Tag Archives: generational angst

A Hard Time

I am having a hard time right now thinking of anything to write about.

To blog about, first of all. I think about things in my life I can blog about and then remember that I already have. I could blog about my trip to New York over Memorial Day weekend and how I saw Come From Away, Waitress, and Anastasia, plus ate some great food, but would that post really be much different from this post, or this one, or this one? I guess I can always do my Song of the Moment and Playlist of the Moment posts and pick up I Read Books again. I suppose there will always be movies and TV shows to write about. I could keep doing the Links of the Week, and I’m sure at some point I will, but those will inevitably include current events, which are just depressing me right now.

It’s a too-familiar feeling, this type of depression. What’s happened, you ask? Well, nothing. Nothing is happening. I still don’t have the three things I want the most. I still fear things staying the same. I still wonder if I really deserve love. I’m still not a very nice person. I’m still lonely. I’m still searching for someone to tell my stories to.

It’s all been done.

I’m having a hard time thinking of anything to write about outside of this blog. I don’t know when it happened, but at some point I became a writer who doesn’t write. I’ve lost confidence in the ideas I have, lost faith in the idea that I could ever really write something that other people would enjoy.

I am having a hard time making myself do the things I know I should do: write, cook, exercise, go to bed early, socialize. I am having a hard time accomplishing any of the goals I’ve set for myself. I am having a hard time looking at myself in the mirror, or at happy couples I see in public. I am having a hard time being happy for anyone who finds love or has a baby. I am having a hard time taming the negative thoughts raging inside me.

I am having a hard time right now.

Thirty-Not-So-1derful

I turn thirty-one tomorrow. I know everyone groans a bit about turning another year older, but honestly, this birthday has me upset.

 

I have had an incredibly rough couple of months. There was the five-day oasis of the Grand Cayman trip (which, yes, I will get around to writing about) and some other happy moments, but for the most part, things have been pretty miserable.

 

I did find a new apartment. Finally. It’s a nice place at a reasonable price that’s not too far from the place I lost in the fire, and I’m moving there sometime next month. But it took a really long time to find it and the whole process was incredibly disheartening. I only lived in my old apartment for a year and it didn’t take me very long to find, but somehow in a year, one bedrooms and studios in my area became very scarce. It’s really weird how they decide what to charge for apartments—the place I ended up signing a lease on is much nicer than a lot of the more expensive places I saw. At one point I filled out an application for a place I didn’t really like, just because I had no idea if I’d ever find anything else. At another point, after finding out that an apartment, which had been listed for almost two months but that the realtor couldn’t show until a month before it became vacant, was being shown at 5 PM, I requested to leave work an hour early and showed up with about fifteen other people to see the place, discovered that the price had been raised $100/month due to demand and that the sample unit pictures in the ad looked nothing like the actual apartment, filled out the application, and found out the next day that the landlord had picked someone else.

 

Also, I cannot believe how rude people have been to me. I’ve had some very good realtors, but I have also had some HORRIBLE ones, including one—let’s call her Danielle Felice of New England Properties— whom I’m going to report to the Better Business Bureau. (Seriously. RUN, do not walk, if you ever have the misfortune of coming across an apartment she’s showing.) It’s really sad when I consider “actually listens to me” and “treats me like a human being” and “expresses sympathy when someone is displaced by a fire” to be positive qualities in a realtor—I cannot believe how many people did none of those things.

 

I have spent an unbelievable amount of time in tears recently and I’m sick of it. Even before the fire, I was lonely and hated a lot of things about myself, and the fire just made it worse. When it comes down to it, I think I am less happy right now than I have ever been in my life. Something needs to change, and I’m doing my best to make that happen, but I’m afraid that it won’t. I’m afraid everything is going to get worse and worse. That eventually I won’t even be able to hope, that I won’t have anything to look forward to anymore.

 

Maybe once I’m settled into the new place, it will be easier to pull myself together and move on. I certainly hope so—and I also hope that I’ll never get to the point where I stop saying “I hope so.”

 

Here’s to the end of the awful first year of my thirties—may things get better from here.

Why, God, Why?

And so, I am thirty.

 

 

Since I’m still single, obviously, turning thirty is not a good thing. But I’m not going to focus on that.

 

It’s funny, the things you think will make you an adult, or make you feel like an adult. Back when I wrote this post, buying property seemed absolutely unattainable. Now, while I still rent instead of own…let’s just say owning is a much more realistic goal now. I live alone now, and while it’s awesome, it doesn’t really make me feel like an adult, either. And even though I have a full-time job and have steadily advanced in my company over the seven years I’ve worked there, that does nothing to make me feel adult, either.

 

But you know what does? The fact that I now sometimes sign my name with a scribble. When I was a kid, I hated it when adults did that and swore I never would. And now I do it.

 

There are plenty of things I thought I’d outgrow that I never did, though.

  • I never got to like coffee. I’ve tried and I just don’t like the way it tastes.
  • I still order chicken fingers in restaurants all the time.
  • I love Disney movies and Disney in general and have lately been dying to go back to Disney World.
  • Actually, I love amusement parks in general. Even kid rides like the merry-go-round.
  • I still have stuffed animals on my bed. I can’t part with them.
  • I can’t part with my basket full of Beanie Babies, either. They’re too cute.
  • I’m super-nostalgic for all the TV shows I loved in my childhood. I sometimes watch Sesame Street clips on YouTube and I have Ghostwriter on DVD.
  • Girl Meets World is on my DVR.
  • Early to bed/early to rise is still not my thing. I’d much rather sleep until noon on weekends.
  • Blowing bubbles and flying a kite outside sounds wonderful to me.
  • I still hate shopping for clothes.
  • However, I’ve been known to go into toy stores just to look around.
  • I never manage to do laundry/put away laundry in an efficient manner.
  • I still don’t have a nice watch. I wear this cheap waterproof digital watch from Target.
  • Many nights I’d rather play board games than go out to a bar.

 

The weird thing I’ve noticed about getting older is that there are plenty of times when you feel old. You can’t understand why teenagers like some weird thing (like the Yo app—seriously, why?). You realize that you’re working with people born in the 90s. You realize you started high school sixteen years ago. But even if you feel old…you still might not feel like an adult.

 

Do you ever? Is this something that will never really happen and you just think it will?

Happiness Is…

Something I do that I know I shouldn’t do: I judge the severity of your problems by whether or not you’re in a happy relationship.

There are some problems that are universally terrible- death, destruction, and serious illness or injury, and of course I sympathize with people suffering from these problems regardless of their relationship status.

But then there are normal generational angst problems. You lost your job, or you hate your job, or you didn’t get into the school you wanted to, or you don’t know what you’re doing with your life. You don’t like where you live, you’re living at home and hating it, or you’re having trouble finding an apartment or buying a house. You had a falling out with a friend, or you miss your friends, or someone else’s wedding is stressing you out, or you’re fighting with a relative.

If you have any of those problems and you’re also single (or even in a bad relationship), I sympathize with you. But if you’re happily in a relationship or engaged or married? I know I shouldn’t feel this way, but I just can’t take your problems seriously. At the end of the day, you have someone to come home to whom you can talk to about it, who will comfort you and make you feel better. My problems might be the same as yours, but I don’t have anyone to come home to. If I ever lost my job, I wouldn’t have a significant other’s income to fall back on. I don’t have anyone with whom to buy a house or split the cost of a one-bedroom apartment. I don’t have someone who’s committed to being with me.

So there’s my ugly confession, and reading over it, it makes me sound really bitter. I’m not, I promise you. Like anyone, I have moments where I’m down, but the majority of the time, I choose to be happy. And happiness is, indeed, a choice and not a destination like some people make it out to be. You can’t spend too much time thinking about the future or, to paraphrase John Lennon, you miss the life that’s happening while you’re busy making other plans.

But recently, I took a step back and thought about my life and everything in it. I realized that the one unequivocally great thing in my life right now is my friends, who are amazing and fun and keep me sane.

With the rest of my life, though? There’s not really anything else in my life with which I’m completely satisfied. Nothing is really that bad (I guess things could always be worse as long as I’m not starving to death in an impoverished country), but nothing is at the place I hoped it would be by now. I still don’t have any of the three things I want the most. I’m writing more, but still not nearly as much as I want to. I’ve gained an insane amount of weight in the last year. I have trouble getting enough sleep. And my career goals are still in progress.

Life is short, and it’s time to start working harder to change things. When this year comes to a close, maybe things will be better. For now, I’m choosing to be happy, but I’m also choosing to move forward.

Obligatory New Year Post

Everyone is doing these year-summation and New Year’s resolution posts, but I find myself resisting that. Partly because, well, I’m not sure how I feel about 2012. It wasn’t a bad year but not a particularly good one, either. I kind of feel like I spent most of the year in a state of blah. There were so many things I should have been doing—dating, eating better, exercising more, writing, meeting my goals—but most of the time I opted to collapse in bed wasting time on the Internet instead.

Although, at least I can say that my time blogging didn’t fall into the “wasting time” category. I did meet my goal of posting 50+ times last year, and I had a lot of fun doing that and staying involved in 20sb.

So here we are, 11 days into 2013, and thankfully, I’m on my way to having a more productive year. And while I’m trying to get a lot done, I’m also trying to cut myself a bit of slack and not hate myself if I don’t meet those goals as fully as I’d like to, since that sometimes leads to giving up. Progress, in any form, would be a good thing. Here are some of the things I’m going to work on:

  • Dating. It would be so, so nice to be in a relationship with a guy I love. Dating sucks, and the longer I’m single the more discouraged I get, but I’m just keeping my eyes on the prize here.
  • Financial things, which I won’t bore you with.
  • Eating better. I’m not going to do some kind of detox like the 17-Day Diet I did last year, which did help me lose weight in the short term but which I wasn’t able to keep up. But I am keeping track of what I eat, cutting down on sugar, and cooking more.
  • Really committing to exercise. I’m taking a break from distance running for now, although I might do some shorter races this year. When I was training for my most recent half-marathon, I found myself dreading the runs on my schedule, which is a pretty good indicator that I’m not getting any joy from running. So while I’m still going to run sometimes, no races with double-digit miles for now. I am also trying to make it to the pool, the yoga studio, and the gym more often. I went to a boot camp class on Monday, will be going to Zumba tomorrow morning, and am making my way through Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. (In more than 30 days, though—that whole cutting myself slack thing!)
  • Certain work-related goals that I’m not going to get into here.
  • I don’t talk about this much on the blog, but I have a church I go to that I really like and I’d like to get more involved with it.
  • Getting more organized. This is embarrassing to admit, but I’m a bit of a slob and more often than not, my bedroom looks like my closet threw up. I need to get rid of a lot of the shit I don’t need, too.
  • Getting more sleep. Amazingly, I’m already making progress at breaking my terrible habit of staying up late for no good reason, and I feel better already.
  • WRITE. I love writing fiction. Why have I been doing so little of it in recent years? I’m thinking about taking another Grub Streetclass as well.
  • And the most fun one—traveling to England and Ireland! I have never been to Europe and would love to change that. And I have some amazing friends who would be great travel buddies as well.

On a related note, recently, after hearing about it from several other bloggers, I completed the Joy Equation with Stratejoy. I’m kind of skeptical about self-helpy kinds of programs like that, but I really liked it and felt like my head was clearer once I finished it. It helped me zero in on the values that are important to me and give me a clearer idea of what I want my future to look like.

This is going to sound kind of vague, and I apologize, but 2012 was also a year where I kind of challenged some of the things I thought I wanted. For most of my twenties, I’ve been working toward certain things for my future that, I realized this year, I no longer think I want.

The summer right after my senior year of college, I was living on campus at the school I’d just graduated from, working one part-time job in the morning and another in the afternoon and then going back to the dorm room to search for jobs online until I went to bed. I had no idea what my future held in terms of jobs and living situations but did have a weird, completely unfounded faith that everything would work out—and it did. That summer ended with me finding a job and an apartment in an instance of absolutely perfect timing. I am kind of astounded when I look back at how optimistic I was when I was twenty-two. The faith I had in myself and in the future seemed to be completely unfounded and misplaced—but it wasn’t. And now I wonder if some of that belief is what actually created that future.

So now I’ve done something I’d previously been terrified of—imagining a life different from the one I’ve spent years imagining. Now that I’ve let go of something I’d held onto for way too long, weirdly enough, I don’t have any fear at all. I have two quotes from books I love that come to mind (and I’m pretty sure I’ve used both of them before on this blog):

“Not giving a shit, she decided, is like the defrost option on a car’s heater that miraculously unfogs the windshield, allowing you to see where you’re headed.”

-from Empire Fallsby Richard Russo

Not to say I don’t give a shit about anything, just no longer about things I shouldn’t.

“And when the event, the big change in your life, is simply an insight—isn’t that a strange thing? That absolutely nothing changes except that you see things differently and you’re less fearful and less anxious and generally stronger as a result: isn’t it amazing that a completely invisible thing in your head can feel realer than anything you’ve experienced before? You see things more clearly and you know that you’re seeing them more clearly. And it comes to you that this is what it means to love life, this is all anybody who talks seriously about God is ever talking about. Moments like this.”

-from The Correctionsby Jonathan Franzen

So that was all a really long, complicated way of saying something that I probably could have just said in the words of George Michael: “Cause I gotta have faith.” And that’s something I’m going to work on, too- while it’s important to take steps towards goals like I’m doing now, what’s also important is working on having more confidence, more hope, more faith that in the end, everything will work out.

How How I Met Your Mother Made Me Cry

I’m probably going to be severely mocked for my next statement, but I’m going to make it anyway.

How I Met Your Mother has made me cry twice in the past five months.

I was a latecomer to this show—I didn’t start watching regularly until halfway through Season 5, and it’s now about to start its eighth season. Immediately, I started catching up with the show on DVD. While there are some sitcoms you can jump right into without watching from the beginning, this is not one of them.

For those of you who never got into the show, late or early, here’s a little background on it. HIMYM is one of the most narratively interesting shows on TV right now, full of flashbacks and flashforwards. The premise is that in the year 2030, Ted Mosby is telling his two teenaged kids the (very, very LONG) story of how he met their mother and all the crazy things that happened on the road there, including everything going on with his friends Marshall and Lily, respectively a lawyer and a kindergarten teacher who are engaged and later married; Barney, a slutty but weirdly charming (probably because he’s played by Neil Patrick Harris) playboy; and Robin, an ambitious TV reporter. We know from the first episode that the mother is not Robin, whom he dates for most of Season 2. We also get little clues along the way about who “the mother” is: she’s roommates with a girl Ted briefly dates, she’s at a bar on St. Patrick’s Day when Ted is also there and leaves behind a yellow umbrella which Ted takes home, when Ted accidentally walks into the wrong classroom on the first day as a professor she’s in that class, and they will someday meet at a wedding that we eventually find out is the wedding of Robin and Barney.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that the quality has declined as the show has gone on, which surprises me, because I don’t think that’s true at all—some episodes are better than others, but overall, I think the show is just as good as it’s always been. I love it for a lot of reasons—for one thing, I was always a big fan of Friends, and this show, also about a group of friends in New York, is the closest thing to Friends that’s currently on TV. I loved all of the main characters on Friends, and I love all five of these main characters, too. I also love how the show manages to capture succinctly so many truths about yuppiehood, coining phrases like “woo girl” and “revertigo.”

But I think a deeper reason why I love it so much is the feeling of hope that pervades it. No matter what happens to Ted, you know that in the end, he’s going to meet “the mother,” a woman he loves deeply and speaks of to his future children with obvious affection.

Which brings me to the two episodes that made me cry.

One was the season finale, where Marshall and Lily welcome their first child. As Ted muses about how his friends, whom he’s known since they did some stupid things in college, are now parents, he realizes that he himself is nowhere close to being a dad, and he doesn’t want it to be that way.

The other episode is an episode toward the end of the last season called “Trilogy Time.” It talks about how, since the year 2000, the guys have gotten together every three years to watch the Star Wars trilogy and imagine what their lives will be like three years in the future. The reality, of course, is always different. Ted, in 2009, thinks that if he hasn’t met his wife in three years, there’s something seriously wrong with him. When 2012 rolls around and he realizes that that still hasn’t happened, he thinks that something really is seriously wrong with him. But we see in the future that in 2015, Marshall and Barney good-naturedly complain about Ted bringing a girl to guys’ night, but are okay with it because “he loves her so much.” Then we see that the girl he brings to the trilogy watching isn’t his future wife, but his newborn daughter. And when they wonder if things will change much three years in the future, Ted says, “I hope not.”

Even upon second viewing, it made me tear up.

It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to see why. At twenty-eight, not only am I still single, I have always been single. I really am starting to think that there is something seriously wrong with me, and realizing that although I want so badly to be a mom, I’m nowhere close to being one.

I wish I had that reassurance that three years from now, everything is going to be so much better. Yes, I do realize that TV is not real life—I am not one of those people who justify their relationship decisions because it worked out for Carrie on Sex and the City (and yes, I know people who actually do that). But even though this show is fictional, somehow watching it makes me hopeful.

Incidentally, I found today, totally by accident, this 2006 article, which is excerpted from a book called The Unhooked Generation by Jillian Straus. Intrigued, I requested an interlibrary loan for the book and will hopefully be reading it soon.

Then I did some Googling and discovered that while Jillian Straus was researching that book, which stemmed from her and her friends’ frustrations at their inability to find a romantic partner, she met the man who became her husband. You can read their story here.

So I haven’t met my future husband yet—at least, I don’t think I have. But it’s a dream I’m never giving up on, because nothing sounds better to me than reacting to the idea that things will change in three years with, “I hope not.”

Stick a Fork In Me

For the most part, I’m happy. Both momentarily and in general. I have a nice apartment and a good living situation. I have a job that I enjoy. I have awesome friends and interesting ways to spend my time—singing in the chorus, playing on my office softball team, probably doing another half-marathon in the fall, and possibly doing an open-water swim. I’m planning on taking some trips this summer as well—NYC next weekend, California in July, DC in August, and San Francisco in September, plus a weeklong business trip to Dallas. Nothing in my life right now is actually terrible.

But here’s what’s been bugging me for the better part of the last six months or so:  I am ready to be done with this stage of my life. The single-in-the-city stage. The spending-weekends-out-with-girlfriends stage. The cycling-through-dating-sites stage.

I’m done with it. Or, at least, I really, really want to be.

I wrote a few months ago about how scared I am of notgetting the things I want the most. Nothing has changed since I wrote that, except that even more now, to quote Veruca Salt, I want it noooooooowwww!

I’m tired of having to check OKCupid or Match or eHarmony every day when I come home. I’m tired of going on awful dates that leave me checking my watch to figure out how long I have to suffer through the rest of it. I’m tired of wondering if all the good guys out there really are taken or gay, if there was some chance years ago that I should have taken and didn’t, if I’m too picky or if I could really be happy by lowering my standards, why there are people who are so much fill-in-the-blank-er than me who have managed to attract guys and find loving relationships when I haven’t. I’m tired of seeing cute babies everywhere I go and wondering how many years my eggs have until they dry up. (Cue the Marisa Tomei foot-stomp.)

Nothing original there, I know. Most single people probably think all of those things. But one thing has changed recently: I am really freaking sick of the city.

This is a change because, although I love Boston (and its surrounding areas, like Cambridge/Somerville, where I currently live), I’ve always seen it as my temporary home. None of the apartments I’ve lived in have ever quite felt like home—they just feel too ephemeral. Until I actually own a house that I can furnish and decorate myself, I don’t think I’m going to feel that way about any place.

I don’t want to be constantly surrounded by people, bumping into people everywhere I go. I don’t want to have to rely on the T to get anywhere. I don’t want to have to walk everywhere- and therefore have to get nauseated from cigarette smoke everywhere I go. I want to be able to step out my back door and not be ridiculously close to every other house around me, and not to have my next-door-neighbor’s creepy fake owl staring at me while I try to read on the back porch.

I don’t want to have to depend on having single friends for nights out. I don’t want weekends to revolve around going out and trying new restaurants or bars. I’d rather come home and find my significant other there and know that we can spend the whole night watching bad reality shows together.

I want to be able to drive in places where I’m unlikely to run into much traffic. I want to be guaranteed a parking space when I drive, and know that I won’t have to parallel park to find it.

I know the suburbs aren’t for everyone. They certainly aren’t cool, but neither am I. For me, there’s an element of permanence to it that appeals to me. I want to worry about lawn mowing instead of cover charges, paint samples instead of Craigslist roommates, finding a baby-sitter instead of finding a date.

If I could live there now, I would. But I don’t have a car, which I’d at least need to get to and from the commuter rail. I certainly don’t have enough money to buy a place, although I could rent. But there’s also the matter of depending on friends for my social life, and said friends being in the city.

I am lucky to still have friends who are single, but that won’t last forever. And I am so scared that they’ll eventually get married, have kids, buy houses, and have more important things to worry about than when to hang out with their friends—and I won’t. I’m scared that something bad will happen to me– losing a job, a death in the family, some kind of serious illness– and I won’t have anyone to lean on.

I don’t want to be left behind.

But I’m sure as hell ready to leave all this behind.

What I Want the Most

A year ago, I blogged about how I moved past hating Valentine’s Day. At this point, I actually kind of like it because it gives me an excuse to spoil myself—and as an introvert, I have always enjoyed the pleasure of my own company, so I take whatever excuses I can. But as I’m another year older and single for another year, I have to admit that I’m reflecting on some things.

Now, before I say anything more, I want to note that this is not a woe-is-me-I’m-single post. It’s not an OMG-my-significant-other-RAWKS! post, either. (By the way, those two things are equally annoying, so basically, everyone should just shut up about their relationship statuses.) But it is a musing on getting older and how I find myself looking at the future differently in my late twenties than I did in my early twenties.

You notice my bucket list here? Lots of fun stuff on it—skydiving, mountain climbing, and some stuff that isn’t in a Tim McGraw song, like owning a boat, recording a song, and being a bestselling author. I also have my list of travel goals that I hope to make some progress on over the next couple of years.

But the truth is, I would give up every other item on both of those lists if it meant that I could have only these three:

  • Fall in love with an awesome guy who loves me back, have a wonderful wedding, and stay happily married for the rest of our lives
  • Have at least two kids
  • Own a house in the Boston suburbs

That’s it. Those are the things I want the most out of life. They are not extraordinary things. They’re things that millions of people manage to do without much trouble. And yet, for me, they might be the hardest items on my bucket list to accomplish. Let’s take a look at them.

Not only have I never been in a relationship, I have never been in love. So my heart has never been broken, but I also do not know what romantic love feels like. And as easy as it is to get cynical and think that real love doesn’t exist or that all relationships will end, I know that’s not true. I know people who are really, truly in love and will be together for the rest of their lives. And I always think of my paternal grandparents, who lived through the Great Depression and World War II and who were happily married for sixty-six years until my grandfather’s death. Real love happens, but it has never happened to me, and more than anything, I want to find someone with whom to spend every day for the rest of my life.

I also want at least two kids. The challenge here is accomplishing the part before that, love and marriage, in time to make that happen. It’s very hard to get pregnant without fertility treatments after age thirty-five or so. If I met a guy tomorrow, I’d have to date him for at least two years before I’d consider getting engaged. Then we’d be engaged for about another year and have at least a year or two of being married and childless before having our first kid, which would make me a first-time mother at about age thirty-two. Which is fine, but remember, this would be the absolute earliest. I’d consider adoption in the future as well, but even if I were to adopt, I wouldn’t want to be too old when becoming a parent.

The side effect of wanting kids so badly is that it has made me pickier about whom I’m attracted to. When I look at dating sites, I end up thinking things like, “Is his career stable? Does he seem mature enough to be a good father? Does he value the same kinds of things that I do?” I just feel like I can’t waste time with someone if I can’t see a long-term future with him.

The other reason I want to find someone who is mature and financially stable is because of the third thing I want: owning a house in the Boston suburbs. Specifically, a house that is on enough land to be more private than living in the city and has at least three bedrooms and a backyard. And a house that is located in a Boston suburb that is on the commuter rail and has a good school system. And, the hardest part, a house that my hypothetical future husband and I can afford.

Now, I am pretty good at saving money. Despite paying a lot in rent and earning the first word of my blog title by working in a not-so-lucrative industry, I have managed to save a decent amount. And one of the reasons I was so excited to become a sales rep was because if I make my number, I get a much bigger bonus than I used to get. But even so, the Boston suburbs are ridiculously expensive, even if you’re just looking for a modest three-bedroom house, and it will take me a long time to save enough money for a down payment. What if I can’t meet a guy who can afford to help me buy a house?

What do you guys think? Have you found your priorities changing as you get older? What do you want the most out of life, and do you worry about how you may never achieve it?

1/2 + 1/2 = ?

Yesterday, I completed my second half-marathon, this time in Boston. Megan also ran it—her first half-marathon—and did awesome!

Here we are at the finish.

This course was hilly and difficult, much harder than the Princess race—the hardest part of that one was getting up at 3 AM. But I’m really happy to say I finished with a respectable time, although it wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be due to the heat. I really do not do well exercising in heat—that’s one reason I did swimming for so long, I think! But yesterday was unseasonably hot out—80 degrees in Boston in October! WTF? I want my nice fall weather! So while I made really good time for the first eight miles, I hit a wall when we had to run uphill over a bridge where there was no shade, and around Mile 11 I threw up. I think I may have had a bit of heat exhaustion—it wasn’t until after I finished and got some Gatorade that I started to feel better. As much of a pain as training in the winter for the Princess race was, it was MUCH easier than running in the heat. But I’m really happy that after that unfortunate detour I was still able to finish!

I have to say, though, it will be awhile before I attempt another half-marathon—I’m thinking next fall I might do one in Newton, but my next athletic attempt will probably be an open-water swim. While I was training for this race, I ended up neglecting other forms of exercise I love—swimming, yoga, Zumba, classes at the gym like Pilates and abs workouts. While I enjoy running, I don’t live and breathe it like a lot of serious runners do. I’ve heard people talk about getting a “runner’s high,” and I have no idea what that is. Actually, when I run I get more angry than anything else—my mind tends to wander and I imagine scenarios, and by the end of the run I’m mad at someone for something that never happened.

This is the thing, though: never in a million years did I think that I’d be someone who completed two half-marathons in less than eight months. If you check my bucket list, I talk about the open-water swim and eventually a triathlon (although I have some serious catching up to do with cycling before I can do one of those), but nothing about running. I did JV track for three years in high school, but I never thought of myself as A Runner. As a kid, I knew adults who were serious runners—so serious that they wouldn’t do a popular two-mile race in my hometown because “it’s only two miles,” and I used to roll my eyes at that. Now, I can actually relate to that mentality.

I wish someone would tell this to high school and college students. When it comes to sports, it’s so easy to feel like whatever you are as a teenager is what you’ll be for the rest of your life—in my case, mediocre swimmer and girl-who-only-does-JV-track-so-she’s-doing-something-during-the-offseason. But none of that really matters after you graduate—after that, you don’t do anything for scholarships or to get colleges’ attention, but just because you want to. Look at me—I always thought of myself as a terrible athlete as I was growing up, and I still don’t consider myself a good one, but here I am doing two half-marathons in a year, thinking about doing another one, and hoping to do at least a couple of shorter road races by the end of the year.

If you didn’t know me, you might think that perhaps I actually am A Runner. I certainly don’t think of myself that way, but the point is that if I wanted to be A Runner, I could be.

A Moving Story

On Labor Day, I was sitting on Boston Common reading, and I was getting a little claustrophobic. There were people everywhere. Whenever I got up, I felt like I was going to trip over people.

Labor Day is a mystifyingly popular weekend for tourists to visit Boston. Personally, I can’t think of a worse time to visit our fair city. There are something like fifty colleges in or right around Boston, and over Labor Day weekend, the students at all of them are moving their shower caddies and extra-long twin sheet sets into their dorm rooms. Not to mention all the twenty- and thirty-somethings who are just switching to new apartments with 9/1 move-in dates.

I challenge you to find one twenty-something who has lived in one place for the duration of his or her twenties. I’m certainly no exception. I turned twenty just before my junior year of college, when I lived on campus in a four-person apartment. Over the summer I moved home, and senior year I lived in a different, six-person apartment. The following summer, I worked an on-campus job and lived in a different dorm room. Then I moved home for a month, after which I moved into my first apartment. After two years there, I moved to Davis Square. And at the end of July, I moved again, still in the Davis area.

I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to blog about this. Maybe because even after nearly two months, I’m not completely settled in yet. I still need a bookshelf, a dining room table, to get a few small boxes into my room, to give away some of the books I didn’t want, and to get rid of the boxspring that’s sitting in the dining room. Oh, yeah, did I mention? My new bedroom is up a flight of stairs, and I should have realized beforehand that my boxspring wouldn’t fit up those stairs. So I ended up having to sleep on just my mattress for a month, then figure out a time when Ikea could deliver a platform bed, then figure out a time when my dad could help me put it together.

Here’s the thing: even though I’ve moved twelve times, including in and out of dorm rooms, since I turned eighteen, I absolutely suck at moving. I can never figure out the most efficient way to pack. I always end up with random objects that don’t fit anywhere. I underestimate the amount of packing space I need, largely due to the hundreds of books I own (and my refusal to buy an e-Reader). If I’m using a moving van, I never get everything packed in time. If I’m using a car, it ends up so full that things fall out when I open the doors.

Is this a skill you can get better at? I like my new apartment, but I’m definitely not going to live here for the rest of my life. Am I always going to be moving-deficient, or is it possible that things could go better next time? (Actually, it would be hard for things not to go better—when I moved, due to sheer bad luck, it was literally the hottest day of the year.)

In the meantime, I love my new apartment. I’ve got a nice, quiet bedroom, Comcast cable with a DVR, a nice porch out back for reading the Globe on weekends, a very cool new roommate, and this lovely lady greeting me every day when I come home:

Yep, my new roommate has a dog! Juno is a three-year-old black furball (probably with a lot of flat-coated retriever in her) who loves everybody in the world almost as much as she loves attention. I love to pet cute dogs. She’s a cute dog who loves to be petted. It works out great.