Thursday, July 21, 2011

Identity Crisis

Sometimes, I think I have a very clear understanding about who it is I am and how I want the rest of my life to look.  I've always admired women who are career-driven and conventionally successful.  I'm a high- achiever and I'm just about to finish business school.  When somebody asks me what I want in life, it usually involves a story about a high-rise condo in the city (OK, maybe a townhouse so I can have a backyard for the 2.5 kids), expensive suits, pearls and high heels.  I'd love a nice new shiny car and gorgeous designer furniture that I picked out on a lazy Sunday afternoon with my super handsome husband.  This is the life I've dreamed about since I was a little girl.  Forget the wedding, I wanted the career. 

Now why is it, that two weeks away from finally finishing my MBA and being that much closer to the life I've always imagined, am I having second thoughts?  Instead of fantasizing about watching college football in a hoodie in the rain and finally getting that killer capital markets job, I'm daydreaming about owning my own flower shop in Austin. 

If it weren't for the student loans, part of me thinks I could give it all up to own my own business in a place much sleepier than Chicago, like Columbus or Portland or San Diego.  I'd ride my powder pink bike to work with my satchel in the basket on the front.  I'd wear floral dresses and linen pants and drink coffee with the locals.  And on the weekends I'd take daytrips in my Volvo to play with all my newly acquired used cameras and re-finish found mid century modern furniture in my spare time. 

Why do so many of us have such disparate versions of ourselves sometimes? Like had I woke up on the other side of the bed one morning, it would have all been so drastically different.  I even had a adjunct finance professor who used to be a investment banker in New York and gave it all up to ski in Colorado and then own her own doggy daycare.  Perhaps it's just the left-side vs. right-side of the brain stuff.  Or the social confines which we found ourselves influenced and encapuslated by for almost thirty years.  Maybe it's because the "shoulds" outweigh the "coulds" or that the older we get the better we get at figuring out who we are, what we're good at and what makes sense.

My brothers and I have talked a lot about me moving to Detroit so that we can all work together.  We've talked about that since before my youngest brother was born and I have no doubt that one day it will happen.  But I keep hanging on to this idea of being the big city girl and living the kind of life I've worked so hard to get to the last two or so years.  But moving back to Michigan does mean that I could refinish furniture in my spare time, be a better blogger and devote more time to my photography.  I could garden with my mother and make things with my hands instead of spending more than half my waking hours in an air conditioned hise-rise in uncomfortable shoes. 

But perhaps I'm being a little dramatic.  I feel like my current situation is cutting off all my circulation and all the blood going to my head so I'm losing it a little bit.  Since when do I even know how to garden? Or arrange flowers? Or go shopping at estate sales?

Maybe it's that I've had to be on auto-pilot for so long and all this business school stuff has clogged the creative juice process.  I don't know.  But what I do know is that there must be some way to find more of a balance.  And starting in two weeks, it is my mission to do just that.  Part of me thinks that I wasn't meant to find my new job before graduation; that I need the down time to regroup and enjoy the last of the SoCal summer.  So that's what I'm going to do.  Plug away for these last two weeks and after that, just try (oh, and it will be difficult) to go with the flow. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Summa Summa Summa Time

In Los Angeles, we have a late summer.  Growing up in Michigan, warmer weather starts in May and Memorial Day is treated as the official start of summer.  Here, we have to wait until the 4th of July (June gloom is miserable and absolutely accurate).  Seeing as we're less than a week out from my favorite holiday, the weather has finally started to cooperate and I got to spend an amazingly beautiful summer day on the ocean yesterday with some of my favorite people (well, not on the ocean, but a few yards away). 

I love summer.  I especially love what summer means: long days, sunburns, drinking with friends, the smell of dirt, sand and sweat.  Grilling, impromptu parties, ice cream, naps, pools, hikes and boats.  Everyone's generally in a better mood, spirits are high and worries are put away (at least temporarily). 

This weekend, I spent a lot of time in the apartment baking, cleaning and reading. Laying in the sun like a dog, trying to soak in the rays from inside my apartment.  I put off researching to catch up on some Real Housewives episodes and I filled the fridge with summer salad. 

Now the problem is that I still have five weeks of school left.  I have three major papers, two finals, a strategy simulation and two presentations before I can really let my hair down and breath.  One of my quests in life is trying to find balance.  Obviously I can't blow off the rest of the semester and play, but I also can't let what may well be my last summer in LA pass me by while I play hermit and ignore what's going on outside. 

What I'm saying is that I want to live my best life.  And that includes doing absolutely everything right now; a mighty tall order.  What I really want is someone at the end of the day, to promise me that it will all work out the way it's meant to.  That I won't push the panic buttom too many times in the next five weeks and that I'll get to play and work all in good time. But I guess I'll have to settle for having some incredible opportunities to savor time with friends, learn about myself and face this portion of the challenge head on.  After all, I've got a pretty great support system and failure just isn't an option. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Seven Weeks

As a certain someone would say, "I've had relationships shorter than that".  But that's just the amount of time I have until I'll be done!  It feels like just yesterday I woke up, decided to apply to business school and made a decision that would change the direction of my life forever.  I will have a very fancy, very impressive master's degree in less than two months and I can hardly wrap my head around exactly what that means.

And that's partly because I don't exactly know what that means.  I know it means a new job (sometime this fall at the very least), most likely a new city (here I come Chicago!) and probably missing my friends something painfully fierce. 

In the meantime, I've dyed my hair blond and put a gold ring in my nose because I can't really figure out another way of dealing with it.  After all, I'm working a full time job, taking a full load of classes (plus an extra credit for graduation), applying for jobs in a city nearly two thousand miles away, saying good bye to my best friend who is moving away with her boyfriend, trying to enjoy the last few weeks I have left with my friends, wishing the weather were nicer so I could finally get some Vitamin D, and trying hard not to let my heart break too badly. 

Needless to say, I've had moments of complete panic and debilitating anxiety in the last week.  I was doing so well for a while, not letting everything get to me. I was keeping up with my life coaching, not crying, basically keeping my shit together for the first half of the semester.  But the light at the end of the tunnel is getting almost too bright now.  I don't' know what to do. 

I'm scared, excited, thrilled, nervous and sad all at the same time.  I'm also insanely proud that I've been able to do this.  And with some pretty amazing success at that.  I've made a few friends, done well in my classes, got some amazing job interviews, made connections and had my fair share of ups and downs.  I've learned a ton about myself, about my life and about the world. 

So I'm trying to take this one day at a time.  Less than fifty days left of this madness that I love and hate at the same time.  I'm trying to enjoy the present.  The precious seven weeks I have left on this magical rollercoaster. That's what life is, right? This.  Right now.  Today.  These next seven weeks will be awesome, exhausting, amazing, terrifying and at the very least memorable.  So instead of trying to control it and figure it out, I'm going to try to embrace it.  In all its messy glory. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Cry When I Travel

It started the first Christmas I lived in LA.  It was my first trip back to Detroit after moving to the west coast and I was a babbling mess.  My cheeks were tear-stained, my eyes puffy, my bags packed full of the presents I bought with my first big-girl bonus.  I tucked my iPod into the pocket of my fleece, got on the red-eye and hunkered down, attempting to catch a few hours (minutes?) of sleep. 

That Christmas I cried a lot.  I was thousands of miles away from my family for the first time, permanently.  Voluntarily.  Indefinitely.  Purposefully.  I knew exactly what that meant when I moved out here, but Christmas is always difficult for me.  The emotion was too much. 

Just about two years later, I took a trip to Chicago.  And I cried all the way home.  I again put on my earphones and layed my head against the window as tears streamed down my face.  I cried because my heart was breaking.  I had fallenn in love with a city and a way of life and new found confidence and I knew then that I needed to find a way to get back to that.  That place I'm looking to go back to now.

For some reason, traveling is emotional.  A long car trip to Vegas last year gave me space to think about some really important things that I eventually made happen.  I cry on long flights and get all riled up on train rides.  I even cried on the car ride from Detroit to Chicago two years ago because of all the memories of the life that I used to live and the dreams I used to have that eventually had to change. 

And my latest trip to Detroit and Chicago was no different.  If everything works out according to "plan", this will have been my last flight from Detroit to LA as a Cali girl.  The next time I get on that plane I'll have an MBA after my name, a new job, a new address

So I cried because I'm scared and lonely.  Because I'm afraid that my plans will actually work out.  And that they might not. I cried because I'm already nostalgic.  Because my heart breaks every time I even think about leaving my life and my friends here.  My love. 

But tears are OK.  I think they're good even.  I come from a long line of weapers, and it's a way of knowing that we're feeling.  And I feel intensely.  Sometimes I regreat that I'm so sensetive, but mostly I'm grateful.  Grateful that I have things to cry about. 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Falling Down the Rabbit Hole (and Other Tales of Easter)

I have an amazing ability to make myself crazy; it's part of my charm.  From silently crying just minutes before I have to give a presentation (it was an easy assignment and I've given dozens of presentations in my life; it definitely wasn't stage fright that was getting the best of me) to full on breakdowns, I let stress and anxiety get a hold of me when I'm at my breaking point. 

Most of the time, I'm a pretty tough cookie.  Classes, studying, a full-time job, a social life and general "life" expectations are dealt with on a regular basis.  Over the years I have developed tools to help me deal with whatever is making me anxious (anxiety is clearly my go-to emotion). These days those include hot baths, a brainless movie, yoga, a scented candle or a run.  But sometimes, none of that will do. Hence, a few weeks ago I reached a breaking point and fell down that rabbit hole pretty far.  As a kid, my parents called them temper tantrums.  As an adult, it honestly feels the exact same way.  Something small (usually disappointment in some way) sets off a series of painful memories/emotions including anger, frustration and all-out pain and hurt.  I cry until I have no more tears left and my eyes are irreparably puffy.  And then I go to bed. And I move on.  Part of me thinks that the whole process is healthy and cathartic.  Emotions are natural and need to be expressed; even the unpleasant ones.  The problem is that is brings up some pretty hairy stuff that I just don't have to deal with on a normal basis.  The good thing is that these "fits" are often an impetus for healthy change. 

I haven't been blogging lately because I've been in a rut.   I've been uncomfortable, anxious, tired, and on-the-go.  My brain has been going a million miles an hour and I've been putting myself out there and making things happen.  I had finals, meetings, birthdays and social obligations.  No time to think.  No time to write. 

But I'm pretty sure I've made the decision that's been haunting me the last year; I'm interviewing in Chicago the end of this month.  I haven't even looked at jobs in LA in months and I've reached out to all of my contacts in order to gain some headway in the job search in the Windy City. 

The one caveat to this is that my heart is still breaking.  Daily.  I have fallen in love with so many things in LA and to leave them will be a pain like I've never experienced before.  I moved from Kalamazoo to Columbus to LA in less than a year, so I'm pretty familiar with this gig.  But, this time it's completely different.  I've grown up here.  LA will always be a part of me.  Just like a relationship, getting over it will come with time.  But I feel like I've got a little (or actually, quite large) clock ticking on my time here.  And that's quite a conundrum. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

My Cold Dark Heart

I like my coffee cold.  Like, extra cold.  Filled to the brim with ice cubes and maybe a Splenda or two.  I always tease that I like my coffee like my heart: cold and dark. 

But, as we all know, I have a pretty big heart.  I try not to listen to it too often (right now it's screaming at me and I'm trying to decipher its immature babbling), but it's definitely not cold or dark.  Perhaps a little broken and neglected, but it makes its presence known on occasion. From that place comes my love for my friends and family and my need to take care of everyone around me. 

Now I sound like the immature babbling idiot because I just got back from a fantastic trip to Chicago for a little St Patty's Day done right.  And by right I mean filled with friends, family, boys and copious amounts of green beer.  It was a magical and relaxing weekend; just what the doctor ordered after the last two months that have aged me two years.

Every time I get on that plane at O'Hare on my way back to LAX, I get weepy.  I love my life in LA for a few specific reasons.  And this place has, while occasionally making me utterly miserable, had a hold on my heart for the better part of a decade.  Its magical weather, inspiring views and my crazy wonderful friends have made this home for me.

But I'm at a place where I must let go of a few things.  Dreams, visions of my life, hang-ups and relationships.  I'm growing up and getting rid of childish notions is key every once in a while.  If you had told me five years ago that this is where I would be today, I would have laughed.  And perhaps cried.  But reality has a way of creeping up on us sometimes. 

And that means moving closer to my family.  Getting back to a place that makes sense.  Where the food is good, the alcohol is flowing and I can get a good job.  But it also means moving away from my life here - everything I've created over the last six years.  All the things I've learned about myself and everyone I've grown to love. 

So my heart is breaking a little because letting go is never easy.  But deep down (deep, deep down), I truly believe two things.  The first is that everything happens for a reason.  And the second is that God may close doors, but always opens other windows.  I know that whatever my decision may be, everything will work out.  It might be scary now, but it will eventually be better than ever. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Networking Is Hard

Or rather, it's hard for me.  I'm an introvert.  (What's that snickering I hear??? Yes, an introvert.  I'm most comfortable by myself or with a small group of people.  It takes me a while to open up. I promise.)  And introverts aren't drawn to careers that require networking.  But in this day in age, just GETTING a job requires a significant amount of networking.  It's not all about what you know, but about who you know.  Especially in commercial real estate.

One of the huge advantages of continuing to work while getting my MBA is that I have been able to make connections and learn about the industry I'm passionate about.  From the brokers that I work with and the people I've been introduced to, I should know where to go to look for a job by now.  I've been preparing for this for the last eighteen months. 

But when push comes to shove, and I'm a mere five months away from graduating with my fancy degree and needing an even fancier job, I'm having a hard time calling on those connections.  That requires emails, asking for things, putting myself out there and having difficult (and possibly akward) conversations about my least favorite topic of discussion - ME. 

But somehow, I have to make it happen.  I can't waste this moment because it will never come around again.  I've wasted enough time getting here, and I have the perfect opportunity to really propel my career forward.  I'm in the driver's seat because I have a job and a whole slew of people cheering me on.  So despite my hesitations and fears, I'm writing those emails.  I'm making time to talk to new connections and giving my resume to anyone who will take it. 

And this isn't just a business school lesson, it's a life lesson.  Hopefully I can translate all this hard work (in school, at work, with friends) into a really great opportunity.  My issue is really the name.  Networking has a negative connotation in that it infers (at least in my mind) someone using another.  Everytime I think of the word, I picture a bunch of corporate stiffs in awful cheap suits, swilling happy hour wine and scarfing cheap appetizers on little napkins.  When that's not what it's about at all.  It's truly about relationships.  Making friends.  And I seem to that easily enough.   I can definitely drink happy hour cocktails with the best of them.  Maybe this isn't so hard after all. 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Coming Down Part 2

Now that I'm not going 100 mph and not working on school work and projects and going non-stop, I'm coming down.  This usually happens when I'm finished with a semester and I have a few extra hours a day on my hand.  But this time I've just come off a whirlwind 7 weeks of real estate boot camp, extra classes and crazy group projects.  I'm barely getting over my stress-induced head cold and I've been given a minute to breath.  And all of a sudden, I feel like all the emotions I've suppressed for the last two months have come bubbling up to the surface at once.

It's just me, laying around the apartment.  Listening to music, ironing my work pants and putting away paperwork that's been nagging me.  I still have a paper to write and textbooks to read, but I'm taking a moment to slow down. 

And I'm crying.  Because I'm overwhelmed with all these crazy emotions I've had to keep bottled inside while attempting to conquer everything else in my life.  After all, this is why I keep myself extraordinarily busy and over scheduled. 

I can't help but think about how much it hurts that my father never calls. Or that I'm unbelievably anxious that I'm going to be done with business school in a mere five months because after that, I have no idea what this life holds for me.  Or that I'm unbearably frightened by the thought of leaving the only person I want to wipe away my tears.  The possibilities for the rest of my life are endless and amazing and I can't wait to meet them, but the task of trying to wrap my head around all of it is a bit overwhelming at times. 

The last year has been unbelievable.  And I have no doubt the next twelve months will be equally astounding.  But part of me wishes I had just the slightest of clues as to where it's going to take me.  I feel as though I'm walking blindly towards my future, with a firm faith that everything will be alright, but with very little reassurance. 

The bottom line is that I need to stop taking myself so seriously; everything works out for the best in the end.  And usually when we least expect it. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Five Things

No, this is not a post about my five favorite things today.  I haven't whipped up a great meal of which I want to take pictures and share (I made a mean spaghetti sauce Friday night but it was definitely not photogenic - I like my meals to be just like me), I have no amazing news to share (I did buy tickets for a weekend trip to Chicago in March, but that's pretty unspectacular), and I will spare you the existential (and emotional) angst I experience every time I think about looking for a job and possibly moving across the country in the next six months. 

Instead, here are a list of the five things I've accomplished in my relatively short life that I'm proud of. (And they're in no particular order - that would require too much brain power for a Tuesday.)

1.  Breaking up with my college boyfriend.  To this day, he is the only man I've ever truly been in love with.  Our four year relationship taught me things I will never be able to articulate, and he was my best friend through some of the most trying times of my life.  Breaking up was inevitable, given our vastly divergent visions of the future and eventual boredom of one another, but it was gut-wrenching, mind-numbing and courageous.  That moment in time propelled to become the woman I am today.

2.  Moving to California. I was young and dumb and I would never had done it knowing what I know now. But isn't that the beauty of life? I've been here for almost six years and sometimes I still experience a little culture shock, but making it on my own and discovering so much about myself has been truly invaluable.  While I miss my family and friends, sometimes space and time is truly necessary to heal and get proper perspective on things. 

3.  Being able to keep my job in commercial real estate. My first real corporate job in commercial real estate was amazing.  I got a raise, a fancy cubicle, an even fancier wardrobe and some great friends and mentors.  I immediately fell in love the with the whole industry and was totally devistated when I was laid off.  Having very particular skills in what was a niche market taking a serious hit at the beginning of the Great Recession, I was convinced I was going to have to settle for a job outside the industry.  Instead, I landed where I am now, continue to work with great brokers and am constantly learning and networking.  While it's not always particularly challenging, it has been a great home for me while I'm in school. 

4.  Playing kickball.  It sounds silly, but joining and eventually captaining a co-ed kickball team changed my life.  It forced me out of my comfort zone and threw me into a world of fairly like-minded people who joined together for comroderie, friendship, compeitition and of course drinking. The people I met over those two years are counted amongst my best friends and our relationships have endured far beyond the dirt fields of Venice. 

5.  Going back to business school.   This is a no-brainer.  It took me years to get up the courage to tackle this most spectacular of experiences and I'm so glad I did.  While I occasionally have regrets about how I went about it, I've met people who have changed my life permanently.  Having to juggle school, work and a social life has not only taught me a lot about my own priorities, but what I am capable of and what I want out of life. The challenge isn't over, and while it's completely daunting, I'm amazed I've been able to get this far and am looking forward to what it means for me down the line. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

This Better Be Good

I haven't written a good blog post in a long time because I've been so completely overwhelmed by my over scheduled lifestyle.  But there are a few things I'd like to share.  And we all know how much I like to make lists (and number them), so this is how it's is going to go.

1.  I'm sitting in business law class.  Normally, I'd pay attention.  But our professor is telling the same stories he's told for the last twenty years and I'm over it today. Maybe if I had some food in my stomach I'd be more prepared for his droning today, but frankly I'd rather blog.

2.  I've rediscovered yoga.  I really wish I had more time for it, but it was actually one of my favorite unemployment activities.  But now I can just go to classes at the gym either before (sunrise yoga is amazing!) or after work.  And I'm not your typical crunchy granola hippy-chic, but I love a good earthy yoga instructor. Sometimes ours even sings; I dig. I've learned how to do shoulder stands and all kinds of fun poses.  It's not the cardio I still try to fit in two to three times a week, but it has the same calming effects as a long beach run in a shorter period of time. 

3.  Speaking of being a crunchy granola hippy-chic, I just invested in a few reusable grocery bags.  I ordered them online (on sale, of course), paid shipping and handling, and possibly even showed them to half my coworkers when they were delivered to the office.  I've used them at Target, carried them around in my purse and told my friends about them. Clearly, the sunny California disposition is going straight to my head. 

4.  Have we already discussed that I pierced my nose? Well, I did. Like five months ago.  I've wanted to have a little diamond stud in my nose since I was eighteen.  So a decade later I had a few strong drinks, went to an amazing little piercing parlor in Palm Springs and had a tiny little piece of titanium put in there.  It didn't hurt and frankly, I absolutely adore it.  It's sexy, rebellious and super feminine, all at the same time.  I've had mixed reviews from the boys, but I really think they all secretly find it attractive.  I obviously think it's awesome!

5.  Last March I bought a new camera.  It's a fancy digital SLR and I've taken literally thousands of pictures with it since then.  But this very well might be my last summer in LA and I want a new toy.  Maybe a Fuji Instamax? Or a Diana F+ lomo?  I can't decide; I should probably just learn how to really manipulate and play with the one I have. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Hamster Time

I'm taking a commercial real estate boot camp that takes up six hours of my weekend for four weeks.  I'm taking my regularly scheduled two classes during the week, and on top of everything else I'm taking a six week strategy course that requires an incredible amount of team work, analysis, and writing. 

So yes, I feel like a hamster on a metaphorical wheel.  I continue to go out with my friends on the weekends, make lunch and dinner plans, and work a full-time job that has become increasingly demanding.  And I'm just grateful I'm not training for a half marathon right now.

The downside to my usual over-scheduled life is that sometimes the things I like to do (the very things that keeps me sane) go by the wayside.  On a good week, I run twice and go to yoga once or twice.  This week I slept through sunrise yoga, had to work through my gym routine and have to be at school so early both days this weekend I can't possibly make it for a morning beach run. 

Now I'm not asking for your pity.  I did this to myself.  And the hope is that I'll reap the rewards when all is said and done.  I just clearly don't know my own limits.  The more I take on, the more invincible and powerful I feel.  But I feel equally overwhelmed and powerless when it seems as though I'm losing a grip on what needs to get done.  Heaven forbid my proclivity for taking on too much diminish the quality of my output; then maybe I'd have to rethink my general life philosophy. 

I'd really love to be blogging more.  And connecting more.  And looking for investment banking/commercial real estate jobs.  And figuring out what I'm going to do next.  And fretting about the big decisions I need to make in the next six months.  But if I can just get through February, I might just have a shot at getting it together. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Rhythm of (My) Life

Yes, I come up with the titles for my blog posts before I sit down to write them.  Yes, they take me days.  Yes, I have a bunch of half-written posts that will never see the light of day.  This was meant to be a blog about the struggles and joys of a twenty-something who works full-time and is getting her MBA.  It has turned into my journal.  If you're still reading, I thank you. If not, I wrote this mostly for myself anyhow. 

Now, back to what's been going on. 


Ok, I take that back.  Not quite nothing, but after a relaxing month off I'm finally back to the rhythm of my everyday life.  And it feels good.  For now.  This week I spent approximately 16 hours in class and 40 at the office.  And four in my car.  I also had brunch with a friend, went grocery shopping, did homework, ran, went to yoga and slept.  I promise you, there's not much time for anything else. 

It's nearly 11pm (bedtime anyone?) and I'm at a complete loss as to where the evening went.  I left work at a VERY decent hour (5pm is the earliest anyone should be allowed to leave a full time office job, even when most of the brokers are partying it up in Madrid and leaving me alone), ran two errands, picked up dinner, returned a few emails and then scarfed down a salad in front of my DVR in between a quick phone call to Mom and an hour-and-a-half long phone call with a group member and our tutor.  There are still dishes on the rack that are clean but haven't been put away, dress pants that haven't been ironed for the week, a lunch that hasn't been packed, half a chapter of Entrepreneurial Finance that hasn't been read and a pile of clothes that haven't been folded.  But here I am, writing a blog post instead of editing the first part of a business proposal or developing the models for our business simulation class.  Girlfriend needs an outlet sometimes. 

Round and round and round she goes.  Where she'll stop...nobody knows!!!

Sometimes I feel like a wind-up toy.  I have no idea how anyone does this with a significant other or children... or heaven forbid both.  This weekend was basically the calm before the storm.  The last weekend until March that I was able spend late evenings and lazy days with a glass of wine in hand and good friends in tow.  The end of January into February brings intense studying and writing sessions, weekend days spent almost entirely on campus and lots of "to do" lists. 

For some reason, I've always felt like I could do anything I wanted to.  Like the hours in the day were not a limiting condition of my success or happiness.  Not until today was I ever forced to rethink that approach to life.  I am currently taking three classes, start an extracurricular commercial real estate (four week!) seminar in two weeks, and am contemplating spending 16 hours this weekend on campus learning about private equity and M&A modeling instead of with a friend who is in town between her stints as a nanny in Sweden and a farmer in Australia. 

And frankly, I like both my sleep and my sanity.  I can't decide if I should keep barreling forward with reckless abandon (hey, I've been successful thus far with my proclivity for over scheduling.  And it's not like I'm training for another half marathon at the moment), or take a step back in order to preserve what's left of my inner peace.  I mean, there's a lot I can't NOT do.  I must take three classes until the beginning of March.  I must write business plans, read textbooks, work, blog, and shower.  I even have to take that commercial real estate seminar because I know it will be good for me, despite its "time suck" factor. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Obligatory New Year Post

This blog post is obligatory in that we get to write about resolutions, plans, thoughts and reflections once a year.  It's like the holy grail of blog posting; a free pass to tell you exactly how I feel.  

I haven't blogged in a few weeks because I shut off my laptop and traveled two thousand miles to the blustery Midwest.  I didn't look at my bank account balance, I didn't check my emails (well I have a Blackberry, so I kinda did), I ate tiramisu, cookies and popcorn for breakfast and tried my very very best to just relax. I tried to not have plans, to go with the flow, to not worry about relationships, school, running or anything else that haunts my daily thoughts. 

And I feel good.  I feel like a week and a half away from my routine gave me space to be calm.  The massive amounts of alcohol, sledding with little ones, a spectacular day with my mother on Michigan Avenue and quality time with old friends and new family didn't hurt either.  Going "home", luckily, has been more of a respite for me than it ever was.  Being away for the better part of a decade has given me much needed perspective and appreciation of what I have and what I came from.  My independence has empowered me and while it is often scary, it one of the most important things I've ever achieved.

Most years I feel like a broken record with my resolutions.  More whole (real, fresh) foods.  Less Diet Coke, more running.  Fall in love, be free.  Go to the gym.  And while most people want to be less in the new year (weigh less, consume less), this year I vow to be more.  More me.  To give more, to see more, to breathe more, to sleep more, to find more peace.  To love (without cynicism and fear) and travel more. 

Now that's a pretty tall order.  And it definitely includes seven more months of my MBA, a full-time job, a set of incredible friends, that spectacular gym membership and lots of salads.  But hopefully it also includes a little yoga, maybe some meditation, good restaurants, a museum or two, and lots of determination.  By the end of 2011, I will have a very fancy (and expensive) degree, a new job and maybe even a new city.  I'm excited, scared, nervous and thrilled about all of the things I am lucky enough to experience in the next twelve months.  Bring it on!!!