Tag Archives: life

Where Did “My” Time Go?

I recently have had a million gifts to buy for happy occasions. New babies, birthdays, weddings. It seems like there has been much more giving than in recent years. And while I am thrilled to give, because it really is something that makes my heart happy, it’s made me realize that as of late, I tend to do nothing for myself.

I am a (stay at home) mom and a wife, so obviously, I’m constantly going and doing for my family. Food shopping, laundry, cleaning, paying bills, playdates, errands, pick ups, drop-offs; the list is endless. And in between all of those things, I feel like a chicken without its head, running around doing so much for everyone else. And it’s not even stuff people ask me to do, it’s things that I put on myself. I am my own worst enemy sometimes.

So the other day, when I was running around to 13 different stores trying to buy the perfect new baby gift for a dear friend, drop off the dry cleaning, pick up a birthday gift for a friend’s daughter, and get my own child new shoes, I was suddenly so overwhelmed that I stopped and was like, “What the fuck do I do for myself anymore?” The answer it seems: practically nothing.

Any free time I have, it seems to be spent doing for others. Even when I get away, it’s for other people (weddings, birthdays, parties), not for me or my family per se. And in one respect, I am so lucky to have people in my life that I love so much to do these things for and with, yet in the process of being me, I have also forgotten about myself. While I go to the gym, catch an hour of bad reality TV, and maybe get in a run, I rarely seem to do anything beyond that just for me. The irony is that if you asked me what I’d want to do if I had the time, I probably couldn’t give you a decent answer beyond something like getting a massage. To some, this may sound bratty or entitled, which is the last impression I want to make, but at the end of the day, it’s my reality, and I own it.

I’m always fixated on what needs to be done next. What else is on the to-do list that needs to be tackled. Maybe that’s because I’m home now and no longer in the workforce. Maybe I need to feel accomplished, so doing all this crazy shit fills a void. It could be that I just don’t feel like I have time to do things for me like I used to (I mean, who wants to go shoe shopping with a two-year-old?). Or maybe I’m just wired this way; constantly going, running and doing, because really, isn’t that life?

Whatever the reason, I need to figure out how to remember me, which is proving a lot harder than it sounds.

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My Life is Getting in the Way of My Life

Summertime is usually when we get jammed packed. There is something every Saturday or Sunday, if not both days of the weekend; whether it be a BBQ, birthday, celebration, or something as simple as just hanging out with friends or the endless list of errands and projects.

But for some reason, things have gotten busy ridiculously early this year and I am unbelievably overwhelmed. I thought I was overwhelmed when the holidays were coming, but in the last few months, I have realized that shopping for presents and decorating the tree are minor issues in the stress department.

Right now, I’m dealing with a lot of different stressors, some good, some bad. And I truly feel that my life, is in fact, getting in the way of my life. I can’t keep up some days. I’m trying to be a good stay-at-home-mom to a little girl who is turning two and has discovered temper tantrums. Let’s just say some days are better than others! My brother is getting married in less than a month and there are so many wonderful things attached to that, many of which I am a part of. That means a ton of extra, (and fun) stuff to do and take care of (like makeup, hair, dress, shoes, montage, shower, etc.) in addition to every day life. On top of this, I’m trying to plan my daughter’s second birthday, which is only immediate family, but it’s her birthday and it’s still a big deal. My brother is also graduating from med school and will soon find out where he’ll be moving during his next four years of residency, which includes a huge ceremony to celebrate in just a week. My husband joined a band with a live show in a few weeks, and he’s also turning 40, which means another big blowout celebration I’ve been planning since mid-January. In the midst of all this, there are charity runs, birthday parties for young and old and a family vacation we are so desperately trying to plan (and the passport I have to get my kid). My very best friend is getting married in a few months, so there’s lots of planning around that too; bridal shower, bachelorette party; you know the drill.  And I don’t even want to get into how hard it is just trying to see friends on a random weekend or even weeknight, interviewing babysitters for said weekend out, or managing our daily schedule full of food shopping, music and gym classes, and getting in a workout myself. And let’s not forget gifts to buy, taxes to prepare, bills to pay, and home repairs. Should I keep going, because there’s a hell of a lot more I can add to that list?

On top of all this, there’s some emotional stuff going on too. My dad was recently diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder; Wegener’s Granulomatosis, which adds another layer of stress to the equation, while a very dear friend just told us she has cancer. My mom sprained her ankle through all this, though is recovered, and I feel like I battle a headache every other day. My brother is moving away; maybe to Philly, maybe to Cali. The latter are small potatoes in comparison, but still, an unneeded layer.

My birthday was this weekend and my husband treated me (and him!) to an amazing day of pampering. We went to the spa, ate oysters and drank champagne, daydreamed at the bar and indulged in an amazing kid-free dinner. It was so incredible to have a day where I wasn’t worried about everything. I didn’t care about replacing the water softener or finishing the taxes or all the stuff on my handwritten to-do list. I skipped the gym, ate two desserts and felt at ease. It was short-lived, but fabulous. And by Monday, when we were back to reality, I realized just how overwhelmed I really was. I’ll make it though, with a smile, and likely, a lot of wine.

How One Song Can Bring You Back

I was just listening to Sarah McLachlan’s “Wait” from the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy album. I had it in cassette form before I was forced to buy the CD.  My friend Kim and I played it endlessly in 1994. Every time I hear a song from that album, I’m 16 all over again. It feels good.

As I get on in my years, I have found the amazing impact music has had on me. I don’t play instruments, except for a brief stint on the piano, yet my life seems categorized by the music that shaped it. Uploading old CDs and mixes to iTunes, to purchasing old school music that brings me back to my youth, most of my memories are defined by a song or album.

For example, when Whitney Houston died and her music was playing on the radio again, I was immediately brought back to the days when my girlfriends and I would belt out tunes from The Bodyguard soundtrack. Whenever I hear Nelly’s “Let it Ride” or Destiny’s Child’s “Bills, Bills, Bills,” I’m back on the road with Schro, trying to find something to do in our boring hometown.

The list goes on. Jay Z and Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” is my song with B; where we’re dancing at my wedding or he’s rapping it to me in the car. Blessid Union of Souls’ “I Believe” takes me back to high school with Lisa because the song has her name in it and at the time, we thought that was the coolest thing ever.

There are so many songs that remind me of people who are no longer a large part of my life or who made it a living hell.  When “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” gets going, I’m back in college with my girls, “rolling our Rollies in the sky.”  Kristine is always on my mind whenever I hear anything by Tori Amos.  Guns ‘N Roses’ “November Rain” reminds me of Allan, my first boyfriend. And Bille Myers’ “Kiss the Rain” transports me back to the days I hung out with Hannah. Sophie B. Hawkins’ “As I Lay Me Down,” unfortunately reminds me of Karl, and Rush’s “If I Could Wave My Magic Wand” was the song Chris dedicated to me.

Back in the day, songs corresponded to everything; a boyfriend, a road trip, a break-up, girls night, and so on. I feel that as we get older, while we still have a deep passion for music, the moments aren’t quite defined the same way.

There are still a handful of tunes that have been added to the vault over the years: “At Last” by Etta James, my wedding song; Sam Sparrow’s “Black and Gold,” which, when played, my mom makes us dance around the kitchen with a cane, wearing a glitter top hat; my Guitar Hero go to, Heart’s “Barracuda,” “Christmas Wrapping” by The Waitresses and Mariah Carey’s “All I Want for Christmas (Is You)” have me shouting from the rooftops every holiday season; and Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole’s “Unforgettable,” which is the song  my dad and I danced to at my wedding.

While I wait for more songs to create new timelines in my life, I’ll be relishing in the old times that still make me smile (and sing!).

Why I Donated My Bone Marrow to Save a Stranger’s Life

Seven years ago today, I saved a man’s life.

While I don’t know his name, or whether he has had the good fortune to live to see this day, I gave him an extraordinary gift – my bone marrow.

Seven years ago, I matched a complete stranger. I had been on the national bone marrow registry since I was 18 and it took only seven years for me to be a perfect match. Seven has always been my favorite number.

I matched, at the time, a 29-year-old male with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. There was no doubt in my mind that I would donate. I held the keys to save someone, to give them something that no one else could. I was his lifeline.

Not everyone agreed with my decision. My family, while completely supportive, feared for my own well-being. Would something happen to me during the donation, what were the long-term effects? I understood, but all I could think of was if this was my family, if this was me, or someone I loved, and I had to rely on the generosity of strangers, I’d need someone like me to step up to the plate.

I went through some pain, I gave up paid working days, and it was an emotional roller coaster, as things didn’t go quite as smoothly as the registry had promised. Needless to say, I still saved that 29-year-old man, “Peter” as I liked to call him, since I didn’t know his real name.

I was only updated for a year about “Peter,” and up until that point, he lived. He was doing well and surviving. That’s really all anyone could have hoped for. I always wished he would reach out, send a letter, a card of thanks or maybe even call me, but he has yet to do that, and no one from his family has ever done that either. I don’t need that to complete the process, it would just be icing on the cake.

When I see people on TV meet their donors, or read their stories in the paper, I wish that could be me. And then sometimes I think, maybe “Peter” died. Maybe he’s not even alive to thank me. It’s such a black hole not knowing how it all turned out. It certainly wasn’t the ending I was expecting, but who knows, in 10 years, maybe “Peter” will come knocking on my door to say hello.