One Step at a Time.

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There’s so much to catch up on and I find myself at a loss for where to begin. When I made my promise to catch up, I was feeling passionate and impatient – it was nearing the end of August and my day to day was keeping me feverishly busy. Today, it’s September 11 – already a somber day – and while the summer season doesn’t truly end for another couple of weeks, the transition period is well under way and all transitional feelings with it too.

Don’t get me wrong – like almost every other person, I love autumn in New York City. It’s beautiful, it’s nostalgic, it’s the start of a new school year and we can all feel it in our childhood muscle memory even though we’re all adults who work year-round. But for me, autumn is honestly an anxious time. I moved to the city six years ago in August, and my first semester of school officially started in September; to this day, every time I walk through Greenwich Village there’s a part of me that feels like that same timid, scared, unconfident nineteen year old who had no idea what she was doing. I remember feeling like such a fake – I wasn’t a “New Yorker”! What was I doing here? Who let me leave home and decide I was up for this challenge??? It was a crazy time, and even now, six years, two academic degrees, and countless jobs and life-changing experiences later, there’s still a little part of me that feels like: is this real? PINCH ME!

So this is already a fuzzy time for me just by the nature of my personal story with the city. Add to it the somber day for our country on which I’ve chosen to write, and all the changes I feel I have to catch up on, and it makes for an uneasy situation… For the sake of compassion toward myself, I’m going to adopt the use of some aphoristic-esque summaries so that I don’t delve too deeply into details about all that’s been going on…

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Turning 26. One of the things I’ve been meaning to catch up on and write about is my birthday – since I wrote about turning 25 last summer, I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write about my experience with my birthday, one year later. In short, it wasn’t as catastrophic as it felt last year. I set myself up for success by asking very few girlfriends of mine to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants. We ate delicious plates from both land and sea, sipped fresh rosé, and held hands together in thanks. There were a few special folks I wish could have been part of the evening, but life gets busy, birthdays or not. I was still grateful for the opportunity to celebrate with friends in the city that I love.

Life is precious. I was supposed to go to Beirut this summer to visit my dad’s parents with my brother. My cultural background and heritage mean a lot to me, so I’ve been wanting to visit Lebanon – my parents homeland – for literally four years now. Not a lifetime or anything, but considering it’s already not the safest place to visit, it’s been difficult getting there. Sadly, my grandfather’s health suddenly began to deteriorate at a rate so rampant that we  had to cancel our trip. Seemed counterintuitive to me, but considering it’s his parents we’d be visiting, we had to defer to what our dad felt comfortable with. My grandfather was basically living in the hospital for a few weeks and my grandmother was staying with him every night. And while the situation wasn’t fatal, they really were in no place to host us. I was crestfallen to not get to go, but grateful that he’s still alive for us to hopefully have a chance to visit another time.

Mediterranean meditations. Confession: I am FULLY aware of how #firstworldproblems this is. Since Lebanon didn’t work out, my brother and I decided to go to Greece instead. We were supposed to hop over to the island of Milos on our way back to the States anyway, to meet some friends who were going to be there, so we decided to salvage the vacation time and make a Greek trip out of it. Athens was amazing – everyone who says 2 days is more than enough is just a short-sighted tourist (harsh but true). The city is ancient and casual and cool at the same time and has so much to offer – our days were filled with miles of walking around markets and through parks and up hills and our nights were filled with skewers of local souvlaki. Milos was an entirely different pace altogether: people are caramel-tan and walk around nearly shirtless and barefoot and ride ATVs and you can seriously drive around the entire perimeter of the island in under 90 minutes. Life is slow and in summer-mode, and it is simple and bliss. Although, in true form, I had a complete emotional breakdown one afternoon when my friend and I waded through the shores of the famous golden Privates Beach. We talked about life and love and I opened up about a lot that was on my mind, which ended with me bursting into tears and wiping them away with my wet hands. It felt cleansing and yet heavy at the same time. I’m still processing it.

Out with the Old, in with the New. I returned from Greece to my old job, at which I was for about a week, until I started my new job. That’s right – this girl got a promotion. It’s all very exciting and it’s exactly the step I wanted my career to go in and I was INCREDIBLY fortunate to have so many supportive people in my life helping me take the right steps at the right times, but it was a stressful transition still. I was working 12 hour days at my old job, trying to wrap up the most important things and also prep more important things in a way that was comprehensible for my successor. And finding a successor. Which I did, in the end. But the whole week was just such a stressful blur that I didn’t process any of my emotions, which then just stressed me out even more. I started the new gig with my big-girl pants on, “fake it ’til you make it” attitude, and a well of emotions deep within me. It wasn’t until the very last day of my very first week at the new job that I finally shed some tears (aka bawled for 45 minutes) – simultaneously grieving the loss of my comfortable little world and celebrating the invigorating challenges of my new, unfamiliar one. Every week since has gotten a little bit easier, but it was a growing pain nonetheless.

More Newness. In addition to having a whole new work life, I’ve also been adjusting to a whole new home life. One of the realities of life in NYC is that one usually has a roommate until one is 39, a trust-fund kid, or in a serious, settled relationship. Since I am NOT in either of those categories, I have a new roommate about every 3-9 months. It sucks. It’s so annoying. It’s a whole new person with a whole new room decor and a whole new morning shower schedule and a whole new personal history that comes with either months of abstinent solitude post-break-up or frequent random date nights with strange dudes that have mustaches. Oh yeah. It’s a WHOLE NEW WORLD to come home to every. damn. day. My most prominent goal in this phase of life is to earn enough money to afford my own place. ‘Til then, it’s shared bathroom storage and white-noise-cancellation machines.

When it rains it pours. One of my best friends got engaged recently, which has been a whole other onslaught of change to adapt to. Because you know what happens: when one friend gets engaged, suddenly they ALL GET ENGAGED. So now I’m freaked that every friend I have that’s in a serious relationship is going to get hitched. And while that’s all HAPPY news, it also makes you take stock of your life. When I found out about my best friend, I was partying with a group of friends at Mr. Purple on the Lower East Side. And I totally had one of those WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE moments, even though I’m not looking to get serious with anyone right now. And while I never had a doubt that my best friend and her boyfriend would one day tie the knot…it was still shocking. I had no idea they were thinking of getting engaged so soon, and I also just had no idea it was happening – I found out through Instagram, which selfishly just made me sad to be missing out on such a big moment of their lives! It doesn’t help that they live in California, my homeland, so there was never really a chance that I’d be around for it anyway. And that just left me feeling so desperate and homesick. I have another friend who also lives in Cali and I jokingly texted her the other day asking if she was engaged yet and she said, “Haha, no, but we’ve been talking about it a lot so set aside August 2018!!!” I’M TELLING YOU. WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS. THEY ALL GET ENGAGEDDDDDDD. Even last night, I saw yet another friend and her boyfriend (who I adore), and when she was in the bathroom, our other friend straight up ASKED HIM WHEN HE WAS THINKING OF PROPOSING AND IF WE WOULD BE INVITED. (Yes, she’s shameless.) But he handled it so well. He was so cool and collected about it and just said, “Yeah we’ve talked about it, and it’s definitely coming. I’m just waiting on a couple personal things, like I really want our parents to have dinner together and spend some time together before I ask her.” And I just thought that was so freaking sweet. But still. THEY ARE ALL GETTING ENGAGED AND I’M STILL GOING TO HAPPY HOUR WHICH EVEN THOUGH THAT’S EXACTLY WHERE I AM AND WHAT I WANT TO BE DOING RIGHT NOW, THIS ENGAGEMENT BUSINESS IS BLOWING MY MIND AND SCARING THE CRAP OUT OF ME. Needless to say, I’m happy for all of them. Just having a selfish panic moment here.

I love him, I love him not. Like I said, even though I’m not looking to get serious with anyone right now, watching my friends take serious steps in their lives has gotten me thinking more and more about the ones I want – or don’t want – to take in mine. And this isn’t rocket science, it’s mother nature: we’ve all been through the phase where our friends start getting married and it naturally makes us wonder what the fuck we’re doing with our own lives. So I’m trying to keep that in mind and be compassionate toward myself instead of launching into being ruthlessly hard on myself. But there is one guy I’ve been agonizing over for a while now. I love him – meaning, I care for him deeply – but I’m not “in love” with him. And as much as I want to be with him, I also find myself holding back. I think out of fear, mostly. Fear of repeating history, making the same mistakes I made in my younger years – not that they were mistakes really, because I’d never take them back, but just decisions that if I knew better (which I do now), I’d hope that I could myself accountable to do better (which is why I’m struggling so much with this). I don’t really have a resolution about him – I have very mixed emotions. I care for him, I am attracted to him, he opens up my eyes to the world in ways no one else in my life does, and yet…I know that he isn’t exactly right for me. I’ll go into more detail about this in another post, but for now I’ll leave with this: I learned many lives ago that just because you love someone doesn’t mean you should be with them. Sad, but true.

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So, that’s a nutshell recap of what’s been going on. There’s a lot more I want to go into, more details I want to flush out and explore, but this was just to catch up. Tomorrow’s Monday, which means prep for the work week calls. Hope you homeslices have been okay in your lives, and thanks for stopping by to read about mine. Take care.


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