Friday, August 14, 2009

The Best Laid Plans of Mice & Men...

Knowing I leave for Europe in two weeks, puts me in a mindset to be more frugal these days, spend less, eat less and drink less. I know that in the 10 days I am there these three areas will be totally maxed out.

This week I have cooked in more, gone out less, drank less and tried to be more lowkey as I know in two weeks I will be living out the fullest. Monday through Wednesday I was stellar at my act. For 72-hours I hoarded away money and calories like a bear storing up for the winter. Thursday I had plans to come home, practice my Spanish, prepare a nice healthy meal and go to bed. None of that happened.

The dreary clouds over Manhattan had me in the mood for company, and in New York (and probably most places) afterwork company involves going to a bar for drinks. When a friend mentioned happy hour, I was game. When she needed to leave two hours later, I still wanted company so I called a new friend to join me. And he did.

Five drinks later, not to mention dollars later, every pre-Europe plan had been tossed out the window, and I wake up this morning wondering 'why do I do this to myself?'...

But I had fun, and I don't really regret 'playing' when I should have been storing up for the fun times in Spain. Sometimes you have to focus on 'today' and live a little more than planned. I mean spontaneity is the spice of life, right?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

What goes down, must go up....

I am a big believer in life having balance. For the times you are sad, you will have equally ecstatic moments. For the times you feel like a dumb-ass, you have equal amounts of feeling like Einstein. And for the times you are in a downward spiral, you will soon be on the upswing. Its just the way life works.

Of course there are times when that 'upswing' is just taking too long to gain its momentum, and for me that day was yesterday.

Prior to that I had been slowly spiraling downward, and by yesterday evening I was overwhelmed with all I was feeling. I was 'here' and 'there' at the same moment, with about 10 other 'here nor theres' thrown in. My head was in a tailspin. When I got to my girlfriends house my woes and uncertainties were all on the table in a matter of moments. Work.... life... friends... boys... apartments... travel... you name it, and it was probably there. Everything seemed to be hitting a breaking point, and emotionally I was hitting mine.

Alot of my emotions stemmed from the fact that I chose to be a bit of a nomad/vagabound/tumbleweed and live foot-loose and fancy free for this year. Tied down, I am not. And I like that. But on the flip side there is often the feeling of having nothing to cling too. And that can be hard. Sometimes even tumbleweeds want to sit still for a moment.

At this moment all of the possibilities were staring at me, all of the uncertainties seemed 5x more uncertain, and any ounce of stability I had been able to pile beneath my feet seemed to be slipping away.

With all my emotional issues spread out over my friend's couch and flowing onto the floor, I realized that what I was really having issue with is too many options. There is just too much I can do right now -- stay in NYC, move to Europe, move to the beach, go to grad school, become a nunn, etc. etc. As much as I love this open-ended phase of my life there are some times that it is just so damn hard to stay focused... especially in this crazy city I choose to live. In the 30 mins it took to walk to Sarah's house, I swear I had about 30 thoughts about my next move in life. All polar-opposite from the one that came before it.

As my woes ceased from spilling forth, my friend became the sage that she is and gave me some of the best advice ever: soak it up. The right decision will be easy to make, but soak up as much as you can interms of emotional/mental stimuli to make sure you FEEL the way to the right decision. And soak up this time in your life because times are coming when you will be more grounded and you will wish you had more options... but that day, is not today.

Realizing a decision didn't have to be made tomorrow or even the next day was comforting... After 8 months I still don't know what I want. But knowing that I did not have to know put me at ease. And I know that when that time comes to 'know' I will be ready to make a decision. But until then I am still foot-loose and fancy free... and slowly on the upswing to feeling like myself again.

Monday, August 10, 2009

What NOT to do at a wedding

When it comes to what one shouldn't do at a wedding, I could probably write a few chapters based on my own wedding antics that have led to some hilarious stories to tell over the years.

--There was the time I drank a bit too much and made fun of my ex-boyfriend's friend for not having much hair (i.e, Are you sure its there? Because I am struggling to see it... -- I wasn't trying to be mean, I just was being honest...)

--There was the time that as a single person I has chosen another single person to be 'my date' and then promptly confused him with someone else and ended up making out with the wrong date.

--There was the time I drank too much at the pre-rehearsal dinner and then got sick all over the condo that I was sharing with 5 people. Room service took 14 hours to clean it up... and our AC wasn't working...BAD NEWS.

--There was the time when I RAN FROM the bouquet toss and upset my boyfriend at the time.

I could go on and on, but the truth is when it comes to weddings, and you want a good laugh, stick around... I am guaranteed to do something worth talking about the next day.

The one thing I don't do at weddings is dress inappropriately. Good appearance makes all the stupid stuff I do easier for people to ignore... at least for a while.

I don't think everyone knows this secret, as this weekend I went to a wedding (I was on my best behavior) and here are two no-nos I quickly picked up on.

#1: Wear 'Nantucket Reds' to a midwest wedding (particularly in Michigan).

#2: Wear a bowtie in the midwest when its clear the fad hasn't caught on yet in these parts, and quite possibly never will.

I will leave the list at this, as for this story you don't need to know more than this.

For those of you who don't know, 'Nantucket Reds' are pants commonly worn in the NorthEast, particularly around yachting areas -- Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod, Newport, Mystic, etc. They are a dark rose in color, kind of like a deep salmon. Its an odd shade to see on a man if you are not used to it.

Now, one thing that I am enjoying less and less as I get older and go to weddings is the singles table gets smaller and smaller, and for me there are less dancing partners to choose from. This weekend was no exception.

At the rehearsal dinner on Friday night it was clear there were only 5 singletons among us: one of the bridesmaids (so she gets first pick), John (who I was staying with), Troy (friend of the bride's brother), Jimmy (friend of the groom), and me.

I got along just fine with all the guys, but none of them were my type, especially Jimmy who showed up to the rehearsal dinner wearing Nantucket reds, a navy sports jacket, and looked like he just stepped off his sail boat.

However, both the BRIDE and GROOM felt differently. And at one point after dinner was consumed, and dancing began, Ben (groom) started walking and talking with me and Kelly (bride) started walking and talking with Jimmy until we all walked and talked into each other and I could see this was my predetermined wedding date. Fine, its their wedding, I am sure it will be fine. Plus, I had had a few glasses of wine and I could get along with anyone at this point.

Me and George (as I accidentally started calling him) got along fantastic. I can be really funny when I need to be, and tonight was no exception. We laughed and drank, and when we went to another bar I rode with Jim, and became best friends. This was until I decided I needed to go home as I was afraid I might bet sick. I was going home ALONE. And did so.

So the next morning, Julia who was also staying with John and I woke me up with, "Hey Paige, does the term 'salmon pants' mean anything to you?" Oh god. I was pegged as George's girl for the weekend. But who cares, its not like I went home with him or even kissed him. I was friendly and fun and I am sure he had more fun hanging out with me than being alone.

That afternoon as we all boarded the bus for the wedding -- well, Sean, John and I all ran for it as we were late -- who is sitting by his lonesome wearing a bowtie? Salmon Pants! I mean seriously, does everything you have to wear be such a stand-out article of clothing? Its my nature to be nice to be people in this situation, but I often feel like I am digging myself in even more. And Jim/George did not seem to know anyone else so be stuck to my side -- from saying I promised to sit beside him and dance with him the night before (who even asks these questions??!!), telling me what table 'we' are sitting, etc. etc. I was feeling slightly uncomfortable, but didn't want to be mean.

I was a bit rocky anyway from the night before and knew I wasn't going to last long. When there was a call for the last bus to go, and no one was getting on it, I ran to sneak out as I just didn't want to hang out with Salmon Pants any longer. The wedding was great, but I was tired and I wanted to get home and wake up fresh.

So as the bus pulls away, guess who ran and got on at the last minute? Salmon Pants! OMG. Seriously, its a free bus, and I am sure he wanted to go home too, but still... I would have stayed if he was going!

Anyway, Salmon Pants got as close to me as the bus would allow. But just like in New York, I requested two stops, and went home to find my own bed... and my own sweet dream.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Board of Paige

Since getting back to the office this week -- after celebrating my 32nd year on Sunday -- I decided to tidy up. Posters that were hanging around, found a place on the wall -- as did my mirror and fans from Spain. The other item to find a spot on my bulletin board.

On it, I have several postcards from my travels, two family photos, two quotes I like a lot, four birthday cards -- one with a sun flower, and another of the sun -- and a 'girls rule' card my sister sent me as I started the year. My board is AWESOME.

But as its 8:11PM and I am still at work, something dawned on me as I was looking at it.

This is my office. I am at work. And this board is something straight out of a college dorm room!

I call it inspiration, my boss would probably call it a mess.

But two thoughts have stemmed from this recent observation.

1) Given my year as a nomad, I often feel more comfortable and at home in my tiny office with the red couch and pink rug. Its been the most consistent landing spot for me thus far this year.

2) Shouldn't I have status reports, calendars or something hanging prominently on this board? I guess we know where my priorities are!


Sunday was my birthday. To celebrate, my girlfriends took me to a fun all-you-can-drink-champagne brunch in NYC's meat-packing district. We had the best time, and as it was pouring outside had nothing better to do, so we 'all you can drank' all afternoon. My birthday 'day' rocked.

This morning -- three days later, well after the champagne haze had worn off -- it hit me that from Sunday afternoon until this moment is my longest stretch without having an alcoholic drink. THREE WHOLE DAYS. That is insane, right? I mean why even bother with a birthday party, it seems like I have been partying all year!

Not that every night has been a free-for-all, many nights I would have A GLASS of wine, but there have been very few nights that NO GLASS was consumed.

As this realization sets in, I just have to say 'it is what it is'. For most of this year, I have had something to celebrate... whether that be me doing what it is I want to do, or cheering on the people I love in my life, 'c'e-ing la vie to things beyond my control, and the first part of the year coping through a very difficult time. Regardless of the reason, 'getting drinks' with friends seemed to be the obvious thing to do. And 'that' I did a ton of.

I loved my moments of clear abandon, but I have also loved the past three mornings of waking up clear headed, feeling productive and focused, and ready to do more than I ever have. My morning work-outs have been stronger, I have been more disciplined, and felt healthier than ever.

I guess in all the clearing out I have done this year, I forgot to clear the bad things out of my body too. So, here's to sobriety! May there be more sober days in the first month of my 32nd year than not!