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The Ex-Factor

November 2, 2011

If you have read this blog before, you would know that I used to be tied up in a serious, or more aptly described as a seriously disturbed, relationship. If you have not read it before, most likely you are not a member of my immediate family, and I hope that this post proves to be as helpful to you as it was cathartic for me in writing it.

The span of three and a half years, three major cities, and too many tumultuous encounters to count, the relationship that brought me to this fine city has finally come to a close. In commemorating this happy development, I decided to resurrect my original cynicism for not your average diary entry, but rather, a make-shift How To guide to get over the tool that broke your heart, and move on to an even better you.

Disclaimer: None of the advice is meant to be taken too literally, unless you are in desperate need of some semblance of advice, and/or want to have a good laugh at my expense.

First off, once it is over, you should really take the time to yourself to figure out your own path, who you are outside of the relationship, and all of that. Once you get bored with that, which you will, because self-reflection post-break up is never the most scintillating experience, snap out of it, and realize that this is your time to have fun outside of dictatorial regime that was your previous relationship, and get over it.  Date ALOT. Decide that your type is something along the lines of Leonardo DiCaprio meets Josh Hartnet raised on a farm by Ryan Gosling(thank you Babe Walker) and decide that you will settle for nothing less… until you do. Then date some more. Narrow it down to a short list of seven, decide that eating out every night of the week, while economically delightful, proves to be a bit of problem… That is, unless your definition of “in shape” is round. Then decide that it might be time to reevaluate your priorities.

Read. Become well-versed in popular issues(that is, issues outside the realm of Kim Kardashian’s impending divorce), and get your act together. Lose the 20 lbs you gained while you two were breaking up. Rekindle your relationships with your girlfriends, and figure out what it is you really want. Finally, narrow the list down to one; maybe someone who makes you laugh, plays guitar, and who can make a kick-ass milkshake(hypothetically of course), and finally realize that being single isn’t as fun as hanging out with this imaginary fellow.

Whether you decide to play it cool, or play it desperate, be sure to stay true to who you are. Some say you need to hold the cards, at least initially. As my friend Andrea once told me, “it is better to love like a guy than to be played like a bitch.”

While I did not listen to one stitch of that advice, and instead play my own hand in a chaotic manner, I still think it might be beneficial piece of advise to take note of.

One more thing, and this is important. In order to get over the dreaded ex who broke your heart, actually “be over it” before you start dating. Crying into someones mouth is never attractive.

What is it about 20-somethings?

September 15, 2011

Tuesday morning I awoke with two realizations. One, that I had without a doubt contracted the bubonic plague during my sleep, and two, that I was not sleeping alone. Almost as disarming (and did i mention alarming) as the side-splitting pain I would experience during the sporadic episodes of whooping cough as the day wore on, I turned over in my influenza haze and to find a 15-page print out laid gingerly next to my pillow in my room at my aunt and uncle’s east village apartment. I instantly recognized it. I had read it once before. The article was entitled “What Is it About 20-Somethings”, and it detailed the failure to launch persona/inability to grow up that has been adopted as of late to characterize our generation.

I read it for the first time, last summer, on the heels of moving to new york, when my biggest concerns were finding the perfect fixture for my new apartment, the plans for the next weekend and other whimsical fantasies that would stream throughout my mind as this new and incredible life in New York unfolded. I discounted the article immediately.  Coming out of college with a job, a serious relationship, and an all-around-on-the-ball perspective, I did not readily identify with the quintessential gen-x slacker that seemed to sum up our generation… sure I liked to have fun, but honestly, who doesn’t?

Now… over a year later, I found myself unemployed, practically destitute, and living rent-free in my Uncle’s brownstone while I attempt to get my life together… attempt being the operative word.  It was clear that they printed this out to send me a message…  one that made me believe that this wake-up call was worth a second glance.

Robin Maranthz  Heing, the author of the article, posed this question:

“Is it better for young people to experiment in their 20s before making choices they’ll have to live with for more than half a century? Or is adulthood now so malleable, with marriage and employment options constantly being reassessed, that young people would be better off just getting started on something, or else they’ll never catch up, consigned to remain always a few steps behind the early bloomers? Is emerging adulthood a rich and varied period for self-discovery… Or is it just another term for self-indulgence? ”

It is a very strange thing, the morphing of one’s lens over the course of a year. Going into this year, I had a plan. I was a “grown up”, or as close one could be to a grown up while still enjoying an occasional black-out,  had plans of marrying my soul-mate (one day in the far-distant future),  dreams of becoming a renowned journalist, and clung to the perpetual notion that the majority of post-grads hold… that we are in the stage of our lives where we growing into the person who we are supposed to be.

After being laid off from a soul-sucking 9-7 job in advertising, while simultaneously dragging my nails through what can only be described as a “fake-up” with my long-term boyfriend, I found out late just how fickle this whole twenty-something period can be. Trapped somewhere in between adolescence and adulthood, the article suggests that twentysomething has an aversion to growing up, and this stage is marked primarily by self reflection and introspection. Such would account for all the blogs that have sprung up, mine included, where we discuss our feelings to make sense of this crazy world in which we live.  Do I want to grow up? Eventually at least… but it’s hard not to cling to the time when life was much simpler. I remember countless times in the office when I would surreptitiously look at old Facebook Albums, escaping my cubicle for a few precious moments to linger in the nostalgia of days gone by.

At 23, I was told I would be a grown up. I would know how to cook, clean, take care of myself, have a sense of direction and most importantly a sense of how to get there. I don’t… not really anyway. When our parents were our age, they had a sense of direction… why is it so hard for us to follow suit? The disconnect between our generation and our parents has never been so palpable. The American Dream of getting married, having children, a nice house in a suburban neighborhood, and an advancing career, has never felt so far away.

Perhaps this article was not the ageist diatribe that I once believed, which put an expiration date on how long we can stay in the post-grad fugue before that grace period starts to curdle. Perhaps, instead, this article describes the perpetual sensory overload which we are all experiencing, in one way or another, where twentysomethings are unable to make a decision about which path to chose on the seemingly endless road of possibilities that lies ahead of us.

Perhaps we are all delaying growing up because the consequences of that are pretty scary. The decisions we make today will lay the foundation for who we will be for the rest of our lives. If we decided to marry early, to jump head-first into the first job that comes our way without taking the chance to find the job that is the perfect fit, to miss out on the trip to Europe that you’ll never have the opportunity to do again…  had we done anything differently during these years our lives would all vere off to a very different course.  All of the choices that we make today will have lasting ramifications on who we will become in the future, and how happy we will be when we get there.

Though I may not end up where I thought I was going to go, it is certain that I will end up where I was meant to be. Whatever the consequence… our future’s are definitely worth waiting for.

Look on the bright side…

January 11, 2011

You can’t help but be happy when you listen to this song… 🙂

New Intentions

January 9, 2011

It took a series of traumatic events to derail me from my writing. It took one Eastern European Pilates instructor to bring me back.

This past Sunday morning, still reeling from the after effects of alcohol-induced carb loading, what is most commonly referred to as the Holidays, I forced myself to find solitude on a Pilates Mat in the Basement of David Barton gym.  A solitude, it should be mentioned, that I used to reserve solely for the habitual naps I would take between spurts of energy during one of my lackluster 5am workouts. Nonetheless, with the ever-growing waistline that only appears after one too many of the renowned Klein shrimp puffs, I had no other choice but to get myself back on track.

Over the past few weeks I have learned a great deal about myself. Priding myself on my unhealthy obsession with staying fit and eating healthy, a recent visit to the doctor’s office unearthed a paradox that I was not at all prepared for. At the age of 22, I was at risk for a heart attack.

Add to that the collapse of my parents 30 year marriage… I knew that 2010 would be a year that I would never forget.

“Whose first time is it in Pilates?” she asked in a thick European accent. A few raised their hands, though I conspicuously left my hand down. Amateurs.

Acknowledging that most would not be coming back to the mat after the fury of New Years Resolutions falls by the wayside, when it is replaced by the hibernation that is characteristic of the brave few whole dwell in Manhattan during the winter months, she warned us that it would not be an easy class, but a beneficial one nonetheless.

What have I done? I thought to myself. Sure I would regret the decision, I was skeptical that this class would fulfill my one exercise necessity… breaks.

The dilemma that has plagued me the majority of my life, or at least since I was old enough to appreciate the joy that snoozing the alarm can bring, is that I am inherently, without a doubt, one of the laziest people you’ll ever meet. While yes, I wake myself up at 4:30 every morning to go to the gym, I am no stranger to the secret thrill I get when taking a cab back from my boyfriend’s apartment, a destination that is only a few blocks away.

Considering, however, that I’m also somewhat of a work-out freak, this creates a bit of an inner turmoil come gym time.  Though my desires to hit snooze and go back to bed were incredibly strong, my desire not to look like the Michelin woman is stronger. However, I am one of those people who just can’t function on less than 8 hours of sleep a night, so you see how I might struggle to reconcile my incompatible preferences. Hence, the breaks.

Realizing that there was no real way to slip out past the svelt yogis and pilates converts, I resided back to the mat, for what I was sure would be a hellish workout.

A strong believer in “not” making new years resolutions, since resolutions, much like rules, are made to be broken, I thought that perhaps this year I might make an exception. Since the past few months have been punctuated by bad news and alcohol induced lapses in judgment,  I find myself searching for a resolution that means more than the loss of five pounds, or learning how to manage my money(which lets be real, will never happen anyway).  A self-proclaimed cynic when it comes to miracles, prayers, and a “higher power”, it is now that I am searching for something to hold on to. At the ripe old age of 22, I finally given in to my parents one true wish for me, and myself praying. Not for world peace, not for the winning lotto ticket… Perhaps to be a kinder, stronger person… for everyone.

Halfway through the hundred, she joked “May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions..”

Here we go again. The years may change, but every December 31, the intention remains the same.

So my resolution is a simple one… to forget the past, and push on for an even greater future. It’s a new year, which can only lead to new beginnings. I can not believe it has been 7 months since I have moved to New York City.  It has certainly been a whirlwind, but at least I’m happy to be along for the ride.

“If you can’t help just smile… I promise it won’t mess up your hair.”

November 16, 2010

A few days ago, I was admitted into the hospital for a horrible stomach infection. After the shaking from the chills caused by a 103 fever, I proceeded to be the one-man-show in an excoriscm-esque display that would turn even the most stable stomach into goo (don’t worry…I’ll spare you the details), which I am still reeling from today, five days later.  It was the most bizarre and painful experience that I have ever found myself in. Add to that the humiliation of having it begin in front of my co-workers, during what was supposed to be my first full week of work… well, that is just the sort of debacle that only I could get myself into.

It is on that note that I find myself here, at my new job, sipping ginger ale, trying to post, after a week-log hiatus.

The longest hiatus, I might add, since I started on this journey into the blogosphere a few months ago.

I have found that when you live in a four block radius of your significant other, and spend almost every night together, it is only a matter of time before you become sick of them. Or should I say, sick from them. It is with that realization that I find myself, on my second week of work at my new job uptown, battling what I can only assume is the bubonic plague, or at the very least, this year’s strain of the swine flu.

After a weekend at odds with myself, and numerous attempts to sequester the twists and turns of my stomach, I find myself recovering on a strict liquid diet (as if the three liters of ginger ale this past weekend wasn’t enough) and an unhealthy knowledge of East Bound & Down (Get it Kenny).
I’m sure that you all assume that I am back in bed, sprawled out underneath my covers, swearing to God that this is the end, and screaming a few four-letter-words at the top of my lungs for good measure. Bahaha… how wrong you are.
Instead, I somehow find myself back at work, ready to take on whatever task is thrown at me, like the little f*cking engine that could(okay… maybe just one four letter word).
Unlike my last job, which was mundane, pointless, and sending me on the fast track to nowhere, I find myself eager to prove myself as a worthy candidate at this new company. To make a name for myself. And last but not least, to finally grow up. What the hell, there’s a first time for everything right?
Unfortunately, I am at a standstill, waiting in line with the other new candidates for our profiles to be processed. Until then, our names and data will not be in the system, thus rendering us unable to work. Trying to stifle my internal cynic, I will instead talk about all of the things that I do like about it.
The people. The opportunity. The money. The benefits. Ah–the perks of gainful employment, it’ll never get old.
Strangely, one of my favorite parts of my new job thus far is the 15 minute ride on the subway each day. A past-time that I perfected during my two-hour commute each way into the city last fall, I find the times on the subway one of my favorites, where I can sit back, relax, listen to music, and pretend to read while I actually people watch. It is an imposed time of forced solitude, if you will, in a life that I seem to have micro managed to the T. Truth be told, that time I have to myself… It’s actually kind of nice.
As I sit on the subway, listening to either “I Want to Break Free” by Queen, or to the theme from Austin Power’s depending on my mood, I watch as the lives of hundreds of New Yorker’s unfold before me. A mother, yelling as her children run up and down the car, knocking down canes and pocketbooks in their wake. An old woman, cursing to herself, as she crosses out an answer in her crossword puzzle. A man asleep, slumped up against the cold metal bar of the subway car. Though my time in the subway is brief, unlike most New Yorkers I find comfort in the familiar, in a landscape full of strangers.
With a much larger cubicle, a real salary( and did I mention a name plaque?) I really can’t find any reason to complain. Located in the heart of Manhattan, my new office definitely has its perks, with one glaring disadvantage. One word, two syllables. Mid. Town.
Traded are the farmers markets for overpriced delis and chain restaurants. The greenery of the parks scattered around the village replaced by potted plants outside of tacky store fronts, which are suffocated by the congestion that seems to gravitate toward this corporate wasteland. Gone are the hipsters sipping their cappuccino outside of MUD , and in their place are the same couple of men, asking me in broken english if I would like to take a romantic boogie ride through central park.
Come on, Really? It is 8:30 am, I am clearly alone, most definitely not a tourist, and even if I was, there is NO WAY that I would ever pay $80 to ride behind a smelly beast for half-an-hour, soaking in the lackluster personality of Midtown, which so many tourists believe is representative of the “real” New York.
Do you want to know what the “real” New York is? The “Real” New York embodies the homeless man addressing the car in the N train on the way home from work this evening.
With that he let out a gut-bursting laugh that flooded the car, and suddenly began singing his own rendition of under the boardwalk, out of tune, tapping his wooden cane for the make-shift melody.
It is at times like these that I find myself thankful for what I do have. I have a wonderful boyfriend, family, apartment, and job. I have a roof over my head, and a bottle of two-buck-chuck at home, offering me much needed restorative libation.
The man’s shout jolted me back into reality. “I sing to earn some money… Please help if you can. If you can’t help just smile… I promise it won’t mess up your hair.”
That’s the thing about New York. Just when you think it’s pinched your very last nerve, it finds a way to surprise you, and perhaps even make you smile. And somehow, no matter what, it always ends up with your last dollar.

Growing up.

November 4, 2010

Growing up.

It should be said that those two words lingered on the screen for about ten minutes before I continued to write the preceding text on the screen.

Since arriving in New York City, I have wondered when the reality of the situation would sink in, and I would actually find myself as a functioning, level-headed, can-pay-the-bills-on-time-and-still-afford-to-treat-myself-to-new-boots-if-I-want-to adult. When I would grow up, assume responsibility, and stop leaving my dishes in the sink. 

Well… while I am not financially able to conceive a trigger happy relationship with my credit cards, and even dream of a financial status such as that by any stretch, I am certainly on my way. Today is the second to last day at my cubicle here at AOL. On Monday, at 9:15 sharp, I will start my first day as a salaried grown up real person at a bona fide real job. I am looking at it as the first day of the rest of my life.

However, as I am about to move on to this new chapter in my life, I can’t help but look back and reflect on my old one. I can’t help but realize how far I have come in the past few months since moving to New York. How much I’ve changed. How creepily and annoyingly aware I’ve become of my financial situation, and have ditched the majority of my irresponsible ways that I’d come to love, in turn for a more realistic view of the situation in order to actually afford to live in New York.  I really didn’t realize how far I had come , however, until it was illustrated to me last night by my roommate Caitryn.

Sitting on her bed, next to her “clean” clothes that was half hazzardly scattered atop her comforter, she listened as I whined about all of the stress and uncertainty I was facing, and my seemingly endless “what-ifs” about what would happen in the upcoming months.

I had become comfortable at my old job, I had no idea what was in store with my new one. What if it’s a horrible mistake? What if I never get the papers and it turns out that this offer is really just one giant hoax to get me to leave my current job, and thus render me unemployed?

She stopped me. 

“Deanna… worse comes to worst, you could always wait tables for a year. When you look back at the big scheme of your life, you’ll think ‘Oh, yeah I waited tables for a year, it was fun.’ You need to realize that you have already done so much. You up and moved from Hingham to New York, found an apartment, and made a life for yourself. If you have to wait tables… you wait tables.”

An Oracle being a vast understatement, my roommate has fast become not only my go-to for advice both big and small, but my inspiration for all things yogi related. Since gaining her yoga certification this past summer, she has not only help me with my practice, (she could help you with yours too if you take her class at 7:30am at yogalocal), she has also been the grounding force the past few months that keeps me from losing my head when things get a bit too tough here in the big city.

As Omgal, one of my favorite bloggers, once said, “People who inspire me tend to illustrate how similar we all are, rather than how different.  They reveal what is most special inside each one of us, instead of insisting that they are more special than the rest.  They are leaders who unite, rather than divide.  Teachers who speak with integrity, as opposed to ego.  Spiritual guides with grace, and without grandiosity  Friends, relatives, and neighbors who do selfless, substantial, soul-strengthening things when no one is looking, all day long, just because . .”

It is pretty easy to lose you head, and lose touch with yourself, when everything around you is seemingly changing at warp speed. As Carrie once mused, “Seasons change, so do cities…” But it’s comforting to know that no matter where you find yourself now, two weeks from now, or even two years from now… you are on the path to becoming who you will turn out to be. You are growing up, like it or not, so you might as well sit back and enjoy the ride.

Manifest Destiny

November 1, 2010

So, there have been days… more frequently than I’d like to admit lately, where I have had this incessant urge to stop dead in my tracks, throw my hands up in the air, and scream Enough is Enough! Then proceed to go home, and sleep off the rest of the day.

Am I alone here? I think not.

Take, for example, today. Here I am, sitting at my desk, listings piling up. Articles waiting to be written. A workout routine that has become non-existent over the past few months. Friends whose calls have long gone unreturned. Plans that have fallen by the wayside in lieu for afternoon naps that turn into a full-nights sleep.  A bag full of laundry collecting dust beneath my cluttered and dare-I-say unmade bed. A doctor’s appointment that needs to be cancelled. And the list goes on…

A normal person would just sit down, and tackle one object on the ever-growing to-do list, one at a time. And move on to the next. I, however, am not that person. Instead, I decide that my efforts would be much better suited writing a blog. So here it goes….

Today is the day that feels like I have been waiting for all of my life. At least my life here at AOL. With excitement bubbling up inside of me, and the sole piece of advice from my boyfriend “try not to grin while doing it…” I walked up to my boss’s desk.

Looking up from his computer, he said “What’s going on?”

With trepidation, I answered “Hey X(to protect his identity),  Are you busy? I need to talk to you about something..”

“Not at all… what can I help you with?”

It was then that I explained what I can hardly believe myself. I had just been offered a full-time job at a national advertising agency. A full-time position, with benefits, and room for promotion, I could hardly contain my excitement… but tried to the best of my ability.

“…Please consider this my two weeks notice”.

Not expecting what was to come, my boss replied graciously, understanding my need to leave, and wished me well.

After months of unreturned letters, job offers falling through, and uncountable rejection, to know that I am finally leaving these hollowed walls is a bitter-sweet realization. I have come to almost love my cubicle where I write this blog every day. To look forward to seeing my co-workers, to exchange witticisms and stories from the previous weekend. I have become comfortable… a dangerous thing for one who is about to leave. But I digress…

In order to celebrate my new quasi-financial-independence, and my new life as a real person with a real career, I decided to make this über yummy recipe for myself and my boyfriend tomorrow night(minus the parm, obviously).

Coming off of a weekend that was seemingly perfect; a weekend chock full of festivities, job offers, and sewing up loose ends… perhaps now that things are finally falling into place, I perform an exercise in restraint, buckle down and finish one of the things that I need to accomplish before I leave the office I’ve come to know so well.

Perhaps I’m finally growing up after all. Almost anyway.