Hump Daaaayeee

Checking back in.  Monday I didn’t read. Tuesday I read but didn’t get off my ass, in fact, the opposite. I was so tired on the way home I dragged myself to the grocery store and then immediately went home to sleep for an hour. I have a follow-up doctor’s appointment that I hope will finally give me a bit more clarity on what kind of shit I should be doing to take care of myself (most of this is common sense IMO) but the doctor is a naturopath and has been giving me very specific supplements.

Case in point I’ve been taking magnesium for atleast two years, and apparently I still have a magnesium deficiency, so she hooked me up with a supplement that I hope is actually doing something. -_-

I just hopped back on to finish this. It’s 8:30 and legit, I could go to sleep right now. But I’ve been successful at a bunch of other things today. In spite of only having like 4 days left at my job I’m still plowing through a ton of stuff (organizing files I’ve created so they’re easier to find, helping to retool the job description for the person they’ll need to hire to replace me, editing a bunch of stuff other people wrote today, working through a big guide/paper I’d started before I resigned). I also managed to remember to grab a package from the post office this morning before work, successfully offload our old bed through bulk trash pickup, pick up dinner to feed me and the kid without violating my dietary goals and drink like 90 ounces of water.

I got my new Fitbit watch yesterday. Having invested in the digital nanny I hope wearing it reminds me to drink water, get off my ass, log what I’m eating just to be mindful of it. Though I’m hoping mainly to use it as an exercise tracker once I’ve given my body a week or so to adjust to the wicked sugar reduction. Can we talk about how last night it was screaming at me about how I needed to eat 40 pieces of toast and a bucket of chocolate for NO REASON because I wasn’t hungry. FFS. The sugar struggle is real.

30 Days.

I’m tired in a way I haven’t been tired in a way that’s hard to measure.

My brain is tired. I feel like between the loss of my job, coordinating the move and unpacking, taking a new job and feeling like there is no room at all for dropping the ball has left me exhausted. Because R is buried in work and doesn’t have the bandwidth either. And everything. Every show, every errand, every event has felt essential. If I don’t fit this in, when will it fit in? Like if I let any of it slip the entire fucking train was going to go off the rails. From hitting up a giant vintage fleamarket, to driving to Baltimore three times in a single week for shows. Like I accidentally over-scheduled things I want to enjoy and  every element of my life has felt like obligation and work. I mean I’ve enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. But I’m so tired.

Getting through the birthday BBQ this weekend really felt like getting to the end of something. Like I can finally start changing other things. And the first part is going to be taking care of myself in a way that’s beyond just sprinting from one major thing to the next.

It’s weird to have quit this job and still have to be here. The culture, as broken and pained as some of it is, some of the people are close. It feels false to participate since all I want to do is get out of here, wipe the slate and put my energy into something that I feel like has the foundation to let me work towards a role I really enjoy that feels like it’s moving me forward. I learned a ton from my last job, I miss it tremendously, I also realize now, that for me it was one of the best jobs I’ve had for a bunch of reasons unique to the people, the culture, and the specific role that I was in. It’s much easier to see that clearly now. I mean I appreciated it the entire time I was there because I escaped a really terrible role before that but taking this new role I realized that I have a much stronger grasp on what I need to be doing. The last three months have really beat me up. I didn’t realize it.

I think being in a job where I realized I felt valuable because I was good at putting out all of the fires and being “everything” to everyone, without building something was a backwards feeling of validation.

Yesterday I spent most of the day thinking about how I wanted to start actively taking care of myself more… Mind & Body. So here’s my stream of concious listing about how I’m planning to do that.

Mind

  • Sleep – I’m good about getting sleep, so sticking to 8 hours of melatonin assisted shut eye are critical to maintain.
  • Read – I’d like to read a minimum of 20 pages of something every day that isn’t related to work or social media.
  • Write- I also want to write, like this. Atleast every other day.
  • Plan – Once I get settled into my new job I want to make sure I immediately look in to the professional development they offer (basic management training, writing conferences, writing classes, building a team)
  • People – Trying to make time, once a week, to connect with someone outside of my immediate circle (see R, my Mom, Colleen).

Most of it’s body, but I know that’s all completely tied up in mind.

Body

  • Skin – So far the things I’ve been good at are: maintaining my skin care regimen. All of the serums, eye cream, lash booster, sunscreen. I’ve stayed on top of all of that. My stupid tinea versicolor is back so I need to treat that, which I did this morning, and I want to make sure I don’t end up with melasma on my face again (from too much sun on my face) MOAR HATS
  • Vitamins – My supplements (I’ve been faithfully taking the D-Mannose, the uber probiotic and I followed the overall schedule for the month the Dr. prescribed.) I’ve yet to replace some of my other supplements because I have a follow up appointment with her on Thursday to go through my macro-nutrient analysis and will get better guidance on what I need to be eating. I hope to have a more specific recommendation on diet and supplements from the doctor by the end of the week.
  • Water – 80 ounces daily (per doctors orders). I’ve been good but I need to stay on top of it. I struggle during the weekend and if I’m at home. I guess more distractions make that harder. I downloaded the FitBit app (I also ordered a Fitbit) so I started logging water today.
  • Food – This is where I’ve struggled, victim of being overextended and unable to focus. No sugar, no bread/rice/etc. Meats,veggies, low sugar fruits, fats, nuts, etc… Going to manage a cheat day once a week for sanity and planning’s sake. No dairy except for coffee in the a.m. No gluten, trying to work more fish into the mix. Hoping to maintain this until we head to LA. 30 days.
  • Exercise. For the first two weeks I’m going to be lenient about this until I get adjusted to the dietary changes. Hoping to spend time walking, light lifting as time/my headspace permit. My baseline goal is to just walk around the neighborhood if I need to. To get out. I want to try to run atleast once a week for the next four weeks. And to get myself a new swimsuit and googles to hopefully take advantage of our pool this summer. Once the new job starts I can work from home two days a week. I’d love to try to get in a weekly lunch time swim.

I read an article recently that said the idea that you can only make one thing a habit a time is a myth, and make no sense. So I’m viewing this as a full scale undertaking. I’ll change it all at once. I’ll read more, cook more, eat better, try to be kinder to myself during the process. Drop 20 fucking lbs and 3 inches off my waist. Stop using my privilege to _just_ throw_ money at the problem and put in the actual work for the shit I can change.

Here’s to the next 30 days. Fuck I’m already tired.

We Interrupt This Broadcast

So two weeks ago (or so, I’m too lazy to check), I was assuming my next post was going to be the second post about my trip to Iceland. And then my somewhat “routine” existence exploded.

First, we’ve been researching and watching carefully out of the side of our eyes at the local real estate market. And a house popped up for sale in our neighborhood. So in the matter of a few hours we went from bystanders to mortgage pre-approval participants. 0 to 60 in short order. Suffice to say my “free time” and “mental energy” reserves were all redirected into the land of interest rates, loan types, deposits, 401K lending, and down-payments. It was exciting if a little harrowing. We live in a super competitive market and after viewing the house on our own we went back over the weekend to check out the open house. I’ve never seen that many people at an open house.

The property ended up with 11. ELEVEN offers. The winning offer’s escalation clause was dramatically over the list price. In hindsight, after the shock of the whole experience wore off, it was highly educational. We obviously, did NOT, end up getting the contract.

Which seems weirdly fortuitous, because 4 days later, I lost my job.
And so far I’m ok with it. It was… shocking but not a surprise. Which sounds contradictory but let me explain. I work for a startup. We were pushing really hard to turn our products/business into something profitable and we have a board of directors that are in place to make sure the investor’s money is being used wisely. So.. we had goals defined to meet within a year (which would be late June of this year), and things were improving but not fast. So I expected layoffs, but later… sometime in March.

Instead they opted to abandon our core product, to focus on the newer and potentially more lucrative product we just launched in November.  Which from a business standpoint, I understand, but it was still a dramatic move I didn’t see coming. As part of this they basically cut our organization in half. I was laid off along with 30 other people.

So… in some ways I feel like I was booted off of a potentially sinking ship. I am in excellent company (my colleagues are truly some of the most capable and intelligent people I know). And in the immediate (I’m talking under an hour) aftermath we were banding together. Someone put a group chat together, we now have an ex-employee Slack (team chat application) going. Several former coworkers reached out to offer to make introductions and get us in touch with hiring managers. I’ve been in touch with people nonstop since the hammer fell.

I’ve personally been offering resume support and have reviewed half a dozen resumes for my peers. It makes me feel helpful and like the positive energy that I’m putting out makes life a little easier for someone else, which is something I value.

R expressed his surprise at how I was immediately up and running. But to be honest it can’t be helped. I know I’ll process this all slowly, unconsciously. I loved my job. It was the first job that I had that I never had a day where I was just …over it. Tired sometimes, stressed, but literally every day of the nearly 3 years I was grateful. Glad to work with smart people, glad to be treated like an adult with support, respect, and autonomy. Something when I slow down, that I will be mourning in all sorts of ways. I just can’t right now.

Circumstances and my personality dictate that in a crisis, which hey… this very well is (unplanned unemployment is pretty traumatic, even if this is certainly not the first time I’ve been laid off) … I have to keep moving. So my feet hit the ground the afternoon I lost my job and I haven’t stopped moving since.

Being busy, being proactive, being supportive and helpful to my colleagues, I’m not going to lie, is leaving me feeling pretty optimistic. For now. Ask me again when the very short period of severance pay I have runs out. Let’s hope that hope holds.

 

Iceland (Part 1)

So for Thanksgiving (and as a belated anniversary trip) we went to Iceland for the first time. And some of the things I’m going to rattle off will be familiar to people who know more than I do (about Iceland) which is probably not hard but I’m writing this more for my own benefit (and later recollection).

Iceland is located north and east of Greenland and has a population of about 350,000 people. The things I was not prepared for going there were innumerable. When we planned the trip we both knew we wanted to go, neither of us had been, and I trusted that it would all be amazing. I did something I don’t normally do and I booked us a tour. We only had 4 & 1/2 days and I wanted to get as much out of our time as possible. I expected we’d see more if we weren’t dealing with driving around on our own (we did), and I didn’t want to roll the dice navigating an unfamiliar country in the winter or worry about gear (for ice caving), knowing when to stop (because you could drive for an hour an see nothing), or dealing with crappy driving conditions. It turned out to be a really wise choice for our first visit (even before we got there I knew we’d be going more than once).
While we may have traded the freedom to linger and be self-directed everything we saw was amazing. I wasn’t disappointed with anywhere we stopped, both of our guides were locals that were knowledgeable and friendly and took us off the beaten track to see little stops we would have struggled to locate, let alone identify. We booked with Extreme Iceland (which is run by Arctic Adventures) and I have nothing but great things to say. Being able to gaze out the windows at the amazing landscape while someone else drove made the relative sacrifices completely worthwhile. Our tour was on a shuttle with about 18 people total, so larger to offset the cost, but not an unwieldy mess of 50 people on a big stupid bus. Everyone kept mostly to themselves and the people we did chat and interact with were all really nice. (People were from literally all over the world: Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, various parts of the US).

 

At the start of the winter in addition to being cold it is unbelievably dark. The sun doesn’t rise until about 10:15 and then for the hours of the day that are technically daylight the sun never seems bright. It always hovered around a dusk or dawn. Around 4:30 the sun would start to disappear again and it would be pitch back by 5:15. On the shortest day of winter (Dec 21) the sun is only up for 4 hours. Nothing could have prepared me for the experience of what it’s like waking up in complete darkness. While I can’t imagine the struggle of dealing with that as a permanent resident the challenge of dealing with it for a few days with something that was kind of exciting and interesting. It added to the feeling of other worldliness.

 

Day 1 – West Coast

 

We arrived on Thanksgiving on an “overnight” flight (the short duration of the flight makes this a little painful because at no point during that first 36 hours are you going to get adequate sleep – the only advantage this had for me was training me to be a cat napping master on the bus in between our travel spots). Another sort of interesting element of this trip for me is that I planned very little. Other than booking the tour and getting us a hotel for our last night I planned and researched nothing. As a planner this was a weird exception and I wholly enjoyed have ZERO expectations and just showing up to see what would happen.

After getting through customs and a hilarious interaction with the ATM (periods, commas, foreign currency and sleep deprivation make for an interesting situation – luckily the ATM didn’t allow R to take out the $1200 US he initially attempted.)

We found a shuttle bus to Reykjavik and it dropped us at Hallgrimskirkja (the crazy church in the center of the city), to wait for our tour to collect us. Our tour would be broken into two mini-tours. With one guide picking us up and taking us out to the West Coast and then returning us to Reykjavik before the second two-day tour started. We headed out of the city about 90 minutes give or take and made our first stop in between a waterfall and a mountain at Kirkjufellsfoss (I only remember this because I took a photo of the sign).

Continue reading “Iceland (Part 1)”

VIP Seat on the Strugglebus

I think the concept of a struggle bus is funny, even if the phrase is cheeky and annoying in the same way that people are now famous because they open packages for a living on YouTube.

I am annoyed at my 2019 not starting with more momentum. I’m not sure what to blame it on but I feel like it’s a combination of:

  • the winter
  • a mild case of seasonal bleh disorder (it’s cold and dark and hard to do things)
  • Having a shittastic cold that mutated into lame viral bronchitis for all of December
  • the lull in routine at work and in life that let me get used to sitting around watching history shows with my heart’s bff
  • My back being a dick because I am lazy jackass that sits on the couch watching too much viking murder tv (but is there such a thing?)
  • Not sleeping great because of all of the above
  • Being healthy for about 36 hours only to end up with a stomach virus that rolled right in to the start of my period.

It’s making things hard.

I like feeling motivated. Being unhealthy makes everything impossible. I don’t want to run or cook or lift weights or read or take down the goddamn tree and put all this shit away and OMG EVERYTHING IS ANNOYING.

I am having issues with motivation. I am .. sick and tired of being sick and tired, when it’s already hard, in the winter in particular, to push yourself to do things.

Things I want to be doing but am not doing, yet.

  • Exercising.  OMG. I need to find a way to work this back into my habits. We hiked before NYE and it was so nice (even if I was hacking up a lung). See, here’s a photo even.

IMG_20181229_152942_826.jpg

  • Being more engaged with work and pushing to make progress with stuff…. I need to find some training to attend, I think that will help. (I like my job and am immensely grateful for that so I refuse to spend time complaining about that, atleast for now)

Things I am already working on improving

  • Making more art. Being sick and out of town made it really hard to get to the studio since before Thanksgiving. But I got back this weekend and hope to get back into a better rhythm now that we have a break in our travel. I make pots if you find that sort of thing interesting.
  • Reading more. I say this every year but really… I want to read more (I am actually on a roll with this even though I have been feeling like arse). I finished a graphic novel in one sitting and have been working through a chapter per night of the Scar, which is very good. (Let’s not talk about the Murakami book I’m stuck 60% of the way through). I’m on Goodreads, I still really like that site.

Things that are minor and dumb but still worthwhile

  • I got my car serviced
  • Set up my new login and info for our new health insurance
  • Got my annual mammogram
  • Took down the tree and packed up all of the decorations
  • We dragged our asses out yesterday for real groceries so we made dinner last night and have all of the stuff we need for tonight too.
  • I’m writing, here and hope even if it’s just me howling into the wind about stupid day to day stuff I can work on making it habitual and that writing about the random things I’m thinking about will bring me a greater sense of accountability, plus lists!!!

 

 

 

 

We all end up alone.

Abandonment. Textbook abandonment. Whatever that means. For any child isn’t it sourced ultimately at the disappearance of a critical figure. A parent, a sibling, a close childhood friend. People leave. Accepting that is part of your life forever.  Or should I say making peace with it, or maybe never making peace with it and wrestling it forever in some type of Promethean torment. Consciously. Unconsciously.

Maybe I did carry it around. Maybe I still carry it around. I will admit that a cornerstone of my last relationship was built on a feeling a safety I don’t remember having previously. I spent over 9 years feeling like I had one less worry. That I wasn’t going to have to concern myself with being alone. I had a family that I made, even if it was just the two of us. I had a teammate, a partner. Someone to help tread this weird path we’re all on. Help me along. Take care of me if it all fell apart. Love me even if my body or mind failed and make sure that I wasn’t left discarded at the side of the road. He said forever. He meant it. I meant it when I said it. Then forever changed.

That’s the thing. I still want those impossible promises to be made. Knowing they can and likely will end up being broken. Maybe that’s what marriage is for non-religious people. The subscription to the belief that you are trying to make the same kind of iron-clad promise, that’s your intent. We all want forever but I don’t think any of us knows what that means, we see the end but we don’t see the journey. Here’s the point A, the goal is the point B, seems obvious right. But what about that fact that the path we’re talking about is this undefinable road. The not knowing is what you’re trying to use that promise as a shield against, to plow forward, to keep going, to free yourself from one of the litany of worries we all hang on to.

No one wants to do this alone. Not the exhilarating bits or the dull ones or the simple agony of being alive. It’s intended to be shared. But gods how we fuck that up.

The only peace I am ever going to make is accepting that the only constant in the entire world is knowing things will always change. We’ve been defiantly shouting it at each other since the 8th grade. NOTHING IS FOREVER EXCEPT CHANGE (ACCEPT THE CHANGE). If it was a thing when we were younger we’d all have shitty tattoos that said it. We tossed it at each other like we had an inkling of what it meant. Fuck we were idiots. Beautiful, optimistic, children. Thinking we’d sort it out, we’d find some impenetrable shield in each other, in our relationships to navigate it together and ride these changes like some epic tidal wave. But you can bet that we assumed we’d be on top. In charge. Adapting and doing it with grace and success.

It’s all an illusion. There is no grace anywhere to be found sometimes. And the success, the bitter reality of redefining that is understanding that success means getting your ass kicked again and again. Your heart broken. Your sense of stability obliterated. And standing up and moving forward because you are too stubborn to give up.

Kittens clinging to cliffs on shitty motivational posters.

Hang in there.

Sometimes that’s all that I feel like I’m doing.

Guess What? It’s the Same.

All of that shit you’re waiting on. Dreaming about. Stressing over.  That list of obstacles or goals or specific life events you feel like if you could JUST get those done, you’d feel differently. Paying off your car, moving, getting through some specific project at work. Or maybe it’s the larger and more far reaching stuff. Divorce. Student loans.

You envision these milestones a bit like carrying around a stack of concrete blocks on your back. Only the truth is, even once you free yourself from those specific things you’re focused on, you will simply trade one block for another.

Life, if you chose to focus on it that way, is mostly the same. Atleast in the ways you’d imagine. The predictable routine of your ability to adapt to experiences, or changes, good or bad.

I sold my house. I got divorced. I moved. I paid off all of my debt (save for my car). My credit score is 825. I am Jack’s sense of pained irony.

And don’t get me wrong. It felt good to do all of those things. Necessary. Elemental even. To strip out the clutter in my life by moving, ending a relationship emotionally, legally and changing everything. To move towards something and feel like in the restructuring I was learning about what the things I’d already experienced meant.

Knowing that I can save money for the things I want. That I enjoy a level of freedom and flexibility that has in some capacity eluded me for the duration of my adult life in 40 years. It’s grand.  But it’s not such a sweeping mind-bending change that I don’t still wake up and throughout the course of a day, become preoccupied with the same petty trivialities that bothered me before.  Those larger successes that I waited so long for… they’re not a magical inoculation against manufactured anxieties. I still worry about dumb shit.  Different dumb shit, but by and large. I am not so dramatically changed that I have unshackled myself from the pitfalls of what it means to be a person. Forever struggling against your own patterns, habits, tendencies. Making hard won progress.  But only through dogged persistence, luck, and will.  None of those requirements change.

So now what’s the moral of this ramble. Hey look at that, I think it’s the same as the last post I wrote. Don’t do it. Don’t dig yourself into the promise of someday as a solution to your state of mind. Because all that matters is right now. You will arrive, perhaps – I won’t even add “if you’re lucky” because luck is irrelevant and it may not be lucky anyway – at your desired destination.  You will pay off that car. You will get rid of that student loan. You will move to that new city. And you will still be you. In a different place. And you will have done all that waiting. That anticipatory promise of changes, solutions, a blank(er) slate and you will still find yourself wanting. It’s a giant waste. A pile of misdirected energies. Speculating on how different you will feel with certain obstacles out of your way. The only actual obstacle is the barrier you created in your own head. Crush that shit and move on. You, are really the only thing in your own way.

Year 40. Day 1.

I woke up. Brushed my teeth, puttered around. Picked up coffee and breakfast and drove to the park. The latte I finished en route and I ate most of a protein box in the car.  And then I went hiking by myself. Which… unless you count my exercise runs in the woods I’ve never done.

Matthew Inman (creator of the Oatmeal cartoon) wrote a thoughtful missive on the confusing and pointless idea of continuous permanent happiness. That’s how I interpreted it anyway. It’s not a destination you arrive at. Or a fucking journey either. The idea that you’re in this achievable stasis of contentment is just… wrong. It’s a recipe for frustrated failure that completely abandons the idea of nuance.

I am not always happy. Fuck, in the course of a single day the range of emotions I can, or may experience would read like a seizure of brain activity.

I think my goal for being 40 is just acceptance.  And by that I don’t mean passivity. I mean that for me there will never be enough. If I get hit by a car and lie bleeding in the street tomorrow, my dominant emotion will be frustrated rage, because I want more and it’s not enough time.  But what I realized when I laid with the arms of the person I’ve waited most of my life to be with riding out the last minutes of my thirties, is that… that same statement will probably still be just as true if I were 80. So I have to learn to take moments of satiety and accept that those are enough. I can’t use the word satisfaction, that doesn’t sound transient enough. I will feel… in moments, fulfilled. Not perpetually. Not as a single thing of achievement. Just here and there. And that sometimes I feel frustrated with the struggle to achieve, or to nail down what it is that I feel like I “should” be doing.  Not for anyone else, or record keeping, or comparison. Just… true attunement to the frequency I run on. That I have given myself enough fuel and space and input to know what it is that feels valuable and meaningful to me. To stop and pay attention to myself and go into the woods or read or write to listen to music and remember what I’m supposed to be doing.  Create. Thrive. Adapt. Struggle. Suffer if I have to, at least if the pain is part of intelligent growth, in pursuit of something meaningful. Because it won’t all be glorious joy, it can’t be.  Acceptance of the fact that the elation is always the counterpoint on the pendulum to sadness, grief, stress, struggle. And none of things are bad. They just are.

The kind of pain that’s pointless is the stupid external measurements and restrictions you apply to yourself that are part of a system or idea or goal that isn’t something self identified.  WHY are you doing what you’re doing? Is it for you? What purpose does it serve? If the struggle is truly in pursuit to be your own person it matters, it will have results you won’t feel frustrated by or stress that isn’t just an irritating pointless wave.

I need to spend more time deliberating. To… Exercise. Write. Read.

The end of my marriage was the start of something. The universe answering a question I spent a long time figuring out how to ask. Here’s a milestone birthday. Use your one lifetime wisely.  Weather the unexpected with as much patience and grace as you’re able, forgive yourself when things don’t go exactly as you planned. Chase the things you want. Love big. Leap, push, grow and don’t stop to look around to wonder what anyone else things about what you’re doing.  Don’t waste the time, because you can’t ever get it back.

Live. Live. Live!  because you’re eventually going to fucking die!

Notes from Trip 39 Around the Sun

It’s been an interesting year.

I ended a nearly 10 year relationship with my best friend & we’re now divorced. Amicably but necessarily distant. People change. To me the idea of doing nothing was ultimately more difficult to swallow than completely starting over. He’s a person I respect, admire, and love but it was no longer working for me. I feel immensely grateful that, with a few completely understandable bumps, we handled the entire thing like two people who respect and care for each other … and I learned that happens far less often than it should.

So if you’re reading this and don’t know what to say, don’t sweat it. I realize it’s an awkward thing for people to respond to. Now you know. No condolences required. It was a difficult thing and I am a much different person than I was 9 months ago.

I am more than ok. Things are great.

My family above everything else are happy, safe, and healthy. The rest of it, while trying at times, is just part of being alive. Through all of this they reminded me that I never have to doubt their love, support, and loyalty. We do insanity well, and no one goes it alone.

My friends are extraordinary. Patient, compassionate, brilliant, brave people. To anyone I doubted ever, even just to myself, I’m sorry… that was always about me, never about you.

My job. Has transformed into more of an actual career than I could have ever anticipated. Getting the hell out of the toxic environment I was in over a year ago was far and away was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. I work with some of the coolest, smartest people I’ve ever met. I feel stupid every day but never without resources. Humility means growth. I work in a culture that actually is …so much more about people’s intellect and ability than anywhere else I’ve ever worked. I have flexibility that I’ve never dreamed of and like every popular article about modern start-up culture, unlimited PTO, and flexible work environments preach, if you treat people right they will give you their best. Sometimes my best in the last year has been lacking a bit while I navigated a gigantic tidal wave of personal changes… but I truly feel like I work in an environment where my personal desire to perform well is something that my colleagues share, just for the sake of building something cool. After my first year and the departure of my boss/a company founder I inherited a lot more responsibility, and actually got a raise I feel like I deserved and didn’t have to fight with anyone for it. I try never to take it for granted. I’ve had a job since I was 15 and I’ve been through my share of shitty employment. I know how bad it can be.

I sold the first house (condo) I ever bought. I lived without a car for 7 months & bought a new one. I moved into a fabulous apartment with one of my oldest friends.

I PAID OFF ALL OF MY REMAINING STUDENT LOANS AND MY LAST CREDIT CARD. I have a car loan. That’s it. I have never been this kind of *debt-free* in my entire life. Finally. FINALLY. I will never get tired of reading that.

I’ve traveled. I went to L.A., twice. To Philly. To Florida to surprise my Grandma for her 80th birthday. To Portland for work and for fun, twice in less than 7 months. To Baltimore, Richmond, into the woods. I’ve gone to shows, baseball games, to museums, to restaurants, movies, happy hours, dinners, taken road trips. I started work to complete my large tattoo (all the road trips). I cut my hair (see the photo duh). I celebrated my Mom’s retirement (how is that even possible – neither of us is old enough for that). I’m going to spend TWO weeks at the beach (some of it working).

I started over.

I fell in love. Hard. That’s a long story for another day. Probably not here. 😛

I read a story somewhere, possibly fictitious… it doesn’t diminish the sentiment.

A little girl and her younger sister are at the pool. The older sibling is in the deep end trying to coax the younger sister to dive in. “But I’m scared” insists the little girl. They go back and forth, unaware they’re being observed. Finally an older woman, watching the exchange swims over to the younger girl at the edge of the pool. “It’s ok to be scared. Be scared and do it anyway.”

It’s a concept I try to embrace, daily… but also when faced with major decisions. I’ve said it a lot, to numerous people. I’ll say it again here. Fear is a terrible motivator. If you’re doing, or more likely NOT doing something, because you’re afraid – it’s a really good idea to divert all of your energy to figuring out why and most of the time, to do the thing anyway. In the last year I’ve done some of the hardest things I could of previously imagined and survived. Sometimes the real challenge is trusting yourself, you have to learn how to just get out of your own way.

When people talk about deathbed regrets they are never things you’ve done, they’re all of the things undone. The choices made by apathy. Surrender to attrition. The last year of my life was an utter refusal to give in to that. If I sound like I’m boasting, I no longer care. I make no apologies for being a driven, imperfect, fierce individual. I’m proud of the choices I made because a lot of them were incredibly difficult. They ran the gamut of pain from basic anxiety to near-paralyzing terror.

I was scared, I did it anyway and I am happier than I have ever been. So I’ll enjoy these last few days of my thirties, but by all means bring on 40… I can’t wait.

Escape from Suburbia

Maybe it’s because I spent over two hours in the car (a car I just bought less than two weeks ago) trying to get from the city into Arlington out to the suburbs. I’m moved yesterday. Like a privileged adult I paid two guys to move all of my shit into a truck for me. I feel almost embarrassed to be this exhausted because I didn’t actually do anything, I mean I did, but comparatively speaking.

My move has been this prolonged, looming, never-ending saga. Endless packing. Multiple hit or miss apartments before we finally landed one. The stress of selling my first house, negotiating the money situation with my ex, handling all of the logistics of staging, selling, putting things into storage, pulling things out of storage, scheduling, arranging, cleaning. Just the mental energy to deal with all of the logistics, none of it even touches on the emotions. I’m back to renting. Into the land of beige and cohabitation with a non-romantic partner (a really close friend but still… it’s not the same), there is some whiff of failure around it, temporary or not.

So I’m thinking of this as an adventure. Temporary in nature. So the washing machines are upstairs and require an ongoing commitment to a bucket of change – at least they’re big and I can get a bunch of shit done all at once. Besides I work from home and that’s easy to knock out during the day. There’s the rooftop pool – what a kick ass way to spend a lunch break – again with the working from home bit. And I’ll get to actually save some $ and go back to cooking for myself and I’m living with someone that actually eats well. I’ll have an actual walk in closet. I can cover the ugly ass beige with area rugs. I will live in a neighborhood that I can actually WALK to things. to get my nails done. To the fucking pub. There’s a bus that rolls right into the city and puts me a 15 minute walk from the office. Did I mention that my boyfriend will be right across the street?

It’s all good, when I orient myself correctly. And then in a year… on to the next adventure. Not into the suburbs.

Arlington is farther away that I thought I’d ever want to be. Moving into the city 4 years ago, even if it was the same city my entire life has been situated around since junior high, still felt like escape, or elevation of a sort. In some ways I feel like I failed by never moving away. Never lived in another city, or another country. Getting to DC at least it was different. Less than an hour but still enveloped by an entire lifestyle that seemed more _real_.

I expect to spend a lot of time weighing how I feel about this to evaluate that next step… wherever it goes.