Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Responsibility and Personal Growth

In March, I was at my favorite coffee shop when my computer crashed.

Now, last winter was not exactly my best season. Winters are hard in Pittsburgh, I was broke, I was stressed, and I took this fairly common technology hick-up as a very personal affront from the universe.

My laptop died, and I started crying. In the coffee shop. In front of people.

Because, I had work to do and needed a computer to do it. We are a new company, it's not like we have extra laptops to use if one crashes - we all rely on our personal laptops. I didn't have extra money to spend on computer repairs. And, perhaps the most inexcusable thing of all is that I had nothing backed up - meaning 4 years of my digital life may have just disappeared.

Most of my Thread work was backed up in Google docs and email. But my personal stuff; photos, and music, and the journal I keep to save all of the stories I don't want to share publicly - gone.

Jenna was with me, and told me to pack up my stuff, took me to lunch, then dropped me off at the Apple store. Where, it was determined that my hard drive was ok, the repair would be a minimal charge, and I would have a working computer again in 24 hours. I bought an external hard drive on the spot, and sat there for 2 hours while they backed up everything.

Sometimes we do live and learn.

So yesterday at 4:30 pm, when my laptop crashed on me 14 hours before I was going to be on a flight to San Francisco for a week, I wasn't even phased.

I made an appointment at the genius bar and planned out a worst-case-contigency-plan, which involved buying an ipad in case they couldn't fix the problem that night so that I could get work done from San Francisco. Not only was I now a responsible adult with her laptop backed up, I was a responsible adult with an emergency fund. And I know, I know, emergency funds shouldn't really be spent on ipads, but if that's the solution that was necessary, I was ready for it.

I didn't have to buy an ipad. They rushed the fix so I had a working machine again in 2 hours. I've found the Apple Geniuses to be incredibly accommodating people, and wish that more customer-service interactions involved them.

6 months and everything about my response to the same situation had changed.

And obviously, this whole story is nothing but a first world problem. But I also feel it's symbolic of my response to my life in the past 6 months, which is to say that the stuff causing me to burst into tears last March are such fixable and manageable problems now. That's nice to know. Even if it also means there are a whole host of new seemingly personal affronts from the universe to deal with.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Marathons, Montreal, and Marriage

The past 2 weeks, since returning to Pittsburgh after my most recent trip to Haiti have been kind of a blur. A blur in which I haven't spent much time at home or sleeping, but have been having a lot of fun.


So we'll start with Montreal. Back in January I made the resolve to make running in cool places a focus for 2013, and signed up for the Montreal Marathon. Because I had never been there, because it was a fall race, because I love Poutine and everything French and so how could I not love this city?

In a power of persuasion I didn't know I was capable of, I somehow convinced the owners of Franktuary to sign up with me. None of them had completed a half or full marathon before. Somehow, despite them running a restaurant, and my failing at any real training program due to working at said restaurant and traveling back and forth to Haiti once a month, we decided it was still a good idea to go and try, and run this race and see what happens. The majority of us, myself included, having decided that the half was enough of a challenge, planned to stop at the 21 k mark.

It was cold and rainy and we started the race on the bridge, which felt like being at home, and was miserable. Our coral finally got to cross the start line, and I took off, quickly losing my friends in the crowd, determined to get myself warm and to end this race as soon as possible.  It took a couple of miles, but then I hit my stride, and a fast one (for me) at that, which carried me all the way through till mile 11 when I had to walk a couple of blocks due to a charlie-horse, and then ran the rest of the way home.  I did not complete the full marathon as planned, but I did manage a PR on the half, shaving a full 7 minutes of my best half marathon time, and making a sub-2 hour marathon seem less like a distant dream and more like a real possibility if I put some focus on it.

Everyone finished the race - Tim finished the full - and that night we all hobbled out to a great restaurant where we ate our weight in moules et frites, and toasted to running farther and faster than we ever had.

Starting line bridge, new PR, Prosecco.

Montreal was a great town, and I was reminded of how much I love exploring a new city. Megan and I did some thrifting at some great vintage stores on Saint-Laurent boulevard, we ate poutine every day, and ordered pastries in french fresh from the boulangerie in the morning.  


Last weekend, one of my closest friends and former poly-house roommates got married, which is one of the most grown-up sentences I've ever typed on this blog.  Kurt is one of the most genuine, kind, and fun people I have the privilege to know and to celebrate the fact that he's chosen to spend his life with a woman who is as kind and genuine and fun was a joy.

Everything was beautiful, the bride was gorgeous, the food was delicious, and we all camped out after the reception. Then, woke the next morning to waffles and mimosas in the barn, which quite frankly is my dream come true.  We also had a roommate reunion, and it's so good to see and spend time with that group - my first chosen family - and see us grow up and into ourselves and hear about the adventures everyone is on. Also, I had the best dates ever. Chris and Alyssa, let's just go to all the weddings together.

The mother-son butterfly kisses dance and the best wedding dates ever.

The highlight though, was that 6 years ago, while living together, we made the bet that the first in the group to get married would have to dance to butterfly kisses at their wedding for the mother/son or father/daughter dance. I didn't really expect that I'd be the first married out of this group, but can I just tell you what a relief it is to know it's not me? IT'S A HUGE RELIEF! Kurt - a true gentleman - lived up to the bet, and it was the best mother/son dance I've ever seen.

It's been a couple weeks of feeling pretty lucky to know some pretty cool people.

Monday, September 2, 2013


In the past year, as I experienced living with people with whom I was not previously good friends, I have realized just how important my living space is to me and my emotional well-being. When I first moved out of the loft I shared with Precisely, I was renting a room in a house owned by a couple I met on the internet. It was cheap, it was flexible, it was in a good neighborhood, and I figured it would be fine.

It was fine, but it also made me more unhappy than I realized or wanted to give it credit for. I missed having a space that felt like mine. I really missed entertaining and having people over. It was isolating and lonely.

Luckily, it was also temporary and didn't last for very long, and I like my current apartment very much. So much in fact, that I signed on for a full year lease, and then decided that some upgrades need to start happening because if I'm going to be staying here, I want to like it.

As much as I love traveling, as cool as I am with living out of a suitcase and sleeping in strange beds, and as much as I get a thrill from adding to my frequent flyer account, I also really like having a home base. And more importantly, for that home base to be a place I am happy to come back to. So, I've started nesting again, and it's really nice.

I started with the kitchen. My Mom, who is the best, came out for the weekend to help me, and she got everything started while I worked, and kept painting while I ran out to send emails or make phone calls,  took me out to dinner, and showed up with multiple bottles of wine. Thank you, Mom. You made what would have otherwise been a tedious long weekend for me really fun and easy. Because here's the thing about painting. I always think it's going to be a breeze, and that it will go quickly and I'll enjoy it, and then I start and within 10 minutes I'm completely over the whole thing, but I've only covered half of one wall with one coat of paint, and have to keep myself motivated for hours until it's finished and I vow to never paint again.

I digress - back to the kitchen. It turned out so well. I'm very happy with it. And having a kitchen you like is so important, isn't it? Here are some perfunctory before and after pictures.

Before: ugh. Boring white walls, fake wood cabinets making the whole room seem much darker than it actually is, there is nothing inspiring about this room.

After: So much brighter! So much better. To quote Emily Henderson, "I'm gonna cook so hard in this kitchen!"

Before: Those cabinets were the bane of my existence.

After: Paint makes everything better.

Before: Expansive, maddening, never ending white.

After: Color and artwork (courtesy of my talented best friend). Now it's a room I actually want to spend time in.

We also left the cupboards open on either side of the sink, mostly so that I can show off my collection of stemware (a girl's gotta have priorities), and I love them. I love these cupboards so much.

My mother also disapproved of my former compost collection, which was happening in an old tupperware, so we bought a new one. Problem was, we could only find jars without lids, which doesn't work, but a piece of scrap fabric, an old hair tye, and some chalk board paint later - it's the cutest compost jar ever.

I still have some plans for this room (like getting rid of the table and putting in a tall butcher block counter along the wall instead) - but it's good to have goals. Life is boring when nothing needs to be improved on. In the meantime, come over. I'll make you dinner.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shifting Identities

It took completing two full marathons before I felt comfortable calling myself a runner. Which, is completely ridiculous since I think that anyone who runs can claim that title for themselves if they want to.

Once I embraced it though, the title of runner, I embraced it whole heartedly. And not only did I identify as a runner, but a marathon runner, and this identification was more important to my internal narrative than just calling myself a runner.

I'm registered for the Montreal marathon on September 22. That's just 8 weeks from now. And I've had to be honest with myself this week and admit that I haven't been training for it.  I started to, at the beginning of June, and it was fine. But then, I started traveling to Haiti more frequently, which I love, but which is more often than not a place where I can't run. I didn't take into account how disruptive working in the service industry is to a schedule - especially a training schedule. I just can't work until 2 am and then get up 4 or 5 hours later to run for a couple of hours before the day gets too hot.  Marathon training takes a toll on every aspect of your life for a couple of months, and I haven't been giving it that space.

I've still been running, but not training, and haven't done anything longer than 12 miles in the past 2 months.  On Thursday, the first day I was able to have time for a run since getting back from a week in Haiti, I took off determined to really step up my game, throw myself into it for the next 2 months, and be ready for Montreal. I made it 3 minutes before I had to stop and walk. Exhaustion from the trip finally caught up with me, and it wasn't just an "I'm bored" mental block, I was too physically tired to run that day. So I walked. I walked on Friday too. This morning actually, was the first run I've had in 2 weeks. And it was good, but it was only 3 miles. Not the 15 it should have been.

Running is wonderful because it's an incredibly personal exercise. Training for a marathon even more so, because you discover parts of yourself and your mind that aren't part of your day to day but that only come up when you are pushing yourself into the boundaries of your physical capabilities. It's fascinating and rare and a little addictive, which I think is one of the reasons us distance runners stick with it.

Usually having a bad run, or being this far off from my training schedule would have me feeling extremely guilty. Because that's the other thing about running. It's personal, so messing it up and doing it poorly makes you feel bad as a person. But, when I'm honest with myself, I'm not training poorly because I'm lazy or a bad person. I'm training poorly because training for a marathon isn't a top priority in my life right now.

My schedule and focus has shifted a lot since I last trained for and ran 26.2 miles, and that level of running is just not as important to me as other things going on right now. Because really, we make time for what matters most to us, no matter how hectic or crazy or unpredictable our day to day life becomes.

And that's the scariest part of all of this. Admitting that this marathon is not as high a priority for me as it used to be. Because it means that the former title of "marathon runner" that played such an important role in my self-identity, has changed. And it means that my internal narrative needs to change with it. Which, is a good thing because people are complex and constantly evolving and if my priorities were exactly the same as they were 2 years ago then that would be boring.

I'm still going to Montreal. We'll see how these next 2 months go, and if I am ready, I'll run to finish. If not, then I'll run a half-marathon in a beautiful city, with some good people, and eat poutine, and that will be fun too. Because running is still important, even if running that kind of distance has become less so.

Friday, June 28, 2013


There is a scene in one of my favorite movies, The Philadelphia Story, where Katherine Hepburn's character, Tracy, is planning her wedding and her mother asks, "but what will we do with all these people if it rains?"

"Oh, it won't rain, Tracy won't stand for it." answers Tracy's younger sister.

Which is generally how I feel about the weather, especially when planning an event. On Wednesday, we threw a birthday party to celebrate Thread's 2nd anniversary of incorporation. It took place on a roof patio of a restaurant a few blocks from our office. It was supposed to thunderstorm. It didn't. I wouldn't stand for it.

Two years, and it's still thrilling and exciting and even though aspects of this crazy job are beginning to feel normal, there is nothing else on earth I would rather be spending my time doing.

Plus - I get to spend most of my time with these guys...

Y'all are the best co-workers, travel-companions, emergency-contacts, chosen-family a girl could ask for.

Happy Birthday, Thread!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Life Lately...

is so sweet.

And I'd like to take just a second to acknowledge that.  Because it is so easy to get wrapped up in nonsense that isn't real problems. And because I usually take the viewpoint of wanting to live like a shark - constantly moving or else I'll die.

And sure, I don't have a lot of money. I don't have a car. My hair needs a trim, my bed isn't made, I could/should probably weigh 5 lbs less, I'm single, and I spend a good deal of time worrying that I'm frivolously wasting my defining decade and that I'll wake up in my early 30's horrified at the life I've built for myself.

But today after I wrapped up a day of work at a job I love, I went for a run, and then I walked home and read a magazine on my front porch while it poured rain, and drank a glass of wine. And I was happy.

Saturday, April 20, 2013


I will land on my feet this time,
knowing at least two languages and who
my friends are. I will dress for the 
occasion, and my hair shall be
whatever color I please.
- From Crossroads by Joyce Sutphen

On the beach at Malibu with Lisa. One of the awesome parts of my birthday trip to LA. 

25 was kind of a crazy year. Real fun, but a little crazy.  Here's hoping that 26 is just as fun, and maybe just a little more stable.

Thanks to everyone who celebrated with me over this past week. Y'all are what makes life so sweet.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Consuming - What I've learned about buying from a year of being broke.

"Pittsburgh Millionaires" was the term my friends and I used for ourselves when we graduated from college and had our first salaried jobs. I was not making ridiculous amounts of money by any stretch, but I was paid decently and coming from supporting myself as a student on 3 part time jobs in an affordable city. It's amazing how quickly you acclimate to making more than twice as much money as you did the year before.

I knew I had a cell phone bill, but didn't know (or care) how much it was because I could pay for it. I went out to eat 5 nights out of the week, because why not, I worked a lot and cooking is hard, and then I'd throw out food that went bad because I didn't eat it. I bought furniture and clothes to fill up the expanded living space I moved into. I did some fiscally responsible things like saving for retirement, paying off my credit card every month, and not purchasing a car, but looking back now, I want to know what did I do with all that money?

Some of it was really well spent. Plane tickets to Israel, and Italy and Haiti. Running shoes and marathon entries. Tickets for me and my sister to go the opera, some fantastic meals with good friends, and bottles of wine that got shared over conversations I cherish.

A lot of it was wasted on lattes I barely tasted but drank out of habit, cheap shoes from Payless or Target that I wore 3 times and hurt my feet so much I never wore them again or that fell apart within a few months, take out food that other people cooked for me even though I was perfectly capable of preparing food I had already purchased myself, late night ice cream runs, and cheap clothes I bought just because they were on sale.

Then I quit my job to start a business, and re-entered the world of supporting myself through part-time work.

Suddenly, I knew down to the penny how much that cell phone bill cost. Groceries were bought and planned and used completely. I can count on one hand the number of new clothing items I've purchased this year. Lattes became an extravagant treat. I knew exactly where the little money I had was going, and while there were things I missed, I was surprised by how much of what I cut out I didn't miss at all.

Being broke sucks. Feeling stressed about money, and adjusting your social life because you can't afford to go out with people, or do things you love to do is not fun. Luckily, things at Thread are going well, and we've even started to compensate ourselves a little. We're not at full salaries yet, and I'm not giving up the part time jobs, but I can have some disposable income again, which is so liberating. This time I am determined to make sure I'm aware of how I spend it.

The more I learn about supply chains and companies and their products, the more I become aware of just what I support when I purchase stuff. High quality, whether it's things, food, or experiences cost more. Unfortunately, we've become such a consumption based culture that we feel as though we have the right to cheap, fast, vast quantities of products all the time. We don't. Not without huge expense to our environment and/or other people.

I look at the vintage clothing my grandmothers have given me and I think, I don't have anything of my own that will likely last long enough for me to give to granddaughters some day. The more I learn about food policy and the industrial practices and medications and ingredients we ingest, the more I believe in the importance of knowing what you're eating, and where it comes from. The more I dig into supply chains of the products I buy for so little money, the more I realize I am directly supporting practices I don't believe in or want to support at all. The more I learn about landfills and the amount of money and resources being buried underground as we throw things away is terrifying. The more I've been forced to give up, the more I am aware of what I really want and miss being able to buy, as opposed to consuming out of convenience or habit.

So, moving forward I am trying to change. To focus on quality and not quantity. To focus on experience over stuff. I will budget for and pay what I have previously considered an outrageous amount of money for a pair of shoes or a beautiful piece of clothing, because it will be something that I love, and that is designed and made well, and that will not fall apart after one season, and doesn't endanger people's lives in it's production. I will pay 3 times more for the grass-fed beef, because it's worth it and because I do not need to eat meat everyday. I will not buy stuff just because it's on sale or impulsively because I can. I will put that money towards a plane ticket to see people I love, or to run a new marathon, or something else awesome that years from now I will appreciate having been part of my life experience.

Consumers hold a huge amount of power. Your purchases, donations, and the way you spend your money can influence products and policy. Make sure what you're spending it on is worth it.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Sleep Over

"Will you come to our sleep-over?" She asked me excitedly.

"Yes!" I replied without hesitation.

The sleep-over was organized by Megan, one of the owners of the restaurant I work at. Her husband was out of town on business for the week, and she invited the Franktuary ladies over for a good old-fashioned girls-only slumber party.

"Why are you having it on a Wednesday?" one of the cooks asked us, "that's the middle of the week."

"Because," I responded, "We are grown-ups. And when you're a grown-up, if you want to have a slumber party on a Wednesday, you can."

This is why adult-hood is awesome.

We planned on make-overs, truth or dare, manicures, and hair crimping, you know, typical slumber-party stuff. We ended up drinking wine, and eating junk food, and talking until late at night when we all got sleepy and went to bed. So, it was pretty tame by slumber party standards.

It's such a childish event, but it was really fun.

It's easy to experience isolation and loneliness in adulthood, especially before you start a family of your own. And even though we all have our own apartments, with our own comfortable beds, there was something comforting about showing up with a sleeping bag and pjs knowing you wouldn't be going home until the morning.

And just like when we were kids, we lay in the dark waiting to fall asleep, giggling. Even though we're grown women.

Am I tired today? Yea.

But, as Megan wrote in the email inviting us all over - Tiredness is just the price you pay for fun times sometimes.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Personal Life

"So when are you at your other job? During the day?" asked a co-worker of mine at the restaurant.

"During the day, sometimes at night, sometimes on the weekends," I replied. Which is true. No one starts a business to cut back on the hours they work each week.  Luckily, at Thread we have incredible flexibility as to when we work, so I feel like it all balances out.

"Do you have a personal life?" he asked.

You mean, do I have time to date anyone? I thought in my head, but didn't say out loud, instead offering an off-handed comment about personal lives being over-rated.

And maybe that's not what he was implying by "personal life," maybe he was just curious if I did anything other than work, but either way, this idea around a "personal life" and it being something removed and separated from what I do on a daily basis irks me.

I work a lot because I love it. And this job, this work, has allowed me expand and change my perspective of the world. It's made me aware of issues and problems I didn't know existed. It's expanded my social circles and introduced me to interesting new people. It's made me complete tasks, and solve problems, and develop skills I didn't think I was capable of having or doing.  It's made me afraid and vulnerable and has drawn me closer to people than I thought was possible. It's allowed me to make connections around the world, to seek out new knowledge, and to ask for help almost constantly. It's made me grow, as a professional for sure, but also as a person. I am a better person for having taken this job. If that's not personal than what is?

I think that starting a venture has to be one of the most personal things you can do in life.

So while entrepreneurs might be the only people in the world who willingly quit a 40 hour week to take on an 80+ hour work week, I don't think it's at all at the expense of having a "personal life."

Sometimes, we even find time to date.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


The Sartorialist, in a post last week wrote, "I've said it before and I'll say it again, a great unique hairstyle/cut is one of the best things a cash-strapped young lady or gentlemen can invest in."

And I thought, "I am a cash-strapped young lady! And I am sick of long hair, and it is time for a change."

So yesterday, I changed it up.

It's the shortest hair I've ever had, and I love it. Even in a photo taken with my laptop camera.

Thank you Beth, for working your magic once again.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Year, New Place, New Goals

I moved this past weekend, which was possibly the least painful move I've ever done. Still, there's nothing like navigating icy steps, arms full of a bow and arrow, wine glasses, and a hula hoop to make you take stock of your life.

Anyways, I'm still getting settled, but feel good about this new apartment - with more closet space than I know what to do with (that's a lie, I finally have room for all my clothes), good lighting, and a big front porch with a swing.

It's nice starting off the new year, with a new place to live.  And even though I did goal setting back at the end of December, I've clarified a bit more what I want out of this year, and thus will spend the next 11 months focusing on the following:

1. Working really hard. I love to work. I have for years. It makes me feel productive, it gives me a structure to my schedule, it allows me to be my best self. I also now, have the fortune of having a job I love, one that scares me so much I feel nauseous sometimes, so I know I'm doing something right. I also know if there's one thing I learned in the past year, it's that it's always less scary on the other side. Also, this job I love so dearly is helping to start a business in a developing country... so, there's lots to do. I am not worried about work-life balance (which I think is a myth anyways) right now. Right now, I want to work my butt off.

2. Running in cool places. After completing 3 marathons in the city of brotherly love, I have decided to expand my racing horizons. I am not a very fast runner, so a race is a great way to see a city. It's also a great reason to go somewhere I've never been yet. That being said, I've registered for the Montreal Marathon in September, and am trying to talk all the runners I know into coming with me. So far, I've got 1 other commitment, but it's early yet.  Chris and I are also looking at a wine country half marathon in May, and I'll be on the lookout for some fun races throughout the summer.

3. Making new friends and meaningful connections. Ok, this one is kind of always a focus, because really, what else matters more than human connection? But for the past couple of weeks, I have been saying yes to last minute brunches, clothing swaps, 6 am yoga classes, late night best-friend real-talks, gallery crawls, and hanging out for a beer after work with new friends. And it's so much better than staying home watching Netflix. Spending time alone is good. Giving yourself time for reflection, and relaxation is important. Spending time in situations where you're meeting new people, and making those new connections is really important too.

4. Looking cute while doing it. One of the few things I have control over in my life right now is my physical appearance. And, now that I have all this closet space, I should have no trouble seeing all of my clothes. I really like clothing, and fashion, and have every intention of reflecting that on a daily basis. You don't have to wait for some special occasion to look awesome. Look great on a Wednesday.

So there you have it. 2012 was all about ripping my life apart and 2013 is all about settling back into it. Work, running, relationships, fashion. This is what's important.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Conversations with Coworkers

While working on a proposal...

Me: "I'm making some of this up."
Coworker: "That's ok. That's what we do."

At the restaurant, as the dinner rush ended and things slowed down...

Coworker: "When we die, we are dead."
Me: ::thinking this was the start of an existential conversation, pause for a second before answering:: "well, yes."
Coworker: ::shrugs:: and goes to refill water, as I realize the "dead" she was referring to was about the restaurant, and not our impending mortality.

While at a networking event...

Coworker: ::after being asked where his favorite place in the world is to run answers:: "Haiti." ::then turns to me and whispers:: "I've actually haven't gone for a run in Haiti yet."
Me: "That's ok, I have."
Coworker: "I know, I just borrowed your life experience."
Me: "It's cool, we share most everything else."

While enjoying shift-beers after a dinner shift. Discussing break ups with a coworker who more recently than me returned to single status...

Coworker: "So, are you like looking to date now?"
Me: ::sigh:: "I mean, I'm not miserable anymore, but the thought of a first date just seems, well, completely exhausting. I might stay in my post-break up cocoon a little longer."
Coworker: ::raises glass:: "Well, here's to not being miserable!"
Me: ::laughs:: "Absolutely. Cheers to not crying on the bathroom floor!"
(It's all about celebrating small victories.)

While at happy hour...

Me: "I had to fill out something that asked for a local emergency contact person, and I listed you, just so you know. I know you'd be great in an emergency, and take care of it, and get in touch with all the right people."
Coworker: "Yea I would! I'd answer my phone, and be there. You were right to list me."
Me: "Now it's official, we've crossed that line into family."

Having good jobs is great, having good people to work with is even better. Pretty grateful for the people I get to spend most of my time around.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slinging Hotdogs

Since I decided to become a garbage woman in Haiti, little about my professional life surprises me anymore. However, when I returned to the world of restaurant service after 5 years in order to make some cash so that I can continue pursuing garbage, I was surprised to rediscover that I love waitressing.

I'm working at the new Franktuary location on Butler street in Lawrenceville, and it is a blast. Here's why:

There is a severe lack of crazy people working there. This is extremely rare for restaurants. Everyone is nice and respectful and helpful and fun. Also, they're interesting. On the rare occasions we find ourselves with time to chat I've found myself discussing community development in Pittsburgh, waste management projects in Ghana, and neurology of caterpillars in metamorphosis. Fascinating.

It's fast-paced, and doesn't follow you home. I know myself well enough to know that staying busy keeps me organized, productive, and happy. Too much unstructured free time, and I'll spend too much time alone in my own head, and get mopey. This is perfect, because its busy and distracting work that doesn't take away mental energy from Thread. When my shift is done, I leave, that's it.

It's Pittsburgh. So I see people I know every time I work. Which, can be both a blessing and a curse, but mostly is fun to get to see people I haven't for a while.

It's cash. I manage my finances better when I operate in cash. I budget better, save more, something about the physicality of it makes it work better for me. I know there are a thousand budgeting tools and apps out there, but I like dealing in cash.

It's a work out. Standing and running around for hours and carrying trays. If I don't get a run in on a day I work, I don't have to feel too bad about it, because I'm not spending that time sitting around doing desk work.

There are aspects of starting a business that are undesirable. I'm grateful that this solution to needing a part time job isn't one of them.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Pursuit of Happiness

In the past couple of years there has been a lot of philosophizing of happiness, as evidenced by the hundreds of books, blog posts, and articles written on how to find, maintain, and exude happiness.

Happiness is all fine and good, but apparently not what we should be spending our time chasing. I read a fascinating article this morning on how pursuing happiness, actually leads to unhappiness, and how instead it is a meaningful and interesting life we should be in pursuit of. I was so captivated, that I kept reading quotes from it out-loud, distracting my co-workers, because I needed to talk about it with someone right away, which ended up leading a great inter-office discussion.

Like this one, "To the European, it is a characteristic of the American culture that, again and again, one is commanded and ordered to 'be happy'. But happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to 'be happy.'"

How many times have you found yourself being told to 'be happy'? Probably lots. But that shouldn't be the goal. We should be encouraging each other to go find a meaningful reason to live.

Statistically speaking, our American culture is miserable. We're one of the most depressed, anxious, medicated, and unhealthy countries on the planet. We're afraid of everything, and measure our success in material consumption, which is occurring at a rate that will literally be the end of the world.

The problem is that happiness in and of itself is easy. And boring.

Meaning is hard. And stressful. And requires you to give more than you take. The result of a life lived with meaning however, is a sense of calm and moments of euphoria that make happiness pale in comparison.

Maybe this is more of a semantics game than anything else. I don't think that happiness is a four-letter word, or that it shouldn't factor into how you design your life, but there is obviously danger in making it the end goal, and not a by-product of the genuine search for a meaning you can dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to.

Being happy isn't good enough. Your life deserves something bigger.