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A sick day ode to old school blogging

In the land of “old school blogging,” when I shared everything and anything, I would have told you all about the fact that I’m home with a cold. So, let’s party like it’s 2007, and write a stream of consciousness post about a lot of nothing!

For the past year, inertia has kept me moving forward at warp speed. I am really really terrible at slowing down, sitting down, and doing nothing. Sick days used to mean watching marathons of The Office, or something similar. Sick days now, on the other hand, mean making lists, sorting through old clothes, taking down the Christmas tree, and generally prolonging whatever illness I’m fighting. It’s all very mature.

Let’s continue this 2007-style post, and talk about some of the things that I’m worrying about pondering:

  1. Will I find a job in San Diego? Will it be a job that I like? Will I get a job quickly enough that I do not have to work at Starbucks in the interim?
  2. Should I keep all of these sweaters? I love them, but will they just take up space?
  3. Moving with cats. I am dreading it. How can I make this easier on everyone? And by “everyone,” I mean “Puck.”
  4. There are many items in our  home that I like, but am considering selling. Will I regret this later? Rarely have I regretted letting go of “stuff,” but I’ve also never let go of big stuff that I actually like. Maybe I should wait until we find our rental house, and then decide.
  5. OH MY GOSH, WE HAVE TO FIND A HOUSE. But not yet! What is the ideal window of time in which to commit to a place for a May 20-ish move-in date???
  6. What happens if I find a good job with a terrible commute? How do we choose a house without any sense of where I’ll be working???
  7. I am going to miss San Francisco so much. I know it will suck every time I see this town on TV. I know that I will have vivid dreams about this place for the rest of my life. It’s so hard and weird leaving somewhere that you love, in the hopes that somewhere else will be even better. What a leap of faith, man.

The list goes on and on, as you can imagine. I’m a Class I worrier planner, so I could do this all day. And then, there are the things that excite me:

  1. The Horse Whisperer’s new job. Y’all. For the past many years, we have had seven weekends off together per year. In this new position, we will have between THIRTY FIVE and FORTY weekends off together per year. Be still my heart.
  2. All of these open weekends mean that we’ll be able to do something we have never, ever done before: weekend mini-trips!!!
  3. The beach, and all its accoutrements.
  4. Getting a dog (possibly after a year).
  5. Eventually buying a house.
  6. Experiencing a new place together (we both lived in SF for a few years before meeting, and I’m excited for everything to be new to both of us at the same time).
  7. Being warm again. I have been cold for nine years. And, although I have adjusted, learned to layer, and even learned to enjoy it at times, I am super excited to be warm.
  8. Reserved parking!!!!!! No more circling around and around our neighborhood in an attempt to park our cars and go home!
  9. San Diego has a growing arts scene, and that is really exciting to me. I like making new things, which is the thing I’ve loved most about my current job. I’m excited by the possibility of working to build something that is fresh.
  10. Change. I love change. I crave it. It feels like life exfoliation. Is that gross?

On a completely different note, is anyone else quivering with anticipation over the premieres of Downton Abbey and Sherlock??? I have put both premiere dates in my calendar. H-dubs is not even remotely interested in Downton, but we both adore Sherlock. We’ve watched every episode about a half dozen times, so we’re pumped for new material.

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2014 Goals

I’m entering into this year with the knowledge that it will be a year of huge changes. It’s very strange to see changes so far in advance; for the past several years, changes have just sort of happened, and I’ve rolled with them. Taking time to prepare myself for them has both upsides and downsides. And, because of this, I’ve decided to focus on four big things this year, with a number of mini-goals to support them.

1. Transition healthfully – the move is going to be a big deal. I’d like to survive it, and all its ancillary pieces, in a good place.

  • disengage from my current job in a way that makes me feel good
  • say goodbye to the people we love in a way that works for us
  • find a new home that provides what we need, and in which we feel comfortable
  • find a new job that challenges and excites me

2. Be the best version of myself – 2013 was not a year of this. In 2014, I want to feel good and proud of who I am most of the time. In particular:

  • laugh more
  • make things
  • be healthy, dealing with issues like allergies, skin problems, and dietary choices in a mature and responsible way
  • be comfortable in my body – move more, and find what makes me feel good

3. Be adventurous – think (and live) outside the box.

  • take a surfing lesson
  • try a new craft (I’d love to try weaving or carpentry. I know… I sound insane.)
  • take a dance class
  • visit Mexico

4. Nurture our marriage – someone recently shared some incredible advice with me, which I’ll share another time. It reframed many, many things. This move brings with it some amazing opportunities to relish our “couple-ness,” so I’d like to:

  • take more pictures together (there are a whopping FOUR photos of us together from 2013. Eep.)
  • develop “couple hobbies”
  • find a balance of work/life/creativity/productivity
  • be a team

Your turn: any big goals for 2014?

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Wrapping up 2013

Never have I ever drifted so far from my yearly goals as this year. And I’m not even sorry. 2013 was, as we’ve established, a doozie. In addition to all of the personal life stuff, work was sort of ridiculous. So, rather than doing an accounting just of the goals that I set for myself in January, I’d rather look at this year in terms of things I actually did versus goals that I scratched off the list.

I did:

  1. Paint the kitchen. It looks really beautiful!
  2. Eat Paleo-ish for one month. I’m getting back to this in the New Year, because I’ve never felt so awesome.
  3. Run/walk a 5K. I did two of these!
  4. Properly store my wedding dress. Fifty bucks solved this problem.
  5. Throw the Horse Whisperer his preferred 35th birthday party. We went out to fancypants dinner with his brother and sister-in-law.
  6. Produced 22 major events at work.
  7. Produced 25 minor (but still important) events at work.
  8. Wrote two ridiculous songs for work (I think this subs in for writing silly poems).
  9. Managed four artist residencies, one of which was for a group of 40 people.
  10. Sold out my Christmas concert series with record numbers.
  11. Co-produced an awesome retirement party for my boss, which I think he absolutely loved.
  12. Handled all of the above work things with an official support staff of zero. (Many of my lovely coworkers stepped in to help in various capacities, but productions of this magnitude usually have a staff of around 12-15 people.) Only lost my #%&! once.

I did not:

  1. Come up with a reasonable budget and stick to it. I came up with said budget, but sticking to it was not in the cards this year.
  2. Do most of the house projects on my list: dealing with curtains, making a functioning closet for our bedroom, or finishing painting the foyer. Once I had an inkling that we were moving, I ceased with the major projects.
  3. Go on another beach vacation. We took several day trips to Stinson Beach, an hour north of here. And I’m so looking forward to living near the ocean. I can’t even tell you.
  4. Host an activity party. I really wanted to do this, but there was never a good time. So much of my year was spent solving crises (either real or manufactured), that there just wasn’t much in me left for planning fun stuff. This is the major thing I want to change for 2014.
  5. Lose the weight I gained over the past three years. I actually put on about five additional pounds. This is how stress works for me. I’m tired of beating myself up about it, and simultaneously hate how my body feels right now. I don’t really have anything else to say about it. I’m pretty bored of discussing and thinking about my weight. It’s not at all the most interesting thing about me, and I hate letting it rule my life. So. That’s that.

I feel like 2013 wasn’t really about self-improvement, or even about sustainability. It was sort of about getting through. I have high hopes that 2014 will be a different story, and I’m working on thinking of my goals a bit differently for the new year. I feel like 2013 kicked many of our butts, but I’d love to know what you thought about your 2013. Did you come close to living through your intentions of this year? Did it surprise you?

 

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A Chapter: San Francisco

I moved to San Francisco in early August. I drove in from the south, watching the temperature hover at a steady 112 degrees. Suddenly, I rounded a corner and saw a line of thick, white cloud pressing down on the land in front of me. The temperature plummeted to 59, and I drove in, literally blind to what was in front of me.

There were cracks in my foundation, and I was doing my very best to ignore them. I left Houston and didn’t think twice as I careened toward San Francisco. The longer I’ve lived here, the more I’ve heard similar stories from other people; San Francisco is the kind of place where you don’t really move with care and deliberation. It’s a place to run to, a place where the misfits have rewritten the rules. It’s a bit like Neverland, accepting lost boys and girls who swear they’ll never grow up, never grow up, never grow up… not me! And it slows time in the strangest way. The seasons and the years bleed together, until suddenly you realize that it’s been nine years.

Nine beautiful years. Nine years of pinching yourself every day, remembering that you have the awesome honor of living here. Nine years of being chilled through to your bones. Nine years of feeling like every day has magic and possibility. Nine years of ignoring how damn difficult every transaction is: getting to work, standing in line to buy groceries, finding parking at 9pm, getting the bulk pack of toilet paper from the store to your house. Nine years of falling in love with a place every single day. 

It all feels like a blink. And yet, when I do the accounting, I see how I grew up, grew up, grew up… meIn that first year, my foundation shattered. I broke my own heart and someone else’s, and took a wrecking ball to a dream I’d nurtured since childhood. I changed every single thing that could change. It took years two and three to reassemble myself. I started this blog. I found other people, online and in real life, who were reflections of myself, who made me feel less weird and alone. I met the Horse Whisperer, and — in years three and four — learned what the word “partner” means. In year five, I found a career that I love and discovered that the things I thought were weaknesses were actually my strengths. Somewhere around year seven, I became a San Franciscan – someone who knows this town like the back of my hand, who can pinpoint exactly which person on the bus is going to make a scene, who can tell you exactly where to get this or that item. And I thought to myself, “This is my place. This is where I’ll grow old. I’m one of the ones who will stay.”

And yet, quietly, somewhere around the eight year mark, I looked around and thought, “I could be ready for the next thing.” It felt like an insidious joke, that first whispered thought. I vehemently denied it, refusing to give it any room to grow. But a few weeks later, there it was again: “I could be ready for the next thing.” And it grew and grew, Jack’s beanstalk tempting me to leave Neverland. I just couldn’t figure out where it was going. “I could be ready,” I kept thinking, but there were other factors. I work in a relatively narrow field, and the Horse Whisperer’s industry is extremely limited. He’d made it clear, in our first month of dating, that there was only one job for which he’d be willing to leave the Bay Area.

Which was why I knew where the beanstalk went the moment that they called.

And so, we are leaving San Francisco. In a few months, we’ll say goodbye to this incredible place that formed us, both as individuals and as a couple. We’ll pack up our house and our hearts, because loving San Francisco doesn’t mean leaving your heart here. We’ll drive south, and we’ll plant new roots in San Diego. And we’ll look back forever, pinching ourselves that we had the amazing privilege of living in San Francisco for nine glorious years.

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Adieu, thirty-two

I’m turning 33 tomorrow. Thank goodness.

Look, I’m not one to wish away time, but 32 has been A Year. But for all its drama, I learned a lot from 32. I guess that’s the tradeoff. A few lessons from this year:

  1. Pick up the phone and call. I’m a terrible phone caller. Intellectually, I realize that calling someone that I love is not an annoyance to them. But on some really primal, visceral level, I get entirely paranoid about calling. I will probably always battle this – I still do, even as I type this – but this year has reminded me, again and again, that it’s always worthwhile to pick up the damn phone. The night before my Memo died, I talked to her on the phone, and I think I’ll be grateful for that for the rest of my life.
  2. Save your money, honey. We hemorrhaged cash this year. Some was planned, most was not. There was (minor, but expensive) surgery, planned and unplanned trips, large-ticket maintenance on things, surprise repairs, outsourcing of professional services, and a let-us-never-speak-of-this-again traffic ticket. And yes, we blew through well over half of our savings account, but at least we had a savings account to destroy. I cannot tell you how thankful I am for that cushion. It was not glamorous saving it up over the past few years, but wow. So, so grateful. (And now, to save it all again. Headdesk.)
  3. Sometimes, hunker down. For part of this year, I was not fit for human consumption. Pretending that I was A-OK was not working. So, I went into slight hibernation. I read many library books. I cooked a whole lot. I set some pretty firm boundaries around my time and space. H-dubs wasn’t the hugest fan of this phase… see number 4…
  4. Admit your s#%t. Finally admitting to the Horse Whisperer that I felt like I was about to have a nervous breakdown wasn’t my favorite conversation ever, but it really helped. For a while, my general not-okay-ness was bleeding over into everything. The hunkering down was annoying for other people. Saying aloud that I felt like I needed this for my basic well-being was a conversation I’d been avoiding. Explaining what was going on helped frame everything as temporary. Poor guy… I think he was starting to think that this was the new status quo.
  5. Choose your partner in life carefully, because when things are tough, they’re your touchstone. Y’all, I can’t stress this enough. After I finally came clean about how I was feeling, the Horse Whisperer became basically the greatest cheerleader in the history of the world. We’ve become such better friends this year, if that makes any sense.
  6. As we grow older, we basically just become more and more concentrated versions of ourselves. Protect that. I’ve suspected this for a long time, but this year really confirmed it. I have realized that it is critical for me to live with intention, thoughtfully considering who and how I want to be in the world. There is a baseline of who I want to be that I have no interest in compromising. When I notice that something is actively preventing me from being the best version of myself, it’s time to cut bait.
  7. Likewise, other people also become more and more concentrated versions of themselves. Expecting otherwise is futile and unfair. That’s all there is to say about that. Love people for who they are instead of who you want them to be, and things get a lot happier and easier for everyone. And again, if Who They Are is forcing me to compromise Who I Am, it may be time to move on.

So, onward to 33. I’ve been excited about this upcoming birthday since I was about seven years old, for reasons that I’ll share tomorrow.

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