yoga in your living room

Yoga Download is my favorite place to find good yoga classes on the web.

They just released a brand new class!! Gentle Hatha #3. Best of all, the 20-minute version is FREE to download. I can’t wait to try it.

I’ve tried a few other podcasts or live streaming classes on other sites over the years, but none of them compare, in my opinion, to Yoga Download. I haven’t been paid or compensated in any way to say this, I just really like their site.

I started practicing yoga a few years ago when I threw my back out (while lifting weights, no less) and found myself hobbling around like an old, grouchy police detective who carries a heavy gun holster. There was little else I could do in the form of exercise for quite some time, so yoga became a staple in my life. I think starting a yoga practice may have saved me from a lifetime of further pain and injury.

Sadly, I haven’t been doing any yoga for the last few weeks though, choosing to prioritize other things before my health, which is never a wise move. So when I turned on a 20-minute Gentle Hatha class from Yoga Download yesterday and laid down on my mat, I could almost feel my muscles and bones thanking me for the attention.

The 20-minute classes on YD are all FREE and they’re great. They’re simple to follow, come in all styles and levels and leave me feeling like I’ve done something good for myself, even if only for 20 minutes. Of course YD offers longer classes too, which are also very inexpensive. Oh and they have videos, if you’d rather watch than listen, and printable pose guides if you’re confused about what you’re doing! Fantastic for your living room practice.

best cheap yoga in nyc

Kevin and I like to talk about what we’d do if we suddenly had an abundance of money. I don’t mean millions (although, I think he’s hoping for millions), just enough to indulge from time to time.

One of the first things on my list is a monthly membership to one of my favorite yoga studios in NYC. Formal yoga classes in New York can be pricey – often more expensive than a gym membership. My favorite studio offers an unlimited monthly pass for $125. Oof. Too rich for my blood.

But there are ways to spend a little less on the best yoga classes in the city – if you’re willing to be flexible. (Pun delightfully intended.)

Best Cheap Yoga in Manhattan:

Ishta Yoga – (Update! I just got an email from Ishta – they’re offering a deal this Monday, May 17: an unlimited month of classes for $30. That’s a steal, since a month usually costs $125. Go here if you want to buy it.) This studio offers my favorite yoga class experience by far. The environment is calming, the rooms are big, the teachers are fantastic.  And they focus more on your relationship to your body, the earth, and your spirituality, rather than obsessing over making every pose perfect.

Unfortunately their single classes are the most expensive I’ve ever seen in the city. $22 for one class! (I treated myself to that price once, but never again. I just can’t afford it.) However, if you’re a new student, you can buy an unlimited monthly pass for $60! That’s a great deal. I took advantage of it earlier this year and it got me hooked on Ishta. They also offer a lovely meditation class with the studio’s founder, Alan Finger, included in the monthly unlimited membership, or $30 to drop-in.

Yoga to the People – Good, cheap “yoga for everyone.” They claim no celebrated teachers, no correct attire, no judgments, no right answers – just basic, happy yoga for anybody. For a mere $5, I love their hot power Vinyasa class. It’s an hour-long ass-kicking experience in a small, cramped room with people who’ve never done yoga in their lives alongside those who practice every day. Once you get past the hectic energy of the previous class leaving while your class enters, it can be a lot of fun. Most of the teachers are very good and they don’t take any of it too seriously. With three separate locations in town, YTTP also offers a “traditional” hot yoga classes (Bikram style), and a power Vinyasa class that isn’t hot (suggested donation!) – both of which are supposed to be great and are cheaper than lunch in Midtown.

Om Yoga – This Union Square yoga staple has been around forever. With dozens of master teachers and a lot of classes to choose from, it’s a great place to be a beginner or to deepen your practice. Their schedule changes every month and their drop-in prices are standard (between $14-17), but they also offer a “community” class a couple times a week for just $5. Taught by people just finishing their teacher training, the community classes aren’t as insightful as the regular ones, but they do the trick.

Kula Yoga – I did poses I’d never done before when I took a class at Kula. It’s often easy for yoga classes to feel very similar to one another; Kula’s innovative teachers make sure that doesn’t happen. Their drop-in fee is $18, but you can take advantage of their “new student special” and pay $30 for a three-class package. A sweet deal.

Vida Yoga – Located near the heart of NYU’s campus, Vida offers $5 classes for first-timers with a student ID, as well as a one-time week of unlimited classes for $10. This is the one studio on my list that I’ve never been to, but have really been dying to try. I’ll take advantage of that awesome $10 deal soon and I promise a review once I do.

I hope you won’t let the potentially high price of yoga in Manhattan stop you from seeking out good classes, great teachers and top-notch studios! You can practice yoga on any budget.

But if you come into millions, go ahead and splurge.

what’s to come

After a successful first month as a writer for Gather.com, I was so excited when they recently told me they’re happy with my work and asked me to help pilot a new Home & Garden program on their site! Yay!

Right now, I write Food/Seasonal stories, and I also write Women’s Lifestyle stuff. I haven’t ever written a ton about home decor, design, or outdoor stuff – there are many more capable home designers out there than I am – but when Gather asked me to help pilot the program, I knew I could certainly give it a whirl. The “keywords” relating to Home & Garden articles hit on a variety of topics, from “apartment design ideas” to “dinner party menu ideas” to “vegetable gardening for beginners,” and all imaginable topics in between. So I’m really excited (and honored) to have the opportunity to learn more about that stuff, try out some ideas myself, and write articles about all of it.

The experience, overall, of writing for Gather these last few months has been a good one. (And no, I am in no way compensated for saying any of this, it’s just my personal opinion and experience.) I am so lucky to have found this gig, because my bank account really needed the extra supplementary income. And I didn’t realize it at the time, but my creative brain really needed the new energy. I have been a writer since I was a kid – something I’ve talked about many times on this blog – and it’s no surprise that I turned to writing this blog to help boost myself up and out of my Corporate Job Rut a year and a half ago. I’m someone who processes things through writing about them.

So having the chance to write for a living is something I’ve always dreamed I’d get to do, something I’ve often (wrongly) doubted I’d ever have a chance to do, and something I’m very grateful to have found. It’s also provided me some mental space and clarity with Fanny & Jane, and an opportunity to let the bakery grow and change at its own pace – which feels more comfortable to me than forcing it to fit into whatever mold or direction I hope it will.

I’m feeling very content lately, but also very antsy. It reminds me of being a little kid – when you want to fast forward your life to find who you will be and how things will look when you’re an adult. I am dreaming of business trips around the country, weeks spent on location shooting something, traveling for research. I’m dreaming of vacations to interesting places – all the photos I’ll take and cuisines I’ll try.

(Speaking of different cuisines, my dear friend Marina just got back from a business trip to South Korea, of all places. She’s literally a celebrity there now, if you can believe it. She starred in a feature film a while back that just opened a film festival over there last month. She had to buy a fancy gown, was flown in to attend press conferences, walk the red carpet, and schmooze with the fans. She took it all in stride and came back with amazing stories to tell. I’m so proud of her – just had to share that.)

The point is, I’m dreaming of what is possible and what’s to come.

In that vein, you’re probably going to see some changes coming soon to follow my bliss. My personal experience will still be the central thread of this site. After all, sharing my story is why I started this blog to begin with, why it’s grown, and it will be a key piece of how it continues. But there’re a lot of other things I’d love to write about and explore too.

I’m not sure exactly what that will mean or how things will end up, but I’ve been having some meetings about where to take this site and where my creative impulses lie, and I’m so excited about what’s possible. That’s all I’ll say for now, so let’s just see what happens!

It’s a gloomy, cloudy, windy Mother’s Day here in NYC. I slept for 13 hours last night, after two days of lotsa work with Harvard Sailing Team (which was, as always, fun, exciting and exhausting), but now I’m feeling sluggish and a little under the weather. So I’m going to take this day to relax, rest, and snuggle in with the cats. And maybe I’ll make some notes and do some daydreaming about what’s to come!

The photos in this post, by the way, are a handful of older, random photos I’ve taken in the last couple years.

(p.s. One more thing – speaking of what’s to come, my web friend Kathleen, has recently made over her blog and I love her new site! Check it out. Yay, Kath!)

yogaaaaahhh

So. The 30 Day Yoga Challenge has come and gone. When I started the challenge I assumed Day 30 would arrive and I’d celebrate and throw myself a victory party at Chipotle. (If I had an assistant, this is where I’d ask her to schedule me a victory party at Chipotle because it’s never too late to throw a victory party.)

Believe it or not, the 30th day came and went and I didn’t tell you guys because I didn’t even notice myself. Gah!

Ah. Yoga. I guess that’s kind of how it works. There’s no counting days in yoga. You know, a day doesn’t really mean anything in the spirit of yoga.

In the end, I missed probably 3-4 days total through the month. And it wasn’t until the whole journey was over that I realized I needed to be a lot less hard on myself about missing those days. It’s great to do 30 days in a row of anything that is good for you. But it’s okay if you don’t, too. And you shouldn’t beat yourself up. I re-learned that concept for the 900th time once this challenge was over. Someday it will stick in my mind.

So during those four weeks, I did a LOT of yoga. And it was wonderful. Sure, there were times when I was sore, times when I was really tired and did not want to take class, and times when I missed a day and got all upset with myself over it. But the majority of the experience left me feeling strong, more comfortable in my body, and capable.

All of my poses improved dramatically. My downward dog is deeper, I’m more comfortable sitting in chair pose, and I stopped shying away from the difficult poses – I started at least attempting them. And sometimes I succeeded! One day, my shoulder was really hurting. I’d injured it at some point during yoga class. I felt so frustrated and sorry for myself. Then the teacher showed us a difficult new pose, but it didn’t involve the shoulder so I tried it. AND I DID IT! That was probably the best moment for me throughout these 30 days.

There were lots of other lovely moments during the month. Moments when I found a sense of quiet, contented peace during class after a particularly hard day in the outside world, moments when I realized how much I was enjoying these classes and these teachers. And a warm feeling every time I walked into that studio, knowing what I was about to do for myself.

Since the 30 days ended, I’ve been easing back into a regular routine. I took about a week off yoga entirely. Then I took a class on Tuesday. And it was fantastic. I felt just as strong, capable and limber as I’d felt on Day 30. I was elated. All in all, good stuff.

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 &  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.

a quick one

Y’all. I hurt my shoulder. Doing what? Probably doing yoga. Or maybe it’s an old injury from years ago at the gym. Or maybe my winter coat is too tight. Either way, it’s all messed up. So I’m nursing it back to health. I’m still holding up my commitment to do yoga every day, but I’ve been doing less – I’ve been taking restorative classes, doing some stuff in my living room, taking it easy in class and always telling my teacher that I’m injured.

What else? Fanny & Jane Valentine’s Day Special is up! Wheee!

We put together Sweet Love Chocolate Boxes, filled with our most popular sweets (and personal favorites).

We’re doing $1.00 Flat Rate Shipping if you place an order by THIS WEDNESDAY, Feb 3 at midnight. So take advantage of that if your little heart desires. Maybe send a little Valentine gift to your Mother, or daughter, or hey, your brother. Thanks so much for all the orders we’ve gotten so far!

Look at this adorable card that Teresa of BelWell designed for us to give away for FREE with our orders! I love it.

Beyond that, we’re donating 10% the proceeds from every Chocolate Box order to Doctors Without Borders for Haiti Relief. That makes me happy.

You can place an order here. 🙂

day 11 – 30 day yoga challenge

I know I’ve been posting a lot of cat pictures lately, but how could I not? LOOK AT HER. They are the apples of our eye, these cats. We’re huge dorks about them. But that’s how it is with pets. You know it’s true.

Wednesday was Day 11 of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge! I’m writing this blog entry on Thursday night, after successfully completing Day 12. Very exciting. I’m really proud of myself.

Day 11, however, was an anomaly.

I woke up in the morning on Wednesday at an earlier hour than usual. Yes! The sleep schedule is improving. And I got to work on Fanny & Jane stuff right after breakfast/computer time. I ended up spending most of the entire morning and afternoon workworkworking and before I knew it, it was time to pack up and head to yoga. But first I had to ship some parcels, and I also had to organize the packages of sweets I was going to be dropping off to Simple Studios and The PIT. There was just a lot to be done! And so I got out the door a bit late and by the time I was on the subway, I’d come to accept that I wasn’t going to be able to make it to yoga class. I was going to be too late.

I felt mild panic. This is not what’s supposed to be happening, I thought. Panic over a yoga class. It’s supposed to be the opposite. “Supposed to.” Anyway, I calmed myself down and asked myself what my options were. After shipping packages I had to head off to The PIT for the first night of the new 2010 House Team sets. Definitely couldn’t miss that – big night for The PIT community! So I determined that  yoga class was not going to happen. Wow. What now? I thought. Well, I’ll just have to do some when I get home tonight. Whenever that might be.

I told myself this would be a 30-Day Yoga Challenge and I’d decided, for the most part, that I’d take hour-long yoga classes every day. But occasionally, I knew I’d have to do yoga podcasts at home OR, in the worst case scenario, only do a few minutes of yoga one day. I’m lucky to be able to fit in an hour-long class (plus the commute to and fro) every day – very lucky, but I knew there might come a strange day where I just couldn’t fit it in.

So I went to the PIT shows on Wednesday night (great shows, great time) and then I went out afterward with friends. This is something I rarely, if ever, do on Wednesday nights. I’m just not a big drinker so it’s not that fun for me to hang out at the bar for a long time. But every once in a while, I’ll go, and I’m always glad I do. Last night was a special night because we recently had auditions for House Teams (which we do every year) and lots of people were moved onto new teams, some people were cut entirely, new people were added and we we’ve all been grappling with the 2009 version of things coming to an end. These little teams are families, in many ways. We spend tons of time together and have lots of shared experiences, so it’s tough when things change. Last night was definitely a night to go out and honor that. So I was happy to be out chatting and reminiscing with my friends.

I had three or four beers! What! I felt pretty good when I got home since they were spaced out throughout the night, but that’s still a lot for me.

I arrived home around 2:30am.

And then…I did 13 minutes of yoga.

YUP!

I am SO proud of myself for this it’s ridiculous. I definitely did not want to do it and I definitely did want to go right to bed, but I knew I could just put on my pj’s, roll out my mat, and at least lay there for a few minutes and do some gentle stretching. So I did that and then some. It felt great, actually, to be stretching the day out and to just take that little time to check in with myself.

So, Day 11? Checkmark!

I went back to an hour-long class today, Thursday, and it was nice to be back. I’d missed it! But this challenge has been hard for me the past few days, physically speaking. My body is tired and some of the poses are even harder or just as hard as they always are. I might be due for a restorative class soon. (Did one last Saturday…)

I’m also struggling mentally on the mat sometimes. It’s hard to be open-hearted and not judge myself all the time. I’m working toward it, but sometimes I’m just grouchy. I felt like that all day today. Irritable, grouchy and fed up with the world. The yoga glow isn’t gonna happen 24/7, at least not after only 11 Days.

So it’s a process. As I practice not judging myself for my limitations and not expecting miracles, I’m still glad I’m doing this. I’m proud of myself.

Here’s a picture of Chawser and his dad. Kevin had just gotten home from a long weekend trip and Chawse was drunk with contentment over his return.

on the yoga challenge

Today’s the first day I don’t want to go to yoga class.

I woke up late today – uuuggggh. I didn’t fall asleep until around 4am, after having watched TV, had a snack, done some computer stuff and read my book for a long time once I got home from the Harvard Sailing Team show. (Great show! Supah fun time.)

So when you don’t fall asleep until 4am, and when you usually don’t fall asleep until 4am, your body will sleep it’s full 7-8 hours.

Uuggggh. I’ve had to start letting go, finally, of being frustrated about when I wake up. I thought it would turn into this and it has. Acceptance. It’s time to accept it. But today I woke up late, even for me. And it left me feeling grumpy.

I googled “headache when you wake up,” because I had one. Seratonin levels, it said. Sure. Makes sense. I think I also grind my teeth.

I don’t wanna go to yoga class tonight. But I will. That’s the commitment I’ve made to myself, and to finding out what it will be like to push through it even on the days I don’t wanna go. I’m sure it will be good for me to get out of the house, cheer up, do something that always brings me joy, something I never regret once it’s over. Every other day before now, however, I’ve wanted to go, been excited to.

Eh, just talking about it now is making me look more forward to going, truthfully. I’m growing addicted.

I have completed seven days of the challenge and I can definitely tell a difference. My body feels thinner, leaner, and I feel strong. Also, as I’ve said, I’m sore. Not REALLY sore, but I’m sore, you know? My upper back hurts. And I am constantly cracking and creaking and popping and feeling joints realign themselves or something. I don’t know. I notice my body, that’s for sure.

I’m loving the act of coming to the mat every day. It’s certainly a spiritual experience and I love to practice being still. It’s HARD as hell, being still in mind and body, and frankly, I’m not great at it. I don’t say that as a judgment, just as an observation. But I’m working on it. And the effort is a valiant one.

Okay, I’m definitely looking forward to going now. 🙂

a weekend bah mahself

My boyfriend has been out of town since Thursday night for a long weekend trip to Charleston, South Carolina. His improv group is performing in the January Comedy Festival this weekend. They’re having a blast, I’m sure. I’m so glad for him that he’s been able to escape town to a warmer climate, hang out with some great friends and spend three days straight partying and laughing.

And so, here I am. In our little apartment doing the alone thang for a few days. He encouraged (begged) me to reach out to some friends to have sleepovers or get-togethers this weekend and I love my friends and would certainly enjoy such activities. But I’m also enjoying the hell out of this total peace and quiet. I’ll see friends tonight at the Harvard Sailing Team show. Maybe I’ll even have a drink with them afterward, or maybe not. Regardless, the evening will be fun and great and we’ll laugh, like always. And then I’ll probably retreat back here to my little haven, where the cats are adorable and the TV’s always tuned to TLC.

This peace and quiet has been something I’ve needed for quite some time now. I’m incredibly content with my day to day life lately, don’t get me wrong. There’s precious little I could want or need beyond what I’ve been blessed with lately. Still, to have several days of uninterrupted personal time is always welcome in my world.

I was an only child, people. Not everyone knows what that’s like. And I’m sure it’s not the same for every only child. For me, I had a vibrant alone-life as a kid. I talked to myself and sang to myself and had a lot goin’ on in my brain all the time. I took good care of my toys and couldn’t believe my eyes when I’d go over to my cousins’ house (four sisters) and their Christmas gifts were all mixed together, strewn about the house and some already had limbs missing (the toys, not the sisters). Sure, my Christmas gifts got strewn about the house too, but I’d sooner have locked myself, the toys and a kitchen knife in the closet before I’d let someone else mess them up.

I’m still not AMAZING at sharing. Not out of selfishness – I love to share anything I have with anyone who wants it – but just due to a lack of awareness. I’ll put the milk away without offering Kevin some for his coffee. He can’t understand why I wouldn’t think of him. I DO think of him! I just forget! I grew up alone for 18 years! I’m still adjusting to there being someone else’s cup to pour milk into!

I spent plenty of time with friends, family and loved ones as a kid. I also spent plenty of time alone. Making up games, inventing rituals. I remember vividly asking my mom one afternoon what the heck I was supposed to do all day long by myself. And she said, “Use your imagination!” And I said, “My imagination’s all used up.” It wasn’t, of course. But it felt that way sometimes.

Still, don’t feel bad for the only child. They adjust – happily – to being solitary, independent individuals. I LOVE being alone now. I’ve said it a million times on this blog. I love to be around people. I’m also quite, quite content being by myself.

In December, out of necessity and thanks to the good will of my dear friends, this apartment was filled with people every day of the week. Amazingly generous people who helped me grow my small business out of the kindness of their hearts. And it was wonderful. It was also, at times, a little stressful to have the place filled with so many humans, to have to be social for so many hours each day. I loved it and I was grateful for it and I was tired from it. (Oh and also I was tired from baking a bazillion red velvet cakes. Oh yeah.)

When we went to the ‘burbs in Illinois for Christmas, I was thrilled to be around family and old friends. It was also a bit exhausting to be so social for so many days in a row. Kevin and I had several days at the end of the trip that we spent relatively alone, hanging out at my parents’ house, relaxing, eating, driving around. It was peaceful and quiet and we were lucky to have that time. (Thanks, Mom!) But I wasn’t quite alone. I haven’t gotten to the point in my relationship (in fact, I hope to never get to this point) where I consider Kev and I to be the same person. So as peaceful as it was, I still wasn’t totally by myself.

And now I finally have this solitary time, which my loving boyfriend indirectly gifts to me every once in a while when he takes road trips to different comedy festivals on the Eastern seaboard with his improv groups. If our relationship could work this way for the rest of time, I would be thrilled. Many days in a row of being together, and then, every once in a while, a few days of being apart. In these most recent instances, he gets to go off and eat, drink and be merry with a big group of hilarious friends. And I get to sit quietly on my couch sipping coffee and writing. AHHHHHHHHHHHH! What more could I ask for?!

Being in a full-time, live-in relationship is an adjustment for an only child. Sure, I’ve had roommates, but it’s not the same. Living with your significant other, and this last year and a half is the first time I’ve ever done so, implies a near-constant With-Other-ness. And that’s okay. I hope to have children and a family and I imagine much of my life going forward will be spent With Others. It’s probably better for the person who’s drawn to being by themselves a lot to have a big family, otherwise we might become hermits.

But for now, I’m still adjusting to living with another constantly. I love living with him and I love him. And Kevin and I tend to have a good deal of independence in our relationship. But I’m still adjusting to having to think about putting milk in someone else’s coffee, to letting go of control over the TV remote (something the Only Child Brain almost can’t even comprehend), to turning my radio down because someone else hates the show I’m listening to. I’m still adjusting to sharing the bed, coordinating shower time, accepting input on the decor and the grocery list. I’m still adjusting to the increase in conversation. More talking. There’s more talking now. “Honey. Please. Shush,” I say sometimes. The poor guy. He’s really good about understanding, though, when I just need to be left alone. Sometimes he will even say, without me prompting him, “You want me to shut up now.” I just smile and blow him a smooch.

Besides offering me some social rest, the alone time I’m getting this weekend also gives me the space to fully indulge in the stuff I love to do, without interruption. I’m on Day 7 of my 30-Day Yoga Challenge and it’s still really lovely. I’m sore and I can’t seem to get un-sore, but I’m learning a ton about myself and I feel physically and mentally quite strong and balanced. And I almost feel like I’m on a little Monk-like Yoga Retreat since so much of my experience for the last two days has been couched in silence and solitude. I might go crazy if this quietness were to last the full 30 days of the challenge (or would I?) but to have experienced this simplicity for even a portion of these 30 days has been really nice.

Of course, there are the cats. I come home to them each night and I chirp happily to them, while they mew back at me, about my day and what we will do with ourselves this evening. They “talk” to me and cuddle with me and sleep curled up next to me. So I’m not really, truly alone. I am so lucky to have them, these little beings. They are filled with such personality and expression and curiosity. They’re also incredibly independent creatures. Perhaps that is why I relate to them.

So, in conclusion, (Remember in 5th grade when every essay you wrote had to end with In Conclusion?) I’m having a lovely weekend. I’m enjoying my yoga (even though my thighs seem to have left my body and replaced themselves with two immovable steel beams), I’m enjoying my cats, I’m enjoying the simple meals-for-one I’m preparing for myself, I’m not making enough coffee every morning because I underestimate how much I can drink by myself, and I’m happy.

Oh, and did I mention (I didn’t) that I happen to be reading Eat Pray Love right now? This was not an intentional choice – that I would read this spiritual book at the same time I’d be embarking upon my Yoga Challenge and at the same time I’d be having a Me Weekend. I borrowed a copy from my good friend Rebecca (who just moved to LA! waaaah!!!) just before she left town last weekend. And after trying my darnedest to get through Julie & Julia (which, I’m sorry, I just can’t get through – I really disliked it…), I finally gave up one night and cracked open Eat Pray Love and, of course, haven’t put it down since. Reading that book while going on this little spiritual, independent journey of my own is almost like wearing the T-Shirt to the concert. That’s okay. I can be that guy.