Motivational Posters and Funky Monday Mornings

I’m having one of those mornings.  I feel like the day hasn’t actually started.  First of all, it’s super gray outside.  Maybe-you-should-just-go-hide-in-the-back-of-the-library-all-day type of gray.  Also, I’m currently out of projects with deadlines, and man do I love a good deadline.  The hardest thing about art-related careers is that no one forces you to work.  When inspiration is low, doing that one thing to move your career ahead is difficult to find if you’re not running through the happy fields of creative abundance.  And unless you want to bang your head against a wall a few times, it doesn’t feel like inspiration is going to magically drop in.  It’s not like an office job where you have things waiting for you whether you like it or not.  Without an artistic project to chip away at, you’re left sitting staring at the birds hop around in the front yard.

As you know, I am in limbo of these two worlds.  I do have office work, but I also am trying to build my artistic career.  When these two are out of balance, I get grouchy.  I feel like every ounce of creativity stayed in bed while I somehow got myself in the car and to my desk chair.

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Downstairs, in one of our hallways (I work in a school office), there is a poster of the ocean with the words “SUCCESS” written across the bottom. It’s a bit like the one above.  Whenever I go past it I have a mini-existential crisis.  Is laying on the beach considered success?  Or is it the feeling you get when you’ve somehow gotten yourself to the beach?  I snap out of it, realizing that there are confused fourth graders watching me glare at the beach poster with a twisted, bitter look on my face. Good ol’ Crazy Administrator McGee is lost in the 4th grade hallway again.  Someone should shuffle her back to her office.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what picture I would choose to replace that ocean with.  My first thought, ironically, is a picture of the Atlantic ocean in Cape May, NJ.  Having the freedom to lay on the beach and write in Cape May all summer is actually a huge form of success for me, but there are other options too.  I’m also a big fan of the following:

  1. A rehearsal studio
  2. A piano
  3. An empty theatre before tech
  4. A hiking trail on a warm summer morning
  5. A table covered in food that I’ve cooked, surrounded by people I know (Stole this one from Under the Tuscan Sun. Because I have thing about wanting to be Diane Lane).
  6. And this long-standing daydream of me standing in the doorway of a log cabin with a cup of coffee and a dog sitting at my feet.  I don’t where this one comes from–but it appeared to me when a mediation exercise once asked me to envision my idea of success.  If this moment ever happens, I’ll post it here and freak out a bit.  Just need a log cabin and a dog.  Good on coffee.

As you can tell, my main way of bursting out of a creatively funky morning is writing down any darn thing that comes to mind.  Like this post. In case you feel like keeping the conversation going: what would your success poster look like?

If you had a funky morning too, I hope it gets better, and that you find a way to break through the cloudiness of the weather.

Thanks as always for reading:)

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Monday Boost: An Ode to Schleppers

I name this hot muggy Monday, National Schlepper* Appreciation Day!  It is for all the people who think delivery is lazy (or too expensive), who run the office errands, the family errands, the boring “I know the CVS pharmacy is going to take forever” errands, and everything in between.  We work several (usually strange) jobs, commute on sweaty trains, kill two hours in the city without spending money because it isn’t worth going all the way home, and are not afraid to walk those fifteen blocks instead of spending $2.75 on the subway.  We are the ones that get strange glances and are asked “Wait, you’re walking there?”  And you say, “Yes!  I have legs!”  and carry on in the 94 degree heat.  You are the one that teaches on the Upper East Side, babysits in Flatbush, temps in the Financial District, lives in Queens, and makes it to Amelie on West 8th because they have a cheap happy hour.  All on Tuesday.  Today we should be proud.  And in my half-asleep blogging state today, I name this day for you.

*By “Schlepper” I mean, a person who schleps, or carries things all over the place.  It’s Yiddish.  Dictionary.com tried to tell me otherwise.  It is wrong.

$10 Wine Flights...

$10 Wine Flights…

When I was young, I always heard my mom talking about having to “schlep” all over the place.  To the store, to the bank, back and forth to work.  I realized pretty quickly after moving to NYC that I was destined to also live the life of a schlepper.  At one point in time, I had seven different possible jobs at once.  Seven.  One week I was just a babysitter, and then the next I was a babysitter, a secretary, a background actor, and a teaching artist, all depending on if I answered my phone in time to accept the work.  To say the least, it was a lot of running around with many clothing changes, snacks, and all the various crap you need to do these jobs.  I once carried 14 shoe boxes in a shopping bag on the 6 train during rush hour.  This will be my whiny story I tell our grandkids about walking uphill both ways in the snow.

Sometimes I jumped centuries.

Sometimes I jumped centuries.

I am always surprised by non-schlepper’s shock when you use a little more physical energy to do something than is normally required.  The other day, a caring coworker asked me if I needed help carrying a case of water bottles up to our office, and to not hurt myself.  I was tempted to say, “I work in theatre, I once carried a flight of steps up a flight of steps!”  But I didn’t feel like explaining because I was carrying water bottles…and didn’t want to sound like a jerk.

postits

I was once paid $11 an hour to cover this wall in post-it notes…after buying a lot of post-it notes.  At many Staples.

But today, when I am not particularly high on energy, I was thankful to be part of this motivated bunch.  I had a fantastic weekend up in Boston with my college roommates – a group of fellow schleppers that know how to keep a friendship going despite living in different states after almost ten years of friendship.  But because of this wonderful weekend, I am a zombie.  A warm, tired, slightly overwhelmed zombie.  So when my office ordered lunch today, and I was faced with waiting an hour for a delicious sandwich or getting off my butt and picking up everyone’s delicious sandwich, I chose the latter, got the sunshine I desperately needed, and became the sandwich hero (hehe) of the day.  They may look at me like I am an overachieving pushover…but I got to get up and get outside.

Our schlepping will also: (all taken from American Heart Association)

  • Reduce the risk of coronary heart disease
  • Improve blood pressure and blood sugar levels
  • Improve blood lipid profile
  • Maintain body weight and lower the risk of obesity
  • Enhance mental well being
  • Reduce the risk of osteoporosis
  • Reduce the risk of breast and colon cancer
  • Reduce the risk of non-insulin dependent (type 2) diabetes

Ha!  So there!  Today is for us!  We will travel across state lines, borough lines, and out into the hot muggy day to get sh*t done.  I declare we all end the day with a glass of wine, that we all schlep to Trader Joe’s to purchase.