On lowering your expectations.

NOTE: Gentlemen, never date a writer if you’d rather not end up as a character in a poem/short story/screenplay/script/novel or fodder for a cheekily-worded blog post.
You’ve been warned.

Is “cynical optimist” an oxymoron? So be it—that’s me. I’ve always had a tendency to look at life situations with a shrewd eye. I’m passionate, but calculated. Strong, yet sensitive. Pragmatic. Determined. And if it sounds like I’m filling out a dating profile … well, we’ll get to that later.

I’m a person you want in your corner when life gets tough or you don’t know which path to take, because I’ve struggled with carving my own path so many times over that friends often come to me when they need an “expert” opinion. As willing as I am to help people whenever asked (and sometimes when not), it definitely puts a bit of pressure on me. I’m no expert. I had no example to follow when I set out to become a journalist in 2010. I had to rough it and man, did I.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the relatively short time I’ve been building my career, it’s not just the fortune cookie sayings of “expect the unexpected” or “everything happens for a reason,” though those old stand-bys are certainly true in some cases. Nope, I would say that you have to prepare yourself for some cold, hard disappointment. And that’s the optimist in me talking. You have to, you guessed it:

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Continue reading “On lowering your expectations.”

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On finding your muse.

I’m used to doing things alone. Apparently doomed to eternal singledom (though I prefer the term “aggressive independence”) and with my friends scattered all over the country—heck, even foreign countries—I’ve been doing things by myself long before I moved 200 miles away from everything comfortable and familiar. It’s never really bothered me. As a writer, you spend a lot of time trapped inside your own head anyway. tumblr_mr0zstuqxj1qdj450o2_250Just you and your thoughts and ideas, picking apart your emotions to figure yourself out, and many an existential crisis. >>

People often mistake solitude for loneliness—usually the people who crave constant validation from others. They hate being alone. They’re uncomfortable spending time with themselves. Those are the ones I feel sorry for—don’t you dare feel sorry for me just because you’ve spotted me flying solo in a movie theater or shopping or, like today, hanging on a park bench people-watching and enjoying the gorgeous weather. Continue reading “On finding your muse.”

On introductions.

Let’s go back in time a bit, shall we?

I was born December 17, 1987, in Freehold, New Jersey … just kidding. Not that far back. No, I want to rewind just two months.

13557903_10100607022898548_1853962814130956190_nTwo months ago, in late June, I was spending my days lying on an idyllic beach in Aruba with my family. I woke up, had my coffee, wandered down to the sand with a good book, and wiled away the hours doing absolutely nothing. I’d been waiting for this respite from the daily bullshit for a long time—things at work were becoming increasingly unpleasant and I’d been waiting and hoping (barely breathing, to be honest) to receive news regarding a big-time job interview. So this break beneath the palm trees should’ve been everything I needed and more.

Instead, I found myself unable to ignore a nearly insurmountable level of stress and I say that as someone who happens to handle stress very well. When we flew home, I discovered that I’d inadvertently lost 8 lbs. on that island. (Some of which was probably from sweating so much, but still.)

13510876_1226719430681033_8972632654416934192_nI’d found out I was about to get fired. And I still hadn’t heard anything back from the job interview. It felt like my life was falling apart and there was nothing I could do but watch. Since this blog is just beginning, most of the readers here will know the details of that sordid story. I made a decision and did what I could to get the cards to fall in my favor. Clearly it worked or I wouldn’t be writing this now and there’s no point in ranting about it all over again. (But stay tuned for a future post about how to turn a potential termination into a swift resignation.)

Skip ahead one month to late July. One month ago today, to be exact, when I was introduced to my next chapter, having slapped the book shut on the last one (and set said book on fire).

Six years (six!) post-grad and finally living in my own apartment. I didn’t just move out, I moved out of the damn state. Close enough for visits, but just far enough to prevent surprise visits. 😉 I landed in a massive nonprofit. A national magazine? No, but a national organization with global reach—and they do have magazines. In fact, I’ve already written for one of them. Writing about entertainment? No, writing about animal welfare. Living in New York? Living outside of D.C. Life’s funny. You don’t always get what you want, but sometimes what you want isn’t what you need. Continue reading “On introductions.”