Our New Video Series!

Laura and I have been talking about creating an OMG I’m Thirty video series for awhile.  We took the opportunity of being in the same city for a brief stretch to shoot our first one together. Hopefully one day I will be able to consistently identify where the camera lenses is on an iPhone!

Hope you enjoy!

The Story of the Green Beetle

A few days ago, I was walking to the bus stop to head home from my summer camp job, and my mind was in a thousand places. I was thinking of all the emails I had to return, the laundry that had piled up, and the buzzing phone in my pocket filled with group text messages from work, and if I should eat pizza for dinner for a second time this week (resounding yes). My mind was anywhere but the present.

As I was approaching my bus stop, two enthusiastic young men stopped me, their eyes lit up with a feverish intensity. Being a New Yorker, I know what that means. Comedy club tickets, anyone? Or how an all-inclusive ‘salon package’ for the low, low cost of $69.95 but worth $200? Spend a year in Manhattan and you’ll be propositioned for both of those offers.  But these looked like international college age students, and they didn’t seem remotely threatening. So I stopped. They pointed down at the ground to a large beetle with a black body and glowing green legs.

Bugs freak me out, so I recoiled a bit. But this was magical; I have never in my life seen a bug so gorgeous and so unusual looking. It looked like it belonged in the amazon rainforest. The first thought I had was that this bug must not be real. It looked like it could be a small, robotic animal. The young men remarked that they had never seen a creature like this in their lives, and asked if I had. I shook my head and said no. We all stared at it in awe, until it jumped up and started flying, to our collective surprise.

There is no exciting end to this story – the bug flew away and I ran to grab my bus. But I was left in a new headspace, feeling curious. I spent my bus ride home searching google on my phone, trying to identify this beetle. But nothing came up that looked like the beetle. They were lots of bugs with neon green bodies, but none with just neon green legs.

People sometimes say that when you’ve got stress or anxiety in your life, you should step back and “Look at the big picture.” And sure, it’s good advice. But sometimes I think the better advice is to narrow your focus. Take in the smallest of details around you. See how the tiny details expand and become worlds onto themselves.

It’s Like Riding a Bike…In Your Thirties

I read this article the other day about an Irish journalist in Cork, Ireland, who’s learning to drive a car for the first time at age 32. 

I can relate.

Actually, I got my Driver’s License at age 17 and passed the test on the first try. So I’ve been a licensed driver for 13 years… however, I live in New York City so I almost never drive. It’s weird that there’s this major skill that other people find so easy but I find so rusty.

It was the same with biking. I never really got around to taking the training wheels off my bike as a kid. So as an adult, whenever friends of mine proposed going biking, I turned them down. Then, when I was 19 and studying abroad in Italy, there came a biking experience I couldn’t turn down. We were going to bike around the gorgeous, ancient city walls of Siena, Italy.

I seriously had no idea how to get the bike going, and my friends practically left without me. But after lots of trial and error and time, I was able to get the bike going…though I had no idea how to stop it.

“Coming through!” I screamed, “I don’t know how to brake!!!!” The confused Italians didn’t always understand what I was saying and would dart out of my path completely in fear. As I got the bike to go even faster, I sometimes screamed out “Attenzione!” which translates loosely from Italian to “watch out!”

After Siena, I didn’t attempt to bike ride again until I was 27. I whimsically rented a bike in South Beach, Miami, and painstakingly spent hours doing figure eights and teaching myself how to ride once again. I fell off the bike numerous times, cut up my legs, but actually got the hang of it by the end of the day.

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Attempt at a bike selfie in Miami

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Okay, we can actually see the bike here..

After the painstaking learning experience in Miami, I never forgot how to ride a bike again. Rumors are true…it really did come back. I started renting bikes in all the warm cities I visited for work… Miami again, then Houston, then San Diego…

San Diego biking for hours

San Diego biking… for hours. I was actually pretty good.

Today I was listening to the Dave Ramsey podcast. It’s a finance podcast, but he happened to be talking about running a marathon. He was saying how anyone can do it- if it’s a goal you really want to achieve you can just go online and grab a training schedule and follow it. Once you finish the schedule, you’ll be able to run a marathon. It’s just that simple. Other people are doing it and you can too.

I wonder how many easily achievable tasks are out there that seem impossible. It seems some “super difficult” goals are actually right within our grasp. We just have to decide that we want to achieve them.

Start right now. It’s never too late.

Not Feeling It During the Holidays

Every year around the holidays, I wonder why I’m not “feeling it” the way I used to. Even though I’m now thirty, I find myself doing the same thing I did during the holidays as a teenager, and all throughout my twenties- trying to pull up an old feeling. You know that feeling. It’s that “magical holiday feeling”…remember it?

It’s an old memory now. Maybe I used to have it when I looked at the sky and was positive Santa was about to come. I guess I was awaiting something special…feeling that anticipatory glow. It came from expecting presents to appear out of nowhere…that wonderful moment of waking up and knowing something special has arrived…the feeling of barely being able to wait a moment longer. Now the closest feeling I have to that is when I open my email inbox after a long time of not checking it.

No, that’s sad. There are definitely times when I eagerly await something better than email.

But during the holidays, I guess I don’t know how to get that anticipatory excitement back the same way it used to be. So I performed my holiday traditions as usual- I got out my holiday stuff.

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My holiday soap

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My holiday socks

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My holiday owl tea mug. Yes, this is holiday related.

I lit my holiday candles and filled my room with pine smell. I made pumpkin everything. I played my Indie Holiday tunes Pandora station.

And I felt happy. I love all my little holiday traditions.

But I still didn’t get that old feeling back that I wanted so badly. So I sulked, vaguely disappointed. Every year I’ve sulked, feeling my special holiday feeling was just a hairs breadth out of reach.

And then I remembered something actors say to me all the time when I direct them in plays. They say, “Laura, I’m just not feeling it.”

And you know what I say back? I say “It doesn’t matter if you’re not feeling it! You’re not always going to feel it! Do the scene anyway! Just go with it!” I usually say this in a nice way, of course.

So with that in mind, I took a walk in Woodside at night during the first holiday season of my thirties.

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And I laughed.

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And I looked. And looked again.

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And I felt something mild, and silly, and light. A subtle feeling. Older in a different way. Something like peace. Possibly hope.

The old feeling was gone. It had been gone for a long time.

And that was okay.

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If I looked closely it had been replaced.

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Happy holidays to all of you. Let in anything you’re feeling right now. It’s okay.

Last weekend, Someone Punched Me In The Stomach (Or, A New Kind Of Love Letter)

New York City really doesn’t sleep. I used to fight the whole ‘city never sleeps’ thing, saying “of course we sleep! That’s ridiculous. Where do people think up such frivolous nonsense?” But I’ve long since realized that all the rumors are true. New York City is always alive and kicking.

Of course, I value sleep. And quiet. And space. And kindness. And peace. And nice smells. And I also love New York. These things don’t seem to go together. But I always thought (okay, still somewhat think) New York is different than its stereotype. “New Yorkers aren’t really rude,” I said…I say (I still say this), “they’re just in a hurry. If you block the subway door or stop to take a photo in Times Square, you’ll probably get pushed aside. And it won’t always be gentle. But people will probably say excuse me first…at least a second before they physically move you. They don’t mean it.”

However, lately, and for what is shockingly one of the first times ever, I’ve felt truly angered by all the people in New York who “don’t mean it” and by all the crowds. During the same week (last week) that I couldn’t get a seat on the subway on the way to work at 4am (city not sleeping), I was punched full force in the stomach by a man running down the street not watching where he was going. The wind was knocked out of me and I almost doubled over, but kept walking, as all New Yorkers in a hurry would. To his credit, the guy screamed out “oh, sorry!” as he continued running, but I was still pretty angry.

This was followed by a sea of photo-taking tourists blocking my way down the sidewalk plus being herded across the street by policemen who had closed off the crosswalk near the Radio City Music Hall with PoliceLineDoNotCross tape. I then waited outside in the freezing cold for over an hour to pick up Christmas Spectacular tickets (my friend’s a Rockette, so I wanted to see her… but I had no idea that Radio City Music Hall would be such a cattle call fiasco.) Afterwards, a woman blocked my entrance to Whole Foods, screaming obscenities at a a stranger who apparently exited out the wrong door. None of this helped my mood.

My mind reeled: “When did the city get so much worse???”

Then someone slammed into me and shook me out of my thoughts. ARGHHHHH!!!

Have I been hanging out in the touristy areas too long? Is it the holidays? Has the city been getting more crowded? Am I getting more sensitive? What. Is. Wronggg???

However, As I sit in Queens and enjoy my hot chocolate and peace and quiet, I start to forgive New York. After all, my stomach has healed. I’m feeling a lot better. And I’m awake at 2AM, feeling one with the city. If I needed contact lens solution right now, I could go out and get it. If I wanted an egg sandwich right now, that would also be available.

I want neither contact lens fluid nor an egg sandwich, but, but…I want YOU, New York! I don’t want to stay angry. I’m so sorry we fought. Apparently you can punch your tenants in the gut, raise the rent, and then laugh as we’re still magnetically drawn, powerless back into your clutches.

Bless you, New York. Bless you, crazy homeless guy smelling up the subways. Bless you, crazy wholefood lady giving strangers a piece of your mind. Bless you, garbage left outside with rats running around. Well, maybe not that.

New York and I in better days.

New York and I in better days.

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