Pizza Stone Toe Happens

Look at the life picture I've painted in 2017 and you'll see me falling in love, traveling across the globe and playing with lots of puppies. There were many bright spots, but I'd like to go on record along with the rest of America and say that overall this year was pretty much a little bitch. (Sorry mom.) Plus I've had to endure most of 2017 with only nine toenails. And if that isn't a metaphor for life, I don't know what is.

Social media me, sending chill vibes in 2017.
The real me, telling 2017 to lay off.
"You seem oddly... calm," my best friend, Suzie, says as she sits next to me less than two weeks after my latest breakup. As I prattle on and on about the man of the minute I found on some dating app, she remains skeptical. But obviously, I'M FINE. I mean, look at the evidence: I'm going on dates! Booking flights right and left! Taking up new hobbies! Unstoppable, I tell you!

A few days later, the simple task of reheating a piece of pizza confirms that I am not, in fact, fine. Apparently the sure-fire indicator I'm experiencing life trauma is to gauge my behavior in the kitchen. (cc: The Great Chocolate Chip Cookie Meltdown of 2013.)

"Place directly on oven rack OR ON PIZZA STONE." Danger ahead.
I cleverly decide to use a pizza stone for this task because A) I'm a new woman post-breakup who makes even dull tasks exciting, B) The reheating instructions told me to, and C) I had a pizza stone when I moved into my apartment two years ago and wonder if it still exists. Answer: it does! And in its original packaging no less! This becomes a problem when I lift the disintegrating box to about chest height and the pizza stone falls out the bottom, plummeting to the ground... by way of my toe.


Something > Nothing

A funny thing happens when you broadcast your life-altering decisions to the world: some people actually listen. One of the coolest things about the past year of my life (other than the fact that I can finally make happy hour) is that I've somehow become a source of wisdom/inspiration for a few people. I'm flattered and humbled, but also at a loss for what to say when people ask how they can shift their lives in a positive direction. It forces me to retrace my steps and ask myself: How DID I get here?

The simple answer is that it can't be defined by a single moment. Quitting my job may have seemed like a very assertive, final action that put everything on track, but in actuality it was one action that was flanked on either side by other actions -- some big, some small -- that were just as important as the birthday card/resignation letter saga.
The before... I pursued new relationships; I moved to a new part of town; I gave my boss an ultimatum that if things didn't change, I was going to find something new.
The after... I traveled to new parts of the country; I sat in my kitchen and applied to new jobs; I went to awkward networking events and met more new people.


Hello from the Other Side...

Well kids, I survived. For those of you who have more important things to do than track my employment status, I quit my job last fall with zero plans for next steps. I had lots of adjectives thrown at me during my three-month funemployment journey: brave, risky, exciting, irresponsible. It was all of those things, but more than anything... IT WAS WORTH IT.

Comin' atcha, life. 
My generation gets a bad rap for being lazy, self-entitled brats. Perhaps that's true of the well-coiffed hippie I saw selling "magical rocks" outside a bookstore in Portland, but in general I'd like to raise a hand on behalf of Millennials and say that we're dedicated, loyal, hard-working folks who just want to find our place in the world. We quite frankly don't have time to be wastes of space since we're expected to have three years of experience the day after graduation just to be eligible for an entry-level position. This means once we get a job, we're pretty serious about keeping it. I mean, we all own rescue dogs and they need to eat.

Yes, we are busy sending Biden/Obama memes to the group text, watching viral videos of pandas playing in the snow, drooling over Chrissy Tiegen's latest Snapchat recipe and stalking an ex's new flame on Instagram. But do you know the main reason some of us run into poles with our heads glued to screens? Because we're trying to figure out how email works in the latest iOS update, proofing the 29th revision of that document that just won't die and responding to our boss' 2am texts. I watch Mad Men today and despite the alcoholism, mental instability and sexism, find myself thinking: "Wow! Those were the days!" If Don Draper went to Hawaii, he was untouchable: no Internet, no email, no cell phones. Meanwhile, during my get-over-your-breakup-vacation I found myself pacing across a pool deck in Santorini trying to find a Wifi signal.

This is a problem that plagues all of working America. The difference for Millennials is that 24/7 accessibility is the only norm we've ever known. It hit me as I sat fielding emails in the ER with an IV shoved into my arm at 6am on a Wednesday: perhaps this isn't a good norm to accept. Perhaps it's time to try something different.

"Quitting" has a bad connotation in most circumstances. For a long time I thought quitting was the equivalent of failure. But ultimately I realized that sometimes quitting is the bravest and best thing you can do. I'm not right about everything, but I was right about that. The three months I spent in limbo were some of the most important moments of my life. Not because I did anything revolutionary, but because I re-discovered how to place value in the things that make me happy.