Editor’s note: This week we launch a new online series, Tex’n the City, by Brandon James Singleton. A combination web diary and advice column, Tex’n the City will track Singleton’s plans to get his life together as he narrows in on his 30th birthday. Enjoy!
Tex’n the City: The Checklist
by Brandon James Singleton
Do you have a list of things you just knew you’d accomplish by a certain age? Sure you do.
First car by 16 … Study abroad before graduation … Throw the best 21st birthday party ever — or at least one epic enough to make all your friends and enemies jealous … Get discovered after college walking out of a Starbucks, and become America’s new male Oprah ….
OK, maybe that last one is just me. Point is, everyone can own up to at least one such goal.
Then, reality hits.
No matter how hard you work or how detailed your plans, most things don’t turn out like you expect.
With my next birthday — the big 3-0 — slowly creeping up, I’ve been inspired to try and break the curse I’ve imagined was placed on me by that one kid in elementary school I renamed “Stinky McRoach” in front of the classroom — hey, it kept the heat off me for a bit. I know, kids can be mean! But if you’re the poor, short, gap-teeth pudge with bifocals, in a rich private school filled with mini-Channing Tatums and little Kristen Bell look-alikes, try to grow up blameless. (Way to go, Ryan Murphy, waiting until now to make geeks popular. Where were you when Stinky and I needed you?)
To prep for this new passage in life, I re-read some really, really old journals I managed to find. (Thanks, Myspace.) Imagine my disappointment in realizing not only had I not accepted my fourth Academy Award by 25, I hadn’t been nominated for my first. (Maybe if I worked on a movie first…). Nor am I fighting off the paparazzi who bombard my home in the Hamptons simply to get a shot of me and my fiancé, Tyson Beckford, lounging around our Olympic pool like the one in Toni Braxton’s “Unbreak My Heart” video. I don’t vacation in Florida with Diddy and J-Lo, or spend nights laughing it up around the Hills with the cast of Party of Five.
Strangest of all, I seemed to have misplaced the extra 25 lbs. of sexy greek-god muscle I was to spend ages 26 to 27 putting on for that Spielberg summer blockbuster he would beg me to star in.
Maybe some dreams are just that.
But many others aren’t. I made my list of the top 10 things that truly are achievable, and should be by 30. Call it my Life Timeline Checklist:
1. Live in my dream home
2. Have a well-paying career
3. Hot bod
4. Be happy with my social circle
5. Be dating a great boyfriend and PFH (potential future husband)
6. Be drama free
10. Be ready for 40 — it’s closer that you think.
I already have an amazing BFF of seven years, so one down. Not too bad, right? No. 9 — done. That’s what this new checklist is for.
I gave myself plenty of time to try and accomplish these goals — almost 30 years, ultimately — but it’s closing in on me, so I’m gonna have to hunker down and grow up. (Does this mean no sleeveless tees? No platinum-colored fauxhawk? Swap out the drunken Facebook pictures for articles about the weather?)
All of this seems to violate No. 6: “Be drama free.” But change is hard. It’s like when I decided to come out: Ellen and Lance and Tom Cruise made it look so easy. Seriously, Hollywood does make things look simple. At the movies, all problems are resolved in an hour and twenty-three minutes and Mariah sings at heartbreaking song, just so you know it’s over and everything worked out. In my own life, I struggled with fear for years prior to the big reveal. Who’d accept it, who wouldn’t … who’d treat me the same, who’d hate me for lying to them for years. Would I immediately start referring to everyone as “grrrrl.”
Looking back, everything fell into place in the end; if only present-day me could go back and talk to past-me, I’m sure past me could have prevented some of the stress wrinkles. But I’m hard-headed. Thought I’m sure it’s what people love about me. (Hashtag delusional.)
So, first step in fixing a problem is to admit you have one.
Next, is to hunker down and actually set a plan in place for achieving my checklist. And I’m starting at No. 1.
So, I’m gonna zip up the Aldo boots that I purchased instead of paying the electricity bill, and go out and seek the advice of those who’ve traveled this rocky road we cal growing up. Step two: Remember how I handled certain situations in the past … and do the opposite. Hopefully, I’ll complete — or at least get a running start — at completing my list before December 15.
It’ll be a couples of busy months, but I’ll recount the progress here. Let’s hope it’s all worth it when the clock strikes midnight and I wave goodbye to my twenties. (I don’t have to change my age on my Grindr account do I? Come on, that’s just all kinds a wrong.)
I’d better get a badass birthday party out of this. Oh. Maybe I’ll invite Stinky. I miss her.
Follow Brandon on Twitter @The_HugoBoss