The Dark Before the Dawn

“Remember,” they say, “that the darkest hour of all is the hour before day.”- Samuel Lover

The actual dark before dawn.
The actual dark before dawn.

It’s been far too long since I wrote my last blog post. I could give you a laundry list of excuses as to why this is the case, but I don’t believe in excuses. It looks like I’ve allowed myself to fall victim to the “busy trap” once again.

My last blog post was about letting loose and de-stressing, which is ironic, because at the time I wrote it, my stress levels were at an all time high. New York City was wearing me down and instead of attacking back with a can-do attitude, I let it run me over.

In my two-and-a-half years of living in New York City, I’ve found that city life is a constant give and take. Some days I feel the city takes more from me than it gives. Yes, it’s extremely expensive (I’m looking at you, income taxes). Yes, it feels overcrowded at times, bordering on extremely claustrophobic. Yes, people can be rude, not to mention pushy. At the same time, I love everything the city has to offer. Botanical gardens, surfing lessons, Broadway shows, art museums, French films, awkward poetry readings, garage band performances. You name it, New York City has it.

Just another day of reaping what New York is sowing.
Just another day of reaping what New York is sowing.

There’s so much to do in New York that it can be distracting. I still have to make money and even save it, too. It’s hard to save money when I’d rather be out reaping all that New York is sowing. I feel a constant struggle between making money and doing what I love. Part of the issue is that I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do professionally. Being unsure of what you want to do in a place like New York City where you have to be cutthroat to get what you want doesn’t work out so well. For too long, I’ve put what I love to do professionally on the back burner.

Until recently.

A few months ago, I made the decision to return to teaching. Teaching is where I’ve always belonged, I just didn’t realize that until I took a six-year hiatus. Last week, a few days before my 31st birthday, I accepted a classroom teaching position. I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve finally turned a professional corner, or at least returned to the right road.

I’m excited to start a new chapter in New York, which is working in a field I so strongly believe in, in a position I’m passionate about. It will be challenging, stressful, and a whole slew of other adjectives, but I’m looking forward to being a position where I can give back to the community of which I’ve grown very fond.

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I’m Far Too Busy To Write This Blog Post

ImageLast week in the New York Times–or maybe it was the week before, I don’t know, I’m too busy to remember–there was a great op-ed about “the busy trap.” This piece highlighted what I’m sure all of you experience either personally or vicariously through chatty co-workers which is “self-imposed busyness.” These are the people who are always soo busy and can’t seem to find the time to do anything except work or take special classes or work some more. They’re the type of people you have to book months in advance just to have a cup of coffee with. They are addicted to being busy because they’re afraid of what might happen if they were not busy.

I am completely guilty of falling into “the busy trap.” When I’m not at work or working on something, I feel guilty. On days off of work, I constantly feel like I should be doing something to better myself–reading, writing, exercising, exploring the city, attending “events” (which are more of an abstract concept), spending time with dear friends, writing letters to penpals, reading periodicals cover to cover, networking, learning new things, cooking a recipe from Julia Child’s The Art of French Cooking. I never quite feel that it’s okay for me to kick up my heels and enjoy a good movie or spend the entire day at the beach. There’s so much else I should be doing!

Recently, I caught myself giving my friend the “I’m so busy” excuse for not being able to hang out more often. We’ve lived apart for so long and now that we’re both finally in Manhattan, it should be so easy for us to get together for coffee or a glass of champagne, or a walk through Central Park, a centrally located park between our respective Upper West Side and Upper East Side residences. She even pointed out that she walks by my apartment almost every day to get to her gym. However, I haven’t seen her in months. Why? Because I’m working and when I’m not working I’m resting and when I’m not resting I’m blogging and when I’m not blogging I’m eating and then I’m working late and I’m catching a drink with co-workers and blah blah blah and suddenly five months have gone by and—this is just ridiculous.

However, there are days when I don’t let “the busy trap” get the best of me and I indulge in my guilty pleasure  of doing nothing and when I do, it feels so good. Laying in bed until noon, eating a late brunch, watching movies, laughing. Why can’t this be the norm? There has got to be a way to find a happy medium between “the busy trap” and “the do-nothing trap.”

The good news is that there is a happy medium between the two extremes and that is finding work-life balance. The bad news is that I haven’t found that happy medium just yet, but I am working on it. Maybe if I wasn’t so busy I could just find this balance.