Friday, April 3, 2015

Have you read this?

[This post was originally written in April 2014 and never published.]

It's called "The Opposite of Loneliness." It's by Marina Keegan, a 2012 graduate of Yale who died tragically in a car accident some 5 days after graduation at the ripe young age of 22.

A collection of her essays were published after her death in a book of the same name and while in Barnes & Noble today, I thumbed through it briefly and tonight, after I couldn't get the single paragraph I'd read out of my head, I bought it.

In the essay, Keegan talks about never losing the feeling that at any time in our lives, we can always begin. Begin writing, begin a journey, begin the next phase in our lives. The underlying current to the thought here for me is that there is no "middle." These are all our own constructs. We are free to build them and free to break them. She acknowledges that our own personal insecurities are most often our biggest boundaries. I couldn't agree more. As a doubt ridden twenty-something, I am delighted to reject the wretched notion of "it's too late" and that familiar feeling that everyone around you knows who they are and what they're doing except you.

If you're hungry for more from her, there is also this which left my mind racing late into a Sunday night. It's when I read something like that I realize my love for writing. I want to write. I want to think beautifully and commit those thoughts to the page and use beautiful words that someone might have to google to know the meaning of. I want to write to feel and to make others feel. So that they might read something I wrote and feel it deeply and carry it with them the next day like a dream from last night's sleep. Maybe that feeling will color their existence that day and while someone is talking to them about something mundane at work, they'll only half listen because inside, they're still reeling.

I'll leave you with my favorite quote from her essay, but friends, it's absolutely worth reading in it's entirety:

"But let us get one thing straight: the best years of our lives are not behind us. They’re part of us and they are set for repetition as we grow up and move to New York and away from New York and wish we did or didn’t live in New York. I plan on having parties when I’m 30."

I wanted more of her writing, to get get lost in her prose and revel in her vernacular but thank goodness she burned so bright, if only for 22 short years.

Things I've Learned in Leaving NYC

[This post was originally written in June of 2014 and never published.]

My last post, just a little over a year ago, was on all the things I've learned in living in NYC. So much can change in a having left NYC, it only seems appropriate to write about what I've learned in leaving my once beloved city.

In the days and weeks before leaving NYC, friends would ask how I felt about leaving this place I boasted about and loved so much. All of my responses, however varied, centered around the idea that New York was a romance and this was the ending. I would call New York a bad boyfriend. I would call it a bad romance. I read an article recently that said New York is like the Prom King, and no one can be with the Prom King because he loves himself too much to love anyone else, that's probably the best one I've heard so far. While I still think of the city in those terms, I've also come to realize so much of my perceptions and eventual disillusions of the city were all based on self-imposed expectations of it.

You know the adage "if you don't expect anything, you'll never be disappointed?" If you're someone who abides by that then NYC is the city for you. Days when I thought my day would begin and end with no remarkable events to show for it, were the days I was pleasantly surprised by how giving the city could be. Perhaps the sun was just so in the sky that the treetops were golden or handsome strangers smiled at you or you catch the tail end of a worthwhile exchange of passerby. You can't ask for those days and you certainly never expect them. But when they come, they are like euphoria. They are soul food. You hang on to these days when others are less kind and you use them as armor against all of the other ailments the city inflicts on you because what other armor do you have?

The City tends to give you give you the things you do not need, the things you did not think to ask for ever before in your life unless you are of a rare breed known as the New Yorker, and I'm talking born and raised. But for the rest of us, you did not think to ask for Sunday brunches that are so picturesque you post them on Instagram. You did not think to ask for fashion and music that hasn't made it's way to the rest of the country yet. You did not think to ask to be ahead of the food trends because it did not occur to you that there were such things as "food trends" until you got to The City. Did you ever think you'd be able to get a coffee and bagel delivered to your apartment from your phone in less than 15 minutes? Did you think it would be possible to order chinese even in the middle of a hurricane? How about go dancing and be able to stay out until 6am without struggling to find places to go or people to dance with once you get there. I bet you never thought you'd be somewhere that people visit as their vacation, or that your place of residence was cause for ooh's and ah's at dinner parties when you go home. Isn't all of that just more than you ever thought you'd have?

But nothing is free and in the case of The City, you'll pay for your luxuries with more than just money. But I don't want to gloss over the much do you think a beer is in NYC? For fun, how much do you think a cocktail is? Those are rhetorical questions because we both know the answer is expensive. Do you know I once paid $22 for a drink? And that's not even the half of it. My rent cost the same as my parents mortgage on a 5 bedroom house in Ohio.

I left New York feeling heart broken, yes, but also like I needed the break. Or was it a break up? And now I find myself in Boston...more on that later.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


After a 2 year hiatus, I'm going to write for the first time on this lazy sunday morning which was otherwise spent reorganizing my Pinterest boards (because I am 45 years old) and sitting in bed using Google translate to brush up on my French. But that's not what I'm here to talk about.

I am now 25 years old and in the weeks leading up to my birthday, I spent a lot of time thinking about that Vitamin C lyric " we talked all night about the rest of our lives, where we're gonna be when we turn 25..." That song feels like the song of our youth in some senses. Even after the song's release in 1999, I still find it is the quintessential Graduation day song. I've met young people (I feel so old saying that) who don't know who the Olsen twins are but know this song. Seems out of order but I digress. I also kept thinking how I would no longer apply to the coveted 18-24 age demographic. But then I just got a Platinum Amex and in my head, that cancels this out. 

I've been thinking about "next steps" a lot lately. At work, I'm the person who dictates next steps, who, what, when, etc. There, because there is always some concrete point we are working towards, it's easy to work backwards to decide what to do next to get us there. But in my personal life, since I am the ultimate dictator of next steps, it's much harder. For one, it's very hard to look into the future and try to decide what it is you want it to look like. As my future self is still in progress, I cannot rely on her to tell me what it is she wants. My current self is also in flux, depending on the day, level of hunger/fatigue, and phase of the moon. I am a Cancer after all. My past self has proven somewhat unreliable. She is to thank for getting me to where I am now but she has faded along with the parts of me that no longer apply. All of this is made more complicate by the fact that unlike at work, I personally do not have a concrete point I am working towards.

I've had this TED Talk bookmarked for months now and finally got around to watching. It's called You Are Always Changing Harvard Psychologist Dan Gilbert talks about the idea of the future self and patterns of change over our lifetime. When you're 18, you think the best friend you have then will continue to be the best friend you have over the next decade. You'd pay $129 (on average) to see your favorite band in 10 years assuming they will still be your favorite band. The mistake we're making here is assuming that because we cannot see into the future at our future selves, they must be the same as who we are now. We accept there will be some degree of change but not that we could be dynamically different people. People marry and then divorce. They get tattoos they pay to erase. We give away clothes we used to love, change our hairstyles, and forget the street address of our childhood home. Dr. Gilbert mainly attributes our underestimation of change to our future selves as our inability to imagine our future selves but I'd like to admit it's also in part due to fear. It's uncomfortable to think the things we love won't be things our future selves will love. It's a strange sense of betrayal you feel from your own self now that you know your future self will find normal. I suppose these things are necessary as they are the catalysts for growth, which now that I'm thinking through all this, sounds like a euphemism for change that we embrace while shunning the idea of change.

All of this is to say that I am vaguely putting together the b o n e s of my future now. I'm attempting to make decisions I think will take me to places I want to be, with people I want to have in my life, and ultimately, create my own happiness. This is what it is to build a life for yourself and it is a lifelong journey we are all tasked with. I have no idea how much progress I've made in that journey or how close or far I am from where I should be but the best thing I have going for myself is that I question it everyday and I'm open to change. That's the only thing that will remain constant about me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Things I've Learned in NYC

  • People you don't know will say weird things to you that you don't want to hear, ignore them
  • NYC is the land of cheap manicures
  • You'll never eat or drink in all the places in this town but you should try anyways
  • You will meet so many people, decide which ones you like back
  • On the same note, turns out there are bad people in the world, you should watch out for those
  • Bank with Chase, you'll always have access to your $
  • There are more ways to get crosstown than the L, knowledge is power
  • Everybody in this town is frontin', don't buy it
  • Your metrocard is your passport, just don't store it near your credit cards
  • Duane Reade is both your best friend and your worst enemy
  • People ask where you live within the first five minutes of conversation, this is normal
  • They will also ask how much you pay in rent, this is also normal
  • It is a NYC sin to eat chain food, but who cares, just do it anyway
  • Avoid suits- unless you like hearing people talk about themselves
  • If it's too good to be true-it is, especially in real estate
  • It's a big, bad world out there, baby
  • You will miss home all the time
  • Coming here is exactly like starting a whole new life, be patient
  • Try to remember who you are over the thump of the bass
  • Stop comparing yourself
  • Filter your water
  • You can get away without having cable here
  • People will try to tell you that living here isn't worth it but this is when you get to be smug and say they "just don't get it"
  • You will spend so much money on food and cabs but it's usually worth it
  • Singular days will change how you think about things
  • You may not always want to, but when friends come into town, do all the touristy things they want to do, remember you were once new here too
  • Don't leave your phone in a cab, you can't always count on the kindness of strangers
  • You'll walk plenty, just eat it (whatever "it" is)
I am going to keep this list "live," and add to is as my life here unfolds. I think it'll be fun to look back on it and see what I still agree with, what I'd add to, and what I'd change. Suggestions? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Dear Blog,

I haven't forgotten about you blog, in fact, I think about you at least once a day. I dream up ideas for posts and think about how that post- beginning, middle and end. But nothing makes it into this white box because I want whatever I put here to be perfect even though nothing here is perfect. It's like how some people untag unflattering pictures on Facebook, but in the reverse. I have the power to decide how this blog will look and what it will say, I'm creating the image I want people to see of me and that's a lot of pressure! I might be over thinking this but isn't the internet forever? I think I read that somewhere once. What I want to become President one day (hah) or become famous (hah) and some mean person who isn't a fan of whatever work of mine that has made me famous decides to dig up dirt on me and finds this blog and suddenly all of TMZ/E!/MTV/Conan/Soup are making fun of embarrassing blog posts of mine? WHAT IF.

More so, I read a lot of blogs. Some are frilly and fun (still with good writing) and some are more serious and talk about life in the way most young people don't (with exceptional writing). Instead of inspiring me or making me appreciative of the art of writing, they just cripple me with a feeling of inadequacy  When I hear a song, I think it's a shame I'm as great a singer. When I see a pretty girl, I think it's a shame I'm not as pretty (clearly my post on compliments/comparing ourselves to one another didn't stick :/ ) . So naturally when I read, I think it's a shame I'm not as good a writer. To be fair, I mostly just feel this when I read blogs. That's because I don't pick up In Cold Blood and wish I could create that kind of suspense because I don't have any interest in penning a murder novel. But I do write blog posts and there is no reason, without some dedication and investment, I couldn't write like that too. And in an ideal world, I would write every single day. Not just write blog posts, but write short stories, poems, anything at all. I remember what I loved most about the creative writing class I took Sophomore year of college was that I finally had a reason to schedule time everyday to sit down and write. Sharing your stories and talking about characters and wondering about the phrasing of this and the structure of that with like-minded writers was such an enriching experience, it eventually led to my taking graduate level poetry classes.

But then there kind of is a reason, or perhaps, an excuse why I don't write everyday. It's called a job and it prevents me from doing a lot of things between the hours of 9am and 6pm. And when I get home at 6, I want to unwind and not feel like I have to be the best at anything, let alone something that requires turning the creaky wheels in my brain. So, blog, after this long rant, my point is, (lord, look at all those commas!) I'm sorry and I love you and we'll be together when we can.

Until then,

Friday, June 22, 2012

It's almost my birthday!

The above, is a Magnolia Bakery cake. It's has three tiers, it's Red Velvet, and it's all mine. I think the only thing I wanted for my birthday last year was a Magnolia birthday cake and while I didn't get it, I think my 22nd birthday was one of best I've ever had. Realizing I probably won't be able to top the unforgettable fun that was all my favorite people in the world in my favorite place in the world for my birthday last year, I secured a Magnolia creation for this year's birthday! I don't know if my level of adoration for this bakery is healthy and/or socially acceptable but I'm glad my friends put up with it. To be honest, I have such fond memories of visiting Magnolia every time I visited New York growing up and those trips were always the highlight of my year, so that's probably where all this fierce loyalty/love is stemming from.

My college roommate is coming into town for my birthday (which isn't until Sunday)/birthday party which is enough for me because having unscripted, hilarious adventures is our forte. It's so nice to be around people who you've known for years and are so close with, which is exactly what my party will be. I've never been much for a big to-do so I'm opting for an intimate shin-dig at my place with good food, good drinks, and good friends. I can't wait :)

Who knows birthday adventures await, I feel like I'm in that moment when you take a big gulp of air right before you dunk your head under water. That almost dizzy feeling that's so full of potential. Does that make sense? Regardless, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend, I've got some celebrations to tend to ;)

Saturday, June 9, 2012

A whole bunch of random thoughts [from 2 years ago]

I wrote this post on 6/9/12, at 1:37 PM. I remember writing it and feeling glad I did but knowing I wouldn't post it. At the time, I think this was somewhat of a diary post but now, two years later, it's mostly just a list of thoughts. There are still a few thoughts below that ring true (always yes to cake) and some not so much (Pinterest is SO FUN). My biggest departure from where I was when I wrote this is feeling so uneasy about my professional self. 2 jobs, 2 cities, and 3 years into my career, I feel like I've amassed a great deal of experience and built a network I can rely on to help me in and out of any situation. I was 23 when I wrote this, and now, as a 25 year old, I can bravely share this with the world in the hope that someone out there will read this and know that we all have days like this and from them, things only get better. So here you go, musings from my 23 year old self;
  • My birthday is approaching, I hate birthdays.
  • I would love to eat a whole cake right now. Chocolate on chocolate of course. 
  • I have to stop making to-do lists only to abandon them for marathon episodes of Mad Men.
  • I am so lucky and so hungry for more all at the same time.
  • How can it be so dark in my apartment when it's light out? 
  • I'm having one of those days. 
  • Meeting people you find inspirational is somewhat of a let down because then you realize they're just people like you when you wanted them to be a superhero of sorts.
  • Sometimes it's you and the world, sometimes it's you in the world.
  • I miss everything about my old life even though none of those people exist anymore.
  • Am I supposed to be successful or something? Shit.
  • I mostly want the things I want for how I think they'll make me feel, not for what they are. 
  • Expensive shoes should be comfortable like expensive meals should be delicious. 
  • Failure to launch.
  • I mean, what the hell am I doing?
  • When did I start hating birthdays?
  • If I eat chocolate chip pancakes for brunch, does that mean I have to go to the gym?
  • I probably shouldn't have texted you last night. Oops.
  • I wish the Upper West Side was actually downtown.
  • Pinterest is where feelings of inadequacy are born.
  • So, are we just never going to speak again?
  • 3 of my nails are chipped and I'm out of nail polish remover.
  • One day, I'll change my pillow covers weekly, not monthly.
  • You can clean and organize all you want, it won't fix the chaos in your life.
  • Is this post whiny?
  • We were supposed to see Perks of Being a Wallflower together.
  • I really wish I knew how to swim.
  • I just don't think it's fair how much more upkeep women have than men!
  • I don't know, I'm done with this.