Tag Archives: happiness

3 Lessons I’ve Learned in 2015

26 Dec

2015 New Year celebration

I’ve always been a huge fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I’ve figured that the key to good resolutions is in the specifics. You can’t say “Be healthier.” It needs to be something trackable like “Eat a salad once a week” or “Work out twice a week.” I’m not one to lecture on these things, though, since I only went one-for-five on my resolutions this year. But I made significant progress toward the other four, so that’s a start!

I read somewhere on the inter webs this week an article a girl had written about her lessons learned over the year. I can’t for the life of me find it, but the idea of it stuck with me. It’s not enough to set goals moving forward, we also have to look back and choose what lessons we take with us.

I’m surprised at how hard I had to stew in my thoughts to figure out what are the things I’ve learned this year. Of course, there were a million mini-revelations like finding the right shade of lipstick for my pale skin tone and just how much money I save by packing lunch (so much money!). But I turned to my diary to recap the year and see if there were any grander life lessons to be gleaned.

LESSON #1: TRUST THAT GUT FEELING

In the relationships of my past, I spent a lot of time trying to make things work, hoping things fell into place. I’d make excuses about timing and how things can develop. But as I get older, I realize that voice inside of me that quietly whispers, “This ain’t going to work” shouldn’t be ignored. I’ve always been open to giving someone a chance, but at some point, you know. You know in your heart of hearts that this person isn’t YOUR person. This was the year I decided I was done with settling for anything less than amazing. It saved me time and heartbreak and saved the lovely people I dated time and heartbreak to accept that moving forward wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t a set of deal-breakers or standards that I set. It was trusting my heart when it told me to move on.

LESSON #2: A NIGHT IN IS A VALID AND ACCEPTABLE OPTION

I love going out with my friends. I love trying new things and meeting new people. But for a long time I measured my life by how amazing my nights out were. And if I found myself home without plans on a Friday or Saturday night, I almost felt like I was in a panic. What did that say about my life? I’m in my twenties, shouldn’t I be out on the town having adventures? Is my life as exciting as those I see on Instagram?

When I was a senior in high school, I had an odd falling out with my best friend at the time. We stopped talking, and I was ostracized from my social circle. I spent months with nothing to do on my weekends. So I started going to music shops and book shops alone and buying NME magazine, the New Yorker, Harper’s. I’d spend my evenings listening to Brit Pop, the Velvet Underground, David Bowie. I’d read my dorky literary magazines and write for hours in my diary and other notebooks. I eventually made new friends who have remained some of my closest friends to this day. The point is, I used the time alone on my own to grow, to give time to things that I loved and was interested in. I brooded on existential questions about what I wanted out of life and I made collages of cool bands from the magazines I read.

I loved those nights, and I’ve brought them back. I treasure my nights in reading, writing, cooking, studying. I learned to stop caring about whether my life is as glamorous as it could be.

LESSON #3: INVEST IN SMALL KINDNESS

Here’s a key to instant happiness: do something nice for someone else. It doesn’t have to be big. I got paper valentines for my girlfriends in February. I bought my friend who was having anxiety issues a small book about breathing and introductory meditation. I tried to smile and be as nice as possible to cashiers and waiters. No matter what. Even on my worst days when I curse the city, the subway, the weather, the smells, the everything. In fact, those are the days when I needed it the most. By smiling and making a genuine effort to be kind, I found that the kindness was mirrored right back to me. It didn’t take much to make my forced smile become a natural one. If I made a stranger’s day better, so be it. If I reminded friends and family that I love them and appreciate them, that’s great! Being kind to people is never a bad idea.

 

The Problem with Ernest Hemingway

21 Dec
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Great Hemingway writing quotes here.

Young girls around the world adore Marilyn Monroe. They wear her image on their shirts, on purses. They quote what she said about beauty and self-confidence, only to find out later that she never actually said those things. The problem is that huge swathes of these girls have never even seen a Marilyn Monroe film, some of her fans can’t even name one. I’m friends with a couple of people like this. I try not to judge them, though, because in my world (the world of writers and readers), we do the same thing to Ernest Hemingway.

I love Ernest Hemingway, but he is the Marilyn Monroe of writers. Most anyone who reads or writes will profess a deep, holy love toward him, often citing him as their hero. My journals are full of his quotes. I’ve watched “Midnight in Paris” more times than I can count. I’ve read every fictional and non-fictional thing written about him. I even once had a beta fish that I named Ernest. But my big confession is that I don’t actually like the majority of his books.

I’ve read the major ones and could give a brief summary of the plot lines. I know why he is one of the most important writers of the 20th century: his razor-sharp, journalistic prose. But it’s not my thing. I like descriptions. I like being pulled into a scene with imagery and metaphors. And I’m not a fan of war, which is a huge part of most of his books. The one book by him that I adore is “A Moveable Feast” which was published posthumously. I see it as a departure from his iconic prose. He indulges metaphor and description. He gushes about Paris without much restraint. Or maybe his prose was easier to stomach when he wasn’t talking about battlefields and soldiers. Maybe I need to reread “A Farewell to Arms”?

You see, I carry so much guilt at not loving Hemingway’s books as much as I think I should. I carry a lot of his advice on writing and life around with me as comfort. And I wish I had the grace of his prose, which he admittedly attributed to being able to revise and discard. He reminds me of that perfect guy that you just don’t fall in love with. He’s handsome, smart, loves animals, loves you, but something in the chemistry is amiss and you can’t, despite your most valiant attempts, feel love for this person. I want to love Hemingway. I sorta love Hemingway. Just not in the way he deserves to be read and loved.

I think he’s an easy person to idealize as a writer. He traveled the world, transformed literature, had wild love affairs, wrote important pieces about things that he cared about. But another parallel can be drawn between his fan base and Marilyn Monroe’s. When people idolize Marilyn Monroe, they conveniently forget that she had crushing insecurities, that she suffered through an abusive relationship, that she was addicted to sleeping pills and might have even taken her own life with them. Hemingway, likewise, struggled with depression and took his own life. One of his oft-quoted lines is one that I downright hate.

“Happiness in intelligent people is the rarest thing I know.”

I can’t abide that. I think it is a harmful and mean thing to say. I don’t think happiness is a reflection of intelligence as much as it is a reflection of a mindset. I think people are really and truly happy when they turn their mind to it. Some of the most beautiful pieces of art, music, literature have come out of dark times and sad people, but I think some of it has come from happy individuals. I think about this quote a lot when I am happy and worry that my writing will suffer for it. He’s bullying me into choosing either happiness or intelligence, when I think that it is possible to choose both. And maybe that’s what pushes me away from his novels. This overarching gloom of war and death and failure doesn’t inspire me as much as his love and excitement and happiness in Paris. That’s the part of his writing that means something to me.

So instead of ending this on a criticism of the patriarch of modern writing, I’ll end it on one of my favorite quotes from “A Moveable Feast.” A quote that makes me want to quit my job and move to Montmartre. To find my own mustachioed Hemingway and while away the hours debating back and forth about politics, love, happiness, writing. No matter how I feel about some of his books, the man could craft an elegant sentence.

“You belong to me and all Paris belongs to me and I belong to this notebook and this pencil.”

Am I alone in this? How do other people really, honestly feel about Hemingway? Love him, but don’t like him? Are there other authors out there that have that type of relationship with their readers?

Petra

4 Aug

Summer is a slower time of year at our veterinary clinic. The majority of our clients are at their summer homes either on Long Island or somewhere more exotic like Turks and Caicos. But we still have our steady flow of the regular ingested socks and injured paws. We also have a lot of boarders.

Petra is an heiress Maltese. Her owners passed away and left a giant trust-fund in her name. I have never seen her board with us until last weekend. She came in on a Thursday along with her special food (complete with instructions on how she likes it served) and a fluffy silk pillow that she likes to sit on. We set her up in a cage, and she perched herself on her throne.

The next day, I noticed that she had green/yellow eye boogers crusting on her face. She had even scratched her top knot ponytail trying to fix her eyes. She ended up looking like emo llama.

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This gave me the giggles all day, and my co-workers and I kept making fun of her as she moped on her pillow. When we got a break in the day, I took her out of her cage and along with Dr. N we cleaned up her eyes…and I fixed her ponytail.

The next day, she had her emo llama look back on, along with fresh eye boogers gooping her snowy white fur. So when I got a moment (late in the busy day), I took her to Dr. N and asked if maybe we could examine them. She did a Schirmer tear test which checks for dry eyes caused by immune-mediated issues. Her eyes were bone dry. So once again, we cleaned them up, and this time Dr. N prescribed two different eye ointments which we applied to her dry little orbs. I fixed her ponytail (girl’s gotta look good) and put her back in her cage.

When I walked by an hour later, a whole new dog greeted me.

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She was all smiles, doing twirls around her cage, making polite little yips. All the emo gone from her. I went to get Dr. N. We stood in front of Petra’s cage as she twirled and twirled.

“I just figured this is probably why you became a veterinarian,” I told the doctor. “You made a difference.”
“This is better than Prozac!” she said, smiling. We enjoyed the moment before we had to rush off to the next appointment. But those little moments. They’re everything.

The Indian Wedding

8 Jul
Khyati and I in London, 2007.

Khyati and me in London, 2007.

This is my dear friend Khyati. We met in student government when we were 12-years-old. Somehow over the years we have managed to stay in touch, and I feel lucky to have her, even if our friendship is now maintained over sporadic g-chat sessions. She is the most honest person I’ve ever known, never afraid to tell me when my hair color looks unflattering (the black bob I had in high school) or when I’m making a poor life decision (moving across the country with someone I wasn’t happy with). That makes her an invaluable person to have in my corner. So when a year ago, she asked if I would consider attending her wedding even though it was all the way across the country in California, it was an easy “yes.”

Khyati is Indian, and I knew her wedding would be semi-traditional. But I still didn’t know what to expect. The months leading up to the wedding, she sent me a slew of emails explaining all the events, the expectations of the day. She flew to India to get invitations and her dress amongst other things. Knowing I’d be one of three non-Indian women at this event, she had me send her my measurements so she could get a dress made for me.

Even though the wedding was on a Saturday, I flew in on Friday morning to attend her Mehendi at her uncle’s house in Pleasanton, California. Walking into the house, I saw colorful drapery and flowers everywhere. There was singing and drums and laughing. Somebody led me to her where she sat in the middle of the events, looking tired but blissful, every inch of her skin covered in turmeric powder to “purify” her. I hadn’t seen her in four years since her fiancé, Ravi and her had visited me in New York. Her sister led me to a woman in the corner who got to work painting Henna on my hand. The food was overflowing. Chai tea, weird honey candy things, flower cracker things, Indian crepes filled with spices and vegetables, sweet rice balls. I met up with one of the other non-Indian women, and we made plans to meet up the next day.

My Henna

My Henna

After all the food, music, Henna and brief catching up, I began the two-hour drive South to Monterey where the wedding was going to take place. She had given us coupons for pizza which I ate in my little hotel room before passing out while watching CNN. I knew the next day was going to be a long one.

The next morning, I got up at 8 to get ready in order to be outside the venue around 9:30 for the beginning of the ceremony. Everyone headed down the street to meet up with Ravi who was on a white horse to be led into the wedding area. His friends all had drums and speakers to play Indian music. Her cousins explained to me that this part of the proceedings was to let the whole town know that there was a wedding happening. Her family members were gracious and amazing throughout the whole day, stopping to explain to me what was going on and why. They also distributed a program that explained the significance of each part of the ceremony.

Riding in on the horse.

Riding in on the horse.

So much dancing. So much celebrating. So many strange little traditions. Khyati’s sister came out with a sculpture on her head to greet Ravi. He had to break a clay pot with his bare hands to prove to Khyati’s parents that he was strong enough for her. At last, she came out, under a large sheet with a flower lei in her hands. They exchanged leis (representing a time when arranged marriages were negotiated) before she went back to her waiting room and he went ahead to perform rituals with a Hindu guide.

First sight of the beautiful bride.

First sight of the beautiful bride.

The ceremony was lengthy with a variety of symbolic moments involving her sister, her parents, his parents, his sister. The overcast weather turned to sunlight and the wedding was framed by the calm Pacific Ocean. One point of the ceremony had Khyati and Ravi walking in a circle together representing the different aspects of their union. After the four circles (pheras), there’s an important moment when whoever sits down first will rule the household. The friends I sat with joked with me about whether Ravi would even try to beat Khyati to the punch. Of course, he let her sit first, and it was a moment of knowing she had found the perfect partner for her. Someone calm and quiet, willing to let her have her way, while also providing a loving counsel to help her grow as a person. I’ve seen the good he has brought out in her over the years and know how good they are together.

The ceremony

The ceremony

After the ceremony, we waved ribbons as they walked toward their “Just Married” car. Ravi’s friends lifted him off his feet and stole his shoes. Another tradition in which the groom has to negotiate to get his shoes back before he is allowed to leave the wedding venue. Khyati posed for pictures and rolled her eyes in a playful way, “Is he STILL negotiating?!” she’d ask.

We all drove to a small garden a couple of blocks away where an Indian buffet was waiting. After eating our full of incredible Indian food, some of which I recognized, most of which I didn’t but enjoyed nonetheless, my new friends and I grabbed a couple of beers at a bar nearby while the rest of the wedding party changed into their second outfits.

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Bride and groom in reception outfits. Me in my Indian dress with one-hour-in-sunlight-sunburn.

A couple of hours later, the reception began with a performance created by Khyati’s sister and starring her cousins re-enacting Khyati and Ravi’s love story through a variety of classic Disney songs. Speeches were given, then the dancing began. My skin was burned, my feet were tired from a long day, I was a little tipsy from the beers, but I danced and danced and danced without rest. I was so happy and excited for my friend.

Khyati is my first friend whose wedding I have attended, and I wondered how I would feel about it. I had said goodbye to a great guy a month earlier, one more in a string of lovely humans who just aren’t what I’m looking for. I was worried I’d feel sad or worse jealous. But throughout the day, I felt nothing but pure joy in the celebration of love that existed on that day. I’ve attended weddings before, but to go to a wedding of someone who I’ve known more than half of my life meant a much greater emotional investment. I danced with such an elation for her, for the amazing life and loving marriage that I wholeheartedly hope is ahead of them. Not an ounce of sadness, loneliness, or jealousy to be found in my body. If anything, it made me feel like I’m on the right path. I want what they have, what she has found: a partner that fits for me that makes sense for my life and my personality. I’m okay with not having found that yet, and I felt more certain that day that I would never settle for anything less than that “right for me” feeling. Why would I?

Where are you going, where have you been?

10 Feb

This doesn’t actually have anything to do with the Joyce Carol Oates story of the same name. I just love that title. I also love the story and recommend it to anyone else who is likewise fascinated with American fables.

The shoe tree on the drive from Seattle to Reno.

The shoe tree on the drive from Seattle to Reno.

 

“Where are you from originally?”

It’s my most dreaded of questions that new acquaintances ask me. It is also one of the most common in a city of immigrants and transplants. I’ve always struggled with how to answer. Buffalo? Reno? Seattle?

My answer is Seattle, because if I have to launch into a discussion about one of those cities, Seattle is the place I want to talk about. Plus I lived there for five years. But I’m also coming up on my five-year anniversary of living in New York.

Five years. I can’t believe it. Instead of wearing it like a New Yorker badge of honor like a lot of people do, I find myself wondering, “How did that happen?”I can demarcate my time in this city by the different periods where I was sure I was going to leave, where I hatched a plan and set a secret date for my Exodus. But here I am.

I think of the day I left Seattle. I crashed at my friend Eric’s apartment, because I had sold him all my furniture and had no where to sleep. He drove me back to my apartment on a foggy morning. He called it “Chrissy weather,” that perfect mixture of summer fog that dissipates by mid-afternoon. I packed up the last of the things into my Jeep and headed to the coffeeshop where I had worked for three years. My boss Anna gave me treats for the road and everyone hugged me. It was a Sunday, and I set my radio to listen to the Mariner game. I drove South on I-5, passing the stadium. The farther South I got, the less I could get the game on the radio. I wiped a couple of tears from my eyes and ignored the voice screaming inside of me that told me not to leave.

Six years later, I can’t believe where I am and what I’ve been through. I never thought Reno would lead to New York. I never thought I’d get to go to Japan and Iceland. I never thought I’d become a veterinary technician. I’m a happier person now than I was when I left Seattle, but it’s a strange thing to mark the passage of time. What would life have been like if I had turned the Jeep around and driven back into Seattle? It’s foolish to think about, because I will never know.

It’s a bittersweet feeling to realize that soon I will have lived in New York longer than I lived in Seattle. What does that mean exactly? Am I from here now? Can I no longer claim Seattle a home? Why doesn’t that make me happy? Most importantly, what do I do next? Where do I go?

The Right Path

27 Jan

I’ve had so many ideas for posts this last month or so. But something weird happens to me if I don’t seize on an idea in a specific amount of time. I sit down and try to write, and it comes out stilted. So I delete it and walk away. I’ve also just been busy. I was excited for this Sunday-Tuesday stretch. Minimal plans. A couple of writing ideas. A blizzard to keep me from going out. Then this happened:

IMG_2350Flag football is not my favorite activity. I think from now on I’ll just stick to soccer and softball. It was extremely painful the first couple of days, now it’s manageable. I can’t handle how messy my handwriting looks, and I’m typing without the use of that finger and pinky. Way to go, Wilson. Way. To. Go.

On a happier note, I spent a couple of days earlier this month in Florida with my family for our annual Christmas in January. We walked barefoot on the beach. We ate an obscene amount of delicious seafood. We even did some water aerobics. But my favorite moment of the vacation came at the Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital.

After touring the hospital, looking at X-Rays and case histories, we headed over to a water tank where they had a handful of Cownose Rays. The docent gave us a little lecture about them and about their care and then invited us to feed them. Of course, little kids got to go first. I eyed each little kid jealously until the docent opened it up to big kids. Me!

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The kid behind me just had his mind blown by the experience.

The lady placed a piece of shrimp between my fingers and had me lower my hand to await the Ray. It came around to me, stopped and hovered. Then it felt like a little vacuum cleaner popped the shrimp out of my hand. It was surreal and strange. The little creature swam away but rubbed its slimy belly on my outstretched palm before it left. I squealed with delight, made a goofy face. It was amazing, and I loved it. I ended up buying a Ray patterned wallet and some earrings. That little guy stole my heart.

This was the highlight of my vacation. Hanging around and feeding animals. Next month I’m using up the rest of my vacation days to also spend time with animals, albeit much larger ones, but still. My job is to be around animals, yet I can’t seem to get enough.

The other night I was listening to a Buddhist podcast while falling asleep. I only remember two things from it. Other than the awesome joke about slutty parrots, the main thing I took away from it was this quote:

“True happiness is finding beauty in the detours.”

I have so much more that I want out of my life. And I’ve had to face the reality that I don’t know what is actually going to stick. I don’t know if I’ll stay a vet tech. I don’t know if I’ll ever make my bones as a writer. I don’t know how much longer I’ll stay in New York. I don’t know if I’ll ever find my Rhett Butler.

What I do know is what I realized that day at the Sea Turtle Hospital. I love what I do. I’m endlessly interested and fascinated by animals. So I must be doing something right.

I got up at 6:30 this last Saturday so I could go feed some cats before work. Walking from that apartment to work in chilly drizzle, I felt a lightness in my chest. I was practically skipping. My boots gracing the tops of puddles. My two braids dew-covered in the rain. I was inexplicably, supremely happy. I don’t know where I’m going, but this has to be the right path. It has to be. It’s just so beautiful.

 

Crooked Lines

28 Oct

Last Thursday I was at work when my friend Jeff texted me that he had an extra ticket to an off-broadway musical called “Here Lies Love” and could I be at Astor Place by 8. Normally I would have said no. Thursdays are my night in. I work till 8pm and have to be back at 8am the following morning. But something about the randomness of it all pulled me to say, “Sure!” despite not knowing how on Earth I could get there in time.

I took a cab, then ran through giant puddles on the Lower East Side to arrive at the theater at 8:07. The ushers shove me into an elevator and take my coat and bag from me for coat check. I exit the elevator and walk into what looks like a giant dance club. Jeff waves at me as I make my way across the room, and the second I am by his side, it begins. I had no idea what I was in for.

“Here Lies Love” was created by musical geniuses David Byrne and Fatboy Slim about the rise and fall of the former first lady of the Philippines, Imelda Marcos. I’m unsure how to describe the following 90 minutes of my life. It was incredible. An interactive, multimedia, dance-hall themed musical. People in space suits (not as crazy as it sounds) shifting the crowd around, the performers coming into the audience to sing, breaks in between songs for the crowd to do DJ-led, Filipino-style line dancing! Every once in a while, Jeff and I would look at each other in ecstatic amazement.

After a crescendo of political strife, assassinations, the institution of martial law, a headline on the screen showed that Imelda Marcos and her husband, Ferdinand Marcos where helicoptered out of the Philippines for refuge in the United States. At this point one of the stages had been morphed into stairs where the audience sat. After the multimedia, dance club extravaganza, one singer came out with a ukelele and performed a song called, “God Draws Straight.”

The minimalism of the performance almost brought me to tears. The lyrics struck something in me. Despite having never heard the song before, it wouldn’t leave my mind. I downloaded it the next morning and have been listening to it on repeat for days. The crux of this song’s chorus is this line:

“You might think you are lost, but then you will find that God draws straight but with crooked lines.”

This is an idea I’ve been coming across a lot the last couple of weeks. This sense that everything happens for a reason, that things are unfolding as the Universe intended. It’s hard to comprehend and make sense of it, but the line in this song made it click. I’m not where I expected to be at 28, and I can’t believe how winding the path has been. But I have to believe that all my experiences, the good and the bad, are leading me toward a better path. I don’t feel lost the way I did at 25 or 22 or 18. I do feel nervous about my future though. I don’t have a sense of where I’ll end up living, what I’ll end up doing, or which people will be around me. But that’s not because I’m lost, I’ve just been heading down crooked lines, and that’s okay.

My Filipino co-worker who has already seen “Here Lies Love” twice is bringing me the full soundtrack to the musical and a documentary about Imelda Marcos to work tomorrow to lend to me. I’ve put a couple of books about her along with a book about the Power People Revolution on hold at the library. As Jeff and I left the theater and walked down St. Mark’s looking for a place to grab a beer, we could hardly express our amazement at what we had seen. Jeff summed it up pretty well, “David Bryne! That crazy, creative, genius son-of-a-bitch!”

Risk Averse

2 Sep
Burning of the Witches Festival, Prague, 2007

Burning of the Witches Festival, Prague, 2007

About two weeks ago, I had dinner with a friend of mine who has a knack for popping in and out of my life. We fomented our friendship in Prague and for a while when I was new to New York, he was living in Brooklyn.

I admire him a lot. He can lean towards the hipster side of things, but he leads a life that I envy in a lot of ways. After college, he cultivated his bartending skills. He spends a couple of months in one place, living a meager existence while squirreling away as much money as possible, working at as many bars that will take him. Then he heads somewhere new to him with one tiny backpack and wanders wherever he wants to go, until he has barely enough money to fly him back to the states where he can crash on someone’s couch until he finds a bartending gig that will start the cycle over again.

During desperate times in my life, I’ve thought of his travels and adventures and thought that’s exactly what I should do. But for better or worse, I like my things. I like my life. I like the friendships that I’ve established and the career (however humble it may be) that I’ve built. So I stay. I settle for the vacations here and there and go about my daily routine.

Back to our dinner. We went to a Himalayan restaurant near my apartment, and we caught up. I heard about his upcoming travel plans which include train hopping and road tripping across the country and then booking a flight for Southeast Asia where he’ll ramble at will. I asked him for Central American travel advice. I want to go to Costa Rica, or Nicaragua, or Ecuador. Anywhere new! But I can’t find a travel companion, and I’m nervous about going alone.

“Well, that’s because you are risk averse,” he told me.
“RISK AVERSE!? That’s not true.”
“It’s absolutely true.”
“I took a boxing class today for the first time!”
“That’s spontaneous, not risky. You’re spontaneous and brave. But you are risk averse.”

I spent the rest of the night making him regret he ever said that. I somehow found a way to repeatedly circle the conversation back to “risk averse” and how I could not be risk averse, what are the steps I could take. He couldn’t give me a real answer on it and resorted to teasing me for trying to plan out how to be less “risk averse.” They Type A in me just can’t hide.

Risk averse. I have spent the last two weeks walking around thinking about that. It pops up in my head like a catchy pop song. I’ll be buying a salad for lunch and as I order, I think, “risk averse?!” Part of me wants to say I’m not. I’ve taken risks, tis true. Staying in New York after a devastating break-up. Risky. Battling evil cats at work. Risky. Drinking whiskey after beer. Risky.

But another part of me wants to be mature enough to take it as constructive criticism. I tried to think about how he must see my life and my choices. While I know he respects them, they could seem risk averse. Some of them are. I see the choices in my life that have been the easiest path or the path of least risk of pain. And while I don’t believe that I am one to be labeled as risk averse, I don’t think it’s a bad thing that he got that annoying phrase stuck in my head. My life could use a few more risks, a few more hasty decisions.

He left for Chicago yesterday morning. I have no idea when our paths will cross again. But when they do, I can’t wait to enumerate to him the ways in which my life in the interim has NOT been risk averse. Knowing me, I’ll probably have an outline.

Jealousy

10 Jan

Two types of veterinary technicians exist. There are the ones like me that enjoy the career as is, possibly want to do it their whole lives and bask in the freedom of much less responsibility. Then there are veterinary technicians who are earning an income and gaining experience on the road to becoming a veterinarian. I work with three of this second type of technician, and in this last week, two of them were accepted to Cornell University’s Vet School.

I SHOULD be happy for them. It’s an amazing accomplishment, and they are both hard-working and deserving girls. They’re going to make wonderful veterinarians one day, and I know that. But that wasn’t my internal reaction when I found out about their news. I was jealous, angry, spiteful. I found myself thinking that maybe they’d fail out of school eventually. And I felt disgust with myself soon after.

I carried around this ugly, jealous feeling for most of the day, ashamed of it, and trying to decide exactly what to do with it. I don’t even like to think that I’m capable of those thoughts.

I decided two things. One, I will be happy for them. I will find a way. I will smile and ask all about it and support them until I make myself believe it. Not sure if it is possible to kill those jealousy feelings in there, but succumbing to that kind of resentment is the first step on the road to bitterness. Two, I have to focus those feelings on myself and change them into something else.

I don’t want to be a veterinarian. I know that. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and the medical/science field is not for me. My creative spirit pulls me elsewhere. But the jealousy comes from their accomplishment. Those two lovely ladies worked hard, for years, and will have to work hard for years to come. And while I don’t want to follow the path they’re on, I have dreams and aspirations that require hard work, perhaps years of it, perhaps a lifetime of it. The last week I have brainstormed a good New Year’s Resolution for this brave and glorious year ahead. I tend to pick many specific commitments, but this year I have decided to pick one that is vague and noncommital.

Work Harder.

If I want things to happen for me. If I want those big accomplishments, I need to make some changes. When I think of the hours spent playing Candy Crush or the hours watching the same youtube videos over and over again or the dozens of times a day when I refresh my news feed on Facebook, such a waste of time! This isn’t to say that there won’t be any of that. I love relaxing and unwinding. There just needs to be less of it. I need to work harder, and I need to start now.

28 Before 28

16 Sep
Red Velvet Cake from my co-workers.

Red Velvet Cake from my co-workers.

Another year, friends. I still haven’t processed that I’m now 27, but the festivities of the last week have made me feel happy and loved which is all a girl can ask for.

This was a tumultuous year for me. I spent a lot of time in self-reflection, trying to figure out where I want to take my life, making peace with the past, and taking deep breaths in the present. A lot of it wasn’t easy. But from where I sit at this moment, I am the happiest, most together I have ever been.

Unfortunately, all this soul-searching and self-reflection left my bucket list out in the cold. I only accomplished 10 things on my list, down from the 12 I managed to do last year. But it’s a new year, and as much personal growth as I’ve gone through, my idea of a bucket list has also evolved, and I’m excited about the next year! As I’ve done before, I rolled over some of the previous items. One asterisk represents things I neglected to do last year. Two asterisks represent things I’ve neglected to do the past TWO years. Therefore it also represents my shame.

  1. Read Slaughterhouse-Five– I have never read any Kurt Vonnegut! Let’s face it. Despite prolific reading, it’s hard to read ALL the classics, ALL the best authors. But I enjoy tackling one embarrassing omission per year. This year is Mr. Vonnegut.
  2. Visit a new state– My grandfather visited all 50 states in his lifetime, and I admire the accomplishment. I’m only at 12. This will hopefully be a recurring item for years to come.
  3. Visit a new country- I’ve hesitated from putting anything travel-related on the list for fear that having something too big would hinder completing the list. But who am I kidding? I only completed 10 last year, so I should be able to dream as big as I want. So many countries I want to see. This will also be recurring.
  4. Visit the top of the Statue of Liberty– Whilst also dreaming big about traveling, I want to likewise take better advantage of living in the capital of the WORLD, New York City. I tried the Tourist Tuesday thing, which I’d like to continue, but putting things on my list will also push me to do them. What could be more touristy than this?
  5. Go to a live taping– This is the point in my list where I must give some credit to my friend Quincey who also does a birthday bucket list, although hers has been more New York City centric, so I’m pilfering a lot of my New York City items from her list. So, yeah, some sort of late night show, or the Daily Show, SNL is nearly impossible, but I’d like to try.
  6. Do Some Gardening**- I live in a city. I don’t just trip over gardening opportunities every day.
  7. Anonymously Pay Someone’s Tab**- I know it looks bad and selfish that I haven’t done this yet, but the majority of the time, this is my life: tumblr_ls5sctFDGt1qm30qjo1_500
  8. Be an extra in a tv show or movie**- I’ve looked into it, believe you me! I just haven’t found a simple way to do this without registering with an agency. I just want to be a witness in a Law and Order scene, do we have to bring my social security number into this?
  9. Take a boxing class*-Again, I looked into it. Just have to commit to a class.
  10. Visit a new baseball stadium- Wasn’t able to do this last year, but now that I’m dating an adorable baseball fan, things are looking up! We’ll definitely accomplish this one…next season.
  11. Do a Juice Cleanse*– Still determined to do this despite the eye rolls I got from people about it.
  12. Go to Lucky Cheng’s- Dinner and a drag show! Sounds like my ideal night out.
  13. Eat at White Castle– The East Coast fast food staple has eluded me. But one night (hopefully after imbibing a few adult beverages), I’d like to find myself there.
  14. Go Skinny Dipping**- I don’t think I’ve been to a beach or a warm body of water this year where this was even possible. Not sure how to rectify this situation.
  15. Go Scuba Diving**- I’m thinking I can accomplish this one if I plan out the visit a new state/visit a new country items appropriately.
  16. Go sailing**-So, who’s got a boat? Anyone, anyone…
  17. Join a book club**- I don’t have enough friends who are nerds. Where are you book nerds? Where do you all congregate, and can I please join you?!
  18. Ride a mechanical bull- Almost did this once. I told my friends I wasn’t drunk enough to do it. So when I finally felt I had the liquid courage, I march up to the bull. It’s then that I notice the room was spinning, I turn back to my friends and tell them that I was TOO drunk to do it. That was six years ago. I will find the perfect balance and embrace the urban cowgirl I know I am.
  19. Go to roller derby*- I wish I had the guts to join a roller derby team, but for now I’ll settle with watching other girls be violent and awesome.
  20. Go to a dog show*- Now that I’m a full-time vet tech, I think I’d really enjoy this, ogling all the breeds.
  21. Do a Circle Line cruise- An uber-touristy item. It’s a cruise around the isle of Manhattan, from which one can see all five boroughs, important landmarks, bridges. It sounds neat!
  22. Visit a whiskey distillery*- I’ve been to many beer breweries, and it’s always fun. And if there’s one thing that I love more than beer, it’s whiskey.
  23. Take a trapeze class- I’m not the most graceful of girls, so this could be interesting.
  24. Go to a gun range**- I want to do this! I want to do it so much! Why haven’t I done this?
  25. Eat at Serendipity- A famous New York restaurant known for amazing desserts. I tried to go once with visiting friends, but the 90 minute wait deterred me.
  26. Get a facial- I liked having the self-pampering list item of massage last year. Going to continue the “treat yo self” trend.
  27. Drink at the Bridge Cafe- The oldest business in New York, it has been open since 1794 and was once a brothel! This nerd loves her history.
  28. Go to a Monster Truck Show– Because why not?