Adulthood

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.

Writing a Maid of Honor Speech

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One of my best friend’s is getting married this Sunday and I am the Maid of Honor. My thoughts about bridal parties haven’t really changed too much but when your best friend since PreK asks you to be her maid of honor, you’re not going to say no. Being asked to be in someone else’s bridal party is a curse and a privilege. If you say yes, then you know you’re agreeing to spend a shit ton of time and money but you’re also agreeing to stand by your friend during one of the best and most important days of her life.

Thankfully, my maid of honor duties are coming to an end. The bridal shower is done. We already partied it up for the bachelorette party. My dress is fitted and ready to go. The only thing left is to write a maid of honor speech. You would think someone who runs a blog where they write about their life and other random factoids would be able to put together a maid of honor speech. Well, you would be wrong.

I have known the bride-to-be since we were both 4-years-old. However, when I sat down to write the speech, I couldn’t come up with a single memory. Twenty eight years of knowing one another and apparently we’ve never done anything together. I stared at that blank screen as though I have never met my friend or her fiance before. I also forgot all the words I’ve ever known. Starting the speech was a struggle. Ending it is proving to be even harder. I want to say I’m about 80% done with the speech. Pray for me that the other 20% will come to me before Sunday afternoon. Either that or I get so drunk before the speech starts that I won’t care that none of the words coming out of my mouth make any sense.

If you haven’t figured this out already, let me say it. I should definitely be writing my friend’s speech instead of writing a new blog post. But procrastination is my game and that’s never gonna change. Instead of writing the speech that I need to, I am going to provide anyone else who may be struggling through writing a maid of honor speech with some solace.

No matter how long you’ve known the bride, you will forget everything you’ve ever done together. I mentioned this before but it’s worth saying again. This could be your sister who you’ve been attached to at the hip since birth and suddenly every memory of her will be erased from your mind.

And any memory you do think of will be highly inappropriate. “Omg, remember that time you got so drunk that you passed out in your own vomit.” While that story may be hilarious, it’s probably not wise to tell it at a wedding where parents and grandparents are present.

There will be no other way to describe love than with cliches. “She has truly found her better half.” “She has found her person who completes her.” “Blah, blah blah.” My God it is hard to describe love and two people getting married without sounding completely fake and corny. I do believe in love and I genuinely believe that my friend and her fiance are madly in love with one another. But for some reason expressing that sentiment in speech form screams of fake news.

You will suddenly think you’ve become Chris Rock. In the movies, wedding speeches are always hilarious. Only the funniest of speeches will become viral. I need to make guests pee from laughing so hard. Jokes are great if you can fit them in. But nothing, and I mean NOTHING, is worse than a forced joke.

And if you do think of some jokes, they will most likely be mean spirited. I think it’s OK to poke a little fun at the bride and groom, but you don’t want to turn this into a roast. An anecdote about your friend always being late and you being worried she wouldn’t make it to her own wedding on time can go over great in front of her friends and family who know her well. Going on and on about your friend’s selfishness without a story countering it is just mean. Making your friend cry cause of your speech isn’t a bad thing but you don’t want it to come from you relentlessly pointing out all her bad flaws.

Keep it short. Close friends and family may enjoy hearing you go on and on about the happy couple, but the majority of guests just want to go back to dancing and drinking. Five minutes tops. I am sure you don’t want to stand up there for hours talking and I can guarantee you that no one else wants you to stand up there for hours talking. Stick to the basics: your relationship with the bride, how she met the groom, their relationship, and their future.

To all those in the midst of writing a maid of honor speech, or those who need to write one in the future, I salute you. This shit is not easy. I am two seconds away from standing up there with a glass of champagne, shouting “cheers bitches,” and calling it a day.

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!

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.

Cooking Tips from a Mediocre Chef

If I told you a few years ago that I wanted to cook you dinner, you’d think one of three things: 1. OMG I hope this idiot doesn’t burn the house down. 2. Let me put the pizza delivery guy on speed dial now. 3. I better not get food poisoning. In many cases, you’d usually think all three.

I was never as bad as the gif above. My family can make all the jokes they want, I never set the house on fire. (I did set the alarm this Easter for burning bacon in the oven but that was more the pans fault than mine.) But I was pretty bad. Thankfully, over the years I’ve gotten a lot more comfortable in the kitchen.

Now when I tell someone I’m going to cook for them, they usually think, “ok cool, there’s a chance this meal won’t be terrible and if I’m lucky and she’s on her game, it’ll actually be really tasty.”

The list of things I can make comfortably grows everyday (mashed potatoes, buttercream frosting, homemade cake, tacos, roasted veggies, and more). At a certain point, I realized that cooking is a necessity. I can’t rely on someone else to cook for me all the time and ordering from seamless is an expense I just do not need.

I have an oven, I have a fridge. I should be able to make things on my own. It didn’t come easy and there were plenty of mishaps along the way. This weekend I’m attempting bread for the first time so the list of mishaps will continue to grow. But I have gotten a lot better so I’d like to share some tips for a person afraid of the kitchen but who wants to get started.

  1. Start small. You’re not going to step into the kitchen and create a meal that Gordon Ramsay will love. That dude is picky so it ain’t going to happen. Try baking some chicken with roasted veggies and/or potatoes. This is a relatively easy meal that you can play around with. Choose different seasonings and sauces. Roast different vegetables. The possibilities are endless.
  2. Cooking is an art, baking is a science. When cooking something, it’s OK to tweak the recipe a bit. You can switch up spices. You can add a little less or a little more of something. However, this is not so easy with baking. Decide to decrease the amount of baking soda and there’s a good chance you’ll wind up with a lifeless cake. Wait till you’re really comfortable with baking before you start playing around with the recipe.
  3. The more you cook, the cheaper it will become. For awhile, I never cooked unless it was a special occasion. If I was going to a girl’s night, I’d decide to bake some cookies or bring some mac and cheese. Since this was the only time I cooked, I’d have to buy every single ingredient on the recipe list. As you start cooking, you’ll notice that there are plenty of staples found in many recipes. Once you buy these, they should last for several different recipes.
  4. You are enough to cook for. I love cooking for people. Cooking for people is fun. I love seeing the reactions of people when they enjoy what I’ve made. I also like getting critiqued on ways I could have made the meal better. However, you don’t always need an audience to whip up a yummy meal. I struggle with this a lot because I tend to only cook when my BF is going to be over. Don’t be like that. You deserve a home cooked meal even if it’s just a table of one.
  5. Take advantage of your freezer. Now here’s the downside of cooking for yourself or a small audience: Leftovers. Leftovers can be good for lunch the next day, but what if it’s just too much? Well, you’d be surprised at how many things you can freeze. I made a cake the other day and had way too much icing leftover. I packed it in an airtight container and put that bad boy in the freezer. Now, next time I make cake, I already have icing prepared.
  6. Freezers are also great for meal prepping. Cooking everyday can get tiring. No matter how much I enjoy it, sometimes I just want to come home and plop in front of the TV without touching the oven. That’s why I started making certain things in bulk. Soup freezes very well. I also usually make 2-3 batches of banana muffins at a time to freeze for later use. Instant breakfast on-the-go. Also, drop some chicken breast with salsa in the crockpot for a few hours and you can turn that into chicken avocado burritos for later use. Easy for lunch or dinner.
  7. Do not get discouraged! This is the biggest one of all. I have had so many mishaps in the kitchen. They are bound to happen. You will make meals that even your dog won’t eat. Don’t give up. The more you cook, the better you’ll become.
  8. Have fun! While 7 is the biggest thing, this is the most important. Cooking should be fun, almost as fun as the eating part.

Happy Cooking!

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!