Men's New Year's Eve look in a black turtleneck and overcoat

dear2016


AN HONEST LETTER TO THE ATTN OF THE YEAR AHEAD


If I may, I’m going to start out by telling you about 2015. I thought this might be an appropriate time to tell you that exactly one year ago today, I stepped down from a comfortable-for-New-York-City-living (not to mention for only being twenty seven year old) salary working four days a week — Fridays always off! — to freelancing full-time. And while I recall at one point only having $56 in my bank account two months in knowing that at any given point my resume was strong enough to find a full-time “stable” job, I have to pat myself on the back for not giving up and seeing myself through to 365 days of no-steady-paycheck status.

Men's black and white new year's eve look

Black and white portrait of Talun Zeitoun

I wasn’t used to it. Not the no-steady-paycheck thing (I mean, yes, but I quickly got over it); I wasn’t used to fending for myself. That when payment was severely late, I’d aggressively follow up. That when a client refused to pay (and this did end up happening), I’d actually take the necessary measures to sue rather than just let it go. I thought I wouldn’t see court for another 6 years after my last jury duty; lo and behold 18 months later I’d become one visit too familiar with 111 Centre St. So as I walk through your doors at midnight with a glass of champagne (and maybe a kiss?) cheering “Happy New Year” over a descending crystal ball shimmering on surrounding HD TV screens,

I’ll enter with full willingness to protect myself, contrary to 2014 and previous years, in shining armor. Alas, the “Chevallier” (translation: Cavalier) in my full name. Know that I love myself more than I ever have; and that I believe in myself more than I ever have, which brings me to my next point. I’ve learned a great deal about self-worth in 2015, but I know I have some ways to go. This goes beyond the hourly rate I set for myself, but more importantly how I perceive myself and how not to position myself relative to others. The latter’s tricky: knowingly to-be-avoided, yet a luring trap — I’ll admit that — especially in the wake of how we consume media today (*still raising my hand*).

talun-zeitoun-holidays-5

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As someone who used to worry consistently and be a former victim of chronic anxiety, I’ve finally learned that worrying is fucking pointless. Remember Mary Schmidt’s graduation speech? “Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum.” Finally it resonates and makes sense. In fact, I’ve found that worrying — a state of apprehension — simply begets instances to actually be fearful of. Being fearful of not having work yields no work; being fearful of loneliness puts you situations where you’re alone. While I can’t legitimately prove to anyone else that this is true, my own personal experiences can attest. Thoughts manifest; that’s why to proceed thinking with caution. In 2014, I asked to travel more in 2015 and I did (Greece, St. Barths, and Rome being among the highlights). “Travel” is such generic thing to ask for, but it — in it’s own fashion — happened… at least more than it did in 2014. So, wonders if I had gotten specific (and not just about travel). But I suppose I don’t have to wonder, do I?

Pinch me, but you mark the last full year I’ll be in my 20s (I literally can’t ✋). I’m excited, but… damn: time hath no mercy. For so long, I thought my thirties was always years away. I mean, I was technically right until you turned up at my doorstep making ‘years’ now singular. In brief reflection, there’s more to be done. That’s why I’m compiling a list of things I need to do and see — one that I’ll hopefully share with everyone — as a 29 year old. Side note: 29 doesn’t happen til’ Q2, so 28 better turn up.

Black and white men's Verlaine coat from Sandro

In a nutshell, I’m basically telling you that I’m prepared. At least, as much as I can be without the capabilities to travel forward into time. A year ahead is pretty much an open field (know that metaphors are always how I best comprehend things): you can go any direction you want, you can get lost, there’s light, there are shadows, there could be serene rivers or landmines, perhaps invigorating waterfalls, running gets tiring, walking gets boring… best enter with the tools I’ve paid for with the precious time of your predecessors.