New Year, New Focus

Birthdays and deaths always remind me of the finite life span we have. Perhaps because it was just my birthday, and because I just lost someone, I’ve been focused on how I can make the most of my time. Time’s not a renewable resource, and we never know when our clocks about to run out. Yet we spend a majority of time mentally striving, reaching, wishing, yearning for somewhere other than here.

For longer than I can remember I’ve had rules for myself about career markers and what that meant. “I’ll be happen when [fill in the blank].” But the further into my career, and no matter the marker, that blank continuously changes and I’ve struggled celebrating the small victories along the way. There are things I’ve always wanted to do, but set aside as if I needed the permission of career success to allow me to pursue those dreams that weren’t necessarily tied to financial return. These self created restraints haven’t always been helpful. Yes, they’ve created productivity. But with wins came striving for bigger wins, and I didn’t necessarily take time to sit in a space of gratitude and reward myself with one of those dreams that weren’t directly tied to career.

I’ve slowly been trying to break the cycle of constant striving. Going to India for 3 weeks in December was eye-opening in terms of how difficult it was to experience my surroundings without feeling as though I should work. As I move into the new year, I’m shifting my focus away from career wins being an equation that leads to reward. The rewards are less and less, sometimes nonexistent, the busier I get.

Therefore, I want to restructure my mental rulebook. What I’ve categorized as rewards in the past, might actually be necessary activities that lead to inspiration directly tied to career. After all, I’m a writer. A writer needs experience. Blissful experiences, though seemingly outside the box of “work,” may lead to other work, whether through inspiration, serendipitous meetings, or by the very fact they allow the mind space to marinate on ideas.

With age comes experience and through experience, hopefully wisdom. But wisdom can only be integrated into life by diving into the present, and not missing the present because of incessant striving.

Whether it’s travel, restaurants I’ve always wanted to visit, time to listen and discover new music, diving into esoteric studies, or learning some new activity, I’m hoping to integrate these things I’ve so often pushed aside in the past, into my day-to-day, to allow for the balance between striving, gratitude, growth, and presence.

My three favorite discoveries of the week:

Song: Anything is Possible

Restaurant: Daniel

Spa: Sojo Spa

Birthday Alert

Yeah…totally just blogging to remind you all my birthday is next week and I like presents.

Just kidding.  46% serious.

As I contemplate some genius to spout on what some tell me is a “Big Birthday,” here’s little clip of me getting my heart broken.  Tear! You did NOT see that coming!!

Coffee to Go has been accepted into a few festivals, and I’m pushing this short out there while I’m knee deep in pre production for my first feature.  I’ll share more details soon.  But this is the little short that could; “I think I can…” get a lot of views.  If you don’t know the Little Engine reference, shame on you!

Until next week…

I’m off to listen to Rod Stewart’s “Forever Young.”

Farewell Fear, Welcome 2014

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My lack of blogging is in no way a reflection of the AMOUNT of thinking I did in 2013.  On the contrary…too much thinking!

The year was transformational.  I suppose with Saturn in it’s full swing in my chart, the year was inevitably going to bring necessary evils within arm’s reach.  And by “evils” I mean challenges I’m most thankful for.

No one talks about being thankful for the challenges they faced.  More often than not, challenges are the catalyst for a sh*t ton of complaining.  At least on my end.  But the truth of the matter is we’d be a less accomplished “human being” today than we were a year ago, without those challenges.  I always say I’d prefer the yoga teacher who couldn’t touch their toes during their first class vs. the ex-dancer who can flop over, palms on the ground.  The teacher who had to struggle through the poses, learn how to engage the proper muscles and relax others…THAT’S the teacher who can articulate their journey and assist others along their own journey.

As a whole, 2013 gifted me countless challenges.  But I’ll freely admit, most of those challenges were things I feared doing, had put off, ran from, and/or chose to ignore to deal with.  SO they hung over my head like a dark cloud.  Maybe because the big 3-0 birthday is approaching, OR maybe it’s true and we do get wiser with age, but this year I faced a lot of fears head on.  Instead of trying to maneuver around them, which means they STILL exist, I went through a many of them…and with that comes freedom.  The weight of fear just slows us down!  The universe kindly reminded me of this when I reached this sign on my jog…

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On Friday night, I had an alumni basketball game at my High School.  It was so much fun.  And I still have my 3-pt shot, which the obnoxious showboat in my soul, loved.  I haven’t played basketball in close to a decade.  Eek!  That’s a terrifying reminder of the aging process.  Yet, I played well, had a blast, and ALL the anxiety that surrounded “what basketball meant to me,” fell to the way side.  I couldn’t help but think how much easier playing would have been ten years earlier, if I wasn’t bogged down by fear.

And with that lesson…I look forward to taking down 2014.

Happy New Year Everyone!

 

Birthday Blog

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Yesterday was my birthday.  And while I was feeling old, there were still glimmers of my youth.  I woke up with my retainer on,  feelin’ sexy and wise, with straight teeth 16 years after braces.

I also woke up to a wrapped present from my girlfriend.  It was a book: “Celtic Tree Mysteries: Practical Druid Magic & Divination.”  She’s Irish, and I like magic.

In the fridge, she surprised me with a vegan, gluten free Lemon Meringue birthday pie.  I’ve recently taken up a vegan diet.  While I adapt and shift, my affinity for pie in all it’s many forms, doesn’t need to.

I went to a 3pm yoga class and was disappointed my favorite teacher wasn’t teaching.  But when the sub started the class with a Ganesha mantra, I thought “I’m right where I should be.”  Something I need to remind myself on a daily basis.

A birthday always calls to reflect on the past years ups, downs, achievements and lack-there-of.  It’s a discipline to learn to sit and just be, take in the moment, accepting it’s where you are and should be.  While I’m wiser, I’m not quite there.  It’s a struggle trying to inhale gratitude and exhale the constant wanting of more, bigger, better, faster, stronger.

I’m grateful for the past year, in all it’s forms, because it’s led me to now.  I can only hope and strive to be a more truer version of myself today, than I was a year ago, tomorrow, than I was today.

My day ended by receiving a card in the mail.  On the envelop there was a note: “HAPPY BIRTHDAY JENNA!! Love, Nick (Sara wouldn’t let me write on the card because she thought I would write something about scissoring).”  I laughed out loud.  Awesome.

Without Power, With Love

My Dad’s surprise 60th launched a series of surprises:

Me and my significant other left early the morning after the party to head into the city and “move in,” trying to beat Hurricane Sandy.  After side swiping the Holland Tunnel in our rented u-haul, using two “movers” off craigslist to take 3 hours to lift 3 heavy pieces, and discovering the apartment wasn’t quite big enough to comfortably house the furniture she was bringing from her spacious Jersey City apartment, I’d say shell shock hit.  And then I went to work where everyone was ordering nacho platters: comfort food for the oncoming storm.

The storm hit, we lost power, and we were both PMS-ing.  I’d say there’s no better relationship litmus test.  “If we can stand each other now, I’ve got a good feeling…”

The storms been devastating to many.  My heart goes out to all.  Surprises, both good and bad, throw us from our grounding and force us to find footing; there’s always somewhere to land.   All the lit candles have been a reminder of the glimmer of hope within even the darkest of days, reminding us to rise not above, but because of the challenges placed before us.