Having it ALL

Last week, I had the opportunity to go to NYC for work. As much as I’ve traveled, it was actually my first time in the city, so I played tourist and went to all the hot spots. It was a quick, but fun trip that reaffirmed I am not a city girl.

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While I was there, I met up with an old friend and frolicked around Chelsea checking out sites such as Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment from Sex & the City, the Friends apartment, and Diane Von Furstenberg’s place (I also got to meet her while I was there!).

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After cupcakes and coffee and a major catch up session (haven’t seen her in 10 years!), she made the comment that I needed to share my secrets with her because I seemed to have it all. This was mostly based on what she has seen me post on Facebook and Instagram over the years, and we all know that we only post our best on social media.

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I am also guilty of comparing my not-so-good days to what I see others posting on social media. Sometimes it makes me wish I didn’t have a full time job. Sometimes it makes me wish I could just hop on a plane and go to some far away place to explore. Often it makes me wish that I was the one who found puppies on the side of the road (where are these roads?? I have NEVER found a box of puppies!). But seriously, most of the time when we’re comparing ourselves to others, we’re not in our best spots. WE ARE ALL IN DIFFERENT PLACES. I am not in the same place as my cousin who is almost the same age as me. I’m not in the same place as my college roommate. I’m not in the same place as my best friend. I am not in the same place as the people I follow on Instagram. But sometimes we lose that…. especially when we see people doing things that we want to do or having things that we want or even see people achieving life milestones that we haven’t yet.

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I told this friend that we all feel that way at some point. There were times where I felt like everyone else had it together and I was kind of wading through. I got disheartened after being passed up for jobs. I got even more disheartened when I made it to the next level and then all of the jobs I wanted were in Boston. But each time, something came up and it happened to be just at the right time (but not exactly the time I wanted it to happen). Aside from jobs, I went through the whole wanting to be engaged/married thing, too. My husband and I lived together after four months. We shared a home, dogs, grocery bills… heck, we even rode to work together! It felt like we already WERE doing the married thing, but also, there’s so much freaking social pressure (can we stop that?). I felt like we SHOULD be in that place because people asked me/us all the time, we were of a certain age, all of our friends were doing it, and every weekend I’d see a new batch of rings in my newsfeed. And when he proposed, it was the right time. We are all on our own journey and it’s the right one. I think as long as you’re happy, living the life you want to and headed in the general direction of where you want to be, then you’re in the right place.

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I also made sure to tell my friend that I am fortunate and I know it. I would not be where I am without the support of amazing family and friends, meeting some of the best people I possibly could have early on in my career and retaining a few of them as mentors/sponsors, having the opportunity to go to grad school and while I know I’ve worked really hard at my job, to have my home, to be able to travel, I still attribute a lot of it to being in the right place, with the right people, at the right time. Also, I’m a planner, so I always have my next goal in mind. I’m always saving for the next trip. I have an answer to that pesky interview question of “where do you see yourself in five years?” Wherever that might be for you personally, keep at it. Being persistent, making connections, staying positive and moving forward are the best things you can do. You have to put yourself out there whether it is for relationships or jobs, and while they don’t always turn out the way you hoped, once in a while they do – and you’ll know when that happens. I don’t have it all, but I have all that I need.

(PS – Friend, I am rooting for you. You are so successful in the eyes of many and I know even bigger and better things are coming. KEEP trying. KEEP doing what you’re doing.)

Love like in the movies

A few days ago, I saw a Facebook post from a high school classmate that said “I want a fairytale. A love like you see in the movies.” I immediately started running movies through my head and wondering what exactly she wanted. A love like in Titanic? Where one of you freezes to death in an icy ocean?
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When Harry Met Sally
? Where it takes you YEARS to realize that it had to be him/her?

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Love Actually? Lord knows we all love this movie around the holidays but seriously, this is what was written about it for IMDB. Is that what you want?

“The characters are falling in love, falling out of love, some are with right people, some are with the wrong people, some are looking to have an affair, some are in the period of mourning; a capsule summary of reality. Love begins and love ends.”            – Written by Rosemea D.S. MacPherson 

Or maybe she was thinking Sweet November. There was great love there, but also cancer (that she didn’t tell him about). No bueno!
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Perhaps it was the love story of Rhett and Scarlett that she wished for? Jealousy, eyes for another lover, drunken nights, unwanted children? gonewiththewindSeriously though, those “love stories” all have undesirable parts. They have fights, accidents, trials, and death, the real story is overcoming those things and living in happiness and  sharing a life with someone you can’t imagine living without. No matter what movie she is watching, she’ll see that the love isn’t always perfect. The Notebook left us all in tears. The Vow made you pray you never, ever lost your memory – and neither did your significant other. The point is, love isn’t a fairytale like we grow up thinking. Even Disney princesses go through hell before finding their prince charming.

It’s easy to think that your relationship isn’t as perfect as someone else’s when you see their pictures on Facebook and they look so in love. Or when all of your friends are getting married and you’re still just dating, or even still single. Forcing love isn’t the right route, and probably will end up at a dead end. Wishing to have love that’s all cotton candy and candy apples all the time isn’t realistic either. I’ve been married for four months and while I think we’re a great couple with a great love story, it doesn’t mean that we haven’t fought. It doesn’t mean that one of us isn’t annoyed when the other one doesn’t empty the dishwasher or take the laundry out of the dryer as soon as it’s done. But we’re still in love, and it’s perfect for us. That’s all that matters.

I’m not sure what this person meant by wanting a love like the movies. Maybe they wanted those few moments we see in a two hour film where we swoon – mostly we can attribute that to Bradley Cooper/Channing Tatum/Ryan Gosling being the guy who is saying all of those sweet, perfect lines in his oh-so-sexy voice. Newsflash, the other two hours of the movie aren’t like that. And if you were to watch “their life” together, you’d see more moments where they were bored, fighting, working, and doing all the things that life requires and less of those moments where they’re having candlelit dinners and holding hands on a beach and running into each other’s arms swearing to never be apart again. It’s great when those moments happen, and I’m not saying they don’t happen. I missed LW so much when I took a trip to San Diego that I couldn’t wait to get home – and we had one of those moments in the airport where I ran and jumped in his arms, the same arms that were holding flowers for me and I melted right there. However, when I get home from business trips these days, we don’t have that reunion. It’s more of a kiss, throw the luggage in the car and decide where to go for dinner kind of reunion. While it’s not as dramatic, it doesn’t make me feel any less loved.

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The ultimate goal should be a love, relationship, and/or marriage where your love is cultivated. Where you focus on each other’s needs, wants, desires and make sure you love that person to the best of your ability – and then some. Focusing on movies or other people’s relationships will get you nowhere, and will probably only drum up some unnecessary resentment for your other half. Don’t let that get in the way of what can be your fairytale. A fairytale that no one else can have. A fairytale that is so wonderful, you can’t wait to tell your grandkids about it one day. Focus on you and your relationship. Focus on the good, and if it’s not good enough for you, make it better or move on – but don’t pine for unrealistic, scripted love. Real love is so much better.
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I’ll leave you with this and hope you’ll stop comparing yourself to others and the movies: “Comparison is the theif of joy” – Theodore Roosevelt