Tag Archives: nyc

A Message From the Universe, or Why I’m Abandoning Mental Plans

9 Apr

Back in October of last year, I finally admitted to myself that I was ready to leave Manhattan. Well, that I was ready to start being ready to leave. Baby steps, you know?

I created this grand Mental Plan involving quitting my job at the four-year mark and moving out to Chicago. The timeline for this Grand Mental Plan had me staying with my job through May 2012 and peacing out sometime this summer.

But then I got laid off in December.

So I adjusted my Mental Plan. I decided the universe didn’t want me to follow through with the plan and that I was meant to stay in New York City for another year. I got a new apartment and found a new job by the end of January and committed to spending 2012 right here in NYC. I even wrote an essay about the experience – that’s how well I convinced myself I’d be satisfied with the new direction my life was heading in.

Anyway, I continued taking baby steps. The new apartment, new neighborhood, new roommate, new job and all that came with it? Those changes satiated my restlessness for, oh, about five or six weeks.

My mind kept wandering, though. I felt that itch to leave, but this time it was even stronger than before. And when I let my mind wander, it didn’t go to Chicago. It went farther than I’ve allowed it to go – all the way to Los Angeles. So I created a new Mental Plan. I’d continue at my (new) job through the end of the year, finish out my lease, and then hopefully relocate and keep my job. I vocalized this plan to a close friend on Wednesday night, on March 28.

The next morning, I posted this – alluding to a big life change that I couldn’t yet disclose.

An hour later, I got laid off. Again.

The world swam before my teary eyes; my head filled with cotton; I lost my footing once again as the floor was ripped out from under me. Panic set in as I felt myself floating through my life, again with no control over anything.

But after a few hours of deep breathing, lots of tears, and several blubbering phone calls, I forced myself to gain a little perspective. I forced myself to face the brutally honest gut feeling I’d had from the moment I knew I was losing my job:

Relief.

I was relieved! I was freed from the ties keeping me here; I could do anything, go anywhere.

Messages from the universe – fate, destiny, whatever you want to call it – are nothing more than your own perception of your circumstances. Sometimes, though, your perception of the circumstances aligns perfectly with that deep-down desire you’ve been too scared to act on.

That’s what happened to me. I don’t believe I can be laid off from two different jobs in under four months and NOT create a life that is a total departure from the one I’m currently living. Mental Plans just goad the universe into challenging them; I feel like I’ve been dared to take the giant leap.

Here’s the thing about baby steps that no one tells you: They don’t get you anywhere. They’re certainly safer and far less scary than a big jump, but even babies learn to run eventually. Most recently, Doniree compared it to ripping off a band-aid; there’s a mental disconnect between picking up your foot and actually leaping.

Well, some of us learn important life lessons by pole dancing. I get laid off.

Either way, I’m ripping off the band-aid, taking a giant leap forward, abandoning any pretense of having even a clue as to what I’m doing. I’m leaning into the utter terror I feel at uprooting the life I’ve known for years – and I’m moving to Los Angeles.

Flirting Fail

14 Mar

Last week, I introduced you to the concept of the Two Prong Dating Approach, in which – as you know – I am one of the two prongs involved. Aside from the two adventures C and I are planning, I’m also trying to be more outgoing and flirtatious with gents I actually find attractive. (I’m very good at being flirtatious with gents I do not find attractive, which really never works out in my favor. Or theirs.)

Anyway, one evening I find myself at some bar for happy hour with friends. I lean against the bar to order a drink and – lo and behold – the bartender is gorgeous. Tall, dark hair, light eyes … and an accent! I was obviously immediately in love and, since I’d had three Bud Lights, was tipsy enough to have the confidence to flirt completely shamelessly.

I decide the perfect approach will be to highlight my sporty-girl prowess to this Euro-Hottie. And the subsequent (fairly one-sided) flirtation goes like this:

“So, where are you from?” I could already tell he was Irish, but I wanted to play it cool.

Irishness confirmed, I continue, “Are you a football fan?”

Predictably, he asks me to clarify whether I mean “my” football or “his.” Feeling extra cool at this point, I smile and say I mean his. Sadly, he says he isn’t really a fan.

I play out my disappointment with what I’m sure is a charming grin and say, “That’s too bad! We’re going to watch the football game on Saturday!”

Confused, he asks me to clarify what the hell I’m talking about.

“You know, the game! It’s Ireland and Scotland! You should come and help us cheer for Ireland.” At this point, I’m just thrilled with my superior European sports knowledge and pretty much on top of the world.

Until he looks at me with a look that perfectly combines pity, amusement, and something else that suggests I’m about to be very embarrassed.

“Um,” he says, “That’s a rugby game.”

Sorry, but this post is all about dead animals. In a funny way, I swear.

9 Mar

Every night for the past three months, I’ve gone to sleep listening to a yelling cat. This thing yells and yells outside my window for hours. Just like this. I swear.

I call him The Dying Cat, but clearly he’s not dying since he’s been yelling about who knows what for months on end.

At first, I was nervous about the cat. What if he really was a dying cat? I mean, like, what if there was this starving stray cat yelling outside my window? I’m not nervous about the cat coming in my room – I’m on the fourth floor and I know cat’s can’t jump that high. I’m concerned the cat will die and I’ll be all the way up here listening to it yell itself to death.

You know how I feel about dirty mice dying in my bedroom; can you imagine the trauma I’d suffer if this poor cat was just starving and yelling to death outside? I’d probably enter some kind of catatonic state of horror. Or maybe I’d take up yelling just like the cat did. (Like it does. Since it’s not dead.)

But anyway, the cat’s totally not dying. He’s just angry about something. Or maybe he just has a lot to say?

Here’s the other thing. I’ve never seen The Dying Cat. He’s like this mysterious dying cat ghost, except ghosts are already dead and this cat’s probably not even sick.

Also you can’t see outside in the dark when the lights are on inside. So maybe that has something to do with it, too.

My main point here is that lately there have been a lot of dying animals around me. I mean, maybe I’m exaggerating since there’s really just been one dead animal in my vicinity in my entire life, excluding roadkill, but who counts the roadkill they see? Do people do that?

I’m sorry, what was I talking about? Right. The Dying Cat outside my window.

What I’d really like to know is this: If this cat isn’t just angry, but if he’s already dead and he’s also angry, then what did I do to deserve being haunted by an Angry Dying Cat Ghost?

Wine & Love v.4

8 Mar

Hosted by Nora

I missed last week’s Wine & Love post and actually considered skipping this week, too. Life has been infringing on my writing time! I decided, though, that it’s far more important to me to make this a real priority. Perspective is integral to maintaing my own sanity, so without further ado …

… Wines …

  • I’m feeling restless again. My new job and new apartment sated me for a while, but apparently not long enough. I’m trying to figure out what I need to change (my location? my mindset?) to still my itching-to-go legs.
  • This week has been insanely busy. Between work and hectic social plans, I’ve had almost no time for myself and I think my body’s angry at my neglect.
  • I’m at a point where I feel very torn between the sentimental value of all my things and the undeniable impulse to get rid of all of it. This is both new and frustrating and I’m not sure where to go from here.

… Loves …

  • I’ve been having weekly Skype dates with Katie! It (almost) feels like we’re hanging out for real.
  • I successfully surprised Adam for his 25th birthday. He was so shocked and excited and we had so much fun celebrating! (Aside from the part where he blacked out and almost broke his foot. That’s probably in his “Wine” column this week.)
  • Despite the chaos, I’m so happy to have gotten to connect with some of my favorite people. Friends from college, old jobs, and my stepsister all made it onto my social calendar this week!
  • Being a vegetarian for March – so far, so good! Maybe I’ll dub this Meatless March. (Why did I just think of that?)
  • The Hunger Games (!) and the Kindle app for my iphone (!). Enough said.

As usual, go link up with Nora and let us both know what you’re loving and w(h)ining about this week!

That Time I Skyped With Amazonian Tea Farmers

7 Mar

So, C and I decided back in January that we were going to go on two “out of the box” adventures every month. The point is to meet new people – who are hopefully attractive gents who’d like to date us. We’re calling the plan “The Two Prong Dating Approach, In Which We Are The Prongs.”

For February, one of the adventures was originally a (free) tour of the Chelsea Brewery. Always the creative thinker, C had other ideas for us. “Why don’t we go to this Spanish Speakers Meetup in Brooklyn?” she suggested innocently.

I kindly reminded her that I speak approximately 12 words of Spanish, ten of which are numbers.

“Don’t you think that might be a little awkward for me?” I replied, wishing we could stick to beer, which would at least be in a language I could comprehend.

She’s persuasive, though, and sent me details – something about tea farmers and the Amazon and Skype. At the very least, this would be hilarious. At the most, it would actually be fun. I soon acquiesced, having pretty much no idea what I was getting myself into.

The Saturday in question rolled around and we trekked our way out to Brooklyn. Really, it wasn’t so much of a trek as a 15 minute subway ride, but still. Brooklyn feels far away. It felt even more foreign when we showed up at the address listed on the event website …

If this isn't exactly what you imagine when you imagine a Typical Abandoned Brooklyn Warehouse, then you need to amend your imagination.

Seriously, this place appeared to be some kind of abandoned warehouse. “Whatever happens, this was YOUR choice,” I reminded C, laughing but also confused, curious, entertained, and slightly freaked out.

We walked through the front door and through an unheated, eery-as-hell hallway. I’m talking – there were mannequin torsos and detached limbs strewn about, scraps of fabric and old rugs, dilapidated chairs and tables. Going up the creepy elevator, I was fairly certain we were in some kind of horror movie.

But then it all transformed! We walked into a cozy (still warehouse-y, still very Brooklyn) open space that clearly served as several offices/headquarters. But it was heated! And not creepy!

And…everything was in Spanish. I smiled and nodded and laughed along with the crowd until someone started asking me questions and all I could do was stand there. Mute. Because, you know, when you go to a Spanish Speakers Meetup, everyone assumes you speak Spanish.

SHOCKER.

Anyway, C did her best to translate and I was actually quite entertaining to most people as I stood, grinning and mute, in the middle of the room. We got to Skype with legit tea farmers in Ecuador, which was hilarious to me only because I could understand none of what they were saying.

We drank the tea and even got to take a box home for ourselves. I flirted shamelessly with the company’s founder (in English) before I found out he was living with his girlfriend. C chattered coherently to everyone but me in her fluent Spanish.

And so we launched our Two Prong Approach – in which we are the prongs – in an old warehouse in Brooklyn drinking tea virtually hanging out with Amazonian tea farmers.

I’m calling it a success, since I couldn’t understand a word anyone said. I assume they all loved me.

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