The Mean Reds

Currently: sitting at my desk at work. Sucking down coffee like it’s keeping me alive (which it may be) and taking deep breaths in a concerted effort not to throw my fucking phone across the office. Wearing jeans that are just a little bit too tight and pondering the implications of changing into yoga pants even though there are clients in the office today. Working as hard as possible not to start crying at my desk because truly I don’t even know what I’m upset about, just that I’m really fucking angry or sad or upset or maybe some combination of all three, and all I want to do is go home and sleep. Or the aforementioned throwing phone against wall.

I am having a WEEK, and yet if you asked me why I wouldn’t have an answer for you. Starting the week by leaving the Upper East Side has completely thrown off my normal routine and I’m still reeling slightly from that. It’s also the first week since mid-August where I’ve worked five full days, having had things broken up by weddings and spontaneous trips and birthdays. I keep making these plans to see people I love but all I really want to do is sleep. Or scream. Maybe both.

If you’ve ever seen or read Breakfast at Tiffany’s, you know the Mean Reds are… well let’s let Holly G explain: The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling? That’s a good overview of my current mood, except I think I know why I’m afraid. I’m afraid I can’t handle the next few months if they’re all going to be like this. Because it’s barely been a week and I’m ready to throw in the towel. And for all the professing I’ve done about all the wonderful things this fall (*and they are still wonderful and I’m quite looking forward to all of them), I’ve been avoiding or delaying dealing with what’s required in between those events: my undivided attention and time and energy. Something I’m finding this week is in very short supply.

Anyway. I’m not sure how to end this post, but I have to now. There are meetings and documents and plans later and then tomorrow I’m traveling where I have more plans and things to do before coming back to the city to prepare for more plans and meetings and documents and things to do. There are always meetings, documents, plans, and things to do, it seems. I suppose that’s being an adult.

The Unbirthday

“Here’s to your 27th birthday!”
“No, T’s turning 27. I’m celebrating the second anniversary of my 25th birthday.”

Twenty-seven. When you’ve officially entered your late twenties, no ifs, ands or buts about it. 27 is the age I always thought I’d be an adult, or I’d have my shit together. I didn’t expect 27 to hit me as hard as it did when I woke up on Monday morning, just before 7am, right around the time my sister was born, the older twin by 14 minutes. After a fun-filled weekend of shopping, baseball, fireworks, hiking and lots and lots of beer, on my last morning in Massachusetts, I quietly grabbed my sister’s keys before she and her fiancé woke up. Pulling my hair into an almost-ponytail and cautiously closing the door behind me, I took my yoga mat out to the same riverside park behind their apartment where T and I did our first yoga class together two mornings before. I sat for a minute, watching the sun rise over the low river, enjoying the silence of the early morning, before everyone was awake and about, and just before starting my Sun Salutations, I took a look at the clock. 7:13, it read. Exactly the time I was born 27 years prior.

27 sounds like an adult age, right? And my life is starting to feel super adult as well, between all the weddings and whatnot. People I know are even starting to have babies, or have babies that are starting to look like humans instead of squishy adorably screaming things, and the fact that this all feels normal is the oddest feeling in the world.  I can’t reconcile reality with being 27 quite yet, I never gave much thought to life after 26, I don’t think, so now I’m in this weird age where it feels like I’m not at all where I thought I’d be and that’s kind of amazing. It’s also scary, though – which is probably why I’ve been telling everyone that I’m not celebrating my 27th birthday. I’m celebrating the second anniversary of my 25th birthday.

At first it seems a ridiculous notion on a number of levels, avoiding my birthday and therefore reality, but then again, turning 25 was when everything started changing for me. 25 is when I started getting tattoos again and when I dyed my hair red. It’s when I tried yoga for the first time and it’s when I started this blog. The years since 25 have been heartbreak and bad dates, broken promises and lots of starting over. I wouldn’t go back to 25 again, and hell, I wouldn’t even go back to 26 again. I’ve loved growing up in the past two years, and I wouldn’t change any of the lessons learned for anything. So if I’m going to be in denial that I have, in fact, crossed that late-twenties line, why not celebrate what it’s taken to get there in the past few years?

After a long weekend of traveling and drinking, I was grateful to have yesterday off from work, a day to decompress on my couch, snuggling with little miss and ignoring the suitcase that needed to be unpacked, the carpet that needed to be vacuumed. It was like a birthday present to myself, disconnecting from everything for the afternoon and just finding stillness in this adult life of mine. “27,” I said aloud to no one in particular at one point, letting the number roll off of my tongue and roll around in my brain. It’s starting to feel a little more real, this whole adulthood-thing, and that’s quite a scary thought. It helps in the meantime to pretend that I’m not celebrating another year, but an anniversary of when things started moving forward to the life I’m living now. Because this life might still be a little crazy, but to me it’s perfect. And it’s only taken 27 years to get here.

Someday.

I slowly climbed out of my tip-tall nude heels I’d never worn before, toes aching from being cramped in a stiletto for eighteen hours, and sat on the couch with my nose buried into the cat’s fur. She squirmed out of my arms, stared at me for a minute, and then snuggled into the crook of my neck, barely moving as my tears from exhaustion, frustration, and aforementioned toe pain landed on her tiny forehead, drip, drip, drip. The clock said 1 a.m., but it felt more 4, like the weekends after a full night at the bar, where you’re so tired that the only thing left to do is hang out on the fire escape and watch the sun come up, cigarette smoke streaming like a wisp of a memory and a song. With a sigh that spoke of late nights since February and the general frustration of being an adult, I mustered just enough energy to pick myself up off the couch, brush my teeth, and leave a trail of clothes towards my bedroom, one shoe, dress, jacket, before climbing into bed and staring at the ceiling, waiting for sleep that would be rudely interrupted in less than five hours.

Someday. Someday is a word I tell myself a lot lately. “Someday, work won’t be this busy” and “Someday, I’ll be able to hold that yoga pose,” “Someday I’ll get back on a regular blogging schedule” and “Maybe I’ll find someone who can handle my crazy, someday.” Someday is one of those words that implicitly comes with hope and a promise; it’s like the big unknowable, be-all and end-all date where all the little frustrations resolve themselves, and everything finally feels like it fits. Someday can be every day and it can be a day that doesn’t exist at all, or it can be a series of maybe-days that come to fruition when you least expect. I try not to think in maybes, preferring instead the cool promise of a deadline I can see, but when deadlines are pushed, or they’re ignored, I’m just back to playing Russian Roulette with my sanity; one word and a follow-up email and the loaded chamber of stress and anxiety explodes. Someday is a promise that I’ve been making to myself for the past year or so, and yet Someday keeps running away from me, further, further, taunting me that I’ll get to it, some day.

This week I’ve been feeling like there’s something missing, or something that I miss, but I can’t put my finger on what it is. I’ll feel a sharp pang of nostalgia right across my stomach but it’s not directed at anything, as though I’m longing to find a time where things were different, but then again, I don’t know what in my life now I’d want to change. Maybe I miss the mornings where my body would sleep in an extra 20 minutes, but I love to start my day with a few stretches on the mat, breathing deeply and finding clarity in a few moments of uninterrupted peace. Maybe I miss the job where I was out by 6 every night, but I’ll take a few late nights in the office in exchange for like-minded people and projects I actually enjoy. Maybe I miss the days where I didn’t worry all the time about everything, did I pay that bill? how am I supposed to afford a flight this summer when I can barely afford my rent? will I even have time to plan T’s shower if I keep working like this? But then I look at my beautiful little apartment and this life I’ve built for myself in the city, and I know for a fact I wouldn’t change a damn thing. So maybe it’s not nostalgia that’s keeping me in the realm of the Someday, but if that’s not it, then there’s still something gnawing at me like a rabid animal, tearing into my subconscious with a sing-song promise that there are better days ahead, Someday.

Sometimes I think my life has figured itself out, a solved 1000-piece frame I can hang on the wall of Adulthood with pride, but sometimes it feels as kinked as my curls, falling in waves over my shoulders, down my back. I can fix a running toilet or a clogged sink, kill a bug with only minimal screeching and cook healthy food like a boss, but I can’t bring myself to tackle the pile of clothes that’s rapidly growing in the corner of my living room, just sheltered enough from view that I can pretend it doesn’t exist. I can lead a call with a client, and hold down the fort while my bosses are in meetings with important people, but I still can’t figure out how to eat lunch at my desk without spilling food all over myself. This weird period in my life, the past three months really, have been a series of these moments, where I’m a grown-up one minute and I need an adult the next. I don’t really know how to end this post; I haven’t learned any lessons and frankly I’m sure you’re all as sick of reading my “woe is me and my life” stories as I am of writing them. So maybe the only way to end is with a promise: things are going to get better, and everything will fall into place. I can’t tell you when, of course, but I promise it’ll happen Someday.