I grew up in the suburbs. I guess most people think of the suburb as a place with all the disadvantages of the city, and none of the advantages of the country, and vice versa. But, in a way, those really were the wonder years for us there in the suburbs. It was kind of a golden age for kids…
Because we know that inside each one of those identical boxes, with its Dodge parked out front and its white bread on the table and its TV set glowing blue in the falling dusk, there were people with stories, there were families bound together in the pain and the struggle of love.
There where moments that made us cry with laughter, and there were moments, like that one, of sorrow and wonder.
1. long afternoon walks 2. pink tulips 3. skype dates with family members 4. sushi 5. flowered dresses 6. potluck dinners 7. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald 8. cuddling with a significant other 9. coconut cream pie 10. bright nail polish
If I eat breakfast at my apartment, then I would eat again at work so instead, I bring my breakfast to work. It keeps me busy, but also pushes my lunch back. And let’s be serious, it gives you the much needed energy to focus.
2. Walk as much as you can.
Thirsty? Get up and get water. Stressed out? Need a break? Walk outside, if only to get away from your desk and the office, but also to breathe in fresh air. It does the body good.
3. Save your favorite projects for the afternoon.
Mornings are tough, sure, but afternoons can really drag on. Do the boring stuff first – right after eating that apple or while drinking that early morning coffee – that way you’re excited for the afternoon.
4. Decorate your work space.
My desk is full of books, stuffed animals (including a flower and a Peanuts character), and colorful cards. It helps motivate you, especially if you’re in a rut. I even added a picture of my family. Every little bit helps.
5. Take a moment to chat with somebody.
Interaction is key. If you stare at a computer all day and don’t communicate with a single person, you will eventually become depressed. Seriously. We’re human beings and we’re supposed to be social. Grab an afternoon tea with a coworker or stop in a friend’s office to have a ten minute chat. It won’t take long, but it will feel good.
6. Have something to look forward to.
Make sure work doesn’t bleed into your personal life. Maybe your coworkers are your best friends or you work weekends, but it doesn’t matter. You need to have a life outside of work. Volunteer, join a club, take a weekly class, or start a craft. Find something your passionate about and do that after work – whether it’s once a week or five days a week. You don’t ever want to dread waking up and starting your day. If you do, something’s wrong.
7. Take a lunch.
Don’t spend every lunch hour at your desk. At least once a week, aim to eat outside, to go out with a friend, or eat in the break room with a coworker. It’s important to step away from your work. If you can take an hour lunch break every day, do it!
8. Listen to music.
I can’t get through the day without music. But if you can, then save your headphones for the moments you really need them - such as boring projects, afternoon lulls, or hangovers.
9. Break your routine.
Consistency is nice and routines are important, but it’s healthy to break them once in a while. Whether that means taking a mental health day (yes, they exist), biking to work instead of driving, or drinking tea instead of coffee. Do something out of the ordinary to make your days different.
I had mixed feelings about Marathon Monday this year. On one hand, I wanted to scream “Boston Strong” and cheer on the many runners, but on the other, I wanted to avoid the utter chaos that’s sure to ensue - from the out-of-towners and the possible crazies to the media and the thousands of secuity guards.
Two years ago, I experienced my first Boston marathon. And like any other onlooker, I was excited, empowered, and a little tipsy. I spent hours standing alongside the barriers chanting, screaming, yelling strangers’ names, and waiting for friends to pass. I fell in love with the marathon on that 80 degree day.
I will never forget the events of the day - there was a young man who stopped near a pile of empty plastic green cups and fell to his knees to vomit. I stood three feet behind him and repeated, “it’s alright. Let it out. You can do it.” And when he finally stood, my friends and I urged him on, “walk it out, buddy. You’re so close.” Then there was a friend who stopped to talk with us - we handed him a water, a banana, and a piece of chocolate. And later, the moment when a man asked for water and took my friend’s cup, not considering her words, “it’s not water!” I’m sure he regretted that gulp of vodka as he moved towards the finish line.
And then last year happened. It was idiotic, tragic, and a little terrifying. But before the bombs, it was a beautiful day. My friends and I made breakfast, played Cards Against Humanity as we watched the early events unfold on TV. Then we walked out to the same spot as the previous year and cheered on the first runners. We retreated back to the apartment for a bit and returned yet again to the race. And then it all went down hill….
So I decided to work this year. Why? Because I’ve experienced Boston Marathon. And this year will be different. Not good, not bad, just different. Maybe I’ll leave work early and check out the end of it, but it won’t be the same.
The roadtrips when my parents packed my brothers and I in the backseat of their van with our pillows, our knitted blankets, and our buckets of games and toys. The ones that included Holiday Inns, Snickers bars, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches on the top of the cooler, and promises of seeing Winnie the Pooh and Tinker Bell.
The roadtrips taken to college with a van full of furniture, notebooks, sweatpants, and the excitement of another year with friends, classmates, and football games. And then the roadtrips driving back home in the middle of a snowstorm just to celebrate Christmas with my family.
The roadtrips with a significant other. Holding hands, singing obnoxiously, and talking about the weather, the past, and the future plans that would never come true. Taking a nap in a parking lot – our limbs wrapped around each other – before returning to the road. Of sharing fast food and stories.
The roadtrips to Boston – both of them – when I moved in with my brother and his roommate for the summers. The uncertainty of everything; of growing up, of moving on, of living in a city far from home. Not knowing where I would eventually live, how long I would stay, if I’d make friends.
The roadtrips that haven’t happened yet. The ones taken through European towns or southern cities. The ones with my future spouse, my future children, and the friends that I’ll someday make.