FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza
Without going into detail, a few months ago I was the ultimate Debbie Downer to be around. At times my days felt unbearably hard and I couldn’t even recognize myself. But in small incremental steps, life started to make sense again. To get through the pain took work. I repeated over and over, ‘Nothing good lasts forever, nothing bad lasts forever. It’s just life.’
My very dear friend (and favorite poet) recently recommended to me “Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude” by Ross Gay. While I’m still reading through all the poems, my quick reaction and just the title alone had me thinking all weekend of the big and small moments for which I am thankful.
I live in a DTLA high-rise that converted from the Mobil Oil Building offices to apartments. Along with my overpriced incredibly small living space, my view is basically just a bunch of walls. No direct light at all. On the rare occasion when I keep the windows open, I will hear city noises and very loud mechanical equipment from the building roof buzzing all day and all night.
I spent this past weekend up in Oxnard for work related meetings. Oxnard is only 50 minutes outside of L.A. but the landscape is so different from the city with expansive farm fields. My brief weekend away from the hustle of DTLA allowed me to hear birds chirping. I know everyone else in the world probably hears chirping birds all the time, but my building’s mechanical sounds traumatized me until I forgot the sweet song of a morning bird’s greeting existed.
Dinners with New Companions
Generally, work events are not my favorite type of dinner socials. As part of a Board Retreat I attended this weekend, the board members gathered at a local country club for dinner together. This dinner actually allowed all of us a great way to get to know each other outside our typical board meetings. You sure do learn interesting tidbits about colleagues over wine and good food. I love when I am pleasantly surprised witnessing folks loosen up and just laugh.
Conversations with Old Friends
I have a friend/former roommate who I categorize ‘in my arena’ (Brené Brown talk!). He teaches at a university out in Ohio so we rarely see each other and just catch up with each other on the phone when possible. On my drive back to LA, we finally were able to coordinate a phone call. Hearing about all the great opportunities going on his life and sharing exciting goals in mine really made my day. Staying friends with a person for 20 years (yikes) allows for a long history and ease of talking about subjects without rehashing all the back-story. Our conversations don’t take extra work and I can be myself with all my politically incorrect and obnoxious commentary.
You know how you just want the people you care most about to be happy? That’s how I feel about the people I hold close. And when they return the same sentiment back, it’s an incredible feeling to know I can count on a person to be in my arena with me.
Anytime I don’t have to park in an overpriced priced parking meter or crazy, crowded parking structure I’m happy. Up in Ventura county, I stopped at all kinds of discount big box stores just because the parking would be easier than LA. Nothing beats walking out of your car, crossing a parking lot and entering a store. City girl problems.
I believe early Sunday mornings are the best. Tons of people are still asleep. Brunch waits don’t exist. The roads are clear; a 5-mile trip from DTLA to Larchmont Village that usually takes 30 minutes on a weekday will take less than 10 minutes on a Sunday morning. AND yellow loading zone parking is available all day. On Sundays the sun just shines brighter, the sky is the best shade of blue, the air is still crisp. This Sunday morning, I sat outside taking in the unusually warm winter weather allowing myself to have no real schedule because I purposely had nowhere to be.
Nina wrote a couple great posts about playlists. I totally get that feeling of the perfect soundtrack to create the backdrop of your moment. During my super grump dogg mode, I refused to listen to any form of music at all. Talk about sucky car rides with me. If I heard Drake’s ‘Hotline Bling’ one more fckin time I was going to lose it. I turned all weep-y listening to Adele songs. (Why do people listen to her? Her songs literally keep you lingering at the pity party).
Just these last weeks, I slowly reduced my exclusively only NPR news and This American Life podcasts to allow music to re-enter my life. I went back to one of my playlists filled with Cure classics and other high school favorites. As I sang my heart out during my solo car rides, I reminisced about fun summer nights dancing in my cousin’s basement in Great Neck. One memorable line of one song can set you up for a great day.
I know that when times are low, it is easier said than done to remember the small great moments that make life so great. But sadness isn’t a forever feeling and now I know going through the hard moments allows you to appreciate life’s small gifts.
Nice to meet you again, Aiza.