Monday, October 17, 2016

Real Talk: Things Are Gonna Get Easier

So - real talk, as my friend would say. There are two things everyone should know about me. I love music, and I love adventure. And yes, in my life, they connect. Music has always been a deep-rooted part of my life. Playing the piano and writing songs were one of my favorite pastimes as a child. My sister and I "led" worship services around our family piano, taking turns leading and singing harmony. My mom played "oldies but goodies" for us, and my love for 50s and 60s rock was formed. We danced around in our handmade poodle skirts to "At the Hop" and "Turn, Turn, Turn" until we could no longer stand. My dad typically had Golden Country playing, and I knew the lyrics to "Hey Good Lookin'" by the time I was six years old. To this day, if you get in his truck, you will hear Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, or another legend from Willie's Roadhouse singing about a woman, the bottle, or the blues. And if I am being completely honest, you might hear the same if you get in my car.

I've been through some rocky times in my 20s. Ironically enough, some of my heartache and struggle came from times when I was adventurous and stepped out of my comfort zone. When I find myself dealing with hurt, anger, sadness, etc., a song always makes its way into my life. A friend might recommend one, or I might stumble across a song on the radio that expresses exactly what I am feeling. It might even be a song I've known for years. However it happens, the music and lyrics help me work through what I am facing. 

Tonight the song "Ooh Child" by The Five Stairsteps came to mind as I was thinking about my next steps. I have been contemplating life lately and what led me to where I am now. I mean, really contemplating. Thinking about past circumstances, events, and decisions that date back further than just a few years. Honestly, if someone had told me five years ago that I would not be living in California but in St. Louis, and it would be my fourth city in five years, I'd probably laugh. Or cry. In theory, I love adventure. I crave adventure. I wish I didn't have student/car loans so that I could travel all over the world and live in far off places. The reality, however, is that there is still a part of me that hates change and longs for consistency. It's an inner battle that I am constantly fighting- my desire for spontaneity and all things new versus my Type A personality of what my life should be at 28. Adventure always wins out eventually, and I am glad that it does. Saying yes to it does not make the transition easier though. Things don't always fall into place the way I think they should, and sometimes I have to wait longer than I want for something to happen. Even now, as much as I want this new adventure, I'm jobless in a new city, trying to figure out what happens next. It scares me a little. Still, deep down, I know that things will get easier. And brighter. I just have to hold onto that and believe it. Time to make a playlist for this adventure.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Once Upon a Time in New York City

Sigh. How has it already been one week since I embarked on one of the most magical and exciting trips of my life? I still feel as if it were all a dream. A lovely, lovely dream. I am happy to report that first of all, New York City was everything I hoped it would be times a trillion. Secondly, I can say with all confidence that I do not have any regrets regarding my New York skyline tattoo which I had done without having been to the city. Whew! I honestly am not even sure where to begin when I talk about my weekend. So many wonderful things transpired, and I feel myself start to gush when I share even a little bit of the adventures I had.

New Yorkers loved to ask the tourists these three questions:

- Are you a first timer in the city?
- What has been the most surprising thing about the city/people?
- What has been your favorite moment (so far)?

It was my first time in the city. I wasn't overly surprised by much except that some
New Yorkers were actually very nice and helpful. My favorite moment happened on Thursday night, the first night I was in New York City. I should start by giving a little background to this moment. I have watched Jimmy Fallon since his SNL days. I watched him on Late Night and continued to tune in when he took over the Tonight Show. If you ask me to name my favorite sketches, I can do so without hesitation (Hot Tub Lov-ahs, Disneyland Breakfast, Tight Pants, and any Lip Sync Battle ever done). In early 2015, my roommate and I decided to make vision boards for ourselves to set goals for the upcoming year. I started going through old magazines and came across a small picture of Jimmy Fallon dressed up as a bumblebee with his daughter. I decided that if I was going to put NYC and Tiffany's on my vision board, I might as well add Jimmy too.

Imagine the excitement and surprise I felt nearly 1.5 years later when I found myself walking up the grand staircase and into the Peacock Lounge at NBC Studios. As I sat waiting to go into Studio 6B, I kept telling myself what Jimmy always says to the audience- "You're here! You made it! This is it! Welcome, welcome, welcome!" The evening only got better. Meg Ryan was there. John Mulaney and Nick Kroll were there. The Roots were amazing. Being part of The Tonight Show set the bar for an unforgettable time in what is now one of my favorite cities.

Aside from The Tonight Show (because honestly, how does one top The Tonight Show?), other favorite moments included touring NBC Studios and visiting the SNL studio, buying something from Tiffany's (and therefore having my name added to their registry), sitting on the actual Central Perk couch from Friends, touring Soho and Little Italy, having a waiter in Little Italy "Joey Tribbiani" me ("How you doin'?"), and going to one of the few remaining original speakeasies and drinking a Ruby Slipper from a teacup. But honestly, who am I kidding? The entire trip was my favorite part- from the moment I drove towards Manhattan until my plane took off five days later.

One evening I was in the Empire State Building looking out over the city, and I realized I felt a connection to this place. I jokingly call myself a Restless Wanderer because I tend to grow tired of where I am living and places never feel like home. I will say people, such as family and friends, can make a place feel like home, but I want to feel that I belong to the city where I am living. As I watched the city lights, my heart felt like a missing piece was sliding into place. I belonged there.

What an amazing and overwhelming feeling to know that you have found your place in this world! It was as if the restlessness in me had quieted and in its stead came the knowledge that I could thrive in this city and be myself, and that is all I have ever wanted. Until we meet again, New York, and may it be someday soon.

"One belongs to New York instantly. One belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years." 
- Tom Wolfe

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The Day I Turned 28

Lately, the thought of turning 28 has, quite frankly, left me feeling freaked out and in a state of panic. I asked myself why 28 was different than, say, 27. I'm already in my late twenties, creeping towards my thirties. Why the sudden racing heart and difficulty breathing? Shouldn't I be more concerned about what comes after 28 and savor the feeling of being "not quite 30" yet? 

One would think so, but my mind doesn't work that way. I'm more of a Rachel Green when it comes to life plans and timelines. Owning a house, marriage, kids, traveling, etc. Exhibit A:

I was the child who had a notebook filled with wedding ideas (wedding party, colors, theme, songs, etc.), baby names, and house designs. (I blame the game "MASH" for giving me high expectations- Teacher turned stay at home mom living in a mansion married to Leonardo DiCaprio with 6 kids and a Porsche.) I have a vision board, and I am always adding to it. Exhibit B:

The age 28 never seemed like a big deal or crossed my mind before. I grew up assuming my life goals would be reached between the ages of 22 and 25. 28 was so far down the line, and I just knew my plans would take place way before I ever got to that age. With that mindset, the racing heart and panic sessions I've subjected myself to during the past six months make sense. 

I went to sleep last night, expecting to wake up sad and old today. Instead, I woke up to a feeling of peace and acceptance. I have new perspective on life. Yes, nearly all of my friends own homes, are married, and/or have children. I am 28 years old, and I just started a new chapter in my life...again. That's okay though. Stories have to move forward. Chapters start and end. The year of 28 is a new chapter for me. No planning out my life. Take each day as it comes and focus on the now. That is my only plan. Live in the moment because soon enough, I will be 76 years old, reminiscing about my twenties and the good ol' days.