Saturday, April 23, 2016

Boo hoo for the I Do

I'm at a wedding this weekend in the Boston area. I haven't seen the person getting married for years, but was quite excited when I got the invite. This is my third wedding of the year and I love weddings. I think. Let's say I love them in theory. I love them for the people getting married. I love the pomp, the circumstance and I love them for the intention of it all. They usually don't disappoint with good food, good booze and good desserts. The dancing is usually fun and I haven't been to one yeat that disappointed.
But, while I was sitting in church today watching the exchange of vows, I also was sad. Sad for me. I caught myself wondering how I'd do things when I get married. Then the doubt slipped in. I used to always say "when I get married." Now, at the age of 34 the saying has gone "If I get married". Today through I caught myself thinking that might never happen. It's sad really. It would be such a good time. Not just for the wedding of course, but for all that follows.
When the priest was talking about love today, he was talking about how much of it is around. I have that in my life, sure. It is a different love though. It'd be great to have the kind of love people have to decide to get married. I haven't completely lost hope, but the older I get, the more the doubt of it ever happening is triggered. I remind myself often not to wallow in it. Life can be lived many different ways and I can still show love, I just have to look for it returned in different ways. In the meantime, I'll be happy in the love others have found and remain optimistic that someday others will be happy for me in the same way.

Friday, April 1, 2016


Here's the thing about what I did tonight. I went to a fundraiser for women who have survived breast cancer. Let me repeat. I went to a fundraiser for women who have survived breast cancer. I went as the invite of my parents' neighbor and my childhood neighbor who fought and beat breast cancer a year ago. It was scary the day my mom called me and told me our neighbor had cancer. Scarier more when my mom called later and told me my aunt did too. Cancer sucks. We all know that. It isn't a mystery. It isn't something only some of us care about fighting. But sometimes I forget that my problem of not getting paid enough, or not having a program go exactly how I want it to, or getting yelled at because someone's wrong ad got posted on the wrong day, isn't that big of an issue.
I know based on a TED talk I've watched in the past year, that comparing your pain or suffering or grief to someone else's doesn't really make sense. No one gets to say that some pain is more difficult to go through than others. No one gets to claim hardship as their own. No one gets to be "more sad" than someone else. Everyone is going through their own thing.
But here's the thing about sitting through a night where people with breast cancer talk about their struggle or their survival: Life has a different perspective if you could possibly die.
In my every day life things go wrong. Things are annoying. Things are frustrating. I'm not going to die. I tell my team all the time when they get fired up: We're not curing cancer. We aren't. These women tonight, they were fighting it.
Nights like tonight put that in perspective. They also remind me that I at least have emotions. Sometimes I forget they are there. I have to hold them back. I have to be strong because there's no one to catch me. I have to make sure I'm good on my own. Tonight, I couldn't help it.
Our family friend started strutting down that runway and my eyes welled up. I was both proud of her for beating cancer and terrified that she might not have. I'm not sure where those tears came from, and boy, did I try and fight them, but they were still there. A reminder that I still feel, even when I try not to. A reminder that nothing, no matter what I'm going through, is as bad as it could be, no matter what perspective you look at it from.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

I Do or I Don't?

This year I'm making goals for each month. January was run a mile each day. February was drink no alcohol. March was get up before 6am every day. I failed miserably in March for that goal. Thankfully I made it through my Lenten goal of not eating virtually anything, so I'm counting that one as my March goal. Plus, I read 2 books, which was way more than I have read in a while, so I'm counting that as well.
I think April is going to be go on a date. That seems so stupid to me. Most people have no problems meeting people and going on dates. For some reason I do. It might be because people think I'm judgy. It might be because people think I'm super independent and good on my own and don't need anyone. In reality, I'm neither of those. I've been watching Lifetime movies recently, which seems like something I shouldn't admit in a public space, but I'm not sure why I feel so skiddish about telling people. Is it because they are hokey? Yep, sure. Is it because they are all the exact same and follow the same story line? Yep, also that. But why does it matter? People do stuff that's pointless all the time. The movies are entertaining, who cares if they are intellectual or making me smarter. I'm guessing no one cares...except for those who want to tease me about it for about 5 seconds, then they are over it.
I like the movies because they have a conflict and resolution, all in 90 minutes. They are sometimes romantic, sometimes just plain unrealistic, but as a hopeful romantic myself, I also sometimes just hope they happen. Although, the likelihood I fall in love in 3 days like they do in those movies, is probably unlikely. The way things are going right now, the likelihood I talk to anyone interesting in 3 days is unlikely as well. I need a shot of intrigue. Maybe the April goal of going on a date will provide that. Sadly, no one I know seems to know anyone who is single and somewhat interested, so I'm likely going to have to go back to online dating. In real life I just can't seem to be approachable enough for people to be interested. I'm not sure if in the online world I will be either since it didn't really go swimmingly last time, either, but can't really pout about it if I'm not going to accept the challenge.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Four Words

On Tuesday nights, a friend of mine hosts a twitter chat which consists of five random questions thrown on to his followers. Anyone and everyone can join and the questions are usually completely random. Sometimes, the questions are light-hearted and fun, like "What's your favorite under-the-radar Netflix show? Other times, they are a little more thought-provoking like "Give four words that you'd like to have describe you by a good friend at your eulogy."
What I like about these questions is I never know what's coming. What I don't like about these questions is I never know what's coming. In a public forum like Twitter, I'm constantly hyper-aware of how I'm portraying myself. I don't tweet a lot because I often question whether what I have to say makes any impact or adds any value in that forum. Yet I generally try to answer all five of the weekly questions. In some cases I don't because I don't have an answer. (I'm horrible at movie questions because I don't know actors or movies very well.) But some, like the four words at my eulogy question, are harder than others. 
I went through a ton of words. I had a moment of, holy crap, who am I trying to be? I thought, oh man, I'd love to describe myself as compassionate, but I don't think others see me that way. I wanted to say smart, decided clever might be more descriptive, but then evolved to intelligent. In the end I didn't use any of those because I thought that was too pompous of me. It is easier to say I'm loyal or honest because I know that about myself, it is harder to say smart because that's someone else's judgement about me compared to others. 
Then, reading through other responses, I realize there were words out there that other people used that I really wish I would have used. Open minded, dependable, generous, thoughtful were just a few. Why didn't I think of those? 
I pondered writing down what words I wanted to describe me to other people and looking at them each day to see if I was living up to their intention. It seems like a good goal to strive for, this accountability to the idea of what friends want, or at least what I want in my friends and all of it came from a twitter chat. A reminder that as insignificant as some people deem social media to be, it sometimes at least makes an impact.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Deciding to Judge

Are the decisions we make about how we want to live our own lives judgments on the ways others live theirs? For example, I don't drink soda. I haven't in 5 years. I gave it up one year for a New Year's resolution and never went back. Does that mean I think everyone who drinks soda is dumb? Or, for example, I don't generally eat meat. I do sometimes, when I feel like it is worth it or when it would be rude not to. Does that mean I think everyone who eats meat is making the wrong decision to have chicken tacos or a burger for lunch? More significantly, I'm Catholic. Does that mean everyone who isn't is just plain wrong about their religion?
With the state of American politics these days, the easy way to answer that question is: Yes, if you make a decision about how to live your life, you are making a judgment on the way other people live theirs. For me though, that's just not true.
Take potato chips. They were another New Year's resolution a few years ago. I haven't eaten them since. Not bagged and not fresh from restaurants who make their own. Why'd I make that decision? Mostly because when I eat potato chips I eat tons of them. They are salty goodness that I just can't resist. I try to have one, then I see the French onion dip and everything goes down hill. Pretty soon, I've consumed the whole bag. But, do I tell people at parties that I don't eat potato chips because they are bad for them and will make them fat? No way. Eat away on those potato chips. Potato chips make people happy. They have tons of delicious flavors (although I don't understand the salt & vinegar choice). It is your right in life to eat potato chips. Do what you like, it is your body.
While that's an inconsequential example, it is really how I feel about all choices people make, superfluous or more significant. I think we've evolved to a place, whether via social media or the general desire to be liked, that we all think others are judging us all the time. For me, I absolutely believe people get to decide to make their own decisions in life, especially when they don't impact me. When they do, I also get a vote in the decision.
Take smoking. I have a significant problem with smoking. But, while I choose not to do it, I don't care if you a point. That point is 1. if you are in my presence because no longer is it just about you, it is about me too and 2. if you do so, and then need my money to pay for your medical costs later in life. In that specific case, I'm not judging you necessarily for smoking, I'm disgruntled by the fact that I may be impacted by it.
I realize whole completely that the smoking example may be equated to excessive sugar consumption or eating lots of meat, so in some ways those are equitable, but generally, there isn't necessarily a judgment on my part. I only have one set of decisions to make and those revolve around the way I want to live my life and the biggest decision I make every day is not to judge anyone else for living the way they want to live theirs.

Monday, March 28, 2016

Giving Up

I've always given something up for Lent. One year in college it was beer (good in theory, bad in practice), one year it was chocolate, one year it was fried foods. This year, I pretty much went cold turkey on all of it. I gave up sweets, meat, seafood, cheese, eggs, pasta, bread except for pita, tortilla chips, and all fried foods except falafel. Seems extreme to most people. They ask me incredulously why I did it. What was I thinking?
What I was thinking was that I might as well challenge myself. Eating is hard. I love pretty much all foods ever. I love eating out, I love eating chocolate, I love love love eating cheese. What I don't love is what that means for how I feel when I don't exercise constantly, too.
I ran a mile every day in January. My body hated me. A mile isn't a long way, but our bodies are sometimes meant to rest. Even on days when I'd had 2 beers, I went and ran that mile anyway. It was a good challenge. It forced my hand, it took away my excuses.
In February of this year I gave up alcohol. That shouldn't be too hard you say. But for me it is. It isn't that I drink a lot, it is that I'm a social person. My time with friends happens at happy hours or sporting events or dinners out. All of those usually involve at least a glass of wine or a pint of beer. Sometimes more, sometimes none at all, but taking away the choice even makes for a challenge.
For Lent I gave up my favorite foods. Or, if you want to look at differently, I challenged myself to eat some of my other favorite foods: broccoli, strawberries, peas and baked potatoes. You're likely to say that baked potatoes aren't very healthy, but when you give up what I gave up, the options for eating out are few and far between. Taking cheese and meat off of any salads at restaurants leaves you with very measly vegetables. Looking for one veggie option sometimes means getting sides as your meal and making due with what you can get.
But what giving up food meant also was trying new things. I ate more oatmeal in the past 40 days than I have pretty much ever. I learned my brother eats it with a spoon full of whatever jam he has on hand. I had cauliflower steak that was simply divine. I ate Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries that was way tastier than I could have imagined. I made "fried rice" out of grated cauliflower and I ate avocado chocolate pudding that was hands down better than normal pudding.
I also ate at home more than I have in probably a year. For as busy as I am, constantly going to events and dinners, I realized that sometimes I just like to be home. I put a baked potato in the oven, answer emails, read books, watch movies and just hang out. It is a connection back to calmness again.
These last 40 days have definitely been about giving up, but surprisingly, giving it up meant reminding myself why I enjoy it to start with. I've already gone back to eating cheese and sweets and I'm craving pasta and scallops in the near future, but I also realized that while I miss it, sometimes it is for the best to give something up to remind myself what I want to get back.

Monday, February 1, 2016

2/1 2 minutes

The rain is dripping outside the water from my shower is still sitting on my ears. It was a hell of a day for the first day of a sober month. The withdrawal from sugar is already happening, yet I know it is good for me. Today was the last day of a mile run for every day in January. I didn't make it completely, but 31 runs in 32 days is pretty good. Now on to the next challenge.