“His plastic surgery looks awful” was my first thought as the lead singer of the Goo Goo Dolls, John Rzeznik, took the stage at House of Blues.
“I would make out with him,” entered my mind by the third song.
“Is John Rzeznik straight?” Great, straight. “Is John Rzeznik married?” was quickly Googled on my iPhone soon after.
“HOW do I get backstage?!” I desperately wondered as he so beautifully belted out “Iris,” and I kindly nudged the couples in front of me, trying to inch closer to the stage. (Besides, it was this same venue where I had notoriously started unbuttoning my blouse to get Kevin Federline’s attention 6 years ago. So weird, I know.)
And that was how 2014 began.
My New Year’s Eve plans had gone from Malibu mansion to Palm Springs to Disneyland to Vegas until my best friend and I were left plan-less as we drove down Sunset Boulevard post-hangover brunch on New Year’s Eve day.
“Looks like the Goo Goo Dolls are playing tonight,” Ryan observed as we passed House of Blues. My heart dropped. My love of the Goo Goo Dolls had recently been reignited when John Rzeznik performed on X Factor. (I think my neighbors could hear my squealing through the walls.) This sounds incredibly nerdy, but I’ve been an unwavering fan since 4th grade. I mean, try listening to a Goo Goo Dolls album without remembering one of your breakups, and who doesn’t love a little “Black Balloon” even if you have no idea what it’s really about?
As Ryan and I prepared for the evening, I considered my outlook for the new year. Sure, I wanted to make a bunch of greeting cards and look good doing it, but I felt like there had to be something more. Curling my hair, I thought back to a recent text conversation with a former crush who asked what I was up to since he had last seen me. I explained that I’ve been quite asexual and working on selling my greeting cards to retailers. His response:
That sounds awful. At least from my perspective. Are you entirely happy? You are a beautiful person, Annie. Your only issue is that you’re too sentimental to enjoy the flippancy of life.
He was right. It might sound like a ploy to force me out of my asexuality, but I knew what he meant. He was the one who first introduced me to the idea of romantics vs. sentimentalists via a favorite Fitzgerald novel: “The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last – the romantic person has a desperate confidence they won’t.” Being the girl who has a hard time saying goodbye to her favorite coffee barista – let alone a crush – it’s obvious that I’m the former. Perhaps he had a point.
As midnight neared, the Goo Goo Dolls played one of their new songs, “Come to Me,” inspired by John Rzeznik’s then girlfriend and now wife. The sentimentalist in me felt like her heart was about to burst. Meanwhile, the romantic in me was silently adding Make out with a musician to her Bucket List. And just after midnight, as the black and gold balloons continued to descend from the ceiling and nearby couples kissed, the song that I had been dancing to and chanting all afternoon filled the room, “Better Days”: “So take these words… and sing out loud… ’cause everyone is forgiven now. ‘Cause tonight’s the night the world begins again.”
I cried. I couldn’t help it. Standing next to my best friend, listening to lyrics that reminded me of prior years, while promising a fresh start, it felt so perfect. Laugh if you want, but I felt so alive. And I decided I want to feel that way more this year. I want to be sentimental enough to maintain special friendships and continue pursuing dreams long-dreamt. But I want to be romantic enough to take chances without fear of getting hurt or worrying so much if things are right or wrong. Looking back, many of my most joyous moments of 2013 were spent enjoying “the flippancy of life” while the most heartbreaking ones were the result of trying to hold on to them too tight.
So, cheers to moments that seize all your senses, no matter their duration. Music that makes you cry. Literature that makes you laugh. Ballsy, bold moves. People who challenge you to look at life a little differently. Art that blows your mind. Romances that make you feel sexy – as uncomfortable as that sounds. Goodbyes that are for the best. Friendships filled with silliness and giggles. Places that pry you from your comfort zone. Experiences you’ll never forget. And nights like New Year’s Eve, when the world feels like it begins again.
Lighting NYE prayer candles for health, happiness and hotties in the new year.