I Love You New York!

DUMBOQuoteYesterday we boarded a train in Penn Station and left an energetic, crazy, and magical city behind. It wasn’t easy. I’ve spent the last few weeks trying to put into words why I love and why I am going to miss New York City so much, but the words never came. At least not the poetic, meaningful words that I was searching for. The words that would make anyone who read them pack their bags and move to NYC to experience it for themselves. The words that did pop into my head over and over again were “I just do”. Those words describe a feeling that has stayed with me since a late night subway ride I took home from a friend’s house last October when the thought “I love it here” first popped into my head. That feeling peeks out at random times when I am walking down the street, catching a glimpse of the Freedom Tower or witnessing a simple act of kindness between two strangers. A smile spreads across my face and the words “I love you New York” pass through my mind.IMG_7623 There is so much that I am going to miss about New York City. The music on subway platforms, the sound of trains pulling into and out of stations, watching people on another train as we barrel through the dark tunnels of the NYC underground, strolling through Central Park, spotting the Empire State Building when I wasn’t expecting to see it, the coffee at Lula Bean in East Williamsburg, the snappy lemonade from Cake Shop in the Lower East Side, warm chocolate chip and M&M cookies from Insomnia in Meatpacking after a late night out, lazy summer afternoons in Fort Tryon Park, the changing seasons, hanging out on rooftops with gardens during the summer, the view of the Manhattan Bridge as I walk to art class, the way the sunset light hits the fire escapes on the brick buildings of Brooklyn, the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty, the puppies playing in the window of a pet store in Chelsea, walking down 11th St. in the West Village when the trees are full, bagels from the Brooklyn Bagel Company in Chelsea, the awesome brunch deal and delicious huevos rancheros at Harefield Road in East Williamsburg, looking at the city streets from the Highline in Chelsea and so much more that I can’t possibly even know I will miss yet.   

Empire State Building from the top of Rockefeller.

Random springtime street on the Upper West Side

City views from the Highline

Puppies in the window at CitiPup in Chelsea

Tall buildings in the Financial District

Sunsetting behind the Statue of Liberty

Dusk in Fort Tryon Park

The Freedom Tower

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Wall St.

Spotted: Banksy

Fall in the West Village

Missing all of that doesn’t even compare to how much I am going to miss all of the amazing people we met or were re-acquainted with since moving to NY. We wanted to establish a social circle in NY so we didn’t spend an entire year hanging out by ourselves and we certainly succeeded. What we didn’t expect was that we would gain so many lifelong friendships while we were here. They have no idea how lucky we feel to call them all friends.

Halloween 2014

Christmas 2014

30th Birthday

30th Birthday

Giants vs. Mets 2015

Private cove with friends at a gay bar in Brooklyn.

Missing our friends and the sights of NYC are perhaps easy holes to fix by simply coming for a visit. Like Rob has been saying, this isn’t goodbye forever. However, there is one thing I am going to miss that I won’t be able to visit or experience in the same way again. And that is the Sonja that I was and the couple we were while living in NYC for 13 months. The quote above put a name to a sadness I had been feeling for a while that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. The bottom line is that who I was while I was there is what I am going to miss the most about New York City. So during our last few days, I savored that Sonja and reminded myself constantly to be present. To look up while I walked and make sure every sound, sight, feeling and even smell were etched into my memory.

Valentines Day 2015

Bundling up!

Subway expert tip: buy a fan.

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Now, on a train somewhere between Chicago and San Francisco, I can finally say that I am looking forward to our next chapter and excited to meet the Los Angeles Sonja and Rob that we will become.

Thoughts on having children

If you asked me how many kids I wanted when I was ten, I would have told you five. If you asked me when I was 18, I would have said five and that I wanted the first one when I was 25.  If you asked me when I was 25, I would have said at least three and that I didn’t want the first one until I was 31 or 32 (in fact I went as far as to make it a life goal to not have kids or be pregnant on my 30th birthday). I get the question now with a bit more frequency than before I was married or 30 and my answer is still at least three, but I would like to wait 3-5 more years before starting. It surprises a lot of my family and close friends to hear me say that I would like to put off having children as long as possible. And honestly, it surprises me sometimes too. My life’s dream has always been to be a stay at home mom. And it still is. The only difference is that I feel no rush myself to have kids. I recently read an article about a woman who got her tubes tied at 28 (I Got my Tubes Tied at 28 Because I Don’t Want Kids by Chelsea Hottovy) and a lot of it resonated with me. Now don’t freak out (especially you Nana!)—I do not want to get my tubes tied. But I agreed with a lot of the points this woman made about not wanting to have children. Because reading her decision not to have children ever made me feel confident about my decision not to have children right now, I wanted to share my thoughts about having kids. It is comforting to know you aren’t the only one out there who is doing things differently than how society says you should do them.

I was a nanny for three years and I got some real world experience with raising children that most women don’t get before they have their own. And I feel lucky for that. I know what it feels like to hold a baby who has not stopped crying for hours. I have been deliriously exhausted after a 10 hour shift, and that’s after a full night’s sleep (something the mother doesn’t usually have the luxury of). I have found poop on my elbow hours after I changed an explosive diaper.  There is a very real possibility that had I not had that experience of being a nanny, I would already be a mom. But because of my experiences, I am happy I am not a mom right now. Partly because I know how hard having children, especially babies is. But mostly because I am incredibly happy being a wife and a partner and I’ve seen the strain having kids puts on a relationship.

I absolutely adore how Rob and I are together in this moment in our lives. We have fun, we laugh, we are carefree and we don’t have to share each other. While I have big plans and ideas on how to keep our life as close to our “normal” as possible after having a kid, the reality is that it will never be like it is right now. Honestly, the thought that maybe I don’t ever want kids has crossed my mind. Because the bottom line is that I don’t want us to change. I don’t want anything to come between us. But then images of Rob as a dad, camping with our kids, or snuggling a baby before bedtime pop into my head and I can feel deep down that I do want kids. I want to watch our babies smile for the first time, watch Rob teach them all about computers and show them the world. And I know deep down that a child wouldn't come between us, but rather bring us closer than I can even imagine.

This internal struggle is something I have been considering for the last couple of years. It’s the pressure I perceive society is putting on me to have kids now that I am married and 30 clashing with the desire I have to see the world and enjoy my life and relationship kid-free. It’s the feeling that I have trouble shaking that maybe I am far too selfish to ever have kids. But in the last few months I have made peace with this struggle. I am not an inherently selfish person nor am I a bad person for wanting to put my relationship first for a few years. We are creating the foundation that our family will stand on for the rest of our lives and I want to be sure that that foundation is a solid one.

And when the day comes that we decide we are as ready as we’ll ever be to have kids, I will be thrilled to take that next step. But until then I am going to savor our relationship and our lives as they are right now.

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Life Lessons: Starting a Project

In the last seven months I have begun (and am currently working on) numerous projects. Mostly these projects were started as part of the quest I embarked on when we moved to NYC to explore what Sonja really enjoys doing. But they were also started because I want something that makes me money, that I enjoy doing, that I can do from anywhere. The hope is that one of these projects will further our nomadic lifestyle and allow us to travel for periods of time outside of the US. IMG_7267

With all the projects I've been working on for the last few months, I’ve come to realize that I am getting much better at starting and maintaining a project and I am really proud of myself. To understand why I am so proud, you must first understand how much I love to nap and doing anything that is not considered work. Skimming through my Pinterest boards, the evidence is apparent. The amount of pins I have pinned that reference napping or sleeping is quite high. You can also find 10+ shows in my Netflix, Hulu Plus or Bravo TV queues that have only been half watched. For me to have learned how to overcome the overwhelming desire I feel almost every morning to remain in my pjs and lounge on the couch or in bed doing nothing is incredible. What helps me is sticking to a pattern anytime I want to start a project. And the pattern looks a little something like this:

Letting the idea marinate inside my head.

I’m a constant daydreamer. Ideas pop in and out of my head on a daily basis. Some are utterly ridiculous (like an invention that applies sunblock or lotion to the middle area of your upper back), but sometimes one comes along that’s a keeper! Once an idea has struck me, I let it sit there for a while. I let my brain wander, and later I might come back to it to see if I am still excited by it. I try to think like someone that isn’t me to decide if the idea is kind of out there, or if it is something reasonable. My aim is to mull things over for a day or two, but most of the time I tend to get so excited about it that the urge to share overwhelms me. Which isn’t a bad thing, but if I can keep it to myself for at least a couple of hours, I feel accomplished.

Talking it out.

I feel very fortunate that I have a partner who is supportive of all my ideas. He is always game to delve into an idea with me and really help me work out if it is something we should look into further or if it is something that should be left as just an idea. His honesty is always gentle but firm. If he thinks I am talking like a crazy person he will let me know without shutting me down.

Lists to infinity and beyond.

If the idea gets the Rob stamp of approval, and I am still excited about it, I start making lists. I have always been a list girl. If I am stressed about life, there is nothing more calming to me than writing all my stressors down in a notebook. They transfer from my brain to my hand and then to the paper and the weight is off my shoulders. Throughout the entirety of a project I have a notebook in front of me, dedicated to that one project, that is full of to do lists, notes, and even sometimes math. Lists help keep me on track and ensure that I don’t forget anything I am supposed to be getting done.

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Keeping on schedule.

Calendar reminders go hand in hand with lists. I have multiple Google Calendars that I use for my various projects and I add both small and large goals to them that help me hold myself accountable. If I didn’t make deadlines for myself, I would push things off so long that I would lose interest in them. I need the deadlines to help keep me on schedule and focused when my brain starts tempting me with taking a nap or scrolling through Pinterest for hours.

Allowing myself to stray.

I do all of the things above because there is one little gem about myself that I have always known: I am a procrastinator. Making lists, adding things to my calendar, talking it out with Rob so there is someone else holding me accountable, are all ways I have learned to manage my procrastination. That being said, I also embrace this little quirk and allow myself, on occasion, to get lost in a daydream, or write my best friend an extremely long winded email, or watch movie trailer after movie trailer. Sometimes my brain needs a few moments to recharge and if I didn’t give in every now and then I would start resenting whatever project I was working on. Once my brain clicks back into work mode, I have a good system in place to help me pick back up where I left off.

There is no perfect.

I am a person who wants to see big results, quickly. I am definitely a product of the instant gratification generation. In the past, if something was taking longer than I wanted to become the thing I wanted, I would lose patience, lose interest, and the project would be forgotten. My biggest achievement these last few months has been accepting that nothing will be perfect right out of the gate. Eventually, with a little work here, and a few deadlines there, I will get the project to be where I want it to be. Basically I’ve learned to be more patient. And I’ll admit it— it’s a constant battle, but it’s a battle I have been winning more times than losing these days and for that I am the most proud.

Embarrassment be gone!

In the past when I had given up on projects or they didn’t work out the way I had thought they would, I would be very hesitant to tell anyone. I was embarrassed that whatever idea I had had, didn’t come to fruition. And while it is still very hard to see something not succeed the way you were hoping it would, I am not ashamed of it. I tried and worked hard and I shouldn’t be embarrassed by that. I would much rather have tried and failed than never have tried at all.

What little tricks do you employ when working on a project?

Musings on turning 30

First day of 1st grade, being sassy. Turning 30 has been in the back of my mind since I turned 21. At first it was a milestone I dreaded, mostly because that’s what I thought people in their 20s were supposed to do. But as the years went on, I quickly realized that I was not dreading it at all. I was nervous, but I was also excited and curious. So when I was 24 I started planning my 30th birthday. No joke. I wanted a big house, with a pool, on the beach, filled with my friends in it. My dream will become reality in two weeks when friends, family and I will be staying in two big houses, with pools, near the beach in Cabo.

I’m super excited about my party, but I’m more excited about what lies beyond the confetti and tequila of Cabo. I am leaving my 20s embracing and celebrating things about myself and my life that I spent a lot of time condemning myself for in the past. I found a love that is healthy, encouraging, and supportive and I love it. I am not truly passionate about anything, but there are a lot of things that I enjoy doing that bring meaning to my life. I absolutely can not live without sweets. I am a risk taker. I am a planner. I like to be in control. Most of my bad moods can be lifted by listening to music. My body is exactly what I need it to be. I want to be a mom someday and I want to stay at home with my kids. I succeed when I set multiple small goals for myself.

Rob and I.

As I pondered leaving one decade and entering a new one, a lot of ideas for guiding my 30s came to my mind. I whittled down the mass jumble of ideas into three concrete goals:

  • I will strive to be more positive, calm, patient, and less quick to anger. I have already started this change in attitude by being mindful of different little things each week that make me smile. I want to train my mind and eyes to see the positive in everything.
  • I will continue to work towards accepting myself--my body, my “slash” career path (nanny/interior designer/party planner/blogger/website owner/professional driver/whatever is next), and the fact that I don’t have one clear passion.
  • I will be present in my day to day life. I have a tendency to think about the future and unnecessarily stress myself out over things I have no control over. It is a waste of energy and it takes away from cherishing each moment I have in the present.

I will miss my 20s, but I am thoroughly excited to see what adventures this next decade has in store for me.

Having a bit of fun for my 24th birthday!