Boring Adult Things

Making Moves

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind. I left my position at the tech company to forge my own path as a consultant, and it’s been up and down as I transition. There is a weird uneasiness to having my day be at my discretion, and the paychecks be inconsistent. But I’m lucky to have a supportive husband, a great network, and good opportunities. So far, I don’t have regrets.

I’m excited to take on this venture. My time spent training so many people on the ins and outs of digital marketing has me feeling that much more confident in my skills, being able to take people from square one to fully ramped in very little time. From my side, I was challenged to take on a more technical track than I’d anticipated, learning the ropes of ad server tagging and measurement, so I could quickly become a subject matter expert in a field I in which I had no background. It was scary but fulfilling. It wasn’t where I wanted to go for my career, but it was a confidence boost I needed.

If you care to read more on my career and what exactly I do, check out my professional blog, Millennial Advocate (a bit of a tongue-in-cheek reference, as my approach is pretty tough-love based).

On the personal front, I’m continuing my guitar lessons and will be finishing up a recording of an original song, “Prey,” over the next month or so. I hope to have my next book, Paris to Phuket: My Life in Airmiles published in the next month or so as well (assuming someone gives me my marked-up hard copy draft back… yes, Jason, I’m talking to you). I suspect by May 2017 I will not own a second home or have seen a wonder of the world. I probably also won’t have found spiritual enlightenment. But I do hope to have taken that road trip with Brandon. And we are going on more walks together. So 25 (or whatever it is) out of 30 isn’t half bad.

Here’s to living the life you dream, and taking the road less traveled. I don’t know if it will be my forever. But it’s a refreshing place to be for now.

travel

Rocky Mountain High

Well, I feel simultaneously stupid and proud, which is a unique feeling.

Dad and I headed over to climb Flattop Mountain on Sunday; you can see the excitement and fear on my face in the picture we took of the sign clearly pointing to the right to take us to the trail:

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So, obviously, we headed off to the left. You know, in the wrong direction. Because Dad and I share the beautiful trait of Terrible Navigational Skills.

A little over a mile down the path, all on a fairly steep incline, and asked some guy with his family which direction Flattop Mountain was.

He looked at us, confused. “About a mile and a half in the other direction, then up 4 and a half miles,” he said. “This is the trail to Emerald Lake. You’ll have to turn around if you want to hike Flattop – unless you want to climb a glacier,” he laughed.

Dammit.

I was clear with Dad I was not adding a 3 mile round-trip detour to our hike, so we thought we’d see what the glacier looked like. Um, pretty glacier-like:

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Note the scale of the person in this picture – unless you want to swim across the near-freezing lake, you’ve got to climb boulders and snow all the way around to hit the top of the glacier. Which, of course, we tried.

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View from the middle of the glacier.

After some bouldering and difficult navigation, we realized the other side of the glacier was likely much more difficult to get down than the scaling had been – and that hadn’t been particularly easy or safe. So we turned back. However, I’m still counting it as a win, because the bouldering and snow hiking was pretty intense, I got a great workout, and this is all on top of a 3.5-mile trail hike, so hey, I’m celebrating.

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We climbed back down the boulders and I decided this was a good time to get my handstand pic in Colorado. Unfortunately, the ground wasn’t flat, and I overestimated my balancing skills:

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I found flat ground near a tree and gave it another shot:

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Anyway, check out a few more pics from our fun-filled trip – including a brewery, a horseback ride through the Rockies, a distillery, a trip to Wyoming for one more handstand picture, and a ghost tour of the hotel that inspired The Shining (The Stanley).

So you know what? Trip = a Success, and I count this as my mountain climb, because it was certainly an adventure, it was a challenging workout, and we went all the way to Colorado for it. Two more states I’ve never been to before – and one I probably wouldn’t go back to (Wyoming)!

Your talented hiker friend, over and out.

 

Lists

Oh Hai.

Been a while since I posted here. And unlike my other failed blog attempts, this break was intentional. I needed a mental chill pill for a while as I dealt with some personal stuff, including moving on from a long-term bout of professional stress and starting my own thing. It’s always been a dream and there’s no time like the present: pre-kids, pre-30, post-experience, post-building a professional network.

There’s also no time like the present to pick back up on my journey of initiatives before turning 30. As you could probably calculate, I’ve recently turned 29 (OH GOD). I’m about to embark on my mountain climbing trip with my dad tomorrow (Father’s Day!), and I type this from our hotel room in Colorado. I’m doing my best to appreciate this time with him rather than dread the 4.4 mile trek up the snowy mountain, which I admittedly didn’t prepare well enough for. Fingers crossed all goes okay…

In the meantime, I thought, hey, let’s update the list. I haven’t been actively pursuing any of the goals, and I’m probably going to have a moratorium on travel for a while as I start my business, but nevertheless, I think I’ll wind this baby down with most of my goals accomplished. Not half bad.

 

30. Climb a mountain.

Uhhh we’ll see how this goes.

29. Run a 10k.

28. Nail a handstand in yoga.

27. Get spiritual.

Who am I kidding on this one?

 

EDUCATION

26. Learn a language.

25. Master a skill.

Knitting!

24. Read some books that actually mean something.

23. Develop some knowledge about cars.

Car club, holla!

 

TRAVEL

22. Visit Thailand.

21. Take a trip with my Dad.

20. See a Wonder of the World.

19. Take a cross-country road trip with Brandon.

I hoped to do this in 2016 but it may not happen that soon. Either way, it’s the next trip we’ll take together.

 

LIFE CHANGES

18. Volunteer regularly somewhere for at least 6 months.

17. Turn off the T.V. for a week.

16. Finish my book.

 

MONEY MATTERS

15. Invest in 5 diversified stocks.

One of them was Chipotle. I’ll let you chew on that one for a sec. (head shaking)

14. Build retirement fund.

I’m counting this even though I do wish it was larger. I’ve significantly increased it and really worked to consistently invest. It may not grow as rapidly during this time of professional transition for me, but I’m feeling good about where I am for my age.

13. Own a second home.

Unlikely at this point, given where I am with work, but it’s still an ultimate goal to help us continue to build our net!

 

EVOLVE MY RELATIONSHIPS

12. Get closer with my sister.

I need to continue to do this but I think we have a better relationship – I know we had a great time at Serenbe!

11. Go on a walk at least once a week with Brandon.

Still working on this one, but definitely spending more quality time together. 🙂

10. Try something more sexually adventurous than usual.

9. Be a good in-law.

8. Send a real letter to a friend every month for a year.

 

TEST MY LIMITS

7. Zip line.

6. Participate in a big cultural event like a music festival or Oktoberfest.

5. Swim with a shark. Or at least sting rays.

4. Learn to surf. Or at least try.

3. Be personally responsible for winning a big piece of business.

2. Perform in a play or musical.

I performed in the work band at the Christmas party and solo’ed 2 songs – including HELLO by Adele. I’m freaking counting this!

 

My husband isn’t the best cameraman, but if you want to endure the shakiness and crane your head to see me behind a pole, you can check out the performance.

PERSONAL SATISFACTION

1. Learn to be happy just as I am.

Getting there. Day by day.

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What Doesn’t Kill You

Sometimes your harshest critics are those you love. Last night, I was proverbially “called on my shit,” and I wasn’t aware I had shit to be called on. To me, my ongoing journey has been a window into my life; perhaps too honest at times, but rarely different from anyone else’s other than that I’d put stated goals behind it. I’d never looked at it as a sign of weakness.

You can’t please everyone in this world, including yourself. I’ve had plenty of long nights fearful of the next day, harsh conversations with the mirror, moments of quiet, furious judgment that I am “less than.” I further make myself vulnerable by leaving that wound open, gaping, ready for the world to pour salt into it on this blog. Fortunately, most of the world has chosen to either ignore or embrace it.

I think we all need a dose of reality sometimes. My ego can sometimes get out of control, even amid all the insecurities. I can be a seeker in all the worst ways. I can be unhealthy against by better judgment.

But he who is without sin isn’t, unfortunately, always the first to cast the  stone. Here I am, stupidly thinking I’m on a mission to better myself, but I forget that it leaves me open to the world’s interpretation. I’m no Ryan Gosling, ducking away from paparazzi, but I leave my life an open book to be read as one wishes. And maybe that’s not such a good thing.

So with that said, I’m taking a break from the blog for a while. I’m going to continue to better myself, but privately. Because I think that’s what normal people do. And for the record:

  • I’m aware I’ve gained weight recently. Thanks for noticing. It’s funny how that happens with age, job transitions, a fluctuating emotional state, and an unhealthy lifestyle. Fortunately, I’m entirely ignoring the problem – in fact, I did it on purpose and I look forward to watching the scale grow!
  • Yes, I’m a seeker. This is also known as a Millennial. I have varied passions, not all of which need to be fulfilled financially. It doesn’t make me unhappy.
  • Yes, I’m ambitious. This could be interpreted as ladder-climbing or it could be interpreted as leadership skills. I am not a follower. I did not rise in my career because I demanded it. I rose in my career because I earned it. Not every moment was perfect and postcard-worthy. But I think they rarely are.
  • Yes, I am an empath. It’s a weakness. I wear the emotions of others like the robe of skin in Silence of the Lambs. But I guess I’d rather be too empathic than not empathic at all. I’d rather feel all the world’s pain than be numb.

Well, this blog got heavy, huh?

I’ll see you back here when I’m externally closer to where society would like me to be: fulfilled by the present, thin, faultless, normal, and typing in a cubicle. Because to be a seeker is pretty exhausting, and I guess, what’s the point when it just makes you look weak?

 

 

Lists

#Basic

I was drifting off to sleep when I realized something key about myself that gave me heart palpitations: I think I might be a #basic person.

For those unfamiliar with the term, these are (typically) women who take humblebrag selfies and drink Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. They are characterized by superficiality wrapped in a mask of humility. These are not likable creatures. They represent something that sucks about Western civilization: we are insanely shallow.

So I started thinking… these elements of “basicness” I know I possess… do I have the necessary counterbalance? Here’s where I’ve landed.

  • I spent an hour doing my nails tonight, but will likely bite them all off later this week.
  • I am getting laser hair removal on my legs, but mainly because I am too lazy to shave.
  • When the time comes, I’ll get Botox, but will probably tell other people because I have no shame and will want them to know how much it hurt, and that I was brave.
  • I enjoy a pumpkin spice item but rarely buy one. Hello, one of those lattes is, like, $5.
  • I use coconut oil as a lotion, which I tried because it was trendy but continued to do because it’s a freaking awesome facial moisturizer.
  • I take selfies with my cats and dogs… okay, there’s no counterbalance here. It just is what it is.
  • I own some designer goods but whenever someone comments on them, I announce how I found them on sale or at Goodwill.
  • I get a blowout every once in a while for a wedding but most days I’m lucky if I brush my hair.
  • I bike to work but I’m so poor at it I ride on the sidewalks for fear I will be killed.
  • I work at a hipster haven-style market but have never been to 80% of its stores, or gone there on the weekend.
  • I enjoy Adele but recognize most of her songs sound the same, and are about the same topic.
  • I’m making homemade dog food, but it’s mostly because I like to cook, and I’m cheap.
  • I watch makeup videos on Youtube but most days, I just wear mascara and lip gloss (then sweat it all off anyway).
  • I travel a lot but sleep on floors in Brooklyn to afford the privilege.
  • I keep a bucket list blog but have done so since before “basic” was even a thing.

So I wonder if every #basic woman feels this way: that although they possess some of those heinous, first-world-style qualities, they have other redeeming elements that somehow exempt them from the stereotype?

I guess for now I’m just going to own my basic-ness and hope that somehow offers me a slight moral high ground over the whole thing.

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Q4tune

I’ve been in advertising so long, I take it for granted people know my lingo. I was at the chiropractor, mentioned Q4 insanity, and she stared at me blankly. I explained it meant “fourth quarter” and she laughed and said, “You guys and your technical terms!”

As the holidays ramp up, so does my industry. It’s the usual end of year crunch, and everything is busy.

Meanwhile, life on the homefront continues as usual. Traveling every other weekend, home improvements, guitar lessons. There is something comforting in the consistency; a return to the normal. A pause on my bucket list may just be okay for the moment while my mind continues its long repair process. Sometimes moving forward means staying still.

Happy Q4.

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Home Is Where the Art Is

I saw the cute play Sylvia tonight, starring Matthew Broderick and Annaleigh Ashford. Yes, I got a Bueller selfie at the stagedoor but no, I won’t post it on the blog because honestly, I look like a whale. I am no slight lady but this particular angle was heinous.

True to form, I snagged a loner rush ticket because I was flying solo, and I found myself sharing an entire side box with a kid who I assumed was a standard theater gay. Until he opened his mouth.

“Have ya seen this before?” He asked, his drawl apparent.

“No. Are you from the south?” I responded.

He looked sheepish. “You could tell?”

I smiled and nodded.

“I’m from Texas. But I want to move here.”

I confessed my Georgia roots and found myself encouraging this young buck (who is, incidentally, also apparently straight) to live in NY while he is young, with no obligations. Ah, the tables have turned.

The show was fun, and siting in the box made me feel like I should have opera glasses, even though The Cort is small, it was half empty anyway, and I was close enough to have beaned Broderick in the head with a Raisinette, had the moment been appropriate.

There’s just something about going all Lincoln-and-Boothe style in one of those little boxes (perhaps a crass analogy) that truly makes you feel like you’re at the Thea-tah. Even if the play does star a cute blonde playing a dog. 

Anyway, I found my little Texan back at the stagedoor, nerding out just like I always have. I hope he has all the adventures he hopes for when he graduates from college. My, how things come full circle.

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It Is Still Possible

I flew into New York last night and felt that excitement, an anticipation in the pit of my stomach. That feeling you got on Christmas morning, that feeling so hard to feel as an adult.

For the first time in years, if only for a moment, I had it back. Maybe there is still a tiny bit of wonder, newness, and discovery left in my life. Maybe bearing 30 won’t be so bad.

Boring Adult Things

Oh Hi There – I Hate You

No, not you. Not my dear reader.

I hate you, my first two wrinkles, appearing unexpectedly on the right side of my forehead.

No, I don’t forgive you for intruding on my bathroom mirror image, appearing as a reminder of my stress and new, wonderfully startling march toward bodily decay.

I think it’s really uncool that you pop up as a result of ongoing mental anguish and probably some body abuse over the course of a woman’s lifetime. We women who operate under anxiety are warriors, dammit, and you’re just the icing on the cake. It should be people who are carefree hippies prancing through lily fields that get wrinkles; they’ve got everything else going for them – it would be like some sort of karma to even out the stress levels in the world.

I shouldn’t care about these evil monsters creeping their way across my forehead, but I do. I’ve grown up as the baby of my friend groups; the oldest of my family but the impressive ingenue of my peers. College at a young age is a great carpet ride of surprised guffaws and easy darts to the finish line. The expectations are low for the kid who’s consistently 2 years younger. Yes, I did start my first job before I was able to (legally) drink; oh, humble humble, it’s no big deal. Whether I was good at it is irrelevant.

Well, it was a big deal; it was a big deal to me. Not to outright impress other people, but to feel like I was somehow ahead in the race against the world. Beating myself out against my own goals and sprinting toward some untold finish line that now has slowed me to a crawl. I’ve realized that in this marathon I’ve made into a sprint, the finish line is death, and it’s prefaced by a long, long jog uphill once you get about 1/4 of the way through. Adorable.

Needless to say, I’m not the girl who will age gracefully. As always, I will age willfully. There is little in this world I haven’t achieved when my mind is set on it, and now I’m wearing that fierceness on my face. So fuck you, little wrinkles; I’ve got bigger fish to fry. And if I decide to blast you away one of these days with some poison in my head, I will give zero fucks. This is my life and you two little assholes are just living in it.