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Saturday, October 8th, 2011
4:10 pm - Annual Yom Kippur Entry
I know it's been a really long while since my last entry. But every year I do an entry on Yom Kippur, and this year will be no different.

I re-read last year's entry. Last Yom Kippur, I was fasting at home in Dresher, waiting for what I thought my new life was going to be to start: a job in Maryland at a small branding firm-- a place I believed really cared about their clients-- and living with Marissa and Dan until I found a place of my own near Baltimore. But shortly after last year's entry, all of that fell apart pretty quickly and unexpectedly. In last year's entry, I was looking forward to all that, but did include this: "I think Last Year's Brianna would have expected Present Brianna to be writing about having a sweet job in, say, New York City. But after having spent the past three days, I know that the place where I'm working is the place where I'm supposed to be working."

Well, Past Brianna, you were totally wrong and yet strangely prescient. Because a year later, I'm updating from my apartment in Brooklyn. I've got an exhibit design job in Manhattan, which I got a month after leaving that place in Maryland. It's a good job. I'm appreciated there. And being in New York means that I am surrounded by good friends from college, and even from home-- Evan's my roommate now. Last night I had dinner with Kate and Janet and Eric. I see Amanda and Kate Gaffigan regularly. I talk to Allie via email a lot, and over the phone about once a month (she asked me to be a bridesmaid at her wedding!) I miss Meg every day, but we catch up when we can. And tonight I'm breaking the fast with Chris, who's also now living in New York and has a job in the music industry. And for all the everyday stuff-- the bad days at work, the boring days, the bills to pay, the squabbles with Chris, the friends from school I miss-- I feel incredibly lucky. Because that's what Yom Kippur is supposed to be about. Realizing how lucky you are for the opportunities you have, reflecting on what matters to you. And even though Past Brianna would soon get a big kick in her career pants, she's got a lot to be grateful for, and Present Brianna is happy for that.

Present Brianna is also very hungry.

So, Future Brianna, now I know there's no telling where you may be a year from now. But wherever you are and whoever you're with, I hope you feel as grateful as I do right now.

current mood: hungry
widdle waddle
Saturday, June 18th, 2011
8:28 pm
Chris just accepted a job in New York City and will be moving here in about a month. I'm moving into my own apartment with Evan in a week. My boss told me this week that he appreciates all the work I've been putting into our projects, and they're involving me in more starting next week.

Life is pretty good right now.

current mood: happy
widdle waddle
Saturday, May 28th, 2011
7:33 pm
Once again, it's been a month. My update, then, is pretty long, so I've separated it again into bits and pieces. Enjoy!

The job:Collapse )

The boy:Collapse )

The living situation:Collapse )

The social life:Collapse )

The free time:Collapse )

The creative endeavors:Collapse )

That's all for now. I make a promise every month to write more. Maybe if I say the opposite, I will actually write more. So, see you next month!

Oh and p.S. The weather finally got beautiful. Hello summer! You're finally here!

current mood: lazy
widdle waddle
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
11:21 pm
I didn't plan it this way, but it's been another month since updating. Actually, though, it's an appropriate day for me to be updating about my life currently, because a year ago today my life was utter craziness: Capstone Turn-In Day and Portfolio Day. I was running around getting last-minute stuff ready for our portfolio show, praying that my Capstone books were delivered to the Honors office before the cut-off deadline, and then after the portfolio show booking it to Honors where, exhausted, I officially handed in my first graphic novel ever. By this time last year, I was finished the two projects that had dominated my entire academic year (or, arguably, my academic career at college) and I was only weeks away from graduating. Mentally and emotionally, I was all over the place, but I kept it together by telling myself I'd have a job soon.

And what a year it's been since then. Last year when I looked at what I wanted my life to be like in a year's time, I'm happy to say now that this is a pretty close approximation of my daydreams: living in a major city near my friends and going to a design job that I like and working on projects that don't suck my soul out. And I've managed that-- somehow, miraculously, and not without some detours along the way. Last year, if someone had told me what my first six months out of college would be like, I wouldn't have believed them. But I'm here now, and I'm in general very happy. (And happy that I'm able to say I'm happy.) It's not a perfect situation, but then again nothing is as perfect as what's in your imagination. And I've still got a lot of time to make it even better.

current mood: satisfied
widdle waddle
Monday, February 28th, 2011
11:05 pm
I have to get better at writing more than quick updates once a month. This sort of reminds me of when I was in London, in that there's so much going on that I'm in the middle of that I don't have a ton of time to sit down and put those thoughts on paper. Or virtual paper. But here I am, and hopefully here I will be again soon.

Work is going swimmingly. I like my bosses, and I feel like after the initial new job shock wore off, I settled into a pretty good rapport with everyone, including myself, about work. And I've actually started making substantive contributions to certain projects, which makes me happy because I feel like I'm using my brain again and not just InDesign. All in all it's a good experience, and I'm really grateful for it. Plus there are two cats in the office who love me because I give them all kinds of attention. Hehe.

Outside of work things are going equally well. I see friends often-- I meet up with Kate weekly for some sort of meal, Janet and I got bagel brunch last week, and Amanda invited me out for girly drinks on Friday. My roommates are good, drama-free people. I've almost forgotten that lonely, sad, dissatisfied feeling that classified the six months after graduation leading up to this job, but it's stuck with me just enough for me to remember how damn lucky I am to be in a place where things happen, and where people I want to see live.

I would write more, but I've got to get to bed soon. I promise, more next time.

current mood: grateful
2 waddles| widdle waddle
Saturday, January 29th, 2011
10:05 pm
It’s been a month since I last updated, and what a month it’s been.

This month I moved to Brooklyn (and am moving to a more permanent location tomorrow after spending three weeks crashing on my sister’s friend’s couch), started my new job in Manhattan, and reconnected with several friends who I hadn’t seen since graduation. It feels good to be in a city with so many options, and to have so many friends close by.

But it’s still a lot to get used to. I’m still acclimating to city life, and re-acclimating to a work environment. I like my new job very much. I’m learning a ton, and it’s in a field that I would love to work in for the rest of my career, so I’m happy to soak up as much as possible and help in any way I can. The hours are long and I’m still learning my way around both design-wise and personally, but it’s a good fit and I’m happy. It just takes time to feel normal somewhere.

I’m not in love with New York yet, but I feel like that is going to take time too. Like I said, I’m moving tomorrow, which will hopefully help me feel like I have an actual place in this city instead of feeling like an interloper, and will help me to get to know neighborhoods. And when the weather gets better, I’ll be outside more, and more willing to go on adventures. And once I get settled in I want to start taking classes and workshops and doing things for myself again besides watching Hulu. Spending three weeks on someone’s couch, even someone as sweet and generous as my sister’s friend, sort of made me feel like I was in suspended animation for a while, but I’m confident I’ll come out of it. I’m already more confident than I was when I got here. That being said, I don’t know what I would have done without her, and I’m so grateful she let me stay with her. Having people here I can count on is such a blessing, especially when I’m still getting my bearings.

I’m looking forward to starting a life here. It’s a daunting thought, but I think I’m on my way.

current mood: full
1 waddle| widdle waddle
Wednesday, December 29th, 2010
9:59 pm - 2010 in review part two
This is likely to be my last entry of 2010, so I thought I'd do part two of my year end wrap-up.

1) Where did you begin 2010?
At my house with Chris.

2) What was your status by Valentine's Day?
With Chris.

3) Were you in school (anytime this year)?
The end of my senior year at Syracuse.

4) How did you earn your money?
Freelancing and my full-time gig down in Maryland.

5) Did you have to go to the hospital?
Happily, no.

6) Did you have any encounters with the police?
Yep-- the first day I had my car, I got pulled over for having two license plates, my grandfather's old plates and my new ones. Everything ended up fine, but the whole thing made me feel pretty badass.

7) Where did you go on holiday?
To the shore for Labor Day.

8) What did you purchase that was over $500?
A new computer, a MacBook Pro who I named Sterling.

9) Did you know anybody who got married?
One of my sister's oldest friends got married on Black Friday.

10) Did you know anybody who passed away?
Thankfully, no.

11) Have you run into anybody you left high school with?
Just the other day I ran into a kid I was in art class with at a neighbor's Christmas party. He thought I'd gone to Tyler, and he told me he was going to be a chiropractor, then ignored me for the rest of the night. I do not miss high school.

12) Did you move anywhere?
I moved back into my South Campus apartment at the beginning of the year, moved back home after the end of the semester, moved down to Maryland for my job, and then moved back here after I left the job. Will move to New York about a week into the new year.

13) What sporting events did you go to?
I watched the World Cup, but I didn't go to any of the games.

14) What concerts/shows did you go to?
Some of Chris's concerts.

15) Are you registered to vote?
Yes, but my absentee ballot wasn't counted. Boo.

16) Who did you want to win Tila Tequila?
Okay, I think this has to be the last year for this question.

17) Where do you live now?
With my parents, but like I said before, I'll be in New York in a couple weeks.

18) Describe your birthday.
Pastabilities bread with candles in it and their famous sauce, a long CMD 450 class, ice cream cake and Toy Story Legos.

19) What's the one thing you thought you would never do but did in 2010?

20) What has been your favorite moment?
Finding out that I have this job in New York.

21) What's something you learned about yourself?
Just having a job does not fix all of my woes.

22) Any new additions to your family?
Dan and Marissa are officially engaged, so he will be my brother-in-law soon enough. And my cousin is pregnant with her second kid, so I have another addition on the way.

23) What was your best month?
I would say April. It was the toughest month, but the most rewarding, because I got my Capstone and my portfolio finished. Plus I had my birthday.

24) What music will you remember 2010 by?
Allie's compilation The Best of CMD
Fun.'s album Aim and Ignite

25) Who has been your best drinking buddy?
Kate and I would drink every Friday while we watched Say Yes to the Dress. Either rum and Cokes or Smirnoff Ices.

26) Made new friends?
Lea, while I was down in Maryland.

27) Best new friend?
Same best friends, they're just scattered.

28) Favorite Night out?
Two words: Stoop Night.

29) Any regrets?
Maryland left me with some, but I think it all worked out for the best.

30) How many girlfriends/boyfriends have you had?
Just one. Christopher.

31) Any memorable kisses?
When Chris picked me up in Rochester. Very cute.

33) Which season was the best?
All of them had their ups and downs... mostly downs... so it's hard to say.

34) How many nights out of 365 days did you not remember?
I really wish I didn't remember some of the ones I do.

35) If you could would you redo the whole year?
Absolutely not.

**In the Year 2011**

1. What do you hope to accomplish?
Keep my job, do well at my job, find a place to live, make a home for myself, maybe start another graphic novel, and start my long career in design.

2. How old will you be turning?
Twenty-three. Nothing special.

3. What are you looking forward to most this year?
Definitely the job. And Marissa's wedding!

4. Any last thoughts on 2010?
I guess you needed to happen, but I can't say I'm sorry you're done. On to bigger and better things.

current mood: tired
1 waddle| widdle waddle
Saturday, December 25th, 2010
2:27 pm - 2010 in review
Merry Christmas everyone!

This is something I've been doing for a few years now-- piecing together the year in LJ posts by taking a sentence or two from the first post of each month. Looking back, it's amazing how difficult and rewarding 2010 has been (and how pertinent some stuff I wrote months ago still is... I'm looking at you, April) and luckily, I am ending things on a high note, contrary to what I thought at the beginning of this month. Here's my year in review:

**In the Year 2010**
1. What do you hope to accomplish?
Publish a graphic novel, finish my portfolio, graduate, and find a job. No big deal.

The Ugly:
The amount of times this week I said of everything going on right now, "What if I can't do this?"

On top of that, I find myself constantly fluctuating between being excited about graduating and terrified about what it means for me to have to get a job, manage money, be self-sufficient, and not be within walking distance of everyone I want to see from college.

I have these fantasy moments of living in New York City with Kate in an apartment somewhere, having a professional life I enjoy, and a slushie machine for our apartment. When things get bad (which they frequently do at this point) I like to remember that thought: I want to be independent, I want to actually practice what I've been studying, and I want a whole lot of slushies.

I graduate in a week. My first of three graduations is actually this Friday. My Honors convocation. Followed by VPA convocation on Saturday, and giant university-wide commencement on Sunday. It's so surreal. Everything I've done this year has led up to a week from now.

Me: I just laughed so hard I coughed. I miss you!
Meg: I miss you too. Every day I have a "Brianna would appreciate this" moment.

It'll be good to get out of the house. To get some sun, to get a change of scenery. I'm looking forward to some walks on the beach, some boardwalk fudge, and some quality time with my sister and my boyfriend.

August will actually prove to be a busy month. After I get back from Syracuse, I'm doing some contract work for Jaguar Press, so I'll get some money in the bank, and I'm picking up my car from Mom-Mom's, so that money will immediately go towards gas and insurance and all that good car-related stuff.

I am hoping that more of my friends will soon find themselves settled and happy as well. And in this new year, I find myself at a completely new stage in life.

I think it's going to take a while for me to fully grasp that this is my job, and this is what I'm getting paid to do, and I'm here for the foreseeable future.

But, in the meantime, I do feel comfortable here. Just last night Marissa said, "Brianna, get down here! We're eating pizza and watching Bridezillas on We TV!" ... Enough said.

December, I didn't see you coming. Job hunting again, moving again, feeling listless again... I was hoping to end 2010 on a high note. I was hoping to have some of my future figured out in time for the new year. Instead, I think January One will still mean Square One for me.

current mood: nostalgic
widdle waddle
Friday, December 24th, 2010
11:26 pm
I got the job in Manhattan!

Best. Christmas present. Ever.

current mood: excited
4 waddles| widdle waddle
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010
3:19 pm
Yesterday, for the first time since the unveiling, I visited Seth's grave site. It's been five years. I can't believe it. I brought a stem of yellow lilies, and I wrote a note which I folded up and placed at the end of the stem. In the note, I wrote how much has changed in the last five years for me, and how even though he hasn't been around, he's been with me for all of it. I was in pain, but trying to be optimistic: wherever I go next, he'll be with me for that too.

Where I'm going next is Manhattan for my interview.

Wish me luck.

current mood: nervous
widdle waddle
Sunday, December 5th, 2010
11:24 pm
Today is my two-year anniversary with Chris.

Today he said to me, "Next year, let's celebrate our anniversary in our apartment."

current mood: loved
widdle waddle
Wednesday, December 1st, 2010
11:59 pm
Rabbit rabbit.

December, I didn't see you coming. Job hunting again, moving again, feeling listless again... I was hoping to end 2010 on a high note. I was hoping to have some of my future figured out in time for the new year. Instead, I think January One will still mean Square One for me.

current mood: listless
widdle waddle
Sunday, November 28th, 2010
10:43 pm
I just finished reading The Amber Spyglass, the third in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy. It is painfully, heartbreakingly wonderful, and beautifully written, and I simultaneously want to hug and punch the author for being able to write something so sad and so perfect at the same time.

What struck me the most, though, was how convincingly he depicted young love: how you seem to exist for nothing but each other, how you're oblivious to whatever is around you because you're so wrapped up in your feelings, how you wish you could manipulate circumstance to fit those feelings instead of the other way around. In the end (I would say "of course" here, but I like to believe it wasn't inevitable and that somewhere they are living happily ever after) the two protagonists make the "adult" decision and part ways for the good of, well, everyone else in the universe. It's so completely unfair, but it marks the beginning of their maturation: no more childish feelings, so no more decisions. To bend everything else to your will so you can be happy is selfish and immature. We can't be that way forever.

And of course, this gets me thinking about my own twelve-year-old self and my own twelve-year-old love. Though I never had to make the sacrifice that these characters had to make, I could identify with the way they acted towards each other before they had to say goodbye. At twelve, I was lucky enough to have no burdens on my shoulders-- every decision I've had to make, from college to career choice to finances (and I'm still at the infant stages with a lot of those choices) were totally foreign and far-off to me. I didn't have to think-- nor could I have conceived-- of my love in the context of college, or marriage, or sex, or bread-winning, or child-rearing, or settling down, or anything that I take into account on a more regular basis now.

That's not to say that even though my feelings were uncomplicated, there weren't complications to go along with them. When you're twelve and in love, no adult actually believes you. They patronize you and tell you it's "puppy love." So of course I didn't believe I could tell my parents, or anyone but my age-mates and friends, how I felt. Not to mention that when you're twelve and your body is changing and everyone you go to school with is miserable about themselves and therefore miserable about and towards everyone else, you feel in general a sense of isolation and individuality: no one has ever felt the way I'm feeling right now. Of course, when you grow up, you see that's not true, but at the time, there's nothing more true. So along with my love came a loneliness, but the loneliness strengthened the love, in a way-- I'm in love and no one believes me, but that must be because they've never felt the way I do, and I must be more in love than they ever were.

I guess I'm thinking about this now because the book's reminded me of it so vividly, but also because I've just spent the last few days with the boy (man?) I'm currently in love with. Having been in love now several times in the past ten years, I don't pretend that my love is the greatest love that's ever loved, and I can't pretend that our love exists in a bubble away from other parts of our lives. Unlike my twelve-year-old self, I am staring headlong into my future because I have to. A future that, lately, has proven shaky and unreliable-- when I had my job, at least I could pinpoint a place I'd be for a while... I thought that would last, but it hasn't, and now I'm trying to make relationship-related decisions all over again while guessing at the place I might be in a couple months from now. Chris and I were fighting so much in October because we love each other but we love other parts of our lives as well: our careers, our ambitions and dreams, our friends and families. And it's hard, sometimes, to reconcile all those parts and come to a conclusion, because ultimately we can see that relationships take compromise, and compromise sometimes means giving up one thing you want for another.

And while my twelve-year-old self was blissfully unaware of a life without Seth in it, my twenty-two-year-old self is painfully aware of a life that can't have him in it. In a physical way, anyhow. But it's true that my first pass at love has informed many of my relationship decisions to this day. It's screwed me up in some senses, but it has made me braver, bolder, to have a skewed view of second chances: better tell him how you feel now, otherwise you might not ever get the chance. That was a hard lesson to learn, but one worth learning. I wish it could be applied retroactively.

I don't believe that adolescent love is "puppy love." I felt just as strongly then as I do now, only I was unaware of any consequences of my feelings because there were none to be aware of-- I had no responsibilities then. Now it's the same game, with more at stake. But my heart has never broken more than it did that first time.

I don't know why I'm writing all this, except that the Amber Spyglass has opened up my heartbreak all over again and so I need some way of getting it all out. I am heartbroken for the characters just as much as I am for twelve-year-old me and twenty-two-year-old me, which I suppose is just a testament to the author's exceptional writing abilities. And every time I read something so exceptional about love, it always reminds me how I so badly want to tell the story of my first love and what it's taught me. Maybe it's time to seriously start thinking about how to do that.

current mood: pensive
4 waddles| widdle waddle
Monday, November 8th, 2010
7:28 pm
So it's been a while. A lot of newness, all of which I've been wanting to write about but the time keeps flying by. This post will be ridiculously long, so I've put it behind cuts by category. Read whatever you like. The overall sentiment: life is different, but good.

The JobCollapse )

The Living SituationCollapse )

The FriendsCollapse )

The BoyCollapse )

Phew. Okay. I'll try to make it so that I don't have to cram so much into one entry by actually updating regularly, but that's it until next time.

current mood: busy
2 waddles| widdle waddle
Monday, October 4th, 2010
6:22 pm
First day on the job!

I walked into the office to fresh bagels, which was a delicious start to an otherwise topsy-turvy morning. The whole staff (all six of us, hehe) had a production meeting in which we divvied up clients and projects. It took a while, and it was really overwhelming. I hardly knew where to begin when we got back to our desks. Luckily, I am working with great people. Lea, the designer who started right before me and the other girl who started today (her name's Tara) walked me through some of my new clients and what's coming up on their schedules. And Matt, the only guy in the office, and the one who does all the web design, was sympathetic too-- he said he'd been working here for over a year and even he was thrown off by that meeting. But, of course, Karen told me and Tara that if we needed help with anything, we just had to ask. (I think she could sense that the meeting was a whole lot of stuff just being thrown at us.) So the initial confusion quickly gave way to a sense of relief: I'm not alone, and I'm not expected to already know everything.

Because today was just really a getting-acclimated day, I didn't get to dig too deep into any of the clients I was assigned. It seems like I'll be doing a lot of writing, and a lot more social media-related stuff than I'd originally anticipated, but I'm happy to make the workload a little lighter for someone else by doing that. And we're also trying to focus on getting new clients. So tomorrow, Sarah (the designer in charge of schedules and social media) and I will be going to a networking breakfast for local businesses. I just sort of jumped right in, because I'm excited by the prospect of designing for entirely new clients as a balance for the times when I will just be redoing what's already in a template.

Chris asked that I send him a text at lunchtime, so I wrote: "I'm kinda lost but the people are great!" And he wrote back, "That's what counts. You'll find your footing soon enough." And it's true: the work is just a jumble of client names and files right now, but that will come in time. But the office itself is warm and open-- we talk to and joke with each other, we play music, there's always food, and there's always help when you need it.

I think it's going to take a while for me to fully grasp that this is my job, and this is what I'm getting paid to do, and I'm here for the foreseeable future. And that these clients are my clients, my responsibility. My design. Galley's design. It's a strange feeling to be one piece inside a larger creative puzzle again, but it's what I wanted, and I don't think I could ask for a better puzzle to start with.

On top of work, I've settled into Marissa and Dan's house, and am feeling quite at home. And I'm getting my general motivation back: I'm reading more, I'm getting back into my freelance (I put a hold on it just before the move because things got crazy), and I'm reconnecting with old friends (remember Lin? She now lives in Rockville. It'll be so great to see her again after all this time!) I'm even thinking of taking a class or two, once I get some money in my bank account. A stained glass class, or possibly something more active, like a conditioning class at a dance studio that's one of Galley's clients. I do miss my friends, and especially Chris, but most of my college buddies are beginning to find their stride in the working world, so we all have our own adventures. Hopefully our paths will cross again soon, but I'm satisfied with where this path is taking me for now.

current mood: satisfied
widdle waddle
Thursday, September 30th, 2010
5:09 pm
As promised, the update about my three-day retreat with my boss and my coworkers at Galley Creative Group.

Tuesday: Drove down, unpacked, made pizza for dinner with Marissa and Dan. Was nervous about the next day, the first day of the retreat.

Wednesday: Got there and quickly realized I had very little to be nervous about. Karen bought bagels for all of us, and we sat around the conference table eating and getting to know each other. We talked about what we wanted the company to be like-- she's hired two other designers besides me, and there are only five designers on staff, so she says we can really turn this company into whatever we'd like it to be. Then the newbies got set up with their desks before we went to Baltimore Color Plate, a printing press where we send most of our work to be printed. Karen got lunch catered for us and everyone at the printing press. Then we went back to the office, where we discussed clients, did research, and talked amongst each other for the rest of the afternoon. Karen had an idea that each of us should come up with a word that represents what we want Galley Creative Group to be, and to design a product based off of that. The word I came up with was "optimistic" so my product was rose-colored lenses-- not that I think we should be naive, but that I want my workplace to be an environment in which we really try to find the best in every situation: the best design, the best solutions, the best way for everyone to make a profit, and the kernels of goodness and fun in each client, even the difficult ones.

Thursday: Was mostly a work day. In the morning, we all shared our words and products. Other words included "accountability" and "integrity." Then we got ready for a Lunch and Learn session about social networking and how to successfully integrate that into company branding. At the Lunch and Learn, a couple clients showed up, and we spent the afternoon after the Lunch and Learn meeting with one of those clients to brainstorm new ideas for marketing her business. Then we had another client brainstorm sessions with just the designers and no client present for another company. It was exhausting, but in a good way-- I hadn't been asked to think creatively with a team in so long that those brainstorming sessions really got me out of a creative funk. It felt good to be useful again, and to be doing what I want to be doing, what I spent three years learning how to do in school. Now I get to do that every day. Or I will, starting Monday.

Friday: The best day I'd had in a long time. Karen took us to the Museum of Industry and the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, and we went around taking pictures of letters we found in our environment (sound familiar? Like a project I was really involved in at SU?) and anything else we found interesting. She bought us lunch (including dessert) at the cafe at the art museum, and we talked more about how we would like to redefine Galley, and how we want to add more personal elements to our website and office. Speaking of personal elements, every person in the office is welcoming and funny and nice, and each of them is someone I can see myself working with and getting along with. I think I really lucked out.

So I'm excited. I'm even more excited now that I can say that my friends are on their way as well-- Allie in Wisconsin and Kate in New York City, most recently-- and that we can experience this together even though we're far apart. Monday is my first official day at Galley, and I can't wait.

current mood: happy
widdle waddle
Wednesday, September 29th, 2010
10:20 pm
In the past three days, I have: been a passenger for about nine hours in a car; been back to my alma mater; slept next to Chris for two nights; been fed Alto Cinco quesadillas and homemade pancakes; seen Gail, Hanna, Bill, Rod, Liz, Kate Gaffigan, and of course Christopher; been informed by Kate Marolf and Allie that they are now both gainfully employed; felt loved and appreciated and missed, and from that felt the evolution of relationships with old friends and mentors grow into something new and different and exciting and, well, grown-up.

I would elaborate, but I am tired, and there's too much swimming around in my head to make much sense at the moment. As for my previous three-day whirlwind (i.e. my company retreat) I will update on that tomorrow (i.e. my last day in my parents' house) in more detail than I did with this trip.

I will end with this: In the past three days, I was reminded once again that everything is changing. Luckily, in most ways, things are changing for the better. And I am so grateful for that.

current mood: relaxed
widdle waddle
Saturday, September 18th, 2010
5:06 pm - Annual Yom Kippur entry
Every year on Yom Kippur, I like to update on my life-- reflect on the past year, and look to what's coming next. I think this year, that's especially important. Usually, every year I write a letter to myself to be answered by Future Brianna. But last year, I didn't do that. All I wrote to myself was: "I just want to know three things: where are you, what are you doing, and who are you with? I find that's the most appropriate way to deal with the nebulous future that lies ahead of me after graduation."

Well, there is a lot to those questions. Let me see if I can answer them.

1. Where are you?
Right now, I'm at home in Dresher. This is the first Yom Kippur I've spent at home in four years, and I am missing my school friends with whom I used to break the fast, but I'll talk more about that a little later. I'm in Dresher still because I have not yet started my job. The Brianna who wrote last year's entry had not yet begun the ridiculous process of putting together a portfolio and subsequently putting that portfolio to the test in the sucky job market, so she couldn't know-- could only hope, rather-- what the answer to that question might be. If Yom Kippur was happening in a few weeks, I could be updating from Maryland, where my new job is. Specifically my sister's house, which is where I will be living until I find a place of my own. In fact, yesterday afternoon I drove home from a pre-start-of-work retreat with my coworkers and boss to be home in time for Kol Nidre. So physically, I am in my house, but mentally, I'm a few weeks ahead of myself, waiting for my job to start.

2. What are you doing?
This is another interesting one. Currently, I'm sitting here fighting the urge to gnaw my own fingers off. But in the grander scheme of things, I'm getting used to the idea of a full-time job, and feeling utterly grateful for the opportunity to a) have been offered a job in the first place given the economic situation and b) work in an office where my boss really cares about her clients and her designers, and where everyone else shares that sense of loyalty. I think Last Year's Brianna would have expected Present Brianna to be writing about having a sweet job in, say, New York City. But after having spent the past three days, I know that the place where I'm working is the place where I'm supposed to be working. (A full update on the retreat will come soon, but not today.) And for the next couple of weeks, I'll be continuing to mentally and physically ready myself for the big move, with a trip up to Syracuse to see Chris and some other buddies included.

3. Who are you with?
This is perhaps the hardest of all three to answer, and to reconcile. After graduation, every friend I made scattered-- all across the East Coast, to the Midwest, and to the West Coast as well. Some even overseas. That has been the toughest part about graduating: working to keep connections with people when they've always been so effortless because they've always been contained to the radius of a campus. With some people, I do well. I talk with Kate, who is home on Long Island, almost every week. Allie, who is home in Ohio, and I talk a little less frequently than that, but we are still caught up on each other's lives. Meg moved out to Los Angeles with her boyfriend and a couple other friends, and got a job out there. I miss her every day. We text, Skype, and email, but nothing is the same as having her right next door. A couple other friends and I keep in touch through LJ, through Facebook, and the occasional phone call. Emotionally, I am still very attached, but physically, I have been lonely since the minute I came back to Dresher.

To further answer the question, this will be changing soon. I am lucky enough to have a wonderful sister (who has a wonderful fiance) who does not mind-- in fact, is excited about-- me moving in with her in Maryland. So I will be with her, which will definitely help with the adjustment to the new place. And I am also lucky to be coming into a very welcoming office environment once I start my job. So that, on top of something to do every day, will also help with the loneliness. Though I know it won't be totally the same, I will have the chance to make new friends and forge new connections.

And of course, because I am me, I know what else Past Brianna was referencing with this: "Who are you with?" also means "are you in a relationship, and if so, with whom?" Past Brianna will be happy to know that Present Brianna is still with Chris. Though of course, with the distance, that will be harder to maintain. But I hope Next Year's Brianna will tell me that we've made it through all of these changes okay.

Well that concludes the answers to last year's questions. As for posing questions for next year, I think instead of asking specifics I will just ask the same things: where are you, what are you doing, and who are you with? Because, even with some things settling, I don't know what to expect entirely out of the coming year. But I have been so blessed so far-- I only hope that will continue into this new year.

current mood: hungry
widdle waddle
Tuesday, September 14th, 2010
10:11 am
I'm in the process of moving my life again, slowly but surely, this time down to Maryland. In an hour or two I'll be on the road (just myself, this time) down to Marissa and Dan's. I'm staying there for a few days because my boss has scheduled an office "retreat" of sorts so we can all get to know each other before we start working together. It's a sweet gesture, and it makes me feel more at home, but I'm still nervous about it-- meeting new people, not getting lost while driving myself, and the reality that I will soon be opening a new door in my life.

Hence moving my life. Most of my stuff is still in boxes or Yaffa Blocks or just huge plastic bags in my room which I've managed to avoid running into as much as possible. Last time we went down, I moved my cool-weather and work clothes down. This time I'm bringing my books (I have so many effing design books-- I had no idea) mainly, and also some little keepsakes. The next time will be the big move, and even after that there will still be stuff, like pots and pans, that I won't move down until I have my own place. But still, bit by bit and box by box, I'll be making a new home for myself.

Allie said something about London on her blog last night-- about how she finds it hard to believe she ever lived there. "Three and a half months seems like a fraction of a blink of an eye," she wrote. I guess it's all relative with time-- three and a half months go by so quickly, but leave such an impact. Every day I was home this summer seemed like the longest day ever, yet now that I'm faced with another move, the last few weeks at home have seemed to go by pretty quickly. And now I'm going somewhere for an indeterminate amount of time, which is strange for someone used to semesters, summer breaks, and move-out deadlines set by the Office of Residence Life.

But this is the next step. And I'm lucky to be stepping forward.

current mood: nervous
widdle waddle
Saturday, September 11th, 2010
1:35 am
It's a new year, and everything is changing.

Well, it's the Jewish new year anyway, but it does feel like a new year: the days are growing shorter, the temperatures are cooler, and the leaves are slowly but surely beginning to turn. On top of that, people who have scattered are beginning to settle-- Meg in Los Angeles, me very soon in Maryland, Eric in Connecticut, and Allie very possibly in the unlikely place of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am hoping that more of my friends will soon find themselves settled and happy as well. And in this new year, I find myself at a completely new stage in life.

Part of that is the aforementioned move from my parents' couch to my sister's couch to eventually a couch I can call my own. . . or, at least, a couch I can call my landlord's. A larger part of it is the the mental move: a stable job, a paycheck, bills to pay, a new environment, and actual clients counting on me for actual design solutions. But there is something even larger than that happening now, something that I believe is both personal and societal. And that is the weird early-twenties-just-outta-college dichotomy of being too young and too old at the same time.

It happens with parents. Or at least, I know it has with my parents. On the one hand they push me to be more self-reliant, and on the other hand they baby me, or don't believe I can handle certain things on my own. And while that is confusing enough, there are larger societal pressures at work in the same vein. There was a New York Times article from a couple weeks ago called "What Is It About 20-Somethings?" which is the exploration of how twenty-somethings (like me and my buddies) are becoming less like real adults and more like post-adolescent, developmentally-stalled almost-adults. We're going to school longer, moving back in with our parents for interminable stretches of time, getting married and having kids later, and bouncing around more in general. There are a lot of cultural shifts that contribute to these changes, and in turn the changes create more cultural shifts. It's an interesting read-- it poses the question, is this age a legitimate developmental stage or are these changes just another way that our generation gets to stay selfish?

So it's an interesting time to be a twenty-something: on the one hand, we're told on an almost daily basis that we're utterly screwed, and on the other hand, we're being blamed for not being driven enough to succeed. We didn't create the recession or the unemployment rates, yet when we're effected by these crises (like having to move home because we can't find a job or afford rent) it's seen as selfishness. We're told by the generation before us that we should be lucky to have the world at our feet after we graduate college, then subsequently ridiculed for not falling into step with traditional timelines of development sooner. Especially as a young woman, we're told of all the opportunities we have that our mothers and grandmothers didn't, yet there still remains a certain amount of societal pressure to get married and have babies because the clock is ticking. I'm not saying that it is not the responsibility of my generation to be more responsible and proactive, but I am saying that it's increasingly harder to become those things when we can't support ourselves, let alone the causes we want to fight for. Yes, it's true that with great power comes great responsibility-- but we don't yet have the kind of power we need to shoulder the responsibility expected from us.

I know this has turned into somewhat of a rant, but it's been on my mind lately. I'm at the cusp of a new stage in my own personal development, which has gotten me thinking about the development of things around me. Hopefully as the new year begins and the leaves begin to change, other things will begin to change as well. For the better.

current mood: pensive
widdle waddle
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