2024: My Biggest Year Yet?

Well, here it is: the big two-oh-two-four. Staring down the barrel of a brand new year, I anticipate it’ll be a big one for me, an even bigger leap than last year, with my first overseas vacation and a move cross-country to the beaches of California coming up. It’s intimidating, but in a way where I’m like “alright, I accept the challenge; I have to do this”. Making everything I want to do this year work will take some planning, so I’m taking some moments to plot it all out.

What are the Constraints on Planning?

Perhaps the biggest constraint is that I’m going to see the total solar eclipse set to sweep the country on April 8. Depending on the weather conditions it might be nearer or further from my current abode, which could easily entail a multi-day drive. Having had the privilege of experiencing the 2017 total solar eclipse, not to mention the 2023 annular eclipse, it’ll totally be worth it. The rub is that it’s a specific time (midday April 8) in a specific place (the United States), so everything else this year has to be arranged around that. Nothing else is so specific.

I’m planning to go see Europe, which will be my first time ever traveling overseas. It’ll be a long trip I expect; my plan is to see as much of the continent as I can in one go, since I find passing through border controls to be dreadful, I’m sure commercial airline flights will be godawful, and who knows when I’ll get another chance to go over there and see what I’d like to see? Lockdown proved that you might not have as much time, or as many chances going forward, to do something as you might think, so if you need to do something, if you need to cross something off your bucket list, do it as soon as you can. It’ll be a large expense, but one that’s well worth it; traveling overseas is an experience I simply must have to feel like I’ve lived a full life, and the overseas destination I’m most interested in visiting is Europe.

The dates on this are flexible in principle, unlike the eclipse, but I would like to see the midnight sun in arctic Europe, which mandates traveling there in the bright season. I would also like to go skiing, and fortunately the two can be combined at Riksgränsen; their skiing season’s tail end in late May coincides with the first days of midnight sun there. So I think I would like to be at that spot at that time, which offers an additional constraint. Another constraint, though not a hard one, is that there’s something of a vacant space in my dance program for the next year in April and May, so that makes those two months the best two to visit, from the perspective of missing as little dance opportunities as I can back home, which conveniently coincides with the midnight sun’s timing at Riksgränsen.

Fitting my Trip to Europe into the Picture

Since the eclipse is April 8, realistically I’ll be arriving in Europe in the middle part of April at the earliest; between then and the midnight sun at Riksgränsen is about 6 weeks. I’m planning to go see Svalbard after I go to the northernmost cape of mainland Europe in Norway, so that combined with a possible side trip to Iceland or to parts of Europe I haven’t seen yet but would like to go to could easily extend my vacation into early June.

It’s possible that I could spend more time there even than that, depending on how fast I can satisfactorily progress through my itinerary, but a United States citizen can’t stay in the Schengen Area, which covers most of the countries I want to go to, more than 90 days out of any 180-day period, so even if I run out the clock I’ll have to head out by mid-July at the very latest. More often than not I actually progress faster than I expect rather than slower, so I doubt that’ll happen. Sometime in the earliest parts of June is likely when I’ll be back stateside. Alternatively, I might cut out the “ski under the midnight sun” part and progress much faster through the continent, returning sometime in May. We’ll see.

When Time offers you an Opportunity, you don’t ignore It

While I am over there, however, I’m definitely going to Amsterdam and getting the full virgin experience from the best escort I can find. That wasn’t even on the mind when I decided to go to Europe, but when I looked over the possibilities it just made perfect sense: it’s perfectly legal in the Netherlands, Amsterdam has the best professional girls in the world (particularly for the sort of experience I have in mind), and I’m totally ready to lose my virginity now. Even if it’s not with a beloved, for me it still needs to be a special time with a special girl, and what could be more special than a hot date with a beautiful and charming Dutch lady on my first-ever overseas vacation? I’ve basically already got one picked out, and I will be making a booking for the earlier part of my trip; I expect by the end of April 2024, I will be a virgin no longer.

Glow-up Essentials: Three Months left to go…

The fact I’ll be traveling for so long after the first week in April means that any cosmetic treatments I want to get by summer need to be compressed so they’re done before all that starts: e.g. if I want pearly-white perfect teeth in June in Europe I need to get them all fixed up by the end of March.

I’ve been steadily whitening my teeth for months now, and mine are responding very well. Indeed, they’re basically already white; I just want to push it a bit further toward completely white, especially since I still have some bleach left over from my last tank-up at the dentist’s office. The big showstopper is the composite I have on the lower half of one of my front teeth, which needless to say doesn’t respond to whitening like a natural tooth does. I currently have white front teeth with the exception of one that looks a much more brownish color. Which needless to say is awful. Also godawful is the angle of them; they’re not straight, and I want them to be fixed so they’re in a smooth arc. Weirdly, the frontmost teeth are the only ones that have that problem; most likely borne from the fact I had to get that composite to begin with when I was a kid. Anyway, it’s a slight discrepancy that can, according to the people at the dentist office, be fixed by veneers; no braces or Invisalign needed. We’ll have to see what my options are with regard to that.

Four veneers for the front teeth would ensure perfect white, perfect angle, and all matching, but it would be upwards of $10,000 that I’d be going into debt for. 😬  But just one veneer plus Invisalign wouldn’t really be all that much cheaper, and it would be less effective; not to mention, it might need to be redone, and what if that process extends past March, leaving my smile incomplete as I head off to Europe? Yikes.

So for the teeth I’ve got 3 months left, starting today.

Another thing I might want to work on would be my facial filler. I adore it after I got the first treatment put into my face last June, but filler is dissolved by the body slowly over time. As of the New Year I’m noticing the effects starting to fade a bit. Which is to be expected: 9 to 18 months is how long it lasts, and the 9 month mark will be reached in…April 2024. Honestly, the effects won’t completely fade for a while yet even after that at this rate, but I want to look my best for my vacation, so I can’t help but wonder if I should schedule some time to have my nurse practitioner look over my face and see if I could use a top-up. If it’s just a small amount, I won’t even need to pay anything! There’s still a good part of one syringe worth of filler left over from my last treatment, which is already paid for. So yay me? 😀 

I toy with the idea of a more intensive exercise program, practicing my dance a lot more often, and dieting more severely, and have toyed for years, but I usually don’t have the heart to actually do it. However, with less than 4 months left now until I need to be in good shape for the best virgin experience possible, I might crash into the home stretch and get to work. Heck, my ballet teacher actually said unprompted to me before Christmas that I should go to the gym more often. Though to build up strength; she says I look fantastic already, visually speaking. Huh.

I’ve already got a more drastic permanent wave treatment scheduled for my hair in February, so that’s on the menu, though really I’d be satisfied enough even going to Amsterdam with my current mane, which as of now is classic beachy brun waves that brush my shoulders. Give me a suntan and I’d be pretty convincing as a beach boy.

I might want to start a suntanning regimen in tanning booths and so forth; it doesn’t cost much at all to do it. But one issue I have is that it might make my stretch marks more visible on my abdomen and upper arms, marks which have turned white over the decades. The contrast with the rest of the skin would be more severe if I tan it. So that got me to asking, all the way back in October, about microneedling, which I heard can work to reduce or even eliminate them, at least in some cases; my nurse practitioner, interestingly, says she has not had much success with microneedling in cases like mine. She did have an idea that a chemical peel might be worth a try, but she never got a reply back from their provider. 💀  Her assistant suggested that I might want to try another place, if I’d really want to give the microneedling a go and see how it does.

It’s a relatively minor issue that I don’t think will affect my enjoyment of a sexual experience, but it still bugs me and I would like to at least try to get it fixed.

Another issue that won’t affect my sexual enjoyment but is not-so-minor are the persistent dark circles under my eyes. My nurse practitioner prescribed a medical-grade eye cream, and it has helped significantly, but almost half a year later I’ve still got them, and it’s a killer for how well I look in pictures. I want my face to be as photogenic as possible by the end of this year, and having big dark spots under your eyes is not that. We discussed options if the eye cream was insufficient: platelet-rich fibrin, platelet-rich plasma, and, yes, plain old dermal filler are all on the menu.

Something as simple as makeup from a professional artist could probably do the job I’m looking to get done perfectly, but unless I wanted to pay someone for that all the time I’d have to learn how to do that myself, and god does that sound like a chore.

Change of Scenery

I might try to get all of this done in the next 3 months, which sounds like…a lot. Or I could put it off until the summer. However, that might be a busy time for me. Why? Because after I return from Europe, most likely in June but at the very latest in July, I will be relocating. The house I inherited from my grandparents will be liquidated, and a lot of my belongings will go in storage. As for me? I’m moving to the greater Los Angeles area, as close to the Pacific Ocean as I can swing it. I have relatively little in the way of steady income, so there might be some difficulty in qualifying for a long-term rental, especially in the more expensive areas close to the beach; a hotel or a vacation rental, however, will be viable for a very long time, given the likely proceeds from the home sale. So if I really want to make it work, I can.

It’ll be necessary for me to put my nose to the grindstone and earn a lot more income, but the prospect of even working a podunk job in California just doesn’t seem nearly as dreary and unbearable as it does in the undisclosed location I call home now. Ditto for “networking” as a professional, and especially promoting myself, both on and off social media. And I might not need such a podunk job anyway; I’ve got an MBA I earned in a matter of months and an eclectic portfolio of experience, which doesn’t exactly make me all that competitive for conventional corporate positions but might be of keen interest to startups. These sort of businesses abound in Southern California, and fortunately for me a startup position better fits my needs anyway: maximizing the chances of a huge payoff, much more so than a steady income or a clear ladder of progression.

And I’ve got my own ideas, such as establishing my dance lesson business anew in a far more favorable market for these sort of services than I’m accustomed to. Real estate is another sector I’ve seriously considered pursuing, but unlike giving dance lessons I’ll have to be starting from zero after I get to California.

Really, I think it’ll be a fantastic adventure, one that’ll be very rewarding even if I can’t make much financial headway compared to my current situation. I’d much rather just get by on the South Coast than where I live now.

Given that I’ll begin the process of selling my house in June or at latest July, I can only assume it’s very likely it’ll all be done by the end of 2024. The housing market is moving like molasses now, considering we’re now in a high-price/high-interest-rate environment, just a couple years after hordes of people locked in mortgages at record-low rates; nevertheless, houses do still sell for top dollar. Especially if you’re not on any particular deadline to liquidate and can afford to stretch out a listing for a few more months if it’ll net you more money at the end.

Gazing toward the Horizon

Which makes me wonder: if I’m able to liquidate for top dollar relatively quickly and stabilize my financial situation in California, what’s the timeline on my next goal: having a child? Presumably as a single parent (if I find my dream girl, then great, but I’m not counting on it). A good portion of that house proceeds will eventually go to make my platinum-blonde California beach baby, and I’d like to swing that as soon as possible. If I’m able to move it all fast, I might even find myself having started the process as of New Year 2025, which according to ChatGPT from the beginning of it to the birth of the baby takes 12 to 24 months all-in. At the maximally aggressive and optimistic pacing, I could have a baby in my arms by New Year 2026.

Admittedly this smacks of Elon time, and I would say it’s a goal that will probably slip…but looking back to an old note I stowed away in July of 2022 for the goals I had by age 30 and age 40, I’ve already accomplished all of the “by age 30” goals with quite a few months to spare, and I’ve already accomplished one of the “by age 40” goals. Two more will be checked off in just 4 months’ time, when I’m just 30, a full 10 years before my deadline, with the only one remaining being to have a child. But even if my baby’s delivery date slips a full 2 years after the Elon time estimate, I’ll still have accomplished that by the age of 33, 7 years ahead of my original deadline.

The downside is that this much acceleration raises the risk that my finances will break in some fashion in the next few years, but as things stand now I feel like my spirits will break unless I go live my life now, so the die must be cast.

Let’s see where it falls in the new year…

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