Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Grown Ups

I was talking to a friend about being "grown up" yesterday and I haven't really been able to stop thinking about it. There's that point in your life when you have to start answering questions about what's expected of you and what it means to be an adult. Welcome to that place.

I'm "grown up" enough to know I'm at a place in my life where I have a pretty solid concept of who I am as a person, what I have to offer, an appreciation of where I've been and enough foresight to know where I'd like to go next. I don't know how I'm going to get there, but I can see, based off of what I've accomplished in the past, that I can and will arrive at either my dream or an adjacent dream not yet realized.
I'm "grown up" enough to know that having a baby or doing what is "expected of me" within a certain society does not, in fact, lead to some sort of required and age-appropriate level of happiness or maturity. I'm also "grown up" enough to know that not having those things does not make me less of an adult, less of an important participant in society or make me less-than those that do have/want those things right now.
I'm "grown up" enough to know people make a mistake in misinterpreting "having a good time" with "being adolescent in your maturity." Those are two different things. I still love to laugh until I choke, to drive around and sing, to run around the city like a banshee and to listen to dance music. However, I also have a job that supports me, the discipline to chase after what I want in life and the understanding that while there's nothing wrong with being almost 30 and liking Britney, I do not have to talk about her all the time, wear her shirts to bed or have a poster of her on my wall.
I think we have to look out for ourselves in this world and we have to guard our dreams and while that can be misinterpreted as selfishness, there's a difference between being singularly-minded on your goal and only thinking about yourself. The world doesn't look like it did 20 years ago. Our generation doesn't have to have kids in our twenties to be fulfilled. If anything, that's what our thirties are for. Even our forties. And so what if we don't have kids? We'll raise the best, appropriately-named, dogs anyone has ever known.
The other side of that coin is that I'm "grown up" enough to know that life is nothing but the people who are in it, and above all other things, that's what matters. I believe with all my heart that it's only when that concept and your dream align that you can truly be fulfilled.

In my opinion, the key to being "grown up" is the inner knowledge that what you are doing is exactly what you need to be doing in that moment to get to where you want to go next. That involves a generous amount of wisdom to understand and a generous amount of courage to follow through. To me, that's being a "grown up."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Kinda

I love when a show can surprise you still.
Tonight, I ended up at Fuerza Bruta, a show that's been around for quite some time actually but I'm just now getting around to experiencing it.
More than the stunts, the acrobatics and the effects, it was just cool to experience something different. With so many things competing for our attention, it's fun to experience something that's more than just sitting in a seat. It's sensory overload. Sometimes we need that just to clear out our minds and feel something.

 Kinda best buds.
 Kinda poetic.
 Kinda amazing.
 Kinda beautiful.
Kinda inspiring.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teamwork

When I was a kid, we would go to the video store almost every week and rent movies to watch. Long before the days of iTunes, Hulu, Kazaa or Red Box, we had to actually haul ourselves up to a store and go through walls of VHS tapes to find something to watch. 
I have always remembered this very specific special that I watched over and over and for a long time, I couldn't really place what it was. So often, we forget the context of things as we get older and remember only the shell of a memory. But as I've learned how to properly waste time on the internet, I stumbled on this special again and it brought me back to when I was seven years old.
All I remembered was that all my favorite cartoon characters were in the same movie. What I didn't understand was that this was an anti-drug campaign that aired simultaneously on all the major networks, thus the inclusion of so many competing company's animated stars.
This got me thinking about teamwork and the lack thereof today. The only time when we see teamwork on television is after some sort of terrible disaster and it's only then that the networks work together and the celebrities join forces. But what about other issues facing society? Do we only need teamwork when there's a natural disaster or terrorist attack? Why not work together at other times too?
The thing that I loved about this video was that all my favorites were there and I knew that was not normal. Perhaps that why I love a good film montage now or a group cover of a magazine. There's something awesome about seeing so many separate and seemingly competing entities together.
I like teamwork and in a time when our country is so utterly divided, it's a good reminder that working together is the only real way to make things happen. It's become so taxing watching the politics of our nation during the past few years. The polarized viewpoints of right and left, red and blue, this and that, don't seem to waver or budge at all. Even when they can't defend why they vote or believe the way they do, no one is budging. People have forgotten that working together is the only way anything will ever happen.
So perhaps we should learn more from Winnie the Pooh, Bugs Bunny and Alvin and the Chipmunks when it comes to working together. Rather, we should learn from the network executives (real people) that chose to work together to bring about change in young people. They are who have inspired me today.

Monday, February 20, 2012

A week's worth of LIVING

 Valentine's Day treats. Yes. We ate that.

 Later that same day...

 Then of course, the leftover Valentine candy.

 At Sister Act.

 Best brunch in Manhattan.

 Street fairs and flea markets on the Upper West Side.

 Because all puppies need ostrich bones.
 Jurassic Park.

 Did you know that emu eggs are green? They are.

 "We'll be starting with apples..."

I'm fancy.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The junior high dance

No one wants to go back to middle school. Not a single person on the Earth, with the possible exception of Billy Gilman, no one wants to revisit that period of our lives. Nothing went right, nothing seemed fair, we hated everything about ourselves and consider those the "lost years" of our lives.
Tonight was like being in middle school again.
If I could use junior high terms to describe tonight: It was like going to the dance with your friends, they show up late, the prom king and queen break up right before their first dance, then the dance itself manages to be moderately fun until you realize you've been ditched by all your friends and you're standing alone wondering whether or not you should even go to the after-party. That was my night tonight. And it sucked.
I hate when you have such high hopes for something and it just collapses in front of you like a skyscraper in a Michael Bay movie. The building and all the people in it don't stand a chance.
So, just like in junior high, I went home and watched television. Luckily, much like in junior high, SNL was there to bail me out of my night.
I hated junior high and tonight, I hated it all over again.
Here's to graduating to tomorrow.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The vortex

Life and death. How often do we really think about the two together? I often find myself thinking about life, thinking about living to the fullest, thinking about the joys and occasional heartbreaks involved with life. But I can honestly say that I don't think about death on a daily basis. We don't like to think about death because it signifies an ending and it's rare that we like to think about endings. Sure, we see a bad play, we can't wait for it to be over or when we are in a season of our life that doesn't make sense or is incredibly difficult, we can't wait for that season to be over. But on the whole, we aren't a fan of endings.
But last night, a coworker in my office passed away and there's nothing like the death of someone you know to snap things into perspective. And it's a strange perspective I think.
I'll admit that I haven't had to deal with great deal of death in my lifetime thus far. I know that changes as we get older, but my reaction always feels the same. It's like I'm instantly sucked into this vortex of numbness. My mind doesn't really process it at that moment because in that vortex, there's nothing to process. There's nothing. 
I always thought that was rather strange, the absence of feeling. Why don't I burst into tears like some people? Why don't I have a vocal reaction like others? Rather, I fall incredibly silent and float around in the vortex for a bit. The only thing I can process in that moment is the music I choose to pipe into the vortex. Today, as I was piping my rather steady diet of gospel music in, one song seemed to echo louder than the rest. And what's funny about that is, it's a song that I find kinda silly. But the part that echoed loudest was:

We gotta do better than this 
'cause we only got One chance to make a difference  
We gotta do better than this
'cause we only got One life that we've been given
A little love, a little kindness  

A little light in this time of darkness 
It'll be what makes us different  
It'll be what makes us human

So while we all have to funnel out of the vortex at some point, it's okay to float for a bit. One of the greatest things about life is our ability to gauge feelings, whether that's the feeling of love, of comfort, of disappointment, of anger or of the lack-thereof. Without death, we'd have no perspective on life and for me, it's the time spent in the vortex that allows my focus and my perspective to gather together. We've only got one life and we have to make it count since we never know when it will be over.

Monday, February 6, 2012

First you take the mallow...

 
Roasting marshmallows is one of my favorite things on Earth and I don't really know why. I love it so much actually that a few years ago, we did that instead of a cake for my birthday. There is just something fun about setting sugar on fire and eating it.

 The fact that we can do that at a restaurant in Manhattan is just the icing on the cake. Granted, we pay handsomely to do something so simple - but in the heat of the moment, it's very fun. We didn't do the smores thing this time, but we did dip the mallow into the chocolate.

I do love good random friends. My bud Dom was here auditioning so we ran around the city and ate far too much.

 One of the reasons that New York is the best city in the world is the availability of anything. How about a night of your favorite Broadway performer singing music from Hair, Ben Folds and some acappella gospel? What about a medley of Beyonce songs complete with a rap cameo from Lin-Manuel Miranda from In The Heights? What if all that happened while looking out over the New York City skyline and Central Park? Flawless. This is why I moved to New York and why I don't plan on leaving.

Brunch on Sunday. There was something beautiful to me about this hotel set up. Retro enough to feel that way but modern enough to not feel dated. You may or may not be seeing this hotel show up in the magazine soon. Just saying.

I live in the greatest city on the planet, something I'm reminded of on a daily basis. It's humbling and exciting and scary and wonderful. But more than anything, it's a constant adventure, and that's the best part.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Doubt

Doubt.
I wrote a Masters paper on the differences/similarities/intersections between the film and the play. I actually passed John Patrick Shanley (the writer of both) on the street one day and I still wish I'd had the chance to tell him that I studied his work and wrote about it. So now is a regret about 'doubt.'
I think doubts are the thing I fear most in the world (besides giant squids and being buried alive). I feel like I'm a rather confident person. I'm a go-getter for sure. When I was in college, people would tell me that I always "walked with purpose." I kinda loved that. But every now and then, just like with everyone, doubts creep in.
Can I actually do this?
What if they retract away from me?
Am I too confident?
Am I not grateful enough?
What if I'm wrong?


I'll admit that so many of my doubts come with my goals for the magazine. I learned early on that if you don't aim high, you will never reach the goals you've set out for yourself and this year, I'm aiming higher than I've ever aimed before.
I'll share some insight with you: There's always one cover I'm looking forward to more than the others. It's not that I don't love the other concepts of fully-believe in the art that these other artists are creating, but there's always one that I find myself thinking about more than the others. Of course that's the one where I decide to aim higher than ever before on. So, what if things don't pan out? What if the artists are too occupied for my little magazine? What if they don't believe in my like I believe in them? It's a mess of doubts that I have to tackle in my mind.
But that's what we have to do right? We have to tackle the things that scare us.Except for giant squids. That's a no-go no matter what.