fanny & jane’s first talk show!

Our comedian friends Brett Wean and Ben Masten are launching a new “culinary themed variety show” and Fanny & Jane is their first guest! We’re so excited.

Also featured this Sunday night at 8pm will be award-winning Hip Hop Comedy Duo (and two of our best friends), SNAKES, award-winning master improv team, Centralia, and live music, snacks and jokes!

Faryn and I will be showing everyone how to make one of our favorite Fanny & Jane specialties. Come for the variety show, stick around for the free sweet treats!

Sunday
8pm
The Peoples Improv Theater
154 W. 29th btwn 6&7
$5

i got into a fight at the grocery store

Because I am my grandfather’s granddaughter, I got in a fight with a guy at the grocery store this morning. He looked “normal,” whatever that means. (And I realize it means nothing at all.) But he was saying some really inappropriate stuff about the cashier and the people who own the store. He actually called the checkout woman “trash.” And I couldn’t believe it.

I rarely, if ever, respond to the weirdos, the asses, the jerks. It’s just not worth it. When I first moved here and was young and stupid, and much feistier, I would talk back whenever I felt like I should. But that never works out and you always feel worse afterward.

This morning, however, I lost myself. I just could not believe this man, in his expensive jacket, his cart full of groceries by his side. I could not believe he walks around in a world where calling someone “trash” and saying that she should go back to her “homeland” is a reasonable thing to do. And I guess that’s the thing. The guy was obviously not reasonable.

But I couldn’t help myself. Oof. The adrenaline surged through my body and after a few dirty looks, I finally said, “Shut up, dude.” Naturally, he didn’t like that. So he turned to whomever was within earshot and muttered “You shut up. Bit@h told me to shut up.”

And then I stepped out of my body and the following flew out of my mouth, loudly, in front of a lot of people in line at the store. “YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT. BIT@H TOLD YOU TO SHUT UP. SO SHUT THE F*!K UP.”

Whoa. I was shaking. I do not advocate this behavior. And I will not be telling Kevin this incident occurred (he can find it out here on the blog…) because he doesn’t like when I do stuff like that. Something about not wanting me to be killed or whatever drama. šŸ˜‰

So I’m posting photos of today’s beautiful spring morning. To wash away the vitriol.

I’m still adjusting to this new schedule I’ve created for myself – part-time bakery work, part-time writing for Gather.com and Examiner.com. There are moments when I want to cry from joy, because if I can make these two gigs work out for myself financially, I will have achieved the loose goal I had when I quit my job: make money doing stuff I love, hopefully baking and writing.

Three cheers! That feels good.

We are in store for a beautiful week of lovely temps, if the weather reports can be believed. I am so looking forward to it. I need outdoor exercise in a major way.

Have a great weekend, everyone. If you’re celebrating Easter, Happy Easter!

six months later

I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t immediately start snapping shots of the adorable little flowers that are blooming in the front yards on our street. I squealed when I realized that colorful things were already popping out of the ground – it’s always one of my favorite sights of the year. It means we’re moving forward.

As anyone who doesn’t live under a rock probably knows, much of the country has had stunning spring weather this week. God bless it. It is supposed to be 72 degrees here today, and it’s been in the high 60’s all week long. Kevin and I sat in the park yesterday morning chatting and bickering over coffee and breakfast sandwiches from the deli and I accidentally got a little sunburn on my shoulder and arm! Guess it’s time to break out the sunblock. I am so ready.

This past week has been one of the most interesting and influential weeks I’ve experienced since I quit my job, which was just over six months ago (!). Here’s what happened. I started freelance-baking (sure, that’s a thing) on Sunday morning with a fantastic little catering company in the West Village. Better Being has been around for over 15 years, is owned by two amazing women and run by a wonderful team of talented people, and they’ve carved out an interesting niche for themselves – they cater almost all the big name fashion photo shoots in the city and have been successfully doing so for as long as they’ve been in business. They’ve never even had to advertise – they’re beloved in their community.

They recently decided to open a little take-out lunch shop as an addition to their catering business. The shop, which they’ve built out right in front of their kitchen facility, will offer organic fair trade coffee, delicious paninis and sandwiches, soups made from scratch, hot lunches, salads, and, of course, desserts. And they use some incredibly fresh, high-quality ingredients. Mmm! They had a very soft opening of the new cafe this past Monday, meaning they just opened their doors to friends and family and tried to troubleshoot while learning what to put on the shelves and how to serve the customers before officially announcing anything.

And that’s where I came in. They’ve never exactly had a formal baking department, as a company, and when I met with one of the owners this past Sunday, she explained to me that they were really hoping for someone to take over their bakery and sort of build it from the ground up – to create some signature sweets for the place and to head up the operation. She wanted to know if I was her gal.

It was an unbelievable opportunity, to say the least. I couldn’t believe it had landed in my lap. As I stood in their facility, with an entire separate kitchen dedicated just to the bakery, I imagined the possibilities and was shocked at my good fortune. This could be a great experience, I thought. I’d already told her about my own bakery, in fact it’s what attracted her to me as a prospective employee – she’d been to our website and was impressed. I’d explained to her that if I were to take on the job, I’d also still be running my own bakery and would want her to be comfortable with that. She told me she would be. We agreed to give it a try for a few days. I’d stick around and help out with the soft launch, prepping various sweets and treats for their fashion shoot lunches and for the new cafe, and after a few days, we’d both tell each other how we were feeling and if we wanted to move forward with official employment.

I was excited, but also a little nervous. I knew I could complete almost any recipe you put in front of me, but not having had any formal baking training, I was worried about what I didn’t know that I didn’t know. For a few days at least, I was going to be running this whole bakery! It was all up to me! I crossed my fingers that my skills were up to the task and that I’d be able to learn what I couldn’t already do.

More than any of that, though, I was also worried about whether or not this was the right move for my LIFE, for my bakery, for what I want for my future and the things I can see happening for Fanny & Jane. Lots of bakers and bakery owners have second jobs consulting for other restaurants or cafes. It’s not unusual for someone to own or have created their own restaurant or bakery and to be helping out another one at the same time. In fact, when she asked me for my Red Velvet Cake Bite recipe, I told her I’d be happy to offer them to her as a Fanny & Jane wholesale account, but that those were our signature item and I wasn’t comfortable taking our name off the product. She understood and agreed.

The hours at this gig, although varied, would mostly be mornings (I’d show up sometime between 7am-10am) until early afternoons (we’d finish up sometime between 2pm-5pm) and it seemed like I might have plenty of free time left over to still work on Fanny & Jane stuff too. I knew that I’d know after just a few mornings of showing up for work as Head Baker at a successful NYC restaurant, if it was the right job for me.

Turns out, it wasn’t. And before I explain why, I’ll tell you that discovering I had the ability to recognize that it wasn’t, to make that decision, and to be honest with the owners about it was incredibly reaffirming.

The job itself wasn’t bad at all. The early mornings weren’t ideal, but I got by, and the people at Better Being were fantastic. They were kind, helpful, funny, relaxed, easy to work with and very good at their jobs. The facility itself was great too. It was very clean, very well organized, and ran like a well-oiled machine, despite the addition of the cafe, which had everyone a little on edge as they tried to navigate this brand new aspect of their business. And I absolutely LOVED doing the baking. I made a chocolate sour cream cake, an olive oil cake (that turned out perfectly, if I may brag for a moment), dozens of cookies, biscotti, a range of different fancy cupcakes – a key-lime cupcake with a meringue topping and a lime curd center, a Guinness cupcake with champagne frosting, which was rather complicated to make – I even learned how to use a blow torch, something I’d never done as a baker before. I learned a ton in a few short days and got to know a lovely group of people with whom I would have never otherwise come into contact.

But it wasn’t long before I realized this was not the right fit. I was glad that the owners and I agreed to take it one day at at time before either of us committed formally. Already, after just a few days of working for someone else, I felt stifled, like I wasn’t able to do things creatively that were exciting to me, like there were certain rules I needed to follow and certain tasks I had to perform that weren’t what I wanted to be doing with my skills. And there was a lot of pressure to succeed the first time, every time.

Listen, I know that’s how having a JOB works. And I know that we don’t always get to love everything we do all the time. And, I certainly don’t want to sound ungrateful – a job opportunity is a blessing . But I don’t NEED this job in order to get by right now. And I really don’t want to settle with something like this. I wanted to see if it would be the right fit for me and for my current lifestyle, which happens to include owning and running my own bakery. And it turns out that it wasn’t. I left there every day completely exhausted and feeling almost incapable of spending more time baking for Fanny & Jane. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or do anything once I got home, and what’s worse is that I’d missed whole days of beautiful spring weather, the time of year I’ve been waiting for and daydreaming about since I left my desk job in the fall. Of course, there are days when I don’t get to do exactly what I want because I’m busy with my own work too, but in that situation, I’m my own boss, so if I decide an hour-long walk in the park will be good for productivity, that’s what I do. Understandably, working for someone else doesn’t exactly allow me that. Not to mention, I was missing working all day long on my OWN thing, creating stuff for my success and my future, rather than for someone else’s dream. On paper, this opportunity could have been the perfect fit for me right now, but in practice, it wasn’t what I was looking for.

And rather than be disappointed in myself that I didn’t love it, rather than be disappointed in fact that the experience didn’t match my pre-conceived idea of the experience, I decided to take the cues my body and brain were giving me and to tell the owners, “I’ve loved working here for the last few days, but this isn’t a long term fit.”

They were incredibly understanding and sweet about it and I left there on very good terms. One of the owners kept thanking me for being honest about what I was feeling, and for communicating it to her. The good news is, Fanny & Jane landed a wholesale account of the whole shebang because she loves our Red Velvet Cake Bites and wants to keep them as an item on their shelves. Hooray!

And speaking of Red Velvet, here are some cupcakes I made for their soft launch on Monday. They were pretty delicious, if I may say so.

I cannot tell you how rewarding it was to communicate my true and honest feelings to those people, and to not be ashamed of having those feelings! I was 100% myself at this job from the moment I walked in the door, which is not something I can say about every job I’ve ever had. I was honest with them about who I am and what my skills are, what I’m looking for and what I thought I could contribute. And my skills were certainly stretched. (I had to make something called a Pate A Bombe one day, a term I’d never heard before, which has something to do with how fast and at what temperature you whisk a sugar syrup into an egg mixture. Not that hard to do, but I definitely had to google it to find out.)

More importantly, I was honest with myself. The first moment I started to feel like this wasn’t the right move for the next year of my life, I spoke up. I don’t intend to quit every job I have from now until forever (although I am getting pretty good at giving the speech – har har), but I think I’m learning about myself that being my own boss is right up my alley. I’m also re-learning that I refuse to settle.

I could not stop myself from thinking, while winding down my last few hours at Better Being, You know, I spent a whole year writing a blog about trying to quit my desk job, trying to find the courage and the means to do so. I felt stifled and uncreative there. So I cannot get myself right back into another full time job if it’s not what I want for myself, just because it’s a little bit more aligned with my interests. A little bit more aligned does not a happy career make, necessarily. If I’m not happy right now, if this is not the right fit, I need to get out now. I don’t need to start another blog a year from now about getting up the guts to quit THIS job. (Can you tell I’ve had to give myself a lot of pep talks throughout this experience?)

Don’t get me wrong, the whole thing was fantastic, overall. I loved the people I met and worked with and I’m thrilled to supply F&J sweets to their little shop. I will definitely be going back there for coffee and lunch because every single thing I sampled was absolutely delicious.

And oh my gosh, did I ever feel like I was walkin’ on sunshine, with a huge grin spread across my face, the moment I stepped off the subway to head home on Wednesday afternoon. I’d clocked out for the last time at Better Being, just a few short days after I clocked in. And I was headed back to my fully self-employed lifestyle, to my own bakery, to my own palette and my own creative designs and to being my own boss.

We learn new stuff about ourselves and the world all the time. And this week I learned a boatload of new stuff. The most monumental of which is that I’m right where I belong.

the journey continues…

My last saved blog draft is from Saturday night and it begins with my complaints about the horrible monsoon we were having. It moves on to note the yummy breakfast sandwich and blueberry meal I made for myself that afternoon. And then the entry stops abruptly because our cable and internet got knocked off and didn’t come back on for three days! I mean, no big deal I can get by, right? RIGHT?

Interestingly, a bunch of surprising stuff started happening that night, and has since continued, and it’s left me entirely out of the house and off the grid anyway. So I’ve barely noticed the technology outage. I’ve been working for someone else for the last few days. Doing what? Some baking! It’s not the gig from my earlier post, it’s something different entirely. The universe answered my job request like a pie to the face. And I’ve been working long hours in a new place doing new stuff and it’s craaazaaay! A little too crazy, maybe.

I’m not gonna write about it specifically yet because I’m not sure what the future holds for this employment situation. There’s a likely chance it’s a very temporary thing, I’m feeling like it might not be the right fit. And the owners and I agreed when I started working on Sunday morning that we would play it very much by ear anyway.

Mostly, I’d like to tell you that it’s been a pretty fantastic learning experience. I’ve had to be there at 7am for the last two days, meaning I have to leaveĀ  the house at 6am, meaning I have to get up before that, meaning: scary. Being up early can be tough for me. But I’ve done it. And tomorrow I don’t have to be there until 9. Sleepin in, y’all!

Even though I don’t necessarily see myself continuing this gig for much longer, I’ve certainly been enriched for having had it for even a few days. I’ve discovered things about myself in a rush and a flurry since Sunday morning when I started. The opportunity to work for this place landed in my lap and I stood around staring at my life with my mouth agape while I accepted the chance to see how it might flow.

This whirlwind has taught me a lot about my own bakery, a lot about myself and my work ethic, and more still about what I want out of my life. When I quit my desk job back in October, I was making a declarative statement, in a sense, about what I wanted for my life. But just because I made that choice last year doesn’t mean that I now get to stop defining what I want and need. So this job opportunity has given me another chance to define and redefine what I’m doing here.

This is a shot of some yummy biscotti I made at this gig. I was very proud of these. Sometimes I like biscotti and sometimes I don’t, and I don’t see myself adding any to the F&J menu any time soon. But it was fun to practice the recipe. I’ve gotten to practice making lots of things in the last couple days.

What a wild ride this remains to be.

If anything, this experience has shaken me out of a little winter rut I was in. If I’m being honest, for a few weeks there I was feeling bored, uninspired, confused, worried and unmotivated. That was scary, because those were also feelings I was having when I was working in an office and dreading my weekdays. So why on earth should I be feeling that when I’m happily running my own business and enjoying a flexible schedule? Well, we are not our circumstances and we make our own happiness. That’s why. I’m reminded of that every day.

I’m excited to have woken up, literally and figuratively, over the last couple days and enjoyed a gentle reminder of who I am and what I want.

p.s. CATS

new shoes?

I miss having money!

The bakery did very well over the holidays so my income didn’t change much at all in the months after I left my job. The bakery is still doing well, but it’s not the holiday season right now, which is always the most lucrative time of year for a bakery. So I’m now trying to make ends meet. And I miss having expendable income! Having a salary was fun. I didn’t care for everything that came with it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to missing it now that it’s gone. I was marveling the other day that there was once a time when I was receiving regular and relatively large sums of money (a paycheck) with complete predictability. That was nice.

Opening a business is a different animal than working at a job that gives you a salary.

I wouldn’t change anything, don’t get me wrong. I’m still loving running Fanny & Jane. I enjoy the baking very much, I enjoy all the aspects of it, really. But I’ve decided to get another job in addition to operating the bakery so that making ends meet is even easier. I wanna have fun with money again! I wanna buy shoes sometimes! Right now, a splurge feels irresponsible. If I had additional income, a splurge might feel deserved. I also wouldn’t feel so guilty about eating dinner out sometimes, or taking a few trips this year.

So, tonight, I went on an interview! The reason it was at night is because it was for a late night shift of – what else – baking! I interviewed and had a trial-run to be a part-time batter maker for another bakery. I had fun! Should they call to offer me the job, I don’t plan to take it because the pay is just not enough, the hours are a little nutty and it involves coming home very very late at night from a kind of sketchy section of Brooklyn, something I’m just not comfortable doing.

So the search for the part time job continues. But having the interview itself was a blast. I got to bake for an hour in a big kitchen, making gigantic batches of cake – batches much larger than we ever make for Fanny & Jane. I loved it and it reaffirmed for me how much I enjoy baking and also how much I enjoy being active while I’m working.

I’ve decided that the key to my getting this job is lifestyle compatibility. How compatible will the job be with my current lifestyle. It’s important to me that I don’t make any rushed choices and end up with a job I dislike, with hours that aren’t good for me, in a neighborhood that’s far away. That’s exactly the job I just came from last fall. So I’m focusing on interviewing for stuff that I can really see myself enjoying, doing well and something that will fit into the life I’m still building. The bakery remains a huge priority, obviously.

So let’s see what comes my way! My interview tonight was an exciting reminder of the possibilities available to me right now. Including the possibility of new pants or a new scarf.

food

Remember when I was “learning to cook?” Yah. I’m not anymore.

I’m sure I’ll cook more someday, but today is not that day. We’ve been eating, you know, easy food in our kitchen (like PBJs, egg and ham scrambles, beans and rice – the basics), or food at cheapeats places around the city like we always have, Kevin and I.

So I left some onions in a bowl next to our toaster oven. And one or two of them STARTING GROWING OTHER ONIONS. OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.

It was gross.

Seriously, I had to take photos because I was so disgusted by it.

In other food news, Kevin took me out to Rosa Mexicana on Monday night. Never been there, love Mexican food, always wanted to go there, like to drink margaritas: Score.

We had fun and it was yummy. (Thank you for that nice date, honey!)

whole wheat banana pancakes

I made Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes, y’all! Late last week, I woke up, didn’t want eggs, or toast, or a smoothie. I wanted pancakes. I’d gotten whole wheat flour a month prior, just for such an occasion.

I googled and found this quick, easy recipe. It doesn’t use sugar, which was the main thing I was looking for.

I served them with butter and organic maple syrup. They were so scrumptious and I loved every bite of them. I wish I could have eaten one hundred. Instead, I ate about six (hundred).

unnecessary guilt

So, I want to talk about guilt.

I’ve been experiencing some lately.

We just spent the last week powering through the Valentine’s Day season for Fanny &Ā  Jane. We’re not done yet, there will still be deliveries to make in NYC over the next few days and more sweets to bake for more upcoming orders, but the bulk of our V-Day season is behind us. WHEW. The East Coast is experiencing a massive snowstorm today and Kevin and I are both very grateful to be curled up on the couch taking a momentary break right now while the snow piles up outside. We’ve been working nonstop for the last several days. It wasn’t anything close to the insanity that was the Christmas season, but it’s still been a lot.

With the increase in busy-ness for the business, for which I certainly did anticipate and plan, but for which one can never plan perfectly, I’ve had to let some other normal life things fall to the wayside. Not surprising. And really, that’s going to be the nature of this lifestyle for me for a while. There will be busy times and less busy times. There are times of each month when people wants sweets and times when sweets aren’t quite as desired. And I have to be flexible in order to respond to that demand. Sometimes I will have very little going on and I’ll be able to spend an afternoon reading a book or watching What Not To Wear. But other times, I will be so busy that I can’t make it to rehearsals or shows or I will have to cancel plans with friends or I won’t be able to sit down to eat three square meals a day because there’s just not enough time. It’s hard to learn to adjust to that reality, to learn to plan properly and give myself enough time, but it’s my reality, for better or worse, with all it’s imperfections and joys.

So this is where the guilt comes in. I’m still learning how not to feel terrifically guilty about the way my lifestyle right now might be impacting other people or other commitments I’ve made to myself.

For instance. I did not realize when I started this 30 Day Yoga Challenge that the Valentine’s Day rush would happen right at the end of it. Therefore, I’ve missed two days of my 30 Day Challenge. UGH. Of course, that’s no big deal in the grand scheme of my life. And stressing out over missing two days is exactly the opposite of what I’m hoping to achieve with the yoga challenge. NATURALLY, I’m human and it’s not surprising that this happened. I own a bakery and it’s almost Valentine’s Day. Duh. Also, I’m not a robot and I’ve never been an over-achiever. But it’s very difficult for me not to feel guilty and disappointed in myself because I can’t reconfigure time and invent a 27-hour day.

Another area in my life about which I’ve been feeling guilty is my comedy stuff. As I’ve mentioned many times, I do improv and sketch comedy four nights a week, and have been doing so for years. I love it, it’s fun and rewarding and makes me feel happy and joyful. But it’s also a big time commitment. And sometimes I can’t make it to rehearsals and sometimes, the most responsible move for my business would be for me to skip a show. I do that when I absolutely must, but I can’t do it all the time or it would be unfair to my teammates, who do the best they can to show up every week.

I certainly don’t think my life is busier or more stressful than anyone else’s. But this is all still very new to me – running this business, growing it, learning how to own a company and market a product and turn a profit. I’ve never done any of it before and it’s easily one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t trade it for the world, but ooboy I’m in deep, wonderfully, terrifyingly deep. It is hard for me not to feel guilty when my business takes over my world for two weeks and I have to cancel and skip every activity on my calendar.

For that reason, I’ve decided to take three to four months off from Harvard Sailing Team, my sketch comedy group. This was an incredibly difficult decision, since those people are my family, and since we’ve been doing shows together and seeing each other twice a week for five years. A few of us have taken several months off throughout the years to pursue other stuff, so it’s not a huge departure from the norm, but it’s still tough. I wrote them all an email last night announcing my little decision and then wondered if I’d made the right choice right after I sent the email. But the reality remains that I’m having trouble balancing it all. I’m late to rehearsals because I didn’t anticipate the hour-long line at the post office (Piece of advice? Always plan for an hour-long line at the post office.), I forget to respond to emails because I’m not on the computer as much as I used to be and stuff gets lost in the shuffle, I can’t focus quite as intently during practices and shows because I’m thinking about what I need to do for the bakery as soon as I’m done.

So it’s time to step back, take a break, and figure out how to balance this all. I know a lot of what will solve my stress is more planning ahead, determining a more realistic time frame for how long it takes, for instance, to wait in line at the post office. But I haven’t learned how to do it all yet. And I don’t see myself learning quickly if I don’t give myself some space to do so. Taking a few months off, which is really such a short period of time and is going to absolutely fly by, will be a good way to move a few items off my To Do List and clear my head space a little bit. It’s scary and hard and I’m sure I’m going to miss the hell out of it – I joked with my friend and teammate Clayton today on the phone that I’m probably going to be standing outside the window of their rehearsal room one night a month from now with my face pressed up against the glass – but I know this is a decision I’m making for my mental wellness.

It was either make this choice to take some time off, or feel guilty more often than not about my inability to do it all.

I’m not sure that guilt serves anyone. It doesn’t serve me to be upset with myself for missing two days of my yoga challenge. And it doesn’t serve me to feel badly for not being able to reconfigure the postal system so that it runs more efficiently. I am a good person and I do the best I can do. There are simply things that are out of my control. I can only pray for patience and understanding from my friends and family and, more importantly, from myself.

So that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

update

It’s busy season again! Not a bad thing at all, but it’s busy. It’s nice to see how much we learned from the Christmas rush, and how this Valentine’s season is made simpler because of that. I’ve gotten much better at scheduling what needs to be done, prioritizing, and being realistic about time frames. It takes time to bake stuff, you guys.

I feel like I have nothing in the world to write about right now except the 30 Day Y0ga Challenge and the bakery. Because in many ways that’s all I have going on. It’s simple and lovely, in a way.

The cold weather is killing me – I can write about that for a few sentences.

I cannot wait for the summer. I daydream about it every day. And I daydream about this time next year when Kevin and I are just returning from having spent the month of January in a warm, tropical location. Big dream, right? I figure if I set out to leave my job LAST January and I made that a full-fledged reality by THIS January, what can I do by NEXT January? “Live somewhere warm for one month in the winter” seems like as good of a goal as any.

My shoulder is so much better – not perfect, but healing. Yoga is wonderful and hard and I’m so glad I’m doing this challenge. I’ve lost track of what day I’m on – somewhere close to Day 20. My arms feel thinner, my legs feel slimmer, my waist feels firmer, and mentally I feel much more balanced. I’m going to be sad when it’s over – and maybe also a little bit relieved. 30 days is a long time! But I’m loving it. This was an awesome gift to give to myself.

I’m also hanging out with an insightful and spirited four-year-old for two hours every Tuesday and Friday lately. He’s a fantastic dose of realism in my world. Geoff and Jenny, his parents, have done a phenomenal job with this little guy.

The other day I was telling him that I hurt my shoulder some how, that it was bothering me. He asked me how I hurt it. I explained that I wasn’t really sure how I hurt it.

He said, “I know! You hurt it when you were exercising! You fell down.”

Maybe, I said. And then I explained to him that when you’re older, when you’re a grown-up, your body sometimes aches more often than it does when you’re a kid. That grown-ups fall down and are sore for a few days, while little kids can fall down, on the playground for example, and bounce right back up. Little kids bodies are made that way, I told him.

He said, “Well. I guess it’s a lot more fun to be a kid than to be a grown-up.” Of course, I had to laugh out loud and tell him, “You might be right.”

Oh, one more thing. I wanted to tell you all that, more than ever before, I keep having these moments recently where I realize that I quit my job and haven’t worked there for almost a third of a year now – and I’ve survived! And I’m happy and enjoying what I’m doing! I don’t know what’s around the next corner – I really haven’t a single clue – but do we ever really? And I’m still absolutely loving my new life. It’s so much simpler and more my style. The other day I spent the day baking, and then I headed into the city around 5:30pm for a rehearsal. I realized that I used to be sitting at my desk at 5:30pm, wouldn’t have been able to make it to that rehearsal, didn’t get out of work until 7pm.

Leaving that job, as beneficial as it was for my bank account and my health insurance policy-holding status (I know, Mom. I know.), remains one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

some things i’ve learned about myself since quitting my desk job

You know how it is. Life changes, you change. You graduate high school, and then you’re suddenly several months into college, marveling at how different you’ve become in such a short period of time. I remember during my freshman year discovering a love for cheap Chinese food, tote bags, and the color yellow, none of which I liked that much before I started college.

And then you graduate college and a few months later, you realize you’ve been working in the Real World for a while now and you’re suddenly an adult! You pay bills and have an apartment and show up for work every day (most of the time). And you begin to reflect on how different your life is now, how you’ve changed. It happens over and over again. And it’s happening to me right now.

Two days ago marked exactly three months since my last day at my desk job. I’ve learned a lot about myself in these three months and, in some ways, I’m a different person than I was when I walked out of that office for the last time in October. I’m reflecting on that today. Please pardon the ego-centric nature of this post. It’s all about me and my life and what I feel and think about how things have changed in my life. A little self-centered perhaps. Then again, most posts on this blog are about me. You’ll skip it if you’re not interested, I trust.

Here are some things I’ve learned about myself, and some ways in which I’ve changed, since quitting my job.

There aren’t as many hours in the day as I thought there were. When I was working full-time at a desk job I would always complain to myself (and usually to anyone else who’d listen) about how much time I felt I was “wasting” by showing every day up to contribute to someone else’s company, someone else’s ambition. I couldn’t help but lament how much more I might be able to get done in the interest of my own goals and plans if I had those hours to myself.

And yes, I do indeed have much more time now than ever before to focus on getting work done for myself, for my goals and for my bakery. But oh boy does the time pass more quickly now. Before I know it, it’s 6pm and the sun’s gone down (damn you, Winter!) and it’s time to find some dinner. I guess time passes verrrry slowly when you’re working at a desk job you don’t like, and, conversely, time passes very quickly when you’re happily doing your own thang.

My true sleep rhythm doesn’t care what I want.
I’ve talked before about My Big Sleep Problem. If I let my body do exactly what it chooses to do, I will be awake until 4am each night and wake up at 11am each day. This is not a schedule that is conducive to Being a Productive Part of Our Society. Or maybe it is a perfectly fine schedule, maybe plenty of people get by on that schedule. But I’d personally prefer to sleep and wake at more common times. My body, however, has other plans. I didn’t fall asleep last night until FIVE O’CLOCK IN THE MORNING. AHHHGGRRHHHH. I’m bound and determined to change this issue, hopefully this week. But should my efforts fail, there may come a time when I just have to accept that this is my natural rhythm. On the flipside, my propensity to keeping these odd hours means I will be well-suited to being a new mom. Or a graveyard shift employee.

Taking regular daytime yoga classes is a wonderful luxury that I am lucky to be able to afford myself.
This is not something I did quite as much in late 2009 as I’d hoped I would. Mostly because I was working myself ragged baking yummy sweets for the masses and I barely ate or slept, let alone practiced yoga. But 2010 so far? Oh baby. I’m having a yoga revolution. I have, at minimum, taken a yoga class every other day since January 1. Sometimes more often. And I’m just loving it. I’m finding the cheapest classes in the city – the special deals, the “community” classes – and I’m enjoying the hell out them. It’s brought such a lovely sense of peace and strength into my life to be practicing regularly – I feel alive. And best of all! I went to a free open house class yesterday at Ishta Yoga in Manhattan and discovered at the end of the class that they were having a one day deal where I could buy an UNLIMITED MEMBERSHIP FOR ONE MONTH FOR $40. WHAT. That is the cheapest deal that’s ever crossed my path. Month-long memberships are usually hundreds of dollars here in NYC. $40 is an absolute steal. And this place is wonderful, the class I took was great, the energy and vibe of the studio are really nice, and I’m excited to try it out for a month. I *might* just go once each day. AAAHHH! AWESOME BUT CHEAP YOGA! My dream come true.

If I don’t give myself things to do, I will gladly lay around and watch TV.
Maybe you wouldn’t. Maybe you don’t like Oprah as much as I do. Maybe you wouldn’t buy stock in TLC if you had extra money to throw around. Maybe you don’t think “Little Miss Perfect” is the best scary show on television and maybe you don’t care what John Stewart has to say about the state of the world. Maybe you don’t want to see a group of obese people workout for 12 hours a day and drop hundreds of pounds before your very eyes. Maybe we are different.

Before I quit my job, I barely watched any TV. I was never home! And now that Kevin and I are both working from home we actually make it a rule to rarely have the TV on during the day. Even so, I’ve still got to keep full running lists of what needs to get done in my world. Because without that inspiration and direction, Oprah starts at 4pm every single day.

I feel happier and more sane when I’m not rushing around or cramming my days full of every possible activity and task. My new and welcome reality is that I generally feel much more peaceful now than I did before I quit my job. I’m just more relaxed, not as stressed out, not as anxious, more confident and content. It’s nice. I absolutely do not lead a perfect life. All my problems have not been solved. I still don’t always do the dishes when I should, I still have to fight myself to get more veggies into my diet. I still argue with my boyfriend and get annoyed with people and I still hate cleaning the apartment. But that stuff aside, I’m much more content now.

The pace of this town leads many of us, especially when we’re in our early twenties and have just graduated college and are shot as if out of a canon into the real world, to believe that we have to fill every hour of the day with something that’s going to advance our careers OR something that’s going to help us unwind because of how hard we’re trying to advance our careers. People in this town work hard and play hard. And it’s exhausting. Since quitting my job, I’ve given myself permission to live a more gently-paced life. It’s important to me. My internal clock has begun to slow down and I’m no longer exhilarated by the idea of leaving the house at 8am and go-go-going until 1am. I spent almost the entire decade of my twenties living with that pace as my norm. I have a new norm and I like it.

I like to spend time alone. I knew this before, I know it more now. There seems to be no such thing for me as too much alone time. Sure, I like to see my friends and interact with other humans. But hours and hours of quiet time to myself suits me just fine too.

I believe in high-quality self care.
I realize that sounds cheesy as hell, especially when I use the term “high-quality.” It’s like I’m talking about administering top-level treatment to myself at a hospital. I just mean that I believe in taking good care of myself. If I’m not going to do that for myself, who’s going to do it for me? Someday I’ll be a mom and have a family and many more priorities and To Do’s and it will be much harder for me to put myself first. So I’m taking advantage of the luxury of this time and space while I can.

I thrive off challenge.
The December madness of Fanny & Jane was surreal. It was not a humane time for me, nor for Kevin. There was no sleeping and no eating and the wearing of the same outfit a lot of the time. But it wasn’t horrific by any means. It was hard, but it wasn’t my worst nightmare. It was simply an incredible challenge. And although I will, next time, be better prepared for such a challenge and will not let things get that nutty, I learned, in retrospect, that I work well in those situations. I am good under pressure and my brain loves the difficulty. An interesting thing to learn about oneself, for sure.

When I put my mind to something it will get accomplished. See above.

I love to spend time with my family and hope that we all live closer together someday.
I knew this one too before I quit my job. But it was reaffirmed for me over the holidays. Plus, now that I’m living a life more in line with the one I want for myself, I know for sure that my family needs to be part of my day to day world. I’m not sure if that will ever happen in a physical way – that some of us will live in the same place – but I hope it will. My cousins, for instance, are some of my best friends. They are beautiful women and I like them too. Maybe they will move to New York. They protest when I bring it up, but maybe one day they will wake up and all their stuff will be moved to New York and they will have no choice but to come live here. I mean, who knows. Stranger things have happened.

I’m having a great time being a young adult. It’s really great! Sometimes it’s hard to grow up – stuff happens like people you love do hurtful things that make you go, “Huh?” or your dear friends move far away because this is the time of our lives when that stuff happens, or you’re broke or you don’t have health insurance. But for the most part, it’s really pretty great. You get to go to the weddings of your best friends, you get to meet the babies of your high school besties (Hi, Heather and Jeff!), you get to watch people you knew in middle school turn into grown-ups while you turn into one yourself, you get to experience young love and you get to make big life decisions, some of them for the first time ever, and you also get to stay out late and play with your friends and get over your hangovers relatively quickly. As I young adult, you get to have many of the perks of being a kid and many of the perks of being an adult and I am NOT taking it for granted, not for one second. I’m having a great time.

I no longer view my life in terms of “someday.” This is it. Here. Now. It’s surprisingly relaxing to realize that.

If I trust myself, stay hopeful and believe in what’s possible, good things really do come to me.
It happens time and again.

I may have a sugar addiction. I’m okay with that. I haven’t done a daily dessert blog in months. But that doesn’t change the fact that I’m still eating dessert every day. I had, for instance, one of the best cookies of my life last night. And some other cookies today. That’s how it is.

I can get by without spending much money at all. There’s not very much that I need or want besides yoga classes and Chipotle burritos.

I am blessed, beyond measure. I have had so many cool opportunities in my young life, and I’ve had so many second chances. I’ve met so many wonderful people, I’ve been blessed with so many smart, strong, hilarious friends. I am in a loving, supportive relationship with my best friend, I have two adorable cats who bring me joy literally every single day and I live in the greatest city in the world. Oh yeah and I’m living my dream. Nothing’s perfect, but everything is just right.