Well, here we are less than twelve hours into the New Year, and I've already made at least one wise decision:* Early this morning, after watching the ball drop and wishing my mother a happy birthday, I snuggled down in bed with my first book of 2013, John Green's fabulous (and wrenching) Looking for Alaska . I went into it knowing absolutely nothing: I thought Alaska was the state, if that gives you a clue as to how little I knew about the book (for those who don't know, Alaska is a girl's name). But I had just spent three days in December watching John Green and his brother Hank (along with various other Internet-famous peoples) talk and read and work out and be awesome and chat live on YouTube with millions of Nerdfighters, all for charity.
I don't know how I wandered across this year's Project for Awesome: I follow both Wil Wheaton and Miss Zoot, who are huge John Green fans, and I've been building up to reading The Fault is in Our Stars , because it's on every single "Must Read" list I've seen (and so many people I trust have loved it) - but it's also supposedly truly heartbreaking, which I can't really deal with yet, so it's been on the "I'll get around to it when I'm less weepy" pile for me. Anyways, somehow, I found out about Project for Awesome, and it was (awesome, that is).
And in the midst of all the last minute Christmas shopping and bustle of wrapping up the entire known world of gifts, I carved out two days to sit and listen, and comment on various YouTube videos made in support of a million different charities. The way P4A works is that each comment is worth a penny for a charity, and cumulatively, with over 700,000 comments they/we managed to raise $483,446 for the Foundation to Decrease World Suck. I'm sorry, but if that isn't the BEST TAGLINE EVER, then I'm a unicorn.**
So after spending nearly three days listening to the Green brothers (and friends) speak and ramble and make up songs about their faces in the middle of the night, and try to auction off everything from googly eyes to unpublished, unfinished stories, and be as honest and heartfelt as just about anybody I've ever (not actually) met, I fell in love with them. And it turns out, there's plenty to love: Their YouTube videos are amazing and informative, and have just enough snark to make me glad there are other people as sick as me out there. Although there are SO MANY of them, and it is a little bit overwhelming right now, I'm glomming as fast as I can.
ANYways - back to the book. It was, as expected, super awesome. Quote-worthy, of course, but also moving and emotional in a way that I find much more often in Young Adult books than in what's supposedly "great literature" (make sure you read that in a snotty, British accent, okay?) I know there are people who look down on YA as a genre - these are the people who point at the dreck that is Twilight and pretend it represents the entire spectrum of what YA produces - but those people are obviously dopey non-readers, because the amazing stories, characters, themes and plots that exist in the YA section of your bookstore definitely hold up against any other, purportedly more 'grown-up' tales.
And Looking for Alaska is a good example of that. Life and death is no less serious just because you haven't turned 18 yet. Fear and love and hope and wanting - none of those things feels any less real or any less significant because you don't have a driver's license. I guess grown-ups forget that truth is truth no matter how old you are, and pain doesn't skip over you because you aren't ready for it. I guess some grown ups forget that, anyways: John Green certainly doesn't.
I loved the book, is kind of the point, even though it was hard to read it, and even though I probably should've tried to sleep instead of reading it all in three hours in the middle of the night. I loved it, and I'm going to read the rest of the box set I bought myself (even though it was two days before Christmas and I am seriously poor) as soon as I feel up to confronting a book about kids with cancer.***
If you've been here a while, you know that I don't like to do resolutions for the New Year, mostly because I can talk myself out of them just as easily as I can talk myself into them. Instead, I like to pick a word, an overall theme that I hope to inject into my year. One year it was Closer, another Breathing, yet another Worth. All worthy, and not a single one worked out as I'd hoped.
Still, they each helped me to get through some tough times: keeping the word 'closer' in mind helped me get through some seriously shitty doctor's appointments; remembering to 'breathe' was the only thing that kept me sane this summer, when everything was crumbling around me and I was watching a woman I loved wither away; remembering that I am 'worth' something helped me confront some serious injustices in our family. These mottoes have become important to me, have become keywords that help me cope with everything from getting out of bed in the morning to how to help someone you love say goodbye to everyone they love.
But I was having such trouble coming up with a word for 2013 - I couldn't think of a good enough theme to propel me to where I want to be, to help me realize that where I am is both good enough and not enough. I wanted something powerful, something ... all encompassing. Of course, I came up with some 'almost right' words: try, accomplish, be willing. But none of them were just right. I've been playing Goldilocks with this year's keyword for almost a month now, trying to narrow it down.
And then, this morning. And John Green's obsession with last words (which, if you ask me is a wondrous obsession to have). And The Great Perhaps.
There's a labyrinth too, and that's a good word, but it's not my word. Nope, my word for this year is just Perhaps.
Because sometimes I need a little push, and perhaps opens up the possibility.
Because perhaps makes me question things I already think I know the answer to.
Because perhaps is a positive maybe, and maybe is all I ever know.
Because perhaps is hopeful, and I want to be, too.
Because perhaps makes it seems like the choices are mine, even when they don't feel like they are.
Because perhaps holds your hand through the horrid stuff, and (while I personally could use a year free of all of that), it's comforting to know there's something to hold onto when it inevitably happens.
Because perhaps comes from a new friend, and I'm hoping it will lead the way to more of them.
Because perhaps I can decrease some world suck of my own, thank you very much.
Happy 2013, everybody. I hope your year is full of Perhaps as well.
*I say "at least one" because I also did things like eating breakfast and taking my pills, which, in the long run, will prove to be wise decisions, I hope.
**I am unfortunately not a unicorn.
***Which isn't today, and IDK when it will be. Even though I know it's going to be really good, there's too many tender points that'll get poked, and I can't do that today.
****Check Here for more info