Monday, January 08, 2007

The Belated 2006 Retrospective Post

EAST BRUNSWICK, N.J. - Was 2006 overall a good year for me, or a not-so-good one?

Not so good in some ways (count on me to start with the negative!). Most of the bad stuff came thanks to my usual combination of worries about my future, my low self-esteem and occasional need to be validated (I know, not good attributes for a wannabe film critic), and my mother's incessant nagging. In the first half of 2006, I was positively in a fog: despite the fact that I had desperately switched my focus to journalism, I felt no closer to having a clearer idea about where I wanted my life to go, and even if I occasionally felt I had that clearer idea, I always found myself falling into self-doubting spells. It came to the point that not only did I feel compelled to see a psychologist during my summer break, but even earlier in the year, my mother had the oh-so-bright idea to see a local psychic and get a palm reading---mostly, I suspect, to validate her own suspicions about my mental and emotional state.

And my mother: I don't know if there is much more to say about our troubled relationship (which has thankfully gotten somewhat better, as I will explain in a bit) that I didn't already realize---and discuss in this blog---after our whole family had come home from our pleasant-then-disastrous vacation in Maine. If there has been an unpleasant peak in our relationship so far, that was definitely it---a peak in which a lot of things became clear to me about her worldview, and how that view clashed with mine.

There was one outburst after that incident---in which I admittedly overreacted to criticism she made about something I did, stormed out of the house while swearing at her (later, I found out she had misinterpreted what I said as name-calling; I didn't call her a "piece of shit," I called the whole situation a "piece of shit"), and stayed the night at Rockoff. I came back home the next day, and the day afterward she, in her own blunt way, implored me to try to accept her as she was, and deal with whatever held-in beefs I had with her in a manner more mature than the one I was exuding.

After that, for the most part, things have been pretty tranquil between us so far---so tranquil that it's almost pleasant. (I know, I'm jinxing it as I write this!) Maybe it's just because I don't tell her much anymore---although, to be honest, I never did talk to her all that much about personal stuff---or maybe it's simply because I've listened to her plea and tried to accept her faults and mentally throw away my grudges toward her. For once, though, this winter break hasn't been laden with emotional incident between us. Who knows? Maybe I partly shut her up after getting that Wall Street Journal summer internship (although, predictably and irritatingly, when I told her about it, she immediately reacted with something like, "Now, I know you really like movies, but, like I've told you many times, you have to try to write other things, not just movies").

That Wall Street Journal internship did a lot to redeem the last half of 2006, because it seems to promise at least a direction in my future. Is it a direction I necessarily want, copy editing? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure (especially because the Wall Street Journal, as prestigious as it is, initially doesn't seem to point me into the kind of direction I would desire to go, as someone who is deeply interested in writing about film)---but, if I've learned something over this past year, you won't really know until you give it a try. That sounds like a cliché, I know: but that kind of risk-taking is not something that comes easily to me, having been raised by a mother who seems to prize sureness and planning above a lot of things.

Any resolutions for 2007? Well, I guess one obvious one is to try to work my tail off at that internship, and hope that it leads to further great opportunities. If it doesn't---well, I guess I try to find my own opportunities. Above all, try to find some kind of work this year. And perhaps think about moving out of my house into the "real world" once and for all. (How else are you to escape your mother's financial choke-hold?) In many respects, 2007 is an important year in my life---I'll be graduating (if not on time, then still certainly graduating) from Rutgers this year, and I was planning to try to see what's out there in the job market first before thinking about graduate school (maybe try to pay off some of my school debts, heh). So it's rather important for me to try to get my feet grounded firmly in that "real world" via some kind of job and some kind of place to live (it'd be a dream if I could find a place to live in New York---Brooklyn, perhaps?).

On a less obviously serious note, I think I need to re-establish certain reading habits in 2007. Over the past year or two, I've been seriously slacking off in the pleasure-reading department. With all the schoolwork I've had, and with all the worrying I've done, I just haven't done nearly enough reading on my own---either film-related stuff, or just simply acquainting myself with the classics (like, say, Madame Bovary---now that I've seen the film Little Children, with its explicit references to Flaubert's novel and, specifically, its equally bored, repressed-passions bourgeois heroine). I really need to pick that habit up again! (That and reading a newspaper on a daily basis.)

And anything I need to change about my personality this year? Boy, what doesn't need improvement in my personality. Learn to make more eye contact, stand up straighter, be less easily irritable with people, be more confident arguing with people. I suspect, though, that I've been making those same personality-related resolutions since college began, and I haven't really changed all that much since then. I've always thought about changing, but never really have. Maybe I'm just comfortable with looking elsewhere when someone's talking to me or always evading arguments about, say, movies (boy, I'm just dreading the moment when I'm asked what I thought of Little Children to a friend I know who says he loved it)---although I suspect they're not necessarily good people habits to have. Maybe this year will be different. Hopefully. Let 2007 roll along.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You had a good year overall. You have a challenging family situation and you dealt with it. Your career plans are coming together; the internship is a real plus. You worked at the movies. You wrote more reviews. You are a year ahead in school. What more can you ask for? As for your personality: its not something that you can just "work on" or make resolutions to change; your lack of eye contact, posture and arguing relate to your low self esteem. With increasing success and exposure to the "real" world of work and differing personalities you will gain confidence and will fit in, in your own unique way. If you want to build self confidence maybe some classes in public speaking might be a good idea? That is the biggest fear people have and its one attribute that often separates successful people from everyone else; would be good for your self esteem for sure. Anyway, just keep moving forward as you have been; its part of the process and you are doing fine. As, for reading, when you feel like it and have time you will read. Now, lets see what 07 will bring.........