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Poughkeepsie, NY - Fall escapes

Poughkeepsie, NY – Fall escapes

I started this blog two years ago, about three months after graduation from an MA program in New York City (I trained to be a historian of art and design). After two trial posts, I gave up: “I have nothing to write about,” of course. I would like to say that I moved away, or traveled, or took part in an alternative lifestyle experiment, but – no – I’ve been right here, same as before. In that time I was learning, outside the classroom, even more intently than in any of my graduate seminars. Here are ten biggest things I’ve realized:

  1. You are never done studying, unless you want to become outdated and irrelevant in no timeAfter six years of university study, after two undergraduate majors and a minor, and then after a Masters degree, I thought I would be prepared to not return to a classroom for a long while. I envisioned waking up every morning and coming to an office to do a job which I absolutely loved, with coworkers I adored, and then at closing time going on in the pursuit of further delights. Alas, in this bright projection was left out the correction for reality. Immediately after being hired for my first job, I began to see all the gaps in the skills I possessed. At first reluctant (to the point where I refused to pick up a book for a couple solid months, claiming a newfound “allergy” to reading), I was back in a college classroom within the year, and learning online, too, on sites such as http://www.lynda.com/, https://www.udemy.com/, and https://www.coursera.org/.
  2. You are in charge of your own career: you won’t be promoted or assigned challenging projects until you ask for it (and show you’re ready)You are at the helm of your own ship. Of course, we all want to be recognized for our talents by management, then handed a big raise and a new title. But, that just does not always happen, especially in slower-growth industries hit hard by the “digital revolution,” such as the one where I found myself. I liked my job, I loved my coworkers, but there was just no room for me to go after a while, except out (and I was intent on not staying). And so I did. Instead of counting on something that might take longer to come about than I was willing to wait, I took matters into my own hands and transferred to another, newly opened, position that was better aligned with my on-the-job ambition and personal interests. Then, I did not expect great projects to be just handed to me: I knew I had to show I can handle it all and to assuage the fears of nervous management before more substantial project could fall into my lap.
  3. Become your own best friend: love, cherish, and delight in your own companyChances are, whether you planned on it or not, you will need to spend time with no one else to keep you company. You should not feel miserable if you do have to, but rather reinvigorated by the thought of doing exactly as you please, without having to answer to anyone. In freedom there is loneliness, and in being alone you learn to be free, to be brave, and to feel the ground beneath your feet.
  4. You can make as many friends as you are willing to meet, and with whom you’re willing to build a relationshipYou can’t expect friends to come to you you. You have to work it like it’s first day of class at a new school – over and over and over. Same goes for building your network of colleagues. Know yourself and what you can offer, be generous (for like begets like), but know you limit and set boundaries early on for a successful relationship. Great friendships are an investment, and like any investment, they take effort and time to grow.
  5. You are responsible for your own emotions, moods, and reactionsWhile someone else may have said something hurtful, insensitive, or worse, it is your choice for how to react to those words. In the case where one does not mean to be offensive, but has inadvertently said or done something that has deeply injured another, s/he may or may not realize the gravity of what’s been done. It’s up to the offended party to notify the offender of the crime, and to explain the implications, which should elicit an apology. Later on, it is up to the offended party to decide how s/he will dwell and stew, whether there is a possibility of forgiveness or, perhaps, whether that relationship should be discontinued altogether.
  6. Do not be afraid to be single; be afraid of being with someone who is not right for youI have been single for a while – by choice. I dated someone entirely incompatible back in the day (it’s another story for “why”), and I have learned a lot about what I do not want in a relationship. Subsequently, I have gone on many dates with all kinds of people, yet none really struck a cord. Because I feel very good about being with myself as I am, I am reluctant to give up any part of my life for someone who’s not a good fit. It’s only fair to him, and fair to me.
  7. Do not be afraid to commit to people who are good to you, and who stick aroundReward those who are kind and good to you with being kind and patient to them. Sometimes that’s more difficult to achieve than you’d like: stress, misaligned ambitions, misunderstanding all get in the way. If it becomes too much, and you cannot treat someone with the respect they deserve, step aside for  a while and resume the relationship when you’ve got what’s been bothering you out of your system.
  8. You owe it to yourself to sleep plenty, eat well, and exercise regularlyI am guilty of never making it a priority to get the sleep my body needs on a regular basis (i.e. every night). Coffee doesn’t help: sometimes I am struggling to stay awake at two in the afternoon after a double-shot espresso. Just let your body rest: sleep. Then nourish your body with healthy, simple foods, and let it delight in it’s own strength and endurance at the gym, during yoga, or any other sport. Be mindful: don’t push yourself beyond your limits, do not get injured.
  9. You owe it to yourself to dress well, in stylish, comfortable, and quality clothesNice clothes are expensive. But nice clothes of quality (natural fiber) fabric, that flatter the figure, and are suitable to the occasion do wonders for one’s confidence and the others’ perception. Just do it. Don’t splurge, don’t sacrifice physical comfort and your savings account, use common sense, and never allow yourself to get shabby.
  10. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”That’s from Beckett’s Worstward Ho (1983), and it is pretty much my life mantra. Try and inevitably fail (such is the plight of those with high expectations), wallow in the aftermath. But not for long. Then again, get up, stand up, and show up. It’s worth it! The alternative is apathy  and boredom drowned in the conditional past tense.

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Ah, yes. I love walking, and in New York that is the easiest method of transportation. Here’s to Lexington Avenue, a grand ribbon to walk:

 

On skinny old
lexington avenue
i speed up
to pass this man
so i can slow down
i take
great pleasure
in the exact size
of my steps
— Robert Hershon

Welcome!

I’m going to be keeping this blog to document my perceptions of my daily environment, and of what I choose to include in that environment.

For those who know me well, and those who are new acquaintances, you might have an idea of what to expect within this site. I, for one, expect the unexpected, and thus welcome your suggestions for topics to explore and to write about, especially if that can be accomplished within the confines of New York City, where I currently reside.

Please keep in mind, that what I write is my expressed opinion at the moment of publication. It is subject to change, and is in no way to be held against me. Please, let’s be civil and discuss differences in perception. Constructive criticism is always appreciated.

Thank You!