I’ve had a few Year of Kerrys, where I had grand plans to make over my life, take my health more seriously, get a better job. They all failed, one in more spectacular way than could be imagined. Yes, the year of my burnout was indeed the Year of Kerry (#fail).

It’s funny, because when I gave up on trying to make over my life, it happened. I stopped talking about it and just sorta did it. My best friend calls this Kerry 2.0, and it’s true, it’s like I totally reinvented my life simply by taking control of it again. I’m the same person, but more relaxed. More willing to do cool and crazy stuff. Less willing to self-censor, to not ask for what I want, to assume it wouldn’t be allowed.

Case in point: Even though the sign at the sewing machine store specifically says it’ll be a week to get your machine serviced, I asked if they could put a rush on it and get it back to me on Sunday, and totally buttered them up too. Will it work? Who knows? But I tried.

When I was in New York last fall, I decided I wanted to be there for longer than a few days. I came back to Ottawa, immediately spoke to my boss about taking a month off, and boom. I’ve got an apartment rented in Brooklyn, down payment paid out, payment plan arranged. I am beyond stoked. I’m going to go to museums on free days, go to free events at the public library, I’m going to bring my sewing machine and tools with me and craft the evenings away. Plus, people will be visiting me and we’ll do cool stuff together. It’ll be awesome.

Have I mentioned my mad love for Entertainment Weekly? I’ve had a subscription since 1993. Yes, I actually have. That would be through 10 addresses in two countries, two universities, three degrees, and about five different jobs. And since I had enough of a relationship with the magazine to develop favourite columnists, I’ve been all over Whitney Pastorek like a dirty shirt. Whitney writes a hodgepodge of columns and reviews. She’s a southerner who lives in New York, and she brings a really interesting voice to the magazine.

I believe that Whitney is one of the great music festival bloggers ever. Unfortunately she seems to have left EW (as have many of my favourite writers… curse you Slezak!), but her blogs on Bonnaroo and Coachella and Stagecoach were always awesome. You kinda felt like you were a musical neophyte and really jealous that you weren’t there with her. Here’s an example.

I went to university and in the middle of my first year decided to ditch the smart degree (anything but English) and go for a degree in Cultural Studies. Do you know what that is? It’s the study of pop culture. I had a specialty in musicology, writing papers on the cultural significance of Robert Johnson on the evolution in rock, and how music creates an identity for youth. I also did a paper (my favourite ever) on The Joshua Tree as the best album of all time.

I wanted to be a music critic so badly. So very badly. Except, I never thought I was really cool enough. So I lived through the experiences of my favourite EW writers like Whitney.

Now I’m 35 years old, and I am in the year of living culturally. Last week I casually decided to bop over to the website of one of the festivals (Coachella) and noticed that the lineup hadn’t been announced yet. Tuesday I saw a tweet saying it had and it was mindblowing. Wednesday I said ‘uh, yeah… I should see if my music loving peep wants to go to that”. Thursday I asked for the time off, and when the tickets (and more importantly the camping passes) went on sale today, I bought them.

I didn’t just buy them. I was at a management team meeting all day. I brought my laptop to work (yeah, uh, the facility we were in didn’t have wifi), brought it to lunch, and delayed the start of the meeting this afternoon by the 20 minutes it took me to frantically get through the ticketmaster system (which kicked me out at the payment screen four times before cooperating), secure a camping spot, and get my festival pass. My boss worried for her safety when I shouted my dismay in the restaurant after getting kicked out of the ticketmaster screen of doom. There was a happy dance. There was a general discussion by my colleagues of how insane I am to cross a continent by myself to camp in a field with tens of thousands of strangers, eat food from a farmers market, hang out in a field for three days and basically hang. They’re all married with kids (some with kids in university) and they just don’t understand that sometimes you need to do these things or you wake up one day and realize your window has passed.

You know what? I can’t freaking wait. I got home from work, bought my plane ticket, booked a hotel room for the nights before and after, and I could not be happier. I am going to be Whitney. It only took me 15 years or so to work up the cool, but dammit, I’m going to do this.

Advertisements