Personal

Thirty Things I’m Thankful For

I am going to admit right now that I am a hater. Or at least I used to be one. Every November my social media feeds would become flooded with everyone sharing all the things they’re thankful for. My snarky self would sit back and think, “Really Judy? You’re thankful for your kids and your home? How original!” However, something happened this year. The ice around my heart melted and I started to enjoy the posts about why people are happy and thankful.

We spend SO much time focusing on the bad stuff that we often forget what makes us happy. I know that I spend a lot of time complaining about the things I’m unhappy about instead of focusing on the things in my life I do enjoy. And I don’t know about you but I’m tired of the negativity. My life isn’t perfect but I still have a ton to be thankful for. So in honor of the month of November and Thanksgiving, I present to you thirty things I’m thankful for. (Please keep your snarky comments and eye rolling to a minimum. This post is about to get real cheesy.)

*Just so you know, this list is in no particular order.

  1. My sisters – I wasn’t kidding when I said they were the greatest gift my parents ever gave me. I have no idea what I would do without them.
  2. My nephews – While my sisters are the greatest gift my parents gave me, my nephews are by far the greatest gift my older sister gave me. Doesn’t matter what mood I’m in, if I hang out with my nephews, I’m happy.
  3. My job – I have done some complaining about my job but I actually finally found a new one. Still at a library and it’s closer to home. I am still not 100% where I want to be but I have a job I enjoy and it pays me enough to afford the bare minimum and some splurging every so often.
  4. Cupcakes – There are so many sweets that I could put on this list. But to avoid being a complete glutton, I am going to limit it to just one. Cupcakes are my one true love.
  5. My apartment – It’s small but it’s home. I love the little place my bf and I built.
  6. My car – My car is old and sounds like an airplane taking off if I go over 50 mph, but I love it. It was my grandmother’s car and I took it over when she passed away. It gave me the ability to go to school and work a far distance from home without having to rely on public transportation.
  7. My relationship – I have encountered enough dating disasters to know that I am incredibly lucky. I have a bf who cares about me and is genuinely interested in what I care about.
  8. Books – Reading is the most amazing thing in the world. Books allow me free entertainment when I have nothing else to do. I have survived plenty of plane and train rides with the help of books.
  9. My kitchen – Yes, I am listing my kitchen separately from my apartment. This year, I have become more and more excited about cooking. My kitchen is small but it gives me the freedom to try out new recipes.
  10. Wine – Through good times and bad, wine has always been by my side. Whether I’m enjoying a night in with my sisters or trying to get over a horrible day at work, there aren’t many cases where a glass of wine or two won’t help.
  11. Health Insurance – Living in the United States, I realize how incredibly lucky I am to have health insurance. It’s nice to be able to go to the doctor without worrying that I’ll have to deplete my entire life’s savings.
  12. My health – While I do feel like every morning I wake up with a new muscle aching, I am relatively healthy. I am so thankful for my health and the freedom it allows me to pursue my dreams.
  13. Mountains – Whether they’re big or small, I love the mountains. When I am surrounded by mountains or hiking down one, I do not have a care in the world.
  14. Netflix – More nights than I can count, Netflix and reruns of The Office have saved me from boredom.
  15. Christmas Movies – The cheesier the better. I love my Hallmark Christmas movies no matter how predictable they are.
  16. My dad – My dad is the most selfless person I have ever known. I could call him at 3am in California and he would get up and drive cross country to come pick me up.
  17. This blog – I may not update this thing as much as I’d like but I am so happy I’ve stuck with it. When I first started this blog, I hadn’t even gone back to grad school yet. It’s awesome to have something I can look through and see how much things have changed.
  18. My friends – I do not have a lot of friends but the ones that I do have are amazing. We’ve been friends since before I can remember and I know I can count of them for anything.
  19. My family – This goes beyond just my sisters, nephews, and dad. I am incredibly lucky to have an amazing family.
  20. Education – I am fully aware of how lucky I am that I have had access to education since I was 4-years-old. Being able to go to grad school, allowed me the opportunity to get the job I really wanted. It may have stressed me out at times but I am incredibly indebted to school. (I swear that’s not a pun on student loans!)
  21. Cheese – There is a ton of food I can put on this list but once again I am avoiding being a glutton. So I have to go with my second greatest love: cheese. I have yet to meet a cheese I don’t like.
  22. Traveling – I am so happy that I have the ability and the means to travel. I haven’t been everywhere yet but it’s on my list.
  23. Growing up in NYC – As someone who lived in NYC my whole life, I look at it differently than those who have just visited or recently moved here. I don’t view it with rose tinted glasses. However, I realize I’m lucky to have grown up in such an amazing city surrounded by so much culture and diversity.
  24. Puppies – This includes puppies that are 13-years-old. They are all puppies and they are all adorable. I can’t see a puppy without excitedly pointing it out and smiling.
  25. Four seasons – I have a love/hate relationship with summer and winter. When the weather gets too extreme, I complain. However, I love the fact that I live in a place that experiences all four seasons.
  26. Inheriting my grandmother’s genes – Considering that cupcakes, wine, cheese, cooking, and my kitchen are all on this list, it’s safe to assume that I love food. I am incredibly thankful that I take after my grandmother and inherited her fast metabolism.
  27. Decorations – I’m not just talking about Christmas decorations. I love all decorations. Halloween, Thanksgiving, St. Patrick’s Day. If I had the time, I’d decorate for every holiday.
  28. My phone – Naysayers be damned! Smartphones do more good than harm. They can keep us connected to the world. They help direct me where I’m going. They let me know if I should pack an umbrella with me. There isn’t much my phone can’t help me with.
  29. Sleep – I like that no matter how dismal my day has been, I can sleep it away and wake up to a new day.
  30. You – I am beyond thankful for anyone who has ever read this blog (even if I forced you to). The comments, likes, shares, etc. mean so much to me and I couldn’t be more thankful.

*What are some things you are most thankful for?

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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.

Moving in Together Is a Big Deal but It Shouldn’t Feel Like One

So my bf and I have decided to move in together. Technically he’s decided to move into my place. (Thank the heavens I don’t have to actually do any moving.)

Whenever we tell other people, they always say the same thing, “That’s a big deal.” JR and I were confused when everyone kept telling us that. We didn’t feel like moving in together was that big a deal. We both naturally came to the decision because it made the most sense. We were already spending practically all of our time together anyway. Having one space we both called home makes things a lot easier. Now I don’t have to pack a bag or pray that I have clean underwear at his house. We’ve basically been living in two places which became annoying. The amount of clothing I’ve lost from going back and forth is atrocious. I had enough.

So we decided to make this huge move in our relationship. (No pun intended!)

I get that moving in together is a big deal and it’s not something that any two people should take lightly. It’s a big step in a relationship. If you do it too soon, it could ruin things. There is a lot you learn about a person once you live with them. It’s probably a good idea to try and find out as many of those quirks as possible BEFORE you decide to move in together.

I knew I was ready to live with JR so it didn’t feel like a big deal. Here are a few of the reasons I knew moving in made the most sense for our relationship. I’m not saying these tips will work for every relationship but if you’re thinking about moving in with your significant other, it doesn’t hurt to check them out and see if they fit.

We survived a big trip together. Back in June, JR and I spent 13 days traveling through Europe. While I love traveling and I have so many wonderful experiences from my trips, it can also be stressful. You learn a lot about a person when you see how they react with little sleep, multiple plane rides, and an attempt at navigating the Berlin train system.

I was comfortable when it came to the two Ps with him. By two Ps, I mean poop and period. I know that everybody poops and it’s a natural part of life but I will admit that I’m THAT girl. The girl who likes to hide her bathroom habits for as long as possible. There was plenty of pooping right before I showered in the beginning of our relationship. Not anymore. I can thank our trip for eliminating any boundaries I once had when it comes to that. When you share one bathroom in a small hotel room, it’s impossible to keep your bathroom habits a secret.

We spoke about the future. I cannot stress this enough, but do not move in with someone if you are unsure of where you guys stand. Having a talk about the future and marriage and kids can be scary. However, if you’re not able to bring up these issues, then you aren’t ready to move in together. Make sure you’re on the same page before you make such a big move. (There I go again with the no pun intended!)

We were spending more time together than apart at this point. We were already spending most of our time together, it was just a matter of where. We had to decide if we were going to stay at his place this weekend or my place. Which then meant we had to really decide who is the one forced to pack a bag and who doesn’t have to.

We were familiar with each other’s finances. Money is a hot topic when you move in together. There’s rent, utilities, groceries, etc. You have to figure out how things are going to be split and how much each person can afford. You don’t have to divulge everything. That will depend on the individual relationship but you need to know the basics.

It felt natural. This goes back to the whole big deal thing not really feeling like a big deal. It felt like the next natural step in our relationship. And I think that’s how it should be.

Confession: I am a Fraud

On May 1st, I started a new job. I am still a librarian and I still work for the same system, but I got a new title and began working at a different branch.

My new title is Library Information Supervisor. It’s a mouthful but it loosely translates to Assistant Manager of the branch. When the manager isn’t in, I’m the boss. That’s right, someone actually made me in charge of something.

It’s been quite the adjustment. I’m someone who still feels like they’re playing dress up when wearing my interview clothes. A blazer and heels doesn’t feel natural. So starting a job where my title is supervisor has made me feel like a complete and utter fraud.

There have been several occasions at work that have made me want to run away or scream “Don’t come to me. I have no idea what I’m doing.”

  • Anytime someone asks me if they can take a break, I get confused. “Why are you asking me? I don’t care if you take a break.” Then I remember, “Right! They have to ask me cause I’m in charge.” The answer to their break question is always yes.
  • Being a boss bitch is not in my future. I cannot just tell people to do something. I have to always add a “please”  or  “when you get the chance.” I also cannot say no when I’m asked a favor.
  • But I do think I can handle being a boss baby. A boss bitch is in control all the time. She knows what she wants and she goes for it. I imagine a boss baby is a much more tame version of this. I have an idea of what I want and I’m willing to do some things for it. Just do not ask me to ever fire anyone. If I’m responsible for firing, then employees are working for the company for life.
  • Reprimanding someone is almost as bad as being reprimanded. Twice I had to have someone step into my office because we needed to talk. (My office means the real boss’s office because all I have is my own desk.) Having to do this filled me with so much anxiety. Please everyone do your job so I never have to have these conversations. They’re uncomfortable for you. They’re painful for me. No one wins!
  • Patrons suddenly listen to me. Prior to my promotion, patrons never believed I knew what I was talking about.  “What do you mean there are fines for late books at the library? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Let me speak to a manager.” Now when a patron says this, I’m the manager they speak to. There’s something about being summoned by phone to come speak to a patron that gives you an aura of authority. Most of the time I’m just repeating what has already been told to them but NOW they actually listen to me.
  • You cannot hide as easily when you’re a supervisor. I’m not lazy and I do like my job but I will be the first to admit that I like to slack off. I always get my work done on time but there’s a lot of browsing the internet in between. Spending time taking a quiz to determine what  pastry I am (thanks Buzzfeed) was totally fine in my previous position. Between patrons complaining and employees asking to take breaks, I cannot get away with it as easily now.
  • Every week gets a little more comfortable. When I first started my position, I came home every night on the verge of tears. I felt completely overwhelmed and out of my element. Now, the verge of tears happens only every other week. (Progress!) There are some days where I even feel like I know what I’m doing. And when I don’t, there’s always faking it!

Being the Bigger Person Sucks

Image result for i wish i could punch you gif

*Full disclosure:  This is going to be a long winded post full of angry complaints.

Back in March, I moved out of my apartment into a new one. Moving can be incredibly stressful. I wasn’t looking forward to moving yet again. But I knew it would be worth it. My older sister recently bought a home that came equipped with a one bedroom apartment on the second floor. The new place would be brighter than my old apartment, cheaper, and I’d be practically living with my sister and my adorable nephews.

And best of all, I’d be escaping my dreadful old apartment.  This apartment was a disaster in so many ways. It was a side apartment in a home, so I was renting from the family who owned the home. From the family to the conditions of the apartment when I moved in, I never had an actual moment of peace in my old apartment.

I briefly mentioned this in a previous post about moving and making horrible choices. When I first moved into the apartment, it was insanely dirty. I had to spend a good week scrubbing the place for hours after work each night before I was able to move in comfortably.

So I started off in my apartment with a bad taste in my mouth, and things just got worse from there. The wife in this family was a monster. Thankfully, I never experienced her wrath personally, but it didn’t mean I was immune to it. I would wake up at all hours of the night to the wife screaming uncontrollably to her husband. The screaming did not stop during the day. During the day, it was directed towards her kids and then her husband some more when he would come home from work. The only time I had peace in my apartment was when the owners were on vacation.

Then there were the bugs! One fateful summer night, I noticed a flying ant on the wall of my bedroom. I freaked out a little, killed it immediately, but thought nothing of it. It was the summer. Bugs finding their way into the home is inevitable. Then around midnight, I went to the bathroom. When I came back, I saw a few more flying ants. Then I noticed a scratching noise by the window. I pulled aside my curtains and saw a swarm of flying ants right outside my bedroom window.

I packed a bag and fled my apartment as fast I could. Now my landlords are pretty horrible people but thankfully they have their limits. As soon as they knew of the problem, it was handled. However, it doesn’t change the fact that I had to flee my apartment in the middle of the night. I was also incredibly understanding about the whole situation and didn’t demand a thing from my landlords. (Knowing what I know now, I should have refused to pay half month’s rent.)

With all the above being said, it’s no surprise that I was beyond happy to be changing my living situation. Little did I know this was just the beginning of my problems.

My landlords were supposed to mail me my security deposit after I moved out. Three weeks pass and still no check in the mail. After spending an entire weekend attempting to reach my landlords, I finally get a text back that it’s in the mail and should arrive shortly. Another week passes and still no check. After talking with my landlord again, it’s determined that the check must be “lost” in the mail (AKA it was never mailed out). She told me she’d leave it in the mailbox for me to pick up later that day.

Thankfully when I arrived at the mailbox, the check was there ($200 less than what it should have been), and it was accompanied with a letter. A poorly written letter filled with lies.

My lovely landlord determined that I caused thousands of dollars worth of damage, but out of the kindness of her heart she only deducted $200 from my security deposit to be fair.  (I recognized the $200 deduction for what it was: it was just the right amount to sting but not enough for me to really cause trouble over.)

Spoiler: I did not cause thousands of dollars in damage. If anything, I left that apartment in better condition because it was actually clean.

The best part is that my former landlord claimed the apartment smelled of cigarette smoke. Aside from the two puffs I had in the 6th grade to look cool, I have never smoked a cigarette in my life.

When I first got the letter, I was livid. After ranting and raving to my sister, bf and anyone else who would listen, I sat down at my computer to write my own letter. This letter let my landlord know what I felt about her grammatically-challenged letter and how living under her household for the past year crushed my soul.

I basically let her know all the ways I thought she was a horrible human being.

I never sent the letter. I wanted to. And sometimes I still do. But I recognize there isn’t much of a point. One of three things will happen:

1. It gets lost in the mail. If this happens, I’ll never actually know if it was received. There is no satisfaction in this scenario.
2. She gets the letter, reads it, doesn’t recognize her horrible traits laid out for her, assumes I’m just bitter, and throws the letter away. Once again, this scenario brings me no satisfaction.
3. She gets the letter and immediately becomes as irate as I did when I received my letter. She decides to contact me to retaliate for my letter. This scenario just brings me headache and drama.

So I left the letter sitting in my drafts untouched. I decided to be the bigger person, but it doesn’t feel good. There is a huge part of me that still wants to give her a piece of my mind.

If I ever run into her, I can’t promise my bigger person stance will last. That will probably result in a whole new post.

Stay tuned!

Things I’d Like to Do in Theory Only

In my head, I am a wonderful person. I have all these grand ideas on what type of person I’d like to be. This imaginative idea of myself is always cheerful, is put-together, exercises, and never leaves things on her to-do list left undone.

I attempt to live up to these standards but nine out of ten times I fail. I don’t go to sleep early enough at night. I don’t eat healthy enough. Some mornings I don’t even have enough time to brush my hair before walking out the door.

This ideal Liz also stays up-to-date with this blog. She regularly posts new articles. When she thinks of something new to write about, she immediately gets to her laptop and starts typing away. She doesn’t have dozens of unfinished drafts.

Unfortunately, you guys are stuck with the real Liz and I am sorry about that. The real Liz has the best intentions. She just falls short. I always say I want to write in here at least once a week but life seems to get in the way. If I’m not too busy to post, then I’m too tired to post.

I am going to try my hardest to keep up with this blog from now on. There is so much I want to write about. I just need to find the time to write.

I realize now that I will fail. There will be weeks and even months where I push off writing here. Just know that this blog is not the only thing real life Liz puts off and doesn’t follow through with. There’s a long list of things. In my head, I’m a great person. In reality, not so much.

In an ideal world, I’d be the type of person who…

Goes shopping on Sunday and prepares food for the week. Who never lets food go to waste and winds up buying lunch the whole week.

Wakes up early enough every morning to leave the house with my hair done and makeup on.

Keeps up-to-date with current events and always knows about the latest news or scandal.

Makes time to fit at least 30 minutes of exercise in my routine daily.

Doesn’t eat brownies and ice cream for dinner.

Is able to always have time for work, family, friends, my bf, and myself.

Actually donates their time to a worthwhile cause and not just think about it.

Doesn’t just pin a million recipes but actually cooks them.

Always has a tidy apartment. Clothes are always put away, dishes are never left in the sink.

Doesn’t just talk/think about all the things they want to do or the type of person they want to be. I would just do.

I really gotta start working harder to live up to the standards of fictional Liz.

Things I’ve Come to Terms with at 31

I turned 31 a few weeks ago. For the most part I have come to terms with my “old age.” The number is just going to get higher so I should stop fighting it. I did have a very small breakdown about officially being in my thirties but overall I dealt with it. Entering a new decade has definitely had its perks.

Your twenties are all about trying out new things and finding out who you are as a person. Want to move to a different place every year? That’s what your twenties are for.

Your thirties are a lot more mellow. Don’t get me wrong. I still want to try new things. There are plenty of places I still want to visit. Hobbies I still want to pickup. Books I eventually want to write. But my thirties have definitely shown me that there are quite a few things in my life that are set. I plan on spending my thirties embracing the little things that make me who I am and stop trying to change them.

Staying up all night will never happen again. This one makes me a little sad. When I was younger, “breaking night” while having a sleepover was one of my favorite things to do. Now, the idea of staying awake the entire night is torturous. A sunrise is a sunrise. I don’t need to see it. Let me sleep.

I will never dance well. This always used to be something I was embarrassed of: my horrendous dancing skills. Sadly, I was never blessed with rhythm but I am done fighting it. Next dance party I attend, I’m letting my inner-Elaine run free without any fear of judgment.

Being sexy will never come natural to me. This isn’t a self-deprecating comment. I am not saying that I’m never sexy. My boyfriend thinks I’m sexy. However, if I actively try to be sexy, I have the opposite effect. A striptease from me is a ball of awkward and will most likely end with me somehow getting stuck in my lingerie in a fit of laughter.

I will never enjoy exercising or eating healthy. I am still going to do it. Since I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more concerned about exercising and eating healthy. I’ll continue to give these things a chance for health reasons and all that nonsense, but I’m not going to like it. My couch will always be more appealing than the gym. I’ll always love cupcakes more than kale.

Being a millionaire is not in the cards for me. Why did we think we would be rich when we were younger? I considered having a nice car and my own home by the time I was thirty inevitable. Getting rich seemed like it was an attainable goal back in the days. Boy was I wrong. Now I just want to make enough money so I won’t have to work until I’m 80-years-old. The new American dream!

A day at Bed Bath and Beyond is now my favorite way to splurge. Partying it up all night at the latest club? No thanks, my apartment has $10 bottles of wine and Netflix. Dining out at that hot new restaurant? I’ll take my own cooked meal and sweatpants. Do you want these 20% off coupons at Bed Bath and Beyond? OMG yes! Clear my schedule. I need to spend the next several hours buying gadgets for my apartment. This toilet seat easily removes to make cleaning a breeze! (This toilet seat is a real thing and I absolutely love it.)

A feeling of impending death will always overcome me after a night of heavy drinking. My body can still handle a glass or two or three of wine at night to unwind. I can wake up from this ready to start my day. However, bring in the hard liquor and shots and all hell breaks loose. I can kiss productivity out the door for the next two to three days. That is how much time I’ll need to recover.

I’ll never pick up and move to a new place without a set plan. When I was in my twenties, I always entertained the idea of picking up and moving to another place. I still like this idea but it is a lot more reasonable. I would like to leave New York one day but not before I have a job secured somewhere. I have become a lot more practical in my thirties. That may sound depressing and boring, but do you know what isn’t boring? The ability to buy food and pay rent!

It doesn’t matter what other people think of me. I spent so many years of my twenties in a perpetual state of anxiousness. What others thought of me mattered way too much. This made friendships difficult. Relationships challenging. It made life in general rough. I am so over that nonsense. Here is something that young people really need to remember: The opinions of others truly do not matter. Life becomes a lot more free when you live it exactly how you want and now how other people want you to.