9 Out Of Character Things I Did In 2019

Well that was different.

The sunrise view from my new window because I did something out of character.

I think I speak for many of us when I say that following 2019, we need a nap. No New Year’s Day brunches, parades, nothing of the kind. Let’s all just sleep for the 24 hours after the ball drops and reset whatever the hell that year was. Good heavens.

On the whole, 2019 was a very different year for me. I’ve never experienced anything so transformative, out of the ordinary, and quite frankly a little bit weird. This isn’t a complaint mind you, I’ve rather enjoyed the break from the norm, but it’s felt like a lot and I suppose I’ve never really debriefed. This is an attempt.

Below, nine extremely out of character things I did this year, and their impact on my life. They’re presented in no particular order, and exist in this format to hopefully encourage others to take bigger leaps off a wider variety of cliffs in 2020.

1: Woo Woo: I own crystals now. I set intentions at the new moon. I burn sage regularly and my desk is placed in the “work” corner of my home according to Feng Shui. I also engage in hypnotic meditation every morning to reprogram my subconscious limiting beliefs thereby magnetizing the things I want into my life. Out of character, indeed. I started doing all of these things in January of 2019 on pretty much a whim and the reason I’m still doing them is because they work. I’ve spoken before about the benefits I’ve seen from my manifestation efforts. I just find it amazing that something I used to consider bullshit is now a massive part of my life for the simple fact that I’ve seen too much good come to me to call it bullshit any longer.

2: Had A Lengthy Conversation With A Famous Person: File this under insane, but one morning this year I woke up to an email from Norma Kamali. She invited me to be a guest on her podcast to discuss aging from the perspective of a single 37-year-old woman. I’m still in awe that this happened, but I enjoyed our conversation and her wisdom very much. She is officially the coolest person I have ever met in my life and a massively expanding inspiration for me. I look forward to aging more now than I never have, and she is a huge part of why.

3: Joined A Bowling League: Oh sure why the hell not? This was my (admittedly drunken) response to my friend’s suggestion that I voluntarily engage in an activity requiring physical skill in public once a week for six weeks. I found the actual league to be, quite frankly, a hoot. Traveling from Bed Stuy to Lucky Strike at 42nd street and the Hudson River once a week? Not so much. I cannot bowl. Like, at all. I was dragging the team down average wise and I don’t give a shit. What I learned from bowling league is that getting together regularly with a group of cool women is a remarkable way to make new friends and remind yourself that you’re not alone in this life. I think we place too much importance on meeting friends for dinner, and centering our quality time around a collective activity is a much better way to go. I think we’re trying trivia next.

4: Turned Down Money: I actually said no to freelance jobs this year. To the layman this might seem like not such a big deal, but to a newly freelance writer, it’s saying volumes. This year, I turned down offers of work that were less than the rate I charge. I very easily could have taken the job, and made less money than I wanted to, but still made money. And for the first time, I didn’t. I showed myself that I am capable of saying no in situations that try to make me feel small, thereby increasing my self worth. Turning down a job that’s too low doesn’t somehow anger the work gods. Every job isn’t the last job that’s going to come along. By saying no to rates that are too low, I’m standing up for myself and showing myself the kind of career that I deserve, rather than accepting every low offer as meager scraps I’m lucky to have.

5: Moved: For someone who has been hoarding Fresh Direct boxes for six years (true story) to actually admit it’s time to use them and leave a shithole for the dream of something better, this is a very big deal. I used to live in a very bad, but very cheap apartment, because I thought I had to. I thought I had to have the cheapest rent possible, no matter the living conditions. But I don’t have to do that. I can live somewhere better, and 2019 is the first time I let myself believe it. I now live in a brand-new building with an elevator and a trash chute and a package room that locks. And it’s worth every penny. (Moving, however, did suck as much as my memory feared. I am very glad I did this but next time I’m hiring a logistical assistant good lord.)

6: Started a Podcast: Somehow I thought it’d be a good idea to talk into a microphone for an hour at a time, publish it on the internet, and then keep doing that every week. A Single Serving Podcast exists to hopefully improve the way single life is viewed, discussed, and felt. Since April of 2019 it has received over 80K downloads and has over 950 people supporting each other in its Facebook group. What I’m saying is, if you’re thinking of starting a podcast, do. Is it potentially a cheap ploy to meet new people and make new friends by inviting them on my podcast as guests? Yes. Is it also helping single women feel better about this time in our lives? Also yes.

7: Deleted My Dating Apps: Forever. In January of 2019, largely motivated by the manifestation work mentioned above, I deleted my dating apps because they weren’t serving me. In over a decade of using them, they never had. In literally 11 years of online dating, I’d never been in one relationship as a result. But I kept going, and kept trying, and kept putting myself through the foulest, lowest-self worth treatment possible, because “that’s how people meet now.” It was never how I met people, it was how I hated life and felt like a failure. The dating apps are gone, they’re staying gone, and I’ve filled the space and time they used to hold in my life with creativity, community, work I want to do, and far more love and friendship that the apps themselves ever led me to. Also I have more iPhone memory for horoscope and weather apps so I win.

8: Admitted Defeat: My literary agent and I sent my book proposal around to over 30 editors and publishers this year. Not one of them wanted it. Early this fall, it was time to admit to myself that it hadn’t worked. The proposal I’d poured everything into and felt more excited by and motivated to write than anything before did not turn into the book deal I felt so sure it was time for me to receive. In years prior, this would have crushed me. I’d have never admitted defeat, I’d have completely panicked and found a way to change who I am or what I write to make others happy, to make others want me. But now that I want me, and I know that nothing can change how driven I am to bring this book to life. So the proposal remains the same, as does my confidence. Meanwhile, until it does become the book I know it one day will be, you can read this.

9: Didn’t Travel: I go to Paris every year. When I can, I also tack London onto that trip. Others travel the globe at large but I keep going back to these places I love because they feed me in every way a person can be fed. Travel is very important to me. It makes me feel like a magestic explorer and also I’m very excited by planning things so the pre-trip work is almost as fun for me as being there. I was unable to travel this year, see #5. My choices were move to an apartment that would make me happier as a freelance writer every single day, or go to Paris for like five days. I made a judgment call. There’s definitely been some disappointment there, and concern about how long it will be until I’m able to travel again. It’s an antsyness that I’ve brought upon myself. I’ve probably watched more Amelie and eaten more fancy cheese than is advisable as a result, but you manage your sadness your way, and I’ll manage my sadness mine.

This year was different in almost every way a year can be different. A year of constant change and trying new things and approaching everything from a different angle is 100% exhausting, I won’t mislead you. But it is effort with great reward. I wouldn’t be spending my Sunday morning telling you all about the extremely different things I did this year unless they also netted me extreme value. Which they have. I can’t wait to see what 2020 can do. After I nap.

NPR once called me a humor essayist, let’s go with that. Host of A Single Serving Podcast. shanisilver[at]gmail

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