this is 31+1.

Remember when 300 came out? All those cgi washboard abs? the most infamous line and heck, maybe the thing anyone can even remember from the movie anymore is when king Leonidas shouts “this is Sparta!” and kicks a person into a pit. When I say all anyone remembers, I meant just the line itself and not the scene. I’m not sure how I even remember that scene. I remember I saw that movie in Tennessee with my aunt and I saw a double feature of 300 and The Aqua Teen Hunger Force movie. Back to back. I learned that day, that no matter how much I love movies, watching two back to back in a movie theater before they installed those reclining seats was a really bad idea.

I was just standing in my kitchen thinking about what I would say here, and let me tell you, recapping a college visit to Sewanee (a cult) was not my intention. I was going to write a list of resolutions that I would actually do as a 32-year-old man because so many of these blogs are just me rehashing the same thing over and over because I come back to this place once every few months. Wasn’t it nice when I was abroad and I was writing this like 3x a week? Nice to me because I actually had original ideas and it felt new and fresh. Now I’m just well. Writing about how I don’t write.

A few days ago, I watched the Martin Scorsese film, After Hours, and I thought about writing a whole post about that. About how it’s rated as one of his lesser works, one of his least popular, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. Then I celebrated one of my best friend’s birthdays last week and we were at a gay bar watching RuPaul’s Drag Race and I looked to my wife and said, “I wish I was half as passionate about anything in my life as this collection of queers is about Drag Race.” And then I thought back to how I was going to write an entire blog post about the 1986 film, After Hours, for no apparent reason and I thought maybe I’m also crazy in my own way.

On a job interview the other day, it was yesterday, they asked about my writing skills. I should’ve diverted them here. Since I’m not likely to get the job regardless, they could’ve had a laugh or something.

Maybe I’ll just quickly list off a few things I aspire to accomplish every year and I fail to do so every year. Hmm, sure, let’s do it. Nike.

Moving on, that list was boring. If I phrase it like that, it implies that I wrote it and deleted it because it was boring. The truth of the matter is that I started to write something (in my head) and it just reminded me of how I have the same dreams over and over and never attain them. So it was more just depressing and sad. I’m also realizing why I don’t write with music or podcasts in my head because it’s throwing off my train of thought. Let me take these headphones out and let’s reassess. Where is my headphones box? Oh no, now I have to find that too. One second, dear reader.

I never delete anything when I write, I barely edit these things. However, I just truly deleted an entire paragraph. It seemed too repetitive even for me. Did I remove those headphones for no reason?

There’s a podcaster who makes jokes about how he used to be a writer but he also sold his company for 200 million dollars so what’s my excuse? No, no, I’m sorry, I said I wasn’t going to rehash old material.

They say constant reading will make you a better writer, but how exactly does that work? I’m reading things every night before bed and all that’s happening is I’m having dreams about being a fighter pilot. The best writers I’ve ever read have only ever made me wonder how the heck did they do that, it didn’t magically make wonderful. I’m putting the headphones back in.

A part of me wants to discuss Gogol’s obsession with noses and coats. A part of me wonders when abstract writing becomes too abstract for its own good and does it hurt the message. But listen, this is about my birthday. This is about aging and the slow (or fast) decline of time and our limited engagement with this ball of rock. Sphere of rock. Rock of ages. Tom Cruise. I just watched Top Gun, Top Gun Maverick, and another Tom Cruise movie in the last week and I’m wondering why I’m dreaming of fighter pilots? It’s pretty obvious.

Just because I have the same dreams year after year, you know what, it isn’t discouraging to me. It’s motivational in the sense that I picked something highly aspirational and maybe I did so because it’s easier to not be let down when you pick difficult goals. A big part of goal making is making small, reasonable goals so they’re actually achievable. Isn’t life all about the struggle though? If I finally have a six-pack, what else do I have to hope for in life? When I write that Tony award-winning musical, what left is there to achieve? An 8-pack? An Oscar-winning adaptation of my own musical? Damn, that’s true. I guess you can do more than one thing and call it quits.

Listen, I just want to accomplish some things this year. I want to read an entire issue of The New Yorker cover to cover since I’ve subscribed to it for so long. Foreign Affairs magazine? Maybe next year. Do I care about a six-pack? No. But I want to rip this shirt off (sexily) and not greet the general public with noticeable love handles. I vow one day to write a musical, but how about a song? Let’s just start with one song. I bought a keyboard during the pandemic, have I learned anything yet? Let’s also go with a song. Let’s learn a song. It can be a simple one. How many other things do I have to list here? Gainful employment is a given, so it’s not aspirational enough. Fluency in Portuguese, that’s also a given, but not a given based on how often I practice. Let’s throw that in there too. I want to have a damn conversation with my wife’s family, that’s not too much to ask.

Okay, I know I should already be finished with this. It’s already too long. And I have a headache, but that’s due to taking too much pre-workout and not writing this. I don’t know how ADHD feels, but I think I took too much where it’s extremely hard to concentrate and it’s making my writing even more haphazard and disheveled. One of my friends called me zany once. One of my best friend’s sisters said I wasn’t cute, but I looked goofy. She intended it as a compliment. I don’t think I took it as one.

I can’t believe I turned 32 this year, this month, this day, and I still can’t grow a beard. I’m going to write another blog sooner than later, not because of my fans, but because I’ve inserted way too many paragraph breaks. What day is it? This song is chanting TGIF and I thought it was Friday. It’s Wednesday. I was born on a Friday though. This song is referencing my birthday. Katy Perry knows it’s my birthday. I appreciate all the love from friends and family, but Katy Perry knows it’s my birthday. There’s not much one can ask for in life. So it goes.

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