Let’s Talk…

Let’s Talk…

I’m going through a sort of mid-life crisis. I recently accepted a new job and subsequently packed up the Brooklyn apartment I purchased and renovated. I seem to have stowed away some of my dreams of artistic success along with it. I now live in the City of Unbrotherly Love and commute every weekday to an “officle” where I focus my attention on executing someone else’s vision. I’ve been trying to find the common thread in my life that makes it all make sense.

I am, as the old proverb says, a jack-of-all trades and a master of nothing. During a night out with my new Philly transplant girlfriends, one friend said to me, “Oh my God. You’ve done everything!” I know that’s not true. I’ll never run a marathon or hike Mt. Kilimanjaro. But I do seem to be a perennial dabbler. (Sadly that habit extends to my lovelife too.) Some call me wise (there’s probably some sort of ageism in that description but I’m going to overlook that for now). Some say I have ADD (as a sibling of someone who truly does I’m always freaked out by how often this label is tossed around). It’s true that I’ve reinvented my identity numerous times: from a wannabe rock star to a wannabe film director to an actual healthcare advocate and documentary producer; to an entrepreneur (another label that I find is tossed around far too often) and now a run-of-the-mill corporate citizen. (No, I’m not a sellout. I needed health benefits.) And in my journey I have accumulated more outrageous stories than the best fiction writer could make up. I’ve also managed to absorb a lot of information about health-related topics that have been a matter of survival for me. I’m the “go-to girl” on certain subjects.

Whatever the subject, everyone in my life has pleaded with me to just start writing stuff down. It recently occurred to me that this could be the common thread I’ve been searching for. So, here it is! Welcome to my world. I’m glad you decided to be a part of it.

It’s No Secret After All

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As a person with a chronic illness, I’m often frustrated by how easily others dismiss illness and just say, if you set an intention to the universe to heal you will. Or what’s even worse is when people respond by asking, “Have you seen The Secret?” Yes, I’ve seen it, I know all about it. And I think people have taken it far too literally. I don’t think that just visualizing being well, or having a new home or a new job will actually cause those things to be a reality. In order for those things to happen, people have to put in the effort, and sometimes the stars don’t align and those efforts don’t pay off. Dreaming isn’t enough. Trust me, I know. If dreams were all that mattered, I would have been a pop star by the time I was 17 and I would have been driving around in […]

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The Paleo Puzzle

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My diagnosis of Undifferentiated Connective Tissue Disease is about as meaningful as the term “unidentified flying object.” Nobody knows what it is or how to react. Recently, a couple of people asked if I had ever gone gluten free, or sugar free, or dairy free, or grain free. Wait… grain free?? OK, well that I haven’t done. And so, at the behest of several naturopaths I trust, I decided to give it a go. Let me tell you the truth about this Paleo diet. It’s hard. I recently spent about eighty dollars and two hours making my own chocolate chips. And after all that time and effort, I got maybe a handful of truffles that were just kind of, meh.

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Managing My Mystery Diagnosis

The Art of Self-Diagnosis

The thing about having a mystery diagnosis is that there isn’t any text book I can refer people to. There’s no support group for people like me. As a result, it has been necessary for me to learn to be my own advocate, healthcare provider and number one supporter, all while also being the patient. It’s not something I would wish on anyone yet I also see the upside to these experiences. Because of them, I can relate to others when they are going through their own hardships. I know better than to think that people should snap out of it or find a distraction. I have also learned to be more adaptable and to recognize that life isn’t a series of check boxes. It’s a journey, and like most journeys it is often unpredictable.

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pHreedom!

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About a year ago, I lost the one form of exercise I could handle. Due to constant joint and muscle pain, there is very little exercise I can do without putting myself at risk. But I try not to focus on what I can’t do. Instead, I put away my running shoes, put on a bathing suit and converted a favorite childhood pastime into a preferred exercise routine. After joining a local gym with a pool, I committed to swimming laps three times a week. I’m not an Olympian by any means, but I always showed up. This little achievement made me feel like I had some level of control over my life, and my body. Everything changed for me last summer. From now on, I won’t go in a pool until I know that the pH levels are in the safe zone.

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Fake It ‘Til You Make It

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Some folks in my office building decided to bring a group of people together to watch Ted Talks, with the hope that some employees might be inspired to present our own homemade version of a Ted Talk. The Ted Talk we watched was one by Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist at Harvard. In the Ted Talk, Ms. Cuddy described how certain nonverbal postures can actually impact our physiology and chance of success. I don’t agree that standing in a victory pose will magically cancel out any real hardships. But I have learned that there’s nothing to be gained from broadcasting our challenges.

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Later Seder

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Passover has always been my favorite holiday. As a kid, I always looked forward to the annual Passover Seder. This year, it didn’t come at exactly a good time. So I had to miss the Seder this year. Until…I decided that maybe it wouldn’t be too late to host one of my own. I coined it, “The Later Seder,” and it will now be an annual event. Here’s what we prepared and how, and how we went wrong in a few places.

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The Pollyanna Paradox

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I once dated someone who observed that I’m drawn to depressing movies, TV shows and music. “Why?” he asked. “Because I feel that I can connect – that the writers and characters are expressing something I feel but cannot articulate,“ I said. He shrugged and said he didn’t get me. (I guess that’s why the relationship didn’t last long.)

Many years later I’m still drawn to melancholy or even self-deprecating humor (although the latter might just be a result of my neurotic Jewish DNA). This sentiment has carried over into my own forms of expression.

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“If you are a fabulous four eyes like me…”

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If you are a fabulous four eyes like me, you MUST go to Fabulous Fanny’s in the East Village. This picture was taken about a year ago when I was showing some of my new Philadelphian friends around NYC. My friends and I walked towards the very first apartment building I lived in after graduating from college. It was then that I stumbled upon Fabulous Fanny’s and just could not resist the temptation to walk in and try on some of their remarkable frames.

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Things Can Always Be Worse

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I have been thinking about booking myself a trip to a spa. And then I thought back to less than a year ago, when I last visited The Lodge at Woodloch. (I used to visit there annually. If you’re looking for a laid back spa experience, where you can either delve in with the yogis or just go it your own way, there’s no better place than this.) But as I think back to my last spa experience, I’m starting to wonder if a staycation might be my better option. Wanna know why? This is a long explanation so settle in with a nice cup of tea and read on.

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