Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Happy Hours

It’s 1:17am, and nobody should be awake right now.
But a year ago today, I was, and I remember almost everything about it.

I had just settled into my new sublet (is that an oxymoron?) in Astoria, surrounded by someone else’s things which were surrounded by my things, boxed, carry-on’d, duct-taped. I felt like maybe what a fish in a tank feels like the first night you take him home—just floating, breathing, shifty-eyed, feeling your body adjust to all the new smells and shadows and sounds.

I felt like I was going to carp my pants.

The night before that, before boarding the plane, I wrote myself a 6-page letter with strict instructions not to open it until May 30th, 2012. 

Fast forward to today—the day!—and I see that in this letter, I future-nag myself about my habit of brainstorming but never creating, scripting but never filming, drafting but never publishing. And I command my today-self to publish something, something, about the past year.

So with little eyelid power left in me, andalé!


Glory be to
Glory be to

One year later, I am:

  • Scrappier. When I’m “on,” I’m more impatient, more demanding, more of that NY-patented ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME when someone dares to deny me what I want (dinner rezes, refunds, Mister Softee)..
  • More Mellow. When I’m “off,” I’m basically on horse tranquilizers. Never have I ever felt more “Californian” in my whole life (and it gets worse each time someone says something like, “Oh, you’re from Cali? I got that from your super chill vibe.”). Dude, back home, I was the type-A betch! I’m proud of this.
  • More Suspicious. Adulthood can be dark and weird because you find out that people often suck, for reasons totally beyond your influence or control, and you are forced to deal. It’s part of the toughie-tough NYC thing that just grows on you like a moss—naivete just does. not. fly here.
  • Unhealthier. Straight up! I walk everywhere, I take dance classes, but my jerkface new friends Happy Hour McAllTheTime and Great Food Von Everywhere just keep a girl sluggish! But happy, for sure.
  • More trusting in myself. I’m learning some funny new things about adulthood; for example, oftentimes, other people don’t know much more than you. They’re just better at acting like it. And because your give-a-crap drops dramatically as you age, many adults know to act immediately upon their first instincts (so as to seem decisive) and deal with resulting mess along the way (so as to seem productive).
    Truly, 9.97 times out of 10, my first flinch reaction is the best; and when it isn’t, no one really notices—they’re just glad you said something first.
  • Still in awe. As difficult as things get, every single morning, I still walk off my stoop, inhale a little bit longer, and think, “I’m really doin’ it.” I still walk down 8th and smile uncontrollably because it’s all still so freaking cool, so freaking exciting. As my letter reminded me, no matter what happens, I’m here living out an incredible dream and I feel that sugar rush every day. I made it. I’m still making it.


And that’s it. That’s all the fuel I’ve got for tonight!

I’ve resolved to make this a thing—writing myself a letter every year on May 30-ish. I encourage you to do it, too.
Cause sometimes you forget exactly what to be grateful for.
& Sometimes you need to remind yourself, underneath all the ego crap,
how wise and happy you truly are. 

2 thoughts on “Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Happy Hours

  1. This was beautiful, Berna. Glad you’ve had such an amazing year. It’s definitely been one with growing pains for myself too but I’m so glad I’ve learned the things I have. Looks like you’ve had a lot of good learning experiences too. Keep living the dream. 🙂

    1. Thank you, lovely! Isn’t that what being twenty-whatever is all about? Growing pains! It’s like puberty never ends. Keeping living your dream, as well 🙂

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