My typical week: alarm at 7:30, snooze till 8, text Bo (during his lunch in Milan), study Korean or Italian in the shower, skip breakfast, rush to the subway, take the 1 train for 50 minutes, the shuttle for 4, speedwalk through midtown east, stop at Starbucks, land at my desk eight minutes late, a full day till 6:30 or 7:30 pm, a 50 minute ride home, dinner, potentially a glass of wine, a few hours of whatever Korean drama I'm into (currently "Pretty Man" and "Love Rain" or anything with Jeng Keun-Suk), writing, bed at 1 or 2 am, if I can get my eyes to close. This schedule is usually works seamlessly. Usually.
A few weeks ago the machine failed -- without prompting -- I got in to work 8 minutes late, locked myself in the bathroom, and cried in a stall.
So I decided to spend Thanksgiving weekend alone.
I had the 4 days off in my apartment, only leaving once to go to the grocery store, exchanging words only with the cashiers. For Thanksgiving Dinner I had pasta with jarred sauce listening to the fire alarms sound in the surrounding apartments. The only conclusion about my sadness was that my life lately has been a lot of unanswered questions without the resources (read: money) yet to act. Bottling my frustration was what led to my eruption. But I was guessing.
In an act of desperation, instead of phoning a psychic, I referenced the 19-year-old Ariel. If you've ever gone to my "About" page, you'll notice one thing -- this isn't my first time at the rodeo. I've been blogging since the age of 18. One my greatest joys is being able to look back on what I had to say at that age. The blogs are now defunct, but everything is archived, dated and searchable. (One of my favorite pastimes is reading all the posts from a particular day in order, year to year.) I stumbled upon my old bucket list from a post dated June 28, 2003. I was 19.
2. Own a picnic basket (with real plates).
See a meteor shower.
4. See Paris.
5. See London.
6. Snorkle (In Key West or the Bahamas)
7. Ride an elephant (again).
8. Dance in the rain.
9. Sing kareoke.
10. Be published.
Go to a concert.
12. Eat at a sidewalk cafe.
Dance in a random public place.
14. Sit at a drum set and maybe play.
15. Write an awesome mystery will.
17. Watch and NYC sunset and sunrise.
18. Rent a limo for something stupid.
19. Give a toast on a special occasion.
Have a pen pal.
21. Have a tea party with a real tea suit.
Meet Scott Speck and get his autograph.
23. Learn to play an instrament.
24. Have a huge party for my birthday.
25. Own a butterfly.
My 19-year-old self was the perfect remedy. Thought most of the list was silly, it still felt good to accomplish something. Smiling, I mentally marked off all the things I'd managed to achieve since 2003. Numbers 4 and 5, seeing London and Paris, were done within a year of each other. Number five, Paris, less exciting than number four. I'd managed to make it all the way to the Bahamas but never snorkeled, which made me grimace at item number 6. Number 21 was a joke, I'd eaten al fresco so much in New York I no longer see the magic in it. What I was thinking of when I wrote number 24 was a less debaucherous version of "Jep's" party in "La Grand Bellezza." So my 30th birthday last year, doesn't count.
Then there was number 16: "Model." I didn't specify, but I knew that the runway walks I'd done on all the morning TV shows and the little appearances with Isaac Mizrahi etc., did not really count. I looked at that item and rolled my eyes. I was getting older, fatter, and my cheeks were too plump. Last year a coworker from another brand at the magazine I work for scouted me for the catalog, but it never came through.
In the roller coaster, box-of-chocolates, way that life can be, I had no idea I'd mark that one off the list sooner, rather than later. Again, I would be reminded that when we are sad, something good can come along and change it. After Thanksgiving weekend I returned to work and the Fashion Editor walked over to my desk. They needed me to model in a shoot the very next day. I agreed, and received a call sheet to a downtown studio. Wednesday I went straight there from home, twiddling my fingers nervously on the subway.
The shoot was fun and I couldn't stop thinking about my bucket list. I had my hair and makeup done (a strong brow, a pink lip, a slick back braid peeking out at the nape of my neck). I was styled in an outfit and sent to the set. Music was blasting, the photographer walked me through some poses, all the while giving positive feedback with a "Love it!" or a "Perfect!" I sat down to catered lunch afterwards, then rode back to the office with my coworkers via FDR drive.
The photo editor called me "Supermodel" all week, joking that she would take me on as my agent. I got a peek at the photos on Friday, leaning back in my chair, still in disbelief. "Well, that was easy. What's next?"