Weekends Away

I’ve lived in New York for over five years, and since being here, I’ve shlepped to more places by car and train than I did in my twenty-plus years as a Michigander. It’s amazing how refreshing and relaxing just two or three days away can be.

Over the summer, we try to make it a habit to escape the city on the weekend. During the week it’s hard to power down. I sleep with my devices less than an arm’s reach away and Adam keeps both of his iPhones perched on the windowsill directly next to him. Our lives are rarely free from digital distraction.

But then there was this past weekend.

We made the trek to Rhode Island with two good friends, and not only did we power down (save for a few Instagram posts and Swarm check-ins), we let loose. And I’ll be honest — it felt great.

I’m a very WYSIWYG type of person – I make no apology for my pushy, type-A personality. It’s simply how I’m wired. But this weekend was different.

I was a mirage of myself, in the best possible way.

Friday was a late night, made even later by a round of drinks. Saturday was a long day spent exploring Stonington. And Sunday, our last day, was the perfect blend of beach and brunch, before we hit the road for our return journey to New York.

This weekend wasn’t entirely exciting. That’s not it at all. It was the company we had – family and friends – that made me appreciate the life Adam and I have built together, the characters we’ve carved out for ourselves, and the moments that make us stop in our tracks with anticipation of what’s next.

This weekend away, with friends and no plans to guide us, I was a mirage of myself, in the best possible way.

We’re Not Best Friends

Relationships are weird. We’re fed so many different fairytale scenarios about courting and falling in love from movies and TV shows, that when our respective stars don’t quite align as such, we begin to question everything about our bond with our beloved.

I remember when I told Adam he wasn’t my best friend. He was devastated. He replied with some textbook line about how couples are supposed to be best friends. I think my retort was less based in rhetoric, and more in hysterical laughter.

My best friend’s name is Emily. I’ve known her since she was born, and she was the maid of honor in our wedding. She’s the only person on the planet who I can unconditionally confide in, and who I know will always tell me the truth, regardless of whether it will hurt.

Adam is my partner. I used to find it odd when friends or colleagues would refer to their significant other in this way, but I’ve since changed my mind. I’m all about the partnership. (Ironically, the concept of partnership in the vein of collaboration is a key mantra at the company I work for and love).

To be partners in life is to accept, together, anything that you encounter — to explore and to navigate the world together, and most importantly, to build a life together on equal footing.

When I think about my partnership with Adam, I reflect on the vows we wrote jointly, and exchanged on our wedding day:

  1. Do you promise to be a loving friend and partner in marriage?
  2. Do you promise to treat each other with kindness, respect and appreciation?
  3. Do you promise to make laughter an integral part of your family?
  4. Do you promise to listen and learn from each other, support each other, and accept each other’s support?
  5. Do you promise to bear together whatever trouble and sorrow life may lay upon you both, and share together whatever good and joyful things life may bring you?

Partnership and togetherness were at the heart of each question. Adam’s not my best friend. He’s my partner. He’s the person I never want to say goodbye to – only good morning and good night.

Girls vs. Sex and the City

I’m a devoted fan of most shows produced by premium networks like HBO and Showtime. What’s not to love about shows that take place on Sunday nights and shine entertaining light on the hours that stand between me and my work week?

When Sex and the City was first on-air, I wasn’t a loyal fan. The thought of sex and relationships being written into a storyline — more heavily than was being done on Friends or other such shows — made me red in the face.

During its final season, I finally saw what so many 20-to-30-somethings had seen; while it was completely un-relatable   in a realistic way for a girl in her mid-teens, I saw pieces of each character in my personality. Perhaps, at the end of the day, I was more of a Carrie — but weren’t we all?

Let’s bring it back to the idea of reality. In reality, as a 20-something Michigander-turned-New Yorker, I would never spend one month’s rent on a pair of Louboutin pumps — I can’t really walk in pumps — or take cabs everywhere that the subway also reaches (not anymore, anyways).

That’s where Girls comes in. While way wittier than any of my thoughts or conversations, there’s a certain charm to Lena Dunham‘s creation that is incredibly relatable. I’m far from a Brooklyn dweller — no disrespect, but I’m an Astoria girl — and while my Warby Parker frames may dictate otherwise, I’m not at all a hipster. That all said, Girls represents the real embellished non-glamour of New York life for the young and over-educated. We live by the words we hear broadcast on NPR, or what we read in the New Yorker. We make nonsensical cultural references overheard from one person we knew who studied psychology — or better yet, philosophy — at NYU or Columbia, and have friends who call themselves writers but work as glorified coffee-runners from 9 to 5. Or more realistic yet, they just work in coffee shops.

Lives dictated by insecurity and thirst for success, Dunham captures a very realistic — albeit better articulated and performed — dynamic of the non-native New Yorker in her twenties, and not all of whom are part of the New York literary scene (disclaimer: I work in book publicity).

My only gripe with Dunham is her portrayal of East Lansing, the city from which her character Hannah relocated. It’s far less folksy, and much more academia-meets-grunge. Other than that, I feel that just like today’s 30-somethings related realistically to Sex and the City back in the day, I relate to aspects of each of the main characters on Girls.

And One for Good Luck [my birthday in review]

I’ve always been a birthday person. I’m not sure that I believe that there’s a limit to how often you should celebrate yourself, but I’m certain it’s more than once per year. It’s for that very reason that I tend to stretch my birthday for a full weekend of festivities.

I was worried that this year might be different. New place, new job, new friends. What if New York wasn’t prepared to accommodate my  birthday wish — small and simple in comparison to many a New Yorker — and what if I was left to celebrate in solitude?

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