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.

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.

First day of school!

Waking up on Tuesday, I thought I’d have knots in my stomach for hours. I just knew I wouldn’t be able to eat, I’d change clothes six times, I’d miss the subway and show up late, and then find out the past 3 weeks had been a dream. It was like the first day of school times adulthood, watching the minutes tick, tick away till it was time to start my Shiny New Job.

At times, it feels like there are very few things to get excited about in adult lives. We work, exercise, complain about getting older, drink, eat, sleep, repeat. There’s a beauty in the monotony, a familiar feeling on Monday that in the grand scheme of the coming week, we know what to expect. There can also be a complacence, a certain “This is how things are and will be” feeling in waking up to the same job, same days, all over again. For a really long time, I was content with the monotony, an understanding with myself that this was life as an adult: wake up, go to a job you like but don’t love, text the boyfriend who thinks you’re a burden, go back to the apartment you can’t fall in love with because it’s supposed to be temporary, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. It was a content life, and happy most of the time, which was, in a word, fine.

Life shouldn’t settle for “fine.” I’m in my mid-twenties, in an amazing city, surrounded by brilliant, driven, competitive, insightful people who came here to chase a dream, an idea, a goal. Who am I to allow myself to settle with feeling “fine”? How can you be content with a routine in the city that never sleeps? It was the break-up that started shaking that routine for me, like a crack in a concrete wall: CRACK now you need to learn how to be on your own for real, CRACK now you need to make your apartment look like home, CRRRRACK now you need to start taking care of yourself. Bits and pieces of this wall of monotony I’d built for myself in the past few years started falling everywhere and all at once, a wave of changes, one, another, another.

You were thinking it.

You were thinking it.

Change is scary, and hard, and no one really enjoys starting over. Walking into day three of the new job though, I’ve never felt more content in my choices and changes in the past few months. Looking back to this time last year, six months ago, even up to the breakup, its near surreal that I could have had this self-fulfillment, contentedness, whatever you want to call it; and yet I settled for “fine.”

I loved my life before – I loved the beautiful monotony: the understanding of what to expect as the days, weeks, months went by; the feeling that someone loved me, really loved me; the fact that I had a wonderful job, surrounded by wonderful people. But I wouldn’t change what’s happening for me now for anything: the understanding that I can’t control my surroundings and that’s exciting; the feeling that I can find love and peace within myself instead of needing another person; and the fact that I have a new job, which is challenging, and scary, and exactly what I need.

On what to wear on your last day of work.

I have a lot of clothes. There, I said it. I’d rather go shopping than pretty much anything else. So at times, I find myself in a bit of a pickle trying to put together an outfit for work after a: oversleeping; b: forgetting to pick up laundry; or c: oversleeping. It takes a really long time to rummage through a wardrobe, closet, dresser, under-bed storage, 2 trunks and shoe closet just to realize the shirt you need is under old gym clothes in your hamper. (Aside: “Why do you live in Washington Heights?” just answered itself there. End aside.)

I took an especially long time getting ready this morning. First, I’m sick of this weather. If I have to wear rainboots 5 days a week for the next month, I’ll just start crying for bittersweet memories of the 2013 heat wave. Plus, every time I wear a sweater I end up sweating a LOT on the subway and then I’m just gross in the office all day. It was only Wednesday, so I didn’t want to wear jeans, though I work in a pretty cool environment so no one would have cared. I just ripped my only pair of winter-friendly tights, so a dress is out, and my basically-denim-but-looks-fancier-because-faux-leather-stripe pants were in the aforementioned hamper. I was haphazardly throwing clothing around, mentally running through my catalog of outfits with no decision in site.

I’ve been at my current office for just over a year, after a pretty intense introduction to the industry at my first job. I can’t speak highly enough of the people I’ve worked with at this place, the experiences I’ve had, the experience I’ve gained and my now lasting appreciation of a rooftop mariachi band. And yet here I was, stuck in front of my mirror, half dressed with less than 5 minutes till I was officially running late, and I couldn’t figure out what to wear as I went there for the very last time.

Changes come in waves, either nothing at all or everything at once. For me, the past few months have been a whirlwind of life-changing events, from things as minor as selling my car to the whole “single LB” thing. The final push in turning my life completely upside down came in the form of an out-of-the-blue email from someone asking me if I would be interested in a new job. My initial answer was “no, I’m settled,” but I was in a good mood and didn’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, so I said “why not.” Why not, it seems, works in my favor.

I finally decided on an over-sized sweater with black leggings, a statement necklace and ankle boots, the perfect mix of “Who cares I’m leaving!” with “I’m trying to impress you all for the last time, because I respect and admire you so much.” Speaking from 4 hours in the future, maybe the ankle boots were a bad idea given that the sidewalks are still covered in ice and dirty snow. Fine they were definitely a bad idea. Perhaps something I’ll have to remember before I start my new adventure next week.