Wednesday, November 4, 2015

goal: write a little every day

in journalism school, i received the best advice for being a writer. i heard it over and over again: in order to become a better writer, read and write. read the work of great writers. read newspapers, books, magazines, reviews, blogs. read voraciously. and write; practice your craft. experiment. journal. write publicly and privately. work on projects large and small, professional and so personal they may never see the light of day.

somewhere in the midst of my transition from professional writer to business professional, i stopped writing. i didn't make writing a priority and so i just stopped doing it. i was burned out by the daily toil and stress of pumping out endless blog posts, so i just stopped opening my computer. but i stopped writing daily professionally five years ago. i stopped writing professionally altogether three years ago. and in the time since, i have longed to return to it, at least privately. i keep journals that i write in sporadically. and last summer i worked on a personal blog that i kept up for three months, before my full time job took over my life.

over the past year, i came up with the idea to start a new writing project. i do think that project will come to fruition, but some things going on in my personal life have caused me to push my timeline back. it's fine. i want to get to place where i long to write again, and then i want to enjoy myself. i don't ever want it to feel like its a burden again. i have loved writing since i was very young, but making it my career and livelihood took the joy out of it. i want to feel that joy again. i want my writing to be an emotional release and an artistic expression.

i want to get back into the habit of writing often. i want to exercise a muscle that has atrophied. so, i'm setting a new goal for myself: write a little every day. it can be one or two lines or thousands of words if i'm feeling ambitious. it can be written publicly in this forum or somewhere else. or it can be privately, for my eyes only. it can be about something interesting or serious or totally fluffy and superfluous. i just want to do it and make it consistent.

so, here i go.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

the best of 2014

this week we said goodbye to 2014. and i looked back on this year that was and thought of its enormity and importance in my life. so much was accomplished and enjoyed this year; so much celebrated and achieved. loved ones of mine lost loved ones of theirs, but as the year closed, all my loved ones were healthy and happy, something I have learned is precious and lucky.

i can't say what 2015 will bring -- for better or worse -- but i can commemorate 2014 as a year that was good to me and one i lived to the fullest. i started out the year taking a personal leadership class, which made me think about taking better care of myself mentally and emotionally. i learned about the importance of meditation and taking time for myself, my family and friends.

2014 was....

the year i graduated from columbia business school and completed my mba

the year we celebrated being married one year and enjoyed being newlywed and married the whole year

the year we spent the summer in westhampton and ginger went to the beach for the first time

the year I started work full time in business development and shawn started a new job, too

the year i went to cuba

the year i learned to golf

the year we went to napa and i started to really love and appreciate wine

the year ginger overcame her chronic carsickness and lyme disease, and spent summer weekends in a backyard without a fence -- yet she didn't run away or into the road

the year i started to remember how much i miss writing and i wrote this blog

the year i visited friends around the country and met all their new babies

so here's to 2015. i see more work, more wine, more travel and more people having babies in the new year.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

gratitude: day seven

i think it's no surprise that day seven of my gratitude challenge lands on a day on which i typically have trouble finding anything to be grateful for at all. i don't believe in coincidences. i think this is a message from someone special to me who the world lost 13 years ago today. he's telling me to stay positive and fight hard, the way he did when he was my basketball coach when i was 12.

today i am grateful for this gratitude challenge. i'm grateful for the reminder to find things to be grateful for, even on a momentously sad day like september 11.

i am grateful for the things in my life that still remind me of randy on a regular basis: seeing someone on the street who looks like him, spending time with his wife and daughters (which i don't do often), looking up at the freedom tower while walking around new york. last weekend, my first round of golf ever in my life was played at the course where my dad and randy's other friends donated a bench in his honor. i am grateful i finally got to see it and play the hole he loved so much. and when my dad stepped up to tee off on that hole, he drove his ball straight into a lake. "that's randy just saying hi, letting you know he's still here with you," i said.

i am grateful for everyone who reached out to me today, and every september 11 in years past. thank you for your kind words, texts, emails and calls. sometimes they make me even more sad. they make it feel more real in some way. sometimes i don't know how to react or reply to people who are doing the only thing they know how to make me feel loved and supported. so i just say thank you.

lastly, i am grateful to have known randy, even for such a short time. he was taken from this world too soon, but i'm so lucky that he had such a big impact on me and my family while he was alive. i'm lucky i got to hear his laugh and hear his booming voice cheering for me as i played field hockey in high school. his loss left a hole in so many lives and hearts. not a day goes by that i don't feel his loss, but today it is palpable.

my thoughts and prayers are with all those who perished 13 years ago today, their families, their friends and their communities. we can never forget because our lives will never be the same.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

gratitude: day six

today i'm thinking of people who helped me as i struggled through challenging and difficult times in my life. so, today i'm grateful for:
  • my business school learning teammates, john, ari, olga and jay: we were a motley crew of business school students but somehow we made it work, we all got along and no one failed out. seriously, though, i credit these four people with the fact that i didn't flunk out or give up my first semester of business school -- it was that tough. but these four are among my favorite people. global pants pride!
  • my roommates from 20i: in my last apartment before i moved in with shawn, i was lucky enough to find friendship, support and fun at a time in my life when i really needed all of that. i'm so grateful to melanie, marisa and michelle for collectively being the best three roommates a girl could ask for.
  • my therapist: since starting to see her in 2011, my therapist aleyda has become a rock in my life. i attribute my mental well-being to her, as well as the reason i am in such a functional relationship with shawn today. she also has told me from day one that practicing gratitude can help improve your attitude towards yourself and your world, and i couldn't agree with her more.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

gratitude: day five

all the things i've listed in the past four days have been things i'm genuinely grateful for every day. i'm surprised i keep finding new things to be grateful for, but of course i continue to be grateful for everything i've already listed on a regular basis, too! i'm overwhelmed by the many blessings i have in my life that i want to give thanks for. i now see that that's the whole point of this gratitude challenge.

today i'm grateful for:
  • my walk to work: i'm happy not to be a slave to the subway, at least for the foreseeable future. walking 30 minutes a day is a blessing when the weather is as nice as its been the past couple days and i get some time to think or make phone calls. getting out in the city and walking around has also made me feel more healthy, and i've been walking a few extra blocks out of my way every morning to get a healthy smoothie for breakfast every morning!
  • d is for doggy doggie daycare: shawn and i have been so lucky to find such a caring place to bring ginger a couple times a week for daycare. it's close to our apartment, the people love ginger, she loves being there and, best of all, they have a video feed that allows me to watch ginger during the day when she's there! its perfect for a neurotic loving doggie mama like me.
  • my cousin, bri: since she's also doing this gratitude challenge, bri wrote something really sweet about me today, so i thought i would return the favor. i am grateful for her love and friendship every day of my life! she is an amazing, genuine person and an incredible mom. she has been such a pillar of strength for her sisters and family, even as she's dealt with her own share of adversity, challenges and tragedy. i want to emulate her calm and laid back attitude, and look half as gorgeous as she does. i don't have any sisters, but she is the closest thing i have, and i am so grateful that our moms were close so that we had the opportunity to spend so much of our childhood together. and now that we're both grown up, i am so sad i don't get to see more of her. that's yet another goal i have for myself in the coming you brini!

Monday, September 8, 2014

gratitude: day four

today it struck me, out of the blue, that 10 years ago i was just starting my senior year of college! the tenth anniversary of my college graduation is just nine months away!

fall brings back so many memories, good and bad. because fall marks the start of school, it always seems like fall is the season of new beginnings. i graduated from high school and moved to boston to go to college 13 years ago; september 11 happened 13 years ago this Thursday; life changed for me and my family and it will never be the same again. the fall is also the time of year that my mother's father passed away, 10 years ago, and my father's mother, 6 years ago today. yet three years ago, i applied for business school in the fall, and two years ago i started at columbia. last year in late summer, i married shawn, and our young marriage started after we returned from our honeymoon on labor day weekend. so, my relationship with fall is a complicated one.

with all these memories and milestones swirling around in my head, here is what i am grateful for today:

  • my grandmother, josephine ernst, who passed away 6 years ago today. whenever something big and important happens in my life i still feel a sense of loss because i'm not able to call her up and tell her about it. i missed her so much at my wedding and when i was going through all the planning -- she would have loved it all so much. i also miss her cooking constantly -- especially these anisette cookies she used to make me every christmas at my request. i can't seem to get the recipe right without her around (and they're really bad for you anyway). but i also feel so lucky to have had such a genuinely loving, caring, fiercely loyal and selfless grandmother, who contributed greatly to who i became as a woman. i can feel her in my attitude and opinions and i see her everyday when i look in the mirror. as my dad said in his eulogy for her (which i helped him write), i know she is waiting in heaven for us all with a giant pot of gravy and meatballs. because she knows we'll be hungry when we get there, and its important that we're all fed.
  • my friends from college, especially jennifer, jodi and nicole, who i'm so lucky to still be close with today. college was such a transformative and influential time in my life -- like it is for so many people. i'm so lucky to still be good friends with these incredibly accomplished, driven and intelligent women. one day we'll rule the world.
  • new york city - the only place that has felt like home since i left my parents' house at 18. i can't believe its been nearly 9 years since i moved here officially. plus, i love nyc in the fall!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

gratitude: date three

today was anther long day and i'm tired, but i committed to doing this gratitude thing, so here it is. today i am grateful for:
  • my dog, who reminds me daily to put my own needs second to hers. yes, it's late and i'm tired and just want to go to bed, but ginger needs a bath so i have to give her one, and dry her off, and put her tick medication on her. it's exhausting being a doggie mama to a hyperactive, demanding, often sickly tiny dog. but i love that dog so much, i think nothing of putting her own well being before my own. that's love.
  • shawn, my dad and will for humoring me today, giving me tips and advice and showing me a good time during my first time on a golf course! what a fun day today. i think i might really be starting to like golf now. though i still think its a ridiculous game, spending most of the day riding around in a cart searching for your ball.
  • my parents, for always being willing to watch ginger for me.