O Joy.

Basic RGBI’ve been making a conscious effort over the past few days to pull myself out of the winter/unemployment/life crisis mode I’ve been in lately, mostly because I’m tired of my family sending me self-help emails three times a week! There’s only so many “Are YOU holding YOURSELF back???” emails a girl can take! And while, yes, I’ve read every one of them, if you must know…I do realize that I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately, and it’s time to pull myself up by the bootstraps (or slippers, as my case may be….) and get it together!

I just want to note that this winter-time slump happens every single year, regardless of my employment status. So no need to reserve me a bed at Bellevue! Equine therapy will not be necessary! Of course, this year has added a different challenge, because in the past, despite my mood, I’ve had a responsibility to get to work and be cheerful about it! But since it’s almost April and I love nothing more than a “fresh start,” this seems like the perfect time to utilize my “three-step plan”:

1. No more melancholy music! I’ve been hitting the Joni Mitchell rotation a little hard this winter, and she doesn’t exactly instill a zest for life. Add to that scores of thoughtful acoustic tunes and we’re on the first train to cry-town! So step one: No more “River”! This is a necessity, despite how much she makes me feeeeellllllll.

2. Wear normal clothes. My entire professional wardrobe has been gathering dust for months, replaced by a variety of casual wear–mostly pants of the pajama/yoga/lounge variety. But in order to feel like I’m making a contribution to society, I need to wear some jeans once in a while. I’ve made excellent strides so far–last time I was home, I left my favorite pair of velvet lounge pants that I’ve had since 6th grade in my dresser. It was the only way.

3. Treat yo’self. Self-improvement is hard! So despite my inner protestations that $7 could be better spent, I bought myself a bouquet of flowers the other day and then spent twenty minutes taking many photos of them so I could post the hashtag #treatyoself on Instagram and have people think I’ve really got it together. #fakeittilyoumakeit

There you have it! I already feel the rays of sunshine bursting out of my ears!

What’s My Age: 47, a recent divorcee, having recently returned from a “Turn Your Life Around” seminar in a turnpike Marriott ballroom.  

Library Time

PrintI love the New York Public Library! I’m actually sitting in one right now as I type! It’s everything I look for in a hangout: free. And now that I’ve paid down my debts, I’m free to check out all the reading materials I want! Just the other day, I took out a score book of Kenny G’s The Moment, and then rushed home to play it on my saxophone. This is now officially tied with wearing a khaki pant suit on my first day of 6th grade as the dorkiest thing I’ve ever done.

I’ve been spending a lot of time at the library job hunting, and when you subtract the large number of homeless people/rowdy teenagers/senile elderly people/screaming toddlers from the mix, it’s actually a really productive place to work! But like every public place in New York City, the library is filled with many personalities. God forbid you just go someplace and spend more than five minutes with nothing bizarre happening. For example, the other day, I sat down at a table by myself in a mostly empty library, and not even thirty seconds later was staring at someone who plopped right across from me and began unbuttoning his shirt. So I very quickly grabbed my computer and hightailed it out of there! Too bad I’m too old to hang out in “the teen center,” which is completely renovated and beautiful….and off limits to adults! I wonder why…

Not many people understand why I like the library, and when I really think about it, I’m not sure why I do either! Maybe it’s because the second I arrive, I pretty much want to leave right away, giving me the motivation to get what I need to get done with little distraction. Or maybe it’s the free DVDs. Hmmm….definitely the free DVDs.

What’s My Age: Old enough to be banned from the teen center. Never have I wished more to be 14 again…

A Risk, A Leap, A Plunge

PrintWhen I first started my stint of unemployment, I was rather gung-ho about the whole thing. I was so miserable and panicked at my last job that when I finally cut the chord, I felt so empowered and free, it was awesome! Rarely have I ever approached something with the assurance I did when I quit, and it felt really good to make such a huge decision so confidently. I might have even sung “We’re not gonna take it!” over the phone when I called my parents! So….where did that feeling go??

Yes, the initial novelty of not working has worn off and I’m getting a little frazzled over what/when/where I’ll be working next. I idiotically envisioned the process of job hunting to be a breeze, with enough time in between to take a breather and an extended vacation, preferably to Europe! I did not imagine spending two and a half months sending emails that go unanswered, filling out applications that dissolve into the internet ether, and seriously contemplating resurrecting my high school career of waitressing! I guess I just thought that the five years I’ve already spent “paying my dues” would’ve put some money into the pot of experience! How much is this entry fee???

Of course, I’m only 26 years old. I will work again! I will be able to buy lunch someday without feeling guilt and panic! I will take the subway two stops without needing to justify the $2.50 price-tag! I will be able to answer the question “What do you do?” with a confident response, instead of “I’m, uh, in-between things right now.” It’ll happen….I just hope it happens before I’m serving breakfast combos at my hometown diner! In the meantime, I need to channel Julie Andrews in The Sound of Music, fling my guitar around on a country road in Salzburg, and “have con-fi-dence in meeeee!”

What’s My Age: 12, singing “I Have Confidence” in a faux-British accent at my middle-school talent show. 

Home Sweet Home

PrintI’ve obviously been spending more time in my apartment lately than I used to, which has introduced me to the many eccentricities of the people who also live in my building. First off, we’re all apparently unemployed, because this place is a racket all day long! From the woman downstairs who meanders around shouting; to the people upstairs who stomp around for hours each day; to the resident next door who blasts opera music at random interludes throughout the day….what a mix!

I’ve lived in this building for three years now, and it’s always had a bit of a personality. When I first moved in, my next door neighbor was a raging, middle-of-the-night drunk who would scream obscenities for hours on end. So opera music is certainly a welcome change! And I suppose I’m in good company, since I’m not exactly a quiet little church mouse myself! I’ve been practicing my saxophone a few times a week, and that is not a quiet instrument! Plus, my landlord must have left out a layer of insulation when constructing this divine palace, because there was one night when I took the trash out while my TV was on, and I could hear the dialogue clear as day from the bottom of the stairs!

Now that my daily routine involves more at-home time, I’ve been experiencing a bit of a “New York moment”– living among a colorful vignette of characters all in our own little boxes. Of course, we’re not planning a dinner party together, and I still have never even met any of them! But at least I can listen to my “90s pop” Pandora and play “Moondance” sans judgement….and headphones!

What’s My Age: 18, a college freshman, living on the “social” floor. 

Dream Big!

Basic RGBBeing unemployed means that you have a lot of time on your hands that would normally be consumed with work to think about what you should be doing with your life. This isn’t all that much different from what I was doing when I was actually working…which was thinking about what I should be doing with my life. But since I’m currently staring at the immediacy of becoming a 26-year-old college-educated latte-maker (o sorry, a barista…), I’ve been trying to broaden my horizons. And considering the career I originally chose doesn’t seem to be working out too well at the moment, maybe it’s time to switch tacts!

So how to begin….obviously, a list! And obviously, most of the things I came up with were pretty unrealistic for my past work experience and current skill sets! For example, the absolute first thought that came to mind when I mused “What’s Next?” was “Be a pit musician for a Broadway show.” Hmm. Random! Despite some leftover high school saxophone talent and a penchant for singing “Don’t Rain on My Parade” while taking a shower, I don’t think I’m exactly qualified for that particular career, despite already imagining my 7 PM call time at the stage door! Ditto for “Become a Rockette” ; “Work for Doctors Without Borders” ; “Decorate cakes [professionally]” ; and my favorite, “Don’t work at all.”

Now, if I’m being completely honest, what I’d really love to do is write books, splitting my time between a cabin in the woods and an apartment in Paris, while jetting to my London flat on an international book tour, in between stints as a feature writer for the New York Times. Hey, you can’t fault my imagination! But who says that can’t happen? So maybe it’s not realistic to own three different properties in three different countries. But since I work in an industry where the motto seems to be, “You’re in ’til you’re in, and when you’re out, well, bye,” why shouldn’t I take this opportunity to stay out for a bit and see what else is there? I’ll be searching for international real estate if anyone’s looking for me….

What’s My Age: 67, an international best-selling novelist who is contractually obliged to write a book every three months. ….Yes, I’d like to be Danielle Steele. She also has amazing hair. 

Growing Pains 

PrintI went skiing last weekend and have since been dealing with a variety of aches and pains better suited to someone who was returning home to an assisted living facility, and not my apartment in New York City. I bruised my toenails, tweaked my back, and still have an unfortunate case of “goggle tan” (not physically painful, but embarrassing none the less….). I returned to the city stocked with a heating pad, a bottle of Aleve, and my birth certificate to remind me that I’m only 26-years-old!

Between the emotional struggle of job hunting and my current physical struggle of, um, moving my body, I’m having a bit of a hard time lately! Not to be melodramatic (my favorite way to be….) but it seems like my body aches could be more of a metaphorical symbol of my internal struggles. Perhaps there’s some bad chakras floating around and mixing with my aura, which combined, has affected my ability to sit in a chair for longer than fifteen minutes! But considering my internal psyche is a bit crazed at the moment, I guess it’s no surprise my outside is also out of whack! “Your best self starts from within” so the saying goes…..

What I need right now is to be in tip-top form, and what I need always is to have everything worked out and in working order! But since that doesn’t seem to be happening any time in the immediate future, I think my next best bet is a hot-stone massage and a visit to the psychic who’s parked himself at the end of my block!

What’s My Age: A 65-year old yogi, who pulled her back during a sunrise meditation session.

Forever Young

PrintIt’s been a while since I’ve written one of these posts, but it’s certainly not for lack of material! Wherever there are millenials, there’s usually an entertaining line or two that reassures me that I am a.) not the only person who feels like they have no idea what they are doing b.) not as hopelessly immature and self-involved as my peers c.) equally as immature and self-involved as my peers and d.) just as obsessed with New York City real estate.

Someone once asked me if these were actually true, and they are! I may be prone to exaggeration, but these are all things I’ve heard while on the subway, on line at Starbucks, or simply walking down the sidewalk nosily. Once I see a pair of millenials, my ears perk up, and I’m very rarely disappointed!

  • “So we moved into this new apartment and it has like 25 cabinets. Perfect for all the food we don’t buy.”
  • Girl 1: “I am not successful.” Girl 2: “It’s ok. We’re under 25!”
  • “When I was younger, I thought I was going to be married by the time I was 24, and now it’s like I can’t even picture handling a boyfriend right now with everything I have going on in my life!”
  • “I want to quit my job, but I don’t want to get deported.”
  • “I have like 3 really close friends, but one of them is just like a total drain. Every time I talk to her, we have to talk about “the meaning of life.” I spend 4 hours with her and I’m exhausted! I just want to talk about fun stuff! And eat plantains. How good were those? And that fried avocado, oh my god, it’s like, yea…”
  • “I found this artist on Etsy who makes necklaces with dandelion seeds in them. So it’s like walking around with a wish!”

Never give up on those wishes, people.

What’s My Age: Shamefully, 26.