The Cool Kids

122Hard to believe with this endless humidity, but it is in fact the end of September! September is usually my favorite month, because it’s back-to-school time! And even though I’ve been out of college for more than a few years, I still get the familiar jitters and excitement this time of year! I even bought some new clothes and stocked up on a fresh memo-pad from the office supply closet!

But with back-to-school time comes the stark realization that I am no longer a fresh-faced teeny-bopper headed off to high school, or a cool college kid who is living their “New York Dream.” Instead, I’m the boring adult, slogging to her office job, fighting for a seat with starry-eyed babies heading off to their first protest and waxing poetic about how they’re “totally going to major in visual anthropology with a minor in classics.” Sigh. You young, precious YOUTHS!

Of course, I was there once. My first weekend in college, I went to a global warming protest, attended a Buddhist meditation service, and briefly became a vegan. I had lofty goals of becoming some super-chill hippy, which is the exact opposite of my personality. But a new school year always brings the promise of some sweeping life change, and I sort of miss that wide-eyed naiveté before I became a cog in the daily grind of adulthood. Enjoy it while it lasts, college kids! ….Mind if I join you at your next “Freegan 4Evr” dinner party??

What’s My Age: 46, a harried commuter, fondly recalling “wild times,” and referring wistfully to college as “the best time of my life.” 

Bike Boss

120I live about four miles away from my office, and on a good day, it takes me about a half hour door-to-door. But recently, those good days have been few and far between! The stations are murderously hot, the trains are packed, and the wait times in between are approaching double digits! Plus, I seem to have the unique talent of getting to the train door at the precise moment it starts to pull away. Fed up with my frustrating commute, I decided to dust off my bike and have been riding it to work a few times a week!

I would not consider myself a cool person, but I feel like a total badass when I ride my mint-green cruiser through the streets of New York City. There are few things as thrilling as threading the needle through honking taxis, whipping through stop lights, and feeling that cool city breeze on your face while hurtling past 96th street! Of course, those feelings wear off pretty quickly after that first wave of utter terror when a city bus glides just inches past me, leaving a sheen of sweat and pipe exhaust on my brow! And then they disappear completely when I arrive at work disheveled and sweaty, but happy to be alive! Isn’t bike riding fun?!?! Aren’t I cool?!?!

But once I get myself together, I actually feel really good about myself and enjoy leaving my bike helmet on my desk in full display. Yes, ask me why I have a bike helmet! Yes, I do ride my bike to work! Yes, that does make me very cool, nice of you to say! Considering my biking goal is to as closely represent Anita in the live-action version of “101 Dalmatians” as possible, I think I’m on the right track!

What’s My Age: 20, during my sophomore year of college, when I briefly considered joining the cycling team before deciding to join a book-club instead. 

Freelance Woes, Part 1

My sister is a freelance artist, and she has a pretty sweet gig. She works from home, and her “office” is the outdoor screened-in porch off our house. She has no annoying coworkers who smack their gum all day, and she never has to worry about having her lunch snatched from the communal refrigerator (which is always stocked….by our mom.) What a life, huh? Well, it’s not always a country club as a freelancer! Check out her freelance woes, and see more of her work on her blog!

121-page-001

#BandGeek4Evr

118This past weekend, I headed up to the Catskills for a “performing arts retreat”….aka….BAND CAMP! I know what you’re probably thinking: “Um, you’re a grown woman.” Correct! But the band I play in was holding this weekend trip and the eternal band geek inside just couldn’t pass up the opportunity! So I packed up my saxophone, sleeping bag and shower caddy for a merry weekend of music-making and tuna salad made in bulk!

This was actually the first time I had ever been at a sleep-away band camp–when I was in high school, “band camp” was a week of sweating profusely on the senior parking lot working out our marching band show, while the girls soccer team drove by honking their horns at us. But of course, I loved every second of it then–the inside jokes, the instant group of friends, the matching t-shirts, my section leader (a handsome and mysterious junior….#memoriez)….so of course I was excited to go as an adult! And the weekend did not disappoint! I was in my element, surrounded by an awesome tribe of band people who were also unabashedly psyched to be there!

It was so nice to spend a weekend in nature, playing great music and meeting the coolest people. Is there a better combination in life?! It’s been three days since I got back and I’m still jazzed about it and just so happy that I can still yell SAX-A-MA-PHONE without being judged! Plus, I’m glad I can add some new memories under my “Band Camp” file–hoping they’ll replace the plethora of embarrassing flirting with said section leader that dominated those first few years back in high school….

What’s My Age: 17, when I ran band camp as drum major, the apex of marching band coolness. 

All Work, No Play

117Last week I worked seven days in a row, which was entirely unnecessary and I will never do that again! Of course, I’m no stranger to working long hours–it’s just the nature of the beast! But I made a decision when I got this job to try to not make it the center of my universe, which has been accomplished with mixed results! It’s just that when your boss asks you to work and gives you exciting opportunities that inconveniently exist only on the weekends….it’s hard for me to say no! So out went the work/life balance and in came seven days of work, work, work!

I started out strong, I gotta say. Outfits were planned, lunches were made, and my mind was “in the zone.” I took each day as it came, leaving work each night and erasing the day’s events from my head. One down, two down, three down….how was it only Monday?! And that’s where my resolve started to slip…on Monday. It was all down hill from there–four more agonizing days of work; the weekend a distant mirage as I stared down yet another, and then another, (and then two more after that!) workday.

By the end of the week, the overtime I was making was nothing compared to the fatigue and burnout I was feeling! And then, my paycheck this morning from those hard-earned hours was so depressing I made a written vow and sealed it with my own tears that it was definitely NOT worth the time and energy to work those few extra days, despite whatever opportunities may arise! Weekends exist for a reason, and from now on, I’ll be savoring those two precious days! (…But back at work on Labor Day, because this is the LIFE I HAVE CHOSEN. …..Ahem….)

What’s My Age: 19, still signs of that over-eager intern I once was! 

Lookin’ Good

116I haven’t been home to New Jersey in a pretty long time, and I knew it was time to head home when every single member of my family asked me when I was going to “make an appearance.” Considering I spent the majority of the first half of the year lounging on the couch and reading “Family Circle” as an unemployed person, you’d think they’d be happy to have a break from me! But apparently I’m just such a delight, a month away leaves a gaping hole in the fabric of my family.

But it ended up being a nice weekend, and very typical–mostly because I did not properly pack for myself. Despite having left home four years ago along with all of my clothes, I’m still under the impression that I have everything I need to be properly dressed for all occasions. I didn’t bring a bathing suit, shorts, pajamas or an outfit for church, and just like every single other time I’ve come home, I quickly realized that my flare jeans from eighth grade and my collection of hole-y marching band t-shirts was all that remained from my leftover wardrobe! Ah, and how could I forget those hot-pink Chinese slippers with the giant hole in the toe I apparently can’t seem to part with? Needless to say…I looked really great this entire weekend.

So Saturday night found me entertaining my parents’ friends in knee-length cargo shorts and a Hawaiian-print tank top. And on Sunday, I embraced my full-on Jersey-housewife persona when I borrowed my mom’s leopard-print tankini. What a relief to arrive back home in the city to a stocked closet and my boring crew-neck tees!

What’s My Age: 16, the pinnacle of my horrendous fashion choices.