Happy new year!!!

Michael (as he’s walking into the office): Tell me a joke.

Jim (who’s hanging out at Pam’s desk at reception) answers: Is it me or does it smell like updog in here?

Michael (totally oblivious): What’s updog??

Jim: Not much, you?

lololololol

Michael: Wow, that’s good!!

(I agree.)

Michael proceeds to walk around the office trying the joke on everyone else and totally flubbing it obviously.

Man, I love The Office.

Definitely one of my top 5 favorite shows of all time.

Along with the Sopranos and Friday Night Lights. (The Sopranos is the best show of all time. Not up for debate.)

I guess you have to add the Wire to that list, which doesn’t leave very much wiggle room for anything else. (Which sort of makes me not want to add the Wire. Just to give myself some wiggle room. Also, notice how I haven’t even mentioned Breaking Bad yet. Whoops.)

Anyway, I’m generally satisfied with that list. (Let me know if you disagree!)

But The Office, even within that list, sort of stands apart. All those other shows are pretty serious.

All the while, the Office is just so warm and fuzzy and light-hearted—while still maintaining the ability to tackle serious topics when it feels like it.

In a lot of ways, the Office feels like Christmas. It feels like family. It feels like home. It’s imperfect, but it’s all we got.

And this past holiday season has been really, really great. Just quality fam time. My parents were in China for a couple weeks so I got some QT with my sister for a weekend. And then Nina (my sister) took the whole week off between Christmas and New Year’s so the whole family was just together and chilled and relaxed and not stressed about anything for what felt like the first time in a really long time.

It was really great. Ate a lot of food. Watched a lot of movies.

And, of course, binge-watched the Office. (I started watching it through for the second time ever. I’m on season 4. So gewd.)

Forealz, it was the chillest holiday season for the Liu fam ever. Love it.

And now it’s Jan. 2. Man, shit got real fast, huh?

I started feeling that anxiety like this past Friday.

Like OMG, we have to go back.

Go back to real life.

Back to that grind.

Anxious.

My sister was feeling super anxious, too, so she left on Saturday. I mean, she has like a real job to be anxious about at a real big important company. So—very reasonable.

She also had to do that very stressful thing that people do on New Year’s Eve.

By which I mean—party.

It’s so stressful when you have to have fun. Like, HAVE to, you know? It’s your obligation as a good citizen to have AMAZING fun. And not only that you have to time it, too. You have to have peak fun at like this exact time.

That’s crazy! The expectations and FOMO is insane!

And everyone’s trying to have peak fun at EXACTLY the same time. It’s like a fucking run on the bank. The bank only has so much fun! Now everyone’s rushing to the bank at midnight like they’re Cinderella or something to cash out their max fun at the SAME TIME.

It’s a financial crisis of fun.

And no one can catch a cab.

My sister’s response the next morning sort of encapsulates NYE for me when I asked her how her night was.

“I did what I needed to do.”

LOL, that’s my girl.

Anyway, New Year’s is kewl though. I’m a big fan.

Because I’m a big fan of new beginnings. It’s part and parcel to my value system and the way that I look at the world.

Because it’s not about where you’ve been. It’s about where you are and where you’re going.

That’s how I see things. That’s how I judge myself and others. (But I don’t judge cuz as Miley duly notes—only God can judge us.)

I think my hand was forced into adopting this belief system after I made just one too many mistakes. And one too many bad decisions, lol.

But yeah, I love a fresh start. Who doesn’t.

And so a big part of New Year’s is thinking about the big picture.

I haven’t been writing for a couple weeks because of the holidays so I have a lot of thoughts, definitely. Lots of big picture themes I’d like to talk/write about. Which I’ll do over the next few days/couple of weeks. I’d like to talk about one theme/topic at a time.

But I’ll start with this thing that I came across on Facebook that my friend Nora posted, which turned out to be SUPER ON THE MONEY.

I mean, I’m generally not that into the horoscope stuff. I like to be convinced by facts, you know? But I am pretty good at playing along. And there are moments where I re-find my childlike wonder and for a second or two, I BELIEVE.

But most of the time, I’m just like, whatever.

But man, this just really nailed it: What You Were Supposed To Learn Between 2016 And 2018, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

And it’s just like, HOW COULD THIS ARTICLE BE GOOD? HOW COULD IT PROVIDE ME ANY VALUE? THERE’S NO WAY. IT’S RIDICULOUS.

And yet it was spot on LOL.

(Also, I probably wouldn’t even have clicked normally but Nora has a bit of street cred. Went to Harvard and that fancy writing school in Ohio or whatever and also writes about art and stuff in NYC. So she is a lot kewler than me, so I trusted her and I clicked.)

I’m an Aries so this is me:

“2016: You were supposed to differentiate what you want from what you think the world wants from you. This was a year of self-discovery, one that had you challenging and questioning a lot of things that you’d previously been accepting as fact. You did a lot of soul-searching this year, and came out on the other end with some pivotal realizations.”

Which is exactly.

2016 was the year I came back from SF. Back to NY. I had to re-figure everything out. I had to re-figure out who I was. I had to re-figure out who I wanted to be.

Then.

“2017: You were supposed to dive off the high board. When you knew what needed to change you went for it – and probably head first. This was the year in which you experienced radical change and saw a world that was beyond what you’d ever conceived of before. All of this new understanding brought a change in perspective, and a welcome one at that.”

Which is also exactly. In 2016, I figured out what change I needed. In 2017, I enacted that change. From my body to my mind to my spirit. And through that, I learned so much. In 2017, I made the change real and through that built myself a foundation by which to…

Then.

Which brings us to…

“2018: This is the year you decide what you want to do from here on out. This is the year that you get clear on some of the big, lingering question marks that still exist in your life. You’ll regain your clarity and focus in work and in love, and you’ll get ready to start deepening those roots come 2019.”

That’s pretty much how I feel about this year. 2017 was basically about building that foundation. It was about preparing and developing the necessary skills and confidence and connections and systems and habits and what have you.

And now the foundation is sort of there.

So now I just have to figure out what to do with all of that.

Which is super exciting!

I’m super excited about 2018.

Have any thoughts on the new year? Let me know, please. Pretty please.

OK pplz, back to the grind.

PS some thoughts on movies.

So I had a really nice Jan. 1.

Went to the gym with my mom in the morning. And then, on a whim, we went to see the Florida Project at the South Hills Mall.

In Poughkeepsie, we have two malls. They’re right next to each other.

There’s the South Hills Mall. And I think that one came first, actually.

But then next to it, there’s the Galleria mall. That’s the main mall. It has Best Buy and Sears and Macy’s and Dick’s Sporting Goods and H&M.

It’s also got an Old Navy and a Banana Republic. It used to have the Gap. But then the Gap closed. Which, I guess, is another sign of the middle class being hollowed out. Suddenly, “The Gap” seems a bit ironic, no?

 

Anyway, the Galleria has its own movie theater. It’s the main one with all the new blockbuster movies and whatnot.

The South Hills Mall, on the other hand is pretty decrepit. It’s falling apart. And it they play movies that are no longer playing at the Galleria.

But if you go on a Tuesday, it’s only $2 to watch a movie in a theater!

Not too shabby.

And the Florida Project was playing there, which was a bit of a surprise since it’s kind of indie.

But the suburbs are gentrifying, I guess.

So I grew up pretty poor. For a while, we couldn’t even afford Old Navy. Got a lot of my clothes second hand.

Which is fine. When you’re a kid, you don’t really understand that sort of stuff. (Frankly, I didn’tGAF until puberty pretty much, but that’s another story for another time.)

And being poor, you live in like, apartment complexes and stuff. And briefly, we also lived in a motel.

And that’s just a whole ‘nother world.

Looking back, we were living in some shady places. But at the time, it was pretty awesome. There were kids everywhere, I had a lot of friends. There was a true sense of community. I loved it. (My mom didn’t like it as much.)

Fast forward to today and my parents own a motel, which my mom pretty much runs singlehandedly. And so we still have front row seats to that world.

We’re still part of that world, in a sense.

And that’s sort of what the Florida Project is about.

It’s about life in these dingy motels outside Disney world.

It’s about life in the American slums.

The unseen America.

It’s about a world that most people never experience or see.

But it’s also a world where I came from.

And a world that my family is still apart of.

So in a lot of ways, the movie really hit home. Maybe one of the best I’ve seen this year, but I only just saw it so need to let it simmer and percolate a bit before making anymore conclusions.

And you know, it’s also a movie about life. About childhood. About America. About that eternal struggle. So really, it’s a movie about all of us.

And the little girl actor in it is just out of this world. Wow, what a performance. I just looked it up. Her name is Brooklynn Prince. Brooklyn with two ennz. Lol. Destined for greatness, clearly.

(Willem Defoe is also good. As is the mom.)

But I will say, it’s been a pretty weak year for movies.

Along with my sister, we also watched Lady Bird the week before and I just expected a lot more. That movie was so hyped.

And that time I watched Star Wars by myself a few weeks ago? Yeah, very meh. Very underwhelming. I mean, well done and whatnot, but those movies do nothing for me these days, the big blockbusters. I feel nothing when I watch them. I’m numb to the visuals and the action and the formulaic narrative. Just nothingness.

Because the joy of the human experiences derives from uncertainty.

It’s the root of both love and fear.

(Why do you think relationships are kinda boring and pedestrian once the so-called chase is over.)

My favorite movie this year is probably still Wind River. (Florida Project notwithstanding.)

I mean it’s a great movie but it’s not movie of the year status, that’s for sure.

Good Time was solid, but a little stressful.

The Big Sick was pretty good.

But yeah, a generally underwhelming year for movies.

(I still have to watch Call Me By Your Name.)