Sunday, October 31, 2010


Tonight I got off the plane at LaGuardia and had this urge to call 'F'.   While we haven't actually seen each other since August, he and I have still been in not infrequent contact, though the purpose of said contact remains hazy at best.

It happened while I waited in the cab line.  As I stood there in the 40 degree weather in my 65 degree outfit, I watched a couple in their late 20s/early 30s in line in front of me, him holding her close for warmth.  It was clear that he had been away for the weekend and she had met him at the airport.  She announced happily that she had made him tortillas.  "Made them?!" he responded.  "Okay, okay, I didn't make them.  But I got them for you!"  Just as I was ready to peg them as a three to six-month-old couple - somewhere in the stage where one still wants to meet the other at the airport - I noticed their simple, matching wedding bands.  And suddenly my eye-rolling at their cutesy cuddliness turned into a combination of envious yearning and mad jealousy.  A wave of loneliness hit me.  I thought I might start tearing up in the cab line, and that is when I had the urge to call 'F'.

It's pretty ironic considering I see 'F' as this emotionally unreachable being - a bit set in his own ways and a lot closed off.  Though I doubt he would never admit it outright, I think he tires of leading a solitary life.  The one time he ever hinted at feeling alone, he all but retracted it the following day.  I think part of the reason I haven't fully cut him out of my life is that I almost feel sorry for him, in an empathetic way.  I look at him and fear that his life is what mine could look like in five years - living alone, with almost all of my friends married or coupled off and feeling as though my job was a dead-end.  I can't help but wonder whether there was some dramatic event in his life that rendered him so emotionally shut-off - a broken engagement or unrequited love perhaps?  Or was it a series of failed attempts at relationships that gradually chipped away at his capacity to love?

I honestly have no idea, but I rather hope it's the former, for my sake.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

What I Learned from My 2010 New Year’s Resolution

I have always been a list-maker.  To me, it is simply a natural part of being an organized human being, like having a planner or a box of blank labels.  As a kid, I methodically catalogued each and every one of my stuffed animals (and there were plenty, I assure you).  It was basically a list of their names and a brief description, you know, just in case Floppy fled to Canada and I had to file a Missing Beanie Baby Report.

Today, I keep lists upon lists upon lists.  Some are more useful than others.  There are lists of restaurants I like for brunch, restaurants I like to recommend for dates, restaurants I want to try.  Then there’s a list of jobs to apply for eventually.  A list of books I want to read.   And of course, The To Do List.  Naturally, I don’t have any old ordinary to do list.   My to dos are separated out into errands that I can definitely run when I have downtime at work (CVS), errands that I could possibly run if I have a LOT of downtime at work (Saks), errands that I have to run on weekends (ikea), household items I need to get (swiffer refills), groceries I’ve run out of (olive oil), things to ask others (get gyno rec from Jane), things that I want to look up on the internet (population of Vermont) and things that I want to buy but will require some comparison shopping (tan boots).  Just reading my list of lists (which doesn’t even cover all of my lists) stresses me out.

The great thing about lists is that I don’t worry that I’ll forget something.  The bad thing about lists is that I don’t forget anything.  I am constantly reminded that there are all of these things that I need to do, get, try.

Now, my 2010 resolution had nothing to do with ridding myself of lists.  My resolution was to stop buying kitchen accessories.   I realized I had a problem when I bought a corn stripper and stuck it in my gadget drawer next to a cake tester, mushroom brush and melon baller.

Looking back, I began to realize just how much time I wasted unintentionally shopping for kitchen gadgets.  Because of that damn “To get for kitchen” list that was always stored in my phone, every time I passed a kitchen supply store – even the Williams-Sonoma that I passed at least weekly – I had to go in.   I’d pluck out my BlackBerry and peruse the store for items that I could potentially erase from the “To get for kitchen” list.  Four out of five times, I’d decide I just couldn’t justify spending $40 on a box grater or $200 on a stand-mixer and leave the store empty-handed.  Stand-mixer has been on my “To get for kitchen” list for at least 5 years now.

So on January 1, 2010, I deleted the “To get for kitchen” list from my phone.  It was strangely liberating to know that it wasn’t there anymore.   That I couldn’t access it when I walked into a kitchen store.   Looking new set of red wine glasses no longer seemed like something I needed to do on a Saturday afternoon.  I still went into kitchen stores every now and then to admire, but at some point, my former preoccupation with kitchen gadgets started to fade.  The last time I went into a kitchen store, I got through the portal and walked back out.  Why was I in there?  I couldn’t buy anything anyway (without breaking my resolution) and more importantly, I neither needed nor wanted to buy anything.   Once I let go of my obsession with clearing my “To get for kitchen” list, I had one less idle obsession occupying my time.

I worry some about becoming too set in my own ways, of getting into a habit of doing things and not really knowing why I’m doing them (like walking into every kitchen store I pass).  I worry about becoming too preoccupied with the list itself rather than focusing on what’s really important or necessary on that list.  I could probably draw some deeper parallel here to relate it to the general theme of my writings here, but I’d rather not right now.   My point is really just this: getting rid of my “To get for kitchen list” was just one small step toward letting go of obsessions that bring more bad than good into my life.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


My generation (the "Millenials" or "Gen Y" or whatever other arbitrary name has been assigned to us) is collectively known as a bunch of whiny, entitled, lazy, willfully ignorant (my favorite), spoiled brats.  You won't get much of an argument from me on this point; too often I fit the description of a Millenial.  But if there's something that irks me to no end about the Millenial mindset is the attitude exemplified in John Mayer's Waiting for the World to Change.  I used to really love that song until one day I actually thought about the lyrics.  It is so symptomatic of our generation to say something like, "We just feel like we don't have the means / To rise above and beat it / So we keep waiting / Waiting on the world to change."  If there was a theme song for Millenials, I'd say that's it.  We complain, and then we shrug our shoulders and say there's nothing we can do about it.  We're a generation that doesn't effect change so much as wait for someone else to do it for us.

Now it's not as though I'm out there working on a grassroots campaign to change the world, but when it comes to my personal life, I'm not a fan of waiting around.  I do not subscribe to the love-happens-when-you-least-expect-it school of thought, I'm more of a when-it-rains-it-pours kind of girl.

And so, I've done all sorts of things since moving to New York to inject change into my life.  A lot of it has been motivated by dating.  Forcing myself to go out.  Forcing myself to go on second dates even when I know they're not leading anywhere.  Forcing myself to try match.  And then every time that starts feeling empty, I try to fill the void simply by keeping busy with things I enjoy.  Signing up for classes.  Signing up for sports teams.  Signing up for a blog.  Signing up for community service projects.   Signing up for things that make me feel like I am enriching my life in any sort of way.  Signing up for things that keep me from feeling like I am wasting away my weekends and evenings sitting in front of my TV, alone.  

But sometimes it all seems like a rather temporary fix.  I can keep myself busy all I want, but at the end of the day, I still come home to an empty apartment and I still don't have any real control over certain aspects of my life.  It still feels as though I am waiting around.  Waiting on the world to change.

Sunday, October 3, 2010


The month of September was quite blissfully boy-free.  As the month drew to an end, I wondered to myself whether I should sit down and re-evaluate this dating break.  Should I set a date (pun not intended) for when I need to make myself get back out there? And then I thought about just how ridiculous that sounds.  Sometime it's nice to set "goals" but maybe I could benefit from a little less structure and a little more enjoying what life throws at me.

This weekend confirmed that for me.  I went to a wedding - one of the most fun weddings I've been to -  small and casual and just lovely.  It was in the groom's parents' backyard, the tent was set up right next to the groom's childhood swing set, the bride's friend from college officiated the ceremony, the guests sipped bloody marys during the vows and everyone was drunk by about 4:30 pm (Irish wedding).  So, not unsurprisingly I suppose, I wound up shacking up with one of the few single guys there.

Now usually after a hook-up with a random guy, I wake up the morning after with a terrible hangover and a feeling of self-loathing.  But not this time.  This time I woke up and couldn't help but just smile when he reminded me that he had written "I heart men" on my arm like a tattoo and then laugh in horror when I discovered a dried-up lime wedge in my purse.

I'm not quite sure what felt different about this one.  Maybe it was just that he made me feel comfortable and secure.  I slept more soundly snuggled up in his arms than I have in recent memory.  (Okay, that could have also been the alcohol.)  Maybe it was that there was no expectation of anything continuing since he lives on the other side of the country.  Maybe it was just that it was fun and completely unexpected.  For once, I just enjoyed what life threw at me.

But more than anything else, he reminded me that there really are attractive, young, smart, straight, single men out there.   And he was really nice too.  It made me wonder if I have been unnecessarily putting up with a lot of shit from New York boys and not even realizing it.  He reminded me that maybe not all cute boys are assholes.  And he reminded me how fun it can be to be single.   After a year of being heartbreakingly disheartened and constantly worn down, it was a reminder that I absolutely needed.