All posts tagged “life

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Birthday : Goals

photo of yours truly by the mr, scott eric johnson

For the past few years I’ve been doing a year in review .pdf thing courtesy of Marcus Buckingham after I read one of his books and signed up for his mailing list. (It’s the only thing I’ve ever gotten from his mailing list, and it has just now occurred to me that I hope tons of good stuff hasn’t been trapped in a spam filter or something.)

Essentially you write down the highs and lows of the past year, what you learned, what your goals are for the coming year and how you plan to achieve them.

Because I’m a procrastinator, doing this exercise gets later and later every year, and has now settled around my birthday, which I think is as good a time as any. My outlook on the prior year has gelled, and I have a decent stock of where I am and what I can get done in the next 8 months. Sometimes my goals are Mondo Beyondo level unrealistic and others have been downright manageable.

In an unprecedented move of transparency, this year I’ve decided to share some of them.

Here are the juicy ones:

1)  Create business plan, packages, website and take on 1 new client.
Now that I’ll be working from home and the proud owner of an extra 10 hours of time a week, I’ve decided I want to officially brand myself as a business manager, and reach out to creative solopreneurs and tiny businesses who are finding they can no longer do it all themselves and need administrative and strategic help, but aren’t ready to commit to hiring “staff”.

2. Focus on Honeymoon Diaries as a blog people might actually read, and/or as a potential business or stepping stone to other career opportunities.
Here’s the thing. I’d like my work to entail looking at photos of hotels all day. Yes, this sounds like a ridiculous thing to do for a living, but there are lots of bloggers and others doing ridiculous things for money, so why shouldn’t I be one of them? And yes, asking the universe for this scares the crap out of me for several reasons. Mostly because I don’t do well with good things happening to me, and so I can’t handle or imagine how GOOD it would be. How happy PLAYING in the world of pretty travel dreams makes me. Happy like a little kid happy. Summer mornings happy. Even though I’m now putting it out there for the world to see, I can’t imagine actually letting myself want this, this thing that I already do day in and day out, at least when I’m not actively avoiding the things that make me happy. (Which is a big issue for another post and possibly a therapist.) At the very least, if Jetsetter’s recent Pinterest contest showed Aimee and I anything, it’s that we’re not the only ones that want to look at travel photos all day.

3. Continue taking acting classes and find out what it is I’d have to do to do more with it:
Well this is a BIG and SCARY one. Perhaps the biggest and the scariest. The thing is, I like acting. A lot. I’d like to see what it’d be like to do more of it. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, except the little voice that’s told me since childhood that the bananas-ness of “being an actor” is so, well, bananas, that I might as well not bother. Except that I have started bothering and all I want to do is see what it would be like to do a teensy bit more, so that stupid voice can shut the fuck up right now.

4. Write article about orphans and investing. Look into whether there are any personal finances blogs or components of personal finance blogs for high school and college kids out there. Get involved.
This is a good one, in two parts. See, I’ve been really into $$$ this year, and specifically I’ve been thinking about how us young adult orphans react to investing for retirement. When, you know, we saw our parents not make it to retirement. This feels like a real article, meant for somewhere bigger than this blog. And thusly, I’d like to make it so. And then keep that ball rolling.

—–

So that dear readers, are my big scary goals for 29. I should probably try to have some fun in there too.

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Birthday Update

Boy, if this were a paper journal, it sure would be dusty right now.

In other words, it’s been a while.

A lot of things have been afoot since the wedding and I never quite got around to “announcing” them, possibly because it felt like they deserved announcing and not offhanded mentioning, which is more my style.

Yesterday being my birthday, it seemed as good a time as any to make a list, and then we’ll all be up to speed in a matter of minutes…

1) I never quite got my mind back the way it was, but I’m doing better.
Sometimes I miss the single-minded pursuit of things that academia and film—and the wedding—gives me, but I never miss the catatonic state the end of a project leaves me in. Especially when I don’t have a winter or summer or otherwise unemployed break to binge drink and get reacquainted with my inner monologue.

2) Starting in July, I’m going to be doing one of my jobs from home.
This was decided sometime last year, but it was so up in the air that I was in a perpetual  state of “I’ll believe it when I see it” until there was a definite deadline. But now it’s happening, and I won’t have to commute 3 whole days a week, meaning I’ll have an extra 10 hours to do exciting things with, plus the new setup should make my time that much more efficient in general.

3) I’ve already allocated all my newfound time:

3a) I’m starting a business. It’s going to be me, doing what I do, providing administrative, logistical and all-around support to solopreneurs and tiny companies (ideally ladies with world domination in mind!), who don’t yet have the need or funds for steady staff, but who are no longer able to do it all on their own.

3b) I’m already starting to work with a company that markets the historic mansions and museums here on Long Island (an awesome intersection between history, architecture, interior design, and luxury that I’ve loved since childhood).

4) Scott lost his job.
We saw this one coming, and were wondering if it’d be before or after wedding. Turns out it was after, the week before Thanksgiving. Meh. It was a bit of a financial blow after paying for a wedding and a honeymoon, but we were lucky that we hadn’t gone into any debt from that, just didn’t have quite as much in the bank as I’d have liked. On the plus side, we spent most of December taking some super fun weekend trips. Ok, that didn’t help the budget, I know.

5) We took our third acting class.
More on this in a future post. I know, that’s the problem I’ve been having with not getting everything on here, but this one I’ve already started writing. And I’ll finish writing. Pinkie swear. Anyway, we did and it was maybe the best one yet, and I’m so happy that we have this extracurricular and the group of people that comes with it in our lives.

5) Scott found a job.
I should probably back up a bit, and this should probably get it’s own post, but we have this secret plan to be able to work from anywhere and spend a few months out of each year traveling/living abroad. Soo…I wasn’t took keen on him getting another full-time job, when he could take unemployment and spend the time beefing up his portfolio to begin doing freelance work for himself. But then a recruiter found him on LinkedIn. And the job sounded like a step up from his previous job. And he mentioned working from home and/or part-time. And they seemed amenable to that. And it was going to work. And then it wasn’t going to work. And it was a stressful couple of weeks, but in the end he got exactly what he wanted – 2 days in the office, 2 days from home, and Fridays off. HUGE, I tell you.

And that’s where we are.

Upcoming:
~ We’re going to Googa Mooga this weekend. Super excited. There will likely be lots of instagramming.
~ We visit Zan’s farm before she and the Cowboy head off on a new adventure!
~ I finally sort of mostly finish cleaning out the last room in the house (to become my office) , though we still have bins in the shed and it’s all going to drag on longer, that’s for sure.
~ We go to Mexico in July – a few days on a catamaran and several days at a resort that looks like we shouldn’t be able to afford it.

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Thoughts : Commute

Thursday, April 26

I’m mostly writing this because I feel like clicking keys are the only defense I have right now over obnoxiousness. Clacking keys drive Scott crazy on the train but I have a feeling they won’t drive the guy next to me crazy because he’s so drunk I can not only smell it on his breath, but he sat on an empty soda bottle that was on the seat next to me. I mean, sat on it. I don’t know how that’s possible. I don’t think anybody’s ass is large enough to flatten a plastic half liter soda bottle enough to mitigate sitting on it for an hour. This is what is breaking me.

That anonymous comment this morning on my half-joking, half-true LIRR rant only upset me momentarily, until I had formulated a fair but firm response to it. But it + my usual shitty commute got me thinking about the part that’s not in that post, the part I don’t like admitting to because who likes to admit their weaknesses?

I wish I had meant none of what I wrote there. I wish I had a smaller personal space bubble, I wish I wasn’t claustrophobic on places like trains and airplanes. I wish I could ignore or—even better—not notice people’s rudeness. I wish, like sooooo many New Yorkers, I was blissfully OBLIVIOUS.

But I’m not.

And my frustrations with all of those things can leak out as snark. I don’t think that’s such a harmful way to deal. At least it seems better than other options—like the excessive drinking of the seatmate mentioned at the beginning of this post, whose initial muttering to himself dissolved into unintelligible gurgling noises by the time he got off an hour later.

(And at least I’m not alone in my frustrations or snark, as the comments on this Gothamist post happily reminded me.)

For the past month Scott has been “trial working” for a company that was looking for a full-time designer, but seemed open to negotiating to work-from-home and/or part-time, and then the owner said “never mind” after Scott had already worked out an agreement with the guy who would’ve been his boss. When this all came down on Monday, there was a brief moment in time where he was considering agreeing to full-time.

And I almost lost it—on the train, appropriately enough. Because I thought we were getting out of this. I thought the commuting was almost over. I thought the living in NY would be over in the next few years. I thought we had a plan. And then for a scary moment I thought—like those horrible stories of people’s whose partners leave them with no warning—maybe I had been planning all of this alone.

And I realized, I am so far at the end of my rope, with commuting, with NY, with having the same life that has not changed in 5 years, that I would do it alone if it came down to it. Maybe this is taboo, but my sanity is more important than anything or anyone, and it’s slowly crumbling under the the mind-numbing monotony that is my day-to-day existence. I look at all these people on these trains everyday, and they all look as fucking miserable as me. Just older. Worse for the wear. Often drunk. I can’t wake up in another 5 years and be one of those people.

I know right now I’m talking about a lot of big changes and plans that I haven’t even mentioned on this blog, and I know I’m horribly out of the loop and wrapped up in my own shit. (Wasn’t the selfishness supposed to recede after the wedding?) But I had to get this off my chest, and out into the universe. Changes are coming, and I don’t care if none of it is “safe”, financially or otherwise. Y’all can just point me right back here, to this day and this post, when we’ve living in a van down by the river.

And now back to my blogging sabbatical.

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Taking a break.

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The reason I think Scott’s a tremendous photographer, even without much practice or training, is that he manages to capture the essence of people in those moments where they don’t have have any kind of mask up.

 

Like this photo, which, in all its tremendous hilarity and irony, is me.

 

I am so stressed out.

 

Even in Ravello, looking at that view, on my honeymoon, I’m just so stressed out. *I* don’t even know why—because I’m breathing maybe?

 

And it’s gotta stop.

 

Before I get wrinkles.

 

So I’m taking a break.

 

I really wish it meant I was going somewhere like this.

 

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(I’m not, but thankfully there is a little pool and spa time in my future.)

 

Or even taking a four-day weekend off from work.

 

But I can’t.

 

Instead my break’s going to have to be a little more metaphorical.

 

For the holidays, until at least January 4th and possibly forever, I’m going to take a break from trying so damn hard. A bit of a break from the mentally constructed have-to’s, if you will.

 

See, I have to work. But it doesn’t have to be a pain in the ass. In fact, it can be easy. I said I’d go in today to install some computer programs. Maybe I’ll answer some emails. But I’m not going to let anybody bother me or turn anything into an emergency. Monday I might work from home or not work at all.

 

I don’t have to blog. But that doesn’t mean I won’t. Maybe I’ll actually feel like it. (I probably will feel like it when it comes to the nosy bitch gift exchange!)

 

I might read or do laundry. Hopefully I’ll read a bunch of blogs and magazines. But who knows, maybe I’ll nap or watch movies the whole time. It would be good to do some mending. I’d love to fix that hole in my sweater poncho so I can wear it again…

 

Because despite being in a constant race to discover what I should be doing with my life, I’m not really getting anywhere.

 

So I’m going to see where giving up and giving in gets me.

 

And if it’s nowhere but three months of sitting on the couch older, then I’ll reconsider this new approach.

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Weekend : Asking for it.

 

Fiat 500 me and the Fiat500. getting to it, getting to it…

 

As we have previously discussed, I have a jest a touch of social anxiety.

 

[Understatement.]

 

For example, the other day at work my boss offhandedly mentioned needing to get in touch with the building dog-walker because the friend that was cat sitting for her over the holidays would be away for a few days around Christmas. A few hours later I happened to be in the lobby waiting for the elevator when I overheard a dog walker arrive and mention filling in for the regular guy. Now a normal person would’ve easily walked over to her and asked about getting her or the regular guy’s contact info.

 

And so for 5 minutes I was a normal person.

 

Because I did just that.

 

And that was HUGE for me. Seriously, embarrassingly huge. I was beaming proud of myself for a half an hour.

 

It’s like, which is more embarrassing, right? Approaching a stranger being a huge deal, or wanting to tell everyone I know that I had the courage to approach a stranger?!

 

But in all seriousness, I realized that recognizing/acknowledging my achievement as such, was huge in and of itself. What I more often do is berate myself for being such a wuss—regardless of whether I take action or remain frozen with fear. So yea, apparently mental congratulations are apparently way more rewarding and motivating.

 

Because not two days later did I get even gutsier.

 

We were going away for the weekend on Friday, and on Thursday morning I looked out the window from the train at the parked cars and idly wondered to myself, Wouldn’t it be awesome if our rental car was a Mini Cooper…or EVEN BETTER, my personal reachable dream car, a FIAT 500?!

 

Well, as the Universe would have it, we roll up to Enterprise the next morning and sitting in the parking lot is a shiny white Fiat 500. Scott and I both ogle in unison and wonder aloud if it could possibly be a rental. He is convinced it belongs to a person.

 

“I’m asking,” I announce.

 

It has suddenly become glaringly obvious that it doesn’t really matter if the car is a rental or if we can rent it. (Though in my heart I’m already convinced it’s there for me and me alone.) What matters is KNOWING if the car is a rental or not. I knew I had to ask because the thought of sitting through a 3 hour drive upstate in a Ford Focus wondering if we could’ve been in a Fiat 500 was just unbearable.

 

And so we went inside and the second sentence out of my mouth might have been, “So, is the Fiat yours and if so, is it available?”

 

And you know what, ladies and gentleman [hi Scott], IT WAS.

 

SO THERE.

 

My question was greeted by a room full of grinning women (it’s a whole nother story about why I was happy to be in a room full of women but suffice it to say that a previous Enterprise rep who made fun of myself and my friends for chatting about a Fiat 500 3 years ago is something I’m still angry about), that were over the moon about renting me the Fiat.

 

And so we took the little lady for the weekend, and were honestly just as happy with her comfort and driving skills as we had hoped to be—but I’ll save the car review for another time.

 

And then, because I am on a fucking roll here people, I asked if it was possible to request the Fiat for our next rental New Year’s weekend. And it was noted in my reservation.

 

And THEN, between drafting this last nite and posting it tonite, I totally grabbed yet-to-be-stocked polenta out of a carton in Trader Joe’s because I wanted it for dinner, and dammit if they’d yet to put it in the freezer case.

 

Apparently, I’m breaking all the rules here people, so just try and stop me.

 

our little buddy

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Thoughts : Mass Transit Tirade

1313796644386 these girls where stupid, spoiled whores

 

The thing about New Yorkers is, they are the kind of people that will one day stop randomly and help carry a stroller up the stairs and the very next day will push you down them all because of what mood they’re in.

 

I know this, because I am one of them.

 

I could go on and on about the assholes I encounter and the ridiculous situations I endure whilst commuting, but I try not to. Mostly because I think the things you dwell on and talk about breed similar things, so if I don’t focus on assholes, I’ll encounter less of them. But sometimes I wonder if bottling it all up as I do isn’t perhaps worse for me in some grander scheme of things…

 

1312982659928 if this were an airplane, you’d be buying two seats

 

Anyway, last week two incidents happened in quick succession that made me want to rant. First the drawstring of my jacket got caught in the seat as I went to stand up at my stop. After the initial panic of getting stuck on the train an extra stop (really not that much of an emergency), I extricated myself and attempted to exit but was faced with a wall of blank faces attached to zombie-shuffling bodies who were somehow unable to move intelligently aside. I was sitting next to the door, for crying out loud—anybody with a modicum of observational skills should’ve seen me struggling 3 seconds earlier!

 

After elbowing my way out through the crowd, I was met with a continued horde of people coming down the stairs three abreast. (All this at 3pm—not even rush hour.) I chose the right hand side of the stairs (you know, the polite side), and head down, I started climbing. That is until I came face to knees with someone who started screaming, “I need the railing. I need the railing. I need the railing.” Paralyzed, I gestured wordlessly at the people coming down the stairs shoulder to shoulder with him blocking me from going anywhere. They too momentarily froze at his alarming yelling until finally one of them scooted aside while the entire subway vestibule watched me make myself as small as possible to scoot around this guy.

 

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this guy stank of so much cologne my eyes were watering

 

And, as I type this, an enormous man has sat down on the outer seat of my three-person seat on the LIRR. He proceeds to gasp for air in the ridiculous November heat, removing his suit jacket and draping it all over my purse that is taking up exactly one third of the middle seat. Fuming already, I move the purse in a huff. He doesn’t notice. He then proceeds to repeatedly drop his enormous paw on the center seat, shaking the entire bench each time.

 

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This is killing me.

 

When it became inevitable that Scott was losing his job, I really didn’t give a shit except for the selfish little girl in me that knew that commuting alone would break me.

 

In the too many years that we’ve been doing this, we’ve been taking the same train home for nearly all of it. It’s so awful and so crowded and I’m so so stupidly sensitive to it, that I immediately started taking a different, later, looonger train just because it’s less crowded.

 

Until this fat, personal-space-oblivious, coughing, seat-shaking asshole ruined it.

 

AND my left hand spells like old black man probably from the overhead bar I grabbed on the subway.

 

That may be the grossest thing that’s ever happened to me.

 

And probably the karma I mentioned at the beginning of this post…

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Style : Safety

 

In case you haven’t read Better in Real Life’s post about violence against women, uh, go do that and then come back:

 

Ok, hi again.

 

So last week I wore what I thought was a relatively conservative outfit to work:

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On the way to the train, walking down my sleepy suburban main street, I got tailed by 2 20-something dudes in an SUV yelling things at me that I thankfully couldn’t hear. This is so uncommon blue that for a minute I thought I had dropped something before I realized what was going on.

 

Then when I was getting off the train in the city an older man with a glint of serial killer in his eye got all up in my face squeezing by (when there was plenty of room) and breathed, “hey sexy” at me so quietly I thought I was imagining things.

 

Later on, one of the crowd of random workers who hangs out on our office buildings steps attempted to say hello. It was actually polite, and he probably meant well, but by then I’d had it.

 

This day had me thinking in circles about women and objectification, and feeling threatened, and how white tights are apparently more sexual than black, and what exact level of dowdiness one must wear to be left alone. I thought about the models I see being gawked at openly, and sometimes approached and harassed. I thought about the women who aren’t so fortunate as to have things left at a gawk or even a grope. I thought a lot about how when we aren’t sartorially “asking for it,” we are still apparently deserving of it.

 

And mostly, I wondered how we can handle these situations in such a way that tells the perpetrator that their behavior is NOT okay, without potentially risking our safety in the process. Is this even possible?

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Weekend : Autumn in NY

Instead of rambling on and on about all of my issues, I thought I’d share some photos I took this weekend of Central Park.

 

Autumn has always been my favorite season, partially due to its color palette, but mostly due its demand that I stop and appreciate it because [unlike spring and summer], I am most decidedly NOT looking forward to what’s coming next.

 

Metaphor for life?1321125787764 1321127077141

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Insomnia

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This is what insomnia looks like.

 

I’ve never had this problem before. I may not be the best at sleeping normally, but I’ve never been not able to sleep at all ever before in my life. I’m the person who can sleep just about anywhere for 12-14 hours at a clip. My cat naps are 4 hours long.

 

This is not to say I get to indulge in this behavior regularly. In the days and weeks leading up to the wedding I was averaging 5 hours or less a night. Therefore, armed with stories of post-wedding exhaustion, I was fully expecting these kinds of bad habits to backfire by the honeymoon. But what I was prepared for was too much sleeping, guilt-ridden lazy days on the beach with lots of naps.

 

Not adrenaline-filled, panic-stricken, lonely insomnia.

 

It started on the third night of the trip, just as I had concluded we’d escaped unscathed from the evil clutches of jetlag. At our secluded little house on a cliff face in a tiny village on the Amalfi Coast, we fell asleep around 10pm, much as we had the night before. Being on a geriatric sleep schedule didn’t bother me, because it meant getting up earlier and doing more during the day! Except then I woke up at 1am, feeling as alert as if I was waking from some kind of enchanted slumber.

 

So I read my book, which was just the kind of edge-of-your-seat-disaster-movie-thrill-ride to render it totally inappropriate for a relaxing honeymoon. And then it was 3am, and I finished my book. (The only one I’d brought with me!) With no TV, and the wine finished too, I started to feel a bit anxious.

 

This is when the noises started getting to me.

 

First it was the church bells which, ringing every fifteen minutes like literal clockwork, reminded me of exactly how long I’d been attempting to sleep. Then it was the remarkably persistent owl. Finally somewhere around 4:30am, after a solid hour of Angry Birds, and some reading of guide books which only deepened my panic about “how are we going to get things done if I’ve only slept 3 hours!, a rooster took over for the owl.

 

A fucking rooster.

 

I was disgusted at myself for being deprived of sleep by such aural monstrosities as church bells, an owl, and a rooster. Even the constant rush of the river down the valley to the ocean had gotten under my skin. (As well as the kids playing soccer and whinnying horses that later bothered me during a daytime nap.) Put me next to a freeway and it serves as a free white noise machine, but play some mountain village noises and I become a city girl losing my shit.

 

This pattern repeated itself on several nights throughout our week there, and as some days we had actual plans, I did wind up running on 3 or 4 hours of sleep. Not a great recipe for a relaxing honeymoon. It’s continued on and off since we got back, leaving me lying awake with racing thoughts about things I *have* to do the next day that aren’t generally all that important anyway.

 

In fact, according to Martha Beck (can I just say that I love Martha Beck) in November’s O Magazine, I have all the symptoms of burnout:

 

Me Pre-Wedding: “Driven: You’re working flat-out, in a non-stop blur of accomplishment. You feel you can go on like this forever! You can’t!”

 

Me Between Wedding and Honeymoon: “Dragging: You’re sucking up sugar and caffeine to fight fatigue…”

 

Me During the Honeymoon: “Losing It: You’re visibly tired, visibly plump (or alarmingly preskeletal), and perpetually grumpy. You lie awake nights, thoughts racing, longing for sleep. At work and at home, you’ve developed a charming habit of biting people’s heads off.

 

Me Post-Honeymoon: “Hitting the wall: You’re racked by aches and pains, gaining or losing weight, prone to temper tantrums or crying jags, hard-pressed to remember things like computer passwords or your children’s names.”

 

I don’t usually take magazine advice seriously, but I think maybe I’ll follow the steps in this one. Not surprisingly, it says to eat better, sleep more, exercise gently, and avoid sources of stress.

 

Anyone else ever take a relaxing vacation that backfired?

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Thoughts : I’m Not the Best at Anything

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This cat is the best at extreme napping, Ravello, Italy

Because I’m OK at photography.

Duh. I mean if I was, you might have heard of me, or I’d probably have more exciting things to share, or at least I’ve have mentioned my Guinness world record of butterfly collecting.

The other day (meaning about three months ago, before post-wedding lazy time) I went for a run and it was getting dark and I was practically alone in the park, and trying to get as hot and sweaty as possible so that I could tolerate a cold shower since we had no hot water. And I decided to run as fast as I could. And it seemed pretty fast. And it was definitely fun. And I remembered how I was the second fastest girl in my elementary school and although I loved running I didn’t pursue it competitively because I wasn’t the best.

That first fastest girl? Yea, she ultimately won the state championships and graduated from Annapolis.

Sure, the were other reasons I didn’t pursue running. For one, I am intrinsically driven by beauty, and although some may argue about Olympic beauty and strength and power, I never saw it as a something to which I wanted to aspire. And gym teachers/coaches scared the begeezus out of me.

 

I was not an athlete.

I was a dancer.

At least more so than anything else.

See I’ve spent most of my life searching for the thing I could be the best at.

And other than getting a perfect score on the verbal SAT, I haven’t found it.

Nobody told me that you should find something you’re reasonably good at but love the hell out of and then work your ass off until one day maybe you’re close enough to the best but by then you no longer care.

 

And this is why I’m a dilettante.