I’m 27 years old, almost 28, and I’ve kept journals - extremely detailed, hardback journals written in deep black felt tip pen, in cursive - since I was 20. Only in the last year or so have I dropped off - I couldn’t really say why. I’m starting to bore myself? Anyway, now that I’m visiting home for Thanksgiving, hanging with my books and old junk in my adolescent bedroom, sleeping on a foldout love seat for the weekend (my mattress was given to a cousin), I’ve had plenty of time to re-read them. Wow.
Sometimes the past is the most annoying, disgusting thing, but other times, it teaches you something huge. Re-reading volume 1 (April-Sept. 2007) was totally worth it.
10:55 pm • 30 November 2013 • 2 notes
Stop blaming New York
Ok. You know how you’ll be at a party or whatever, and you’re talking to people for the first time and making friends or networking. They’re like, “blah blah blah, I make my own soda on a soda streamer” and then “What do you do?” is always a question that occurs later on. And it’s a hard question, because not all of us are really proud of what we do, and we don’t like talking about it in detail because sometimes, we don’t have something called “a dream job” and part of us feels ashamed to talk about what we do, because we thought we’d be doing something else, or we feel better than our jobs, and we don’t want someone to judge us based on what we do.
This used to be a stressful moment for me in the past, answering this question. I think I literally avoided social situations so I could avoid talking about my job, that’s how embarrassed I felt about it. But now it’s changed. I get really excited to answer this question because now I can say, “I’m a copywriter….and I run a blog called Sunday Routine” and then I can talk about that, the blog that I run. And it’s the blog, not my job, that ends up connecting me to others! It’s my creative work that I do on the side, that makes me feel like I’m doing something I really love for myself, that makes people interested in me, and it earns me friends.
Wow. Awkward conversation: averted.
So here is the lesson: make yourself. Fuck. Your fucking job in New York isn’t everything.
It sucks when people are sitting around complaining about their job all the time, like it’s their job’s fault that they’re not happy people. Some people are actually happy to have that job, whatever job you’re complaining about, because it pays the bills, so that they can enjoy their life the rest of the time in the ways that matter to them.
If you have work, be thankful. You are not entitled to have that job. No one owes you a job! That job is not yours to just throw around and shit on!
Make meaning in your life. Use the time that you normally waste to make meaning. Think positively. So many people have so much less money than you, are in terrible health, etc. And they still love New York.
Ok, back up.
I don’t remember the last time I did a blog post. But it’s been a minute.
Today I wanted to write because I’ve been thinking about culture. I think a lot of people in New York run on ego, way too much of the time. This is truly exhausting me. It’s like, every day people just want more and more and they don’t want to have to do much for it, and they don’t understand why they can’t just have this or that job, like someone owes it to them, or worse, LIKE IT WILL MAKE THEIR LIFE COMPLETE. OMG.
SO many people are obsessed with status.
I seriously think 99% of people who live and work in New York think like that – that the whole reason they are doing something is because they think it makes them successful in other peoples’ eyes.
I do not begrudge people for having dreams, or passions, mind you. But I do roll my eyes when it’s obvious a person has put their entire self worth into what they do for money. I have personally been SO MUCH HAPPIER, just generally EXCITED ABOUT LIFE when I’ve stopped thinking about my job as the definitive factor, the guiding principle in my life. When I’ve stopped being like YES MY JOB IS WHO I AM! Everything has been better: my love life, my social life, what I create in my free time, the things I now have time to do that I couldn’t make time for before because I was so busy worrying about work, about ‘success.’
I do not accept, anymore, being part of that group of people who, at work, want to complain.
It don’t make no damn sense to be here, constantly bash being here, constantly begrudge the fact that dreams did not match reality once moving here, and yet refuse to leave! It’s like if Ernest Hemingway decided to stop drinking in the middle of The Moveable Feast. What kind of story would that be?
If you’re going to be here, you have to learn to adapt. Don’t blame New York for the world not giving you what you thought you needed to be happy. Don’t blame New York for not giving you 85,000 a year to be a fashion writer, or an actor, or a successful business person. Chances are, the world is trying to tell you, whatever you thought you needed so badly in order to feel happy, it’s not what you needed after all.
8:44 pm • 21 November 2013 • 6 notes
If you want to get any peace in New York City you’ve got to plan ahead. Before 7:30 am, you can reasonably expect to walk out of your apartment, down to the water, and not encounter more than 10 people along the way, most of them with dogs. There are trucks, big trucks, at that hour, but you can learn which streets to walk down to avoid them. It’s worth trying, because at that hour of the morning, it can feel, for a brief time, like you are not in the city. On the weekends, the time block for peace and quiet is a little more flexible - it’s not until around 9, sometimes 10, that the streets fill up with hungry, hungover, brunch-goers and tourists making a general calamity of the streets. Before that, you can still walk around and experience the delicious pleasure of minimal human interaction.
Today I left the apartment a little too late - 7:40 - to experience any semblance of that misanthropic serenity. It wasn’t too bad - once I got past the Williamsburg bridge entrance, and got closer to the water, it got quiet again. I watched an old lady slowly walk up to the sidewalk from her below street level front door, and throw a huge pile of bird feed across the street, which a million pigeons flocked to. I strolled up River Street, which is always quiet because it’s short, and ugly, and lined with bottles of beer filled with urine, towards the East River Ferry dock, but once I got past Metropolitan, the chaos overwhelmed me. Condos! Condos, everywhere. Construction, a thousand feet in the air - SO LOUD! And then, around the corner from those condos, at 8:00, swarms of well-dressed people running to the water to catch their boat. Where are they going? Always rush, rush, rush.
Life in New York isn’t like this - taking long, unrestricted walks in the morning with a cup of coffee, sitting on a bench and watching the current of the river lap at the rocky banks, meandering back home right before 9 am just in time to shower, change clothes, and sit at my desk with a fresh cup of coffee to write in my blog. That isn’t life. That isn’t how you survive here. Not a chance.
There’s so much distraction here. All opportunities seem like good opportunities because they’re happening in New York. You have to distance yourself from that in order to see things clearly. You have to take walks and look at the city from the Williamsburg piers, and you have to feel it in your bones if this is where you belong. I always say, if something feels like it’s missing, it probably is.
9:30 am • 18 October 2013 • 2 notes
I really miss the freelance life. I’m sitting at my desk in front of an open window with my first cup of coffee, and I’m wearing my robe. It’s 9:10 and I’m starting my work for the day in peace and quiet. No subways to jostle onto, no huge packs of people to dodge on my way to the office building, and then the elevator ride to the 15th floor, or the walk up the 4 stories - it all takes so much TIME, when the work I’m trying to do gets done the best when things are just like this. Me and the computer, in a robe, with some coffee.
9:06 am • 17 October 2013 • 1 note
Things I Love About Being 27
- I don’t need to justify my choices anymore
- I enjoy drinking less - it takes two awful days to recover from a night of gin and tonic - such a waste of a weekend
- I got the side hustle pretty much down
- I understand the value of getting a professional to cut my hair
- I don’t “force myself” to do things I don’t believe in or care about
- I trust my gut
- I know how to dress myself
- I know exactly what to look for in a friend, a boyfriend, and a boss
- I can cook
- I prioritize my friends - they’re too important not to
- I prioritize my family even more
This list is worth writing for two reasons. First, it reminds me of the things that are really different about me from even one year ago. Second, it’s proof that it takes almost three decades to become a real person.
4:51 am • 15 October 2013 • 2 notes
"Having to produce something every day forced me not to get hung up on understanding all the details of how something worked."
I read this sentence today in a thing and liked it. it’s one of those ideas that doesn’t really jive at first-because of course you should understand how things work before doing them, right!? But no. You shouldn’t.
Producing something every day teaches you the super valuable lesson of “doing.” When you stop thinking about the way something works, you get shit done, and it ends up being way better than what you would have produced had you wasted tons of time thinking about it first, and worrying about doing it right.
I like the idea of forcing yourself to produce something every day as a way of getting to the “next level” of what it means to produce that thing. Like, once you know how to make ice cream, you can try different flavors. You can add all kinds of craziness to the bowl. Once you learn to pen a well-written sentence, just imagine all the things you can start saying with all those well-written sentences that are just flowing out of you nonstop. You’re not thinking about it so much, it’s just happening. Because you don’t care how it works. You’re figuring that out AS you’re doing it.
Which brings me to life. Man I wasted so much time and money in grad school.
10:55 am • 9 October 2013 • 3 notes
Writing is hard. That’s the theme at my house this month, since my boyfriend committed to writing one blog post a day for 100 days, thanks to him reading some guy’s blog post who set out on the same mission. It partly annoys me because while Brian thinks it’s fun to commit yourself to something for 100 days it just reminds me of how lazy I am. Instead of blogging or writing any fiction at all, my habit is to sit around and talk about my story ideas and pretend-wonder how my writing has gotten so much worse over the years.
Brian has never written much by way of blog posts, articles, or journals, and as he adds new sentences he’s confronted with the same dread I feel when reading back over stuff I’ve already written: that you’ve put your words out there for others to judge and criticize, and probably (or in my case definitely) written something stupid. This is the easiest way to shoot yourself in the foot because no matter how frequently you write - or do anything- you will occasionally a) make no sense b) add no value, and c) waste yours or someone else’s time. It’s so not the point.
I’m really proud of Brian. He committed to something that scares him, which makes him seem absurdly more attractive, but it’s also made me want to get my ass in gear; to really give the whole “commit to writing” thing a go. Technically I do write every day as part of my job, about mindless shit that I don’t care about (Beyonce, harem pants, long distance relationships). But the writing I do requires the evergreen voice and cliches of women’s lifestyle publications, and only on occasion have I really thought hard about how to articulate something, because it required thought to write about. Brian is making me want to spend more time remembering and getting better at the artful construction of a thought, because I remember the way artfully constructing my thoughts used to make me feel. It helped me figure shit out.
What do I want to work out, exactly, that would make it helpful to be able to write well? I’ve been asking myself that question since I read Jack Cheng’s Sunday Dispatch this morning, which not only added value, was written compellingly, but then asked me a hard question: “What are you struggling with the most in your life right now?”
What a fucking hard question, right? I mean, or an easy question, because i have plenty of answers. I’m struggling with the realization that I’m not living authentically. I’m struggling most with the feeling that my life is happening around me; that I’m not making active choices in who I am and what my world looks like. Those are awful, huge struggles, at least to my mind. There are things working against me in this struggle that make it seem like this is not my fault. But that isn’t the deal. The things happening to us are always our fault. It’s just that you have to decide, when you have a struggle like mine, when you’re going to stop putting up with it. Just like with writing. You have to decide, quickly and without a lot of thought, when you’re going to “just get better,” and then do it. Sit down and start writing your hundred blog posts goddamnit. That’s it.
10:25 pm • 7 October 2013 • 2 notes
So Over New York: I’m 27. I have $1000 in savings. I have no retirement. I just quit my...
I’m 27. I have $1000 in savings. I have no retirement. I just quit my job.
It wasn’t crazy or rage-filled, it actually made me feel kind of sad. Obviously a different kind of sad than getting fired, but still bad. The way you feel when you break up with someone, I think. Actually, scratch that….
8:55 pm • 2 October 2013 • 3 notes
On Cary Tennis’ “Not Writing Makes Me Happy” Column
There was a weirdly alluring advice-seeker in Cary Tennis’s column for Salon this morning. This lady was like, “hey, I thought writing novels was the only way my life would be worthwhile, and then I got this great job that made me stop giving a shit about writing novels. Ahhh! What do I do?!”
At first, this was too annoying to even make fun of. But then I liked it. It made me go, wow, some people have their self worth all wrapped up in the wrong things. And then it made me be like wait, are there any writers who don’t feel that writing books is an accolade of a successful career, and by extension, life?
When I think about people who are just becoming novelists today, the ones I do know, I think, have actually decided that writing books is how they are going to make something out of their life. They don’t care about having children, or raising families, they just want to produce good books. There are others who could take it or leave it, as long as they get to write other things in their free time, like a blog about their travels. I probably fall somewhere in between. Honestly, living my life and not writing a book would seem like a kind of failure, but I look forward to having other things I care about doing - equally or more.
7:50 pm • 6 August 2013 • 1 note