Party Girl vs. Old Lady: The Weekend Internal Debate

The other week I wrote about the internal debate I have every morning about getting out of bed on time.  The debate wages between the two sides of me in the morning: the side that wants to be productive and go to the gym, and the side that wants to sleep for another hour.  While the productive side usually wins (self high-five), the debate still occurs every single morning.

Over the weekend I realized there is another internal debate that wages in my mind between two opposing sides: the side that wants to go out and be 21 (well, more like 25 – I have money and (slightly more) pride now), and the side that wants to stay in and be 90.  As I make my way towards turning the big 3-0, I struggle between wanting to suck every last glorious moment out of my twenties and wanting to slip slowly into ‘old lady status’.

This is the debate between the two sides that occurred this past Friday night.

It’s Friday night.  You should go out.

No way.  Boyfriend is out which means three words; Drag Race marathon.

You didn’t do anything this week besides go to work and go to the gym.  You should text someone and go out for drinks.

But I’m already home. And I’ve taken my pants off.  There’s no way I’m leaving this couch.

You sound like a old man.  Come on, it will be fun!  You can wear those pleather leggings you’ve worn once.  We spent $50 on those, we should get some use out of them.

But I’m tiiiiiiiired.

You’re always tired!  Make a cup of coffee.  Let’s grab a few drinks.

We can’t do that anymore.  You remember the hangover after the work party a few ago?  Do you want that to happen again??

You are 27 years old.  You can survive a mild hangover.

A, that was not a ‘mild hangover’, that was a ‘this is it, this is how i die’ hangover.  And B, I have spin at 9:30 tomorrow and I want to get to the gym early to stretch.

Listen to you.  Remember when you didn’t even used to leave to go out until 11pm?

Yeah, I do.  Remember when I couldn’t get up in a pile of a snow because I had too many vodka and grape soda’s?  Not a proud moment.

There’s no snow on the ground, it will be fine.

No.  I’m staying here.  I have my drag queens, my coloring book, and my tasty leftovers.  I am not moving.

Fine.  Be old and lame.  When you’re a mom you’re going to look back on these days and think ‘I should have gone out when I had the chance!’

Perhaps.  Until then, I’m quite content with my old lady status*.

Ughhhhhh. Fine.  You win this time.  But we’re watching Season 5.

Deal.
*I redeemed myself that Sunday with a SundayFunday and getting home at midnight on a worknight.  I regretted everything on Monday.

Life Happiness = Work Happiness (Not the Other Way Around)

Today, a very cherished employee left my company.  Not only was she phenomenal at her job (god help her replacement), she was a genuinely great person to have around.  No matter what was going on, she always did her best and kept everyone motivated with a smile on her face.

As she made her rounds saying her good-byes, I thought about how strange it will feel without her warm, positive presence around the office.  Whenever I felt down or self-conscious at work, anytime I had a meeting with her or even saw her in the hallway, her smile always made me feel better.  I’ve worked in eight offices, each with a completely different vibe and energy, and I’ve realized it’s VERY rare to find people who make you smile.

It’s very easy, almost too easy, to let life’s bullshit bring you down, especially at work.  At one of the offices I worked in, it seemed like there were only two people (out of sixty) who didn’t look completely miserable.  For over a year, I was one of them.  I didn’t have the most exciting job, but it caused me zero stress, I made friends in the office, and my paycheck (barely) allowed me to live in my own (tiny) apartment and have fun with my friends.  But somewhere along the way that stopped being enough.  I got this idea in my head that my job defined who I was.  I mean “what do you do?” is usually one of the first things you ask someone when you meet them for the first time.  Suddenly I wasn’t fulfilled by my job and before I knew it, I was miserable at work.  I decided I needed to make a change, so I found a new job in a new city and set out to start a new life.  You know what happened?  I was still miserable.  Even more than I was before.  Thus began, the year of job hopping.  In one year, I had five different jobs at five different jobs.  To my credit, only two of them were full-time, but three of them had the potential to become full-time (the other was freelance because I needed the money).  Every time I switched jobs it was a huge blow to my self-esteem.  If my self-esteem had been a log at that first job, it had been whittled down to a toothpick by the time I got to my current job.

It’s been almost two years since I made the decision to leave that first job, and I finally learned what my problem was – as corny as it sounds, I was putting all my eggs in one basket.  I was looking at my job as not only my identity, but as an indicator of my self-worth.  As I mentioned, my jobs didn’t work out which I internalized as me not working out.  I believed everything that went wrong must have been some reflection of myself.  When you feel that way inside, it’s almost impossible not to show it on the outside.  Even if you don’t realize you’re doing it; if you feel miserable, you probably look miserable.

You know what else I learned?  Happy people avoid miserable people.  Not in the sense that they don’t want to help someone who’s upset.  Think of it this way – if you’re walking down the street and you see someone stomping down the sidewalk looking pissed or upset, you’re probably not going to smile at them and say “good morning!”  I know this is New York so saying “good morning” would be weird even if the person looked happy, but you get what I’m saying.  Frowns and scowls are not inviting.

But what if your job is making you miserable?  Then what do you do?  I never advocate pretending to be happy or forcing a smile.  Forced smiles usually make people look insane.  If you’re stuck at your job until you find a new one or get through a rough patch, do this instead – put it in perspective.  Easier said than I done, I know.  I have to actively do this a lot because I take every single thing WAY too personally, but I swear it helps.

Think about this:

  • Does your job allow you to pay for rent and/or groceries?
  • Does your job give you health insurance or other benefits?
  • Does your job allow you to do fun things with your friends (like going out to dinner) or for yourself (like buying a new shirt)?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then that’s a reason to be happy; you have something that gives you something you want.  Try to look at the things in your life that make you happy and feel good about yourself.  Like I feel really good when I’m out with my friends.  My job allows me the time, since I don’t work 90 hours a week, and the salary to be able to go out for dinner or drinks.  I don’t make enough to do it every night, but then again I wouldn’t want to go out every night.  My job also allows me to pay rent for my apartment which is where I get to spend time doing other things that make me feel happy and important, like writing or cooking dinner for my boyfriend.

It’s taken me two years to realize this and is still something I have to remind myself, but there are lots of things in life to be happy and grateful for, even if one big thing makes you unhappy.  When work makes me feel inadequate and useful, I try to remember that my job title is not my whole identity.  I may be a technical writer, but I’m also a blogger, a whiskey enthusiast, a dancer, a CrossFitter, an animal lover, a cook, and a lot of other things.  I’m lucky to have a job, even when it makes me stressed or upset, because it lets me be some of those things (especially a whiskey enthusiast) and have the freedom and ability to become other things.

If your job is bringing you down, try to focus on what it allows you to do, no matter how small.  That way you’ll feel better about yourself and create a positive environment around you.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be the smiling person that helps other people who are feeling down feel better.

A Bro Chick PSA – Ladies, Be Nice

The nickname “the bro chick” comes from a dear friend of mine.  He gave me the name because of three defining factors:

  • I love whiskey
  • I love football
  • I don’t understand (most) women

“Bro chick” also reflects the fact that I am not a “girly-girl”.  Not that there’s anything wrong with being a girly-girl, it’s just not me.  My friends having lovingly teased me for not knowing how to use a curling iron, for cutting my own hair with kitchen scissors (don’t worry, I washed them before and after), for only owning purses that come from Target, and for always choosing a playoff game over “The Bachelor” (or some other reality dating show).  However, I do wear makeup (sometimes) and I like to wear dresses (mainly because I find shorts horribly uncomfortable and wearing pants is the worst).

While I agree these things separate me and other bro chicks from the girly-girls, they are not what makes one a bro chick; it’s that third bullet point that separates us.

You know what sounds like a nightmare?  A bachelorette party, a bridal shower, or a baby shower.  Why?  Because it’s a group of women talking about things I could give less of a shit about.  I don’t care that your baby learned to walk at nine months (unless you’re related to me – then please send videos).  I don’t care that your fiance got you a ring without inclusions or whatever makes a diamond expensive.  And I’m actually not impressed that you got that dress at Marshalls, I just feign interest to avoid you telling every other woman to ignore me.  Because that’s a thing – it has happened to me before and to this day I don’t know why someone would do that.  It was a dick move.

For whatever reason, most women seem to hate other women.  Perhaps it’s jealousy or insecurity or whatever, but whatever it is it sucks.  I have worked with 99% women and 99% men and guess what?  Working with 99% men was LEAPS AND BOUNDS better than working with that many women.  No one talked my ear off about their expensive handbag or how many calories they had consumed that morning while I was trying to work.  Most importantly – no one threw each other under the bus.

Ladies, this is my main issue and why I actively avoid women I don’t know in social situations – you are mean.  You are mean for no legitimate reason and it sucks.  Just because I’m friends with your boyfriend does not mean that I want to sleep with him.  Just because I wore Uggs out in public does not mean I’m some sort of leper that should be pointed at and given dirty looks.  And just because I have a job that sounds really technical does not mean you should feel threatened by me or instantly label me a “nerd”.

Why is it so hard for women to be nice to each other?  Men don’t seem to have this problem.  Does society pin us against each other?  Can there be only one supreme woman?  Because if there can, it’s Oprah.  We all lost so it’s time we got over it.

So please don’t give me a nasty look when I talk to your boyfriend about the Giants.  It’s not some vindictive way to seduce him.  I’m making conversation because your death stare does not make me want to ask about your shoes. I have wonderful female friends so I know it’s possible for us to get along.  If we took the energy we spent judging, backstabbing, and criticizing each other, we probably would have had a female president 20 years ago.

Take a lesson from the guys and just f*cking relax and be nice.  Not everything is a competition and your friend’s promotion, baby, husband, or 10lb loss does not make you dumber, less likely to get married/pregnant, or fatter.  
Now let’s have a beer and move on.

Silver Linings of Rejection

Today I received my second rejection letter from grad school.  Grad school had always been idea in the back of my mind, so I decided to apply to two Creative Writing MFA programs.  Although I knew my chances were slim (the acceptance rate is 1% – only 6 students were admitted), I still had hope that I would be the 1% that got in.  Alas, something I really, truly wanted didn’t happen.  C’est la vie.  The first rejection letter, which I received two weeks ago, really hurt but the second one didn’t.  In fact, it actually made me feel good.  Well, after the initial “f*ck grad school, what a huge waste of time that would have been, creative writing programs are dumb” feeling wore off.  I get to stay at my job and keep working for an amazing company, and I don’t have to try to persuade my boyfriend to move to the middle of nowhere for two years.  That’s not all, I’m also taking away three important things:

It redirected my focus

Before I applied to grad school I was feeling very overwhelmed.  Everything in my life seemed to make me feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and lost.  I felt like I was rudderless and couldn’t focus my energy on one thing I actually wanted.  When the idea of grad school popped into my mind, it allowed me to concentrate on the one thing I really want to do but had lost sight of; write a book.  If I ever felt stressed from work or city life (which was often), I thought about grad school and living in a completely different place.  Even though I’m not going to grad school or moving (at least not any time soon), that ‘mental break’ thinking about grad school gave me was well worth the whole process.

I took the GRE

I’m sure most people look at this as a horrific experience I had to endure with no reward, but I don’t see it that way.  Was the GRE unpleasant?  Hell yeah – I had to sit in a room for four hours and answer questions that in no way, shape, or form tested my knowledge, but rather tested my ability to study for the GRE.  Even though that SUCKED, something pretty great happened from the experience; I learned I can still do math.

That may sound insignificant or stupid, but I legitimately thought I no longer knew how to do math (minus addition and subtraction).  My math scores were exponentially higher than I anticipated as were my writing scores (although I wasn’t too surprised with my high essay score – I mean, come on).  It felt really good to know that my brain has not melted over the past 6 years since I last took a test.

I started writing something important

Although I consider all of my writing important, I started writing something that could become the most significant thing I’ve ever written (fingers crossed); my book.  For years I’ve known I wanted to write a book, but I didn’t know how I wanted to focus all of the millions of thoughts and ideas buzzing around my mind.  Preparing a writing sample for grad school gave me the opportunity to organize, plan, and start the story that I’ve been dying to get out.  So keep a look out for chapters or excerpts that may appear on this blog or one of my other blogs.

The schools were in Wisconsin and Wyoming so it looks like I’ll be staying on the east coast…for now at least.  I actually really wanted to move to Madison, but after keeping a careful eye on their weather this past winter, perhaps it’s for the best that I won’t live somewhere where -25 is a realistic (and common) temperature.
If there’s anything you’ve ever wanted to try or secretly dreamt about doing, I highly suggest you give it a shot.  Even if you don’t get it, the things you do get as a result of the process could lead to something even better.

My Daily Internal Debate

It’s time to get up.

5 more minutes.

If you don’t get up now, you’re not going to have time to get your lunch and your clothes for work ready.

There are clothes in my gym bag, I can just wear those.

Ew that’s gross. No, get a clean sports bra.  And don’t forget to pack a regular bra! You can’t keep buying new ones at Victoria’s Secret.

That was one time!  And it was the semi-annual sale!  Jeeze.

You’re running out of time.  You know how frantic you get when you give yourself five minutes to get out of bed, dressed, packed, and out the door.

I have plenty of time. It’s only 7:05am.

No, it’s 7:15am.

Fuck.

You have to be out the door at 7:30 if you want to make it to the gym on time.

Ugh, I don’t feel like going.

You say that now, but when you stand up you’ll want to go.

Let me check the website and see what the workout is. Ugh, we just did front squats.  I’m going to cancel.

No, go to the gym.  You ate half a bag of jelly beans last night.  We said we weren’t going to do that anymore.

But I’m tiiiiiiiiiired.  And it’s cold outside.  And I don’t have the mental energy to deal with Atlantic Terminal right now.

Get up.  Don’t you want to eat some jelly beans when you get home?

…yeah.

If you don’t go to the gym you’re going to feel sluggish and grumpy.  And let’s be honest, you’re still going to eat the jellybeans.  You’ll feel better if you workout.

Bah. What time is it?

7:25.

I still have five minutes to decide.

But then you won’t have time to get ready.  Goddamnit you know how times works!

 
Alright!  I’m getting up.  You win again.

Irrational (and Slightly Rational) Fears

I know I’m not alone in having fears that some may consider irrational.  I should probably be concerned with fears that most people have, like terrorism, disease, and nuclear warfare.  But for whatever reason, those don’t bother too much.  I’m certainly not in favor of them, but I don’t actively fear them.  Instead, I’m over here thinking of strategies of what to do if I ever come in contact with a hippo (do I pet it or run?) or what if it starts snowing one day and never, ever stops.  What then, world?

I decided to confront these fears and rank them from most likely to happen to highly unlikely.  Hopefully this will help me overcome them…someday.

Getting pushed into the subway tracks

Actually, this isn’t irrational at all…this happens.  I’m actually surprised it doesn’t happen more often based on how packed the subway platforms can get.  I’m still shocked I survived the E platform the day before Thanksgiving last year.

Water going up my nose

This is still a chance I take every time I swim in the ocean…so I still hold my nose like a child when I dive under a wave.  That’s right, I’m almost 30 and I take the safety precautions of an 8 year old.  Have you ever had salt water go up your nose?  It’s like snorting hot sauce.  Any sort of water near my nose is upsetting to me.  I can’t even put my face under the shower, I need to gather water in my hands and splash my face with it.  The idea of neti pot truly disturbs me.

Dropping my giant mug of tea on a coworker and/or their computer

Due to how clumsy I am, this could happen.  My open office is an obstacle course of desks, chairs, and people having stand-up meetings.  Since the water that comes out of our water cooler could melt the flesh off your skin, I would feel really bad if I dumped a huge mug of it on someone.  And I’m pretty sure I would be stoned to death for spilling something on a computer.  At least it would smell like peaches…

Getting stuck in an elevator when I have to pee

I have walked up the 6 flights of stairs to my apartment instead of taking the elevator when I really had to pee.  I refer to the mad dash to the bathroom as a “photo finish” when it’s really bad and you juuuust make it.  You know what I’m talking about.  Like not another second could have gone by or you would have peed yourself.  I fear that one time I’ll be stuck in an elevator when this happens and there will no other choice then to do the unspeakable.

Wanting another drink at a restaurant and the server never coming back

I know it’s unlikely that my server will up and quit mid-meal and the restaurant won’t send a replacement.  But what if that happens right before someone is about to make a toast and no one has refilled my glass?  You can’t cheers with an empty glass and using a water glass is stupid.  It’s also frowned up to sneak up to the bar and order a drink while you’re eating at a table.  What then?!

A pigeon flying into my apartment and not being able to get it out

Ever since my window sill was overtaken by pigeons a few years ago and I gained insight into their sadistic bird world, I have feared having one enter my home.  I feel like I wouldn’t be able to catch it and killing or hurting it is not an option, so I would be reduced to trying to coerce it out the window.  But then what if more pigeons came in and suddenly my apartment was overtaken by pigeons? I guess I would just have to move.

And finally…

Sloths

I. F**king. Hate. Sloths.  I know they’re very in right now and people find them adorable, but they just terrify me.  I feel like they’re not really that slow, it’s all just a sick game to make us think they’re harmless.  We’ll all be like “silly sloths, they’re so slow and lazy haha.”  But the sloths knows better. They’re lurking, waiting, to make their move and destroy the humans.  That’s why they’re always doing that creepy smile thing.  Plus, they grow f**cking algae on their fur!  What is that about?  Is it some form of protection or adaption?  How is no one else disturbed by this?  I’m onto to you, you stupid plant mammal.

Also, they basically have knives for hands.  Not ok.

Now that I think of it, I also fear…

Leaving my hair straightener on and my apartment burning down…even though I haven’t used my straightener in 2 years…

Dropping (and smashing) a good bottle of whiskey.  Or really any whiskey.  What a travesty that would be.

Being attacked by pigeons on my way to work, like in the movie ‘The Birds’.

Lunar moths.  You want to see a (sort of) adult hide in a corner?  Bring me to a butterfly house that some monster has released these in.

It’s amazing I’ve made it this far.

5 Ways to Survive Work With a Hangover

Whether you went out to happy hour with your co-workers, had a boozy dinner party with friends, or polished off that magnum bottle of wine by yourself faster than anticipated; being hungover on a weekday is the worst.  There are few things more unpleasant than waking up with the spins, a pounding headache, and dry mouth only to realize you have minutes to get out the door, get to your job, and try to be an adult.

As someone who has had their fair share of rough mornings, I’ve discovered five things you can do combat your lapse in judgement and survive the workday.

1. Take a shower

Do this before you leave for work…obviously.  This is something I swear by. Not only because you want to wash the makeup, smell of booze, and shame off of you, but because it feels awesome.  There’s something about a hungover shower that is so rejuvenating.  After my office Christmas party, I woke up with 5 minutes to get out of my apartment so I had to forgo my revitalizing shower.  I went to the gym on my lunch break that day not to sweat out the booze, but to stand in the shower for 30 minutes. It was amazing.

2. Eat something greasy and keep the fluids coming

If you normally stick to a healthy breakfast or lunch, throw all your fears of trans-fats, sugar, and gluten to the wind. Today, that double bacon, egg, and cheese on a bagel is your friend.  Make sure to stock your desk with plenty of fluids – iced coffee (no matter what season it is), purple Vitamin Water, and plain old water should keep you hydrated and alert.  Just keep in mind that this may send a signal to some of your coworkers that you overindulged last night.  I got called out for being hungover at work when I showed up to a 30 minute meeting with a bottle of water, a massive cup of green tea, and a vitamin water.  Speaking of coworkers…

3. Stay away from anyone who can fire you 

Fortunately for me, I’ve seen my boss hungover more than once at work and there’s an unspoken understanding in our office.  After our summer party, only ⅓ of the office showed up to work the next day (who puts a party with an open bar on a Tuesday?). However, I have worked at other companies where it was frowned upon for employees to come in smelling like beer and to wear sunglasses all day.  During those days, I would eat lunch at my desk to avoid having to try to speak coherently with my boss in the lunchroom.  I would also walk in and exit with my headphones on to avoid any unwanted small talk.

4. Take a nap or go for a walk

I miss my car.  There was nothing like a 15 minute power nap to help me make it through the day.  Even if the admin did catch me and judge the hell out of me one time, it was still worth it.  If you have a car, I urge you take advantage of the luxurious back seat for a quick snooze to replenish your energy. Sadly, I take the subway to work now so that’s no longer an option. Instead, I walk around the city to jolt me awake.  Something about dodging men in suits glued to their iPhones and smelly homeless people recharges me like my former car naps did once upon a time.  The fresh air helps too…unless it’s summer.  If it’s 90 degrees inside stay inside and avoid windows. The sun is your enemy.

5. Learn from your mistakes

Showing up to work hungover is unprofessional and could cost you your job. If you work in a school, doctor’s office, or other job where your actions have a direct impact on other people, you should definitely drink in moderation during the week (save your bender for the weekend).  If you work in tech, however, save your weekday binge drinking for company events.  That way multiple people will be hungover and you can just blend into the crowd.  Also, drink plenty of water, take some ibuprofen, and remember that doing shots during the week is a terrible idea…even if your boss pays for them.

Growing Older…and Loving It

My late twenties are aggressively different from my early twenties.  I’ve said goodbye to the days of waiting on line to get into a bar or wearing heels without having flip flops in my purse, and hello to early morning spin classes and farmer’s markets.  And you know what?  I’m not ashamed of it.  I still enjoy the occasional late night out but I legitimately prefer going to bed before 11:30 (10:30 on weeknights) and replacing my white wine night cap with peach sleepy-time tea. There are certain things I did in years past that just don’t fly now…and I’m ok with that.

Not wearing a coat out to a bar

If it’s cold I’m wearing a goddamn coat. I will hold it and complain that I refuse to pay to check my coat, like an adult.

Dressing provocatively

Although I’m in a serious relationship, I feel fairly confident that my opinion on this would not change – seeing my boobs in a privilege. Not everyone on the street gets that privilege.

Getting too drunk to get myself home

The days of being luggage are long gone. Not only are they inconvenient and dangerous (plus really not appreciated by friends/ S.Os), but the next day hangover is just out of control.*

*Ok so at my company summer party I couldn’t do it…but that was one time. I’m not perfect.

Sleeping past 9:30am on the weekends

The day might as well be over. Plus all the good produce at the farmer’s market is gone by 10:30am.

Staying up past 1:30am ever

The next day is shot. Plus I’ve noticed I physically start to feel like crap and will be super cranky the next day if I stay up past 1:30am. Especially if I eat drunk pizza….I’m like a gremlin.

Buying cheap clothes

A real paycheck means I should buy real boots that don’t have cardboard soles.

Going out Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night

It’s just too much.  One hangover is bad enough, but two or even three in a row?  I can’t even.  I have no shame in staying in on a weekend night.

Dating inappropriate people

Again, I’m in a serious relationship, but he is an incredible partner. He’s smart, funny, caring and he even has a 401k and a Life Insurance policy. Were I single, I would aim for someone with a job, less that 2-3 roommates, and a hobby that was not drinking or video games.

Eating/drinking crap

This isn’t even a vanity thing, I seriously feel like garbage if I don’t eat well.  Weekend binges of beer, wings, and pizza leave me filled with agita and regret.

Even though I’ve said goodbye to my early twenties and am creeping ever closer to my thirties, I feel pretty good.  I’m still in that sweet spot where my disposable income can go to shopping and good whiskey instead of diapers and a mortgage. Not too shabby.