On Making, and a Living: When you feel like it’s just not enough.

People ask me not infrequently, “how’s the jewelry business going?” And nearly without fail, I fumble the response.

Because the truth is,  every time I think of our business, I think: I’ve got so much to learn and do before it will ever actually be anything. But no one wants to hear that, right?

When I think of our jewelry business, it feels like I’m drowning in the quicksand of to-do lists and questions I should probably be able to answer by now:

What space does jewelry deserve on the agenda when there are a hundred more pressing concerns that deserve your attention??  How can we add joy and value to the lives of our fans and customers?  What are we communicating about beauty, consumption and materialism through our work?

Also, how the heck did all these Instagram accounts get 5,000 followers, should that be our goal, and it if is, could we possibly attain it without selling our souls?

And where do we find more gorgeous blue agate stones like these and should we tag this one as colorful necklace, multicolor necklace, multi-color necklace, or probably none of these keywords at all?! 

So when people ask about Orendia, my first thought is the quicksand.  And I wonder if perhaps I’ll die a sandy death of Vapid Instagram Posts and Search Engine Impotence.

But I’ve been trying to think of it differently these days, because those quicksand moments require something solid to hold on to. Like remembering what we’re really trying to do, and why.

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Orendia was born  on the eve of a great adventure and in the middle of a personal low.  I was looking for something to remind me who I was, because I’d started to feel a bit lost and unsure if I’d find my way back.  I needed to remember that no matter how low I felt, I was still capable. Vibrant. And I was not on the journey alone.  So with Tiff at my house, I strung together a necklace to take across the country, and the adventure began.

When I returned home that Summer, we kept making necklaces and started dreaming about making jewelry that might somehow remind people who they were, too.  We wanted to be a catalyst for inspiration and adventuring. To embolden women across life stage and geography as they shape the world around them.  And to add a little more loveliness to the world along the way.

So we kept making necklaces.  Many for people we’d never met, many for acquaintances, family and friends.  And I never expected how meaningful it would be to connect with people over something as mundane as jewelry.  But our business has been a surprising opportunity to intersect with the journeys of women near and far, to see a different angle of their lives and learn even more about the beautiful, powerful women they are.

The loved one who’s divorced who tells you she’s buying this necklace as her one Christmas present to herself.

The coworker who wants to buy a Mother’s Day necklace from you for her coworker because “she’s pretty much my work mom.”

The stranger in North Carolina who finds your shop, buys one of our designs for herself, and then comes back to buy the same one for her friend two weeks later.

The roommate who wants to have a matching necklace with her Mom, when her Mom’s going through chemo.

So many times I see our jewelry on someone I know and can’t help but think – how awesome is this woman?? She is strong, she is beautiful, she is a force – and somehow, we get to be a tiny part of her life.

It’s in these moments of beauty and connection that I remember why we’re running a jewelry shop in the first place.

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So when people ask how the jewelry business is going, I don’t want to think of the quicksand of everything it feels like we still need to do, and learn and be.  I don’t want that quicksand in our business.  Or really, in our lives.

I want to remember what it feels like when you create something that makes someone else happy.  I want to remember how it feels to spend hours with your dear friend learning to build something together. I want to remember how crazy it is that of the millions of pieces of jewelry out there, every now and then someone finds us, chooses us, and hopefully, loves what they find.

And I’ll think of the hundreds of moments made possible by this little business we run, and say:

The jewelry business is great.”

And I’ll actually believe that right where we are, and all that we’ve done –  It’s enough. 

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Perfectionism Part 1 of TBD (but I’m not a perfectionist)

I wish I already viscerally understood this truth, but I’m continually surprised by just how much you DON’T ever do if you refuse to try until it can be perfect

Writing is a perennial one. So many times I think I’d love to sit and work through some thoughts on this topic. But quickly the task gets so daunting, and I’m more and more assured that I couldn’t possibly do it well enough. So I preemptively quit or just add it to the to-do list of items I might do someday if I feel up to the task.

See, I think we probably know enough to know none of us will ever be “perfect.”  It just rings of “wrong answer,”  the one you’d cross off first on a multiple choice test.  And we’re smarter than that.  So I couldn’t be a perfectionist. That’s like being a leprechaunist or a mermaidist.  We all *know* it doesn’t exist. 

But the lived reality of perfectionism is a bit  more insidious, I think. Perfectionism can be cleverly disguised.  See, I just want to do and be better and better in every imaginable way and find it incredibly difficult to accept when I’m not. But I’m not a perfectionist.

So it’s fine. πŸ™‚  Except for when it’s not, resulting in the momentary breakdowns or exasperated outbursts. Such as one day talking to a mentor about how crushed I was when I was (oh God) not perfect at work. And maybe everyone would know and I’d be exposed as a big terrible not perfect person 😬 So I started hatching a plan to  earn some ‘quick wins’ which is business speak for “something easy you can do to establish that you’re not an imbecile.” 

Amidst my plan it was suggested that while it’s great to want to work hard, perhaps the instinct to turn around and achieve something in order to earn my way back into favor might not be entirely sound, let alone healthy. 

 “But…what would I even be DOING in life if I wasn’t trying to be BETTER??” 

Living life maybe..

Being a person? 

 just… enjoying yourself?”

That’s like telling your friend you need to train for a triathalon  and she’s like “maybe you just really need some ice cream  instead?” UGH.

 So I didn’t appreciate those words at first blush… but I knew in some backwards way she was probably on to something.  And maybe I oughta listen.  

That week I took some time to just “enjoy life” as the say… had some coffee, read some poems, scrawled out some thoughts on a placemat since that was the only scratch paper I could find.  

It wasn’t terrible. And life didn’t self-destruct on account of a little time of just being, so that was alright, too.

I even got on a little anti-perfectionist streak such that I even managed to get back to the blog again. So you know, baby steps.  

I’d let you know how that goes but truthfully, I only tend to last for a few days before reverting to that ‘just be better‘ mindset again. 

But maybe if I try EXTRA hard this time I can finally get it right. πŸ™‚

Sweet Insomnia.

Do you ever have days that are so good that you don’t want to go to sleep because then it has to end at least for now? 

Like when you don’t want to leave the table at the end of the meal, or the theater at the end of the movie or the car at the end of the night.  

You’ve been there, I know. πŸ™‚

There was coffee in the pot this morning because Jaz descended on the Cottage like an angel bearing Simon and Garfunkel records, and poems, and Trader Joe’s absolutely everything.

And Michelle is a week or so from delivering her baby boy and is in good care with the doctors and managed to take a moment to text her friend this morning so she could be eager and excited with her even half a state, give or take, away.

And Heather celebrated her bday on a cruise which is actually pretty perfect for someone who works so dang hard, always, and has earned, literally and figuratively, her day in the sun.  
And Alison shopped for a dress for the day she marries Andrew and we found some that come at least close to being as stunning as the person wearing it.  And we ate a meatball sandwich with bread *made of spaghetti* and yes this is a real thing and yes it was almost certainly as divine as it sounds.

And Ashley and Jackie celebrated 30ths with a houseful of just good people and somehow  Rachel and me were the ones sent with Pecan Caramel and Apple pies, which just might be breakfast tomorrow thanks to aforementioned Jaz and the Coffee.

And Jessica gave birth to a wonderful baby boy when it seems like just yesterday we were talking in an Elk Grove coffee shop about how they were finally expectin, after months of hoping and waiting and wondering. Welcome to the world, little Keegan Charney. You’ll like it here, I think..

Because there are even more delicious moments and good days to come, (I remind myself), and it is not the last great meal at the table, nor the last time we’ll see the movie, nor the last time we’ll stay up late dream-talking in the car, we can be sure. 

So perhaps it’s time to close the book on the day and sleep for now, and perhaps theres not much left to say, in the end, besides thank you, thank you, thank you, and, Good morning. β˜€οΈ

I don’t usually take life advice from pizza boxes, but-

There is precisely one takeout pizza box I will remember for all of life, because it was the most profound statement I’d seen in the history of pizza boxes:

 

Enjoy Your Delicious Moments.

Or rather, Enjoy Your Delicious Moments!

I stumbled upon this box from a pizza spot (now closed) in Pasadena quite a few years back and it’s been stuck in my mind ever since. Arguably it’s the ONLY pizza box that I can quote from, besides educated guesses about what a Papa johns pizza box would say, i.e. Better ingredients, better pizza.  And I totally get the self-promotion, John, but I gotta hand it to the box that’s trying to help us live in some sort of pizza-fueled self-actualized way.

So, delicious moments.  Simple concept, right? Those brief windows of time where life is just…good, but better than good, deeper than good,higher than good, greater than good.  Times where life just feels…full. savory. succulent. juicy.  satisfying.  quenching. nourishing.

delicious

There are days when one cool thing happens and days when like, 37 cool things happen. And  I’m supposed to be asleep right now but my mind’s racing with everything life, and especially, with some delicious moments.

 Earlier today I had a (text) conversation with my friend Dana in Wisconsin where she mentioned reading about the year prior, when I’d come out to visit, in her journal. Turns out she writes almost every single day, just quick notes about what happened the day prior. Kinda cool, right? I know that sounds simple, but I think it’s kinda wild, too…taking that little time to note what’s actually happening around us.  We always know we’ll remember the big things, but what about those little things that were great for a few seconds or minutes, but really don’t add up much in the scheme of life? Those things that kinda tickle you in the moment, then rescind gradually as your life fills up with whatever else is going on tomorrow, and the next day, and the day after that. 

I want to remember more of those little things, at least better than I normally do . Not all of them, cause that’s impossible, but at least a few of those great tiny moments that make up a good day.  

But I should be clear that life isn’t all delicious moments, not today or ever. πŸ™‚  Like most/all of us, there are a few things that are downright unsettling or, to go with the taste analogy further, a few things that are rather bitter or bland right now…Relationships that feel out of touch or rocky, bills waiting to be paid, to-do’s I’m behind on, people I’m afraid I’ve hurt out of inconsideration or immaturity.  I say this to say, it’s not all delicious and it’s never all delicious.  Lest any of us think everyone else is living a perfect shiny Instagram life at every single moment. They’re not.

That said though, a few delicious moments of a regular Wednesday:

..when there was Yogi tea in bed before work,  because I got up on time for once πŸ™‚

..when there was still a few bites left of a chocolate donut with coconut and it was the best possible amuse bouche to real breakfast

..when watching a 6 min video from one of our clients with people who were literally living under bridges for months or YEARS, and who are now part of a volunteer team that brings food, clothes and actual, you know, friendship, to people in the same boat.  Resistance to tearing up at my desk was futile. 

.. when Vern, retired 90+(?)  former maintenance man showed up at work…and reminded me of when Travis and I pranked Alison by forging a letter from him that insisted she remove her birthday decorations IMMEDIATELY in compliance with our new company branding protocol. It was the best.

..when Randi unexpectedly dropped love advice at work and shared the super unusual story of how she met her now-husband

..when Heather bought me and Chloe coffee and we got to just be non-work-y people together for a few πŸ™‚ 

..when the email came out about CHURROS DOWNSTAIRS and we all completely vultured them, without hesitation or shame.

..when he had me come right out and SAY it at long last and it felt surprisingly fantastic

..when I randomly quoted one line of Drake and Vicoria filled  in the next without missing a beat

..when my JOB (ok, technically pro bono PA duty) was to buy/make awesome jewelry for gorgeous Kesha to rock this weekend for the film shoot. 

..when that lady reached out and wanted to order 15 necklaces for Christmas presents and I don’t even know how she found us…

..when Dave showed me the cabin for big bear and its woodsy heaven 😍

..when we were all just  sitting in the family room talking + Lauren playing with my hair  (love language)

..and when he reached out about today and I hoped again that things would be alright and good

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Really, it was just an ordinary day, today –  Not much that will be remembered in a few weeks or months from now, but so many little moments that were fleetingly, deliciously sweet.

I feel like  that pizza box knows what it’s talking about. 

Maybe don’t wait until life makes sense.

So, I should probably make this quick before I wimp out and retreat back to comfortable silence…it’s been awhile since I’ve done any writing here, because well (SAFE ANSWER) I’ve been a little preoccupied getting up to speed at a newish job and helping grow our jewelry shop on etsy. Or (TRUER ANSWER),  because  I don’t quite know how to ‘make sense’ of life right now, so I’d rather not get into it. I kept waiting for the clear plotline of this current season to emerge, but for the life of me, I can’t tell what that plotline is.  I decided to finally get into it here and now, in hopes that, maybe there’d be something useful for you in hearing from someone who’s trying to find their way…and often not too sure where they’re going. πŸ™‚

Last Spring I left my company after 6+ years to see what else is out there…joined a startup that went on hiatus in April…and promptly told myself NOT to reflexively go back to work at original company because I still needed to explore other companies.

That lasted about 4 weeks, and then a friend asked if I wanted to join for a month or two, and I caved.  I’m freelancing in a role I pretty deliberately left in 2012 …returning back to marketing from HR… and it’s been weirdly… massively nice to be back.  It’s kind of like moving back in with your parents, expecting you’ll want to get OUT as soon as you possibly can – this is just to get me through this time- …and then remembering that your parents are actually, pretty cool and it’s kind of nice to hang with them again πŸ™‚

 

-Socially, it feels like I’ve never had the caliber/depth of friendships plus an influx of solid new people I’m getting closer to, AND YET…  this weird, unwanted loneliness thing still creeps in more often than I’d ever ever want to admit. Connected one moment, a lone-wolf the next…how can one feel so alone at times, when there are also so many good people you care about just within arms’ reach?

-Creatively, Orendia (the jewelry shop) has been on a nice little uptick, and we’ve been putting more into it than ever before.  But between the designing and photography and social media and keyword research, it still hits me: aren’t we really just selling some (perhaps pretty) STUFF in a world that already has a lot of STUFF?    And yet…it does start to be meaningful when you hear someone say they absolutely love the necklace you made. It leaves me scratching my head.  How could something so small and seemingly pointless as selling jewelry, actually matter at all in the scheme of things?

-We just joined Instagram this past month, and I’m pretty sure I’ve never put so much time into something I’m not even sure I believe in.  Instagram sometimes feels like this world of  a million perfect glossy depictions of the prettiest parts of life – and that just seems incomplete. I remember reading Instagram tips early on to ‘be positive and upbeat’ when posting content.  But what do we do with the fact that life isn’t always positive and upbeat- does this reality have any place with a brand, or are we supposed to excise these parts of life and just focus on the pretty stuff?  Note: when I googled “how to instagram without losing your soul,” the most relevant search result  was about how to win at instagram and not sell your soul, including suggestions to play it like a game and don’t hashtag #generic #stuff.  Helpful, but not the same. πŸ™‚

-In the love life department, it’s been surprisingly slow getting past a guy that never perfectly ‘made sense’ in the first place, at least when you lined up our stats on paper. Right about when I knew I wanted to go all in, take that full-on let’s do this stance was right about the time he couldn’t see it working without one of us giving up who we are. It would have been awesome to just go all Destiny’s Child Independent Women and emotionally peace out then and there, on to all those other fish in the sea… Not so much.  I’ve been excited for that day of reaching some sort of Total Benevolent Indifference…and confused when it’s been out of reach.  We all know the surest way to get over someone is to just start dating someone else to forget about them, but somehow the timing doesn’t feel right…truthfully, I’m not sure I’ve felt more craving for that special awesome person in life than I have lately, yet there’s this deep sense that it might be right to do my own thing for a little bit. It’s kind of like this weird singleness holding cell, when the keys could be pretty close by, but you don’t feel like you should go looking because it seems better to stay put for awhile in hopes of, you know, real rehabilitation. Even though the cell is kind of lonely and cold and the food’s meh and you have to wear a lot of orange.


So work, relationships, love…all good, all hard, all confusing at times. πŸ™‚ I kept waiting to write til I had more answers, til I knew how to better interpret the world around me.    I’ve been waiting for a “here’s what happened – THE END” instead of, “here’s what’s kind of maybe happening, and…. just, jfkdlasjfioupwoerjlekf;lf.”

I guess I’ve been holding out for a simple, clear story that made a lot of sense, and instead I got…just normal life. πŸ™‚

So for the moment at least, I wanted to stop waiting for some Disney princess storyline of life to emerge, and just acknowledge life as it happens to be right now… multi-layered and complex, twisting and unexpected…maybe a little more of an HBO drama than whatever Cinderella story we might expect.

In fairness,wasn’t Cinderella kind of the boring princess anyway? β€ megan.

 

Adventures in Dating: Scattered thoughts on Exes and Teas

April, 2015
I got off the subway at the wrong stop in lower Manhattan but figured it was a good idea to just be lost for a bit. Before I left California, I could have sworn my friend Shelvy gave some advice about making sure to get lost at least once during this adventure.  And Shelvy’s a pretty smart guy, so sometimes, I do what he recommends.  (Assuming he was the one who actually recommended this. Not 100% positive.)
It would have been easy enough to just open my Maps app and find my way in a matter of seconds, but somehow, this seemed to defeat the point. If there was ever a time for being a little lost, now seemed as good a time as any.    Because in ‘normal’ life, when does that really happen? Seems like any time we’re going somewhere new we’re on Waze or Maps…and if we ever find ourselves momentarily lost, there’s literally an app for that.  So the whole experience of lost-ness, in everyday life, is usually a moot point. 

Today, not so much.  Bumbling  through SoHo in new-to-New York-Kimmy Schmidt-like wonder, I come across a tea shop I recognized, surprisingly.  This tea shop just happened to be the subject of a 20 minute conversation I’d had, months before…also with Shelvy. If you know Shelvy you know we’re talking IN-depth discussion because this guy knows his stuff, and is well, basically the Dos Equis man.  He keeps a collection of no fewer than 8 varieties of their tea in his office at all times along with his many many leather bound books (not true on that last part). The point is, running into this tea shop is a little magical. Like life/God/the universe was like, “I’m just gonna leave this coincidence here...” with the just-right amount of swagger one would hope from such a force.

The host greets me inside:  “Just one, then?”
Smiling, confirm. Just one.
Out comes the large book I’ve been toting around on making space in our lives for spirituality, flip open to the next chapter: Gratitude Takes Nothing for Granted.
Click through to my Chill playlist, then realize   – this is a collection of songs from two former boyfriends. Vernacular would be “exes,” but that term always seemed more caustic than necessary…

If heaven and hell decide, that they both are satisfied…
I was in college and just after, and much unfolded as it does in all our relationships: late night conversations, friend groups intertwining, family members met, trips taken, secrets exchanged, real selves exposed in varying degrees.
Illuminate the no’s in their vacancy signs…

Somewhere along the way with each guy, it became clear that they seemed to know what they wanted, and I couldn’t quite move forward.  Something just wasn’t.  But I was slow to realize it, and even slower to let go so they could find the person who could be all in.  It felt confusing, messy, painful. I held on for as long as I could, hoping things would change, dragging them through indecision, pushing away when it seemed things weren’t quite right, pulling in again hoping things might work after all.
…if there’s no one beside you, when your soul embarks…

In my mind, neither story ended on a particularly happy note.  It felt like all they’d done was give lower-case “l” love and it seemed like they’d just gotten frustration and pain in return.  It felt incredibly unfair to them, and a simple equation emerged in my head: breaking up was kinda sh*tty and the pain of it seemed more of my fault than theirs, ere go, I was kinda sh*tty.  I just wanted to rewrite the script, give a full refund on their time and investment and feelings and anything else they’d offered up in pursuit.  It just seemed like the whole story was pretty much ending on one overall sh*tty note. 

…then I’ll follow you into the dark.” 

-death cab for cutie

I didn’t trust that there were much bigger stories happening than mine and his – that there’d be more stories to come,and  with different endings.  Life kept going, because apparently, that’s what life does.

With these two guys, they each went on to meet these sharp, beautiful, full-of-life women who eventually became their wives. I’m at a distance so it’s impossible to know, but I think we’re talking on a ‘he’s her lobster’ level.  My opinion on these women is irrelevant, but I can’t help but geek out over how and when and why they found these guys, geek out about how well suited they seem to be for each other, geek out about how good it is that life keeps on going and doesn’t seem too good at ending on a bad note.

Thank God, I guess, that the end is almost never actually the end end. That even if you can’t see it yet, there’s maybe, possibly more good to come, that life indeed goes on.  It really all seems quite obvious when you write it out like this, and maybe these are all lessons you learned loooong ago, so you walk around with a healthy dose of hope that everything will work itself out in time.  I think that’s awesome, and beautiful.  Bottle up that mindset, get it to Walgreens, and watch the money roll in. I’d like to get in early as an affiliate marketer. πŸ™‚

But I’ve had enough moments to ponder these ex loves, listen to their death cab and Matt Kearney songs and get in touch with all the feelings, as we do.  There’s more of this city to see. πŸ™‚  I leave the scone to its crumbs and set out to wander the southern tip of Manhattan for the rest of the day. I had no idea that there was, incidentally, more good to come, and just around the corner.  Tomorrow would be the start with another future ex, of a vastly different variety than before.

No playlists, this time. πŸ™‚

     

   

   

 

  

a little crazy, together.

A Thursday in April, 2016:

They pulled me and Shawn into a conference room, friendly like normal but something serious underneath.

The news:

Business as usual for the next week, then our work will be on hold.

They’d love to keep working together and we’re welcome to stay involved- but this is the direction the company must go to refocus for its next iteration.

In a few minutes, this job was effectively ending about as quickly as it began.


Was this really happening? Was this good news, or bad, or both? What could and should I have done differently? Should I wait things out or try to get another job immediately?  How’s the team going to feel when they learn the news?  How am I going to pay my bills in a month from now?  Is this the end of those incessant instant message notifications, praise God?!

These questions were a lot to think about, so that first night, I focused on other important tasks – picking up some Monster Cookie ice cream from Target, calling my parents to discuss levels of financial screwed-ness, stockpiling groceries before the paychecks stopped coming, settling into the couch with Parks and Rec.

Pretty productive night, actually.

What I DIDN’T do was worry about the fact that I had one more week of income lined up before everything dried up. The first few days were surprisingly emotionless, relaxed. Maybe just distracted and shocked.

But as I worked my last week, that job-loss panic did eventually set in.  I wrote about it some here late one night when I couldn’t sleep.  It was that freaked-out fear of an unknown that, unlike my sabbatical earlier, I really hadn’t planned for.

People were so encouraging in response – thank you for taking the time to check in with me. You made things feel more hopeful and grounded, which was pretty much the biggest godsend for the time. 

Since the job wrapped up though, I haven’t known how to talk about it…or ask for help.  I’ve felt unsettled/uncomfortable so I haven’t wanted to really talk about this stuff much: 

Theoretically I have a ridiculously simple problem (no job) with an equally simple solution (go. get. a. JOB)… so I’ve felt like I should just be hopping online, googling “HR jobs in Pasadena” and getting ON with things.

But I’ve felt a little stalled, interested in weird questions like:

“What does success actually mean to you – regardless of how other people define it?”  

“What do you value most in life, and how might you make a career fit around these life priorities and not vice versa?” 

Makes sense these questions are popping up now – they’re the same questions I’d barely started thinking about last Fall as the sabbatical drew to a close…until this job fell into my lap.  Once I had a job, those deeper life questions were on the back burner – I had a paid distraction and reprieve.

But helpful or interesting as they may be, these questions do very little to, you know, pay rent. 

I can vividly see that “right” answer – get a steady job/get back in the race/climb the ladder…and it’s taken me the past month to admit that at least for now, the safe, steady,  “right” answer isn’t the one I want.  At least, it’s not the only answer.

It’s a bit like when you know that person you “should” be into, the one who “makes sense”, who’s great on paper – yet you crave something different, unfamiliar, that wild child alter ego who evokes furrowed brows and uncertainty: him? 

Him. 

It, whatever it is: That crazy dream of what doesn’t add up, what breaks some rules, what doesn’t make sense until it somehow, deeply does.  

Maybe that burns out with time, maybe that appeal is just naΓ―vetΓ© or immaturity talking. 

Maybe you go for that wrong answer and don’t turn back.  I don’t know.  I certainly want to find out.

And I do know I’ve spent a lot of time pursuing some pretty defensible “right” answers, and while steady income is USEFUL and health benefits are TOTALLY UNDERRATED and one’s comfort zone is PLEASANT, there’s a time and place to prioritize them.  I can’t shake the thought that there is also some very important stuff learned in the exploring/questioning/wandering, even though it might feel crazy at times.  There’s something to be gained from the crazy.  πŸ™‚

And if on some level some of these thoughts register somewhere with you, too… well, then maybe we can be a little crazy together.

Panic and alcohol prayers.

It’s 2:37 am right now and I’m finally hitting that first wave of panic.

Four days ago I learned some big changes are ahead, changes that impact me and everyone I work with in a not very small way. After shock/processing/ice cream/shock/compulsive cleaning/booze/processing –  reality and a bit of panic are finally starting to sink in. 

This weekend I updated my resume and was actually feeling pretty decent about it until I started combing through LinkedIn.  Mistake.  If on our bad days Facebook gets us thinking our lives might not be cool/popular/awesome enough LinkedIn can quickly get you thinking you probably should be working at a Fortune100 company in middle management by now or some sexy startup in LA where the dress code is apparently designer denim and cute cropped motorcycle jackets and everyone looks like they walked out of an issue of Kinfolk, or for all the normal people who don’t know what Kinfolk is, looked like they walked out of some place super cool and maybe inadvertently pretentious. Maybe you start frantically wondering why didn’t you get promoted every 5.7 months and why aren’t you involved in more professional organizations and what exactly do you want to DO anyway and if you knew, would a company you’re excited about actually want to hire you and what if you end up living under a bridge or with 27 roommates for the next ten years and oh God —

Or you know, wherever your 2am mind goes with it. πŸ™‚ 

And as I’m trying to sleep amidst the pinball worried thoughts bouncing around in my brain, for no reason I can think of, one of Jim’s many great lines from The Office pops into my head, oddly apt for the moment, I guess: 

Lord beer me strength.

And it becomes my panicked little prayer for now, all I can think to say at the moment. Lord beer me strength. Please beer me strength. 

And maybe also wine me strength. Yeah, that would be wonderful.

And heck, cocktail me strength. I would not say no to that.

Really, I will pretty much take all the strength I can get, booze-related or otherwise.

Amen.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Q5D7anaSPKA

For Dama, happy birthday

It was almost a year ago, at their new home, just months before they got married.  We were celebrating Dama’s 29th.  I’d only been there long enough for someone to grab a wine glass to get me a drink, except the glass slipped and shattered and somehow a piece flew into my hand, surprisingly, ouch.  I tried to act calm as it started to bleed because who wants to be the party guest who is not only bleeding, but freaking out about it to boot.  Dama breaks away from her guests to first aid me because, you know, that’s what Dama would do.  Take care of you, no matter what.

I go back downstairs to mingle, snack, karaoke because it’s Dama and you know there’s gonna be singing or dancing or both, and that you’re going to have a great time with it, because, you know, that’s what Dama will do: make sure you’re having fun. Suddenly the music switches to Hey Soul Sister, which I learn will be their first dance at the wedding, and they jump right in to their choreography, which is actually quite good. So there’s Brian and Dama, so happy with each other, in sync, so purely joyful as they danced with each other, caught eyes, as Brian scooped her up and kissed her. Their love simply radiates between them.  It’s enough to make you shed a few happy tears, as you’re reminded that love is real, kind, full of joy; as you rejoice over two great people finding each other and building a richer, sweeter life together. 

They invite me to stay the night, because they know I have a long drive and because, like Taylor Swift, we know the beauty of a good sleepover. So here I am spending the night as their first nonfamily houseguest, feeling honored to be here, feeling loved as they’re so good at doing, feeling safe and at home, here among Dama and Brian and their dawning new life together.

In the morning before they wake up, I go to the fridge for some breakfast, opened the fridge and there was this red row of BabyBel cheese, and I can’t tell you why, but it’s just the sweetest thing to see.  That’s when it dawned on me on some happy odd way that Dama and Brian are making a home here, together, based on a darling  idiosyncratic love, the kind of love that looks like making sure the fridge is stocked with a favorite cheese, because isn’t life just better and more fun that way, when you pay attention to the little details, when you make a point to savor those delicious moments? Isn’t that the best way to start a new life together, with a fridge full of happy little red-wrapped cheese? 

Happy birthday, Dama.  Safe to say we love you just as much as cheese. Which is to say, tremendously.  πŸ™‚