Ready or not, here I come

Here we are in a new year, a little sicker, a little reluctant, a little resistant.

I am a big fan of symbols. New beginnings, goal setting, big dreams…I’m typically all about it. But right now I’m a little tired, a bit worn out by nothing in particular. Unwilling to return to a predictable schedule and routine. Simply not quite ready to lean into the discomfort of becoming more of who I want to be in this new year.

2018 was mostly great, barring one large unexpected loss. I’ve accomplished more than I thought I would, but also less. I’ve cultivated deeper relationships and realized the importance, luck, and gratitude of having friends who feel more like family. I revealed new layers in myself, and shed old ones. I am both burdened and energized with questions.

I would like 2019 to be the year that sets me up for self-employment and it very well could be if I can commit to an idea of what I’d like that to be. I have been struggling lately with the rampant nature of consumerism. I’m certainly not above it. Maybe it’s because of my schooling and career, but I’m hyper aware that we’re constantly being sold to and I’m tired of it. I’m not sure I want to wade into the endless sea of voices hawking goods and services we probably don’t need, but I don’t know if there’s another way.

Mostly in this new year, I hope to write more often, more deeply and honestly in an effort to capture and make sense of my thoughts and feelings. I want to remember, with less effort, that we’re all just people trying to live life to the best of our abilities, and it is a needless waste of energy to seek approval or to impress others. I expect that I’ll continue to try things on and let go of what doesn’t fit quite right. And I’ll keep finding the good in both the dark and the light.

2019, ready or not, here I come.

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The good life

Let’s talk about the magic of making small decisions that feel good. I’m having a day. A really good day. For a hundred relatively small reasons. I actually have my period, but I seem to be in reprieve from the toxic wasteland that my thoughts often turn into during this time of the month and I’m going to use this space to give way to my gratitude for the day.

A project I’d almost finished at work has evolved into something bigger. I was annoyed at first, but now I see that I’ve been given a gift to flex my creativity and I’m in love with the process of making something that is hopefully worthy of printing.

I decided not to be a total bum and offered up myself for a volunteer opportunity which I also used as an excuse to rope in some other coworkers, because yay friends.

I took Dorian, my car, in for an oil change and let them talk me into balancing and rotating my tires and new brake fluid. I had planned on saying no to any and all additional sales pitches, but he asked me about some specific car symptoms and sold me with his rationality so I feel responsible and pleased with the purchase. My car is hands down my favorite possession. It means freedom to me so it’s worth the bit of extra maintenance. On top of the new breaks I just got last week to pass inspection, in the six years I’ve had him he’s never driven smoother. We’re feelin’ fly as hell. Unstoppable. Maybe we’ll make it a couple more years.

I took 45 minutes to close my eyes and zen out because I haven’t been sleeping well. It was restorative.

Then I remembered to take out my garbage beforeĀ I went to Target to get deodorant and look at skateboard helmets. No helmet yet, but I got sunscreen and a glass pitcher to make all of the sun teas and fun summery drinks and I’M SO STOKED!

I’m writing this from my floor pillows stationed next to my balcony with the door open so I can hear the birds chirping and kids screaming and cars speeding by while I eat the leftover chicken lo mein I made earlier this week and I’m so high on life. And you better believe I’ve got a mint peach blend slowly steeping out there to break in my new pitcher.

None of these things is particularly earth shattering, but it’s funny how simple and good life can be when I focus on simply making decisions that feel right. They add up.

I have pineapple and wine in my fridge and I remembered to buy chocolate earlier this week because I tend to crave it. It’s supposed to be a rainy weekend and I have plans to clean my apartment, start editing a book for someone, and meet up with some friends to exercise.

I’ve got photos from my trip to go through and I’m already dreaming of where I want to go next. Tonight I’ll spend some quality time letting my mind wander and appreciate where I’m at mentally and physically.

Life is good.

The year of the unicorn

If you’re an observer of the blogosphere, you may have noticed a few weeks ago that it was pretty trendy for bloggers to choose their word of the year, something to base their intentions on. While I don’t consider myself a blogger anymore and this space has really turned into a personal catchall where I indulge my whims or neglect it for long periods of time, I appreciate any kind of wordplay, especially if it encourages substance.

So, for me? This is the year of re-schooling which I have fondly nicknamed the year of the unicorn because it’s more fun to say and there is magic in learning, especially learning for fun and mischief.

Why re-schooling?

Because there is so much I want to learn about still! Hopefully always. I never want to lose my curiosity. I want to investigate random shit for no reason other than I’m curious about it and want to know more. I was always a good student when I was in school and I’ve always been a solid employee, but I’m finding in my adult life that I am not great at showing up for myself and committing to personal goals and ambitions because I get tired and lazy and it’s easy to push off things I want to do because I’m not being held accountable by anyone but myself. But, no more wimpy excuses! I’m hoping that by learning new things and experimenting that I will keep growing and my journey will continue to be interesting. Plus, I don’t want to be a damn cog in someone else’s machine my whole life. I’ve got big ideas and an independent heart.

So! I’m sure this will evolve, but here’s a list of things I’d like to start with:

  • the science of baking
  • new recipes (I LOVE to play with food! and I already do this weekly, but I will continue to experiment)
  • clothing deconstruction and pattern making
  • the US mail system
  • how to use more power tools
  • Thoreau’s writings
  • Da Vinci’s inventions
  • existentialism
  • transcendentalism
  • traveling solo
  • poetry/creative writing
  • photography/videography

I may chronicle at least some of my adventures here as this space is sort of my own personal time capsule–open to the public, but not actively shared. If you’re reading, you’re welcome to join the adventure.

 

I never lose. I either win or I learn.

As I close in on another birthday, I guess it’s about that time to get all reflective. It’s been a crazy fucking year. 25 was, in a word, turbulent, but the last two months have been so damn sweet. I feel like I’ve gone through my own personal renaissance.

I’ve lived in three different places this year and where I’ve landed…well, I think I’m going to be here for a while. I feel like a lot of the pieces that I’ve been waiting, hoping, wishing to fall in place finally are.

I changed jobs. I am doing exactly what I wanted to be doing and it is even better than I could have hoped. The cherry on top is the ridiculously amazing people I get to interact with everyday. How so many awesome people all ended up in one place just blows my mind, but I’m damn grateful we found each other.

I lost love, but gained some hard won clarity about who I am and what I want. I want outrageous, raw, unapologetic, real love. A partner. Someone that won’t make me doubt I’m wanted. Someone that will choose me, choose us, even when the going gets rough. Someone that believes in me and the magic of life and all it has to offer. Someone who isn’t afraid of disappointment. If I don’t find it, I’m happy on my own. I’m not in a rush and I won’t settle for less.

My small side business did better than I ever would have expected, especially with pretty extreme periods of neglect on my part. I’m not a salesperson, but I ended up with four clients that all gave me repeat business. It’s no where near a livable income, but it’s nice extra money doing work I enjoy on the side. I’m not sure how actively I’ll pursue the continuation of it, but it’s been rewarding knowing I can make money from something I created.

I didn’t end up traveling anywhere this year; landing a new job took precedence. But I’m heading to Seattle in a few weeks with my brother on a work trip and I’m thinking I might go to Utah or Ireland later this year. We’ll see. In the meantime, I’ve been having a blast exploring Central New York.

That quote at the top of this post? I just came across it today and it sums up my enlightenment period from this year. The last two months hit the refresh button on my life and I desperately needed it. I’m grateful for the good, the bad, and the ugly, but right now I feel like all the good things are coming my way and I’m going to soak it up.

I don’t have specific goals this go-round, but these are my intentions for the year:

  • make bold moves
  • embrace vulnerability
  • be open to opportunity
  • live on purpose
  • stay curious
  • find the wild and keep it close
  • let go of things and people who aren’t meant for me
  • enjoy the hell out of whatever brings me joy

Cheers to 26 and whatever craziness this year has in store for me. It’s going to be one for the books.

Tickled by life

This morning I drove to Skaneateles. My primary goal was to check out this bakery I found online. You see, Skaneateles just feels like a place that would have a great bakery. And I was right. In fact I was almost gluttonous enough to go to two! But I’ll save Patisserie for next time. Skaneateles Bakery was a treat. I bought an over sized pink lemonade macaron and a raspberry muffin and ate them near the lake where some seagulls were also enjoying their morning.

I spent some time people watching, soaking up the sunshine, walking down the pier, and even finished reading my book. And, as I sat there, I felt more content than I have in a long time. Moving here was the best decision I could have made. I can feel myself settling more into who I want to be and I think this time alone is exactly what I needed. I love exploring on my own. Who knew?

You don’t realize that every person in your life and experience you have adds weight to your life until you make a big shift like this. Or at least I didn’t. And the weight usually isn’t a bad thing. It adds depth and value and love to living, but I feel less weighed down now and it’s freeing. There are less demands on my time and my mind and it’s helping me to feel more connected with myself. I cook what I want, go where I want, and do what I want without needing to compromise or wonder if someone else is going to be okay with the decision and, man, that feels so, so good right now!

I’m tickled by this season of life. I know it’s not likely that I’ll be on my own or want to be on my own forever, but right now I’m going to soak it up and enjoy it as much as I can. Cheers to being comfortable in your own skin and finding out you’re pretty damn capable all on your own.

The call of the country

I’ve always been open to a variety of music, but since moving to Syracuse I have been inexplicably drawn to the country stations on the radio. I know country music as a genre tends to be pretty polarizing. I’ve never had a strong opinion about it one way or another, but lately it seems to perfectly fit my long drives to nowhere roaming around the farmlands, cutting through the mountains and weaving around the lakes of central New York. They also match my mood lately; a little bittersweet, nostalgic about love gone awry…hoping it will still work out somehow, feeling like it must.

Here’s what I’m feeling lately:

Like I loved you -Brett Young

Die a happy man -Thomas Rhett

In case you didn’t know -Brett Young

See you tonight -Scotty McCreery

Runnin’ outta moonlight -Randy Houser

Leave the night on -Sam Hunt

Play it again -Luke Bryan

I don’t want this night to end -Luke Bryan

Small town boy -Dustin Lynch

It goes like this -Thomas Rhett

Get me some of that -Thomas Rhett

Because I knew you

It’s not particularly novel to feel reflective at a major turning point, but this thought has been tumbling around my head the past few weeks and it’s time to give it proper dues: I have been so damn fortunate, in every stage of my life, in the people that I have met, befriended, lived, learned, explored, worked, fought, and crossed boundaries with.

For every great experience I have had, it almost always comes down to the people.

It’s true. I’m one of the lucky ones. Blessed with one of those families that was built on a rock solid foundation of mutual love, respect and belonging. I didn’t start to realize how rare that was until high school and it really does change everything. It is the best and most precious gift I’ve ever been given.

I’ve always made friends pretty easily. One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned is how to let people go and that it’s natural to outgrow some friendships. My very best friend growing up was three years younger than me and lived two houses down the street. During the summer we used to be out the door by 7am, ready and raring to go. We both had crazy active imaginations and would have fun dressing up and inventing games, pretending to be everything from wild animals to rock stars. We’d write stories, choreograph songs, have snack time and adventure time. Scrape knees, climb trees, build forts…we did it all. In seventh grade when I realized we were growing apart, it broke my heart. We were everything until we weren’t, but looking back on it, I know I was touched by a beautiful kind of magic.

Some of my closest friendships to this day are with people I bonded with in high school. The cross country team, my crazy band of misfits, gifted me with five deliriously special people that I’ve now been friends with for almost half of my life. And I had one of the greatest summers of my life so far with my other girl gang and while I don’t talk to most of them anymore, one of them is basically the sister of my heart, no matter how long we go between seeing each other.

If I could relive a year of my life, it would be my freshman year of college and the reason is squarely on the shoulders of the ridiculous and amazing people that I exploded into being with that year. Such a huge year of becoming. From a handful of certain classmates to the crazies that I dormed with, I cannot imagine a more perfect year with more perfect people. It wasn’t without its challenges, but every day I woke up on fire. So damn excited to see what else was in store. I only keep in touch with a handful of those people now, but they’ve all touched my soul.

My year of grad school gifted me with an interesting mix of people. I am so glad I walked toward and not away from that rambunctious group of weirdos blocking the hallway. Over four years later, my life has never been the same.

After graduation, I had a somewhat unique year of retail experience largely working with my friends and a great team of people. I actually learned a lot during this year, even though I was pretty depressed about how long it took me to find a “real” job, and it was largely in part to the new people I met.

And then comes Manzella, the heart of why I was inspired to write this post. For the past three years I worked at a marketing agency as a project manager. I won’t lie to you, it was not my favorite experience. But damn did I learn and grow personally and professionally in ways I couldn’t imagine. I was given unusual opportunities and earned the respect of great people. I worked with executives at major companies and contributed to a team of truly impressive creative people who I’m fortunate to also call friends. I gained so much; a mentor and a friend that I hope will be a part of my life forever; an exceptional, open-minded boss who trusted me implicitly and wants me to succeed, even if I have to leave; a creative director who gave me room to grow and learn to manage, and also took an active interest in me as a person; account executives that considered me a surrogate daughter. And more. So much more. I am so damn grateful for having had this experience. It was often uncomfortable. I knew it would be when I started. But I had no idea how much these people would come to mean to me or the impact they would have on my life and it’s something I don’t ever want to take for granted. I wouldn’t be moving forward without them.

So, if you’re one of the good ones (and I believe you are), thank you. Thank you for pushing me, pulling me, raising me, berating me, changing me, growing me, loving me and quite simply being with me. It has made a world of difference.

To quote Wicked:
I do believe I have been changed for the better, and, because I knew you, I have been changed for good.

As I start this new chapter, I’m excited about the people I’ll meet and the new friends I’ll make. Who will change my life? Will I change theirs? I hope this is an overwhelming season of becoming.

Let’s begin.