New Year, New Opportunities

It’s been awhile, but safe to say, I’m back in business. Thought I needed to go all incognito over the past couple of weeks, but where is the fun in that?

I’ve started and stopped like a mille a mille (no longer relevant? Psh Wayne for life, baby)  posts, but blogging and writing have been on the back burner in terms of pressing priorities.

On Saturday, I decided to take time to write and blog. I sat down to write a blog post and ended up writing a six page piece that I’m in love with, but feel it’s way too personal and not blog appropriate, so filing it under future book material.

That said, hey! what’s up? hello! I’ve missed you and the joy that comes from pounding my thoughts onto a keyboard. The fact that I wrote six pages and then wanted to write this (and on a totally separate topic), really demonstrates how much of a release and joy writing and blogging are for me. I want to make more time for this again, because it’s truly therepeutic and hopefully enjoyable for you :).

2018…
What a year you’ve been already, amirite? Everyone I know seems to be in mega hermit mode and it’s not because of the cold weather, or cuffing season that is upon us. It seems that regardless of industry, or role, everyone is buried in more work than blankets this winter.

Everyone I talk to is either looking for a job, drowning in their current job, or attempting to get hired without getting fired aka kill their current job while killing themselves to find another gig.

In addition to the current craze around careers, we have a million other gaps to fill. What about dating & relationships, diet & exercise, family & friends, passions & hobbies, philanthropy & volunteerism, religion & spirituality? Talk about a balancing act. So, what do we do with limited time and competing-priorities? We strategize, because after all, fail to plan and plan to fail.

How do you learn how to juggle when you can barely get out of bed in the morning? Practice, patience, perseverance and consistency. I know, painful, but necessary.

This past month, I’ve learned that despite my best efforts, I can’t do it all. Alas, my dreams of being superwoman have been crushed. Once you accept that you don’t have super natural powers, you can stop beating yourself up for falling short. This is SUPER hard for me. I always want it all and want it all at the same time.

I started listing out things I want to happen simultaneously and it occured to me that I’m not Oprah and that made me sad. The thing is, you can have it all and you can be it all, but it takes sacrifice and learning what you want the most versus what you want to a lesser degree. For example, when I moved to NYC, I wanted to live here. That was my priority, so sharing a bunk bed with a stranger (not an ideal goal) was a sacrifice I made. Job searching and networking replaced time that could’ve been spent doing other things, because having cash flow was my biggest priority. Once you’ve achieved your goal through sacrifice, you can move onto the next.

I’m not saying not to try, but what I am saying is try your hardest with what you’ve deemed priority, so that your effort and values align. This will help you to fight feelings of inadequacy, and promote a feeling of accomplishment when the things you are laser-focused on go well. It can feel defeating when you’re doing well in one area, but other areas are suffering… that’s life and it’s okay! The important thing to remember is that change and growth take time.

Goal setting

This year, I set three major goals. I mimicked this idea from one of my best friends who told me she does this every year. Initially, I thought this was absurd! Only three goals? But then I got to thinking and I realized the value in her strategy. Three goals might seem minimal, but it’s really not when you think about all of the work that goes into accomplishing anything big.

Having three pillars in the front of my mind (and planner) keep me laser-focused on what I want to achieve. For example, if my goal is to run a marathon, there is a ton of planning and preparation that needs to happen in order to achieve this goal.

Have patience with the process

You can’t go from zero to hundred in a day. Achieving anything worth while requires dedication, sacrifice, consistency and endurance.

Patience is a virtue and a pain in the ass, but it’s worth mastering; good things come to those who prioritize, plan and consistently execute.

I am someone who wants it all and wants it all right now. Sometimes it’s hard for me to see the steps necessary to accomplish the big pictures that consume my mind. It’s like I want to be at point B, but I tend to just think of the end game and not how to get to get to my destination. Thinking this way is dangerous and doesn’t allow you to think of the steps you can take each day to reach your end game.

Think of your process as an art

It’s a balancing act between knowing your destination and figuring out how to get there. Consistent daily actions are the key to achieving your roadmap success. If you just think about the end game, you’re a visionary/idealist. If you just think about where you are and not where you want to be, you’re stagnant. If you combine the two you find progress.

So often, we get caught up in where we want to be and forget to appreicate the small details that get us there. Changing your life is truly an art. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Masterpieces don’t just appear. The process is tedious and creative. You have a blank canvass and it is your responsibility to brainstorm and plan your process of execution and ways of achievement vary for everyone.

One of my goals is around fitness, so I found a gym partner who has a similar fitness goal and we’ve begun working out together. Having an accountability partner makes it easier to suffer through early mornings filled with dark and cold commutes. We’ve had some turbulence; however, we created a schedule for this week and we’re both committed to it.

For months, I battled with geographical obstacles, work schedules and varying membership obligations when trying to work out with friends. Now, I’ve found someone who has a similar goal, works out at the same time as me and goes to the same gym as me. It’s convenient for both of us and thus simplifies our strategy to achieve our goals.

Stick with it

After you’ve defined your goal and simplified your strategy, you have to remain committed. This is the hardest part! Maybe you want to stay up late, or hit snooze for a few more hours (evvvvvery day OMG), but you can’t. You have to commit to the process and consistency means sacrificing certain things to achieve your goals.

What do you do when you have competing goals? Plan ahead and stick to your plan. That way, when your head is spinning and you have numerous options, you will be less likely to suffer from analysis paralysis.

Analysis paralysis is the worrrrst and you accomplish nothing, so just don’t go there.

I keep a monthly planner, because I like to see things written down, but with so much on my plate, I love finding new ways to stay organized. What are some of the ways you stay organized? Is it through apps, traditional planners, default routine? I would love to hear any tips and tricks you find helpful!

IT’S ALL IN THE TIMING, RIGHT?

I used to think timing wasn’t a determining factor in whether or not a relationship could succeed. I thought if two people were into one another, that anything was possible. I believed that if someone liked you enough that they would move mountains to make it happen with you, but as I’ve gotten older, I think I was wrong.

We live in a culture so consumed by work. We spend our adolescent years killing ourselves to get into the right college, our college years killing ourselves to secure the right internship, our internships days devoted to landing a job offer. Once we graduate college, if we don’t have a returning job offer from a previous internship, we begin the long dreaded search for employment. Some will be lucky enough to receive offers from companies they might not have interned with before graduation, but others are left to their own vices. So, we’re thrown to the wolves and we spend our lives climbing our version of a career ladder. As we approach thirty, I feel many people start to settle down.

That said, we are a generation of procrastination. We don’t procrastinate everything, but we do pick and choose. We might be super proactive with our jobs, but let our health fall to the back burner. We might be super successful in both work and play, but neglect any form of social life. We might be super human and have rockin bods, a killer career, and be a total socialite, but not worry about fostering meaningful romantic relationships.

In NYC, the city that never sleeps, we’re bred to believe that we can fake it til we make it. That if we just try hard enough, we too can have it all. So, we conduct our lives thinking that it will all work out. That we will have it all, but we just have to focus on x,y,z for the moment and then handle the rest. Sure, this type of tunnel vision is great for laser focus and knocking to-dos off your list, but I have to wonder, is this type of mentality dangerous?

If we wait for tomorrow, tomorrow might not come. How do we balance everything so that we can have it all without feeling stretched too thin, or that we’ve settled in certain areas? If I had the answer, I probably wouldn’t be writing this, but I will share what I’ve learned so far.

Balance is essential

Sometimes when I get super stressed out, or down, I will isolate myself. I’ll retreat from my friends and family and host the pity party of a lifetime. I’ll complain to myself about how unfair life is, how tired I am, or how I don’t have time to change my life, but that simply isn’t true and even though it temporarily lets me off the hook, I know I could do better.

I hate to reference this example, because it comes from a total troll I was briefly seeing at the beginning of this year. In his field, he really didn’t have the time to work out, but had noticed he’d put on a few lbs, so he made changes to his diet consistently in addition to working out when possible. He didn’t let the excuse of working all of the time keep him from his goal of becoming healthier. He evaluated the problem and thought of a solution. He didn’t play the victim and stuff his face with donuts (been there done that…. Struggle is real), but instead he identified his goal and made the changes he could at the time.

Transitional periods are temporary

Lately, I’ve been having a time, to say the least. WOOF. Anyway, one of my best friends reminded me last night that challenging circumstances are only temporary. I tend to be such a big picture gal that it’s hard for me to place myself in the present and accept that change doesn’t happen overnight. I tend to allow feelings to dictate how I handle a situation when in reality feelings are subjective. We can’t go off how we’re feeling and we can’t go from a mile to a marathon in five minutes. Patience is a virtue for a reason.

Prioritize what you value

We’re all chasing that paper, but at the end of the day, who wants to be broke and alone? And don’t go thinking you’re gonna be the next Hugh Heffner. I mean seriously. We live and breathe our 9-5, which everyone knows is really 24/7, but at the end of the day, I suppose it would be nice to have someone to come home to. Someone who makes you forget about the fact that 10/12 hours that day were spent on the verge of a panic attack and feeling like you’re nothing more than smeared dog shit on a sidewalk of the Lower East Side.

And hey, you’re asexual? You hate people? I get it. I’m not saying a relationship is the end all be all of your existence. I’m saying find what lights a fire under your ass and pursue it. I’m the most ADD person you’ll ever meet. I’m currently working a minimum (haha as if) of 40 hours a week, pursuing a side hustle, volunteering/joining a new charity, rekindling my love of fitness with classes and running, working on a project that takes at least 3 hours of every day and a lot of time on the weekends, casually dating, blogging, reading, staying in touch and involved with friends and family, and most importantly trying to find my mind after losing it on a daily basis.

Maybe all of that means I’m spreading myself too thin, but for whatever reason I refuse to give up.

Sometimes when you’re trying to accomplish a million things, it feels like you’re accomplishing nothing at all. Maybe that’s why Steve Jobs was such a jerk and devoted his life so much to his career that he wouldn’t even change up his wardrobe. Nah blue pants, you ain’t getting a second thought. All I got time for is Apple. He simplified everything and focused on the only thing that mattered to him. I don’t think there is a right or wrong to this way of living. I mean the dude was super successful, but was he fulfilled? Was he happy?

Things have been so chaotic and there has been so much in the mix that I know I need to cut back on a few things and stop drowning myself in the endless opportunities that life presents. That said, I do think you can have it all with applied discipline. We must schedule our time so that it reflects our values and goals. You have the power to accomplish everything you want, but you have to be consistent.

I’m curious, what’s your routine? What keeps you going when you’re stressed out and disengaged? How do you plan your life? For me, I think starting each week with a set schedule is crucial. Have I done that? Yes. Have I stuck to it? Nah. But we live for another day and with 2018 approaching, it’s time to reevaluate who you are and what you want to accomplish and what it takes to get there.

 

Xx.

DO YOU, BOO.

Later that evening I got to thinking about relationships. “Baby, I love your way” came on my Spotify shuffle and I was immediately brought back to a not so distant memory of an old flame. Seems like yesterday we had just met and found ourselves singing our hearts out to this song and others he so desperately tried to play on his guitar.

Unclear what was more off tune, our voices or his strumming. Regardless of how far from professional we sounded, it was a very sweet moment. That night, two strangers bonded over an abundance of vodka sodas and John Mayer lyrics.

Eventually the drinks weren’t enough to mask the fact that this fellow and I really had nothing in common. He was an attractive distraction and maybe for a few weeks that’s what I needed, but eventually, he breadcrumbed his way right out of my life.

Maybe some relationships aren’t supposed to end with a trail. Maybe some relationships are supposed to end with a good memory. Like a song, or scent that brings you back to a familiar and happy moment.

If I had developed deeper feelings for guitar boy maybe his breadcrumbing would’ve saddened me and made me wish that our time together ended the night it began.

I used to think that every relationship with a guy had to lead to an official relationship unless it was with one of my bro friends. I would often find myself wanting to define where things stood and possessing very high and at times unreasonable expectations from the get go.

If you aren’t careful society can scare you into surrendering your single status for something secure, but not right. When I look back on my life, I realize this is why I was almost engaged at 22. I think about where I would be now had that happened and what my life would look like and I can’t even imagine it.

Due to societal pressure around age and the fleeting of time, I’ve found myself putting unnecessary pressure on relationships. I’ve found myself fearing the loss of someone I never really had; picturing a life with someone who hadn’t yet proved that they deserved space in my world.

I would get so caught up in the idea of someone and what that looked like that I missed out on the present. Inevitably one of two things would happen:

  1. I would scare them senseless
  2. Or they would cling to me like Velcro

So either I would fall hard and fall fast only to push them away, or I would fall hard and fall fast only to have them fall harder and faster and push me away. I never intentionally hurt anyone and I’m sure for the majority no one intentionally hurt me either.

This leads me to my next thought and something I’ve applied to friendships most recently, you only lose what you cling to.

I used to offer an open table, no reservations necessary. You show up and be kind and you have a seat at my table. F that. You can take a number and consider yourself lucky if you get a call back with availability.

Lately, my time has been spent evaluating relationships and where my priorities stand. I’ll tell you this much, I refuse to chase anyone or anything that doesn’t make me a better person and build me up.

This leads me to my conclusion which is that people who want to be in your life are going to be there. You can waste your time trying to convince a person that you’re worth their time, or you can surround yourself with people who validate you and don’t make you jump through hoops to see them.

I suppose knowing that has been the reason for my recent growth and ability to live in the present. It has increased my self respect and trust in the fact that I’m not wasting my time and that I’m channeling the right things and people into my life.

This new found freedom has allowed me to enjoy moments for what they are and not for what they could be. It’s alleviated the pressure of defining something before learning more about it. For example, not getting wrapped up in the idea of someone so easily.

I’ve been taking my time to really be present and learn more about people. Unfortunately, most of the time when you do this you realize you don’t want most people in your life. I shouldn’t say unfortunately because it is a good thing, but you would be shocked how hard it actually is to connect with someone.

So until you find someone who makes you feel like the world just collapsed under your feet, don’t settle. If you don’t want to waste your time, spend your time seeking understanding.

Figure out how deep the water is before your dive in head first.

Dance and sing and laugh until the day you find someone to do all of the above with you. If someone doesn’t accept you, who cares.

There are millions of memories to be made, so go out there and make some.

Xx

BETTER SAFE THAN SORRY

NYC, the city that never sleeps. She revs us up with energy and drowns us out in crowds. Living here means living in chaos and learning how to thrive in a manic environment. For a place so heavily populated it’s shocking how alone you can feel.

Millions of strangers commute each day to work. We stand and sit in silence. Some of us read, some write and some yell at others. We miss trains by seconds, because some idiot can’t swipe their card correctly and we let it ruin our day. Subway operations can be very tricky and if you’re ever riding in a stalled car the stress level is so high you can physically feel it. We pack into cars like sardines and treat one another like animals. We put our headphones on and for a moment we disappear.

We disappear until someone yells “hey asshole move out of my way” and then just like that we’re back. Sometimes when we’re stressed we miss stops, sometimes the cars have no ventilation and you can see the sweat dripping out of every pore.

Some of us walk to work and some of us take cars. We yell at the drivers because somehow traffic and what is most likely the best route are to blame for us leaving our apartments 5 minutes after we were supposed to be arriving somewhere.

We are manic. Forget shopping at Trader Joe’s, fairway, or any other grocer on Sunday or Monday or even Saturday sometimes. You’ll risk a limb for a loaf of bread.

The thing is you don’t have to shop if you don’t want to, because here everything is made for your convenience. You can send your laundry out, hire a personal assistant to run your errands, return items by uberrush, order takeout, buy groceries through apps, rent clothes and buy clothes for same day delivery, etc. Literally anything you want you can have.

Anything except personal connection. I’ve managed to find a tribe of humans so magical I want to trademark them. My posse, my babes, my brigade. They are the best humans in the world and I get to love them every single day. We found each other because we stopped getting caught up in the chaos and instead embraced it with a positive and optimistic attitude. That even in such a dog eat dog City there are humans who will cherish you and pick you up when you’re down.

So, on the friend front I don’t know what to tell you. Sure there are apps for that, but you can’t get genuine loving relationships on demand. It takes time, effort and memories made. So I can’t help but wonder why that hasn’t seemed to apply on the romantic relationship side for me.

I believe in the universe and the laws of attraction, but I must say when it comes to love maybe I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry. To my friends, my job, my neighbors, my family I give my all. There is no half-assing with me. If I want you in my life, I’m going to see to it that you have the best life possible.

This has done wonders for my friendships and career opportunities. I’ve attracted people into my life who have quite literally taught me what it means to love and be loved. That said, when it comes to romance I’ve become jaded. I’ve become tired of comparing dating to an irritating subway commute. As if it’s something you have to do out of some sort of obligation. You’re on the ride and neither of you are enjoying it and there is no excitement.

You don’t know what you’re walking into (I’ve been catfished….PTSD) and you don’t know what you’re walking away from. You might have an extraordinary time with sparks flying so high you can’t breathe only to never hear from the person again. Oh, but they might still watch your Instagram stories and like your photos (dude, that’s weird).

So every time you put on a pretty dress and paint your face with lush red lipstick remember you might just be on the verge of meeting your next breadcrumber. Last year I had my first experience with being ghosted and this year I had my first experience with a breadcrumber.

I didn’t really care because to be honest I wasn’t really into him at all. I tried to convince myself I was, but I was just going through the motions. I was robotically following my morning commute. I was living a routine. I’ve heard girls talk about numbers. The more dates you go on the better your chances of finding the one are.

I don’t know what I think about it all anymore except that I think it’s very sad. It’s sad that we live in a culture where love isn’t prioritized and people aren’t treasured. I think it’s sad that we treat people like atm transactions. We take out, but we don’t always put back in.

We settle for boring, because sometimes boring feels safer than being alone. I’ve been on my dating hiatus for a few months now and it’s opened my eyes to a whole new world. One where I refuse to settle for anything less than magic. I’ve realized that risks are something I love to take, but when it comes to relationships I have to play it a bit more safe.

Someone came back into my life and showed me what it’s like to respect someone and value them and honor them. Seeing that and knowing it exists gives me hope for humanity. There are good people out there who want more than just to service themselves.

I want to encourage all of you to shoot for the stars in terms of your life. We limit ourselves and I don’t know why! You deserve a kind loving partner who adores you. You deserve friends who will have your back, but also hold you accountable. You deserve a job that appreciates your work and dedication and promotes you accordingly. You deserve to have a life that’s more than getting up only to wait for the day to be over.

Regardless of where you are in your life don’t get so caught up in the chaos/drama that you forget about all of the beauty. Every day is a new day and opportunity to become whoever you want to be. Leave behind a legacy that is legendary.

Avoidance

Yikes! Avoidance, I know it all too well. The funny thing about it is that sometimes you can't simply connect the dots on why you're avoiding something, or what at your core you're actually avoiding. Sometimes it just hits you like a sack of bricks and you're like… f&$@.

Yesterday it dawned on me that I had been avoiding something major in my life. I made excuses, I procrastinated, I blamed others and even got angry with others until I realized this was my beast of burden.

For me, I had lived in a delusional state thinking that if I ignored the problem long enough it would go away, it didn't. Instead, it grew bigger and bigger until I felt consumed by it and trapped. I felt overwhelmed and scared.

Last night, I talked to my best friend about this issue and she was so incredibly supportive. Sometimes just saying something out loud gives it less power. Sharing something with someone and asking for help made me feel more in control.

Apart from her listening and not judging me, she helped me think of next steps. This is what love is. For the first time, I felt cared for in a way that I hadn't in a very long time. My anxiety eased and I felt at peace with the universe.

I woke up today and a new day presented itself. A brand new chance to start over and to chip away at my now less intimidating monster. So, I started the day with a new workout class, Bari Bounce Lab. I entered the studio to open arms by one of my best friends who hugged me and loved me. I then got out of my comfort zone and bounced my heart out on a mini trampoline to amazing music and a bomb instructor.

When I walked out of the studio I felt an insane amount of gratitude. We get so caught up in the day to day. So caught up in avoiding the things we should be prioritizing that we forget to give thanks. Life is nothing without relationships.

The issue I had been avoiding made me feel alone. Today, as I walked out of the studio I realized just how far from alone I am.

I have best friends who are family who provide advice and help in times of need. I have mentors who advise me and deeply care about my professional success and personal development. I have trainers who fill me with inspiration and make me stronger each class. I have colleagues who hold me accountable and push me to be my best by stretching me. I have wonderful doormen and staff at my apartment building who keep me safe and listen to my stories. And biological family. The list goes on…

I owe it to myself and to the people who keep me going to embrace my challenges with a positive attitude. I don't believe in looking back, but every now and then it's nice to reflect on accomplishments. They can remind you of your strength and ability to crush any roadblock that comes your way.

So, I encourage you while encouraging myself to abandon avoidance and take back control. I tend to want immediate results and I'm learning that life is about consistency. You have to try and try and try until you see change. Nothing worth having/accomplishing comes easy anyway.

Xx.