Quick Thoughts: Day Two

Captain’s Log: Whole30 Day 2

Well, after eating compliant for the entirety of yesterday, my lovely friend M and I decided we’d just start our Whole30 a day early, immediately removing the pressure of “DAY 1 WHOLE30 OMG” and setting us on a good path for the rest of the week. I’ve been reading extensively about what to expect on Whole30 for the first few days, largely so I can prepare my coworkers for any unpleasant mood and/or gastrointestinal side effects, but before starting, I didn’t think the rules of the Whole30 timeline would apply to me. I mean, it’s not a radical shift of my eating habits. Was I really going to experience the “Hangover” they tell you to expect on Day 2? I know my body has some gunk to clear out, but I really didn’t think I’d experience things like mental fog, a headache, a general malaise and an overwhelming desire to stay in bed until I remember how to pronounce my name again. Like, that rule wasn’t going to apply to me, right?

WRONG.

VERY WRONG.

I’m working on a post for later this week that I really wanted to put up today, but sorry guys, it’s just not going to happen. I’m just busy enough at work that it would be tough to proof properly on a good day, but I am legit going through these waves of “MENTAL CLARITY!! Nope total mental fog. I FEEL GREAT!! Oh dear god my head hurts.” Since when is a hangover from EATING HEALTHY worse than the hangover I had on Sunday after drinking tequila for 6 hours at my partner-in-crime’s golden birthday this past Saturday? The human body is a mysterious thing.

TL;DR: Everything hurts when you try to be healthy.

“I just need a minute.”

Early this morning, after I’d rolled myself out of bed, just late enough to miss the yoga class I’d ambitiously told myself to attend, I was taking stock of everything in my kitchen and realized there are a few staple items I’m going to need before starting the Whole30 on Tuesday. Despite the fact that it was 6:25 and the sun wasn’t even up yet, I texted my lovely friend M for advice on the best time to go to Trader Joe’s (answer: pretty much never), and then we just went back and forth for a bit, catching up on our Thursday nights, until it was just past 7 and I needed to finish getting ready for work. M and I frequently text this early in the morning about anything and nothing – I think since I live alone and her N doesn’t wake up until after she’s left for work, it’s a chance for both of us to have a conversation before starting our days. M is the only person (aside from Mama B on occasion) who I text with that early in the morning, so when I heard my phone chirp early yesterday, I assumed it was her. Imagine my surprise when it was a message from my anchor G, who not only is NOT a morning person, but is an hour behind NYC in Texas. Immediately nervous something was wrong, I frantically opened the text to read “I just need a minute,” and as I read on I smiled: first, because everything was fine, and second, because there are some conversations you can really only have with your best friend at 7 in the morning from across the country.

In this day and age, there are some really weird ways that we show each other affection. People write “Happy Birthday!” on Facebook instead of calling or even texting, and sharing your Netflix password, or better yet, your HBOGo account, is the highest honor a friend can bestow. The really good friends always check with the photo subjects before posting a group selfie to Instagram, a quickly-becoming unwritten rule for a good friendship, and you can maintain entire relationships through a small tablet between long text conversations and maybe a late-night Facetime now and again. Sure, there’s a personal aspect that’s missing with these types of interactions, but when you have friends scattered all over the country, plus a busy job, it’s hard to find that half-hour or hour to sit and catch up on life. I mean, it’s not like I’ll text just anyone at 6 in the morning – let’s be real, 9 times out of 10 the only thing I want to hear before 7am is the buzz of the coffee maker and Weather on the 1s (NYC gets it). But for a quick conversation to confirm if I should stock up on coconut butter from Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods, or maybe a conversation to help a friend through a frustrating moment, I’ll respond any time of the day.

G and I are in a similarly interesting place in our lives, as we’ve had a lot of personal experiences that mirror each other in the past two years. She also dealt with a life-changing break-up, she also dealt with someone who wasn’t mature enough for the promises he made, and she’s also navigating single life with a cautious yet reckless abandon, something I picked up from her because I admire it so much. We’re really good at keeping up with each other on the phone, long Sunday afternoon phone dates where I pace my apartment as little miss follows, laughing at everything and sharing all the details, but every once in a while we need an early-morning bitch fest to get out the frustrations of being 20-somethings with someone who understands exactly how the other is feeling. It’s in these moments I’m so grateful we can text quickly instead of waiting for the long Sunday calls; it’s a chance to bitch and moan to someone across the country so you don’t take frustration out on anyone around you. It’s also a great chance to stay attuned to the little details of our lives, the way we did in college, when an early morning bitch-fest meant someone breaking into the other’s dorm room and climbing into her bed, demanding a hug and stealing as much of the comforter as possible. It’s comforting, almost, being able to share a few minutes in the morning, because it makes me feel like she’s two doors down again, waiting for me to walk to class.

I don’t think our morning text sessions will ever reach the level that M and I text. After all, M and I live two blocks away instead of 2,000 miles, and are basically in constant contact all day, between grocery lists, videos from work and coordinating weekend plans. It’s nice to know that the option is there, though, when I really need G for just a minute. Sometimes that just means one of us has a date later that night and we’re nervous, or sometimes it’s the morning after the date and you need to share details. Sometimes it’s just an excuse to send angry words in ALL CAPS because it’s frustrating to be the only single person in your group of friends, and sometimes it’s half-joking complaints that those friends will never understand what we’ve been through, though god knows they keep trying. I’m sure the next time I see her name on my phone it’ll be a long conversation over the actual phone, since we’re way, way overdue. But in the meantime, it’s nice to have “just a minute” here and there to stay in touch, regardless of whether I’ve had my coffee yet or not.

Sugar, Sugar

Back towards the end of February, I was casually stalking my own Instagram when I saw that I’d posted two pictures in Locust Pose within two weeks of each other. I had some time to kill, as I was waiting for feedback on something for work before heading home for the night, so I edited the photos next to each other and was really surprised to see a noticeable difference in my backbend – in just 11 days! I posted the picture, and then put my phone down, checking in a few hours later when a notification came up that my anchor G had left me a comment. She left me a really sweet note, one I’ve gone back to read a few times, asking questions like how long I practice every day, and closing with something I hear somewhat frequently after people find out I’m a yoga nerd: “Help me, I’m inflexible.” Knowing she’s usually game for a dare, I posed a challenge to G: starting on March 31, she completes the Erin Motz/Do You Yoga 30-day Challenge on YouTube that inspired my entire yoga practice, and I’ll finally complete my first round of Whole30.

Now, for those unfamiliar with the Whole30 program, it’s essentially a 30-day reset that’s intended to remove irritating foods from your diet and give your gut a chance to heal before re-introducing foods slowly to determine what and how different types of foods affect your body. It’s a simple premise: for 30 days, cut out dairy, legumes, grains, preservatives and sugar, and focus on eating whole foods: meats, fruits, vegetables and good fats. The point is to break the cycle of mindless eating and snacking, and focus on good things that complement your body chemistry instead of aggravating it. G was the first of my friends to discover the program and give it a shot, but admittedly (and sorry G!), my lovely friend M is the one who’s really pushing me to finally commit to a full round. M has completely transformed not just her diet, but her whole life through five rounds of Whole30 in the past year; it inspires her the same way that yoga inspires me. We’ve even piggybacked on each other’s new obsessions, with M joining me for yoga classes and challenges every week, and me slowly adapting the principles of whole foods into my everyday diet too.

The big question I get from people when they find out I’m doing this starting next week is why. “You’re already thin!” (Because no one looking to improve their well-being ever did so from motivation that wasn’t weight loss), “Are you still allowed to have wine?” (Did you just ask me if alcohol was involved in a body detox?) and the big one: “But if you already don’t eat most of those, why bother?” It’s a valid question, and for the most part, it’s true – I won’t necessarily be changing my regular diet that drastically. But despite all the other changes in my diet and my life, there’s one little thing I just can’t seem to give up on my own: sugar. Sugar, you delicious, delicious devil. It’s not even that I eat sugar or sugary things all the time – I drink coffee and tea black and I’m not really a dessert person. But I have two massive downfalls in the sugar spiral: I can’t say no to the chocolate drawer at work, and god dammit I love my wine.

I mean, let’s just take a minute to appreciate a few things quickly. THERE IS A FULL DRAWER IN MY OFFICE FILLED WITH CHOCOLATE. Mini Snickers and Take 5s, Halloween-sized Hershey’s and sometimes if we’re good there’s a stash of Twix. Perhaps people exist who can enjoy a single piece of indulgence from that black hole of cocoa goodness, but I promise you I’m not one of them. On a normal day I’ll work through at least six to eight pieces of candy, and on a bad day, I stop counting when it hits double digits. Getting to the kitchen and the bathroom requires passing the magical chocolate drawer and I swear there’s a silent siren song every time you’re in it’s wake for “just one more piece.” And that’s not even the bad one. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITHOUT MY WINE. Stupid alcohol sadly breaks down into sugar in the body, which means no wine, no whiskey, and no poor life… well okay, I make stupid decisions when I’m not drunk too. I mean look, I’m not saying I’m a booze hound who can’t go a month without getting plastered, but there is nothing quite like winding down at the end of a long day of work with a glass of red wine and something on Netflix. 30 days sounds like a lot of time to have to face life’s pressures with a clear head, instead of talking to Mr. Goodbar and some pinot noir about them.

So why bother? Because beyond the promise to G, I’m actually really looking forward to this. First, my body needs a reset, badly. The insanity that has been March at work meant most of my meals this month were delivered, and while we obviously could have made healthy take-out choices, we decidedly did not make those choices, especially not during Hell Week last week. Beyond work, the last time I went out-out, I blacked out like a college freshman and apparently, according to the grapevine because memory serves nothing, made out with a friend’s friend’s sort-of ex (oops). And on top of everything else, working 16 hours per day plus weekends has cut into my normal yoga practice, leaving me tight-muscled and cranky – a reset in all things will do wonders, I think. It goes beyond clearing the gunk out of my body that’s accumulated in the past month though. I think part of me has been pushing doing a full Whole30 because I was worried for a long time that it may stir up some long-dormant feelings from my eating disorder, like I would start with good intentions and end by taking everything too seriously. It’s that reason, more than the others, that I feel like I owe it to myself to give the 30 days a shot. After all, what better way to face the dragon head-on than with 30 days by someone else’s food rules.

The people who “created’ Whole30 have a saying to help put the program into perspective: “Giving birth is hard. Beating a heroin addition is hard. Drinking your coffee black for 30 days is. not. hard.” It’s a great way to put the program into perspective for a lot of people, but honestly, it doesn’t really apply to me. I’ve never given birth or fought a drug addiction, and I’ve always loved my coffee black. So from March 31 through April 29, instead of holding on to their words when I’m desperate for a glass of pinot and a piece of chocolate, I will remind myself of three things: (1); If M can do this five times in a year, I can do this once. (2): If G can suffer through 30 days of yoga, I can suffer with seltzer for 30 days. And (3): Beating anorexia is hard. Leaving the person you thought was the love of your life is hard. Laying off the wine and sugar for 30 days is. not. hard. And plus, if I’ve learned anything from the hard stuff I’ve lived through in the past few years, it’s so much sunnier on the other side.

A Weekend, in Parts

As I’m writing Part One of this post, it’s Saturday night, and I stopped counting how many hours I’d worked since Monday after it passed 70. I’ve never in my life finished a Venti coffee from Starbucks, and this week I had one every morning, plus another cup mid-afternoon at the office. I’m tired in a way that I’ve never experienced before, and little miss won’t let me have two minutes to myself to pee because she’s so desperate for attention after being stuck alone most of the week. And yet, I’m so, so happy right now. I’ve had some great times with my team at work, both professionally and personally. I managed to fit in at least a little yoga every day, and now I have a glass of wine and Sleeping Beauty on TV. There have been highs and low in the past seven days of long-expected crazy, but even though things aren’t necessarily calming down anytime soon, I can’t say that I’m in a bad mood. There’s a part of me that’s expecting to start feeling something negative: maybe I’m supposed to be angry, or upset, or annoyed, or whatever; but instead, I feel like it’s the perfect Saturday night to unwind a little before picking up first thing tomorrow.

As I’m writing Part Two of this post, it’s Sunday morning, and my chance to sleep in was interrupted by something I needed to do for work. I have no coffee in my apartment, and I can’t get in touch with my coworker to confirm she’s online so I can run out to Starbucks before this caffeine headache gets any worse. It’s a sunny, beautiful spring day, and I’m inside all day on my computer. And yet, I’m really, really happy right now. I have a built-in excuse to stay inside and do nothing, since it turns out it’s pretty cold outside anyway. It’s nice to lay on my couch in the sunshine that streams through the windows, illuminating the bright walls. I can roll out my mat this afternoon and practice on my own time, eventually seeing tangible progress in something I’ve been working on for months. There’s something about having a Sunday to myself again that makes the past week of crazy all worth it. Sure, I didn’t have my normal Sunday of yoga and Whole Foods, but somehow I’m feeling as refreshed sitting on my couch after a day of work as I normally do on productive Sundays around the city.

As I’m writing Part Three of this post, it’s Sunday night and I’m watching terrible television while eating a chicken Caesar salad and onion rings from my favorite deli down the street. My computer is open, but it’s been quiet, finally, after another busy day. I know I should go to bed soon, get a good night’s sleep and get to yoga in the morning, but there’s something so tempting about staying up just a little bit longer to watch that final episode of Intervention taking up space in my DVR. I can’t believe another week has already passed, and I think that I think we’re out of the crazy. I’ve been writing in fragmented thoughts all day, getting snippets of inspiration for new posts, writing this one in pieces, work punctured with blogging punctured by starting to sequence out new things for yoga, getting an early taste for what it will be like when I’m teaching in the future. This has been the longest two weeks of my professional life, even counting the time three months into my career when I was told I had to fly to Orlando and run the client booth at a conference by myself less than 24 hours before my flight took off. It’s been exhausting and stressful and yet so, so satisfying. We made it through the craziness and my team still has smiles on their faces. Celebrating success as a group feels almost as great as the extra hour of sleep I would have gotten had I not decided to stay up just a little longer, to savor the end of the longest week of my professional life.

As I’m writing the end of this post, it’s Monday morning and I’m back at my desk. I’m one Venti coffee in and I still need to put in my hours for last week, which means I’ll finally see the past week’s insanity laid out in a series of codes and numbers. I’ve had to pee for the past twenty minutes but I keep finding myself distracted by emails that need to be answered and tasks that need to be attended to, plus I’m desperate to finish this post to jump-start blogging again. I’m stress eating almonds because I just found out it’s going to be another late night here, and now I need another coffee just to keep me going. But looking back on the past week, I’ve had a series of ups and downs, crazy with calm, cranky with a ton of fun, and everything in between, and it’s been one of the most rewarding weeks of my life. I think I can manage another five days before crashing SO HARD on Friday night, a much-needed rest ahead of my partner-in-crime R’s birthday bash this weekend. I’ve learned over and over again that there’s no such thing as “back to normal” in my life, whether speaking professionally or personally, so much as I hope things will actually calm down by the end of the week, I’m expecting the unexpected. Maybe that’s my new normal now, waiting for things to change as soon as they’ve started. And even if it is, I’m finishing one week and starting another feeling accomplished, proud and ambitious for more. I can get used to normalizing all of that.

Friendly Conversations: Dos

Shorter round-up today – I kept forgetting to write all the fun things down! Here’s a fun snapshot of life in the past two months:

On Atlantic City pick-up lines
Man: Guess what ethnicity I am
M: No thank you.

On weekend theme songs
Me: I’m going to make a cheese plate and open some wine. Any preference?
Mama B: Whatever you want! (sings) because you know I’m all about that cheese, that cheese, AND PINOT!

On Ladies Who Brunch.
Mama: I want a real breakfast. Like, French toast with a side of pancakes.
Me: That sounds AMAZING.
Mama: I know right? I bet it’s definitely trending on Instagram.
Me: ????
Mama: You didn’t even know I knew that, did you.

On Post-Ballet Activities
Twinster: I am SO EXHAUSTED.
Mama B: UGH me too.
Me: Oh… so I’m gonna go to the hotel bar alone then.
Twinster: Oh, I mean I’m not that tired.
Mama: I’m never too tired for the bar!

On 70-hour work weeks
Me: WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS DAY. Ugh, sorry guys, I’m just exhausted and cranky.
Coworker: I know, it’s a long week. If it helps, I left a chocolate chip cookie on your desk.
Me: …. Please marry me.

On Actual Friendly Conversations
Me: I’m heading up to Washington Heights, thanks.
Cab driver: No problem! Have you ever taken an Uber?
Me: Um. Yes?
Cab Driver: Well would you like me to tell you why Uber is evil?
Me: Honestly man, I don’t mean to be rude, but I just talked for 16 hours straight and I need this to be a quiet cab ride.
Cab Drive: Totally understand. So this one time, when I used to drive for Uber…
Me: (falls asleep)

Spring Cleaning: Beast Mode

This weekend I went full beast mode on my apartment. In truth, I’ve spent so little time there this past month that there was a laundry list of things that needed to be done (up to and including actual laundry), and given the next 12 days will be entirely dedicated to managing two big projects at work that wrap up around the same time, this weekend was my only chance to get through that list. It started as an innocent idea: I’m going to give everything a good cleaning, and maybe I’ll do my seasonal closet purge, something I’ve been meaning to do for weeks. It somehow spiraled into the most productive weekend I’ve had all year, allowing me to wake up this morning with a fully-decluttered and rearranged apartment, every single meal prepped and ready for the upcoming week, and even a few spare minutes this morning for some extra stretches in Monday yoga.

One of the big reasons I wanted to give a good clean to my apartment is to prepare for the new furniture I’m getting next month. It would be a big deal regardless, redecorating the apartment, but this is bigger than any redecoration I’ve done in the past. This is the one where I’m finally getting rid of the things I’ve carried around from apartment to apartment, trying to retrofit the style into the new place but ultimately leaving myself with more clutter than style. This is the one where I’m mounting things on the wall, cleaning out all the closets, tossing anything that I don’t need and only keeping the things I do. This redecoration officially marks the apartment as Mine for the foreseeable future, as I have no intention or incentive to leave. The biggest change started on Saturday evening, as my lovely friend M and I systematically removed hinges and doors from my old dresser, walked the skeleton down my five flights of stairs and left the drawers next to it on the curb. It was a really sad moment, actually, watching the very first piece of furniture I bought when I moved to New York sitting on the curb like an outcast. But it was also thrilling in a way, like everything I did this weekend makes it real that things are all about to change.

My apartment has looked different with every year I’ve lived there. There were no decorations for the first year, since I thought I’d be leaving after just one, and the furniture didn’t fit with anything, having been purchased for my completely-different apartment in the Upper East Side. The place felt empty for a while, the brash white walls and the furniture that didn’t fit; I couldn’t figure out how to navigate my bedroom with the two closets and wonky pipe running down a prime corner. Ten months after moving in, the somewhat-impulsive-may-have-been-reacting-to-a-break-up decision to paint the living room kicked off a burning desire to redecorate, but in planning a major re-do, I started realizing it was going to be a much bigger ask than I’d anticipated. I put everything on hold, living with a painted living room but clutter everywhere else for the next year; and now here we are: freshly-painted kitchen and bedroom to match the living room, and everything rearranged how it’s never been before. Each of these little milestones connect back to a different time in the apartment: different jobs, LB in a relationship, single LB, 24 years old to 26 years old, blonde LB, redheaded LB. The past two years have probably been the most formative of my entire life, all growth, learning experiences, great moments and horrible months. Having my ever-evolving apartment change with me has been such a massive part of this time in my life, and it’s crazy to think that in just a month it’s going to change that much more.

I sat on the couch last night with a Sunday treat, a strawberry-banana-almond-coconut milk smoothie and my favorite TV show in the background. I looked around at the place, so excited to see everything come together like the vision I’ve had in my head for a year. I checked my phone for a message, caught a glimpse of the date and all of a sudden realized that I’d moved into this apartment exactly two years ago, March 15, 2013. I started to smile, and then laugh, as I looked around at the still-new set-up, all the changes the place has already experienced and the bigger changes yet to come. It’s so funny how something like your apartment defines your days, how milestones like painting a living room blend into new beginnings and occasionally endings. This weekend may have been on the tamer side, but it was a spring cleaning in every sense: out with the old furniture, the memories of the early years in the city, the baggage associated with those extra Chapstick tubes hiding in the bottom of a dresser drawer and the unnecessary nostalgia of a photobooth reel; and in with the new. New furniture, new set-up, new attitude and a new season of growth.

My Life, as told by Google

One of my favorite things to respond when someone asks me a question is “let’s ask the Google.” Can’t remember the first day of spring? Ask the Google. What day of the week does the fourth of July fall this year? Ask the Google. Want to know exactly what red lip color T. Swift wears so you can potentially buy it? Ask the Google! (Just kidding, I didn’t do that)…(Twinster found out for me and we found it in Boston ps it’s AMAZING). I feel like my Google search history says a lot about what’s going on in my day-to-day life, from the silly searches on celebrity dirty laundry, to more serious things, like looking into potential causes for a random migraine before naturally leaping to the conclusion that I’m dying (thanks WebMD). In the busy past few weeks of my life, I’ve asked a lot of the Google, a byproduct of spending a lot of time on my own trying to fill hours in between working.

So as a snapshot of why it’s been hard to write for the past few weeks, here is a sample of my recent Google history:

  • Bone broth helps hangover
  • Chicken bone broth recipe
  • Chicken bone broth slow cooker recipe
  • Slow cooker won’t turn on Cuisinart
  • Chicken bone broth no slow cooker
  • Best Thai delivery Upper East Side NYC
  • Sore neck
  • Sore neck from car travel
  • Sore neck yoga stretch
  • Can yoga cause a sore neck
  • Yoga headstand causes sore neck
  • Fixing sore neck from yoga
  • How long after slight neck sprain until yoga headstand
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt binge watch Netflix
  • Working more than 50 hours per week
  • Health implications sitting in a desk chair all week
  • Sitting in desk chair more tired than standing when working
  • Coffee health benefits
  • Annual cost Starbucks coffee daily
  • Am I really spending that much on coffee
  • Coffee alternatives at home no money
  • Craving chocolate alternative snacks
  • Craving chocolate eat almonds
  • Health benefits almonds
  • How many almond are too many
  • What happens when you eat too many almonds
  • Is Easter chocolate in stores
  • Single life in 20s New York City
  • Best things to do in New York City alone
  • Single life New York City NOT “finding a date”
  • Staying home alone with cat
  • How can I get my cat to use scratching post
  • Why does my cat hate me
  • Cat is acting crazy how to calm down
  • Wine delivery Washington Heights

So in conclusion, apparently my life revolves around coffee and food. I’m totally okay with that. Happy Weekend, kids!

Quick Thoughts: I’m trying!

“Okay, you have your laptop open and a few minutes to spare. Just write one post for Monday and then figure out the rest at the end of the week.”
“Ugh! Why didn’t I write that down when it was on my mind? I know it would have been a great post and now I can’t find the words!”
“GOD DAMMIT LB you have an iPad, two phones and a laptop. Write. Something. Down.”

These are a sample of conversations I’ve had with myself in the past two weeks. I hate that things have been so quiet here, but it’s just been a hell of a month for me, between work, travel and more. I’m trying to hard to keep up with writing, I PROMISE, but we’re entering two weeks of hell at work before two projects come to a close at the same time, so please bear with me this month while I work as hard as I can to get back on track. I have a lot of fun updates that I’m putting together piecemeal in the next few days, but it’s likely this will be another quiet week on the blog. I swear to everyone and grilled cheesus that I’m doing everything I can to get back on track, because I miss the Chronicle as much as I’m sure you all do too.

So to reiterate, stay tuned in March while I continue working through my schedule to find time and inspiration for blogging, and just know I’ll be back as soon as I can! A good way to keep up is to follow me on Twitter (@LBthe20whatev) and Instagram (@lbdoesyoga), since 140 characters is a lot more manageable when you only have three minutes to spare.

xoxo!
LB

Chasing Hummingbirds

A memory came to me recently while finishing up a few tasks at the office one late night. It was a day over the summer at my last job, when one of my bosses took me out for lunch at this adorable cupcake and wine bar on Carmine. Over veggie burgers and iced tea, we caught up on our lives, personal, professional, everything. This was just before everything around me in the fall started imploding, so I remember giving her a smile and saying that I was fine; internally I was running through everything happening in that confusing time, residual anger at The Child, ongoing struggles to keep up at work, and the then-impending one-year anniversary of single LB. I remember my boss nodding as I gave her the typical “I’m going to step it up” speech, and she let me ramble on about goals and such until gently interrupting me to say two things: first, she believed in me and knew that I could do it; and second, she had a question for me: “Are you happy here?

“Are you happy?” is such an interesting and loaded question. In the context above with a boss involved, there is no other answer but “of course!,” whether that’s actually true or not, but in typical context, that’s a question I hear more from Mama B, or my lovely friend M, where I can tell them “maybe” or “I’m not sure.” On the one hand, happiness is the easiest thing in the world. It’s as simple as a smile from the Starbucks barista who is rapidly becoming your best morning friend, or snuggles from a pitbull and a pug before leaving for work in the morning. It’s the steady calm from regular yoga and looking at this life I’ve created for myself, a job I finally love, an apartment that’s all mine, and the understanding of Self that comes with being single for a long time. But on that same token, happiness is fleeting, it’s fickle and scary and it’s hard to hold on to; chasing happiness is like chasing hummingbirds, you see it for a moment and in the three seconds it takes you to run with an outstretched hand, it’s moved on. Asking someone “Are you happy?” is almost a dangerous question, because the answer depends on what’s happened in the past five weeks, four days, three hours, two minutes or even a second before.

I was riding such a high for most of 2015, reaching these yoga goals, recharging my professional life and making the decision to stay away from dating this year in favor of personal improvement. And truly, I think I’m still up there, but my entire routine has been disrupted in three short weeks, and I still haven’t found a time to settle in. This all culminated last week on Friday, leaving the office just before 10, where the rest of my night involved packing to be away from home for 9 days, first staying at D&D’s place to watch their pups while they’re in El Salvador (casual) for the week, and then leaving from there on Saturday for the annual Boston weekend with Mama B and Twinster. It hit me last Saturday night, just before leaving for my fashionista C’s golden birthday celebration, how tired I am and how things aren’t slowing down. Rather than taking this information like an adult, however, I proceeded to drink too much too quickly at the bar, forsaking all memories after about 11pm to the evil clutches of whiskey, and waking up on Sunday with a pounding headache and two dogs looking for breakfast by licking my face. I spent most of the day on the couch feeling terrible: how am I 26 years old and still blacking out like I’m back in college? Have I learned nothing? Why am I doing this to myself? Am I happy?

Last night I was leaving the office on the earlier side from what’s become the norm in the past few weeks, rushing to the Upper East Side in a sleet-storm, pushing through the 6 train crowds like a crazy person. A boss that I’ve worked with before was leaving at the same time, so we walked the short distance to the subway together and took a few minutes to catch up. He’s newer than I am at the new company, so we traded stories from our first few weeks and laughed together at how it’s been so crazy so quickly. We reached the subway, and just before parting ways, he asked me how I was doing with everything. “I know it’s been crazy,” he said, shaking sleet from his coat, “but be honest, LB: are you happy?”

In the two seconds before I answered him, my mind raced to 60 hour weeks, late nights every night, how I haven’t been able to update the blog nearly as often as I’d like and how I’m already so tired and it’s only Wednesday. I thought of so many changes, new responsibilities, new commute, disrupted schedules and everything else from the past month. It’s been crazy, for sure, but I smiled after those two seconds, looked him right in the eye and simply said “Absolutely.”