one really knows how to do this anyway, so the attempt is far more effective than you may realize. Reunite with your pursuit.

I wish you all — along with future Nina — a joyous, successful, and messy 2015 (because messy usually equals some damn good self-discovery). May your balls be bold, and your hearts honest. Cheers, darlings.

*What? I’m like The Lorax. I speak for the millennial trees of laziness and entitlement! 

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