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Summer of magical thinking

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AUGUST 02, 2023

As today marks my last piece in this column — one marked with material objects and emotional experiences that have resonated with me throughout my life — I’d like to take the time to tell you why I chose to write The Good Wine.

The Good Wine is an unapologetic celebration of the things that make life so overly complicated: a mix of everyday experiences and the human impulsions that can sanctify or ruin them. 

The name came to me in a series of ideas that I created to try and capture the feeling of making the mundane feel special. It is the feeling of recognizing, for example, ideas that may only seem like epiphanies to yourself — and maybe your mom, who can’t help but listen to you manically babble on and on. 

Or, it is the experience of continuously seeking and rediscovering things that seem so innately obvious once you finally work them all out. 

Some of your happiest days have yet to happen, there are loved ones out there you have yet to find and through it all you have gained the wisdom of knowing that every day, every moment and every knickknack is worth celebrating. 

You are worth appreciating.

The Good Wine is an appreciation for life in all phases, in all moments — it’s about allowing yourself to be worthy of that expensive wine you’d save for only the most special occasions. The Good Wine is for you in your worst and most mundane moments — in loss, love, boredom and destruction.

 “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” And despite the personal years of self-loathing or unwarranted guilt, it is letting yourself be worthy of life, of experience and, of course, of happiness.

The Good Wine is not just about good wine — it is the savoring of decadence and long baths. It is slow dancing at a wedding, cinnamon rolls and the warmth of the sun. It is bliss, it is pleasure — it is that “Champagne Shit” as Janelle Monáe has recently put it. My Good Wine is as simple as your craft beer, your aperol spritz, your various kinds of martini or your French 75. 

I felt inclined to write my column because I can’t help but feel as though everything I do is an hour too late and two dollars short. 

I feel like, at the same time, I am always running to catch up with who I was and who I’m trying to be. I do so many things without even thinking, while also consciously mulling through every miniscule decision — as if the snack I get for a movie could change the trajectory of my life. 

I go through life knowing what I want, but fucking it up when the realization finally comes to me. It feels as if the both hemispheres of my brain are always split in two different directions, pulling me so hard that all I can do is dig my heels deeper into the same place I’ve always been. 

I am stuck between this constant transformative state and the escape into my imagined future in my mind. 

I’ve often been told that I was an old soul, too mature for my age. I’ve personally believed that I was too smart for my own good, or that maybe I am simply too inside my head — those things are frequently confused. 

No matter how much I think, no matter how many days I spend inside the confines of my own skull, I more often create and perpetuate problems than find their solutions. Maybe not everything has an answer — maybe not all experiences are in dire need of dissection. 

Sylvia Plath, Simone de Beauvoir, Joan Didion, Sally Rooney and Patti Smith are the women who vocalized the teenage angst plague of emotions that used to sink itself into my chest. It was authors like them — and so many more — who inspired me to write the feelings that made me feel like I was crazy. 

They made me feel like I wasn’t just a girl, but a writer who happens to feel things deeper than she knows what to do with. They are my best wine.

I try to savor every moment. I try to frame those fleeting images and their physical memoirs, until they can decompose in my hands.  

I am continuously building up what I wish I was and breaking down what I know I am not. I am continually grappling with my place in this world, in all of the boxes I fill and the history that makes me, me. I watch the world go on as I figure out where I want to be in it.

The Good Wine is my surrender to who I used to be. It is the reckoning of the past and the yearning for a life of love. It is my debut into professional writing, and the genesis of something novel and new. 

This is my greatest wine.

Thank you for listening to my stories about love and birthday cake.

Jordan Montero writes the Wednesday column on the connection between physical objects and emotional expierences. Contact the opinion desk at [email protected] or follow us on Twitter.

AUGUST 02, 2023