PLD Montage: 2.1 (Life Edition)

First one of the year! I’ve really enjoyed the themed montages of the past few months, but honestly, I haven’t done enough stupid things in a condensed period of time yet this year, so a full theme hasn’t been feasible. So why not take the montage back to its roots of random stupid things I do on a daily basis!

Without further ado, here’s the first round-up of 2015: PLD Montage: Life Edition

  • I’ve started the process of looking into different yoga teacher training programs in the city, and after speaking with a very nice person at YogaWorks, decided to take a class there to get a feel for the vibe. Naturally, despite leaving with plenty of time, a snowstorm and weekend subway schedules meant I was HOOFING IT off the subway at Canal Street, desperately trying to be on time for this first class. I made it with about 2 minutes to spare, super excited I’d already signed up for the class so I knew I’d find a spot to put my mat, even if I was a few minutes late. SURPRISE: the class was packed, the instructor completely ignored me, and I got some SERIOUS attitude from one of the students when I gently asked her if she could make room for my mat (which she decidedly did not do). I stood awkwardly in the front of the room for another 3 minutes before finally saying (out loud) “Fuck this” and leaving.
    Lesson learned: if it looks like a snobby studio, and smells like snobby studio, it’s probably not the kind of place where you can forget your anxiety over yoga-induced cameltoe and get lost in the sequence.
  • I spent a really long time thinking about my first day at the new job over the Atlantic City weekend that I actually managed to keep it (mostly) together during the whole weekend, drinking enough to make friends with a cute boy that danced with me to a live band in the casino, but not so much that I couldn’t shut down his touchy-feely married Brazilian friend that tagged along. Once we were home on Sunday, I spent the day cleaning, relaxing, drinking tons of water and generally taking care of myself, even going to bed before 10 p.m., all because I wanted to be in tip-top shape come 9:30 a.m. Monday. Then my alarm went off and I woke up with the WORST migraine I’ve had in years.
    Lesson learned: No matter how hard you fight it, a post-Atlantic City hangover will always find you.
  • Something I’ve been really good about for the past year or so is packing a lunch for work. Usually it’s a salad with some kind of leftovers on it, or I’ll prep salad parts on the weekend and just assemble something quickly in the morning, nothing special. I usually eat at my desk, which was great at my last job because I didn’t have people sitting on either side of me, and I didn’t feel bad about food smells radiating from around my keyboard. This mindset means on my first week in the job I was bringing salads topped with boiled egg, roasted Brussels sprouts and garlic dressing.
    Lesson learned: There’s no better way to introduce yourself around the office without having to move than hard boiled eggs for lunch on day one.
  • HR gave me my very own candy jar as a “Welcome!” treat, filled to the brim with chocolate and Nerds and other sugary delicious things.
    Lesson learned: Apparently I can’t be trusted not to eat 3 weeks’ worth of candy in less than 5 days.
  • The other day I was so busy that I didn’t realize I was listening to Christmas music for a half-hour. Nothing like Spotify announcing to your entire Facebook feed that you were singing along to “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” in February.
    Lesson learned: PAY ATTENTION.

Eat, Sleep, Work, Repeat

New Yorkers are an ambitious people. We push each other to do better all the time, because whether we’re talking about personal, professional, or secret lives, there is always someone ready to take your place at the first sign of weakness or a shaky resolve. This is true during the morning commute, when a coveted seat opens at a crowded spot; on the weekends, where you can’t waver on whether to talk to the hot boy or buy the pretty girl a drink because someone will beat you to it; and throughout the week, where we work like maniacs for however many hours per week, pushing ourselves to be the best. I think this constant rat race is what exhausts the people that claim they could “never live in NYC,” and I can totally understand that sentiment, but for the rest of us, there’s a pride and a hunger that comes with pushing yourself to work harder, be smarter, do more. The city is our Tiger Mom, making sure you know that you’re not a special snowflake unless, or until, you create a snowstorm for yourself.

Something we say in my line of work is that this industry isn’t a 9-5. I mean yes, I work Monday through Friday and during the day, but my industry is one that runs on adrenaline and caffeine, constantly changing with the sunrise and a piece of news; one day you could roll into the office at 930 and roll out by 6, and other days you’re working 14 hours straight, chugging lattes until the words on the computer start to blur. I don’t mind the occasional late nights, really. There are perks to working late sometimes. Your company might pay for you to take a car home, or pay for dinner. Sometimes it’s a great time for bonding with coworkers, and if you’re really lucky the company will have a bottle of wine open in the kitchen to pass those last few minutes. My company has all of these things and more, and yet it’s tough to be sitting here, 9 p.m. on a Tuesday as I’m starting this draft, with no end of crazy in sight.

I feel badly complaining about a crazy work schedule. For starters, I’m so grateful to have a job, especially one that I really like, and I relish the chance to work on things that actually stimulate me and make me excited to learn more. I’m so fortunate that my office is directly across the street from Chelsea Market, that I get a stunning view of the sunset over the frozen Hudson, and that at the end of the day, if working late on a winter weeknight is the worst part of my week, then I’ve got a pretty damn good life. Plus, I think about friends with crazier schedules, like my ex, who routinely worked past midnight, and once stayed in the office for 36 hours straight the day before we left on our first vacation together (spoiler alert: he slept pretty much the whole time. We agreed I wouldn’t complain about his sleeping provided he did not comment on my 10:30 a.m. pina coladas). So in the grand scheme of things, I don’t really have a right to complain about being here, once again, this late; I can’t complain about my three weeks of nights past 7:30 when I know people that work these types of hours all the time.

But I am so tired. I’m so tired. I don’t have the time to do things that make me happy, and it’s starting to affect me: I’m barely managing an hour of yoga per day, I clearly have no time to blog, and frankly, I don’t have any time to unwind after work, because I get home with just enough time to cobble together a quick dinner (which at this point is usually just eggs or an apple) before it’s bedtime, and then I’m back to the same routine: early morning, late night. I miss having that extra hour at home to myself each night, one I can fill with whatever I want, whether it’s watching Netflix, doing more yoga, reading a magazine, or sitting on the couch with little miss, just hanging out and listening to The Heights. It’s small, this nightly debrief, but it’s something I look forward to, and losing that little extra time to myself has been a really tough adjustment.

Want to know the worst part of all this, though? I secretly love it. I love coming into the office and getting into work that’s challenging and still new. I know the soft swoosh of the white noise machines overhead that signal the end of a normal work day, bringing this still calm over the office, perfectly conducive for those last two hours of urgent things I’ve been trying to tackle all day. I like watching the sunset over the Hudson, frozen this week with the weather, and I love the way my head hits the pillow every night, the heavy thud of a tired LB followed by the deep sigh of a day well done. I’m starting to get that crazy-person mini-anxiety if I realize I haven’t checked my work phone before going to bed, and it’s part of my morning ritual now to read emails before I’m even out of pajamas. I feel accomplished, and successful, and look, the late nights to get there aren’t my favorite, but I’m proud of what I’ve done in such a short time, and I know I haven’t even really started to get going.

When I left the office after 9 last night, I had already worked 24 hours in just two days. That’s an entire day out of my life that was spent at my desk, in front of my computer. And in that time, I probably checked six things off my to-do list and added twelve. Yesterday was supposed to be my slow day, leading into a busy end of the week, and tonight promises to be a doozy. And sure, it sucks to think that I’ll be home too late again to enjoy that little ritual, those few moments to myself before jumping back into the grid, but on that same note, it’s awesome. It’s awesome to feel accomplished at the end of a long day, and a long week, and at this point, a long month. Will it feel awesome forever? Maybe not. But I don’t think it will be like this forever, the scrambling late nights and blurring words on a tired laptop. And even if it is, so be it. After all, this is the rat race of New York City. We’re all mad here.

“I will do well.”

“Let everything go. Don’t focus on the moment when you fell, or how your neighbor did ‘more’ or did ‘better’ than you. Think about all the love you put into your practice today, and then send that love to the people in your life that need it, the people that support you and share their love with you with no expectations.”

On Valentine’s Day, rather than doing the typical single-girl stereotype of watching chick flicks and/or slasher films on Netflix, surrounded by chocolates, wine and my cat, I decided to treat myself to a workshop with my VERY FAVORITE YOGI, who had traveled up from Florida for the weekend to share her fantastic skills in Core (abs) and Inversion (upside-down) work. I spent two hours in the afternoon stretching every which direction, working my core in ways I never have before and spending more time upside down than if I’d spent a full day on the same roller coaster, over and over and upside down again. It was rewarding and fulfilling in a way that I’ve never experienced in a yoga class, but also FREAKING EXHAUSTING. I was so relieved to sit in savasana (non-yoga people: that’s when you basically take a mini-nap at the end), and the yogi started guiding us through meditation with the lines above. Intense practice like we’d done those two hours can bring up a lot, and as she spoke I felt tears bubble up and start to trickle down my cheek, one after another. It was as powerful laying there, absolutely still, a clear head filled with love, as it was in the moment ten minutes prior, where I held a handstand (if briefly!) for the very first time.

Before I really started with yoga, I had this image in my head that yoga people were these granola hippies, talking about negative energy and chanting mantras, crowing about how we carry bad feelings in different parts of the body, making this huge deal out of arm movements that “opened your heart” and all other sorts of corny statements. My first experience in a yoga studio a few months into my practice was mostly a series of me rolling my eyes at the instructor, not focusing on breath, just trying to do “better” than the girl next to me, and go deeper into postures to impress the instructor. I mean, I started yoga because yoga people are in really great shape, and I wanted to be in really great shape. Not a joke. I wanted the yoga butt, and the yoga arms, and so what if I had to listen to someone say corny things about “listening to your body” and taking “healing breaths” (which FYI is basically normal breathing), so long as I got those things. As my practice started improving, I started following yogis on Instagram to get “ideas for cool pictures,” looking at yoga as a series of “impressive moves” to show off what I’d learned, rather than taking the time to understand how to move my body properly into the postures. Mantras were foreign, as were terms like “pranayama breaths” and “releasing energy,” and it wasn’t until I injured myself pretty seriously in September trying something I wasn’t ready to do (anything for dat Instagram!) that I had to take a step back and look at yoga as more than a means to a great ass.

February has been a really trying month. Between leaving a job, two trips to Connecticut, the Atlantic City weekend and of course, adjusting to the long hours of the new job, I’ve tried so hard to push through emotionally, staying as positive as I can and telling myself it won’t be like this forever. But last night, for whatever reason, I couldn’t. I stared at my yoga mat and tried a few stretches, but I eventually just sat on the mat and started taking deep breaths. I’m exhausted. I’m physically, emotionally and mentally exhausted, and February isn’t even my busy month this season. I was trying to quiet my thoughts in the mini-savasana (reminder: yoga nap), counting breaths, but my mind kept racing; first I was berating myself for not making it through a full flow, then encouraging myself that if this were a year ago I’d be half into a bottle of wine and waiting for pizza delivery. I finally had to resort to the ultra-yoga-hippie nerd move, and started focusing on a mantra that I’ve used in the past when I can’t get my thoughts to turn off: as my mind continued running faster and faster, I started taking a deep inhale, deep exhale, deep inhale, and simply telling myself between each breath: “I will do well.”

Mantras are whatever you want them to be. They can be long, short, complicated, simple, whatever helps you focus and set the intention for a practice. As I sat on the mat last night, exhausted by my life and the general state of being, it was hard to tell myself those four little words. It’s hard to stop moving at lightspeed for a minute and just tell yourself that the best you can do is to do your best. Despite having not done an intense practice, like I had last Saturday, as I took those deep inhales, exhales, and told myself “I will do well,” I felt the same emotions start to percolate deep inside me, spilling over the tip of my eyelids like the slow crawl of a frothy fountain soda. I stayed there for a long time, quieting everything down in my marathon mind, and finally rose from the mat feeling as mentally refreshed as if I’d practiced for hours. I started laughing almost immediately upon standing – look who’s turning into the total granola hippie stereotype she scoffed at less than a year ago.

While I’m so proud of myself for the advances I’ve made across my entire practice, from new arm balances to finally getting into a full split, It feels good to know that instead of focusing on how great my ass looks in a pair of leggings (*which it totally does, but not the point), I’m just focusing on doing my best. It’s a simple goal, certainly not as lofty as “I’m going to get into that great pose for Instagram,” but in that simplicity, it’s the most powerful thing I’ve done for myself in a long time. There will be plenty more weeks of nonstop travel, long nights at work and a whole host of confusing situations that get my mind running, and I’ll definitely be this exhausted and more in the coming year. So I’m glad I have the granola-hippie,  yoga-nut, crazy stereotype in me to remind me in the worst of times that “I will do well.”

Maybe, Never

On Super Bowl Sunday, following a languid day of yoga, food prep, more yoga and of course, the Puppy Bowl, I found myself standing in my lovely friend M’s kitchen between quarters, searching for a bottle opener amid solo cups and mountains of chips. I heard a loud “LB!” behind me, and turned to find M striding quickly in my direction, stopping close enough to put her hand on my shoulder, lean in my ear and tell me something I was absolutely not expecting to hear. It’s not a secret, it wasn’t shocking in content, and granted I was a *few* beers in, but it was enough of a surprise that for most of the third quarter, I sat next to H the Scot, halfheartedly yelling at the television screen while I let this new information roll around in my thoughts, testing the words on the tip of my tongue, trying to figure out how I felt about them. I finally put the words away for a while, since there’s only one way I’ll really figure out how to feel about them: I just have to wait and see.

That next weekend was the ever-epic Nickname Posse Does Atlantic City weekend, my last “hurrah” after 36 hours of funemployment before starting the new job. While wandering around with drinks on Friday, trying to find a good spot to settle for a steady drunk on the first night, we saw on a poster that freaking Lil Jon was going to be spinning at one of the clubs in the casino on Saturday, and in the spirit of “EPIC WEEKEND,” we knew we had to go. Despite a mishap where our dinner restaurant apparently thought “we have a reservation” meant “you can wait around for 30 minutes,” we made it to the show with enough time to get primo standing real estate (complete with perfect stage view) and enjoy a few drinks before the dulcet tones of “SHOTS” started thumpa-thumping. Somehow towards the end of the night, H and I ended up as the last ones standing, downing whiskeys by the bar and having one of our classic drunk heart-to-hearts about everything and nothing. He brought up the content of the Super Bowl conversation and we talked about it for a while. It’s so dumb, how much I’ve thought about the content of that conversation; it’s almost embarrassing, a delusional dreamer who can’t get those two conversations out of her head. But H and I came to the same conclusion that M and I did: I can’t figure out how I feel about the situation, so I just need to wait and see.

I have a hard time waiting things out. Blame it on my Irish roots, my miserable attention span, an after-effect of the gimme generation or a combination of those factors and more, but my personality is not one that gravitates towards situations where the only conclusion is “wait and see.” Usually it’s harmless: I’ll read spoilers for movies I don’t want to see that badly (and some that I do), open the oven door 2 minutes before the cookies are done “just to check,” or post a video on Instagram of my partner-in-crime R and I dancing to Lil Jon in Atlantic City before watching it because I want to show off our sweet moves. Other times it’s harder: I’ll decide I want a tattoo and a week later I’ve got one, or I’ll buy a bottle of wine the night before a date with the assumption I’ll need it after the date turns out terribly and I’m alone with little miss again. I’m impatient and impulsive to a fault, and knowing there’s something coming in the not-so-distant future that can change everything or change nothing has set off my internal Uh-Ohs; I’m desperately searching for answers or even just a clue as to whether all these weird emotions are completely insane or if it’s okay that I find myself daydreaming of the summer sun on FiDi rooftops like it’s five days instead of five months away.

Something non-single people love to tell single people is “You never know.” As in, “I know you didn’t have a great time on the first date, but give him another chance – you never know!” or “Sure, you haven’t heard from him in days, but he’s probably just busy! You never know!” That’s all I’ve heard in any direction of a conclusion since hearing those words on Superbowl Sunday, in Atlantic City: “Well LB sure it’s kind of crazy, but come on, you never know!” It’s an evil yet powerful statement to hear in any situation, much like “everything happens for a reason” and “free booze till 10.” I know I need to keep those words tucked in the back of my mind for now, safely guarded within the stone walls of what are either delusions or fantasies, until I have no other choice but to deal with them. Maybe this wait-and-see will turn out to be a false alarm, or maybe it won’t even be a relevant factor in my life when the time comes. Or maybe it’ll surprise me, and waiting will have been worth it the whole time. I mean, maybe it’s crazy – but hey. You never know.

Blame Neptune.

I am a bad blogger.

Well, we all know that’s not true, I’m witty and adorable and you love reading my nonsense. But yes, I’ve been super neglectful of this space for the past week, and I don’t have a great update to share now, no masterful articles masking identities behind confusing dating tales or anecdotes from the last time I drank too much wine (e.g. last night). I do have an excuse though – the new job, while already rewarding and fulfilling on a whole new level, definitely took me by surprise last week, in terms of hours in the office and the volume of work during the day. To clarify: this is a GREAT thing! But it does mean that I need to learn how to re-adjust my normal blogging schedule so I don’t fall so far behind again. It’s quite funny to think this is exactly what I was doing last year too, learning how to blog on a schedule, but I figured it out once before and I’m confident I’ll do it again.

In the meantime, here are a few fun updates that may or may not turn into longer posts in the near future:

  • Atlantic City was AH-MAZING. The Nickname Posse definitely crushed it the whole weekend last weekend: gambled a little on Friday night, my lovely friend M and I did poolside yoga on Saturday, we managed to get six free appetizers at dinner on Saturday and then went to a Lil Jon almost-concert in a deliciously trashy club. The weekend ended at Five Guys before noon where we all ate with our sunglasses on and hoped that the two hour car ride wouldn’t be the end of anyone.
  • Started the new job with a horrid migraine though, which was a great way to remember that I’m no longer 21 and going out two nights in a row is a recipe for disaster.
  • Valentine’s Day is actually one of my favorite non-holidays, even (and almost especially) as a single person. This year I treated myself to a Core/Inversions workshop with one of my favorite yogis (NERD ALERT) and then went to Connecticut for a few days to celebrate mama B’s birthday and take care of a few doctor’s appointments. Because yes, I’m 26 and I still like my doctors from high school.
  • Snowstorm Neptune or whatever it’s called wreaked havoc on Connecticut yesterday morning. There’s nothing quite like a good snowstorm at my parent’s house to bring me back to childhood, a big mug of hot chocolate after shoveling the driveway and throwing a few snowballs for good measure. Truth be told, I meant to catch up on blogging all day yesterday, but instead I sat with the aforementioned hot beverage and got sucked into a Twilight marathon on television. Judge away, IDGAF.

I promise promise I’ll figure out the new blogging schedule soon. Especially since there are definitely a few funny stories from the little blips above – but all in good time.

Quick Thoughts: Big Changes

I smiled, watching the pile of worn tape grow on the side of my desk, as I pulled photos down from the column next to my desk last Thursday, one by one. I’d put up the photo wall in early September, an attempt in personalizing my little cube, something I hadn’t bothered to do in the previous seven months of working at that company, and now I was taking them down, the final step before walking out the door for the last time. Many of the photos were from March through August of last year, and despite having seen them every day for five months, I found myself reminiscing over each one.

There were photos from the Spartan Race, my partner-in-crime R, Twinster and I in sports bras covered in mud, flexing and showing off our medals; there were snaps from Jazz Age Lawn Party, R, H the Scot, my dearest K and I dressed to the nines in our roaring 20s gear. There were taxi selfies of my lovely friend M, her N and I, epic Nickname Posse selfies with all of us squeezed in a tiny frame, photos of my family and a glamour shot of little miss, posing next to my dresser like a 6 pound model (of pure evil). There were photobooth shots of my anchor G and soul sister E, and R, C and I posing with our best Resting Bitch Face at dinner the weekend H’s brother was in town. I had this interesting moment, as I peeled the final photo away and threw away the mound of tape; I thought that would be the moment it hit me that I was really leaving my job, really starting over somewhere new, but instead a slow calm washed over me like a misty storm. Those photos spanned just five months in the last year, yet they are packed with so many memories on the surface; and even more memories behind the scenes, like how the Spartan weekend was the one where The Child told me “I can’t” and how that photo of little miss was right after I tried yoga for the first time ever. “What a year,” I thought, carefully tucking the photos into the bag with the rest of my personal effects. What a year indeed.

As I’m settling into day two at this brand new office, I’m noticing I have an empty cube and many more memories to hang. I could bring in the same photos, put up the same wall. But no, I think not. Since the past five months have been just as eventful as the ones on my wall the last time. I think a new job, and a new desk, means it’s high time for new decorations. I’ll spend some time later tonight picking out the new photos to reminisce on next year about how much has already changed.

When You Just Know (Pt. II)

For part one, go here.

Back in October, I met a guy while out with the Nickname Posse for H the Scot’s birthday. I remember thinking he was really cute, and funny, and I don’t remember how many tequila shots I’d had before we started talking, but by the end of the night, we’d exchanged numbers and eventually made plans to get together. I woke up the next morning to a text from him, and instead of smiling, my first reaction was “dammit Drunk LB.” I had so many other things going on in my life at that moment that putting any effort into dating wasn’t in my plan. I tried to find a way to politely decline when he asked me out, but my lovely friend M and Mama B both convinced me that it couldn’t hurt to give him a shot. We went out a few times, and honestly, there was nothing wrong with him: he was polite, employed, smart and ambitious. But at the end of the day, I just wasn’t into it. I told him as much, said I didn’t really have time to date at this point in my life, and he told me it was great meeting me and good luck. We haven’t spoken since, and that’s totally fine. Sometimes it takes a little while, but when you know, you just know.

I sat down recently to figure out my budget for the next year, factoring in where I’m at with my credit cards, what trips I have planned and when, how much I’ll need to set aside for all the weddings I’ll be in and attending. The beauty of living in a rent stabilized apartment is that my rent barely went up this year, and my expenses won’t change much either, which means if I’m smarter about not spending money on Free People and taxi rides, I’ll have an okay bit of money saved by this time next year. I was running through a few vinyasas on my mat a few days later and decided to try a challenging arm balance I hadn’t tried before. This obviously led to me falling over spectacularly, splayed out on the mat like a squashed bug. Frustrated, I started berating myself for not being further along in practice, chiding lazy LB that she can’t keep using excuses like “I’m tired” or “I had a long day” to sit on the couch instead of stretch on the mat, when I know how much it improves my mood. As I picked myself up and gave the posture another shot, I realized there is a perfect way to motivate myself to keep up with yoga, save money, and maybe even forge a different path for my future than I’d ever anticipated. Sometimes it takes a little while, but when you know, you just know.

There are people and places in your life that fit immediately, make sense immediately, like you’ve known them forever, or been there forever, a series regular from day one. My M, my partner-in-crime R, Washington Heights; sometimes you need the fireworks, the immediate “I get it!,” the secure feeling that this is a constant in your life from that point forward. But there’s also times when it takes a little while before you know for sure. Sometimes it’s just giving things another chance, or two, and sometimes it’s a revelation that takes a while to form in an ever-changing life. Sometimes you’re in the middle of something before you’ve even noticed it starting, and sometimes it takes a moment of clarity after months of fighting before you’re sure of your next move.

I heard from someone I adore back in December who’d just started a new job, and couldn’t stop saying wonderful things. She and I worked together years ago, and I look up to her as both my mentor and my friend. She’d been gently pushing me since starting to “just come in and meet everyone,” reminding me it “doesn’t hurt to see what’s out there.” Flattered, I told her maybe, but added that I wasn’t looking to leave my current job. Early into the New Year, I took a break from work to check my personal email, and lo and behold, there was a note from the HR department of my friend’s employer, simply saying she’d heard great things about me and asking if I’d be interested in “just coming in to meet everyone.” I smiled at the familiar words, and went to respond with a polite “no thank you,” but something stopped me before I hit send. In a moment, I cycled through the previous four years in my mind, remembering what it’s like when someone criticizes you for a mistake you didn’t make, and what it’s like when you actually enjoy the work you’re doing and the people helping you along the way. I looked up at my screen, rewrote my polite decline and hit send, instantly getting a gut feeling that big things were about to happen. Sometimes it takes a little while, but when you know, you just know.

Decisions have a wide range of ease and difficulty, yes I want another tattoo, no I don’t eat ketchup, maybe I’m not happy here and a change is exactly what I need. Sometimes we make decisions immediately after the fireworks, but other times the decisions wait for us to be ready for them, like an offer to “come in and meet everyone” sitting quietly for a month, and before you know it you’re accepting a job offer and giving your two weeks. It’s a lovely notion, having the right ideas readily accessible when you need them, but maybe it’s just a matter of knowing where to look when you’re in need of something new. Sometimes life throws you a bone when you need one and sometimes it throws you barbed wire, but every once in a while, there are moments where you just know it’s the right thing to deal with a little blood on your hands. Because sometimes it takes you a while to get there, but when you know, you just know.

Chronicle Q&A

Thank you to everyone that texted, emailed and otherwise asked questions after my adorably written plea for material. Since I said all of the sappy stuff yesterday on the real anniversary, let’s just get straight to the inquisition! From my heart and my keyboard to your screen, I hope you enjoy the behind-the-scenes look at my Chronicle of a 20-whatever,

Q: What made you decide to start a blog?
A: This is a difficult question to answer, because honestly I’ve always had some form of a blog. I had a Livejournal in high school (it was 2004, everyone did it), a blogger site in the early city years, even another public blog for about 6 months in 2013. I also have a personal journal I’ve been writing in since 2008. I’ve always felt compelled to write; writing calms me down and makes me feel like I understand what’s going on around me, even though that’s almost definitely never true.

What made me decide to start this blog was realizing that I was getting myself into all of these hilarious and absurd situations, and going through all of these growing pains and all of this emotional turmoil, simply trying to navigate the city as a mid-20s single person. For a really long time it felt like a terrible and shameful thing that I didn’t know what the hell I was doing, but then I noticed I was having a freaking BLAST at life and I didn’t care that I was bad at it. Apparently sucking at life is a part of your 20s, so why not share my struggles with people going through the same thing?

My goals have always been to overshare as much as possible while still knowing that family and coworkers read this; and to put out posts that are relatable to anyone, whether you’re single in your 20s, married in your 30s, or my grandmother, who’s almost 90 but still tells me all the time how much she loves the blog. Even though tbh she can’t work a computer and has probably never seen this before (If I’m wrong, hi Meems!).

Q: How do your friends feel about being included in your stories?
A: Great question. They hate it.

Just kidding! I think. I hope? In all seriousness, no one has complained, to me at least. Do they love being included in my Friendly Conversations round-ups or my expert recapping of our Epic Sunday Funday PLDs? Probably not. But they all read and love the stories, with a high-five and a shout-out to R, H and C, who are unquestionably my biggest fans and the instigators and/or bystanders for most of my best material.

That said, my goal in writing all this is to make sure things stay focused on me, because at the end of the day, it’s not a blog about anyone else. I’m not speculating on my friend’s relationships or how they feel when I show up late somewhere (again) or forget plans (again) or embarrass them in public (again). With that distinction, I think if you look at the blog from a big picture perspective, all of my stories that involve friends are meant to celebrate the role the Nickname Posse plays in my life. They’re the tough love-givers, the ones who pop a dream bubble that they can see turning into a nightmare, the ones that hold my hair back when I’m throwing up in the street (I mean what? that never happened) and the ones who hold me back when I’m about to do something I’ll regret. They’re the most important people in my life, and my Chronicle doesn’t exist without them.

So do they love it all the time? Probably not, but at least on their side, the good far outweighs the embarrassing.

Q: What are the best and worst parts about having a blog?
A: Honestly, the worst part about having a blog is, in fact, having a blog. I very naively did not think ahead and realize how much writing and moderating would penetrate my daily life. When I first started putting the site together, I was at a job which didn’t keep me too busy, plus I hadn’t settled into single life, plus I thought I had a lot to say. So the first few weeks, I wrote a lot of content in between tasks at work, and assumed it would always be that easy. Pro tip: THAT IS FALSE. Keeping up with the blog, in terms of inspiration for posts, writing said posts in a coherent way, and then editing them to be blog-ready, is really freaking hard. I’m more than a little surprised I’ve been able to keep it up for this long, given my track record.

Having said that, the best part about having a blog is having a blog. I love having a place to share all my opinions and musings and tales from weekend PLDs. I love writing and having people respond. I love hearing from people who really connect with something I’ve put out there, especially when I’ve wrestled with whether to share that information. I love friends referencing the blog in daily conversations and I love that they support this crazy space no matter what. I hope I can keep it up in the years to come.

Q: You seem to have some really pointed references in some of the posts. Are those meant for particular people? 
A: I can’t pull out any examples here without outing people, so I have to dance around this a little bit. I won’t admit to posting content specifically for a person, but I will say this much: every word on this blog is deliberate. If you read something and think, “Hm, that’s oddly specific. I wonder if it’s meant for someone…” the answer is probably yes.

Q: Can you reveal any of the cryptic hints/secrets from posts in the past?
A: Fair follow-up. I try not to be cryptic when it comes to things that affect me directly, and only me, but if I’m referencing someone else who (a): hasn’t consented to the story being public, or (b): may not read the blog and know what’s up there, I try not to divulge too much. I can’t go into big secrets, like identities or anything, but I’ll divulge a few fun tidbits:

  • Here’s what really happened on the Weirdest Day Ever: My ex-boyfriend (the big one) requested to follow me on Instagram, a high school boyfriend sent me something on Facebook, my college boyfriend was apparently creeping on my LinkedIn profile, the guy that I’d recently met and really liked (despite his inconveniently living across the pond) sent me a text after a few days of silence, and then I heard from The Child for the first time since everything between us went down. That shit was seriously cray.
  • The infamous Dating Confessions and booty-call posts are in reference to the same person BUT he wasn’t involved in the weird day above.
  • The Crush and Rebound posts are also inspired by the same person, but he isn’t ANY of the guys above. (Though Confessions has a cameo in Rebound).
  • In the PLD Montage: Austin edition, I will admit that the “beard burn” quote was mine.
  • And just for fun: the commenter labeled “Dave” on the Sister Wives post is actually N. Which I knew, clearly. We also went out later that night for his birthday and he spilled the beans twice that it was him. Oh, hubs.

Q: Are the initials for the Nickname Posse their actual initials? Also, are yours really LB?
A: This is a surprisingly hard question to answer. Everyone’s initials are connected to their name, but that doesn’t mean everyone’s initials are their first name, or even last name. You’d be surprised how many friends I have with names that start with “M.”

But yes, my real initials are LB. LEB, in full.

One Year!!

I remember exactly where I was on this day last year. I was at my then-desk, trying to fill the slow hours of one of my final days in that company before starting at the place I’ll be leaving for good in two days. I was still reeling from one of the most ridiculous weekends I’d had with my as-then-single partner-in-crime R, and secretly texting the Banker, the first crush I’d had since my as-then-still recent big break-up. I looked the final draft that I’d been working on for the entire day for the hundredth time, took a deep breath, and pushed “Publish” without looking at the screen, like I couldn’t believe I’d just took the first step in starting a blog that I’d unofficially decided would focus on all the dumb things I do in my daily life. I let out that deep breath and took a minute to sit and stare at the screen, hoping that I’d have enough to talk about to keep a blog, and praying to whatever god was listening that I knew what I was getting myself into.

I never could have expected how much would happen in 2014: engagements, weddings, a new relationship, another break-up and the slow integration of yoga into my life. When I hit that button on the first entry last year, I thought if I could keep the blog going for six months, I’d be proud of myself; then it was nine months, and now here we are, one year and 133 entries later. In a year I’ve talked about booty calls and sexting, about my love for Taylor Swift and what to do when you accidentally step in sidewalk pee. I’ve shared pictures without my face and almost flashed a boob trying to show off the tattoo I’d dreamed of getting for years. I’ve hinted at the beginnings of new crushes and first dates, and I’ve not-so-subtly hinted when things ended, sometimes easily and sometimes not so much. I’ve blogged through hangovers, Spartan Race- and/or yoga-related injuries, deep depression and the peak of happiness, and I’ve shared snippets of my daily life and daily conversations that made me smile, hoping it does the same for everyone who reads them.

For 2015, I’m faced with: a new job, bridesmaid/maid-of-honor duties, exponentially more engagements and maybe a date here and there. I’m sure there will be more terrible decisions, ones that make me sad and others that make me laugh. I think on some level, I started this blog because I thought it would help me make sense of a life that seemed to be changing with every sunrise, maybe bring some order into a chaotic life. Now I can’t wait for the next year to unfold; the uncertainty and the chaos mixed with moments of self-reflection and perhaps a little bit of calm.

I’ve said it recently, but it can never be said enough: I am so, so grateful to anyone reading this right now, whether you’ve been following me for five days or five months, whether you’ve watched the story from day one or whether you’re only here because Google fucked up and you were trying to find actual advice about living life as a 20-whatever. If the latter, though – the best advice I can give you is none of us know what we’re doing, so sit back and enjoy the ride.

I look forward to sharing the next year with every single one of you.

Much love,