On My Mind

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There are few things in life more awkward than job hunting whilst gainfully employed.

For one, job hunting is a veritable job in and of itself. It takes time to scour job boards, craft memorable cover letters, and go on interviews.

And those interviews? They are definitely the most awkward part. After all, you can only have so many doctor appointments, family emergencies, illnesses, burst pipes, etc. before people start to suspect. (Or at least think you are just a disaster of a human being.) And I’m a terrible liar. I hate doing it.

I tend to get stressed out by phony doctor appointments (the rushing to get there on time, the rushing to get back to the office at a reasonable time…it’s too much) and will often just take a day off, especially if I have more than one interview. The problem is, eventually you burn through 3-4 vacation days, which is fine if you get the job. Not so much if you don’t.

Here are a few things I’ve learned about job hunting while having a full-time job:

1. Timing is everything. Schedule interviews either first thing in the morning (ideal, because there are a myriad of excuses that can happen in the morning…late train, dishwasher overflowed, husband got sick and needs me to pick up a prescription, dog ran away, car broke down, etc.) or last thing in the afternoon (“I need to jet out of here a little early tomorrow evening, but I’ll be in early to make up for any missed work.”). If all else fails, lunchtime is doable. (“My cousin is in town just for the afternoon and asked if I could meet for lunch — is that okay?”)

2. Be cautious about dressing too professional if you have to go back to work. Unless you show up every day in a blazer and heels, wear an outfit you can dress up for the interview and down for your office. Nothing tips people off like you showing up late and in a suit.

3. Be respectful of your current employer’s time. 3 pm is not the right time to troll LinkedIn job boards. It’s also not the right time to update your resume. You are still an employee, and you want to leave on good terms regardless of the situation. (If possible.) Save your job hunting for after-hours (and answer emails/phone calls on your lunch break) to avoid leaving anyone with bad thoughts about you after you’re gone.

You’re probably wondering why I’m being so candid about my job hunting process. Well…you guessed it; I got a new job recently. My last day at my current company is next Wednesday. Then it’s off to Paris, and then I start the new gig when I get back.

The long-time readers among you will probably feel like you have déjà vu, but in my defense, I’ve been at my current job for almost two years. That’s a lifetime in the media world. Plus, I’m super excited about the new opportunity.

I’ve got a good feeling about 2014, you guys.

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My blog has been SO boring lately. I promise there are a lot of things in the works, but trust me when I tell you that I am protecting you from an unnecessary amount of thoughts on running. It’s all I think about, but I know it’s not that interesting to most of you.

Here’s a brief recap for those of you who do care.

The second 20 was a bit harder than the first. I think , in general, my legs (and especially my ankles) are just more tired and sore than they were two weeks ago. I also ran this 20 slightly faster. We’re talking about the difference of seconds per mile, but I think it affected things. I ran the first six miles way too quickly, and I could definitely feel it in the second half of the run. (I was excited because I started the run feeling really good, which doesn’t always happen.)

Save it for race day, Justine.

Other than that, not much else changed. I recently purchased what will be my race day shoes, so I’ve been breaking those in. I also tried a new type of running fuel, these gummies called Sharkies. I liked them a lot, both for flavor and the little boost they have me, so hopefully I can find more to bring to Paris.

Eating while running is really the weirdest thing. I always want to explain to people that I’m running 20 miles; I’m not just incapable of going on a jog without snacks.

I still haven’t tried any of the goos or gels. Even thinking about that texture tickles my gag reflex, and the gummies have been working just fine for me.

Speaking of eating (and when am I not), I’ve also narrowed down the best pre-race meal for me: oatmeal with blueberries, agave, and chopped nuts with a coffee with soy milk and a glass of half G2/half water.

Not all mixed together…the oatmeal, the coffee, and the Gatorade/water mix.

So I’m thinking Gatorade is another thing I might have to smuggle in…I recall Joey and I having difficulty finding it when we had food poisoning on our honeymoon.

As for my post-race meal…um, how about everything?

Only two weeks until the race! Any last-minutes advice from runner friends?

(I promise the next post will have nothing to do with running.)

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Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing it all wrong.

If, five/ten/fifteen years from now, I’ll look back on every single thing I did in my twenties and think, “Oh, honey.”

Did I take the wrong path? Pursue the wrong friendships? Rent the wrong apartment? Cut the bangs when I should have left well enough alone?

Clearly some of these things are more important than the others.

My dad refers to this fear another way: Sometimes I wonder if I’m a fraud.

It’s not an outlandish notion. I already look back on 21-year-old Justine and 24-year-old Justine and wonder what she was thinking. Who that girl was.

How she could be so certain.

I think (in my infinite, 26-and-a-half-year-old wisdom) that maybe this sensation is how you really know you’re growing up. It doesn’t have anything to do with the size of your 401K or whether or not you own your home or how many gray hairs you plucked out of your skull in the mirror this morning.

It’s the crushing realization that you don’t know anything and you’re not in control. It’s finally understanding (and worse, relating) to people twice your age thinking that youth is wasted on the young.

Anyone who has read my blog in the last month is probably picking up on this theme of existential blog posts. We’re getting kind of heavy on you over here. Apologies. The weird part is, I’m so happy these days. So happy, that maybe I’m looking for problems to solve. That wouldn’t be so unlike me. (See also: I’m terrible at contentment.)

I’m going to move away from this line of posting for a while, I think. But I guess I just want y’all to know it’s not all scones and top knots over here.

Sometimes it’s just me. Figuring it out.

Sigh

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I need to let a few things out.

In the immortal words of white girls everywhere, I’m over it.

I’m over the cold. Do you know how cold this winter has been? No one in New York remembers a winter like this in the last ten years or more.

That’s how cold.

It just keeps snowing, and the temperature keeps not budging above thirty. It’s a sick joke.

Speaking of sick jokes, here’s another one: No matter how cold it gets, I still have to train for a marathon.

That means one to two runs a week in the biting cold, wondering just how many times I can lose feeling in the tip of my nose before it just falls off. It means that at least once a week, I spend hours in literally freezing temperatures wearing various layers of spandex and fleece and telling myself that it’s not that bad.

And let’s talk about those hours. I’m getting tired, y’all. The last month, I’ve been leaving my apartment about half an hour later than normal because, when my alarm goes off at the usual time, my brain just rejects that it is time to get up. My body refuses to swing my legs to the floor and vacate the bed because I’m so dang tired and did I mention it’s cold out there?

Because, oh, another thing: My apartment is freezing. The super keeps playing dumb like we’re imagining that our thermometer says it’s below sixty degrees. Like maybe we won’t notice. But I notice.

And then when we complain, the heaters magically turns on for a few hours. And then it shuts off and we start the song and dance again.

I am tired of this dance and I hate this song.

And you know what else? In an effort to avoid exposing my tired, cold skin to even more frigid air, I foolishly decided taking the bus eight blocks would be smarter than walking this morning after a 7-mile outdoor run. I then sat on said bus for an hour before finally giving up at ninth avenue, meaning I STILL ended up walking five blocks in the cold. I COULD MURDER SOMETHING RIGHT NOW.

Pfffoooo.

My apologies for this spree of negativity. I promise to do better next time.

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Well, if nothing else, my post about dealing with disappointment was a great reminder of just how wonderful my support system is. Many of my friends reached out to me, but not just to try to bolster my own confidence. They also shared their own stories of feeling inadequate, increasing my confidence that, you know, sometimes we just feel this way.

In one of these conversations, a friend of mine remarked, “You’ve just accomplished too much before 30.”

That thought struck me for some reason. For pretty much all of my life, I’ve defined myself by my goals, projects, and what I’m working toward. Right up to your early twenties, that path is almost mapped out for you with school, job hunting, starts of serious relationships, etc. After you hit your mid- to late-twenties, though, there isn’t really a map anymore.

Sure, you can start thinking about kids, but you don’t have to. Yes, you can buy a house. But a lot of people also don’t.

Basically, for the first time ever, I don’t really have a five-year plan. Lately, I feel pretty good if I can tell you where I’ll be in a year.

And that’s…weird.

But maybe it’s better to be aware that that’s what’s bothering me. So I can add it to my goal of “letting things go” more. (Yup, only I could make a goal of not relying so much on goals. It’s a sickness.)

Anyway. I just didn’t want my most recent post to be such a downer. You know, in case I get hit by a bus or something before I can update again.

How creepy will it be if I get hit by a bus after writing this? I’m going to be extra careful on my commute home.

I think, mostly, I just want to go back to feeling awesome. Feeling like I know what I’m doing and where I’m going and that I have it all together. Not feel like a fraud in any of those things. Basically, I think I need to reignite the Happiness Project. That’s a goal I can get behind.

The point is, I’m in a better place a couple of days after writing that other post. I know everything will be fine. It pretty much always is.

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Would you describe yourself as someone who handles disappointment well?

Until recently, I think I would have. I’m pretty resilient and adaptable, with enough grit to plow my way through just about anything. Sure, I needed to work on letting things roll off my back a bit more, but in general, I thought I’d outgrown letting other people how I should feel about myself.

But lately, I haven’t been so sure.

A few things have happened that have been, for lack of a better word, disappointing. Nothing terribly tragic or disastrous has happened. A few things in my life have just unfurled in unexpected and undesirable ways.

And, you guys? It’s messing with my head.

I’ve experienced a lot of personal growth in the last five years overcoming most of my insecurities, and for the first time in a while, I’ve felt them start to creep back. And I don’t like the reminder of how I used to feel and think.

In my first draft of this post, this is the point where I actually listed a few of them out. But the shame I felt at even seeing the words was a bit too much for me to share with you guys. Suffice to say, I think they’re things everyone feels sometimes. Suffice to say, I feel a lot like that unfortunate dude in the photo above.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with doubting yourself from time to time. I think it’s normal. The problem is when it starts to become a weight to carry. The problem is when it starts affecting your will to try again.

Whenever these feelings start creeping in, I always reread my Happiness Project post. I remember even when I was writing that thinking, “There is going to come a time when this is not going to feel so easy. There will be a day when I am so down, I will feel stupid for even writing these words. When I’ll scorn my own hubris at thinking I can control my happiness.”

But I still wrote them. And I still published the post. Because even when those two sides of my are at war, I want it on record that the most rational part of me sides with the optimist.

And I’m trying to keep perspective. I am so incredibly fortunate to have a great support system around me who love me and believe in me even when I stop believing in myself. Plus, like I said, what I’m dealing with are disappointments, not tragedies. If I was talking to me, this is the point when I would gently take my own hands and say, “I am both sad and happy for you that this is the greatest struggle you’re going through right now.” Because I know and love so many people going through so much worse.

So, I get it. I get it. I’m just wondering…how do you deal with disappointments?

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