what I’m leaving behind

Only FIVE MORE DAYS at this law firm job! I can’t wait to get out of here.

I’ve been at this job for six months, perhaps the shortest amount of time I’ve ever spent in any permanent position. (Except for the few weeks in 2007 during which I was an executive assistant to the red-faced Napoleonic owner of a very wealthy construction company who closed his door each day and figuratively castrated all the grown men he could fit inside his office, but I’ve tucked that month away into the dark recesses of my mind only to be revisited when I finally write my book entitled “Crazy People: New York City Bosses and Why You Might Be Better Off Looking Into Unemployment or Developing a Street Drug Addiction”).

I can’t decide if my stint here has felt longer or shorter than the six months it’s been, so I’ll just say it feels like it’s been exactly six months. It’s no secret that I haven’t loved this job. That’s not why I’m moving over to my new position at the PIT (yay! can’t wait!) – I would have been interested in the PIT job regardless, but I’m still ready to get outta here.

I’ve spent these six months wondering if I’m just a broken employee – someone who never grew the right kind of spine to quietly tolerate a paycheck job that she’s not particularly into, since I seem to have such a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I don’t like where I’m working. I marvel at some of my friends who have paycheck jobs, don’t really care for those jobs, but continue to power through everyday without complaint.

Well, I’m not quite so valiant. I’ve mostly bitched and moaned since day one at this place. At age 30 I certainly wish I was more mature, but I guess I’m not. It’s a personal reality I’ve accepted.

I’m excited about a lot of things related to this transition.  One small but very lovely aspect of my new job is that I won’t be an assistant any more. As much as I’m still happily pursuing comedy, acting and writing, I’ve had a little voice in the back of my mind since I turned 30 that’s been saying, “If this acting stuff doesn’t work out, what “career” will you have to fall back on? Assistantship? You’re gonna be a 40-year-old assistant some day? LOSER!”

And even though I know that kind of negative chatter isn’t good for much, and even though I’m also well aware that to have any kind of stable career at age 40 or any other age is a wonderful thing, I’m pleased to finally have an answer for the judgmental part of my brain who likes to pose those rude, cynical questions. “I’m NOT going to be an assistant any more, you cruel, jealous bitch.” That’s what I’ll say to that bitch. And maybe I’ll add, “I also had a giant cookie this weekend. AND I ATE THE WHOLE THING. What do you think of me now?” She’s gonna be so pissed.

Anyway, all this is to say that I feel lucky to have such professional good fortune right now. I’m grateful to get to leave behind what I’m leaving behind, to get to move on to something I’m really looking forward to, and to have a whole week off in between to get pedicures and eat chocolates (or giant cookies!).

addicted

Fruit.

Been eating a ton of it because it’s 0 points on the new Weight Watchers plan. And I’m enjoying it more than ever before.

I’ve been hearing that same sentiment from a lot of people who’ve tried the new WW plan. Being allowed to eat unlimited fruit without having to pay for it with your points bank, especially for those of us who followed the old Weight Watchers plan for years (where most fruits were 2 precious points per serving), is God’s gift to snacking.

I’ve actually never been a huge produce person. As a kid, it was a constant battle and as an adult, I know I’m supposed to eat produce, but ugh. I usually want a piece of bread or cheese instead. I also rarely cook, so unless someone else is preparing my veggies, I’m eating them raw. And fruit just never sounded quite as appealing to me as, say, a cookie.

But that’s all changed now that I can eat as many strawberries as my heart desires without worry. I’m obsessed. Now, at age 30, I’m finally getting nearly as many servings as one’s supposed to have in a day. And weight loss aside, I can totally tell. I feel healthier, I’m generally fuller longer and my skin even looks better. My therapist told me recently, “You’re glowing! I said, “It’s the bananas.”

I’m really into blueberries right now. Like, I’m inhaling almost a container’s worth a day. Can’t get enough.

 

talent. luck. discipline.

The hardest part about the career game I’m playing right now – the one where I have this day job that doesn’t exactly do it for me so that I can support the dream career I’m working toward in the meantime – is the waiting.

Sometimes I feel like I’m over here treading water from 9-5 while I figure out the rest of it. And sometimes I wonder how long that’s gonna take.

I know it’s different every time I post – I like the day job, I hate the day job, I can live with it, it’s really healthy for me, I want to kill myself. And as inconsistent as that might be for you who are witnessing this journey, it feels just as inconsistent for me. I really do hate the job one day and feel grateful for it the next. It supports me financially and affords me the opportunity to keep pursuing my goals, but not without a serious drain on my mental and emotional state.

I guess that’s called a catch 22.

Lorne Michaels’ was recently on “Master Class” on the OWN Network (yes!) and he said something that has since been running through my mind. He said that the three things required to make it in this comedy world are talent, luck and discipline. And then he added that even when you have all three you’re not guaranteed to succeed, but you have to have all three to even have the option.

Heartwarming and terrifying all at once. Of course there are exceptions to his rule, but he’s right. Talent and luck are obvious, and anyone I know personally who has been successful as an actor, writer, comedian, etc. worked very hard to get there.

Lying in bed last night, a list of my own popped into my mind. Not necessarily a list of things one needs in order to be successful, but traits that I personally need to keep cultivating to stay sane.

Patience, trust, optimism and discipline.

Maybe not it’s not the humblest move to selectively edit wisdom from the guy who created Saturday Night Live, but you won’t tell him, right?

The thing is, sometimes I wonder WHAT THE EFF I’m doing. I’m 30 years old and I’m still playing dress up, playing make-it-up, putting on little performances, little skitties, writing stories and giggling with my friends. I never grew out of it. And I want to make a CAREER out of that? Because I am who, again? Someone special? Or just another one of the people in the sea that is this industry, fighting to earn a paycheck.

But on the flipside (and drawing from that necessary optimism), I remind myself that there are jobs to be had in this industry, I’ve watched so many of my peers move to the next level, I get to do what I love almost every night of the week, and most importantly, nothing is more exhilarating to me than performing and writing.

Last Friday night, we did an HST show with only half the team because the other half was out of town. We play each other’s parts all the time but I was nervous about one particular sketch. I’d never done it before and it’s kind of intense. But I did it. It went well, people laughed and enjoyed themselves, and felt like a million bucks afterward. It reminded me how capable I am, and that I need to trust myself more often. It also made me feel like I’d just run a mile or eaten a really incredible meal.

I felt filled up. What other information do I really need.

So, I’ll pray for patience, trust, optimism and discipline…and the wisdom to defer to Lorne Michaels’ list too.

the dirty thirty

I have so many photos to share from my birthday trip to Florida! This one was taken during the delightful sunset marine life cruise we took off the coast of Sarasota.

Most of the rest of the shots are intimate close-ups of all the sinful food I ate including but not limited to Mexican, fried breakfast items and a delicious steak and potatoes meal from a fine dining establishment.

All in all, I had a nice time in Florida with Kev and got to reconnect with my mom and stepdad, both of whom I’m lucky to have in my life because they’re fun and nice and smart and they laugh at my jokes.

And now I’m 30! It happened just like that. Overnight.

I’m having a birthday party at my apartment in Brooklyn this weekend with some friends. Looking quite forward to it. (If you’re in New York and you’d like to come – please do! Email me for details. We have two cats, so consider your stance on that first.)

I’m still adjusting to being an old woman, but so far it’s not so bad. I feel mostly happy to have gotten the transition itself over with, which seems to have been the worst part. Now I just feel confident, mature, responsible, and like I can do whatever the hell I want because I’m 30, bitches!

Work is fine. It’s not exactly what I want to be doing with my time, but I’m not entirely sure what else I would be doing with my time right now. Plus, making money is a good reason to get up in the morning.

Speaking of which, I finally settled my boots search on these little darlings, which are Clarks, arrived in the mail from Zappos yesterday and are as comfortable as can be. They’re exactly what I wanted.

Thirty: kicking ass, taking names, and only buying boots that I really love.

 

fanny & jane 2010

This post doesn’t contain my “secret,” but it doesn’t contain a detail a few of you have been begging me to reveal!

What the heck is the status of Fanny & Jane this holiday season?

The short answer: We’re not opening the bakery for the 2010 holidays. Waaah!! I know, I know.

Here’s why:

Continue reading

the race + an update

Today was my first full day alone at the temp job. I didn’t finish working until 9:30pm! I went in for a few hours on Sunday too. Boo. Today was a race against the clock, filled with lots of important legal details I was terrified to screw up.

I honestly don’t think these two weeks will be that bad (and ca-ching, ca-ching! the money’s good!), but right now my back is on fire and I’m exhausted.

It’s funny to be revisiting this lifestyle where I can’t fit in a workout, barely have time to eat lunch and feel like my retinas are burned into my head on the hour-long commute home. That stuff, along with the disjointedness of coming home knowing I won’t have time to clean up or do laundry for a week and a half, is some of why I quit my job. I’m not build for the nonstop race, I need time to reset.

In other news…

Harvard Sailing Team‘s new short film will premiere at the Friar’s Club Film Festival this weekend, and we all get to go to the screening! We worked hard on our little movie and had a great time making it, so we’re excited to watch it on the big screen. There’s also an after-party and an awards ceremony. Should be a super-fun weekend.

Jen+Steve, my two person improv team, won our first round at the PIT’s Sketchprov tournament. Winner of the whole event gets $2500. You never know!

My Acting for Sketch & Scripted Comedy class starts October 21. I’m excited and nervous! Eep!

And I’m still doing as much writing as I can, whenever possible.

Fanny & Jane…I haven’t mentioned in a while – huh? Well, as you know, we took a summer hiatus. The unofficial and official answer about what will happen this fall is: we don’t quite know yet. We know we can’t have the same experience we had last season, which was very productive, busy and lucrative, but it was also SO MUCH WORK OH MY GOD. And not in a great way. So stay tuned. Decisions will be made soon.

Oh, and shut the front door, I’m turning 30 in a month and a half. Yeesh.

If time allows I’ll try to do some classic desk-job updates while I’m at work this week! It’ll be like old times. 🙂

lessons from my summer

How pretty is this little girl? I was so happy to see her and her brother this morning when we got home from the airport.

I’m back from a Labor Day weekend in Las Vegas! I was a bridesmaid in my cousin’s wedding at the Mandalay Bay – we had a lovely time. And the bride and her new hubby looked beautiful and happy. (Thanks for a fun weekend, Mal!)

Wedding activities aside, Vegas kicked my ass. We partied a lot, rode the giant coaster (on which I broke my glasses), won some money, lost some money, won some more, and everything in my suitcase smells like cigarette smoke and that weird floral scent they pump into the casinos.

I hadn’t been to Vegas since I was 15-years-old. I love it there. Love the weather, the lights, the 24-hour party, the gambling, the people-watching. I could never live there, but I’ll visit any day.

Now we’re back in NYC and a new week will begin bright and early tomorrow morning. I’m reflecting on what a weird, but unexpectedly life-affirming summer I’ve had. It’s been spent worrying sometimes about where my next paycheck’s coming from, and celebrating sometimes exciting successes along my new career path. I feel hopeful and curious about what the coming months will bring.

This summer has taught me a few key lessons.

1.) Money is fluid. It’s meant to come in and out of your life. To bring yourself to a state of panic when funds are low does nothing but cause you unproductive discomfort. Do what you love and the money will come. It’s true.

2.) Support other people. There is enough success, love, money, happiness, fulfillment and inspiration to go around. Being genuinely happy for other people doesn’t take anything away from your own path – it makes you feel good. And being selfish or competitive is transparent.

3.) You can be your own worst critic or your own best friend. It’s up to you.

I’m so excited for fall, you guys. I’m looking forward to a lot of travel, a lot of work, and my 30th birthday in exactly 2 months. I’m also looking forward to some exciting changes on the blog in the month of October.

Have a great week!

thank you!

Yesterday I vowed to combat my Blackberry obsession (it’s really more like a neurotic tic) for the next few days, at least. It’s the perfect week to be less connected since half the world is on vacation, plus I’m headed to Vegas tomorrow for my cousin’s wedding! I can’t be medically dependent on my phone when I’m trying to win jackpots, you guys. Get real.

So when I checked Twitter last night before bed, my jaw dropped to discover that The Frisky had posted my article yesterday afternoon! I had no idea it went up.

And I was even more surprised to find a bunch of really thoughtful, positive comments. So thank you for reading, commenting and for your emails, tweets and Facebook messages. I’m truly, truly humbled by all the generous and warm responses.

The truth is, it’s a little intimidating to post such a personal story on the Internet. I’m not a particularly private person because I don’t see any need to keep secrets. But telling a story like this in all its scandalous glory on such a widely read site still involves some letting go on my part.

More than anything though, I am reminded that I have nothing to hide. In short, I went through an incredibly difficult time in my early twenties that felt like a death as it was happening. Sure, there are some embarrassing details associated with the whole mess, but I can’t be ashamed of any of it. It happened. And it’s a story I’m compelled to tell.

If readers can relate, are moved, or if it helps them with something in their own life, I’m honored.

ten months + really good stuff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the dream and the reality

I’m still adjusting to being back in New York, having spent much of July traveling and being out of my element.

We returned to the city to news from our landladies that the whole house has termites (meaning our apartment has to be exterminated), and the exterminator broke the main water line, causing some serious plumbing drama.

On top of all that, Kevin had his wisdom teeth removed on Tuesday. So that and all that goes with it has been happening around here too. (He’s still recovering, but doing okay!)

This summer, for better or worse, hasn’t been a period of R&R by any means. And all the essential things that have filled my schedule this month don’t pay me like I want them to yet. That’s okay – I’m alive and well-fed and happy and healthy. I choose to accept that this is where I am on this journey.

Still, I caught myself daydreaming a few days ago about my old lifestyle when I had a desk job. Blasphemy, I know. I don’t miss the daily commute, the irritating coworkers, the constantly ringing phone, navigating midtown, trying to fit a workout in on my lunch break, hoping I can get out early enough to make a show or a rehearsal, calling in sick to go to an audition or shoot a video.

But I do miss the consistent income. That and breakfast from Pret A Manger are the only things I miss.

I daydreamed about being able to spend money on buying new shoes, jumping on a plane for a last minute trip to Florida, renting a car for a day because it’s fun, blowing a ton of money at the grocery store buying up whatever I please, getting my nails done every week – that kind of frivolous stuff. I can’t wait for the day when that is my lifestyle again.

But the trade off for having those things back then was that I was totally miserable at my job almost every day. I was stuck and unproductive and uninspired, I felt like my professional life didn’t make me excited and proud. I was swiftly approaching 30 and I wasn’t on my way to the career of my dreams. And that just wasn’t good enough.

Beyond that, if I still had an office job I wouldn’t have been able to go to Montreal for six days (and have one of the most memorable experiences of my life). I would have had to finagle the time off to go to my cousin’s weekday wedding. I’d be worried about getting time off in the fall to go do an HST show in LA, I’d wonder if I could get time off to go out of town for my 30th birthday in November. I’d be stressed and resentful and feeling locked in. All for a job that paid me a salary but provided little else in terms of incentive.

So if I have to choose, I’d still rather have my freedom and have control over my own professional destiny than have a steady paycheck. That’s just who I am. And I have faith that someday soon those two worlds will collide and I’ll be a billionaire. Or I’ll at least be somebody who’s willing to spend money on weekly manicures again.

August is going to be another busy month. We’re taking a trip, shooting a short film, I’m going to be doing a lot of writing and planning, Kevin’s starting a new job, and I’m hoping to squeeze a few more juicy drops out of summer.

It’s been 9 months since I quit my desk job to pursue work that makes me happier. This is where I am today.