Wednesday, February 26, 2014

It Must Be Nice

Today I quit my gym.

I do this every year when it starts to warm up and running outside doesn't make me want break down into a sobbing mess. I did it early this year, because in 2 weeks I am moving to Paris until the end of April, and when I get back it should be spring in Pittsburgh.

(If we're still experiencing polar vortexes in April, I am convincing the EU to grant me a visa and am not coming back.)

Anyway, the gym manager of course asked me why I was ending my membership, and I told him about Paris, and how I have a job that allows me to work from where I want, so I was taking advantage of that.

"Must be nice," he replied. He said this twice in our brief conversation actually.

To which I smiled and said, "It is. I'm really excited."

Because it is nice. In fact, it is thrilling. I can't quite believe that this is my life right now, because this kind of thing - picking up and moving to Paris for funsies - is something I thought about, and read about, but didn't think would actually happen to me.

Much of my life now consists of things that for a while I didn't think would happen to me.

And it didn't just happen. I didn't just wake up one morning with a job that required travel and therefor gave me airline mileage points so that I could accrue a free flight to France. I didn't suddenly have a job structured in a way with colleagues who trust me enough for me to leave the continent for 5 weeks and still operate business as usual. I didn't suddenly have a job I find invigorating and fulfilling and that challenges me.

All of this took time and effort and sacrifice and the trust and support of a lot of people. And it could all go away very quickly.

It is worth it though. So worth it. Building a life you really want is worth every moment of fear and stress. It is worth every breakdown, every panic attack, every time you question 'what did I get myself into?'

Things like moving to Paris, or landing your dream job, or running 150 miles in the desert don't just happen. The people who do those things rarely just get lucky and find themselves in the midst of that kind of situation. Those experiences are hard to get to. So hard, that they seem impossible until it's happening. So hard, that even when you are experiencing so much joy from doing that impossible thing, there will still be fear and doubt and uncertainty.

If you want it though, it's worth it. Or at least worth what you learn in the process of trying.

Life is too short for "must be nice"'s.

Do the work. Make the time. Save the money. Experience what must be nice.

Monday, February 24, 2014


I am not a good dancer. 

And after years of never feeling more self-conscious than when on the dance floor, I have reached a more adult stage of life where I don’t care, because dancing isn’t about how you look (unless dancing is your job, in which case, look good), dancing is about having fun. And I am not about to let my inner critic stop me from having fun.

That didn't keep me from being extremely nervous before my first SWAG class last fall however. SWAG, stands for Sweating With A Goal, and is basically an hour of pretending to be a back-up dancer in a dance studio in Bloomfield. Not only had it been ages since I had attempted to follow any kind of choreographed dance, but I can’t tell you the last time I tried such a thing in front of floor to ceiling mirrors and a large group of strangers.

Still, my friends raved about it – and I needed to break up the monotony of running with something, so I finally forced myself to go. I was pretty awful. I bumped into the people next to me lunging left instead of right. I had to stop and watch and try to jump back in every song. I avoided glimpsing my reflection moving stiffly and awkwardly. I had so much fun.

SWAG has quickly become a weekly tradition that I look forward to. I wouldn’t say I’ve improved much, except that some of the routines have become more familiar, and I don’t bump into other people as often. So on Monday nights, I trek over to Bloomfield and spend an hour bending-and-snapping and looking ridiculous, but having a blast doing it.

Usually we like things we're good at.

But sometimes it’s real good to just do something you’re bad at.