October 8th, 2003


Okay, I didn't exactly lose my job - or rather, I did, but not in a bad way. In fact, I've decided to take this happening as an opportunity and run with it.

For the last year-and-a-half, I've been doing freelance work, but mostly as a sideline to two regular gigs: teaching graduate students at NYU and working as a consultant on social software. The former's still ongoing; for the latter, it seems that work has dried up temporarily, though my boss has told me he wants to work with me again when there's enough work for two again. I suppose I could go on getting consulting gigs on my own, but I'm absolutely terrible at self-promotion. I really need a boss, or a manager, or just someone who likes people to deal with the networking side of the business. I can make with the smartness, but that assumes that people know that they should be paying me to do so.

On the other hand, considering that I'm thinking about making a multi-year commitment to grad school, this has actually been a chance for me to step back and think about what I really want to be doing. I'm dedicating the next couple of months to researching and applying for schools, but I'm also doing some off-the-deep-end things I might not otherwise have had the time to do - in November I'm doing National Novel Writing Month (yes, the novel will be abysmal; no, you can't see it unless you promise not to laugh), and in December I'm taking a road trip down south as I mentioned before. After that, who the hell knows?

Other changes: I've just had three poems from my Biblical series accepted for publication, and I'm in the process of applying to several writer's residencies, where they pay you to sit and write for a few weeks. (I'm a semi-finalist for one in January - fingers crossed, please!) I may be a bad novelist, but I'm quite a good poet, and I think one of the changes I need to make is to start working on my writing projects again.

I've got some religious changes going on; for a long time now, I've been following the letter of the law bitterly and resentfully, instead of being joyful and finding meaning in the observances. Well, I've decided that this is going to be my year of Shabbat, and that I'm going to be bending the law a lot in order to make Shabbat the celebration it should be. We'll see how it goes, but so far, so good.

Basically, I've decided that this year needs to be one of change in many areas of my life - and that maybe I shouldn't wait for serendipity to come along and sort things out for me.
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Aging Gracefully

I was talking to a girl I met a few weeks ago about the fact that we're rapidly approaching thirty. "Ugh," she said. "I don't want to get old and ugly." Someone else at the table pointed out that old doesn't necessarily mean ugly - so she revised her position to saying she wanted to age gracefully, like a movie star. I should have pointed her to this site: movie stars don't, necessarily.

It's funny; I'd rather liked her up to that point, but this conversation really jarred me. I can't imagine caring that much about looking young. Me, when I get old I want to look like my mother's friend Rhonda, not a movie star - gorgeously, powerfully, vividly fifty-five, not a fake thirty, however sexy.
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