2017…another year in the books

2017 has reminded me just how grateful I should be, how thankful I am for the amazing people in my life and how blessed I am to live this life I have!

I’m not going to lie, 2017 started out as a rough year. 40 days in, my life changed forever. Dealing with my mom’s passing was rough, and I really thought it was going to define the year. While I am sure I will always remember that as the most influential part of my 2017, I have been blessed with a multitude of other experiences to make this year enjoyable in the days since. Here are my top 17 highlights from 2017:

  1. Monroe got a new yoga studio – Blue Lotus Yoga, opened by a dear friend of mine who has entrusted me with help her with her social media and website, and all the while it has only made Elaina and me better friends.
  2. My friend Mary came to visit from down south just to keep me company and be with me for a tough weekend. While it was a short visit, it is one I will always remember as she but her own life on hold for the weekend to be there for me at the drop of a hat.
  3. I got my 3rd tattoo – it’s my mom’s handwriting and says “Love, Mom”, taken off the Christmas card she wrote me last year.
  4. Tom and I went to see Jake Owen in concert! (I have to get at least one country concert in each year.)
  5. Once I finally had a chance to leave home for a bit, I visited Jenna and saw Oregon and Washington for my first time! We went beer tasting around Portland (along with whiskey and wine tasting) and even had a flight across the gorge in Washington! I was also able to see Mulnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge before they were hit with a devastating wild fire. Also, while in Portland, Jenna took me to my very first professional soccer game – and I will admit that I loved it!
  6. I spent Mother’s Day weekend in DC with Emily – wine tasting around Virginia and taking in another Nationals game.
  7. I completed my 2nd Warrior Dash with some awesome ladies from my softball team.
  8. I got a dirt bike!!!
  9. Spent Labor Day up on Cape Cod with Tom, Jenna and her family to wish her farewell before her next chapter of life and adventures in Cambodia! And since it was me and Jenna, rum, gin and wine tasting were all on the menu! Along with a 20+ mile bike ride on the rail trail. And we even caught a sight of seals off the coast in Provincetown.
  10. Finally took in a Bridgeport Bluefish game at Harbor Yard before they left town for good.
  11. And even though Hurricane Irma rained out the Tampa 2017 installment of #ktomandlamargotimlbtour, we booked a last minute trip to Cleveland where we saw the Indians win 21 straight games (and then break their win streak two days later). Plus we saw the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and cruised on the Great Lake to see a different side of Cleveland.
  12. I finally made it to Canada thanks to a work trip to Montreal. And though I didn’t have time for sightseeing, there was time to pick up pure Canadian maple syrup to bring home! Work also sent me to Atlanta, so I finally stepped foot outside the airport. And was able to experience some southern BBQ while we dined. My final work trip sent me to Torino, Italy for a week. And included a 7 hour layover in Frankfurt, which gave me ample time to go walk around the city instead of just hanging out in the airport.
  13. After wanting to learn for a long time, I dove in and took a calligraphy class at Joyful Noise Paper and have been enjoying practicing my new hobby ever since.
  14. I spent November writing my 30 Days of Thanks and looking back on all of the blessings I have in my life.
  15. I was elected chair of Monroe Youth Commission.
  16. I survived 3 straight days of Christmas baking – making 100 raspberry thumprints + 121 chocolate chip cookies + 3 Irish soda breads + 81 meringues + 45 chocolate covered pretzels…all for the weekend before Christmas. And that doesn’t include anything I made for Christmas itself, which we hosted for the 1st time this year.
  17. The Gotimer family grew again as Lizzie and Brian got married!

Day 14 – Time Off

I am thankful that I had three and a half months off last year between jobs. Don’t get me wrong, it was oh so stressful when it was happening and I didn’t know how we’d pay all our bills, but in hindsight I learned a lot of lessons during that time. It gave me time to relax, rest and focus on myself. I was able to realize that I am worth more than I give myself credit for. I learned the true value of friends and family. But most of all, I was able to clear my head and get back to being me. Now that I’m at a new job, I’ve got a work-life balance, and a separation of the two 😊

And while it isn’t realistic that you’ll always be able to take that type of time off, I’m quite looking forward to having 19 days off for the holidays this year!

What are Your Guilty Plea$ure$

As originally posted here on TNGG…

Unfortunately, our party lifestyle, coupled with a bad economy, has given more than just the New York Times the idea that our generation has yet to “grow up.” One undisputed Gen Y talent is spending money; turns out a few of us actually have some! Even after rent and college loan payments, we still have a couple pennies to scrape together for ‘disposable income’ and we’re just dying to go out and spend it. So without further ado, I give you the coveted guilty pleasures Gen Y just can’t live without:

Booze — All of us are either still in college, or recent grads who aren’t quite ready to give up the college lifestyle. Whether you’re a wine snob or a beer geek, you spend your money on booze. When an old friend is in town on a business trip, we don’t offer to take them on a tour of our home city, we suggest drinks. It’s a work night? Who cares? There’s a happy hour special at the bar around the corner. You’ll be here for the weekend? Well then, obviously we’ll need to go hit up the best new club in town and then it’s off to the karaoke bar before we head home (or to breakfast!).

Coffee — Whether you’re a Dunkin Devotee, Starbucks Siren or Tim Hortons is your morning kickstart, we love our coffee and we need the caffeine to get us through the work day after we were out the night before — caffeine is our legal drug of choice. (Have you seen the answers to the “10 Questions for…” series on TNGG? Almost everyone lists coffee as something they can’t live without.) We rely on coffee. Our bosses better not ask us to start a project before our first latte (better make it a double!).

Drugs — Hello, have you met a Millennial lately? Our mantra is, “It’s my life; I can do what I want!” This holds true for the drugs that we do, and when we’re stressed out because that cup of coffee didn’t come soon enough, they help calm us down. Prescription drugs are readily accessible, we know this and we take advantage of it.

Technology — A force that has always been a part of our live. We have netbooks, laptops, iPods and e-readers in addition to our BBFL smartphones. We depend on technology to give us immediate answers to everything. We are addicted and we don’t even care. If they’re not in our hands, they are attached to our hips (literally!) or securely tucked in a back pocket. They accompany us every time we stand up from our desk because we can’t delay in replying to the latest person who tweeted at us. My biggest fear of losing my purse in the city is not my wallet (it’s not like we carry cash on us anymore — debit cards and my work ID are easily replaceable), it’s that I will lose so many things I don’t know how I could live without (iPod/iPhone). Like everyone else, I don’t have the patience to sit still for that long with nothing to do. And how could I possibly last a week without social media these days?

Vacations/Getaways — many of us still live at home and no one wants to be home in their house with their parents all the time. We went away to college and then our friends who used to live within walking distance dispersed all over the world. We value our leisure time and we’re traveling more than the older generations. We are still grasping at our dreams — when we were little, our parents told us when we got bigger, we’d have the whole world at our hands. Now that we’re all grown up, we want to travel the world. Maybe we can’t all go backpack through Europe because we’ve got those pesky student loans and rent payments on our shoulders every month, but one thing full-time jobs come with is paid vacation time and we take advantage of every single day available to us.

Spending money on our guilty pleasures helps keep us sane and appeases our addictions — because face it, that’s what most of our guilty pleasures are… or turn into. So long as we’re smart (hopefully?) there’s nothing wrong with indulging every now and again, right?

What about you? Any other guilty pleasures I left off the list?

Photo by BruceTurner

Do Whatever He Tells You

Preface: the following post is actually some fleeting thoughts of a personal reflection I jotted down yesterday morning while listening to Sean Patrick Cardinal O’Malley address approximately 700 religious and catechists at the Diocese of Bridgeport‘s Catechetical Congress.

I am not a perfect Catholic — no one is (well there may be an exception of two, anyone heard of our Immaculate Mother?). This morning I woke up half excited, half dreading the day — well dread may be an exaggeration, but I can’t in all honesty say I was 100% excited to be attending this year’s Catechetical Congress. Like many other 24-year-olds, sitting through lectures and workshops for an entire Saturday is no what I look forward to. In school, I slept through big lectures like the one I am currently in, and now I tend to opt out of these sorts of things. The theme for today’s conference is to do whatever He tells you to do (He being God — in case you were wondering…). Well, I guess that’s what I am doing right now, right? Originally, I had no intentions to register for this today, I kept trying to come up with a reason to skip it but I had no valid reason to say no. Well why not just say no, sleep in and go out instead? Because a nun I have known since I was a toddle asked me to come. Just as I can’t tell her no when she asks me to teach another year of religion, I couldn’t say no to her without having a valid reason not to come (something to do, family plans, anything other than “sorry, I’m just not into it” would have worked). Sister is a great lady and has always believed in me — I always get the benefit of the doubt with her. Sometimes I feel guilty because I know she thinks the nest of everyone and I think she gives me too much credit most of the time. I am 24, I like to go out and have a good time, but all in all, at the bottom of my heart, I know that she (and her religious ed. program) are who helped my parents form who I am today. They gave me values and morals. They are a huge part of why ethics mean so much to me today.

But back to the conference — two of my friends were going (and then we ran into another friend we didn’t know would be here). So the three of us agreed to go together — we would show up together and keep each other company throughout the day. I accepted that I would be busy today as I would be here. This week, I was even given another out. I could go mountain biking in the snow (assuming it actually snowed on Friday night) in the Catskills. I was torn at first, go to this, or get to spend time with a guy I want to get to know more. In the end, I did what I usually do, I followed through with me word and here I am (or there I was…) sitting at Sacred Heart University listening to Cardinal O’Malley (my favorite bishop). Everything he’s saying applies to me right now. I am doing what He told men and I highly doubt I will regret coming to this.

I guess I just keep surprising myself everyday, though I’m not sure why. I registered for an event and I’m not one to cancel on people unless I really need to, so why am I surprised that I’m here? Regardless of the fact that I keep underestimating myself, it’s OK. Lately I’ve been learning some important life lessons, or at least I’m realizing some key things I think I’ve always sort of know, but overlooked — today is no different. I have grown up. I know who I am and staying true to that is important to me. I know there’s still more for me to learn and I’m still learning things day by day. But my morals and the basis of who I am is set. I follow through with my word and I don’t compromise my morals. I guess this is not something that should come as a shock to me, but it did today and I’m awed by it. Maybe one day I’ll even learn to stop underestimating myself and I’ll realize Sister isn’t in fact giving me too much credit; she’s giving me credit I deserve.

In hindsight, I am glad I went. I enjoyed it and it wasn’t actually that boring. I met some amazing people and got to spend some quality time with some great friends.

The Monster Under My Bed

When I was a little girl, I used to think that there were creatures living under my bed. Not only did I think that, but there was a way to be sure that they didn’t get a hold of me. You see, they lived under the bed and didn’t leave there. So long as I was completely on top of my bed, they couldn’t get me. If my arm or leg were hanging off the bed, well then, then the creature could get me. I’m not sure that anyone knows about the fact that I thought this, well that is until now when I put it online for the world to see… Thing is, I haven’t believed this since I was 6 or 7. I know there are no such things as monsters that live under the bed, and I especially know there’s none under mine as I need to retrieve the remote or my phone or keys from under there nearly daily, plus, I’m sure the clothes I store under the bed take up too much room for a monster to co-habitat with them.

So you probably ask why if I don’t believe in the monster under my bed anymore, why in the world am I writing a post about them? Because tonite I’ve learned that this belief as a kid has caused an interesting habit for me now today, and probably something I’ve done the last 18 years. It’s finally that time of year that it is cool enough to keep the AC off, but for me, it’s still a bit too warm some nights, tonight which us one if them. I like being able to sleep with my comforter on my bed year round, especially the new one I got this summer. Being as how my room is slightly too hot for me to sleep under the layers on my bed, I figure keeping my leg curled above my blanket with the fan blowing on it could cool me off. So I stuck my leg out from the sheets and my foot was dangling off the edge of the bed. Almost immediately I pulled it back and made sure my leg was securely on my bed and not hanging off.

As I’m currently wide awake, this struck me as a bit odd of an instinct. Thinking about it, I cannot recall anytime when I’ve laid in bed with a limb hanging out, nor can I ever recall waking up without being smack in the middle of my bed. Perhaps it’s the hour of the night, but somehow I realized that I obviously don’t sleep with my limbs off the bed because of the monsters that live under the bed. In the same half second that I had that thought, I also decided I must be delirious. It was in the next thought that I realized that my fear as a kid caused me to have an interesting habit 18 years later. And now, as I lie here not able to sleep, I wonder how many other habits were brought about through random thoughts from our past…

a year later

Exactly one year ago I graduated from college. 100 days before that I blogged about what lay ahead…I didn’t know(it’s actually my first blog here). I had no idea where I was going to be and what I was going to be doing after college came to an end. Well graduation came and went, and I still didn’t know any of it. I stayed in Boston for a day or two and then moved back to Connecticut to try and figure it out. Today I am sitting here still trying to figure it out. I’m beginning to think that nothing is ever going to be as easy as it once was.

Life used to be simple, regardless of how I felt at the time. Years ago life was so simple that I didn’t even have to pick out my clothes. When I was little mom did everything for me. She put my hair in rollers every day for over a year because I wanted curly hair like her. My outfit was picked out for me every day. My play dates were set up for me. The biggest decision that faced me was what snack I wanted after school. As I grew up I started becoming more responsible for some of my own decisions. I picked out my own outfits. I decided what sports I wanted to play.

Regardless of the decisions I made, life was relatively simple. Everything was laid out and the next stage in life was going to come as soon as it was due. I went from “My” Nursery School to Veterans Park to East Ridge to Ridgefield High without thinking about anything. I received penance, my First Holy Communion and Confirmation when the nuns decided it was going to happens. I got my license 120 days after I turned 16 because that’s when I was allowed to get it. Even when it was time for me to make the first real decision in life I knew that I was still going to move onto the next stage. Just over five years ago I needed to decide where to go to college. It took me four months to decide, but I knew that no matter what I was going to college. I always kept taking the next step in the path of life.

When I was three-years-old, I decided I wanted to be like my dad and become a lawyer. When I was eight-years-old, I decided I wanted to be a sports lawyer. When I started looking at colleges, I looked at good business schools with Economics majors. Why did I want to be an Econ major? Because when I started looking at schools I learned that Econ majors tend to score highest on the LSATs. I took AP Econ in high school because that would help if I wanted to major in it. I never took a single Econ class in college. I was 19-years-old when I realized I was on a path I had set out for myself when I was three-years-old and that I never once questioned where I was headed. I changed my major a couple times, got some internships and just kept going.

The other day I realized that I don’t know where I’m headed. I’m not the path I picked when I was three-years-old. I was on that path for so long, I don’t know what all my other options are. I know I’m on a path and I’m headed somewhere but I have no idea where that somewhere is.

465 days ago I hoped to land on my feet after being thrown out into the great big world. I can’t say I stuck the landing, but at least I seem to be holding my own for now. Looking back, it’s weird to see how much I’ve changed since then, but how much I’m still the same person. The last 100 days of college was crazy; so much happened in a short period of time and it flew by. The last 365 days, my first year in the “real world” have been crazy; so much has happened and it’s flown by. I wasn’t ready for the real world then and I’m still not ready for all of it even now that I’m there. I miss the comfort of knowing what lies ahead but I thrive for the unknown. I may not know what lies ahead or where I’m headed but I have figured out some things.

  • I thought I had 100 days to grow up. I have know realized it’s not necessary to grow up and change. It’s important to stay true to being young and having fun, otherwise, how are you going to make it through all the tough stuff that the real world has in store for each of us?
  • I thought I needed to be prepared for the real world. I’ve learned that no matter what, you will never be prepared for everything. But that’s what makes it fun. Every day there’s a new challenge ahead and something new to learn.
  • I thought that the real world would just kinda flow along as everything else always has. I could never be more wrong. I need to work for everything. All the little things in life and everything I always took for granted now mean a lot to me and I value what is truly important in life: time spent with friends and family and doing things you believe in.

So here’s to tomorrow, to learning new things, to overcoming challenges, to staying young while growing older, and here’s to the rest; it’s going to come whether I’m ready or not.

soul searching

Today I’ve been doing a bit of “soul searching”. I’m at an interesting point in life and don’t really know whats going to happen…in any aspect of my life really. I’m applying for jobs and trying to land one, but so far it seems I’m not getting much further than a first round interview. I either don’t want the jobs that I’m qualified for or I’m not qualified for the jobs I want. I’m applying for everything from HR to Marketing to Retail Merchandising to Event Planning and everything in between. I’m applying everywhere from NY to Boston to Florida to Milwakee to Dallas to Baltimore in every industry I can think of. I’m at a loss of what to do, but what’s weird…I don’t care all so much. I mean, yea, I want a job, but I’m not as hard pressed to find one as a lot of my peers are and it’s not the first thing I think about when I have time to get stuff done. A lot of times I’m not even sure I know what I want to do. What bothers me the most about this is I don’t know where I’ll be living in 3 months. That’s what I care about, where will I be living and who will I be with…not what I’ll be doing.

Then there’s the whole school thing I still need to deal with. In high school, I was the sophomore with senioritis. As a freshman in college, I thought I brought it with me from high school. And now as a senior I’ve decided to buckle down as a student? Like really buckle down and say school comes first…usually. Last semester my friends found it amusing that I used to tell them to stop worrying about school work, and this time, they needed to move my books aside and drag me outside. I figured that would just last a semester or so, but no, it lasted and is still lasting into my final semester. I have yet to go out on a school night…I don’t know that I could ever say that has been true.

And I keep thinking about the fact that I am going to Long Island on Friday for my cousin to get married. Catch is, it’s not just any cousin, it is the cousin closet in age to me…like 10 weeks older than me. That’s a bit scary. She’s already graduated from college and is working on her Masters and PhD.

I guess it’s just that I think I’m behind, but I’m not really. My friends have job offers, but they are doing work that bores me, my friends that have my major don’t have jobs. Many of my friends know where they are going to be living, but they have job offers and honestly, I’ll be happy living anywhere. And Lisa’s getting married…I don’t want to be there yet, but I guess it would be nice to have someone there to lean on all the time….

and so, the final countdown begins…

So I’ve been thinking a lot that I need to start blogging again. It was something I did when I lived in Dublin and it helped me decompress while keeping friends at home in the know. As I sit here pregamming for senior pub night, I can’t help but think about when one of my best friends, Jenna, said to me earlier. She told me about her blog she wrote today and how in kindergarden she remembers celebrating the 100th day of school and tonight we are celebrating being 100 calendar days away from being college graduates, whether we like it or not. I too celebrated the 100th day of school when I was in kindergarden…at VP we did it every year ’til the 3rd grade I believe.