Something Borrowed, Something Blue

Before the final round interview for my dream job, I went out to a handful of stores to find something I’d feel sassy and confident in. Considering how much I wanted the position, I knew I needed to not only study up and prepare intensely for the interview, but also have that extra kick that comes from an outfit that looks just plain killer.

It took a little time, but I ultimately found a pleated pencil skirt and silky top duo from H&M that seemed to fit the bill with some careful accessorizing. The morning of, my friend M came over to approve of the outfit I created (my personal fashion consultant who charges by the glass of champagne) and to come along with me, that way she’d be there once it was over. Mr. P was there in my apartment too, since he was visiting to wish me luck.

Standing in front of the mirror, I said to them: “I have something new (the dress), something old (the shoes), something blue (my cardigan) – but what about borrowed?” Instinctively as if he was waiting for it, Mr. P handed me his Chapstick (yes he carries Chapstick). I smiled and glanced over at M who was sweetly rolling her eyes at me. Mr. P asked as I applied his borrowed gift, “Are you going to marry this job?” I thought about it, pressed my lips together to make sure the gloss was even and said, “I hope…I do!” Mr. P kissed my head, told me to go get em’ Tigar, and headed to work. M and I caught the train after some prayers and some praises to the Job Fairies, and the next day, I got the call that would change my life.

The offer of my dream job. Tomorrow, I start.

Maybe it’s the way to pass time or to calm jitters, but I had a vision of wearing a blue dress on my first day. I wasn’t sold on the idea until my mom called to say she had the same prediction and that it was an astrologically-sound color, so I quickly went on the hunt for the perfect one. Turns out, finding a not-too-professional, not-too-casual, not-too-tight, not-too-loose, not-too-classic, not-too-modern dress in Manhattan isn’t as easy as it sounds. Maybe I was asking for a tall order and just didn’t realize it.

Over the course of week, I went to two TJ Maxx stores, Marshall’s, Gap, H&M, Forever 21, Bloomingdales, Barneys, Express, New York & Company, and a few no-namers without any luck. I messaged my friends for their opinions, called my mom wishing she was there to go around with me, and even got caught in the rain a few times, wondering where in the world my new something blue was.

Finally, today, about an hour or so ago, M and I were picking through the clearance rack at Filene’s Basement and there it was.

Stuck between something with sequins and a pasley skirt, a petite dress that fit me just right. As soon as I put it on, I felt what brides must feel when they find their wedding gown: I screamed to M: “I found it! This is it!!” I cached out of the dressing room and she smiled, beaming and probably relieved that I wouldn’t hassle her with the search anymore: “It’s perfect, Linds!”

And it is.

But the dress doesn’t make the job, just like it doesn’t make a marriage. Even so, a job and a marriage have more things in common than we think. If we’re lucky, they bring us immense joy, but require a lot of work and understanding. Like you must make a commitment to continuously get to know your partner as they change, at a job you should constantly challenge yourself to learn more, to raise the bar higher for yourself and the company. You get to practice trial and error, especially in media – seeing what stories work and what doesn’t, and how to communicate your message effectively. Doesn’t the same go with your partner? You must remain dedicated and patient with yourself as well as your mate and your career, and you should plan for the future as much as you practice diligence in today.

And if we’re lucky, the job and the marriage gives as much as it takes, and it makes some of those dreams we had as kids become a reality. I may not be the expert on falling love, but I think the two things you can fall in the love with the hardest are often the ones we think we’ll never find: the dream job and the dream guy.

I’ve found one out of two and I’m not 30 yet. I’ll accredit it to the luck of the something old, something new, something borrowed, and finally, something blue.

PS: Have a question for me? Want to know anything about my life/advice from my adventures in dating? Before September 19, I’ll publish a post answering all of your questions. Email me, Tweet me, Tumble me, or Facebook me. Or you can comment below!

Just the Way It Is

A week from Friday, my current apartment’s lease is up. Two weeks later, my new apartment is ready for a proper move-in. In that span, I also will attend two weddings, close two months of magazines, organize two volunteer projects for children’s literacy, write around 21 blog posts, submit two revised freelancing pitches for national publications, collect two paychecks and a tax return, start to pair up a buddy system I created, and well, hopefully have drinks and adventures with those I love the most. If I’m lucky, I’ll get in at least four runs a week, too.

Oh my.

Everything I own, which is way more than I thought it was, is in piles of boxes, bags, and suitcases scattered across my studio, and all that remains unpacked is my planned attire for tomorrow, a bag of popcorn I’m counting as dinner tonight, a few dishes, and my bedding. For the next weeks, I’ll be living out of a suitcase while figuring out how to schedule a mattress delivery and deciding if I’ll buy a new dresser from Ikea or scope out Craigslist. Considering if took me nearly a month to commit to a comforter and sheets, I should probably start researching yesterday.

All of these changes and stress, both emotionally and physically, have not only caused an unexpected breakout at quite the unfortunate time, but I’ve found myself irritable and cranky, and overall, just exhausted. With a million worries circulating my mind, I haven’t been sleeping well and I wake up continuously to scribble a new task on my ever-growing to-do list by the light of my cell phone. For a few days now, I’ve been complaining to my friends, family, Mr. P, and really anyone who will listen to my so-called troubles. I don’t have enough this, too much of that, too little fun, too much work, too little help, too much going on to manage.

And in the middle of singing my woe-is-me song to a friend who’s been in the city far longer than I have , she interrupted and asked, “Linds, I love you – really. But do you really think you’re the first person to move apartments at an inconvenient time? This won’t be your last move and really, it may be your easiest.”

Touché , E, Touché .

While my blog is about me and can come off as self-absorbed, I promise I’m not. This is a space to spew and discuss, and while I’ve never considered myself the crème de la crème of New York women – in my weeks of transitions and in thinking of the ones to come, I’ve forgotten that this is just how the city is.  Just how being a 20-something is. It is, just how it is.

People unpack and then vacate their apartments – hence why they are apartments to start with. We rent until the lease ceases and then we find another place to call home (unless we stumble across rent-controlled, then we stay put forevermore). Landlords expect cash-flow to change, they raise prices and lower them, give deals to those who are good tenants, and if we’re tenacious enough, we may find a no-fee broker to help us get through the dirty work of the search. Up until we get married or decide we don’t need a ring to have a mortgage, we will continue to be in the cycle of the move: experiencing the freshness of a new space with a clean slate, and remembering fondly or in remorse of the address we used to claim.

And as fate would have it, my friend M from college will be taking over my apartment on May 1. Just as I did, she’s moving sans job but with bountiful determination. We’re in similar industries and an entry-level salary fits the price tag of this place, plus it comes with a glowing recommendation from me. Or maybe it’s appeal is that it allows her kitten to can come along on her new journey, too. While packing up my things, I continue to think of her and remember how I felt in those days before I made my big move. I felt a lot like how I do now – uncertain and a little frightened, but more ready than fearful. This change of ten blocks isn’t as huge of a leap as hundreds of miles like moving from North Carolina was, yet any scenery development can be worrisome.

And while I’m not her and I can’t speak for her feelings, I know what those shoes feel like before New York breaks them in. As every dreamer and overachiever does, she’ll find her footing and she’ll land on solid ground, while crashing-and-burning a few times along the way. If the ideal position doesn’t open up, she’ll hostess or be a temp until her career path leads her where she is moving to the city to follow. It won’t be easy and she will probably doubt herself a dozen or so times, but in the end, it will all make sense and it will all be worth it.

To remind her to take it day-by-day and to not let a tired spirit get in her way, I’ve hidden some notes here-and-there and I’m passing down a gift that was given to me that’s kept me going when my going got tough. And though I may not always listen to my own advice or the cautions of others, getting caught up thinking I’m the only Manhattan nomad –  I will pass along something else, written carefully and with love on an index card for M to see:

“It is just the way New York is. But really, you wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Star Light, Star Bright, First Wish I Make For Me Tonight

If you visit New York City, you will find several things: buildings that reach the clouds, people from every country on the planet (and in all stages of life), hidden gems that no tourist guide should ever get a hold of, and the next big thing on every corner.

You will also find love in the simple places and if you’re lucky, you’ll catch yourself wanting to take a picture of the city you’re buzzing around with – just so you can capture that feeling, that energy in something you can take back to your own zip code.

But no matter how many pictures you take, views you see, or places you scout out –one thing you won’t find in the city of dreamers are stars. Much, anyways. And as a gal who was raised in the south and spent many-a-nights laying in her backyard watching the stars compete in quantity with the fireflies – it just may be the one thing I miss about living in North Carolina.

I’ve seen the stars twice since I’ve lived in the city. The first time, in Columbus Circle, Mr. Unavailable was quick to tell me they were probably just planes. I glared at him and matter-of-factly responded with: Maybe you’re just a jaded New Yorker, hmm?

But last night as I was walking from the train to the gym, iPod on shuffle, 3-inch stilettos on foot, I saw a star. I looked around to see if there were any other stars showing their face and waited a second to see if it moved (I guess it could be from LaGuardia). But no, it was not only an actual star and the brightest star, but it was the first star of the night. (If it wasn’t, I’m pretending it was, anyway.)

Without hesitation, I closed my eyes and made a wish, smiled, and kept walking –just like I always have. It didn’t occur to me until I was on mile two at the gym that I had made my very first wish on a star that was a desire that had nothing to do with a man. And even better, I made this wish even though Michael Buble’s “Just Haven’t Met You Yet” happened to come on just as I saw the star.

Sure, I’ve wished to move to New York and to be a writer, but it was always coupled with another plea: find me a man or make me fall in love! I’ve even gone as far as giving stars deadlines when they should have this perfect person to me, and while I adore stars, they wouldn’t make great freelance writers because they’ve never met this time limit.

But last night, surrounded by the buildings I see daily, I made a wish that wasn’t about falling in love. Had nothing to do with romantic notions or happily ever afters or getting hitched or having babies. No part of my wish was about kissing in the rain or walks through Central Park.

Although I can’t give it exactly away (it wouldn’t come true!), the wish was for something that came from true bliss, complete happiness, and incredible personal contentment. For the desire to have something that comes from a place of thankfulness and bloom of sincere peace.

I don’t believe my over 20 years worth of making wishes on the first star I saw were wasted on men, nor would I go back and change my words – but there is something gratifying about making a wish independently.

And really, that’s what this whole journey is about. In so many ways, single women get lost in the instability and the uncertainty that comes with being a minus-one. We stand guard by our phones and put ourselves out there and we read every self-help book imaginable to try and figure out “what we’re doing poorly” or “how to attract the man we want” or “the way to lose ten pounds and get a husband in a year”. But in reality, there isn’t anything wrong with us, nor is there anything bad about desiring a remarkable love and person to share our lives with.

It’s not about how we look or what we say at a bar or how long we wait between the first email and the response – it’s about the feelings we have towards ourselves. If we love who we are, if we believe in what we have to offer, and if we trust that we really can’t screw up what’s meant to be (because, we’ve tried, right?) – the rest of it just falls into place.

Does this mean I’ll stop making wishes? No. It just means that if I’m always wishing for the same dream (or the same man) – maybe it’s time to take a risk and wish for something that’s just about me.

Trail Blazing

It’s easy, it’s natural, and it’s captivatingly simple to me. It comes without any trouble, without any worries, and without any fears or complications. It gives as much as it takes and it can make me feel better in an instant. It is part of what defines me and what makes me get up each and every single morning.

Writing.

Regardless if it’s an article, this blog, freelancing, or Tumbling – I know I was put on this planet to be a writer. Yes, of course, everyone in New York is a writer of sorts, but I truly believe I was given the gift of being a word craftswoman and that it’ll take me wherever I want to go. And I also know I have the ability to write as I do so I can help others with their struggles, their thoughts, and their daily lives.

Recently, I met with an editor at a magazine who is in charge of a networking group I’m part of. We met to discuss my career, taking a leadership role in the group, and advice about moving forward. Not only did she compliment me and tell me she knew I’d go far and that my ambition was admirable – but hearing about her accomplishments and witnessing her career…gave me a surge of energy.

While I’ve always had confidence in my career and in the steps I’m taking to be successful, having someone else validate you gives you that extra kick ya need. And that feeling – that kick, the ecstatic feeling in the pit of your stomach that makes your heart swell…is incomparable.

As I left her office and got on the elevator, it took every ounce of maturity in me to not jump up and down the hallway. And when I was on the streets, I practically was skipping and my smile was as wide as the Grand Central Terminal I was entering.

That feeling when you know you’re doing exactly what you’re meant to do, in the place you want to do it, at the time you’re supposed to do it…wow. When I see my byline in print or online, when I get a check for freelancing, when I get fan mail from this blog, the joy that intensifies in my soul is more powerful than any feeling a man has ever given me.

That happiness, that beautiful, irreplaceable confidence in myself, my career, and my ability to achieve makes me realize how important writing really is to me. No matter who I meet or who I marry or who I fall in love with – they will never be able to give me this energy or this joy.

Because that joy, that perfectly-aligned with your soul feeling – comes from a place they’ll never reach. And I wouldn’t want them to. This happiness, this immense pleasure is just for me and for the hard work I put into being who I know I’m meant to be, and helping those I know I need to serve.

I feel like I’m at the brink of something incredible. I’m learning to love myself, be confidently single, and I’m advancing myself to the next level I want to be at in my career. Something is brewing in the atmosphere and something even more amazing is brewing inside of me.

I sincerely feel like I’m on fire and wherever I go next will light up all around me, illuminating a path for others to follow. This passionate flame that burns so intensely inside of me cannot and will not be extinguished because it’s been there forever – without faltering when anyone comes in and out of my line of fire.

Watch out, world – I’m blazing a new trail, and I’m taking this spark with me to the next adventure. And…I’m doing it all by myself.