all grown up

Well, I just sent my article to The Frisky editor. Met the deadline, but went over the word limit by 300ish. It couldn’t be helped! I’m proud of the piece though, if not a little nervous that it’s out of my control now. Mostly, I’m so glad it’s done.

I’m seeing my best friend from college tonight for the first time in long while. He still lives in New York, but we’ve drfted apart over the years. It’s funny timing to be catching up with him because so much of the article I just finished obsessing over for two days deals with the past and a time during which he and I were very close. So it’s all very fresh in my mind.

I realized this morning that this month marks 12 years since I moved to New York as a teenager. Yes, I came for college, but college in New York is a whole different animal than a dorm-room style experience in a non-urban environment. Certainly not better or worse, but very different.

The friend I’m seeing tonight is someone I met on my second or third day in town. We connected because he was also from the Midwest – from a Chicago suburb no less. And we clung to each other for those first few months, becoming best friends and partners in food crime and other nonsense. He’s also the friend whose eventual weight loss inspired me to get serious about my own. In short, we were tumultuous besties for years before we ultimately drifted apart.

I’m excited to see him, to reminisce about how we used to stay up late in our dingy railroad apartment and talk about “when we’re 30.” Here we are.

When I moved to this city at age 17, I was such a naive idiot. I really was. I guess most 17-year-olds are. I could not have known at the time, of course, what a ridiculous, trying and colorful course my twenties would take. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to realize I’m standing on the otherside of that insanity.

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ten months + really good stuff

(Photo from HST’s short film shoot: by Eric Michael Pearson.)

It’s been just over 10 months since I quit my job to pursue work that makes me happier.

I cannot say that these last 10 months have been easy. There have definitely been trying, confusing, stressful moments. But what strikes me most is that the time has passed regardless of what I’ve been doing with it. I’ve been able to survive and have had a lot of rich experiences along the way.

I’m so lucky to have received a humbling amount of support from my mother, my boyfriend, my friends, some of my family members – there’s no way I could have lasted these 10 months without them. And even though it hasn’t been perfect or simple, I’m so glad I set out on this journey when I did. I will turn 30 in November and I feel a sense of relief to be far away from my office assistant career and well into a career that inspires me.

Still, the month of July was tight and stressful. Although I was able to take advantage of a bunch of amazing opportunities, including a life-affirming trip to the Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, I was nearly broke for most of the month because I was traveling so much, and it was a worrisome experience. I didn’t know what would happen next.

Kevin, thank God for his faith in me, reminded me regularly during that time that things would work out when they were supposed to, that I had to have faith that the energy I was putting out into the world would come back to me, and that some sign would show me I was on the right path soon enough. He was right. The month of August has been full of good surprises.

First of all, I’ve had a great time writing articles for the Spring site, and I’m going to keep doing so in September. It’s an honor to be part of their mission.

Secondly, I found out last week that I’m going to be teaching an Acting for Sketch Comedians class at the PIT in October! I come from a family of teachers so I’ve always kind of railed against the teaching profession. But this opportunity is a great way to utilize my comedy acting skills and training to help other people – and get paid while doing it! Plus, my mom’s all excited about it.

Things are moving along at a motivating pace with Harvard Sailing Team. We shot our short film this past weekend, which was almost an out-of-body experience – a dream come true for all of us. We worked with an incredibly talented and professional production team and watched our little movie become a reality before our eyes. It was unreal in the best way. And now we move onto the next batch of projects, which are just as exciting – we’re so lucky to get to share it all with each other. What more can you ask for than living out a dream, surrounded by your best friends?

Last, but certainly not least, I found out yesterday, right after I woke up from a nap filled with wild, crazy dreams no less, that I sold an article to one of my favorite websites, The Frisky. On a whim, I pitched them a piece last month, something I’d really poured my heart into. But I never heard back, so I assumed it was a dead-end. Then I got an email from the editor yesterday telling me that she loved the idea and wants a draft before the end of the week! I was elated. Still am. I’ve done a fair amount of freelance writing in the last six months, but it’s been a personal goal of mine to sell an article like this to a site like theirs for a while now. Meeting goals is THE BEST FEELING.

Although I’m definitely sharing these little bits of good news to toot my own horn (because sometimes you gotta), I’m also sharing them to make a point: Making a major life change doesn’t happen overnight, especially if you’re transitioning out of something stable and into something totally unstable and unknown. But I’m starting to realize that the people who succeed in pursuits like these are those who don’t give up easily, and who work their asses off in the meantime. I’m still perfecting the second part – working my ass off – I know I could always be doing more. But I’ve got the don’t-give-up part down pat.

This journey keeps affirming two things for me: Have faith in yourself because only you know what’s right for you. And trust the universe. It will always catch you.

1979

When Kevin and I were gifted an awesome used leather couch this past weekend, I was inspired to clean up my little corner of the living room because the rest of the room looked so great. (You can see a pic of the couch here!)

Long story short, I found some hilarious old photos, like the one above.

That’s Harvard Sailing Team at the Chicago SketchFest in 1979. I’m kidding, it was 1989.

I’m kidding. It was 2005, I think?

Except Billy (far right) just stepped out of a “Welcome Back, Kotter” episode.

Even though it wasn’t really that long ago, it feels like eons. We look so young! And our hair…it’s killing me.

(Incidentally, one guy you might not recognize in this photo is our good friend Matt Decker on the far left. Matt was a member of the group for the first year we were together, but then he moved away. We miss him. And absent from the photo is Faryn who was studying abroad in Spain at the time.)

We’re making our short film this weekend with the Friars Club money we won earlier this summer and we’re so excited. When we all needed better haircuts back in 2005, who knew we’d get to make a short film together just a few years later?

things can shift in an instant – my interview with jordan reid

Jordan Reid is the cheerful, creative writer and television host behind the blog, Ramshackle Glam, a great site that offers everything from simple, yummy dinner ideas, to reviews of hot vacation spots, to how to’s for fixing up old furniture or making homemade pickles.

But the talented 29-year-old wasn’t always quite so fulfilled in her professional life. A couple years ago Jordan found herself unhappily employed at a law firm – it was a corporate job that left her feeling frustrated and uninspired. One day, after an irritating incident in the office landed a mess of obnoxious emails in her inbox, she’d finally had enough. So she quit! And she’s glad she did. (Click here to read Jordan’s post from August 2009 about the day she quit her job.)

The New York City native is known for more than just her current web and media presence. Jordan was also an original cast member on the fan-favorite “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.” And she first emerged onto the blog scene via Non-Society.com, an often-criticized but popular “life-casting” site.

Jordan famously made the decision to leave Non-Society and strike out on her own when she began Ramshackle Glam earlier this year. After weathering the transition from one blog to another with grace and humility, hers remains one of my favorite sites. She writes with personality, heart and the refreshing ability to laugh at her own mistakes.

Had Jordan Reid not left a job that made her unhappy, Ramshackle Glam and all the other exciting aspects of Jordan’s new career may not exist today.

She graciously allowed me to ask her a few questions about quitting her job to pursue what makes her happy. Read on to learn what Jordan had to say about the risky decision she made, the people who supported her unconditionally, and her advice for anyone who wants to follow her lead.

Jordan, you were working at a law firm in NYC before you became a full time blogger and writer. You tell the story on your blog of the day you quit after some unpleasant emails from difficult coworkers made you realize you didn’t quite fit in. Do you think you felt out of place at that particular office or industry, or was it the corporate world in general that didn’t feel like the right fit?

Continue reading

they got us

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised. The story I (and the rest of the world) blogged yesterday about the disgruntled assistant named “Jenny” who quit dramatically her job via dry erase board – WAS A HOAX. Ugh.

The girl’s real name is Elyse Porterfield and she’s an actress who answered an ad posted by a guy who, along with his business partner, “just wanted to prove to myself that I had it in me.” Great. Apparently you do.

As embarrassed as we all might be for believing the story (238,000 Facebook users shared the link and 31,000 people tweeted about it), the success of this hoax proves that a whole lot of people really do daydream about quitting jobs that don’t fulfill them, and they’ll happily celebrate when somebody else has the courage to do so.

The JetBlue guy’s awesome story remains true, though! Phewf.

quit your job like a rock star – the dry erase board story

(Update! The following story is a hoax. As cool as it would be if it were true, it’s not. Boo! Hiss!! But you can still be inspired by the concept…right?)

Omg! This is so awesome. Fresh on the heels of the JetBlue flight attendant story, you’ve gotta check out the story and pics of a girl named Jenny who quit her job in a brilliant fashion yesterday morning.

When Jenny finally snapped after overhearing her boss make a sexual remark about her, Jenny dramatically quit by taking 33 pictures of herself holding dry erase boards which, all together, spelled out her farewell message – including a delicious reveal about how her nasty boss really spends all his company time. And then she emailed the pictures to the entire company!

Click here to see all 33 pictures and read her story.

I love it. Take your life back, Jenny. Good for you.

You guys, I think the universe is telling us it’s Quit Your Job Week. Is it your turn? 😉

how trusting unexpected inspiration changed my life

This cat paw close-up isn’t necessarily related to anything I’m about to say, but how cute is it??

Anyway, I wanted to share with y’all my latest article on Spring. Their theme this month is “inspiration.” Since the first piece I wrote on the topic was…inspired…by my decision to quit my job and pursue what makes me happier, I’ve figured I’d post the whole piece here too.

Incidentally, my next article about inspiration will go live on Spring this Thursday. Pretty sure I’m gonna write about Steven Slater. You’ve heard about this guy by now (or you live in a cave). He’s the JetBlue flight attendant who got bonked on the head by a piece of luggage right after being cussed out by a passenger and decided he’d had more than enough. Dude got on the loudspeaker, gave the entire plane a piece of his mind, grabbed a brew, inflated the big yellow escape hatch and slid down to his freedom! I love it. I’ll link to that article when it’s up.

In the meantime, here’s my latest piece:

How Trusting Unexpected Inspiration Changed My Life
(originally posted on Spring: Inspiration in Bloom)

Inspiration is anything that encourages, motivates and challenges you to take the next step. Whether the next step is in your career, your relationship, as an artist, a mother, a friend, inspiration is anything that genuinely makes you feel. What you do with it is up to you.

When I set out to quit my desk job as an assistant at a law firm a year and a half ago, I had no idea what I was going to do next. I knew I didn’t want to work in a corporate office anymore. I knew I hated waking up early just to commute an hour into the city to help someone else fulfill their professional goals and ambitions. I’d studied (and loved) acting in college, I liked to write, I liked to go for jogs, I liked animals, I wore clothes, I ate food – but I had no idea how to translate any of that into my Next Career. Nothing jumped out at me. I wasn’t, as it were, inspired. Continue reading

and a new week begins

First, some fabulous points:

  • I’m reading “The Girl Who Played with Fire,” the second in the series. Enjoyed the first book. Having something to read is the best.
  • I’m loving NYC right now. Mid-to-late summer temps, everybody’s happy and relaxed, it’s vacation month for most of the city.
  • I have a free gym membership for the month of August.
  • Harvard Sailing Team is making a movie in two weeks with the money we won for the Friar’s Club. Can’t wait.
  • Going to Vegas for my cousin’s wedding over Labor Day. Can’t wait.
  • Trader Joe’s Whole Wheat Tuscan Bread is my favorite bread. Related: I think the world needs some toast restaurants. Toastaraunts.
  • Summer rules.

Speaking of summer, I went to the beach this weekend for the first time this season. It was so nice. Kevin and I went to New Jersey to spend time with our friends and their adorable 5-month old baby. (Her name is Luna. Don’t you love that?! She’s a little angel.)

We had such a nice time eating homemade veggie pizza from the grill (yum), drinking wine and visiting a lovely place called Grounds for Sculpture.

This is Rat’s Restaurant, which is inside the sculpture park. The whole park is beautiful and fascinating as hell. And this restaurant is no exception – it’s a magical place that seems like it fell out of a fairy tale. We didn’t eat there, just got to tour through it, although I heard the food is really good.

Incidentally, the Executive Chef at Rat’s is on Top Chef Season 7 right now! He’s the guy named Kevin with the glasses. (I love Top Chef. Angelo’s gonna win, right?)

It was such a sweet little weekend trip. Our hosts, Scott and Mary Ellen, were so generous. And I’m plotting to eat their baby with whipped cream.

I’m excited for the new week to begin. Good things are happening in small bursts lately and I’m feeling energetic and eager to keep working. Hope you all have a good week too!