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healthy habits

I am paid to work 30 hours per week. This week, I will 45.

I have this need to be productive, to solve problems, to work hard now so that there are not emergencies down the line.

My concern is not that I can’t handle a 45 hour week, because I can. It’s not a big deal. My problem is that I need to convince these people to hire me to work full time and give me health insurance, and there are two ways I see this thing going down:

1) they see how hard I work and that I deserve and need to be full time with benefits in order to acknowledge all the work I have been doing and will do to build the organziation

2) they think they can get a 45 hour week out of me for the price of 30 and don’t go get the extra money they need to hire me full time, since I will, apparently, work those extra 10 hours for free

I want to believe that I won’t get screwed over, but it’s hard to predict. What is going to happen. So this week, I came in to work at 11am twice and once at 12pm. Because I don’t work at 9am for free, for real.

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No soda.

No credit cards.

No soda is just a health thing. I love soda but it’s not good for me or for my teeth. I need find other pick-me-ups in the afternoon that are not a Coke or a Dr. Pepper. Honestly, my new favorite thing is seltzer with three drops of orange bitters in it, so I think this one I can really stick to.

No credit cards is also a health thing–financial and emotional health. Being in debt is stressful. My student loans from graduate school are one thing, but credit card debt is toxic and it was making me crazy. So I made an arrangement to pay off a lot of it and then pay back that money slowly but consistently over the coming months. Hence the second job. But I also have to budget myself better. I have to stop having “emergencies” which are actually just stress shopping binges. I have to reward myself not with “presents” like new yarn or clothes or books, but with the satisfaction of paying off my debt and living stress-free within my income. I have already signed up for Mint.com, which will finally successfully interface with my Citibank checking account. I have created a budget that I think I can stick to (I can go to the movies, but only if I bring lunch from home every day; I can have coffee in the morning from the deli, but not from the $3 place; I can go to yoga, but no vacations this year; I can read public domain books on the Kindle and knit with yarn I have already purchased; I have plenty of clothes and shoes, in fact I have too many). The reason I got into all this debt is fairly self-explanatory: I went to grad school for two years in the most expensive city in the United States, and I like shoes. I like to go shopping. I like to have a nice dinner and I have the habit of covering a meal for multiple people on my card, taking the cash and then not paying the extra balance on my card. I like to fly to Chicago to see my friend’s baby and watch the finale of Battlestar Galactica (not the same trip). I like treats. There I said it.

Wish me luck! I think I can do this. The first 6 weeks of the year are going to be extremely difficult, but I feel like if I can get through the next two months, I will be in a really amazing new place.

I like this piece in Slate on keeping your resolutions by doing less, but doing those fewer things better. I agree wholeheartedly. When I think about the (many) times I have failed professionally and personally, it is usually because I was spread too thin and did not focus enough on the important thing at hand.

Think about it: focus and determination are key to accomplishing your goals, and you literally can’t focus on everything all at once. I think this article is talking about the things that I think about a lot: how to simplify, prioritize, focus, avoid panic, set intentions, plan. It’s about not spreading yourself too thin (keeping it thick?).

Anyway, it led me to realize that a small number of really tangible resolutions is enough. Last year, I had a lot of “dreams” that were not realized, but I did make sure that I ended the year in a better place than where I started it: working at a job i like, not crying every day before I got on the train, well-rested, exercising, eating well, seeing friends. All those good things will continue into 2013.

I am always a slow starter in the morning. This week has been really bad, since I am also somehow still jet-lagged from Thanksgiving. Nerves also make it hard for me to get out of bed in the morning.

I need to have a morning ritual of shower, breakfast and so forth, but I don’t at all. I just sleep for months and years, and 5 more minutes turns into 35 so quickly.

Day 4!

It’s my first day!

I am excited like it’s my first day of 4th grade. I really have realized how exactly right this type of job will be for me. I keep recalling pieces of advise I have received from mentors and teachers throughout my time in NYC that have pointed me towards this job. I had a professor who told me I should work with a presenter and my favorite internship I had in graduate school was the summer that I produced a site-specific outdoor dance festival. It’s entrepreneurial, and I will be able to grow the organization. I love young artists and deeply love the concept of artist-run spaces. I am thrilled to work in an ecologically conscious space that represents what should be the future of arts-space construction.

Anyway, my hopes are high, but I am trying to be realistic. If it all goes south, several of my best friends live within walking distance of the space and we can have free pizza at Alligator Lounge. But it won’t…at least not all the time. I have to remember to keep myself balanced; for me this means working the hours for which I get paid, speaking up for myself if things feel wrong or out of control, taking time to exercise and eat well, and having a little fun.

Ahh! I have to go pack my lunch!

 

On Saturday morning I went for a run. It was certainly the first time in my life that I woke up the day after my birthday and went running, instead of sleeping until noon and eating a nine egg omelette. Change is good!

While I was running in Prospect Park with about 1,000 other folks, I realized two thing:

1) I needed to stretch more before I ran, especially in the colder weather

2) Over the past 5 years, I have lost faith in other people

While I can always stretch more, the second problem is much more difficult to solve. But there I was, running three miles at 9am on a Saturday, surrounded by kids and parents, dogs wearing sweaters, babies in running stroller, old people, fat guys in running tights with shorts over them, and a bunch of ladies who look like me. So I have to believe in something.

I have lost faith in other people in part because I lost sight of myself and my goals, and I didn’t stand up for myself when I really needed to. But really, in the past five years, I have truly seen both the best and the worst in other people. I have met some of the best friends I could ever have since moving to New York, and I have encountered some of the craziest loons. It has not been the best experience.

But what I really realized on Saturday is that every situation is a choice. I was running in this beautiful park because I had decided to get my a** up and be there, to be present, not just for this Fun RunĀ fundraiserĀ thing, but for my life in general. I can choose to see all these negatives, problems, mistakes, slights, injustices, and faults in other people–and some of them are extremely real–or I can choose to see good things, to be patient, to be a teacher to myself and to others, to be kind and compassionate, and to be happy.

I have struggled with this for so long, but I think I am done. I think I am ready to trust other people and not to hold everyone I encounter to some impossibly high standard. Everything seems to be about moderating expectations, finding the moments to choose to see things in a positive light, and just believing that good things are going to come out of my experience.

My situation is not forever, but if I let it change the way that I see the world, and the way that I feel about other people, it will change my life, and not in a good way.

It’s lunchtime.

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