I have always hated New Year’s Eve.
The holiday is perpetually and unnecessarily stressful, whether I had a socially acceptable/”good” NYE, meaning all of my plans worked out and I was embarrasingly drunk at an overpriced bar in midtown Manhattan (’13) or house party on Long Island (’09) with friends, or I had a bad NYE and was at home alone because I wasn’t allowed to board my flight to Nashville with my dog (’15) or I just had no friends locally to do stuff with (numerous).
[Sorry Mom and Dad, this was your least favorite NYE!]
This year was a mix of the two polarities, because I had some potential plans that I could’ve followed through on, but they weren’t compelling enough to prompt me to blink through a fringe of fake eyelashes and wear stilettos while engaging in yogic breathing all night, so I wouldn’t look fat in cliche Hervé Léger.
[Ended up wearing the Hervé Léger and perhaps a bit too much illuminator a few days later to the 1 Hotel instead 💁🏼]
In lieu, I opted to have a chill night at home with Max, who was still convalescing from a bout of soft tissue damage that left him unable to walk for a week. If you want to feel true gratitude, watch your dog take his first steps again after days of wheeling him outside in a cart (just your local Brickell crazy animal lady here!), then taking him out of said cart gingerly as he yelps in pain, so that you can literally hold up his pelvis and back legs with your hands so he can pee (all over the grass and you), while wondering if he will always be this way.
[Canines who convalesce…CUTELY!]
To my great relief, he was able to fully recover, thanks to lots of rest, medicine, and our family friend Sandra’s homemade chicken, which he feasted on nearly every night. So much gratitude.
Last year I eschewed a New Year’s resolution in favor of a theme, which for 2016, happened to be “Lobotomies and Revenge Bodies”. My best friend Kari and I vowed to fully forget about all of the people not worth remembering, while simultaneously becoming our fittest and healthiest selves. It was the first time that I more or less successfully fulfilled my resolution/theme, but I couldn’t bring myself to create a new one for 2017. Nothing felt right, nothing felt truly worth pursuing.
The year seemed off to an ominous start, heralded by unexpected pet injuries and dream job rejections. In fact, it was on the same day as the latter that I received a surprising DM from Airbnb on Instagram, inviting me to partner with them for a new program called Experiences.
I don’t have millions let alone tens of millions of blog readers, so at first I was healthily skeptical. But it turned out to be a real and legitimate offer, much to my excitement.
As someone passionate about authentic experiences, making new friends while traveling, and the greater Miami area in general, Airbnb was a dream partner. I’ve written before about vision boards and how I do believe in manifesting and positive energy. This particular partnership and its serendipitous timing seemed nothing short of a manifestation truly beyond my wildest dreams for myself.
Airbnb offered me an array of exciting, complimentary Experiences to choose from, and ultimately I selected one called “Wide Open Ocean”. For three days, myself and a friend of my choice would get to explore the best of South Florida’s aquatic offerings, from paddleboarding at a state park to diving in Key Largo to a private party boat cruise around Key Biscayne.
To be honest, I was a little nervous about selecting this particular trip. I still don’t see myself as an athletic or sporty person, no matter how much I workout. I also don’t necessarily feel comfortable running around in a bikini doing all sorts of sporty things while a GoPro films me from an array of likely unflattering angles.
I tried to talk myself into doing the vegan cooking class or bike riding trip or other amazing Experiences which wouldn’t necessitate near nudity. But this was the Experience that was calling to me on a deeper level, as a challenge, and I knew it was the one I needed to do…
[Setting sail from Miami, as I get called by the Wide Open Ocean]