Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Life We Leaf

The changing of the seasons always makes me take a step back and think about the meaning of change in general. The leaves on the trees don't just decide one day that they want to be a different color. They turn into hues of reds and oranges because they adapt to the colder environment. They no longer need to produce ingredients that help them grow. Much in the same, we make changes because we are thrown into situations of everyday life. We wear warmer clothes because the temperature drops. We turn off the air conditioning because we can be comfortable with the windows open. But unlike leaves, we also have the ability to change when we want to. Because we can make decisions whether they are smart choices or not our finest moments. And then comes the caveat - we must learn to deal with the aftermath of the decisions we make that could alter the rest of our futures. It's kind of scary to think about how much power we can hold from making a choice. How a mere action or thought can steer us into one direction or another. Change can be good, but can it also be bad?

We can take the word "change" and spin it into almost any shape or form. We often hear "change is good." But what about when it wasn't our choice? What if it was the only way and you had to just accept it and continue to live your life? There are things in my life that I will never seem to understand. Things that I cannot control. Things that maybe I wasn't directly related to, but rippled it's way into my life and has affected me and my course. We all experience impacts like this, and I know I am not alone. Part of it makes me angry because I wish I could control the things that alter my life. I guess that's why they call it life - it's our general, random, principle of existence. We live and we learn. We exist and then we're gone. I don't mean to sound morbid, but the speck of our existence is a microscopic dot that falls into a short time-span of the world and all its history.

You see how my mind starts to wander from just the thought of change? Such a concept can snowball into something much larger than us. But what about the things we can control? And that we can change? The good kind of change? The things that make every day worthwhile? What would be the point of living if we couldn't control our existence? Questions could continue to spiral on and on. But at least I know I have the power and the right to make things happen in my own life. And hopefully those decisions don't negatively affect someone else. It's just my way of adapting to change. The best and worst. What I can decide and what I must adjust to. After all, we all seem to be leaves on a bigger tree. We just happen to have two ways of making things happen.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

L'shanah tovah

Today we will be celebrating the Jewish New Year. One of my favorite components about being in an interfaith marriage is that you get the best of both worlds. Jay and I are very firm in believing that we can mesh our traditions together. Neither one of us is religious, but when it comes to family and culture we would rather blend than choose one over the other.

Although this is the 5th year I will be celebrating Rosh Hashanah, it is still a relatively new concept. I was always so used to the New Year being an evening out on the town on December 31st, anxiously waiting for the ball-drop and kissing the one I love. But now I realize that this occasion means more than just dipping an apple in honey. It is not about resolutions for the next year, rather it is looking back on the previous and reflecting on challenges you may have faced. And how to overcome them in the future.

I feel the need to take advantage of this moment and look inward at my own journey this past year.  A lot has certainly changed - not only did we get married but we moved back to New Jersey. I mourned the loss and are still always thinking about my Grandpa and my first dog Roxy. There are many nights where they appear in my dreams and I am convinced it is a sign that they are watching over me. I became an aunt to the most amazing nephew, Judd. It amazes me every time I see him, he changes. I started a new job at the end of December and would not trade it for the world.  Everything has had a reason for making some sort of sense in my life, whether it is good or bad. We can't control all the events that take place, but we can learn from them and carry them with us. And mold into the shape that we will become.

There aren't key things that call out to me as mistakes I have made. Sure, I could always acquire a little more patience. I could say that I will try not to let my emotions get the best of me. But in regards to mistakes - I don't necessarily agree with the word itself. Mistakes are really life-lessons. Whether we like to admit it, they help us grow into stronger individuals. They help us realize what we need from life. I try to live with no regrets. I would not be who I am today without being tested by life itself.

Rosh Hashanah has given me the chance to really explore these feelings and take a look back at the previous year. So l'chaim, here's to life. And to change. And lessons learned. And all of the in between.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Decisions - What Makes Them Worth It

Change is good, or so they usually say. But we often can find ourselves struggling between making a change or taking the safer route and staying in our comfort zone. At what point is it time to cut your losses?

I found myself asking these questions as I waited over an hour to get my tire changed. My car was almost six years old and she'd been through a lot with me. But many little things were seemingly falling apart on a routine basis. I was putting more and more money into something that lost its luster. Why should I invest in this when I could put it towards something to possibly love? It became a tug of war between the girl I was and the young woman I have become. I laughed as I realized that one itty bitty flat tire snowballed into getting a new car. And by Wednesday last week, Jay and I were sailing home in a new Chrysler 300. 

Now that I've had a few days to let it sink in, I knew it was the right decision at this point in my life. Who knows, maybe a year or so down the road Jay and I will be ready to expand our family. Maybe then we will need more space, so why not get some practice now? I mean this car is practically a boat, with an engine that is larger than my torso. And man does it glide. I feel so safe when I get behind the wheel, and not to mention badass.

My main point to this whole ordeal is that maybe we don't always feel like we're ready for change. But we roll with the punches, and we take opportunities when we can. I am a firm believer in working hard and enjoying what you earn. I am proud to say that I did this on my own (outside of Jay's fabulous negotiation skills). The fact of the matter is that I didn't have to depend on anyone to make this dream a reality. And although we may be nervous when things are new and different, we must remember that everything happens for a reason. We get tested and we pull through. We work hard and we reap the benefits. We live our lives and try to enjoy every moment. And in this moment, I'm enjoying my new whip. But now all I need is to give her a good name - I will gladly accept suggestions, as long as they are within reason. Here's to new beginnings!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Flat Tire Fab

Happy Monday! Of course there is no better way than to start off the week with a flat tire! Luckily for Jay's planning and Allstate roadside assistance, I was back on the road in no time. However, this morning's events did get me thinking about "bumps in the road," and little parts of life that are unexpected that we have to encounter. And conquer. Whether it's fixing a tire or dealing with a larger issue, we must be ready to face the world.

I think the key is staying patient. And if you don't have patience (like myself), this task can be easier said than done. Take my example of the flat tire - they told me 45 minutes but I really ended up waiting almost an hour and a half. If I didn't keep my cool, the provider may have received more than a $10 bill. More like my attitude and a "see ya never, bye."

In times of need, we need to have a tight support system. I wouldn't be half the person I am without my husband. Forget about making decisions on a tire! He is there for me at the drop of a dime, I know I can trust him to make important decisions that could impact my safety. I also have the most amazing friends who will not only listen to me vent unconditionally, but will pick me up and take me to work. And I can't deny that my family is always there, no matter how messy the situation.

Last but not least, we need to believe in ourselves. One of my favorite quotes of all time enlightens, "The road to success is always under construction." And how appropriate for this scenario! We are continuously tested each and every day, from the tiniest of mishaps like a flat, to the dilemmas that never seem to resolve. But there is hope, my friends, as long as the person you depend on the most is yourself. Keep truckin!

Friday, September 12, 2014

How Habitual Are We?

You never really know someone until you live with them. And in all actuality, if you are even compatible to live together. I always thought moving in with a man would be easy, especially one that tended to be a neat-freak. When I was the one who didn't mind leaving dishes in the sink, or unopened mail fanned out on the entire counter (although this isn't the case anymore, how the tables have turned). But as your styles blend, so do your habits. Sometimes they clash more than they mesh and you have to learn to adapt. Other times you accept there are things you cannot change, including the things that you yourself are guilty of doing. It is a complete life adjustment and like most things, takes time. It's always entertaining to look back and poke fun at the little quirks that make us who we are. Are we truly creatures of habit?

For this post, I am trying to keep in mind the dictionary definition of a habit. "An acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary. Customary practice or use."

A few of mine for example, some of which I have hinted at before. I am not particularly proud of these and admit that I am mildly compulsive. One - I absolutely HAVE to lock the door as soon as I step foot in the apartment. God forbid someone breaks in the building for that split second and I can save myself from getting robbed! I mean get real, I know in my head it won't happen. But the locked door always wins this battle. Two - I like to have a cup of tea after dinner. For some reason, I like to leave my mugs just about anywhere, with the teabag still in and drying up long after the tea is gone. They sometimes miss the dishwasher being turned on and have to wait for the next run. Three - Hair, hair, and more hair. No matter what I do, there is always a stray strand that was missed and left behind, usually on the bathroom floor. Or by the sink. Or shower. I'm sure most women can relate that it is impossible to keep up with how much we shed. Four - I now have my own particular way to make the bed. Which pillows go where. And the crease I like to karate-chop into the middle of the decorative ones. These are only a few to name, the list could ramble on but I may start to embarrass myself.

Let's not forget about the men. My husband has his habits, too. And not to put him on the spot, as I'm sure he wouldn't be happy knowing I was divulging all of his patterns. I'll just share a few that are light-hearted and non-humiliating. One - he looks in the fridge right before he leaves the apartment and right before he goes to bed. Nothing is changing and no new food is appearing, yet he likes to take a look at what's there (and possibly have a snack). Two - Even when he's watching one of his favorite shows or sporting events, he still needs to see what else is on TV by clicking the guide button and scrolling during commercials. Which always makes me worried we'll miss part of the show! Three - Leaving shoes just about anywhere. More than likely in the exact spots where they came off. And don't get moved until usually someone (me) picks them up. Or perhaps we have a shoe fairy?

Although most of the habits I listed above are the silly things we notice in the day to day, there are also good patterns so important to our routine. Things like never going to bed angry, saying "I love you every night" before we go to sleep, and giving each other a kiss before leaving for work in the morning. Habits don't have to be about cleaning, chores, and tangible items. The way we treat our significant others and our emotional demeanor can speak leaps and bounds. Habits can be characteristics and qualities that we possess that make us who we are. Like patience, kindness, and compassion. And if there are little things you and your man could live without (like that drawer that always seems to be open), you could always work at breaking the pattern. As long as you're both willing!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Last days at the Vineyard

Already on the third full day back at home, but definitely not adjusted into my regular routine. I am hoping that the nostalgia of this last photo diary will bring me back to the place I was only last week.

One of the best beaches we visited is called Moshup. The cliffs are layers and layers of clay and sediment. I've never been to the Grand Canyon, but this beach always reminds me of its rich, red hues. You walk down a long path from the dirt parking lot to stumble upon the most beautiful shoreline I've ever seen (no filters necessary in these photos).

The only thing that throws me off each time I visit this beach - the closer you get to the cliffs, the closer you are to the nude beach so beware!

The last beach we explored on Friday is State Beach. This is known as the baby beach because there are literally no waves and the water is shallow, perfect for the little ones. Also perfect for me to add shells to my collection (probably one of the dorkiest things I do, but I love it). Jay made a little throne in the sand for our nephew, Judd.

That night was Jay and I's early celebration for our one-year anniversary. Where better to eat than the famous Black Dog? We split a clambake for two, which came with chowder, mussels, clams, two 1 1/4 lb. lobsters, potatoes, corn, and some thing that looks like kielbasa (I can't remember the name - something like linguisa). 

With full bellies, we were on our way to the last full day on the Vineyard. Judd rode the carousel for the first time and we ate lunch at Nancy's for their fried clams. Sunday made its way and we were on our way home. 

Looking back, it was an amazing vacation. Full of family time and adventures. One of the best ways to kick off the month of September, which you know is the month of our anniversary. I am already eager to go back next summer and revisit the place that is so dear to my heart.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Happy One Year Anniversary - 9/8/13

Although I still have some photos left to log from our week at the Vineyard, it is necessary to pause and remember what today was for Jay and I exactly one year ago. September 8th - this day will always hold its concrete imprint in my heart and in my mind. It is the day we vowed to spend the rest of our lives together.

And so I dedicate this post to my husband, my best friend, the love of my life. We said I do, moved back home, became an aunt and uncle, and began the rest of our life as one. We have accomplished so much together and I am so proud of every decision we have made as a team.

Jay - my love has grown each and every day as we grow together. You are the strongest, most compassionate person I have ever met and I am honored to share my life with you. Happy Anniversary, here's to a lifetime of happiness and companionship.

With this post, I also want to share my exact vows that I wrote and renounced during our ceremony. I meant every word, you have my promise that this will always hold true.


I vow from this day until forever that my heart belongs to you.  My love for you continues to grow and evolve each day, no matter what the circumstance. You have showed me what true and unconditional love is, and I am so grateful to have you in my life.

You make up for my imperfections, you make me a better person. I never thought I would meet my husband on the first day of my very first job.  And look where we are now, three and a half years later.  You are my best friend and I trust you with all of my heart.

Sometimes I can’t believe how alike we are. We share the same passions and can practically finish each other’s sentences. We have the same level of patience, which isn’t that high, yet you still always bring out the best in me. I am a stronger and better person with you by my side.

I promise to support you through whatever comes our way, to appreciate all of the things you do for me. I promise to respect you and put you first. I will be there to laugh with you and lift you up when you are down. I promise to encourage you and inspire you, as you do for me every day without even trying.

I am so excited to start the beginning of the rest of my life with you. Each day is a new adventure and I’m honored to know that you will experience it with me. You have made me a believer in true love.  I love you."

P.S. - Excited to see what our cake tastes like after being frozen for a year!

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