Prompt: Defining moment. Describe a defining moment or series of events that has affected your life this year.
My defining moment of the year came kind of late in the year. Maybe i’ve already even written about it. Who knows.
I started working at Roswell Park Cancer Institute on November 8. It hasn’t taken too long for me to feel at home and happy with my fellow coworkers. I’ve jumped headfirst into my work and have been pleased to find out that everyone goes above and beyond their job descriptions.
I’m the web editor. I organize, publish and create content for all things web-related at Roswell. Little did I know that Roswell holds a ton of great events for patients and the public. I started in the heart of the holiday season, one of the busiest seasons at Roswell.
In the beginning of December, Roswell lights a tree for all of the cancer survivors and to remember those that have passed at the Tree of Hope celebration. I volunteered to be in the annual holiday play, Holiday Ham, playing a pregnant pig wife.
After the event I ventured outside for the tree lighting. We had free donuts, cookies, hot chocolate—sugar shock extrordinaire. Santa came in escorted by a all-girl marching band and the entire courtyard was twinkling with Christmas lights.
A little boy, a current cancer patient, lit the tree, and a band played songs to sing along to.
when the tree was lit, I looked around and my heart and soul swelled. A tear came to my eye. I was where I was supposed to be.
It is the most memorable moment of my year. Not because it didn’t happen that long ago, but because how grateful I felt really made an impression on me. I hadn’t felt that in a long long time.
Sometimes you realize you really are in the right place at the right time for a certain reason. If you are lucky enough to find that, you find peace.
Prompt: Achieve. What’s the thing you most want to achieve next year? How do you imagine you’ll feel when you get it? Free? Happy? Complete? Blissful? Write that feeling down. Then, brainstorm 10 things you can do, or 10 new thoughts you can think, in order to experience that feeling today.
Ive really been blessed with great achievements, friends and opportunities this year, so I’m not looking for much more on a grand scale. So this may be kind of a lame thing to achieve, but it’s something I’ve wanted to have for a long time.
I’m eager to work with Kate on getting my personal website up. I want to have something where I can showcase my talents and become a true web presence. I feel as though I am behind on branding myself. It will only help my freelance opportunities and expert status.
I’ll free unburdened and a bit more free to promote myself. I’ll also just feel proud to have a real name for myself.
10 things/thoughts to experience/feel this today:
1. you have already achieved a lot
2. you have great friends that can help you create and complete this
3. just do it!
4. the sooner you get it done the better you will feel
5. accomplishments feel the best!
6. kate is so creative and will come up with something awesome
7. you can put it on a business card when it’s done!
8. people believe in you
9. with or without a website, you are still you
10. the greatest minds have the most unique ideas and are sometimes a wee bit crazy!
Prompt: Ordinary joy. Our most profound joy is often experienced during ordinary moments. What was one of your most joyful ordinary moments this year?
Anytime I can get a few hours to myself and open a book that I’m really into, I experience ordinary joy. it is quiet and my mind goes elsewhere and stops running. it’s hard to find a really good book that you can get lost in. So finding one is true bliss. having that time to rest and sit and be still is just awesome.
Prompt: Soul food. What did you eat this year that you will never forget? What went into your mouth & touched your soul?
Ooh this is tough. I LOVE food. All kinds of food. I’ve had so many good meals this year it is so hard to decide. From lobster dinners in Nantucket, to the best sauce I ever had at wolfgang puck’s restaurant at the venitian, to my grandma’s apple pie and my mom’s thanksgiving stuffing…it’s all SO GOOD.
Probably my favorite thing this year was Saturdays at the India Gate buffet. I’m convinced it has increased my weight significantly, but it has become a part of my life. Not only has there been great food there, but great company. We had quite a group going there for a few weeks this year. Indian food is very whole. it’s filling and gives you everything you need. I’m glad I stopped being stubborn and gave into it.
I also have to say marghi’s dad’s lemon twist cookies are awesome, not only because they are the fluffiest, lovliest cookies ever, but because they helped launch a friendship!
Prompt: Photo - a present to yourself. Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.
This was a tough post. Going through all the photos of the past year, it is hard to not include one where my face is not showing. But I love this photo. it was taken during the Buffalo Scavenger Hunt in August I think. I was on a team with new friends and did things that I would never do on a normal basis. This was for a bellyflop that someone had to do in the buffalo athletic club pool downtown. Either dan gigante or Katie Kraw (now dating) took this best action shot of my life.
I think it kind of describes me in the way that I just like to get things done and jump into them. Sometimes I don’t always think about what I’m signing up for, but that makes for the best memories of life.
Prompt: Everything’s OK. What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?
I am a perpetual worrier. I may appear as cool, calm and collected, but I’m always thinking, my mind going 1000 miles an hour. Did I make the right decision? What if I was wrong? What if this is the wrong path? What if what if what if.
I’ve spent a lot of money on therapy, trying to get to the bottom of my anxiety and self doubt. I went through a year of it this year because I felt despondent about my job and my life. Everything was not where I wanted it to be. I was depressed and felt trapped. so I went to chat about it with an unbiased source.
In late december I was at my therapist and she asked how everything was going. I said I actually felt good. For once. I was so happy in my job and it just felt right to be there. I finally felt like I was in the right place careerwise and wasn’t questioning it. I was seeing my friends quite a bit and my life felt very full. I was missing my boyfriend since we had broken up but we had been trying to maintain a friendship. It was nice not to have ill will. Even my family was being decent during the holiday season.
the therapist said, you seem very happy, I don’t think we’ll need to be seeing each other anymore.
I sat there and smiled. Yeah, I think you are right. I’m pretty ok with where I am right now.
I got up, shook her hand and left.
We have a standing appointment for January, but I may cancel it. We made it just in case the holidays got too crazy and I needed a release. I’m about 95 percent sure that i won’t need it.
*sidenote. A lot of people are afraid to admit that they have been in counceling or had some sort of help. I’m a full advocate for any kind of therapy. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. And it’s more common than people realize. So if you need help, get it.
Prompt: New name. Let’s meet again, for the first time. If you could introduce yourself to strangers by another name for just one day, what would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to be a Charlotte. My grandmother’s name was Charlotte and she was a very mystical person. I’ve always wanted to know more about her. From what I do know she loved theater, fine food and psychics. she was very catholic and cared about her children. She worried, but always provided. She was THE woman of the house.
Charlotte is still delicate, yet strong.
I’ve also always wanted to have a sexier name like Sophia or Ariana. Just to be a different person for awhile. Have more power, a more confidant persona.
I do like my own name though. I can’t imagine being anything else.
Prompt: Travel. How did you travel in 2010? How and/or where would you like to travel next year?
Travelling in 2010 was pretty awesome. I got to go to a place I had always wanted to visit and loved it. I also fulfilled a goal by being able to rent a house in a place that I have always loved.
In March I went back to Riviera Maya Mexico, which I had gone to the year before. It was beautiful as always. Snorkeling was fantastic. I went zip-lining, which I thought I could never do due to my fear of heights, swam in underwater caves (cenotes) and rode a four wheeler. I also go to relax and enjoyed one of the coolest pools ever. I love Mexico, I love the people there and I love going back year after year. I hope I will be able to this year.
In July I spent a week on Nantucket Island, one of my favorite places in the world. We were able to rent a house with a few of my friends and spent almost every day at the beach. The waves were awesome. The weather was awesome. The food and landscape awesome. The vacation was challenging at times, but taught John and I a lot about ourselves and how to be assertive and how to let go of frustration. it’s still one of my favorite places in the world. I hope I can go back again this summer. Of course it will probably be with my parents. A challenge of a different color.
In October Kate, Maria and I decided to go to vegas on a whim. The rates were awesome and it was somewhere kate and I had never been. We’d plan a short, fun, girls trip. And it really was great. Vegas is very fake, but makes you feel alive. I am DEFINITELY going back next year.
2011 I would like to make a year of more spontaneous travel. Weekend trips especially. I need to go visit friends that I have been promising I’d visit for years. Places like Dallas, D.C., Maine and even Albany. I’d love to fit Seattle in there somewhere.
2011 will also be the year of 30th birthdays, and big plans are already in the mix for those. We will be returning to vegas for maria’s birthday and I am planning to take my ultimate voyage…to Italy in September for my birthday. it will be the trip of my life—thusfar anyway.
I’m also going to return to ny for a weekend. Possibly on my own. I miss my city. And I miss the people I love there!!!
Travel is stressful, but it is also becoming a part of who I am. I feel so lucky to be able to have these experiences.
Prompt: Future self. Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead? (Bonus: Write a note to yourself 10 years ago. What would you tell your younger self?)
As a child, I constantly daydreamed, imagining my future life. I would marry the stars on the covers of Bop, become a pop star like Mariah Carey, wear beautiful gowns and model for the covers of Teen and Seventeen magazine. I would drive a porche. I would be a famous author and playwrite. I would be an anchor for CNN. I would be working at age 26 for The Boston Globe.
As I got older, my dreams got more specific, In five years I would need to be working here. I wanted to be in this position. I wanted to be making this much money. my dreams always had to do with my career. I’ve always been an overachiever. Achieving and seeking praise and approval for my work is part of me. It is a nasty addiction, but it still happens and I’m not 5 anymore. I’ll be 30 next year.
As you get older, your dreams lose their sparkle. You find out about bills and obligations and responcibilities. You find out how society wants you to fall in line, find a decent job, get married, have kids, and give up on those crazy dreams. The great ones don’t. But the odds are certainly against you and begging you to just be normal.
I never got ‘normal.’ I still don’t get it. I still have goals that I set for myself. I still always want to forwardly progress in my career. I always want to learn more, become better—but I’ve learned that the best-laid plans never happen. A curve is always appears in the road. If you are a lonely person, perhaps there are not as many curves, but the more you live life and meet people and enjoy the human spirit, the more curves appear.
In five years I have no idea where I’ll be. Five years ago I told myself I would be living in New York, working for a publisher or as a crappily-paid journalist. 3 years ago I told myself I would become a PR superstar. Over a year ago I realized this social media stuff could really be applied to business and decided I actually really liked it. I decided I wanted more than what I was doing. It changes on a yearly, monthly, daily basis….this path of life.
So what would I tell myself five years from now? You are not that old. Enjoy your life. Keep working hard and opening yourself to the world. Take some chances. And RELAX. Everything is working out the way it should. Live how you want to live. Don’t live how anyone else expects you to live. Life is a gift.
I would also tell myself this for the year ahead. It’s hard to change this philosophy.
Ten years ago I would tell myself:
Relax. Learn to relax. Everything you are doing now is in your nature, but honestly, it won’t mean all that much in the end. You are the thing that will make you successful. Not any activities are publications. So relax. It will work out.
And take the advice from the doctor. It will change your life.
Prompt: Beyond avoidance. What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?) hahahah oh if i could really write the true version of this post I would love to do it, but I won’t….alll I’ll say is it has to do with the opposite sex.
I pretty much don’t avoid things in general. I try to avoid arguments with stubborn people. I try to avoid putting my feelings on the line too many times. I do things like that when they are necessary and appropriate, but as far as taking chances and being honest, I do that a lot. I don’t have a lot of regrets.
This is very boring but every year I go to New York City. This year I didn’t get to due to other trips I took and business overruling my life. So I need to go in the next few months. I’m not worried about it, I’m not scared, I just need to do it. I was also contemplating going myself. Just to go to the biggest city in the world myself, stay there and be ok. I’d love to talk to strangers and pretend to be someone else for the time I was there. But then I worry I wouldn’t enjoy it as much without my friends. Or I worry something bad would happen to me (thank you parents). So I know for sure I will go to nyc this year and whether it is with or without myself, we shall see.
Prompt: Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?
Healing is difficult. I think I am a long way off before I’m truly healed as a person. But I also believe that our whole being is never truly healed. There are always things we carry with us, but as we get older we just find more constructive ways to deal with them and more important things to worry about.
I believe healing this year wasn’t a one time thing. Healing is always a series of steps that effect different areas of our life
I was healed career-wise by taking a new job back in march and realizing that I was being underutilized at my previous employer. I thought I’d never move up in the world and I’ve had 2 great chances this year to do so. My career is part of who I am and these chances brought me acceptance that I really am capable of doing great things.
In 2011 I’d like to feel ok with who I am as a person, even if it is different from the majority of the population my age in western new york. I want to feel like, so what, im not married and I don’t have kids and I’m ok with that. I don’t want to have to ‘fit in’ to feel like I’m part of a community. Mostly I don’t, but I wish I was more confident in that area.
Prompt: Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?
The last few months of the year I went through a lot of changes in my life. Some self-induced, some not so much. Some were happy changes, some sad and most, necessary.
During this time of change in my life which included moving into a new apt, starting a new job, breaking up with my long-time boyfriend, and starting a local chapter of a national organization, I decided to get a dog.
In my mind, I am superwoman and can handle a 4 pound dog. I can handle anything.
Fate had other plans for me.
I bought the dog, at six months old with a promise from the owner that she was already crate and potty trained. I had had a dog growing up and through high school and college, so I knew I was a dog-person and that I would be the perfect person for a dog.
I brought Bean home and she was scared of everything. She was not socialized from her former family. Nor was she potty trained or crate trained as her owners promised me.
I woke up at 2 a.m. to clean up pee and poop. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. to do the same. I came home from work at 5pm to do the same and so on and so forth.
I developed a strange anxiety having the dog. I couldn’t sleep, I was constantly worried. This tiny dog was more than I was prepared for and the holidays were coming as well. It was probably the worst time in my life to have gotten a dog, albeit one that needed serioius training.
I beat myself up over how I needed to be there for her, how she needed me. How I should be able to do this…but I couldn’t.
In a few months of change, it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Tears flooded over me, my mind raced, and I just couldn’t understand why I couldn’t calm down. It was too much change and I had to admit to myself, the queen of change, that I couldn’t handle it.
I had to give her back. I felt terrible. I had failed.
Deep down I knew it was the right thing to do.
I never, ever give up or say no to stuff. It is very difficult for me. It is hard for me to accept failure. I’m an overachiever and an only child—it’s in my blood.
This was the first time in my life that I finally said to myself, you can’t do all of this, you aren’t superwoman and its OK. There is a time in life for everything and right now—this is definitely not the time.
It’s funny how a tiny four pound dog helped me get over a personal hurdle of fearing failure. It was the first time I truly accepted it and felt ok in the end.
So thanks Bean. I know you are out there and with a great owner.
Prompt: Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst? A lot of times in my life, I have felt lonely. It’s the burden of being an only child. You are independent, your parents don’t need you that much, you occupy yourself. I’ve done a lot of things alone in my life and have no problem with that. And it’s always been difficult to find friends. This year though, I’ve realized who my true friends are and that I do have many many people I can turn to for help. It seems as you get older, that your friendships become more than just drinking buddies. It’s easier to find out who you click with and who you have things in common with. It really hit me this month that I am surrounded by such wonderful people, near and far, and some of the best friends I have ever had. I may not have a close knit group that i’ve been friends with for 20 years or so, but the diversity of my friends is something that I am thankful for and proud of.
Prompt: 5 minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. The Haiti Earthquake: Although a dismal memory, I never want to forget the images and pain and helplessness I felt while watching the Haiti earthquake coverage. It made me realize how truly lucky I am and that while circumstances may be out of my control, a small contribution can make a difference. Under the sea in the Riviera Maya: I saw a sting ray and schools of fish fluttered by me. I’ve snorkled before, but I just love the feeling of different creatures of the earth existing, and so varied, and they don’t give a crap about me. Getting my job at Roswell: It was totally unexpected and one of the best things to happen to me in my career thusfar. It just goes to show you never know what will happen if you just go for it. Standing on the footbridge overpass in sconset in nantucket during sunset: The world is so colorful and beautiful and in this moment, I truly felt peace. I never wanted it to end. I never wanted to leave. Bellyflopping into the hyatt pool atop the city of Buffalo: The Buffalo Scavenger Hunt was awesome. It allowed me to do things I’d never think of to do on a normal day. It was one of the most fun experiences of my summer. Social Media Day: A great event, that featured some new faces that are now my dearest friends. Grooving in the middle of the dance floor at LAVO in Las Vegas: I felt so alive. I was finally there! Annnnd my 5 minutes is up. My greatest, most vivid memories seem to be through my travels. I’ll take more of that in 2011 thank you.
Prompt: Appreciate. What’s the one thing you have come to appreciate most in the past year? How do you express gratitude for it?
I’ve come to appreciate the path of life. Everything truly does happen for a reason. I am so grateful for the place I am in my career at this moment. And I know it will only get better. I know this only happened because of the sometimes difficult times I had to go through before. Now I understand why. I appreciate this enlightenment. I express gratitude by just being more positive and truly taking the time to thank fate for my current situation and my current life. And it will only get better.
Prompt: Action. When it comes to aspirations, its not about ideas. It’s about making ideas happen. What’s your next step?
I’m an extremely impatient person. I think I get it from my mom. Either way, I don’t like waiting around for things to happen. Especially in the past few years. If I want to go on a vacation, I plan it. If I want to make a purchase, I do it. If a friend pisses me off, I tell them. If a better opportunity presents itself, I take it.
Because of this mentality, I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things with my life. Granted, I’ve made a lot of mistakes as well, but if you don’t make mistakes, how are you going to learn the right way to live? You’ll just be an empty shell of a person, living and breathing and never truly realizing how lucky you are. I, in fact, am a fan of having a little rain fall in everyone’s life at least once.
Granted, I am also a terrible decision maker. And a procrastinator. I think it comes from the fact that I went to school from journalism and LOVE a deadline-driven life. It can also be a curse, whipping things together at the last minute at many a time.
This year, I would like to write a children’s book. At least a draft. It is something I have been talking about for years. Talk talk talk, ideas, ideas, ideas. These get you nowhere.
I’m always amazed at business owners. These are the people who really put it out there, take a chance and go out on a limb. Only 50 percent are usually successful. if people can put their whole life on the line and take a chance, I can sit down and write my damn book.
It’s a lot like the cliff diving I hope to do some day. It’s scary standing up there. But if you never just make the jump, and keep standing there, you’ll never know how fun (or terrifying!) it truly is. And I’d rather experience something and feel something, then just sit there thinking about what it might be like.
Prompt: Body integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?
This wasn’t exactly an existential experience, but it certainly was a shock to the system. I’d have to say the part where i felt my mind and body go numb, was experiencing the ‘igloo’ in the Aquavena Spa Experience at Canyon Ranch Spa in Las Vegas at the Venitian.
Aquavena was a group of 8 different water treatments. There was a sauna, steam room, tropical scented shower with nature sounds, a total body water massage, a visual water wave room, a salt temple, a scented water room, and THE IGLOO.
The igloo was basically a room kept at 42 degrees with a cold steam shower. it was kind of like standing in the coldest fog you ever thought possible. it opened your eyes and flushed out your brain, everything was frozen and it was hard to focus on anything but that cold rush. Everything was in sync.
While some people may think this was nuts, I was glad I tried it and did it. It was an amazing experience and truly made me feel centered and whole.
Prompt: 11 Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life?
These just keep getting more difficult, no?
11 things I don’t need…hmm…5 might be easier…
I’m a person that hangs onto a LOT in my life. I have a hard time throwing stuff out. I’m not a hoarder by any means, but it’s hard for me to part with anything, anyone, anyplace.
But cleansing is important too.
1. self doubt: I need to part with this because I can accomplish really fabulous things when I am confident in my decisions.
2. negativity: I need to part with this because it brings me down and forces me to miss out on the good things.
3. 15 pounds: health is important, energy is important, fitting into new jeans is important :)
5. fear: I’d like to take a trip to Italy for my 30th birthday. Without letting go of my fear of being on a plane for more than 3 hours, I won’t get there,a and I’ll miss out on a beautiful experience.
6. control: I need to let other people take the wheel sometimes. Sure, I believe that if I don’t plan things, they won’t get done, or I’ll end up sitting home bored, but maybe life would be a little more fun and interesting if I let other people make plans. plus being a control freak gets tiring.
7. poor body image: I think I can be beautiful, I just need to believe in that more. Self-depriciation isn’t helping me. I’m not going to be an egomaniac, I would just like to feel better about myself and accept the good things
8. a list of things I was supposed to do before I was 30: It’s good to have goals, but I’ve learned that life is going to happen when it’s going to happen. You can’t put a time limit on accomplishments or life experiences.
9. laziness: Naps are great, but I need to get more active. I’ve never been a runner, but I’m determined to be able to run for 20 minutes without dying.
10. piles of laundry: I need to not let these get so extensive that it takes me 6 hours and 20 dollars to do laundry.
11. comparisons: I need to be happy with who I am and what I have. Everyone’s life is different and mine will be special, wonderful and enviable in it’s own way as well.
Getting rid of these things can only make me a happier, more well-rounded person. They won’t go away overnight, but one can only try to keep them in mind.
Prompt: Wisdom. What was the wisest decision you made this year, and how did it play out?
I feel that every year, day, second I am alive I become wiser. I have learned some slick lessons in the past few years, but I have become better for them. Sticking things out really brings out who you are as a person, and demonstrates to the world that you, too, have a soul.
Probably the wisest decision I made this year without really realizing it was sending my resume to Roswell Park Cancer Institute. If I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t have the great job I have now, filled with endless promise at a world-class institution.
I had applied there a few times prior, but never heard anything. I saw the job opening, and thought, hey I could do that. I liked my job at the time, but the salary and benefits of this position were top-notch. I threw my hat in the ring. I had nothing to lose.
And somehow, someway, it worked out for the best. I can only hope that it continues in the new year.
Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.
I gotta say, I really enjoy planning parties and 2009 had some crazy ass parties in vip areas, people puking outside of my doorway, etc. etc.
2010 there were some good ones. But the best? That is a toughie. The best is maybe yet to come lol.
I just had to take a look through my facebook events to see what exactly i did this year. Sometimes the best parties were left in a haze…I missed a lot of probably good parties, but also went to quite a few. Some of the greats were the Social Media Day 1.0, the hot tub time machine summer party, and my goodbye to synacor party. But my favorite, and this comes to a surprise to myself, was my cousin miranda’s wedding reception.
I’m not a wedding person per say, and my cousins and I have drifted apart in the last 10-15 years or so, but Miranda was my first cousin to get married in a place my whole family could be at once (her brother steve is also married, but we could never travel for the wedding). So the whole family got back together, had some top shelf open bar for a few hours and we had an amazing time. My cousin was beautiful, the wedding was held at a lodge at holiday valley. It was raining the whole time, but the trees were starting to change and a fire roared outside where leaves crunched under our feet.
The best part about it wasn’t the actual wedding, but the togetherness. My cousins and I actually hung out, reconnected and had a ton of fun. And we discovered we have more in common now that we are older than we thought. Plus my parents were having a great time, and everyone was relaxed and cracking jokes. There was a digital frame on the gift table with pictures of us from our childhood. It just reminded me that it’s never too late to reconnect with your family. They are always there, connected by blood, marriage, whatever. And no matter what the circumstances, you put some people in a room with a fully stocked bar and a halfway decent dj, and their true sides come out.
plus we stayed at a sweet hotel, with a giant outdoor hottub and heated pool which we took advantage of early the next morning. bliss.
So thank you Miranda, for bringing our family back together. Even though you may never read this, it’s one of the best things that happened all year.
Prompt: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different - you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.
I’m always ashamed to admit that I don’t find myself physically beautiful. And in the grand scheme of things, that is not what really matters. But I do wish I had the confidence and strength to feel differently.
However, reflecting on things that are beautifully different is a whole different story. I’ve spent my whole life trying to not come off as a stereotype. Unfortunately, most people think that way. I don’t even fill out those optional race questions on forms. I simply don’t care what category people are in, and it pains me to see people desperately trying to fit into a category.
As you get older, people don’t seem to worry about this as much. But it does happen on a different level. People believe they hold some kind of status in what car they drive or what smartphone they are using. It’s not so much about who is goth and who is preppy. It’s who drives the Honda Civic versus who drives the BMW SUV.
I truly believe though that no matter how ‘ordinary’ people may seem, there is always a quirk to them. You just have to work to find it. Those so-called flaws are what make people beautiful. What someone may consider a flaw, someone else may find cute or sexy. And as I said before, it’s not just physicality, it is getting to know the insides that really bring out the best (or worst) in someone.
As for me? What makes me different? I’m not really sure. I’m fiercely loyal. I’m quirky. I’m shy. I’m a good matchmaker/networker. I’m a worrier. I’m a planner. I’m also a doer. I can’t make decisions. I don’t have patience. Somehow I have a knack for putting all these things together and making people happy.
I think one thing I’m good at is noticing the gifts that people have and matching them up with organizations/people/ideas that could use their help. I don’t know what it is. I wish I could sell it. I’m good at matching people up on dates as well as helping people find people for help with their businesses. I guess a lot of people can do this, but I really feel that I hold an extraordinary network of individuals in my pocket.
I think one of the reasons I have this network and why I work well with media is that I just love people. I love meeting new people, I love hearing people’s stories. I love reading biographies. I love reading celebrity magazines. I’m social, but I think the reason for that is I just love the energy of people and am in wonder at everything we are capable of. I hate seeing people waste talent. I think that constant optimism in the human race is something that sets me a part from others, even if I don’t feel so confident in myself.
I wish there was an easier way to describe how I’m different. I’m not really sure if it’s different persay. how about I open it to my readers…how am I different and how has that inspired you?
Prompt: Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?
This one is easy. The place I have found community…and on two levels is through the powerhouse of Twitter. I have found a social media/pr international community through Twitter where we share ideas and news of our media nerddom. It’s nice to find people that are as excited about a medium as I online.
Locally, I’ve made some great friends through the Twitterverse. Buffalo has great people in general, but it’s hard to get them out of their shell. This truly allowed me to discover truly social people, people with similar interests—who I now know I can depend on and discuss not only industry topics,but personal stories and issues as well.
I’m old fashioned in my media consumption, but I thank the techiverse for Twitter everyday.
Prompt: Make. What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it?
Make something. Hmm. Well honestly, the last things I’ve made this half an hour have been blog posts. I consider anything I write, crappy or not, to be a product of time and effort. Sure, it’s not something you can physically hold, but people can connect, with it, engage with it, and it exists.
What did I use? My laptop, my eyes, my fingers and my brain.
And yes I had to clear time. There is never enough time in the day. But #reverb10 is becoming increasingly important to me. And as I said before, when things are important, they become a priority.
So, I may have skipped the Simpsons tonight, but I discovered that I am kinda making something. A project of sorts. And that matters.
Prompt: Let Go. What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?
Honestly, there are a few people I have let go in my life this year. Some completely, some in a different way…
But I don’t want to talk about that. I’m honestly not ready to.
So I’m going to talk about something else I let go of that was really dear to me.
It may be annoying or sound shallow, but I don’t care. It was truly a part of me.
This is from a piece I wrote back in May, when I traded in my 1994 Toyota Corolla for a new Yaris. It was a surprisingly touching experience. Enjoy.
Putting The Be(a)st to Bed
Not a lot of things stick around in your life anymore for over 10 years. Relationships and marriages? 50 percent say “barely.” Friends? They seem to come and go and especially at this age, change with the direction of their lives. Clothing? Who can fit into anything from 10 years ago?
10 years ago we didn’t have facebook or iTunes and were new to internet shopping and craigslist. Applying for college online was extremely rare as was applying for jobs. 10 years ago “texting” was a mere flame in the firestorm it is today, and “sexting” didn’t even exist. I rarely used a digital camera or Netflix. And I believe gas was still under a dollar….
But 10 years ago I bought my first (and to this day, only) car. From my dad. She was a 1994 Toyota Corolla. It had a remote starter and under 5,000 miles. She was beautiful and barely driven-in. But most importantly, she was all mine. I had started college and found new independence and that feeling extended with my new set of wheels. I could go where I wanted, when I wanted and bring anyone with me. I could sleep in my car. I could cry in my car. I could eat tacos in my car. It was truly mine.
10 years later we’ve been through breakdowns in the middle of Washington D.C., eating my keys in the ignition, gas leaks, three accidents (2 fender benders), 3 break-ins, numerous breakups and makeups and kisses, diets to binges, teenager to adult. student to professional. professional to aimless.
The stories I could write about my car and I could emulsify into some ironic chick-lit novel. It’s been my ‘dashboard confessional.’ Something I could scream in or think out loud. It was a place I could make decisions, or ponder over uncertainties.
This may be my last week with my car. She’s getting older and we’ve enjoyed over 120,000 miles of memories. I’d love to keep her, and keep her chugging along, but would it be fair? Would it be right? Racing an old horse until its dying day leaves no chance for them to explore the remainder of the pasture. Maybe someone would be able to have more adventures in it. Someone who was 18, just like me, and ready for anything. I’ll probably cry if I give her up, because so much of what has made me who I am in my adult life has happened in that car. Unfortunately, the deals are just too good right now. I’ll probably stay within the family. We really don’t turn our backs on Toyotas.
So whatever the decision becomes by the end of the week, I’m thankful for finding a chance to think, about something that seems insignificant, bringing me so much joy.
Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?
This is a tough one.
As you get older, wonder becomes more and more difficult to grasp. Earthly practicality is the norm. Planning and schedules and chores take over daily life. There is little time left for wonderment or chance. There is usually only the here and now and doing what needs to be done in order to keep living.
We lose this a little more every year.
Recently, I felt an experience of wonder. I equate wonder much like pure innocence. Pure happiness and appreciation of the moment.
As you may or may not know, I work for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. For most of my short career, I’ve been trying to find a balance. I’ve been trying to find a job which is competitive and challenges me, yet, allows my product to forward a cause. I’ve only been at RPCI a month, but this past weekend, I saw what makes people truly wonder-ful.
Our Tree of Hope celebration marks not only the start of the holiday season, but serves as a beacon of remembrance for all of the patients who have been treated at Roswell Park. The lights of the tree and park shine as a symbol of hope (or at least that is what I interpreted it as.) Our entire marketing team, no matter what position they held—graphic designer, web programmer, video producer—volunteered and worked together to create an amazing event.
A small boy pushed the button to light the tree. And as I stood there with my coworkers—truly some of the most selfless people I have met thusfar, working toward a common goal—a tear came to my eye. I was truly blessed. A feeling of gratefulness swelled in my stomach, and I thought, I am finally here. I am so thankful to be a part of this amazing event, with these amazing people, at this amazing space. Thank you so much fate for landing me here.
I found myself aghast at how touched I was by the situation and how a sense of gratefulness had overcome me that I had not felt in a long long time. It wasn’t pride, but a sense of WONDER, that my life was going in the right direction, and that I felt good about it.
It wasn’t anything planned, it was just life happening. And in that you can only hope but admire the wonder of fate and fortune.
Prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
They say dance clubs play music so loud because the bass activates dopamine sensors in your brain, allowing for that feel-good high feeling. Even though going to concerts can be a chore, one of the best feelings for me is really connecting with a band that I love, and actually feeling the music.
this year I didn’t see as many concerts as I would like, but a few in particular helped me hit that blissful threshold. I may have had a beer or two and then the familiar beats or soft sounds would caress or vibrate my eardrums and I would just stand there and laugh out loud. I’d feel true joy. this exercise is difficult because it’s hard to explain what true joy feels like. It’s not like love or winning the lottery, it’s more pure. Like a white light surrounding you and everything just seeming clear. It can bring a tear to your eye. It can just make you feel like you are in the right place, exactly where everything is supposed to be. And for me I laugh, or smile, completely unforced, like some other higher force has taken ahold of me and said, see, this is what life can be like.
I’ve felt that a few times this year watching my favorite bands. I’m going to try more of that this year.
December 2 – Writing. What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?
Everyday I struggle with this. Growing up, I discovered that the only thing I was partially proficient in was writing. And I love it. And I had planned to become a novelist or reporter when I became a ‘grown up’.
Now I’m ‘grown up’ and things didn’t work out exactly how I wanted them to. Nothing really ever goes the way you expect it. They don’t teach you that when you’re an overachieving child. They don’t teach you that there are many more things you can do with your craft.
In 5th grade my teacher gave us ‘free time’ to write everyday. I wish I still had that in my life. I suppose that’s what this ‘reverb’ project is kind of like. Even though its hard to find time to do one post a day…which is why I’m 4 days behind. There is never enough time in the day. And not having enough time is what does not contribute to good writing. Or any writing.
I suppose just giving into the thought that I ‘don’t have the time’ is what is contributing to me not writing. I blame being tired from my job, too much going on, blah blha blah. I have all these excuses. The truth is, when you love something, you don’t make excuses. You find any way you can to get close to it. And I do love writing.
So I basically need to stop making excuses.
Stop making excuses so you can enjoy the loves of your life!
My friends were tweeting about the #reverb10 business. I thought it was another useless marketing conference (there are OH SO many, who knows which ones are even worthwhile anymore!). I took a look at one of the links. It’s brilliant. Every day this month they will give you a blog prompt that directs you to write about one thing in reflection of your life over the past year. Love it. I failed horribly at #nanowrimo (13,000 words out of 50,000), so I’m enjoying the lucid rules of reverb, and that they actually give you SOMETHING to write about, rather than things just coming out of thin air.
I used to do this a lot when I was in middle school. My english teacher made us “free write” for 5 minutes every day. I have journals full of jibberish. But it wasn’t all junk. There was some gold in there. Some poems that won awards, and tidbits that I treasure til today. It truly made me love the written word and helped me to discover what my talents were.
I don’t get to write as much as I’d like anymore. Adulthood got in the way. So I’m tackling this reverb, and using it to figure out what the hell happened to my year and why my resolutions weren’t reached. If anything, reflection is a true engagement into living.
One word that described my year: Change.
It’s not a fancy word. It’s not a long word. But it’s so true.
There were times during the first six months of the year, that I got too comfortable. I felt stagnant at times. My whole life I’ve never, ever been stagnant. And because of that, I believe my anxiety and depression resurfaced a tiny bit. I needed to go and work things out again within my head. I was snippy. I was tired. I wasn’t able to just enjoy anything.
In March, I changed my job. I needed to have more movement in my career.
In May I got my first new car. Ever. It was a great accomplishment, although many might see it as boring or everyday. For me, I was proud that I could finally do it.
In August I took on co-leadership of a new professional organization. It was one of the best decisions of my year and has allowed me to truly make some great friends in the area.
In September I changed my apartment for the first time in 4 years. My landlord went crazy and prompted the change. It has really worked out for the best.
In October I went to Las Vegas for the first time and learned what the glamorous life is really like.
In November I changed my job again, again, not intentionally, it was just what life presented me at the time.
In November I also changed my relationship status. I am still getting used to this change, and while sad, sometimes its hard to control what needs to change.
In November I also got a dog. There was too much change. My body and mind started revolting, and I knew I had put too much on my plate.
In other people’s lives they may have moved across country, or gotten pregnant or engaged or married. Many people may think those are changes that are truly important, but I have learned all changes are equally important. From what way you drive to work in the morning, to the next person you meet, everything matters and anything can change in an instant.
I do and do not handle change well. I’m pretty adaptable, but if there is a long wait time prior to a change, I get extremely nervous. I’ve learned to just kind of jump in and see how it works out. And I’ve also learned that sometimes it’s ok if it doesn’t work out. Like the dog for example. We can’t beat ourselves up over taking chances.
Changes can sometimes be chances and vice versa. In the end, they are all propelling us in the direction we should be going. We just don’t know what that is yet. Or maybe, ever.