My Sabbatical Has Come to an End

My four-month sabbatical/furlough is almost over.  I return to work on September 1st. It feels like a lifetime since I closed my work laptop on April 30th. Four months ago, I had no idea what the world would be like at this time or whether I would have a job to return to.  I am grateful to be returning to a paycheck and continued health insurance during a global pandemic, but it feels surreal after four months away.  It feels kind of like I quickly left my home in the middle of a war, not knowing when or if I would return.  Now the war is over (but not really) and I am returning home after a long time away.  I have heard that my house is still standing but I don’t what condition it is in.  What will my house feel like when I go back inside? Will I dust everything off, set things back up, and forget that I ever left? Or will it never feel quite right again?

In the physical world, I am in literally the exact same place that I was when I left.  My body has not traveled more than two miles from my home office desk, and I have spent most of the past four months sitting at this desk.  This year feels like a weird, time warp.  It will be a very strange adjustment, even though I will still physically be in the exact same place where I was when I left. (I expect to be working from home for the foreseeable future.)

So what have I done with this amazing gift of time that the Universe gave me?

I spent a lot of time studying astrology, and you might have noticed, I did some writing about it.  I love that astrology can help us understand ourselves better so we can live happier, more meaningful lives.  Every birth chart is like a beautiful puzzle of a person’s soul.  Astrology is a passion that engages my analytical mind and my compassionate heart.  If you had asked me a few years ago what I would do if I had four months off with so much time on my hands, I probably would have panicked. I am so grateful that astrology found me before my quarantine furlough/sabbatical. I am sure some of you think I am crazy (but secretly you are also really curious about the puzzle of your soul, aren’t you?)

I also spent a lot of time this summer trying to understand what was behind the angry content from Trump supporters that started showing up in my social media feeds after George Floyd was murdered.  I was getting passive aggressive messages that I was a “brainwashed liberal” so I went down a rabbit hole for many weeks to confirm for myself that this was not true (Spoiler alert: It’s not true). I won’t share everything I learned in that rabbit hole, but if you have any questions about QAnon, I probably have the answers. I didn’t find any magic solutions to the problems we are facing, but I am much more informed and engaged. And I have a much better understanding of the feelings behind the anger and why so many people support Donald Trump. We are going to need a lot of compassion and empathy to get through whatever comes next.

No matter who wins this election, we will still all be living together in this country. The forces that are dividing us won’t go away.  The angry voices will probably get louder and more dangerous. The issues we are fighting about are complicated and do not have simple answers.  We need to work as hard as we can to get honest, compassionate, intelligent, and capable leaders into our government.  Then we need to fix our political systems so they better represent the people (check out RepresentUs who is doing just this!)

We have a lot to do and we have to stay engaged. Make calls to swing states. Listen to each other. Ask people why they believe what they believe and why they feel what they feel. Get everyone you know to vote and to vote as early as possible. (If you are not sure how to vote early in your state, read this.) And be nice to each other! Be especially nice to the people who are the most angry.  They are the ones who need the most compassion. And if you can’t be nice because YOU are too angry, just walk away and use your Mars energy where it will make the most difference.  Yelling at angry people is not usually effective.

I digressed. Back to me and my sabbatical (which is really completely irrelevant in the context of our world right now, but I will continue.)

When I was not trying to understand our country and the depths of everyone’s soul (which is clearly how I like to spend most of my time), I did the same boring, quarantine stuff as everyone else. I finally had time to organize my recipes (highly recommend Paprika) and have cooked every one of my meals since April.  (This was a HUGE change for me. I rarely cooked pre-COVID/sabbatical).  I have become really good at making pizza and I even started roasting almonds (I will never eat another unroasted almond again.)  I miss the Pilates reformer, but I replaced it with this weird thing called PVolve that I don’t hate, because it is kind of easy (which probably means I am not doing it right). I did lots of projects around the house and collected zillions of pictures of clouds on my long, daily NYC walks on the East River (hence, the featured image on this post!)

I went back and forth between being super productive and feeling completely unmotivated to do anything.  I am amazingly good at being a quarantine hermit (that shouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me) but I called my family in tears a few times, because sometimes being a hermit is HARD (no matter how good you are at it) and 2020 is bringing a lot of really hard, sad things.  I also had a lot of inner turmoil about whether to travel this summer since I had all of this time. Ultimately, I decided that it was not worth the extra COVID risk, hassle, and cost, so I stayed put and streamed beach views on my television.

I don’t have to tell you that this is the strangest, hardest year of our lifetime.  I did not totally reinvent myself during my sabbatical (as I hoped I might when I kicked it off), but I did REST and let my body and my mind go wherever they wanted to go (within COVID limitations).  That is exactly what I needed to do.  I am so grateful that I had this time and that I was healthy and that my family was healthy so I could just relax (when I wasn’t anxious).  Many, many people are the opposite of relaxed right now, so I know how lucky I am.

The story, for all of us is still very much unfolding. My next chapter is returning to work, but there are many more chapters to come.  I have told you that astrology says there are big changes coming that we can’t really see yet, and that is what it feels like for my own life as well.  I have no expectations about what my future chapters will hold.  I think right now, we all have to let go of any expectations, pay attention to where our hearts are leading us, wear our masks, and go with the flow. (and vote!)

I Am Officially on Sabbatical

You might recall, that last year, I really wanted to rest.  What I didn’t tell you was that I also read, not one, but TWO books about taking a sabbatical:

I was craving a looooong break. I devoured these books and was inspired by the idea of a sabbatical, but I didn’t have the guts to actually take one (despite how the first book tried to make it simple for me).  I didn’t think I could leave my boss high and dry. I was afraid to walk away from gainful employment at the age of 50. What if I get sick? What if I run out of money? What if  I can never find a job again because I am so old? (If you have been listening to Cuomo’s daily briefings you may have heard that 51 is the new 81.)

So I kept working. And more work was piled on top of the work I already had. And I kept working.

Earlier this year, I wrote down some things that I really wanted but seemed out of reach. This sabbatical idea was still very much on my mind, because this was at the top of the list:

“Be free of my job and have time to rest and figure out what I really want to do with my life and not worry about money”

But was still too scared to actually DO anything about it.

When I was in my 20s I quit my job TWICE with no other job lined up.  I don’t remember what I was thinking or how I got the nerve to do that, but BOTH times, I found new jobs that led me in to new careers.  Clearly, as I have aged, I have become a chicken shit.

Fast forward to Spring 2020. My plans to re-enter the world, and interact with humans again were thwarted by a global pandemic.  I found myself hunkered down at home, feeling grateful that I still had a paycheck, but it was harder and harder to focus, because I was completely burned out and the world was on fire.

Then, not long after I wrote that last post, I found out that my company would be furloughing people.  One thing led to another, and on May 1st, I found myself on a four month sabbatical.

Whaaaaattt!!!!????

I wish I could tell you that I got the courage to make this happen for myself.  I did not put my hand up to volunteer. I was still clinging to the security of my job, certain that I was too important to be let go, even just temporarily. But the Universe knew better.  My ego was hurt for about 5 seconds, and then I quickly transitioned to being grateful that the Universe took over and forced the issue. (Excuse me, you said you wanted this. WTF. It’s go time!)

If you somehow still don’t now what a furlough is in the age of COVID-19, it is an up-paid leave of absence.  The company intends to bring you back after a period of time, but there are no guarantees.  You often still have health insurance (I do!) and you are eligible for employment. It is basically, a pretty suite sabbatical situation (aside from the whole quarantine/global pandemic thing.)  And assuming one has some savings, which I do and am very grateful for.

“Be free of my job and have time to rest and figure out what I really want to do with my life and not worry about money”

I manifested it!!!  Kind of amazing, right?

So here I am, with four months to do anything my heart desires, within the confines of my budget and my tiny NYC apartment (at least for a while). In week one, I have been full of energy and have worked through a long list of personal “to dos”.  Now I am feeling called to just chill out and rest. I need to create some space in my mind to see what is lurking under all of the “busy”.

I have no idea what will happen next. Four months is a looooong time. I have no idea whether I will still have a job in four months or whether I will want to go back to it or not. None of us has any idea what our lives will be like in four months.  I am feeling some internal pressure to do something AMAZING with this opportunity and come out the other end a whole new woman with a whole new life. That might happen. But I will start by just getting quiet, listening to my heart, and following it where ever it leads me.

Today, my heart wanted to take a Zoom yoga class with my dear friend Erica and she mentioned this quote by Dov Seidman which was absolutely perfect, not just for my sabbatical, but for all of us who’s lives are on pause right now:

“When you press the pause button on a machine, it stops. But when you press the pause button on human beings they start. You start to reflect, you start to rethink your assumptions, to re-imagine what is possible, and reconnect with your most deeply held beliefs.”

Let’s get started….

Pandemic Thoughts from NYC

Just as I was starting to pick my life back up again and “go direct” after my 2019 Retrograde, the world fell apart.  We were all sent to our rooms to reflect on who we are and what the f&*% we are doing.  But even I, who am on an eternal quest for self growth am having a hard time focusing on that.

As things were unfolding here in NYC, I was in a complete state of anxiety. I am a Meyers Briggs SJ who is ALWAYS prepared so, of course, I started acquiring things early (not hoarding because SJs also follow the rules and think about others.)  I would have mini moments of panic and run out to CVS in the middle of the day to get something I was running low on and then pop in to the grocery store just to make sure it was still stocked.  I worried about my brother who has been sick for two months and tried to convince my Dad to stay home while sending him lists of things to stock up on. I had a cough that I would normally write off as a chest cold or allergies but of course I googled symptoms and worried about it constantly.

The first week of March, I had a colonoscopy I had been avoiding for a year (super fun activity to go through while the world is devolving around you). While I was waiting to get rolled in to the procedure room, I overheard my doctor  say “It’s everywhere. It’s too late to stop this from spreading.”  I already knew this.  We are literally on top of each other here in NYC.  There is definitely no hiding from something we don’t know is coming after us.

Two weeks later, I went in to a panic when I got an email from my doctors office saying my follow up appointment was cancelled because the doctor was “not feeling well”.  Whaaaattt did that mean????!!!  Within an hour, my temperature was 99 degrees.  Cough…temperature rising….freaking out!  I took an Advil (before I heard you are not supposed to take Advil for COVID-19) and texted both my energy healer and sister in a panic.  They were both super helpful and within two hours, my temperature was back to normal.  Did I have Coronavirus for a minute and then it passed?  Or did my brain freak my body out?  We may never know unless I get sick or get an antibody test, but I am fairly certain I am not the only anxious person who is going through this a few times a week right? (BTW: I have not heard a word from my doctor’s office. No news is good news, I hope!)

Five days after the “fever” incident, a friend convinced me to go outside to get some fresh air.  After walking for an hour and climbing seven flights of stairs to avoid sharing the elevator, I was pretty sure that I was not sick.  Since then I have been (mostly) calm, working from home like I have for most of the past 10 years , with a ton more video calls than usual so I have to actually shower and put on a bra now. I continue to order in food so I can save my non perishables…just in case. (This grateful SJ, does not  mess around with being prepared AND she really hates cooking.)

It’s hard to focus on anything for very long. There is so much news to read and so many family members and friends to check in with.  It takes more energy to figure out how to safely get food and do laundry and exercise. Then I feel guilty that those are the only things I have to worry about so I write out all of the things I am grateful for over and over in my journal.  Then I do more scrolling and searching for what else I can do to help while listening to sirens outside and siting safely in my home so I don’t get sick or make anyone else sick.  I make online donations and share things on social media that are helpful or completely irrelevant.  I go for walks on the empty streets of NYC and have to remind myself that this is not a quiet Sunday morning in August. I can’t touch anything, I have to dodge people who get too close, and I can’t touch my face.

I can’t even bring myself to focus on TV.  Nothing seems worth my time and nothing has been able to keep my attention.  I haven’t had the energy to read or write.  It’s even harder to stay off social media now. We are all going through this together and that is the only place where we can all BE together.  At least that is what I am telling myself.  I have watched a surprising number of ex-bachelor contestant’s Tik Tok videos  and spent last Friday night watching three hours of an influencer’s blind date and the aftermath on an Instagram Live.  What is wrong with me?

We are all still processing the shock of what has hit us and adjusting to what (I believe) will be a long period of isolation and grief.  If it hasn’t hit you yet, don’t get complacent. It’s coming. Be careful and get ready.

I finally got myself focused to do some writing because these questions are constantly going through my mind behind  all of the noise:

    • What the f&*^ is going on?
    • What are we supposed to learn from all of this?
    • What are we going to differently when we get through this?

This is a wake up call.  Things will not (and should not) “go back to normal” when this is over.  I don’t have the answers.  We are all going to have to figure this out together. The people who are governing like adults or saving other people’s lives or making sure we all have food to eat or taking care of kids while trying to work from home or trying to make ends meet with no income or out on the street because they have no home, are kind of busy.

So if you have energy and time to spare, go inside for a few minutes and see what your heart has to say about the bigger picture of what is happening here, so we can figure this out.  Then you can watch Tiger King and Tik Tok’s.

 

I Went Retrograde in 2019

It’s been a minute, I know.  I once again fell off the face of the earth but I am making another come back! I have committed to write 12 blog posts this year and now that I have officially shared that with the handful of people who will read this post, we are in this together and I will make it happen!

It’s always so hard to re-start after a break.  I know that I want to start writing again but I am not entirely sure what I want to say.  I struggle with how much to share and why I am sharing anything at all.  My perfectionist self wants every post to be amazing and insightful.  Especially after a long break.  I am not sure I can muster up “amazing and insightful” right now, but I want to get this rolling again (and I am continuously working on letting go of my perfectionism) so here we go.

To start, I am not an astrologer yet!!! (surprise!)  I still love Astrology. I have acquired many more astrology books. I listen to Astrology podcasts weekly. I follow a zillion astrologers on Instagram. I went to an astrology conference in the fall. I think in the language of astrology. I post Instagram stories about the moon and astrological events that move me. I have done some mini readings for friends.  But I haven’t been able to invest the time to take it to the next level and I am not sure exactly HOW to take it to the next level. (I don’t think I can get a master’s degree in Astrology?)  It’s still a passion. I am pretty sure its part of my life’s purpose in some way. I just have to figure out what to do next. More on that to come!

Speaking of the language of astrology, I feel like I went retrograde at the end of 2019.  The official definition of retrograde is to “move backward”.  Planets go retrograde, but they don’t technically move backward.  They appear to be moving backward because the earth and the planet are moving at different speeds in different orbits.  (This video explains the astronomy of it, or just trust me).  When planets go retrograde, astrologers have observed that things can go a little haywire down here on earth.  Astrology says that the disorder retrogrades can cause is trying to show us something – to force us to pay attention or see things from a new perspective.  We don’t usually make changes when everything feels good in our lives.  We humans usually need challenges to push us to evolve.  It’s kind of the whole reason we are here.

There were some great moments in 2019, but there were a lot of challenges too, and things devolved for me as the year went on.  I started out in Hawaii, then got to celebrate my birthday with people I love, and followed that with an amazing trip to Ireland.  But I also had multiple health issues, went through some crazy family drama, got attacked by a dog, and worked a lot. By the end of the year, I found myself right back where I always end up, working around the clock with no time for myself, or anyone else in my life.  Things culminated into a work tornado of stress that was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  (I know I have had a lot of work stress in my life so, I kind of feel like Chris Harrison on the Bachelor who insists that every season is the most dramatic one yet!  But really, it was the craziest yet! The Universe could give those reality show producers a run for their money.)

(Side note: My Year of Creativity kind of fizzled. Unless you count spreadsheets as creative?)

Everything could have been so much worse, and I am grateful that it wasn’t. My health issues were not life-threatening, the dog “bite” did not break the skin, my family is (mostly) holding it together, and I did not lose my job.  But there were messages being sent, and I was listening!

Universe to me:  Hello!!! I thought we were moving in the direction of our life’s purpose?  What are you doing?  You are not taking care of your heart! You are not taking care of your body! You are not feeding your soul!  OK, I am going to throw some stuff at you to make you pay attention!!

It was not fun.

In January, the smoke cleared. Things lightened up at work in a way that was definitely for my greatest and highest good, but there were some hard lessons in there about my ego and letting go, and about paying attention to where I put my energy, that helped me shift my perspective. (Nice work Universe!)

At the end of a retrograde, after a planet goes “direct” again, there is a shadow period (called a “retroshade”) as the planet is adjusting to the shift in direction (or the illusion of the shift in direction, I guess.)  January was my retroshade period.  Things were still a little weird and then I took some downtime to regroup and recover.  When February started, I was ready to go “direct”.

To get the energy flowing back in the right direction, I decided to bring “New Things” officially back in to my life!  I don’t have a specific number new things I want to do this year, I am just going to try to get out and do new stuff and hopefully, write about it!  I managed to knock out five new things in two weeks, so I am off to a good start!  You can find the list on my lists page!

Happy (very) belated new year!! It feels good to be “direct” again, and on the right path, and to have this 2019 wrap up post complete so I can really get started with 2020.

PS: Ironically, as I was writing this post, Mercury went retrograde and will be retrograde until March 9th, 2020.  Metaphorically, I am “direct” but in reality, we are all now experiencing Mercury retrograde which may cause some disruptions in communication, perception, and thinking (which are all related to the energy of the planet Mercury).  Be careful out there.

All The Retrogrades

It’s been a minute, I know!  It’s soooooo hard to find time to write! But here I am! Let me catch you up….

Right after I got back from the UK, one of my employees resigned and my already heavy workload doubled in the job that is not my life’s purpose #bummer (I think in hashtags now, blame Instagram.)

BUT, I still moved forward with gusto to help some of my fellow pilgrims/heroes/spiritual creative friends with projects so I could learn more about what they need and how I can help them.

I gave my friend Maryanne some social media coaching, and she is doing great with  beautiful posts about her work as a Gyrotonics and Gyrokinesis instructor!  (FYI she happens to be teaching a 40 day online course. If you are looking for a morning movement and breath practice with an amazing teacher find her on Instagram and she will hook you up!)

I helped my friend Kim get her website cleaned up and get a page posted for her upcoming Soul Deep Retreat. I learned that building websites in WordPress is fun, but very time consuming!  Helping creative & spiritual entrepreneurs with systems related stuff feels like the right move, but websites might have to be outsourced or kept very simple. Good learning.  Another side note…if you have any interest in Shamanism, want an astrology reading, or to get more deeply connected to your soul and change some recurring patterns in your life, reach out to Kim! I have done a couple of sessions with her myself that have been very eye opening (more on that later) and I just love her.

I also helped my friend Chris set up her Acuity scheduling system so she can have her clients automatically schedule time with her.  Chris is a costume designer/stylist launching a business to help people clear out their closets and fill them back up with clothes that make them happy! How amazing is that! Chris is a talented artist and a beautiful soul. (I love my new friends!) If you have some closets that need clearing or some styling needs, Chris is taking on new clients this fall! You can find her here on Instagram.

In the middle of all of that excitement, I got sick. My bi-annual sinus infection reared its ugly head and it lasted for weeks!  My body was clearly trying to send me a message and I think it might have been…

“Starting your own business is too scary! Stay where it is safe and you know you will succeed and have a steady paycheck. Stop all of this side hustle shit.”

I also just completely melted down emotionally, and had all kinds of doubts about everything and there were a lot of tears and thoughts like this…What have I gotten myself in to? Can I really have my own business? How can I work on this and do my full time job? Why can’t I connect with my spirit guides and see my past lives like everyone else? Why won’t my crystal talk to me?!  Why isn’t the Reiki working!? What am I doing!!! Is this all bull shit? 

Good times.

But ALSO during all of this, I was exposed to Astrology!!!!!! This completely deserves its own post (and there might be many because I am kind of obsessed at the moment.) What I will say now, is that we are apparently in the middle of a very crazy astrological time. Its eclipse season, both mercury and mars are in retrograde, and Uranus moves in to retrograde soon.  I had no idea what any of this meant before two weeks ago (and I still don’t really but now I talk like this!) Is it real? Is it not real? Well, it made me feel better to know that, possibly, planetary alignments could be contributing to me feeling like shit because planets keep moving so there might be an end! You tell me if you have been feeling any of this in the past few weeks?

In simple terms, this astrology feels like an explosion with an earthquake thrown in for good measure. Eclipses pull up shadows and things we wanted to keep hidden. Mercury retrograde tries to trick us in to making mistakes so we can learn from them. Mars retrograde demands that we make our anger, potency, and power conscious so that we might use it wisely instead of destructively. Uranus demands change. (Source: Chani Nichols)

I can’t exactly tell you when it will let up (because I don’t really know what I am talking about yet) BUT the final eclipse is on August 11th so this could be good news!

There was also a shamanic journeying sessions that I am still processing (wow!) and I learned about my energy centers of training which I need to tell you about did some shadow fear work and some Ho’oponopono meditation.  Its been a lot of stuff!

When I thought about sitting down to write this post, I thought what would come out was…”Yeah, I’ve been working a lot and I got sick and was miserable”, but now that I am at the end of the post, I realize that I have been working on and moving through a lot of stuff. This is why I should write more!!

I will be back soon….I promise!

 

One Week Out

I have been home for a little over a week. The jet lag has faded and I am back to real life.  I am falling back in to the rhythm of my just OK and not AMAZING life. Old patterns and feelings are creeping back in.

I still have so many questions! How can I keep moving and growing while living my day to day life? How can I ignite the flame of the sparks of spiritual connections I made in the UK? What the hell kind of business am I supposed to start? There are not enough hours in the day.  In my free moments, I can’t decide whether to write or research or get in my move calories or meditate or do Rieki!!  Then I have to plan healthy meals, get in my 8 hours of beauty sleep, and keep doing my day job.  I have accumulated so many books on my Kindle but I am not reading them!!  (I guess I need to prioritize the one on Slip Stream Time Hacking!)

What is the right balance of taking care of yourself and pushing yourself to keep growing?

I was planning to write about the poetry and movement course but that is not how I am feeling today. Today I am feeling a little paralyzed and overwhelmed and not sure what to do next. The Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt (FUD) are setting in.  I have withdrawal from being surrounded by the people I became so close to.  I am back in my solo life that requires effort to engage with other people (not my forte) and will power to NOT engage with the wrong people (also not my forte).

My life is not all new things and adventures. There is a lot of this FUD mixed in.  My life is not my social media feed. Keeping up that level of excitement is against my nature (or at least my current vibration.) I have to fight hard to break the downward spiral that can set in.  On days like today I try to start with one thing that will move me in the right direction.

No, actually, what I do first is give myself a little bit of time to feel what I am feeling. I acknowledge that what I am trying to do (live my biggest and best life and elevate my vibration) is hard and I let myself have an internal temper-tantrum.

 

I did the work! I went on the pilgrimage! Can’t it be all fixed now? Why can’t I make decisions more easily ? Why is the path still not clear? How can I still get distracted by things and people that are not best for my greatest and highest good? I released my fears in to a sacred spring. And then I burned them in the fireplace of a 700 year old manor! I plunged naked in to a freezing cold healing pool to purify myself.  I have the Universal Life Force Energy flowing through me.  AND I have the I have a manifestation wand that lights up!  Seriously…what else can I do???!!!!

Well, I am a star soul on a quest for enlightenment. There is more work to do. (More on star souls later, I am still learning!)

After the temper tantrum, I buckle down and make myself do SOMETHING. Just one thing (that I don’t really feel like doing) that will keep me on my trajectory. I can take a walk and listen to an inspiring podcast.  I can reach out to connect with other human beings (being careful to stick with the ones that will elevate my vibration.)  I can write.  I can get my ass to a yoga class (or a dance class)! I can finish that book on Slip Stream Time Hacking! I can make a list of stuff to learn about for my mystery business (I really love lists. Can start a business that is all about lists?).

My inspirational advice for today?

Get perspective. Practice self love. Do just one thing, which will turn in to one more thing….Keep moving.

 

 

Restarting the Blog..Maybe

One of my goals for 2017 was to start blogging again. It’s December 28th so I thought I should get on it.

A few months ago I re-read 5 years of blog posts to try to get back in to the swing of it.  When I read back what I had written, I was not sure I wanted to start blogging again. I like having a history of what I was up to (and thinking about), but reading myself say the same thing over and over again —  setting goals, trying to achieve them, work getting in the way, blah, blah, blah — was boring (especially in a binge read which is not how they unfolded or were intended to be consumed.)

In case you are just joining in now or want a refresher yourself here are a few to give you a gist of my personal development theme:

I did write some hilarious posts about the minutia of my life (if I might say so myself):

My many posts on television bored the bejesus out of me. (Some less sucky ones include Goodbye Friday Night Lights and I Finally Tackled Battlestar Galactica)  I have no interest in blogging about television any more.  I definitely still watch television and it has become SO much better since I started this blog in 2010.  (Back in the day, Netflix only came in red envelopes! Remember that?)

There was a lot of interest in my dating posts and I did enjoy writing and re-reading those! Here are a few goodies from that genre:

I wanted my blog to be a continuous story thread to keep my readers (aka family and friends) up to date on what was going on with me and it was the same s*^t over and over, with small progressions in the right direction.  That is what life is, but that is not a riveting read. I don’t want to blog that way any more. Social media has exploded since I started the blog and that is a much easier way to keep people up to date.

I did take on a huge project in 2017 and it was very weird not to write about it here.  There was a request to summarize that project and the blog seems like a good place to do that so I have committed to at least one more post!  It seemed weird to jump right in to that after such a long hiatus, so I birthed this transitional summary post you find yourself reading now.

There are a couple of other reasons to re-start the blog again:

  1. I have an interest in writing and I think I’m pretty good at it. I want to explore this creative outlet again and see if it something that should become a larger part of my life.
  2. I want to write about things that are helpful to other people. I spend a lot of time searching on the internet for stuff that I want to know more about.  I can pay it forward by writing about things that other people want to know more about.

I don’t know how far this will go. I thought about creating a new blog to start fresh but I don’t have a new idea or perspective for that yet.  If that emerges I will take the leap, but for now, I will continue the story here and see what unfolds…

Today is My Birthday

Today is my birthday. Hitting 46 feels like I am officially starting the second half of my life. I’ll have to report back at 91 (or 92?) to let you know if I outperformed that assumption. Although, when I am in my 90s, people might not be writing blogs. The internet might just read all of our minds in to a collective consciousness or something (like the Cylons on Battlestar Galactica!) Then you won’t need an update.

What’s probably more important at the moment, is that I am actually in a good place as I kick of this approximate second phase of life. There have been a lot of days lately where I have realized that I am in a good mood and I am not sure why. That’s a pretty awesome feeling. (Reading back through my blog posts from this past year, I know I am in a better place. 2014 was not so amazing, huh?)

Has my job gotten less crazy? Nope.

Have I found that magical love that I thought would change everything? Nope.

Am I meditating, doing tons of yoga, or getting in more cardio? Not really. (as a matter of fact, I have scientific proof from my fitbit that I am not even taking very many steps!)

What’s changed?…..me!  Over time, things have just shifted. (OK, that did not just happen. I have worked VERY hard at it. I am pretty sure this shift is a return on investment for my almost twenty years of therapy. That is an encouraging thought as I write those checks every month.)

I think I have transitioned through that time in my life where I was expecting things to happen, comparing myself to other people, constantly trying to figure out why those things were not happening, or beating myself up for not trying hard enough. Some stuff happened. Some stuff didn’t. Some stuff may happen in the future and some stuff won’t. That’s how it goes…

Every time I talk to a friend or co-worker about some annoying thing in my life, they one-up me with something worse in their life. Being single is hard. Being married is hard. Working in a high stress job is hard. Being laid off is hard. Raising kids is hard. People get sick. People die. People are mean. Disappointment happens. There is no perfect life and we have no control over most of it. But sometimes the sky looks beautiful. Sometimes people surprise you (in a good way!). Sometimes a movie touches your heart. Sometimes you can actually balance in the dancers pose. Sometimes your little niece wants to call you on the phone because she misses you. Sometimes you kick ass in a meeting. And sometimes, just seeing a lizard will make you smile (that might only happen to me.)  If you are lucky enough to really appreciate these good moments and breathe through the shitty ones. Life is good.

This is all very Zen. I should really read up on all of this Buddhist stuff I might be accidentally living.

For the past six months, the main focus of my upcoming birthday was this grand plan that I had to roll my birth date back at midnight so I would stay 45 on OK Cupid. I had convinced myself that being 46 was the kiss of death for online dating and I was never going to get older than 45 online. But when the day came, I couldn’t do it.  First of all, it is not like dating at 45 has been all that fruitful. (Yes, the ridiculousness of the men I encounter in the dating world has continued in to 2015.) If I am going to lie about my age, I should go all out and be 35. But the real issue was that I don’t want to be something I am not. Period. I like myself and I want to be myself. I’m 46 and I’m awesome. I work really hard to be this person that I like, and this person does not lie. Your loss if you can’t handle my 46 year old awesomeness 🙂

So I am going to move in to my 47th year and do whatever the hell I want and be myself. I have managed to create a life where that is possible, every day. Not bad.

A Couple of My Favorite Food Things

This month, I have two favorite food things. These food things came in to my life because I hate deciding what to eat. I dread the trip to the grocery store every week. Thing 1 and thing 2 have made eating simpler, a bit more fun, and still healthy!

Vitamix – This kitchen tool has completely changed my life in just a week. I am very lazy in the kitchen. When I decide I am hungry, I want to be eating within 10 minutes. If it takes more than 10 minutes to prepare, I don’t really want it by the time it is ready (and I usually mess it up or I make SO much I end up throwing most of it away. Things just don’t taste as good after they are frozen so I don’t freeze.) I also happen to be the only person in NYC who does not order in, ever.  I have this vision of lukewarm, unhealthy, expensive food showing up at my door.  So I just don’t do it. This summer, I found myself eating snacks for dinner most nights. Mostly healthy snacks (popcorn, crackers and Tzatziki), but still snacks. Not enough nutrition.  I decided it was time to jump on the smoothie train. (I had considered a juicer because I actually prefer the consistency of juice, but juicers are a huge pain and not for someone who is lazy in the kitchen.)

I jumped WAY in paying over $500 for the Vitamix Professional Series 300. When it arrived and I set it up in my kitchen, it looked HUGE! My kitchen is super tiny with only ONE plug on a very small counter next to my sink. This plug is already supporting a microwave, a fridge, a toaster over, and a coffee maker.  Could my kitchen support another appliance? I almost sent it back for a smaller version but I had already purchased a ton of fruits and veggies and was dying for a smoothie!  The first one was delicious and SO easy. Pineapple, banana, and kale. The next day I made cashew nut milk. 10 minutes from start to finish INCLUDING clean up. I had purchased WAY more than I could eat before it went bad, but I learned that I can freeze fruit or use frozen fruit! You actually SHOULD use frozen fruit if you want a cold smoothie. I can stock up on Saturday to last the whole week. Amazing. Trader Joes power greens, ,some berries, almond milk and yogurt and I have a full meal. After a couple of days of super yummy smoothies I had a bit too much confidence and went off recipe and ended up with something really disgusting that tasted like an avocado, kale mousse. I couldn’t drink it.  Everything else has been really delicious and healthy.  In the winter, I can use it to make soup! Definitely a very good investment (with a 7 year warranty!)

e6b860edb2e89656_naturebox1.xxxlarge_2xNaturebox – Another favorite food thing, a magical box of healthy snacks that arrives in the mail every month. I do love to snack. Naturebox donates meals to the hungry for every box I buy, no artificial anything, delivered right to my door.  $20 a month for 5 snacks packages is not super cheap, but I pay for convenience and health, so I am their target market. For the first few months, Naturebox picked my snacks for me. I hate deciding what to eat so I was happy to let the mystery box appear every month. I liked most of the snacks, but there were always a couple I was not wild about.  Then I finally got my act together to take advantage of their select your own snacks option!  There are so many delicious options to pick from. Here are a few of my favorites: Sourdough Cheddar Pretzels, Whole Wheat Apple Pie Figgy Bars, Lemon Tea Biscuits, Banana Bread Granola, Everything Bagel Sticks (so this is what I was eating for dinner before I got my Vitamix). If you are thinking about trying it, hit me up. I can get you one free box when you sign up for a subscription (that you can of course cancel if you don’t love it as much as I do.) I can not, unfortunately, get you a discount on a Vitamix.

A Few of My Favorite Apps

Every once in a while I stumble across something cool.  I have this plan to write a monthly blog featuring a few of my favorite new things. That’s a lot of things. Let’s start with my new favorite apps and where it goes…

Bus NYCBus New York City – I am a big fan of the bus. It’s not cool, I know. I ride the bus. I see who I am riding the bus with. But I get to stay above ground where there is more fresh air and more to see. And when you live on the far east side of NYC, the bus becomes your friend. What makes the bus fun, is the Bus NYC app. This app tells me exactly when the bus is coming! It’s amazing. I can see all of the buses on the route and watch them move along while I obsessively refresh the view. I can pull up the schedule to see exactly when the next bus is coming. I can save my favorite stops so I can pull them up quickly. My current commute to work involves changing from one bus to another so now I can get on bus #1 and try to perfectly time bus #2. So much fun. I paid $3 for this app, but worth every penny.

CitymapperCitymapper – Shortly after my life was changed by the Bus New York City map, I learned about the Citymapper app. This app takes my real time bus information to a whole new level. Citymapper will show me the fastest transit route to get to any destination in NYC. I have tried other apps that claim to do this (like HopStop) but I never took to them.  A couple of things about Citymapper that got me hooked right away. (1) it includes the path train as a transit option. Not many people know about or use the path for commutes within Manhattan (since it goes to NJ), but Citymapper does (2) The main screen includes an intuitive way to add home and work as short cuts so I can always very quickly find the fastest way to get to the two places I go most.  Very cool.  In addition, the app will also display how long it will take to walk, bike, or cab it to my destination AND how many calories I would burn for walking or biking.  Even MORE, the biking option show options for your own bike or using a bike share. I can see it does even more stuff that I haven’t figured out yet. Seriously, this app is awesome. And it was free. FREE! Unfortunately, Citymapper is telling me my two bus commute is not always the fastest option and I am still in a bit of denial about this.

Equanimity TimerEquanimity – My last app is not a transit app.  Equanimity is my meditation timer. Since I have been hitting the meditation pillow (almost) every day for 15 minutes, this one gets a lot of use. I like this app because it is simple and it keeps a record of my meditation. I have a nice log that reminds me I have issues with meditating on Saturday for some reason so I can’t get a good continuous run going. I have tried another app called Insight Timer that does the same things AND shows you who else is mediating with the Insight Timer app around the world (or near you.) That is all well and good, but the Insight Timer app is kind of hideous.  Sure, for most of the time I am meditating, I am not looking at the app, but a nice elegant interface gets me in the right mindset for my 15 minutes of quiet thinking.  Note: Insight Timer is FREE and I paid $5 for Equanimity. I pay for quality. It’s how I roll…

Equanimity Timer 2

What are your favorite apps blog fans?