my job and my career

Kevin snapped this as he was walking home from the subway late last night. I was already fast asleep when he arrived and woke up at 7am to an email from a partner at the law firm telling us all to stay home. Snow day!

I’ve come off the ledge since my last post. Turns out I was experiencing some PMS-inspired moodiness. No one died and I’ve felt a lot better over the last few days.

This is the second time I’ve had a real snow day off from work in the last month. What could be better??

I’ve realized something recently that I can’t deny. This job is exactly what I need right now. I’m hesitant to say that because I don’t want to have to work there for a long time. But the circumstances of my current career situation being what they are, I’m grateful for this setup.

I’m surprised and delighted every single time I get paid. I have relative flexibility in the sense that I haven’t had to miss anything yet – I’ve been able to take off for important HST shows and I’ll get to go on a family trip in April. My health insurance just kicked in last week and that’s a nice feeling, and I’ve been able to make a serious dent in some minor credit card debt I’ve been carrying around.

PLUS, Kevin’s able to work from home right now managing HST gigs, working on his own projects (He and some colleagues launched SiCKPUPPY.tv this week!), playing Mister Mom to our two babies cats and doing some important research on what we’ll do next with Fanny & Jane.

My boss has been out of the office this entire week. It means I have time to put toward my own career goals…saying nothing of today, of course, which I’ve spent at home in my pajamas doing laundry and writing. He travels a fair amount and it’s always a welcome break when he’s gone. When he’s in the office, I generally want to be instantly whisked away to another world. But it’s all still bearable. And in exchange for the support this job is providing my lifestyle? I’ll take it.

I had a great time on Sunday at brunch with a few incredible women I’d never met before. The get together was organized by our dear friend Michelle (the When I Grow Up Coach), who knows us each personally and thought we might make a good group of ambitious Brooklyn ladies who can support each other in our disparate career journeys. It was a relief to meet and connect with these women, who are all exploring and uncovering how to navigate their careers as entrepreneurs and creative people. Our conversation was reassuring and comforting.

After I told my story, who I am and how I ended up where I am today, I heard myself saying “The reality of my life is that I could have to quit my day job in three months to write a movie, or I may end up having to go to LA to make a TV show next year. Or anything else…or nothing else…And there’s the bakery, and my writing stuff, and teaching. And it’s all exciting but it can also be a real challenge to be patient and let it all unfold.” (That isn’t exactly what I said, but who can remember.)

So as hard as it is to be patient, I’m working on letting it unfold.

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eff you, january!

I’m NOT a January person.

I mentioned a couple posts back that I usually hate January but this January was feeling easier. Well, I was WRONG. I hate this month. Still and always. And someday I will be wealthy and/or flexible enough to go away somewhere lovely for the entire month of January (and February and March?) and swim my troubles away in a wave pool.

For now, I live in a big, beautiful, insane city that challenges me every day, and there is nothing redeeming about living here in January. The bitter cold aside (we awoke to 6 degrees this morning – near torturous when one must walk everywhere one needs to go!), the constant darkness, the lack of sunshine, the fact that there are a completely unnecessary 31 full days up in this bitch all pushes me to my limit.

I mean, who put 31 days in January!? WHY.

I really did think I was getting by just fine. I figured I’d hunker down, snuggle in with my little family and hibernate until Spring. And I’ve tried to do that, despite a very busy schedule. But my January demons haven’t been tricked by my optimism. They’ve just been patient, waiting for me to let my guard fully down.

And now, for the past – oh – five days, I’ve been a total lunatic. I’ve been rageful, hateful, spiteful, quick to judge, quick to roll my eyes, irritated by every single anything that crosses my path, hopeless, unmotivated, disinterested and generally pissed. I hate everyone. Sorry, it’s not personal.

I hide it well, which probably makes it worse for my innards, but no one should have to deal with my ire. It’s not attractive or fair. I don’t feel this way for prolonged periods of time, just for a few miserable hours in a row. And then the fog starts to clear and I check the closets to make sure I haven’t hidden any bodies and go about my day. But holy hell is it exhausting.

What’s nice is that I’ve grown up chronologically and emotionally in the last several years and I’ve learned to see these depressing chunks of time as what they are – some kind of chemical reaction in my brain and body. They’re not evidence of my being a horrible person who is destined to fail at everything in life and probably end up in prison for accidentally (“accidentally”) committing homicide.

It could be the lack of sunlight and necessary nutrients, or the cold weather, or my hormones during this particular week, or the fact that I haven’t been running lately – I know all those things can play a part. So I’ll take a walk around a few city blocks, grab a cup of coffee, have a piece of chocolate, have a piece of fruit, or read a fun blog or website to shake myself out of it. That tends to work. But it doesn’t make the actual process any more fun. Feeling this way is like a migraine. It comes on, stays for a while, and goes away a little while later. But instead of a blinding, piercing headache, it’s venom toward All That Is.

Look, I’m not proud of it, I’m just sharing.

Today, after hiding all scissors in the office from myself, I realized I should probably just take a walk and get a damn cookie and a cappuccino. So I did. And it worked. The fresh air, the caffeine, the sugar – it all helped. I felt a dozen times better. And I’ll probably try to do a little yoga tonight to clear out more cobwebs.

Right now I’m going to go do an improv show (also very therapeutic) and then head home to my boyf and my cats, all of whom could not make me any happier if they tried.

the new theater

Our beloved comedy theater, the PIT, where I perform and teach, has moved to a beautiful, huge new space across town.

The old theater was a fantastic space and so much great stuff happened within those walls for me personally and for Harvard Sailing Team. But the new space just raises the stakes. To quote my friend and the artistic director of the PIT, Jeff, the new theater is a “game changer.” For sure.

HST has done two shows there since the space opened (we perform every Friday at 9:30) and they have been two of the most exhilarating, challenging and rewarding shows we’ve done in a while. There’s nothing in the world like the feeling of doing a good comedy show that makes a room full of people laugh hard. It’s a drug.

My improv team The Baldwins also does a show once a week on Saturday nights and those are a blast too. We perform with another critically acclaimed group called Big Black Car. Kev and I are about to head out the door to that show right now! (And then we’ll get some sushi for dinner…and I’m not saying I’m going to drag him shoe shopping too, but I’m not not saying it either.)

The point is, I’m so lucky – we all are – to get to perform in this awesome new theater, which lends some serious respect to the crafts we’re practicing up there. I’m a lucky duckling and this is a period in my life I will probably always remember fondly.

Also, if I may continue to brag about my comedy group, HST won a big-deal award earlier this week which really caught us off guard. It’s called the Nightlife award. The ceremony is in a couple weeks at a renowned venue called Town Hall and we get to perform in the ceremony in front of hundreds of people, many of whom are probably going to be stars, producers and directors, and many of whom we have all idolized for years. So excited! (You can read more about the Nightlife award, past winners and how we’re big theater dorks on the HST blog.)

day by day

First of all, look at these two. My loves.

Secondly, look at this gorgeous blog!! I haven’t been over to visit Michelle’s blog in a while – I read her posts on my blackberry because my job is a little insane sometimes and I seek respite in the bathroom stall with my phone. Yup.

Michelle is the When I Grow Up Coach! And she and her husband Luke have become good friends of Kevin and mine in the last year. I just ventured over to her site on a real computer for the first time in a while (on my brand new Macbook Pro, in fact) and it looks stunning. So proud of her. If you ever want to be inspired, encouraged, motivated or shaken out of your comfort zone, go check her out. She’s a quickly rising star.

It’s a cozy Wednesday night, I’m sick with a head cold and I’m sitting on my couch watching “Miracle Detectives” on the OWN network. I hate to be predictable but this new Oprah channel is definitely up my alley. Kevin’s back is out, the poor dear, and he’s been home dealing with it for the last three days. Otherwise I’ve been slogging away at work, buried in paper.

January. I historically hate this month, but I’m not minding it so far. Day by day, enjoying my darling boyfriend, my sweet cats, and my routine. Waking up earlier has been nice so far and peaceful. I think it will be good for me if I can stick to it. Getting out of bed is hard, but once I do, I’m much happier moving around at a peaceful pace.

I start teaching a new class tomorrow – Intermediate Sketch Writing – and I’m excited about it! Nervous too. And then things will rev up and I’ll be doing 3-4 shows a week, having 2 rehearsals, teaching a class and maybe having a couple meetings.

In essence, I work double shifts. I’d never give up the second job, and right now I’m choosing to do the first job so I can pay for the second. It can’t be this way forever, but it’s not so bad for now.

not rocket science

My only New Year’s resolution this year is to wake up earlier.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m a notoriously late sleeper. If I didn’t feel obligated to participate in adult society I might sleep until noon every day. When I was working for myself from home last year and had a much more flexible schedule I would struggle to get out of bed before 10am after staying up until 4.

But now my day job starts at 9:30. And I exhaust myself when I try to grab a few extra minutes of sleep and inevitably wake up later than I intend to and stumble out of bed, hoping to make coffee and get dressed while I’m still unconscious.

I’ve always known, deep down, that waking up earlier would be a positive thing for my life. I could imagine the cool, quiet mornings alone in my living room, sipping coffee, stretching out on a yoga mat, maybe doing some writing. But sleep is a vixen and despite my best intentions, I always let her lure me back in. There are few feelings I adore more than falling back to sleep after my alarm goes off. It’s perfection…Until the alarm goes off again.

I’m optimistic but cautious about this resolution. I don’t have any huge plans for how to spend my new, improved mornings. I’m actually curious to find out what I end up filling them with. And truth be told, this could end in complete defeat. But I bought a new programmable coffee maker that miraculously makes me hot coffee while I’m still asleep. And spending that $24.99 on this resolution means I’m serious.

So this morning I successfully woke up much earlier than I did on weekdays in 2010, and even though I initially sat on the edge of my bed for a few minutes toying with the idea of scraping the whole plan until 2012, I eventually got up, poured myself some magical mystery coffee, did 20 minutes of gentle yoga and then ate my toast while I watched the news.

It’s not rocket science, but I felt a little more centered as I walked into the office this morning than I usually do.

Being back at work today is fine. I hate it. And it’s fine. There’s always a bit of culture shock when you return to a job you’re not thrilled about after a great vacation. But I’m grateful for the money this job provides me to, for instance, travel for the holidays, buy gifts, go to the movies, get new sweaters, stock our fridge full of NOT cookies and all the other relaxing, wonderful things I did over the holiday break. And I will keep that in mind today as I slog through hundreds of emails and dozens of files, bills, documents and agreements.

Hopefully gifting myself a more peaceful morning will help the first Monday of my 2011 unfold gently. If not, the Chipotle burrito I plan to have for lunch today will surely do the trick.