Monday, March 28, 2011

Just let it happen.

"Harry, I'm going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don't plan it. Don't wait for it. Just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men's store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot black coffee." --Twin Peaks.

Never seen the movie, but spotted the quote, and I love it. Even when I'm in a bad mood, or super busy, I've been kinder to myself lately, and embracing the things that perk me up or make me really happy. Adding a tiny piece of chocolate to my lunch from Whole Foods. Buying the Sunday New York Times or the latest issue of Vogue. Running to Jamaica Pond. Listening to John Legend's cover of Adele's Rolling in the Deep on repeat upwards of 10 times to get through a Friday at work. Taking advantage of a free afternoon to get a pedicure and bake hamantaschen (substituting nutella for poppy seeds...). Sneaking off with hilarious coworkers to an empty office for a "Finer Things" mid-afternoon meeting--tea and pastries on a paper tablecloth. Buying an insane dress just to wear it as Passover hostess.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Yoga = New Religion?

Too much running lately meant time for yoga tonight. Pound the pavement, then stretch out the tight legs.

I had the same feelings about yoga that I've had almost every time I've ever gone:
  • kind of a pain in the ass to go, but must be worth it on some level because I keep going
  • seems sort of like a cult
  • lots of very different people all in the same place
  • why so many $$??
This leads me to believe that somehow, for many people, yoga has taken the place of religion in their lives.

I'm not a religious person in the traditional sense of the word. Religion, at least to me, seems like it's whatever keeps you focused/positive/in touch with yourself or your community. For some people, religion is organized. For some, its very personal. I don't love the God implications of religion, although at this point in time, religion = God in one form or another to most people.

By my definition, my religion is composed of equal parts red wine, gin, running, sunshine/Vitamin D, cynicism, a plane ticket budget, and daily phone calls to my mom.

Yoga seems like a perfect candidate for "religion" status, though. Here are some of the many parallels to lots of organized religion:

  • spending time focusing on your "intention" as most yoga teachers say: this is your faith-based effort, if you will.
  • chanting = like prayer. ritualistic, often not the original meaning, but pertinent to the routine of practice
  • the combination of personal (inner faith, the choice to practice) and community (you could pray or do yoga at home, but instead you show up at a church or a studio)
  • Different levels of participation: recent convert (free first yoga class! Lots of attention/adjustment from the teacher and fellow practitioners), regular churchgoer (maybe you have a 10-class punch card), avid participant, member of your church (full year pass to your studio), student of religion (taking classes to be a teacher), religious teacher or leader (yoga teacher), prophet (yoga "guru" as they're called), God (Yoga as a whole?)
  • the idea that religion and yoga are both never over--that you're supposed to strive, get to know yourself and your faith/practice, always growing.
I'm a terrible yoga student the way that I joke that I'm a terrible Jew. I don't go that frequently. I'm not that flexible. I spend a good portion of class giggling (shocking to any of you that know me...). I am often afraid to stretch and reach in my practice, in terms of trying the more challenging poses. I end up staring at others in my class--all of the really unique bodies and abilities, as opposed to staying inwardly focused on my "intention". But, when all is said and done, I get out of yoga exactly what I need, usually, the same way I cherrypick culture and the traditions from of my form of Jewish agnosticism.

I get a stretched out body and mind, and 90 minutes away from my cellphone/computer screen, and a chance to ponder deep topics like "Is yoga religion???" "HOW DID SHE DO THAT HANDSTAND" and "I didn't think it was physically possible to sweat this much."

Religion's a tricky word, and if you're religious in a traditional sense, I don't want you to think I'm being flippant in my comparisons. But I think religion should be a flexible (har, har, yoga, get it) concept--however you choose to stretch your mind and body and grow as a person seems to be as beneficial as it gets. Physical endeavors have brought a lot of clarity to me, the same way a lot of personal time and silence have. It's important to figure out what makes you feel like a bigger and finer you. Whether it's a a church service, a martini or a vinyasa class is up to you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hereby resolved...

This spring, I've added all my workouts for my half-marathon to a "training" Google calendar, in the hopes that if they're solidly scheduled into my life (and my phone), I have no excuse for missing anything.

The same, as of now, will go for blogging. No promises on continuity of topic, or length of post, but since friends are chugging along on Lenten promises to do all sorts of things, it seems like an appropriate time to add a "Write/Blog" recurring "appointment" on my personal calendar. Care for the body, use the mind, etc, etc.

As I plan for future writing, I'll leave you with some of the things that have been revving up my crazed brain lately.

Commonhealth, the WBUR blog, has become a new favorite as I try to catch up to the levels of expertise of fellow board members over at Boston Young Healthcare Professionals. (Look for news of our launch event coming soon!!). More healthcare-related blogs are on my to-find list--suggestions welcome!

Friends planning weddings or bridal showers keeping sending me new design and decoration sites, and my long-standing obsession with fashion has me subscribing to an embarrassing number of fashion, design and style blogs.

As spring approaches and I plan more weekend trips to Haymarket and my extensive Passover feast menu, cooking blogs like Smitten Kitchen and a recently discovered minimalist blog StoneSoup are making me hungry all day long at work.

I'm renewing my love affair with Slate, and the hard-copy redesign of the Sunday NYTimes Magazine means I've been carrying each issue around for days into the week.

Friends' blogs are among the most inspiring I read lately, whether they make me think or make me laugh or make me want to try new hot spots in Boston or make me realize I definitely need to get out for my next run (to run off all that delicious food...).

At least three weekends of travel in the past 2 months mean I've read the latest issues of Nylon, Vogue, Vanity Fair, GQ, Esquire, the Economist, Self, Wired, Fast Company, and others. (One of the many reasons I carry a sturdy purse...)

I've been playing a little over on Tumblr, but more for short things or sharing. More long-form to come in this venue! (now that's on my calendar to post on a regular basis, I have no excuse!)

Friday, January 21, 2011

in an effort to not scream....

here's a Friday top 5. or 10. It's the sort of week where it's important to remember the good things.

  • amazing, amazing girlfriends (and guy friends, too)
  • good weather for roadtrips
  • people that you're willing to tell the truth to
  • good hugs
  • red wine and gin (not together, per se)
  • roommates who are supportive during yelling and meltdowns
  • having a really wonderful family
  • snowboots that are actually waterproof
  • furry earmuffs
  • the thought of going to the gym tomorrow
  • yoga breathing

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Common Misconceptions

If you're in charge, you must know what you're doing.

If you're not in charge, you don't know what you're doing yet.

If you're single, you're lonely or a wild child or a commitment phobe.

If you're in a relationship, you're lame or domestic or want to have babies soon.

If you look put together, you must have your shit together.

If you're settled down, you're boring.

If you refuse to settle down, you'll never find what you're looking for.

If you're loud, you're confident.

If you're quiet, you're shy.

If you're skinny and pretty, you're happy.

If you're not skinny and pretty, you'll never find love or happiness.

If you're not tired, you shouldn't sleep.

Travel is for the rich.

Monday, December 20, 2010


2010 was the year of physical health. I've lost 1/6 of my body weight. Run 6 races. Dozens of miles. Hiked Mt. Washington. I even have biceps. And triceps. 2010? Great success.

2011 will be the year of emotional health. I don't want to be so cranky at work. I want to see the people I want to see as often as possible. I want to feel more fulfilled in my work life, my love life, and my "extra-curricular" life. I will spend time doing things that make me feel creative or inspired or productive or relaxed or just plain happy, as opposed to frustrated, antsy, or like I'm wasting my time. I will use the Oxford comma in my personal life, just because I can't at work. I will actively seek out new and fulfilling relationships in my life and maintain the ones that have become long-distance. I will sleep. I will continue to work out on a regular basis. I will luxuriate in the great things about Boston and find ways to go all the other places I love and will find out I love. I will eat delicious and healthy things but never begrudge myself a glass of wine with friends. I will focus on the positive, even if that means indulging in a good old-fashioned rant session to clear my head. I will lead the life I want to lead, and not just daydream about it.

To 2011, and a happy year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Playing with pretty things

Even when business isn't ideal, I love the fact that my dad's jewelry store is usually involved in happy situations. You buy jewelry to mark special occasions, celebrate, honor, surprise, treat yourself or someone else--and the end result is something pretty and positive. Not a duty, a burden, a necessity, but something lovely that enhances your literal view and your figurative mindset. His store, while the back rooms are full of piles of paper that border on "Hoarders", is full of the shiny, the glittery and the fancy. His customers have long personal business histories with him, and he may do engagement rings for multiple generations, and remake a great-grandmother's prized necklace for a high-school graduate. They send thank-you cards and call to share happy proposal stories, and his jewelry plays a minor role in so many lovely times in people's lives. He gets to play with pretty things, and make people happy. Does it get much better than that?

My love for fashion and jewelry and building relationships with people, which I remember every time I go down to his store when I'm in Pittsburgh, leads me back to the recurring conversation I've been having with friends lately. Not to be cliche or dramatic, but plenty of us are in that typical "quarter-life crisis", where, in our early/mid-twenties, we're dissatisfied being entry-level, dreaming dreams of bigger or better or farther away, and/or having a hard time pinpointing just exactly what we should be doing.

New goal? Focus on two main questions.

1) What makes me happy?
2) What am I good at?

Ultimately, I'm seeking the ideal intersection:

What can I do that I am good at that also makes me happy?

(Yes, I'm idealistic enough to believe my work should make me happy, not just provide the means for my existence. No, I'm not currently interested in your argument that I should find a 9-5 that supports me in just doing things I actually love in my free time. But thank you, and best of luck with that in your own life, it just won't cut it for me.)

This currently results in lots of mental or physical post-it notes full of pros, cons, top 5s, lists of things I loathe and detest, cities, classes, things to learn, things I know I'm terrible at, and things I hope other people think I'm good at. No guarantees that I'll figure out anything any time soon, and while I trawl craigslist (JOBS, people, the adult services sections have been shut down....), keeping up hope I'll spot something that hits a nerve, I want to know that I'm not just settling. That I'll find the best way to play with the pretty things, in one way or another.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I refuse to be hoodwinked.

Leif: facebook is single people hell.

Facebook announcements of engagements and marriages, the general public, and inane questions are trying to trick me and a lot of my fellow singletons.

Not in a Halloween, here's a Reese's cup, sorry my Sarah Palin mask scared you, kind of way. But trying to trick me into thinking that at age 23, I should be in a serious relationship, engaged, married, or even on the way to being a mom. 23 can mean a lot of different things, and I sometimes get the sense that the universe is trying to corral me onto a plane of existence I'm not prepared for.

I have the ultimate respect for my friends on these paths. More power to them. They have really nice apartments with their significant others, great cocktail parties, the occasional puppies, and I'm looking forward to the open bars at their weddings in the near(er than I'd predicted) future. The time and energy and commitment they put into the relationships in their lives blow me away, and I hope I have that success some day. But it's not for everyone, not right now.

Take off the scary mask, people and things who make me think I'm not on the right path. I don't like your pointed questions about "how is such a ___, ___, and ____ girl single?", how your facebook pages bombard with me with relationship statuses or your public displays of affections or proposals. You're no legitimate vice-presidential candidate, and I'm just not that "grown-up" yet.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Career change?

After I spilled out myriad suggestions for daydrinking and brunching around Boston on very little notice...

Oh my God. You should write a book
me: I so would. Quit this job. Eat and drink (and run to keep from getting obese) for a living.
Dana: You should pitch it to the Travel Channel
Dana: You'd be way better than stupid Samantha Brown
me: Loud Jewish girl with a penchant for patios, gin cocktails, and french fries.

You know you'd DVR that. Maybe watch it with the volume kept low? :)

My agenda for tomorrow's sunny Friday forecast--a brunch and drinking adventure around Boston and Cambridge with one visiting Swede. Stay tuned for tweets and mini-blog posts, and maybe brainstorming on a travel show pitch?

Friday, August 20, 2010

Anything Worth Doing.... worth doing well. Cliche? True. I don't care whether it's completing a work project on deadline, forging personal relationships, writing a blog post, or baking cookies, I don't really see the point unless you're in it to make something real. Something with impact. And not just doing something to get it done.

If you're going to write a letter, spellcheck it.

If you're going to invest (increasingly rare free) time in a friendship or a relationship, make sure it's not with a toxic or time-wasting person.

Planning an event? Make sure that the invitations arrive on time, that attendees can hear the live band, AND that there aren't any names misspelled on the nametags.

Having downtime? Actually turn your cellphone off, and stop pretending that multi-tasking is relaxing!

Running a business? Figure out the balance between being a good person and being a good businessperson--you won't have customers if you're an asshole, but you also can't pay bills with good will.

It's my continuing obsession with both the big picture and the little details. Seeing the forest, the trees and the leaves. Whatever you want to call it, keep it all in perspective.