Category Archives: aging

#Goals, Accountability, and Shirley Temples

I’m back in San Francisco, and, after actually cleaning my apartment for the first time since I broke my foot two months ago, I am embarking on a personal spring cleaning exercise – TO CLEAN MY SOUL. Okay, so not my soul, per se, because I think that requires you to pay an indulgence to the Catholic Church. Or can you no longer do that because of the Reformation? What about Buddhism, can I pay money to cleanse my soul in Buddhism? Any other religions I should offend in this intro? No, all religions hate me already? Okay, cool, moving on.

In all seriousness, aside from the A-Z challenge, I got behind on some of my personal goals while I was laid up, so I’m putting them down here to keep me accountable. Congratulations, you are all now my life coaches. The position is unpaid and provides no benefits, but you do get my undying gratitude and occasional pictures of my manicures on Instagram:

Goal #1: Writing 

I’ve been working on a YA project for a while, but keep getting distracted. My goal is to now write minimum 2000 words a day on that project through the month of May. I’ll maybe get a word count widget going on this blog to keep myself ULTRA accountable. Yay!

Goal #2: Fitness

Before I hurt myself, I wanted to run a 5K this year. This is still my goal. I can’t officially start trying to run until this weekend, but I am going to walk minimum 10,000 steps per day until then and then start “training” (also known as jogging for a couple minutes each day until I can then jog for, like, 5 minutes without dying, and going from there). I CAN DO THIS! (Right? Can I?)

Goal #3: Career

June 1st is the anniversary of my leaving the Goog, and by this Fall I’m probably going to look into getting a full-time gig again as I continue to work on writing, because I like money 🙂 Seriously, though, I want to take one action a week to investigate what job(s) I might like to do full time come Fall. This week, I’m talking to a recruiter at a cool company on Thursday, so we’ll see how it goes!

Goal #4: Mental Health

I didn’t feel my best mentally this past week, partially because I got REALLY drunk on Saturday and it’s affected me for the past two days because clinical depression + wine = depressive episode. I’m in my thirties now, damn it, and I need to take better care of my brain. I talked to my therapist, and I’m going to engage of minimum 5 minutes of mindfulness meditation per day and also watch my social drinking. The drinking thing is especially annoying, because I really only drink socially once or twice a week, but when I do go out with friends I lose track of what I’m drinking quickly and then I’m screwed (this, to be clear, is my own fault, not my friends’!). Also, our overall culture has a super sick relationship with alcohol, THANKS SOCIETY. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ So I’m only going to have 2 drinks max when I go out, and if that means I have to drink a shit ton of shirley temples at the fancy restaurant then THAT’S WHAT I’M GONNA DO!

Okay, I have SHARED MY GOALS AND NOW YOU BETTER MAKE ME MEET THEM, INTERNET OR I WILL SEND THE BEYHIVE AFTER YOU AND YOUR GOOD HAIR!

If anyone has any personal goals to share in the comments, please do! I would love to return the favor with some encouragement and accountability 🙂

The Thirty-First Year of the Jackie

So, it turns out that–despite the existence of alcohol and chocolate–I have made it to my thirty-first birthday. A year ago today, I was in a sort-of-impressive-sounding corporate job with a four-hour round-trip daily commute and an email addiction. I was really depressed, and so, shortly after turning thirty, I took a leave of absence which ultimately led to me quitting my job. It was the scariest thing I have ever done in my life, with the possible exception of going into that super gross hot tub at Myrtle Beach during our senior trip in college (those flesh-eating viruses are NO JOKE).

Now, one year into this journey off the beaten high-achiever path that I’ve dutifully followed for most of my life, I’ve achieved a new milestone: being proud of myself on my birthday.

This may not sound like a big deal, but for me, it really is. Once I was legally able to drink, I stopped enjoying my birthday. Every January 5th brought on a contemplative funk during which I lamented my lack of achievement and progress during the previous year: “Some people my age are olympic medalists! Half my friends have graduate degrees! Look at that guy; he’s only twenty-three and he makes so much more money than I do! Look at that girl; she’s only twenty-five and she’s married with a baby!  What have I done? Look at how worthless I am!”

I once expressed this attitude to one of my coworkers at Google a few years back. She was a pretty cool chick and refreshingly honest, and she was baffled by my view of aging. She’d lost a close family member at a young age and birthdays inspired gratitude in her–she was always happy and relieved to make it another year. I remember nodding and chastising myself internally for not being grateful enough for my birthdays and for not having cancer or losing an arm to that Myrtle beach hot tub, and then going right back to dreading early January and berating myself.

This year, however, is different. When it comes to traditional measures of success, this year certainly hasn’t touched most of those that preceded it. I can’t say that I work at a fancy company. I can’t say my salary is XYZ bucks per week. I can’t talk about awards or kudos or performance scores at work, or drop the name of any executives I work with.

What I can say, however, and what I’m proud of, is that I’ve had the most new experiences in the past year of my life than in the previous eight put together. These experiences ranged from good to bad to everything in between, but they made me think (and blog) about myself and the world deeply, and in different ways than I have before.

I experienced the joy of realizing that I could write, and write well(ish), and write enough words and sentences and paragraphs to make a whole book-type document that people might want to read. I experienced the excitement of getting an agent, and the subsequent anxiety and boredom of submitting to publishers.

I experienced the love of my family, and the grief of saying goodbye to a family member, albeit a furry one. I also experienced the excitement of welcoming a new love into my life, though this created drama with my old love, which was iced coffee (sorry bae).

I experienced the stress and exhilaration of travel, from people-watching the crazy costume-clad nerds of San Diego Comic Con to getting knocked up by food in Florence and trudging through the rain in Paris in super ugly shoes and seeing Britney dance way worse than when I saw her on tour when I was sixteen.

I witnessed two amazing couples get married on opposite-ish sides of the country and cried my eyes out both times because I AM A SAP, OK?

I experienced breakdowns and bad nights, and discovered new coping mechanisms to pick myself up when I fall or when the world seems too much to handle.

In short, I experienced life, and I had the time to really take it in, as opposed to watching it all pass me by. And, for the first time since I was a little kid, I’m proud of myself for that fact alone. I’m proud of myself for trying to live well, and I’m grateful to all those people (both IRL and on this blog) who have come along on the journey with me this year.

So, here’s to the thirty-first year of the Jackie! May the thirty-second be just as interesting, and may you still be interested enough to tune in and read about it once in a while 🙂

Love,

The Birthday Girl

 

 

Announcement: I Am Now a Ghost

Prior to this past weekend I was a thirty-year-old Human Woman.  Over the weekend I died and became a ghost.  Behold a picture of me as I appear today:

BOO
BOO

Basically what happened is I went to a birthday party Saturday night and had many, many drinks.  I also danced for more than three consecutive minutes (I “Got Low” and “Jumped Around,” among other life errors), and topped it all off by going to sleep after 2 a.m.

This behavior, while apparently not a problem in my twenties, was sufficient, at age thirty, to kill me and transform me into a ghost.  A ghost with an aching right foot, perpetual exhaustion, a scratchy throat, and a neck with a severely reduced turning radius that is somehow exacerbated by sleep.  My new identity as a ghost was confirmed earlier today when a man almost walked into me on the sidewalk even though he clearly should have been able to see me coming.  Also, a few minutes afterwards a small child looked RIGHT AT ME with frightened eyes and gave me a wide berth.  Everyone knows that children are the only ones who can see ghosts, so I took this as final confirmation of my new plasma-tastic state.  I tried to reassure the child that I was a friendly ghost, like Casper, by giving her a huge grin, but this only seemed to frighten her more as she wailed and ran to catch up with her mother.  So I guess this means I’m not a friendly ghost and should start haunting the crap out of everyone who ever pissed me off before this weekend.  I’m compiling a list and am open to suggestions on this now (haunted) blog.  The first person on the list is currently Donald Trump.  TRY KEEPING THAT COMBOVER STRAIGHT WHILE YOU’RE SCREAMING IN TERROR AT MY GHOSTLY VISAGE, JACKASS!

Soooo…I guess my main message here is to avoid ghost-hood by just staying in and never drinking alcohol once you hit thirty, and also that if people could just all agree to haunt horrible politicians once they become ghosts our country would be a lot better off, policy-wise.

Boo, mofos.