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.

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.”