A breath of fresh air

I’m spending my long weekend in the country, visiting my dear friend Katey on her farm in Connecticut. I can tell I’m out of the city because I’m sneezing more (hello plants and puppies) and because an ice cream sundae costs a meager $2.25. Is this 1950?

  
Expect more updates from seedling sales, goat feedings, and other rustic adventures before I return to Boston! 

How are you spending this official kick-off of summer?

Reflections on being 29-and-a-half

I started this blog on my 25th birthday, with a set of goals I wanted to achieve before I turned 30.  I had been in Boston for two years (a “long” time), had a fun and easy life, but also knew that there was more out there, just waiting for me to grab it.

I wasn’t wrong – but in the last four and a half years, I’ve reevaluated a bit.  Maybe I don’t want to be president anymore (thanks, House of Cards, for showing the dark side…).  And maybe dividing my time between a million things – scheduled far in advance – is not the route to happiness.  I’ve seen a lot of friends make similar evaluations over the last few years – one, quitting her creative/business job that related to her degree to become a dog walker and then moving across the country. Another, leaving the corporate world entirely and moving to Europe. Still others going back to school, dropping out of school, choosing love over location and location over love. It’s fascinating to see my peers come to their own conclusions about how to live this weird and wonderful part of our lives.

And it’s time for me to make some new plans, too.  So I’m retiring some of my original goals from 25 year old Sally.  Here’s what, and why:

Visit South America / see the Grand Canyon

Mark my words – I will do both these things. But not in the next six months. I blew all my travel-related savings in Europe this fall. Having the flexibility to get up and go on a grand adventure is amazing, and I have no regrets.  But I’ve also realized that just because these two places didn’t end up being on my list for these last five years doesn’t mean I’m a travel failure – just that I found other adventures. I do want to keep going on big and small trips without feeling like each one requires a year of planning – but as I’ve learned again and again, the people I’m with are more important than the places I see, so my focus this year is on hanging out with my friends and family, even just in our own hoods.

Find a place to do some steady volunteering / Run for public office

I work from about 8:30-6:30 each day. On weekends, I cook, play softball and volleyball, hang out with my friends, run, take classes, go to shows, etc etc etc. I also volunteer on an Institutional Review Board at Dana Farber and volunteer at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp almost every summer. Oh, and I am web communications chair for my college class for the next five years. So why, oh why, do I think I’m not doing enough? My goal here was to make some new connections and serve my community – both valid concepts. But I don’t think 25 year old me gave myself enough credit for all the work I already do. I almost applied to be on the historic commission in Somerville, and then I looked around and realized how much more work can be done in the areas where I’m already involved, and stopped myself (not a moment too soon). Instead, I’m chilling out for a minute, and being ready to carve out time in my life for the right opportunities when they do exist, because I’m sure they’re ahead.

Stop saying “yeah” in public settings when I really mean “yes”

Modern English is changing, y’all – this is no longer a priority anymore.  Instead, my goal is to understand the proper usage of the phrases “YAS QUEEN”, “on fleek” and “legit AF”.

Get certified in something – massage, Zumba, crepe-making?

What’s in a label? I’ve tried some awesome things over the years – Indian cooking classes, all kinds of yoga, trampoline gyms, salsa dancing, painting, guitar. I would still love to be a teacher eventually, but for now I’m letting myself be taught.

You might see a theme here: it is the same as what I’m telling my cousins who are embarking in summer between years of college. And it is this: chill out. Nothing is so serious that we need to be so strict about it and hold ourselves to a list. I don’t think that being ambitious is inherently a problem, but it can make it harder to embrace the moment, and damn if this moment isn’t worth embracing. I’m going to be working on living my life and checking off the boxes as they come, rather than tracking them so far in advance. It will all work out in the end.

What do you know now that you wish you could tell your 25 year old self?

Music Monday: Here in Neverland

My name is Sally, and I’m addicted to musicals.

There are some that have meant a lot to my life – like Grease, which brought me some of the best people in my life when we did it in high school, or the Sound of Music, which Grandma Sugarplum and I would sing together.

But I can only think of three performances where the show itself – the sheer musical content and drama – kicked me in the gut so hard that I watched with my hand over my mouth, willing time to slow down so I could stay in the moment forever.

The first: A Chorus Line – I felt like had just broken my ankle and lost my life’s dream.
The second: Wicked – in the front row in London, watching Idina Menzel – sorry, Adele Dazeem – take to the skies.
The third: Finding Neverland – here in Boston, with Jeremy Jordan killing it in the lead role. Be still, my heart. But seriously, I was never a fan of the movie but thought the show sounded fun and it blew me away, to the extent that I bought tickets for my family to see it first thing the next morning.

(Later, when I saw Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in London, I held it against this example of unexpected, amazing childhood fun and it came up sorely lacking.)

Don’t take it from me – go see Matthew Morrison take back this role on Broadway, and Laura Michelle Kelly continue her reign of glory as the leading lady. I know I’m going to see it again!

(Ok, the fourth was Spring Awakening – and the fifth was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamboat – and the sixth was Les Mis – and the seventh…)

Hiking homework

This week was my first lecture as part of the Boston chapter of the Appalachian Mountain Club spring hiking course (say that five times fast!).  I expected the class to consist of 30 people who would all become my fast friends over six weeks as we shared stories of blisters and dreams of windy peaks. 

Erm, not so much. 

When I arrived at the AMC office on Beacon Hill, I was one of a dozen people all rushing in slightly late. I paid my $65 fee and was handed what can only be described as a brick of a guidebook, as well as a carefully curated handbook. Maybe this is actually kind of serious, I thought to myself as I looked for any open seat in the room that held more than 125 people. 

The goal of week 1 was to terrify you into never wearing running shoes or cotton in the woods ever again, and it definitely worked. The clothing workshop also made me realize that I need to spend about $500 just to get my basic gear up to snuff – gulp. But everyone was nice and encouraging even as they called cotton the devil. I can’t wait to see what part of hiking I’m woefully unprepared for next! 

 

(Trying not to read too far ahead in the book to keep the suspense alive!) 

Hello sunshine

Spring has sprung in Boston and not a moment too soon. The air is fresh, the snow piles are shrinking, and the Red Sox season opener is Monday. 

  

What more could you want in life? Give me an iced coffee and call this heaven. 

Climb ev’ry mountain

One of the coolest things I did in Hawaii – or maybe in my entire life to date – was to drive to the top of Haleakalā, a massive shield volcano that makes up more than 75% of Maui.  It took hours to get to the top of the crater, switching back and forth slowly up the side (emphasis on slowly – those turns were not for the faint of heart).  But what we saw at the 10,000 foot top made the dizzying drive worthwhile.

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It was like being on another planet – Mars, specifically.  I lost all depth perception in the sweeping hills of red and black dust. Rocks looked like I could reach out and touch them, when in reality, they were miles away.

We didn’t stay up there too long – we were originally going to watch the sunset, but decided it wasn’t worth driving down in the dark.  We did catch a glimpse of the splendor on the way down, but it was really the scene from the top that stuck with me the most.  It was a breathtaking reminder of just how unexpectedly awesome a view can be – and how worthwhile it is to make the trek (though maybe pack your inhaler next time, lady…).

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And it gave me a final push to take on one of the last big challenges I wanted to tackle before I turn 30 in October: Mount Washington.  Despite growing up in NH, I’ve never once set foot on the top of this giant mountain.  My good friend Kate, who rowed crew with me back at Mount Holyoke (aka my twin because our coach thought we were the same person…) is going to hike it with me this summer.  I don’t know what path we’ll take yet (but I’m taking suggestions!) but I’m more convinced than ever that the view at the top will be mind-boggling and worth every step. Leave your hiking advice below, please!

Sunset on our descent

(All photos are my own!)

Vacation truths

When I go on vacation with my sister, some things are guaranteed:


1. We will try – and fail – to stay still and relax.
We did chill out on the beach and at Twin Falls, but we also drove for five hours yesterday. We can’t stop (won’t stop) moving!

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2. We will get sunburnt – our Polish/ French skin is no match for the morning sun glinting off the ocean, as this week’s snorkel adventure reminded us.

3. We will take jumping pictures. It wouldn’t be a sister-vacation without a carefully timed photo session – we also got into someone else’s cheesy photos when I was asked to be the O in their OHIO!

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4. We will sing show tunes. All those years of practicing our parts in “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” really show when you get us alone in a car for hours!

5. We will have a blast. My sister is a badass, great navigator, good meal-sharer, and overall awesome friend, and I wish we could have this kind of adventure every day. For now, I’m soaking up every minute until we go back to our own cities and then immediately planning our next trip. Huzzah!

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