Life

When Did I Get So Old?

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A few months ago I went to a concert. This was a standing room only show, no assigned seats. The standing for a couple of hours at a time doesn’t bother me about these types of shows. What does bother me is the jostling around with a bunch of other people. I hate having too many people in my personal space at one time. This show stood out in particular due to one girl standing in front of me. She spent the majority of the show flailing around like a wacky waving inflatable tube man and turning around to make googly eyes at her friend who was standing behind me. I spent half of the show enjoying the act performing and the other half throwing elbows to defend my feet from being trampled by this 20-year-old dancing maniac.

While we never actually said anything to each other, we were aware of one another. I noticed her constant 2-stepping, she was well aware of my flagrant elbows. I’m sure she heard me proclaim to my fiance over 100 hundred times about personal space and rude people. And I certainly caught what she said to her friend, “I came here to have fun not sit stand around like this.” That’s when she crossed her arms and made a face that you would most likely make when imitating the line, “Get off my lawn!”

I like to think that even in my late teens and early 20s I was aware of personal space and wouldn’t have acted the way this girl did. However, I probably wouldn’t have been as annoyed with that behavior back in the day either. I would have most likely been drinking and dancing along to the music as well. Now, I just wanted to enjoy some music and get home with enough time to get my eight hours of sleep.

That concert made me realize that I am getting old. I understand that in the grand scheme of life I am not old. Statistically speaking, I have more than half of my life left to live. If I were to die, it would still be a tragedy and people would question how it happened. Old age and sleep wouldn’t be the culprit. But I do feel like I’ve said goodbye to my youth.

We all get older. We all know that one day we’re going to get older and older. But as a teen, it’s so far in the distance that it’s a fact that might as well be made up. When I was 17, turning 30 seemed like a lifetime away. But then I turned 30, and then all of a sudden I turned 33 and I was easing into my mid-thirties. It all happens so fast.

Every young person is going to one day look up and realize that the years are passing by a lot faster than they used to. We’re always told “time flies” but don’t realize it until we’re in the midst of it. It’s why Buzzfeed has at least one article a day marveling at things that came out 10, 15, 20 years ago. We can’t fathom that the shows we grew up with are turning two decades old. Sometimes a quarter of a century. (All That premiered in 1994!!!) We’re constantly left asking, “How did this happen? And how do I make it stop?”

I’m not sure how I got to be 33-years-old and I know that there’s no way to slow down this train as much as I want to. I am just going to have to accept that this is my new normal. The years are going to continue to fly by so I have to remember to savor each day.

I Give Credit to People Who Move Away From Home

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I moved in the middle of March to start a new job as the Youth Services Librarian for a small library. Between moving, starting a new job, and getting engaged, I have not had much time for anything else. I will blame some of all that on why I haven’t posted regularly. Hopefully now that things are starting to settle down a bit, I can start writing in this little old blog more. Lord knows I have a lot of material to write about.

I want to start with writing about my disastrous move up North. I may be a bit dramatic with my use of the word disastrous but it has not been easy. I moved about 2 1/2 hours away from where I lived and grew up. Doesn’t sound like too far away but a lot can change when you drive 2+ hours. I moved to the Catskills so technically I am still a New Yorker. However, for anyone familiar with New York, you know that New York City and the rest of the state are two completely different species. I don’t even know why they are considered the same state. They have nothing in common. I could have moved to New Jersey (an actual different state) and it would have been less of a culture shock.

This move up was not a smooth one. For starters, I was the only one who moved up full time. My fiance is a professor so he had to finish up the semester before moving up full time. He officially moves up this week. But before this week, I would spend Sunday night to Friday afternoon by myself. I am OK with living on my own. I did it for many years before I met Jonathan. However, living on your own in a new place, where you don’t know anyone, is difficult. Once I got to my house after work, I felt trapped (I’ll elaborate on that a little later). I was in a complete rut. I would wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to sleep, and then do it all over again. Jonathan would finally come on Friday and I’d have someone to hang out with only to have to say goodbye so quickly on Sunday.

Why did I feel trapped in my apartment? Why didn’t I step outside, take a walk, try to meet new people? Let me tell you why! Cause my apartment is in the middle of nowhere. I live on a route, not a street. I don’t have any sidewalks. There are woods behind me and across the street from me. If I want to go anywhere, even the supermarket, I have to get in my car. It’s also incredibly dark where I live, no street lights. Only bears (which have already attacked our garbage cans once so far!). I am not going out after work so I can come home after dark by myself. Am I a scaredy cat? Definitely. I have no shame in admitting this. When I get to my apartment after work, that is where I stay. I am not venturing outside to get attacked by a wild beast.

Speaking of my apartment in the boondocks, I am counting down the days until my lease is up. Jonathan and I worked with our landlord and she agreed to a 6-month lease instead of a year. I am so glad of it too because I am moving to a new apartment the second I can. A part of it is because I miss sidewalks and want to be able to leave my house without having to hop in my car. But the main reason I cannot wait to leave is because I have to hold my breath whenever I take a shower or do the dishes. My lovely apartment comes with sulfur water. If you’re not familiar with sulfur water, you’re incredibly lucky. Before March, neither was I so I didn’t think to run the water before renting an apartment. However, up here in the Catskills, many buildings get their water from wells which can result in sulfur water. What’s so horrible about sulfur water? It smells like rotten eggs! And I am not being dramatic with this one. I do not even brush my teeth with the water. My bathroom sink always has at least two jugs of store bought water next to it. (My mission for less plastic this year has not been as smooth since moving to a place where the water scares me.)

The only thing that I’ve been somewhat OK with is my job. Sure, I am still learning to get comfortable with the work and my coworkers, but I’ve only been here for two months so these things take time. Overall the new job has been the one bright spot with my move. However, it did not start that way. I started my job on a Monday and by Thursday I had to go home because I felt like I was dying. I got the flu my very first week of work and had to miss 7 days of my new job. Great first impression. Thankfully my boss was understanding and told me to take all the time I needed. However, I hated having to take an entire week off of work after only putting in 3 1/2 days. I also discovered that the flu fucking sucks. I know this is common knowledge but you never fully know how horrible it can be until you have it yourself. That was my first time getting the flu and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

With Jonathan moving up full time and our lease halfway over, I am sure that things will start to go a bit smoother. But I realized that I don’t think I ever would be able to move away from home on my own. I think if I didn’t have a fiance coming up with me, I would be back home as soon as my lease is over. (Sorry job, but you’re not that special.) I guess I am not as independent as I always thought I was. But moving away from home on your own is reallyyy hard. I give a lot of credit to all those people who have done it. Kudos to you!

Ways to De-Stress When Life Becomes Too Much

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Well I really let this blog get away from me. I am not sure how this happened. My last post was January 19th. It’s been almost a year since I’ve shared with everyone. I always had plans to write something. I even have a draft from May 30th titled Hopefully I am Back for Good. That post just has the title and a gif so clearly I didn’t even give coming back an honest try.

The second half of 2018 has been a stressful time for me. Some good stress and some bad stress. I almost moved in the summer. It fell through at the very last minute which resulted in the loss of my apartment. I’ve been living with my bf in his parent’s basement since July. I’ve spent the last several months applying for and interviewing for jobs outside of NYC. My mom was in the hospital last month for a little over a week. Thankfully she’s OK now. My best friend is getting married and I’m the maid of honor which has meant a lot of party planning, dress fittings, and other wedding events. Add a car accident into the mix and it’s safe to say that I am all ready to kiss 2018 goodbye.

I am an anxious and stressed out person naturally. I wish this wasn’t the case but it is who I am. So when things become hectic in my life they are amplified. I know that I am not alone with dealing with anxiety and I would be shocked if someone reading this claims they’ve never had to deal with stress. Stress is a part of life; it’s pretty hard to avoid.

While there’s no way to completely avoid stress, there are thankfully ways to deal with stress and make things a little bit easier.

Take a bubble bath – There is something about soaking in a suds-filled bath in a candlelit room with your favorite song playing that makes you feel like you’re on a vacation. This vacation may last only 30 mins but it’s a nice distraction from the world.

Don’t be afraid to talk to someone – This is something that I need to work on. When I am sad, I tend to like company but I don’t like to ask for company. Everyone else around you is going through their own stuff. They may not necessarily notice when you need a little extra TLC. There’s nothing wrong with telling someone you need them around.

Get lost in your favorite comedy – When I am feeling really down, nothing does the trick of putting me in a good mood quite like watching The Office. Something funny and familiar can help you to forget about the stresses of real life.

Get outside – And no, I am not advocating working out. You’re already stressed; the last thing you need is someone telling you about the wonders of working out. I am just letting you know about the wonders of fresh air. A simple walk around the block can be an amazing de-stresser.

Color or craft – I am not as creative as I’d like to be. I have an entire board on Pinterest dedicated to awesome things I can make for my apartment by hand. I haven’t made a single one. The thought of having to make my own spice rack fills me with dread which is the exact opposite of what this list should do. But if crafting is your thing, then by all means dig in when you’re feeling stressed. For the rest of you, I’d like to suggest coloring. Adult coloring pages are all the rage right now and it’s one trend I 100% support.

Don’t add extra stress if you don’t need to – I said this before and I’ll say it again, stress is impossible to avoid. It’s a part of life, but when things are already super stressful don’t add any unnecessary extra stress. Learn to say no to things you really do not want to do. Stay off social media if it adds to your stress. Avoid watching the news because that shit will make you miserable and depressed.

Here’s to 2019 and it being the least stressful year yet. Or at least all of us knowing how to manage that stress as best as possible!

My Uterus Is Not Your Business

The title of this post may seem a little crass but that is exactly what I have felt like shouting to several people the past year. Something interesting happened when I entered my 30s. It seems that I entered an age where people start to become really concerned with whether or not I am going to have children. And I am not just talking about family members. It turns out that coworkers are highly concerned with what’s going on inside my uterus.

I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I’m in a serious relationship; it’s probably both of these factors combined. But either way, my decision to have children or not has been a very hot topic for many people.

“So are you going to have children?” “Do you want to have children?” “When are you having children?” “You have to have children.” “Wait until you have your own children.”

Children, children, children. Look, I love children. My nephews are two of my favorite humans in this world. I work with children and I absolutely adore them. But having your own children is a completely different thing.

I am still not sure yet if I want my own child. And to be honest, that’s a decision that only I can make and the guy I’m with.

I think as a society we should all agree that asking the current status of a woman’s uterus is something that we should all just stop doing! If a woman has a baby in her belly or is trying to get one in there, then she will tell you if she chooses. If she doesn’t, then it’s her decision.

Asking someone who doesn’t want to have kids about this puts their back against the wall. “Do I just say no or say that I don’t want kids?” “If I say I don’t want, then I’ll probably have to explain why.”

But do you know what is even worse? Asking someone who is trying to get pregnant if they are pregnant or when they’re going to have kids. You have just reminded this woman that she still does not have a baby in her belly which is probably the last thing that she needs. Trying to conceive and having a hard time is an incredibly difficult thing for any woman to go through. She does not need a constant reminder from her nosy Aunt Sally.

So if you ever feel like asking a lady about what’s happening in her uterus, DON’T! Ask her how work is, about her next vacation, if she prefers pancakes over waffles. Anything else is better than baby talk!

If Your Year Isn’t Filled with Ups and Downs, Then You’re Not Really Living

This may be a little pretentious of me but I want to dedicate this post to someone. I know this isn’t a book. But it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want. I want to dedicate this post to my sister Keri who had one of the hardest Christmases ever. On Christmas Eve, we had to put down her chocolate lab. Elvis was a member of the family for almost 12 years so it was hard for all of us to say goodbye. But it hit my sister the hardest as Elvis was her dog. Her baby. She was a mommy to Elvis way before my nephews came along. So this post is for her and all the tears she shed this past week.

And there were a lot of tears. I cried a lot on Christmas Eve. It was probably the saddest I had been the whole year. Watching Elvis be put down was the hardest thing I had to do the entire year of 2017.

All the tears got me thinking about all the times I cried this year. I cried A LOT. I am a crier. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m angry. I cry at all those ridiculous car commercials that show the timeline of a baby turning into a teenager getting her parent’s car. (It’s capitalism and all marketing but they are tugging at my heartstrings!)

Elvis was the saddest moment of 2017. But while I was reflecting on the events of Christmas Eve, I started thinking about the best moments of 2017. My trip to Europe was the best part of my year, particularly the visit to Switzerland. This June, I went to Switzerland, Germany and England. Switzerland was by far the best part and the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. I went to the Alps of Switzerland and went to the top of a glacier for viewing. I was nearly 13,000 feet above sea level. The highest I’ve ever been. It’s sounds corny but when I stepped out to see the view it literally took my breath away. I felt like I was on top of the world. The view and wonder of it brought tears to my eyes.

Life is filled with ups and downs. It’s always going to be. Your life has to be filled with ups and downs if you want to really experience life. I cried so much over the death of Elvis because I allowed myself to love and feel. I also took a chance this year and booked a two-week vacation to visit places I’ve never been before. Life is about experiences and relationships. Sometimes the experiences and relationships will hurt you. Sometimes they will make you cry happy tears and sometimes it will be sad tears. But whether those tears are from joy or pain, they’re important.

I cried a ton of tears in 2017 and I plan to continue the tears onto 2018. Cause a year without any ups and downs hasn’t really been lived.

Let’s end this by giving a proper farewell to the craziest yet most lovable dog to have ever lived.

Money Versus Happiness

When we’re younger, we are always told we can be whatever we want to be. You usually don’t hear young boys and girls list jobs like accountant, secretary, plumber, or retail manager. (I’m not knocking those jobs but they just aren’t as exciting as ballerina, superhero, or movie star.)

When you’re younger, you don’t envision yourself sitting at a desk for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week. Even as old as college, this usually isn’t what we envision for ourselves.

We imagine that we’re going to have exciting jobs. Our passions will turn into careers. And these careers will provide us with enough money to travel, buy a home, and eat out to dinner whenever we want.

Somewhere along the way, usually when we spend months after graduation sending out our resume to every business within 100 miles of us, we realize that our passion does not always lead to money. We’re not all going to make it as YouTube stars reviewing cookies for a living. (I’m not hip to the latest YouTubers so I’m not sure if this is actually a thing but I wouldn’t be surprised.)

While the 9-5 jobs aren’t glamorous, they have their benefits. They provide a steady paycheck and health benefits. If you’re lucky, you may even land a job that will automatically set you up with a 401K or some other retirement fund.

I spent one long weekend in the summer going on 5 interviews in New Hampshire and Vermont. I was desperate to leave my current position. I spend at least an hour in traffic each way. I like less than half the people I work with. And I am not a huge fan of the patrons who frequent my library. There are a few nice ones but most are rude.

I wanted to get out of my current job and get out of New York City.

I had a goal in mind. I wanted to be the director of a small branch somewhere up in the mountains. I’d live in a small town where everyone knew each other and I could spend my weekends hiking and going to the local farm. Basically, I wanted the complete opposite of New York. I wasn’t happy where I was so I was determined to make a change.

I started applying for jobs in New England and soon began getting call backs. I was lucky enough to squeeze several interviews in a short span of time.

My last interview of a very long weekend was at this little branch in the middle of nowhere in Vermont. It was for a library director position and if hired, I’d be the only full-time employee. The rest of the library consisted of part-timers and volunteers.

When I was in library school, this library was where I imagined working. It was a small town. (I’m talking population of less than 5,000.) I would be the sole person in charge of this little library that needed a lot of help. The Trustees were working on a plan to expand the library and bring it to the 21st century. The library needed a lot of help. The bathroom was in the basement and the only way to get there was down very steep steps. No elevator. And there was no access to the building except for several steps leading to the front entrance. No ramp.

There were a whole slew of people in the town who couldn’t use the library simply because they had no way of entering. I instantly fell in love with the little town and the adorable old ladies who interviewed me. I was ready to take on the task of rebuilding this library.

So I was elated when they called me the day after the interview to offer me the job. Here was my chance to fulfill all my librarian goals. This  was what I went to school for.

Then I was given the full offer and my heart dropped.

You can imagine a library that cannot even afford a ramp does not have much of a budget. I knew that the salary wasn’t going to be great, I just wasn’t expecting it to be so bad.

They offered me $30,000/year with no health benefits and 5 sick days to kick in once I was working for a year. I knew it wasn’t them being cheap. They were offering me everything they possibly could, but sadly, it wasn’t enough.

I knew I would have been happy there. I definitely would have enjoyed that job a lot more than the library I work for now. And I would have loved working in rural Vermont much more than Brooklyn.

But in this case, I had to choose money over happiness. Sure the cost of housing is cheaper in Vermont than Brooklyn but not much else would be less. I’d still have to eat every day and pay my student loans every month. And now I’d have to add an additional bill of health insurance since the job didn’t cover it.

I had to reluctantly turn down the offer. I still haven’t given up hope that I’ll find my dream little library. I’m just hoping to find one that’s slightly better funded.

Maybe We’re Not Meant to Feel Settled

Depending on how you look at it, the word settled can either be a good thing or a bad thing. When it comes to relationships, hearing the word “settling” is never a good thing. You don’t want to be with someone who you’re just settling for. And even worse, you don’t want someone to just be settling for you in a relationship.

On the other side of the word settled, it evokes a sense of contentment. The official definition of settle is to “adopt a more steady or secure style of life, especially in a permanent job and home.”

While I wouldn’t say that I’m completely settled in life, I’m as close as I’ve ever been. Especially when it comes to my career. On paper, I make a decent living. (Although I question that after paying rent, car insurance, and student loans every month!) I am in the job I went to school for and have moved up quickly in my company.

I also have great friends, a loving family, an awesome bf, and a place of my own. Compared to my life even two years ago, I would consider myself settled. Or moving towards settled.  Hopefully, with a few more years in my company, I could save enough to buy my own property.

But just when all these things started falling into place is when I started to get the itch to move. I have wanted to move out of New York for a long time. It was going to happen after High School. Then it was going to happen after college. Then it was going to happen when I kept moving from one dead-end job to the next. Then it was going to happen after I graduated from grad school.

It was always going to happen until it wasn’t.

The last move didn’t happen because I was offered the exact job I wanted the day after my last class at grad school. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. So once again, I put my dreams of moving out of NYC on the backburner.

And I’d probably let those dreams die out completely if it wasn’t for the overwhelming feeling of restlessness I’ve been experiencing. I don’t want to be settled. And I realized that I don’t want to ever feel settled.

There is so much in life to learn and explore that we should never feel truly settled. There’s always something new to experience.

The experiences will just be different for each person. Not everyone will feel the urge to pick up and move across the country. Maybe it’s always finding something new to talk about with your significant other. Maybe it’s mastering a new skill. Maybe it’s giving up YA books and making a goal to read more non-fiction.

No matter how big or small, don’t ever settle in life. There’s always something new to learn and fall in love with.