Sunday, November 28, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
Okay fine, that list doesn't really exist but if it did it would feature the above moment and the time I did a cartwheel off my grandfather's diving board into the deep end. No arm floaties. Epic moments are rare. Glad I now have proof of at least one.
Happy Weekend y'all.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Pronounced like the letters L and E. Approximately 120 years old (his claim, not mine) standing at a staggering 5’4'' tall, with more wit and humor than I’ve ever known.
We met on a street corner. That’s a true story. I can’t remember, for the life of me, what I was doing down on E. 9th street that sunny Saturday afternoon but nevertheless, I was there. In typical Manhattan fashion, I was walking with my head down, deep in thought, not truly paying attention to the chaos around me. I noticed the person next to me started walking across the street and so naturally I followed. A loud, piercing honk greeted me as I stepped into the street and I immediately jumped back. I looked at the man I had subconsciously followed in the middle of the busy road. It was Eli—all smiles and crazy white hair. I was captivated by his funny appearance and so I couldn’t help but say something. “Well that’s the last time I follow you anywhere!” He smiled and immediately asked me (as if we hadn’t just come close to getting run over) where my fuchsia colored trench coat was from. He suggested maybe it was from some swanky designer in Italy. I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was from Target, even if I could pronounce it with that chic accent, Tar-jeeeh. I just smiled back.
Long story short, we talked like old friends on that random Manhattan street corner for 20 minutes and we ended up exchanging business cards. At the time I assumed he wouldn’t even be able to find my phone number on the card let alone, call it. Boy was I wrong. His business card on the other hand—picture this—was an old personal check with his home phone number scrawled across its entire length, in black Sharpie marker, complete with grease stain. Again, true story. I just laughed, refolded the check and tucked it into my fuchsia jacket from Target. Err…Tarjeeeeh.
A week and four funny voicemails later, I met Eli for tea one night after work. I don’t really even drink tea but for Eli…I made an exception. As we sat there, tucked in the corner of a tiny coffee shop, talking about anything and everything, I couldn’t help but wonder what he had looked like as a young man. In the midst of his soft white, unkempt hair I saw one darker strand that the passing years had left alone. At one point he must have had a full head of wavy black hair and I couldn't help but picture it. In my mind I erased the laugh lines from his cheeks and the worry lines from his brow. I tried to see him as the young man he referenced time and time again when we talked about life.
Often times, as a twenty-something, I forget that everyone older than me was in fact, at one point, a twenty-something. So I pictured Eli at 24 and asked him what he was doing in life when he was my age. He chuckled, revealing those sunken laugh lines and said, “I’d rather not remember,” as if to suggest a mischievous past.
Eli was a teacher. He taught Spanish and French in some of NYC’s most prestigious schools. He’s been married twice, has no kids, and has lived in a rent-stabilized apartment for 40 years. He loves Manhattan—even the winters. He’s an absolute doll, to say the least.
On this night I mentioned how much I liked his crazy tie. It was clearly a tie he’s had for decades. Old, oversized and worn, he couldn’t quite recall where he had gotten it from so he slowly flipped it over and asked me to read the label.
“Christian Dior,” I read aloud—slowing as I said the word D…i…o…r…as if I had just seen a vintage Christian Dior tie for the first time in my life. Oh wait. I was seeing a vintage Christian Dior tie for the first time in my life. But that’s Eli. Not amused by material items but instead truly fascinated with the human race. Refreshing to say the least.
He asked me if I had “one of those computer things.”
He asked me if I had “one of those computer things.”
I said, “Sure do Eli.”
“Well do you know how to use it?”
“I sure do. I use one all day, everyday.
Then he asked, “Can it send messages overseas?”
Not quite understanding him, I replied with, “You mean like an email?”
Eli: “Yeah, I suppose that’s it.”
Me: “Sure can.”
Eli: “Would you ever write an email to my niece in Moscow for me?”
Flattered and excited to help I said, “Of course! Do you have her email address?”
His response? “What’s that?”
So meet my new friend, Eli, 120 years old (give or take) and still sharp as a tack.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Monday, November 1, 2010
The Women's Conference was ... you guessed it.... INCREDIBLE. Despite being on my feet all day and running around in heels, I felt like my batteries were recharged. The power of being in a room with so many extraordinary women was energizing. I felt alive for the first time in a year.
Being in California felt different this time. It was about finding new inspiration in an old place. It was about reconnecting with myself after disappearing into the hustle and bustle of a city that never sleeps. It was time for me to focus on the things I love the most. The sunshine, the friendships and the power of women uniting over common issues. I felt alive, so very much alive. Finally.
And while it would be impossible to wrap the enormity of the day into a blog post, I'd like to share some of the words that really hit home for me.
During our interview, I asked Maria Shriver what advice she had for recent college graduates. You know, advice for the early twenty-something’s who are fresh out of the classroom, diploma in hand (worth $100,000 in student loans,) the ones with the no-one-will-hire-me depression? Her response?
"Do what you love. The money will come."
She would later say, in front of 14,000 people:
"Being outside your comfort zone doesn't mean you're powerless. It just means you're uncomfortable."
That's right. Right here. Pick me (raises hand.) Living in this city (and now working in finance) is about as comfortable as a wool sweater against my bare skin.
And all the type-A control freaks that have had their lives planned out since birth, (again--raising my hand) nodded in unison. Being outside of our comfort zones is NOTHING MORE THAN BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. And if being uncomfortable is the worst it gets in exchange for a more fulfilling life, well heck-that's really not that bad.
And yes...I didn't sleep for over 36 hours. It was such a nonstop trip that I may have brushed my teeth in the car.
*I'll put up my photo with Maria and hopefully a link to our interview as soon as I get them.
And to my mother, who taught me the importance of helping other women --thank you. Who knew five years later, I'd get such an amazing opportunity?