Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: I'll Be Home For Christmas

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Write Mind/Open Heart and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

I wasn't going to come home for Christmas this year. I didn't feel like packing or being on a plane for six hours or dealing with airport craziness. Tickets were too expensive, cabs to JFK run $50 plus tip each way, and a ticket for Ciela is $200 roundtrip. There was no way I was gonna do it.

But the closer it got to Christmas, the more I realized I would have nothing to do if I stayed in NY by myself. Plans of going to friend's houses changed and I knew I would end up home alone on Christmas Eve, the night we always celebrate, and I would be miserable. On the flip side, I thought it was interesting that we all make such a big deal out of this holiday every year; it's technically only the one day. I thought, if I can just get through that one day, ill be fine. But then my sister called me, and presented an argument I couldn't argue with; "Come home, I'm lonely". Not in the 'I have no one around me' sense of the word, but in the 'I miss my only sister' sense of the word. Well, I was lonely too I said. So I let go of all my reasons I wasn't going home and started looking for tickets when we hung up the phone.

Everyone knew about my upcoming trip, but I asked them all to keep it quiet around my nephews. I wanted to surprise them because they weren't expecting to see me until sometime in February. The day I arrived, my mom picked me up at the airport, we grabbed some lunch to go, and headed to my sister's house. I instructed my mom and brother to walk in ahead of me with all the food except mine, so as not to raise eyebrows, while I hung back in the hallway with Ciela. My nephews already suspected I was in town because of some slip-ups, but I wanted to see if I could still surprise them at least a little bit.

A few minutes later, after I figured they probably thought their only visitors that day would be Tetah (my mom) and Haulo D (my brother), I nonchalantly walked in the door and acted like it was totally normal that I was there. I watched as one nephew literally fell to the floor in surprise as he said "What!?!" and as the other jumped up from his chair with a huge smile on his face. Hugging and kissing and loudness and chaos ensued.

My precious angels, and my Perfect Moment.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Perfect Moment Monday: Island Dreams

Perfect Moment Monday is sponsored by Write Mind/Open Heart and is described as "...noticing a perfect moment rather than creating one. Perfect moments can be momentous or ordinary or somewhere in between." I think it's a great way to make us all more mindful of the good things that happen to us. There's always at least one perfect moment...!

As I walked out of the pharmacy, the word ISLAND in bold, capital letters caught my eye. It was a 2011 calendar showcasing 12 different islands on its sealed pages. I smiled and stopped, picked it up from the low shelf and flipped it over. Nevis was the first word that caught my eye; Caribbean, Nevis. "I know someone from there, how funny", I thought.

I scanned the rest of the photos. My eyes slowly traveled up to the very first one, January. Trunk Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands. I smiled again. I had been there, several times. The journey there from St Thomas had become as easy to me as a trip to NJ from the city via Penn Station. A ferry ride over from Red Hook, a safari (share taxi) up the winding mountain road, the gorgeous view of Trunk Bay below us just minutes before we are deposited at the entrance. The photo couldn't have been more than a couple of inches wide, but I quickly picked out the underwater snorkel trail, visible so easily to my familiar eye.

I had always wanted to live on a Caribbean island, it had always been one of my dreams. Now, how much I enjoyed or didn't enjoy living on one is a story for another post. My perfect moment today was in realizing just how many things I have been blessed to be able to do in my life. Seeing a picture of St. John's most famous beach, something most people see only in pictures, and knowing that for a while, it had become somewhere I could go with friends on a random Sunday, was amazing in a peaceful and content way. Perfect Moment straight out of nowhere.

And that's Perfect, too.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Crash & Burn

Bad things happen when a person takes on way more than they can reasonably handle, and this is what has recently happened with me. In September I started 2 credit courses at FIT, started a weekly training regimen to get little miss Ciela in line, and started working again. I was also trying to research schools for a Masters program and stressing about where I should move. Add that to everyday tasks and eventually, increasing demands related to the list I just outlined (oh, and many sleepless barking-puppy-filled nights) and it's easy to see why sometime in November I completely checked out.

Before taking on a million and one things, my schedule kind of consisted of no schedule. I remember waking up whenever I wanted to, doing whatever I wanted with my days, making the most of my first unemployed and therefore freedom-filled summer in NYC. But honestly, I can only lazy around for so long, and pretty soon, I was fed up of doing nothing and pretty frustrated with my financial status. Sure I had plenty of time to do plenty of things (but not too much money with which to do those things; forever the bittersweet reality of unemployment, by the way). But I was tired of being unproductive. I needed to accomplish something again. And somehow I went into overdrive.

At first it wasn't so bad; I worked, I went to class, I handed in homework on time, and I kept up my social life. I remember enjoying the hustle & bustle of it at the beginning, I even thrived on the excitement of 'doing it all'. But eventually, all the to-do's weighed me down. I wasn't able to stay organized, I complained at work about lack of sleep due to said unorganization, and I was generally miserable. I worked full-time hours and had obligations almost every single day after work: Monday, Ciela's training session; Tuesday, long-standing recurring engagement that wasn't going anywhere anytime soon; Wednesday, photography class from 6-9; Thursday, freedom (imagine that) and Friday, a 2 hour web page construction class in a dimly lit computer lab that left me more sleepy than anything else. I was also supposed to train Ciela every day to reinforce what she had learned on Monday, as well as conduct "good times" sessions between her and Monet's dog because they didn't get along and I was tired of the doggy disagreements and ensuing growling that that caused, but let's be realistic, that didn't happen every day.

What did happen was that October became even more miserable and by November, when my mother came to visit and my work assignment ended, I subconsciously took that as a chance to take my life to the other extreme. The photography project that was due in a few short weeks - whatever, I would worry about it later. The five or so late homework assignments, not to mention a complete website as a final project, for the other class - not even thinking about 'em. Ciela's training - um, yeah... sure. I quite simply did not care. Instead of taking the 2 or 3 week span while my mom was here to focus on my responsibilities now that I didn't have to be in an office every day, I did absolutely nothing. Instead of using my time wisely, I pretty much didn't use it. Don't get me wrong, I had a great time with my mom; we went on an awesome East Coast road trip that neither of us will ever forget. But I could have used some of that time - or the time since - much more sensibly, and of course now I regret it.

I'm still trying to get back in the swing of things but honestly, I have little motivation, especially since I started working again. I prolong sleep in an attempt to distance myself from my current reality, in hopes that some tasks will have miraculously disappeared by the time I've finished hitting the snooze button (hasn't happened yet, by the way). I somehow completed my photography project and was ridiculously proud of myself when I did so. I have since been trying to find the motivation to work on my website project, but it seems my motivation is so misplaced I'll never find it. I have sat in this kitchen chair for the better part of a whole day today, thinking about getting to work on it... I even managed to finally pull my notebook out of my bag and plug in my flash drive. But I have found every excuse to do other things and have accomplished zero work. Yes, some of the things I have done instead were important and even productive (for example, researching Masters programs, yay me) but still, all were done in an attempt to run away from the daunting task at hand.

Moral of the story? There's really only so much you can do without feeling like you are going to lose your mind. Don't let yourself get to that point. Because recovering from a crash & burn has never been so slow & painful.