(Re)Discovering Hobbies

PrintNot counting college, I’ve lived in New York for the past three years, and have consistently tried to find hobbies that fit in with my often erratic work schedule. There was the time I joined a show choir, only to bail right before a rousing rendition of “I Believe I Can Fly;” the summer I joined a kickball league only to get whammed in the face and remember why I hate team sports; and that other time I joined an all-female acapella group before once again realizing I don’t have time for three-hour rehearsals on Wednesday nights! Add knitting, cello playing, latch-hooking, cake decorating, roller-blading, and trivia night-ing to the list and that concludes my efforts at expanding my social circle and/or the “Interesting Things About Me” section of an online dating profile!

But I have never given up on the hope that I will find a hobby that suits both my schedule and my interests and sure enough, I found one! The fact that this particular hobby was also my primary activity in high school helps, but you know what? You love what you love. That’s right, ladies and gentleman: I have joined a band! A wind ensemble to be precise. After many years of disuse, I dug my saxophone out of my closet and immediately felt the joy that band has always brought me. Less joyful was lugging my collaged saxophone case on the subway and into work, with its photos of Leonardo DiCaprio and moody feet shellacked to the front in full, embarrassing display!

But it’s been a fun few weeks, filled with déjà vu and a steep re-learning curve. Who would think that at 26, I’d be buying reeds and practicing my scales just like I did when I was 16? Now I just need an over-sized t-shirt with “SAX-A-MA-PHONE! Class of ’06!!!!!” emblazoned on the front and the transformation is complete!

What’s My Age: 17, the heyday of my musical career, where I practiced an hour a day 6 times a week. #iwasacoolperson

Am I Old Yet?

PrintTomorrow is my 26th birthday! (Please make birthday checks payable to….me.) I love my birthday, and fortunately have not reached the stage where I say things like “I don’t need to celebrate,” or “I’d rather not think about it.” My motto is that the alternative is so much worse, and also, cake! Still, it is pretty crazy to think that I’m going to be 26. I remember freaking out when I turned 20, getting cold sweats over 23 (mostly because of the lurking threat of college graduation) and checking my scalp for grey hairs on the eve of 25. I’m not saying that 26 is old, it’s just officially….older?

The crazy thing about being in your 20s is that there is no “normal” threshold for what someone should accomplish or what stage of your life you should be in. Amazingly, my teen years now seem like such a clean-cut time! You knew that being 16 meant getting to drive and possibly attending prom. 18 meant college and freedom. But now, it’s this odd murky period where everyone is at a different stage. I have friends a few years younger than me that are already married, and ones that are older that don’t even have jobs. Where’s the manual for this decade?! Can’t we just all go to prom again?

Of course, there are plenty of positives about getting older, and I’m certainly not wishing I was 16 again. My hair…my fashion sense….eeek. Better left in the past! Mostly, I’m upset that I’ve passed the age of making a “25 Under 25 List,” although there is still time to make a “30 Under 30.”  …Which is only 4 years away!!! I think I just broke out in hives!

What’s My Age: Come tomorrow, 26! 

An Open Letter to My Grandma, Regarding Her Relationship Advice

Dear Grandma,Print

Great to see you this weekend! It’s been a while and a lot has been happening in my life, but you know, I guess I can understand why 90% of the conversations we had were about my lack of a boyfriend and where I can find one.

Now I’m sure someone like you is perfectly capable of handing out 21st century dating advice, as you’ve been married for 60 years and don’t know how to use the internet and can barely operate a cell phone. But obviously suggesting Christian Mingle fifty times over the course of an afternoon was to show off your understanding of the online dating scene, right?

And listen, I appreciate your persistence, I really do. When you could see how not into the whole Christian Mingle thing I was, you changed tactics and told me that I should start going to sports bars on the weekends. But here’s the thing—I do not like sports. I do not like watching them, I do not like playing them, I do not like reading about them in the newspaper. If you had suggested I spend some time at the library or at the ballet, I would’ve been 100% on board with your advice because I would have realized that you recognize my appreciation for culture. But no. You picked a sports bar.

So yea, it was great to see you and I will be sure to keep you abreast of the whole “man situation”


What’s My Age: Too old to be single, apparently. 

Back on the Wagon

16So I’m back from my business trip and am turning right around to head home to New Jersey for the weekend. And that means…I will be taking….THE BUS. I’m actually super impressed that I’ve managed to post so many blogs before reverting back to my mainstay: my deep, intense, abject hatred for New Jersey Transit. God, does it feel good to let it out! I HATE NEW JERSEY TRANSITTTTTTTTTTTT.

While I haven’t even gotten on the bus yet, I’m dreading the trip because of my most recent experience. The last time I decided to head home, I thought I would treat myself and take the train. (As an aside, what kind of life do I lead that “treating myself” means taking the train??) And how many times have I heard that the train is the better, faster, more predictable option? ALL. LIES. First of all, Penn Station is barely better than the Port Authority, in terms of design. (Port Authority is still the most disgusting place on planet earth, fyi.)

But just imagine approximately 900 million anxious, tired commuters standing around pell-mell trying to get to a train through a SINGLE DOORWAY and that is what it’s like getting to the trains. I can’t even think of a good enough metaphor for how ridiculous it was!

And once on the train, it was typical NJ transit—a delay for no reason, overcrowding, minimal communication….and that was before we were even across the river! And then, once I thought we were finally on our way, the train stopped on the tracks because of a “passenger disturbance.” Or, more accurately, a “WAH WAH, We will never be moving WAH from here WAH WAH.” Three hours and a rescue train later, I was finally home. And completely UNSURPRISED.

I think I should leave work now if I want to make Sunday dinner!

What’s My Age: 22. Déjà vu to the hay-day of my commuting days. 

The (Non) Sounds of Silence

PrintSo I’m heading off on a business trip today! This is one of my favorite things about my job–I just love being a business lady, with my business suit and business briefcase. …Although more realistically, it’s leggings and a backpack, but small details!

Usually I go by myself, but my last big trip was with another coworker which presented a whole new set of anxieties. How was I going to fill a five-hour flight with small talk? How was I going to fill the walk from the plane to the rental car place with witty banter? How was I going to fill the car ride from the airport to the hotel with light chatter? And so on…and so on… and so on.

This is a problem of mine—the desire to fill every empty breath with talk, no matter the subject. I get very nervous of awkward silences, convinced that they will think, “Wow, Alyssa is really boring and should never get promoted.” See how my mind goes from vaguely realistic to completely unrealistic in the span of a single thought? Now imagine putting that scenario in a work environment and you’ve visited my personal hell.

But fortunately on that trip, we didn’t sit next to each other on the plane and we both needed to rent our own cars, so all of my fears were unfounded! I still wonder if leggings were the most professional choice, but you can’t get em all! And today I’m off on my own, so I’ll rest easy!

Out of the Mouths of Babes…

PrintI try really hard to avoid the whole “millennial” thing—a term that rarely has any positive connotations for my generation. Usually, we’re described as self-absorbed, obsessed with things not worthy of obsession, and heaping helpings of melodrama. …Admittedly, I am guilty of all of these things. Sigh.

Irregardless, New York is the perfect city to see millennials in their (un)natural habitat, and wow, do we say some stuff! Just this week, I overheard these lovely little tidbits around the city and felt all of our self-respect as a generation slipping away. (Yea, I know. Melodrama 101.)

  • “I treated myself a little too much this weekend!”
  • “I over-react so much that I don’t even know what a normal reaction is.”
  • “If he thinks he’s going to be able to avoid me, I’ll just keep texting him until he gets too annoyed to ignore me.”
  • “I was jealous that she had a boyfriend until I met him. Then I was fine with it.”
  • “The Dunkin Donuts by my apartment is so unpredictable. It’s sooooo frustrating.”
  • “I wouldn’t pick up garbage for less than $50,000 a year!”


What’s my age: 18-34, according to the Pew Research Center, the age range of millennials.