Archive for the ‘Self-Reflection’ Category

Describe your life at the time of your 30th birthday…

10-year-old E:

At the age of 30, I’ll be all grown up. I’ll have a husband and two kids, a boy and a girl (the girl will be named Samantha), and like ten cats. I will work as a veterinarian — or maybe a pediatrician — and we’ll have a house in New York City and take the subway everywhere. I will also take ballet lessons and watch a lot of Broadway shows.

I will have watched Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” concert without my mom fast-forwarding through the bad parts. No one will have ever found out about that homework page I didn’t finish in first grade and threw out instead of getting my mom to sign it. I’ll have my own Prodigy account and Aly and I will send each other hundreds of emails each month and IM everyday. And I hope my husband can cook, because I can’t.

15-year-old E:

Marriage? No way! Kids? Hell no! Everything society expects me to do, I’m gonna do the opposite.

18-year-old E:

My accounting professor says some accounting majors start at $80,000 right out of college! $80,000!!! Who needs a husband when I can make a ton of money working on my own. I’m gonna have the coolest apartment in New York City and I’ll drive a baby blue Mustang convertible. I know it’s hard to park in NYC, but I’ll be making so much that I’ll just pay for my own spot.

My English teacher keeps saying I’m gonna end up an English teacher or writer. Pssssh! They don’t make any money. Just wait and see.

I definitely won’t have any kids. They are such a pain in the ass. Constantly crying and moaning for things.

21-year-old E:

If I work my arse off, I can make partner in ten years.

Oh, and I met someone; I think he could be the one. [blush] He is so cute with an adorable smirk and that just got out of bed hairstyle that really takes him 20 minutes to perfect. Oh, and he’s British. He sounds just like Hugh Grant. Actually he kind looks and acts like him too. They both have narrow faces, stretchy skin and are kind of awkward.

Where would we live? I don’t know. I would love to live in London, but he loves NY. Maybe well have a house in both places. Did I tell you how cute he is? Let me show you a photo!

23-year-old E:

If I am still working as an auditor when I am 30, please shoot me.

Now, go away it’s busy season and I need to add a 2,546th column to my spreadsheet and decide between a kosher burger and a bologna sandwich for dinner.

I’m serious. Bugger off!

25-year-old E:

Published. The next Sophie Kinsella. No, no! Bill Bryson. If I work as a travel writer I could get paid to travel. How cool would that be? I could give up having an apt, and just live out of my backpack. I’d be one with the earth, bartering the clothes I sew on long train rides to pass the time for food and travel tours. I could find a land I adore and build roots there as an animal activist or offer accounting advice for third-world communities.

Whatever I do, I WILL publish a book by the time I am 30. I will HATE myself if I dont.

The boy? Eh, things with the boy aren’t too great right now.

29-year-old E:

Where will I be when I’m 30?

Well, I am a writer, but not yet a published author. However, I don’t hate myself. I work in NYC but have lost the desire to leave my backyard in the suburbs. One cat, not ten. No idea how to sew clothes, or barter for that matter; I can’t even use eBay.

I run half marathon(s), can put my legs behind my head in yoga class and ride black diamond trails on my snowboard. I drove across the US and walked across England. I haven’t been to a dance class in years, I rarely indulge in broadway shows and I’ve jumped out of a plane 25 times. I’ve learned to cook — and bake — and I work in an industry that would make 10-year-old-“I only eat foods that come covered in ketchup or tomato sauce” E wrinkle her nose. I’m obsessed with cheese. I’ve see Madonna in concert four times — but have still not watched her “Like a Virgin” tour.

I’ve fallen in love, and back out again. I’ve tested my morals, and been deceived and trampled on. I fight for what I want but I never ignore my intuition. I have surrounded myself with supportive girlfriends who constantly inspire me to achieve more. My family has stood by throughout 29 years of irrational decisions and picked me up when Ive fallen. My friends and family tolerate and love me; I will forever feel indebted to them. I’m single. I’m fulfilled. But I still wonder about my Hugh Grant.

I put way too much pressure on myself but love myself too much to change. I am a control freak who gave up control; everything I’ve experienced in my life was at some point unexpected. And I am absolutely loving the ride.

Oh, and I DO send Aly hundreds of emails a month, and we iMessage almost everyday.

Happy 30th Birthday to me! In true tradition, my girls honored my big day with a few of our favorite things… cheese, cured meats, pesto, bruschetta, crackers, lime tostitos, cava, wine, vodka, Reese PB cupcakes and a trip to my favorite restaurant for mojitos and empanadas. Couldn’t have been more perfect… and the celebration will continue next month when we all head to CANCUUUUUN!

I am excited for this new decade and feel confident that there are many experiences and lessons waiting to help me grow.

Happy Birthday to me!


K and I pre pig-out!


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This story brought such tears to my eyes…

I Run… Because I Can: Countdown to the New York City Marathon by Emily Faherty at the Huffington Post.


Ok, you done? You can continue reading this now…

This article hit a nerve. You’ll see my comment at the bottom — limited to the Huff Post’s 250 word count — but here’s the long version.

When I was in high school I had an English teacher, Mr. Flannery. It was senior year when I was supposed to be mentally checked out, yet he his class was one of the most engaging classes I participated in during my high school career. He covered interesting material and he did it all with passion. And he was fun!!

He was the type of teacher who would give sarcastic, mocking responses to stupid questions or make fun of himself when he made an error. He was also the type of teacher who tried to connect with his students — not in the “I can be hip and cool like you” way, but on a personal level. He told us stories — stories about his homeland, Ireland, stories about his family and travels and stories about his bladder cancer. Yeah, he was fighting the big C. He had done the chemo thing, etc, putting him in remission, or as close to remission as he was going to ever get, from what I remember.

I remembered him talking about his trips to the Dr and the support he got at home from his family. I remember fighting back tears. Yet, his stories were always told in a tone that said “Don’t be sad guys; I’m not!” He would drink bottle after bottle of water, jetting out spontaneously to the bathroom. Some days we would watch movies; those were his “I’m not up for teaching” days.

What I was too immature, or emotionally closed off, to appreciate at the time, was how he never let cancer get in the way of him doing what he loved to do — teach! It didn’t stop him from trying to get to know each and every one of us. It didn’t discourage him from encouraging us to pursue our dreams — and more so, our talents.

I did well in his class, and participated — which is not common for seniors. He asked me one day, “What are you majoring in next year?”


“Nah, you are going to be an English major.”

Laughing. “Nah, I want to make money Mr Flannery.”

“Yeah, ok. You’ll see. You are meant to study English,” he said with a bottle of water in hand and his signature chuckle.

This went on for months, till I graduated and went on to study accounting in college.

It wasn’t until I got an analytical paper back from my freshman English composition professor stating “You should consider majoring in English” that I reconsidered Mr. Flannery’s persistent insight. I went back to my high school during break to show him. He was out sick, battling cancer — with a smile I am sure. I left the paper in his mailbox with a note, “I thought you’d appreciate this!”

The next time I went back he was out sick, again — this time permanently. He had retired to battle his battle on his own schedule. A decision, I know was not easy. Teaching us pain-in-the-asses was his passion.

I don’t know how long it was after, but I heard from a teacher-friend that he had passed away.

I cried.

Years later, I cried again. I had quit accounting and was in grad school studying to become a writer. He had been right; I was meant to study English. And I wanted him to know. The only man I’ve ever wanted to say “you are right” to — and I couldn’t. Oh, the irony!

Teachers are supposed to recognize and encourage a student’s talents. But he took is a step further and recognized not only what I was good at, but what motivated me. He recognized my need for fulfillment and where I would find that. Basically, he knew what I needed to be happy… way before I had any bloody clue what that was. To me, that’s more than a teacher. I only wish I had gotten to know him as more than just my teacher.

Now, reading this article, I have more tears in my eyes. Mr. Flannery didn’t have blood cancer, but he fought with the C-word… and he did it with an unfaltering positivity and acceptance. He is just one more reason, one more person, I am running this long-ass half-marathon. My run and the money I raise may not be able to help him, but it can help someone else’s Mr. Flannery.

I’m with Emily. I am running… well, because I can. And if you can, why not? Right?

Here’s to you Mr. Flannery!! Keep on smiling.

Oh, and Mr. Flannery, you were right. I was meant to study English.

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I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. It feels like a false start to something I should be, and like to think I am, striving for throughout the year.

With that said, when his January hit, I jotted down a few things I’d like to focus on improving in the coming months. Nothing I hadn’t been trying to “resolve” to do for while prior, but they weren’t getting done so why not jump on the bandwagon?

Yesterday I stumbled upon the list, which I had saved in my phone’s “Google Tasks” app (so millennial of me), and I was happy to say that I was able to “check as complete” three out of the four items.

Now, they may seem a bit vague so please consider that I am an overachiever and would not consider them completed if I did not feel I had done so 100+%.

1. Freelance more

Ok, so this is the one of the four I did not yet check off. However, while I have not been freelancing for financial compensation, I have embarked on a few of my own “career-oriented” projects and been getting involved in a few others. Want proof? Check out my food blog, BiteForBite.com — I just finished the layout last night so I’m super excited to hear what you think.

What has made this even more fun is that I created it with my gal friend in Cali, giving me a reason to email-harass her on a regular basis.

While I have contributed very little to this so far, I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce you to an online magazine a friend of mine founded for independent, go-getter women: MoxyMag.com. I’ll let you check it out to learn more, but she’s built a strong network of writers and worked around the clock to make it a success, and I look forward to contributing more in the coming months. You can check her out at www.melissabreau.com, and you can check out my long-time friend who joined Melissa’s team, at kimbonotkimmy.blogspot.com.

2. Exercise/Live Healthier

I know, not original, but if you had seen the state of my lifestyle — devouring late night take out and avoiding stairs at all costs for fear of hyperventilating — you’d have been disgusted. During the holidays I stocked up on Groupon, Living Social, Deal On, etc., coupons to yoga, pilates and even spin classes. And I am so proud to say that I’ve learned to handle a spin class — a previously impossible feat — and I am almost-officially hooked on hot yoga. Who knew? (photo: my Groupon collection)

In addition to my new-found love for extreme-sweating exercises, I’ve cut out caffeine, late night binging and switched back from beer to vodka (it’s more summery after all). I feel annoyingly optimistic and cheery, and have gotten accustomed to receiving weird looks from my fellow train passengers for bouncing around my seat to my iPod on the 750, as well as from my colleagues who are now used to me practicing my split leaps in the hallways.

3. Relax More

This, believe it or not, was/is the hardest. Relaxing is not something I succumb to easily. For me, it usually comes in the form of exhaustion after running myself thin on the above activities. However, without even really trying, I’ve found a sense of balance, and when I need to relax, unwind, veg… I do. I’ve worked my way through two seasons of The Tudors (TV is a huge form of mind-numbing relaxation for me) and been spending my weekend days wandering along the beach looking for bodies…. (JOKING!! Not funny Liz; it’s a horrible situation!)

4. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter / Young Authors Group

Yesterday I had me second training session to be a volunteer at Animal Haven, a nonprofit animal shelter for cats and dogs in Manhattan. After Max the smushpup left me for his new home, I miss my evening doggy walks and vowed to volunteer some of my time at a shelter. I love all things furry, and while no animal can compare to my Dora Dora Doll (that’s her nickname), it breaks my heart to see other animals without people love. Working in a shelter isn’t glamorous; there is a lot of cleaning up, but one lil look at the Brindle pup sleeping with his face smashed against the cage, or the three weeks-old kittens sleeping so entwined it was impossible to tell how many were there, and we (the volunteer group I was in) were all “Awwwing.” I can’t wait to get going with it. (photo: my Dora Dora Doll… because she’s the cutest kitty in the whole wide world)

As for the young authors group, some of you may know I applied for the Girls Write Now program last year and was, sadly, rejected. I had sought out another form of volunteer work related to my passion for writing, but decided I would hold off and reapply to Girls Write Now’s program next year.

On that note, cheers to a New Year, a new season and the resolutions we make all year long!

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I stumbled across a blog the other day that got me thinking: Off the Market and In The Moment. Its 25-year-old author took herself off the dating market for one whole year in order to live in the moment. Her reasons, and I quote, “1 – to break the detrimental relationship habit of trying too hard and subsequently losing myself, and 2-to take a step back so as to keep from looking back. Because when I started thinking about how much time I invest while dating someone, and then analyzing and re-analyzing (and re-analyzing) after the door to our future shuts, and THEN wondering when Cupid would look kindly on me again, I finally realized that I was missing my own moment…” “… I am a 25-year-old single living in one of the greatest cities in the world!”

When I first read this I noted “25 years old.” My internal cynical bitch thought “Umm, what do you expect to have found by 25, eh?” and “What else is there to do at that age other than live in the moment?” Then, my opposing Piscean fish spoke up reminding me to look at the situation from a less critical perspective and understand what she is doing. That’s when the phrase “analyzing and re-analyzing (and re-analyzing)” highlighted itself. That’s the best part of relationships, why would you pass that up? ha!

It is also the best part of break-ups. Yes!! There is a good side to break-ups: you are free to analyze that ‘son-of-a-bee-otches’ shortcomings, and if you are feeling mature, your own shortcomings. It sometimes takes a few days… weeks… months… to mature to that latter stage (usually the length of time directly reflects the significance of the relationship), but it’s the best part. Once you are done figuring out everything that was wrong with him, and in certain cases, diagnosing a possible mental disorder, you get to decide what the hell is wrong with you? After all, you dated him, did you not?

This is when we grow up, become better people, prepare ourselves for the next emotional overhaul, both because we had the courage to self-reflect and rip apart our faults and because we demanded ourselves to learn from them.

Dedicating a year of your life, and publicly documenting it, to getting to know yourself is pretty cool. I like this gal’s thought process. Thirty-something-year-olds may roll their eyes at her being 25, but no one but her can understand her experiences and where they have brought her. So much has changed for me since I was 25… in all aspects of life… and that has taught me not “I know so much more now,” but rather, “OMG, if the last 4 years taught me that much, what will the next 4 hold?” My brain hurts thinking about it.

High-five to living in the moment. A small part of me thought ‘maybe I should dedicate some time to focusing on me,’ then I remembered, ‘Wait! That’s all you do!’

Between spending time with my friends and family, exploring NYC restaurants and watering holes, snowboarding, yoga’ing and running to stay physically and mentally fit, working full-time+ and creating two blogs (plus this!), I’m not sure I have anymore time to dedicate to me. Apparently I’m too busy.

On a side note, read the articles Off Market Girl posted here. I happen to adore Tracy McMillan‘s book so I instinctually defend her, even if her post does kinda ask for criticism; Jessica Ravitz‘s rebuttal however screams anger, along with ranting every excuse in the book.

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Last week my girlfriend sent me an article by Rene Syler, journalist and editor of goodenoughmother.com, posted on the The Huffington Post. Syler had received a Happy Birthday Tweet asking her what she ‘would have told her 28-year-old self knowing what she knows now.’ See her response here: Happy Birthday to Me!

Partying hard for my 24th birthday at the Lizard Lounge in Nottingham, England

This year I turn 29, about the age of Syler’s young-recipient. Reading her letter points out to me how little I know and how much I have still to grow. At the same time, it reminds me how much I have learned. My life has not only evolved since I turned 18, but it has taken a number of unexpected hairpin turns. I decided to copy follow her lead and reflect on what I would have told myself.

Accounting is boring: Stop listening to your high school professors talk about how much money accountants make. He’s gonna win the lotto in a few years and, rumor has it, he quits his job. Find a career you’d still want to be a part of if you ever win the lotto. You’ll learn quickly that money isn’t your motivator.

Believe in your strength: Over the next few years you will be face with adversity that will at time feel crippling. You’ll feel weak, tired and ready to give up some days. This does not mean you are not strong; rather it means you are human. In ten years, you will have not only made it through, but you will have learned countless life-defining lessons — that is your strength. If you were weak, I wouldn’t be writing this.

Learn to listen: You invite and keep so many amazing people in your life. They all play a role, and a very important one at that. Cherish them, respect them, support them and listen to them. Everyone has something to teach you, and if you don’t stop and listen, you’re relationships will never grow.

Cut yourself some slack: You live a great life — wonderful family and friends; you find a career path you love and you live everyday to the fullest. When things aren’t 100% you focus on the positive and think, “Things aren’t so bad, it could be worse.” Allow yourself some self pity, occasionally — and react positively. Feeling down about an aspect of your life is the kind of motivation you need to further develop yourself in that area. Don’t feel bad about feeling bad.

Trust your intuition: Hindsight is 20/20 (but you don’t know what that means yet, and you’ll look up the word ‘hindsight’ a few more times before it sticks; it’s just one of those words). Over the years you’ll start to recognize an innate ability to understand situations and people without analyzing them, and you’ll get mad at yourself for not trusting your instincts in earlier situations. Don’t get mad. Part of intuition is letting it lead you through the good and the bad. Let the anger go and learn to listen and trust yourself. Everything happens for a reason.

Stop planning: After you graduate college you are going to tell your boyfriend that you plan on making partner in an accounting firm in XX years. Less than 6 months later you are going to apply to grad school. Two years after that you break up with said boy. Stop trying to plan, NOW! Just enjoy the ride. There is no much more to see when you aren’t focused on the road. (So cliche, but ehhhh.)

Slow down: Your to-do list is always going to be longer than most spoiled brats’ letters to Santa; the rush of work, projects and social events is what keeps you pumped. You live your life at the same speed you snowboard — fast. But when you do slow down, you take so much more in and learn a lot about yourself. Make a point to slow down and relax. Try really hard; you’ll still be struggling with it in ten years.

There are so many more things I want to say to you, but I am going to end with this one, possibly because its the most important:

Tell people how you feel: I don’t say (write) this with a dreary it-may-be-your-last-chance tone, I say it with a tearful smile. Knowing you have people in your life who care about you will bring more fulfillment than any trip, activity or amount of money. Knowing you are admired and cared for will bring you confidence. Knowing you are loved will increase your sense of self-worth. And knowing what people don’t like about you will keep you humble and striving. Give those you care about the same gift — tell them how you feel. It’s not easy for you and it’s going to be a long while before it gets easy, but keep trying, you’re worth it — and so are those you keep close.

Happy Birthday to Me! Thanks Rene Syler for offering such an inspiring column. I hope everyone takes the time to talk to themselves and give themselves a hand.

Oh, and one more thing Liz, write down everything… you’re going to need some good book fodder one day!

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