“With some luck I just might keep on climbing…”

I always have a hard time settling on what kind of music I want to listen to while writing.  I can literally spend several minutes deliberating on what type of songs fit the tone of what I’m hoping to write about. It may also be a form of procrastination, but I prefer thinking of it as a strange little quirk.

Today’s quirky procrastination soundtrack is old school No Doubt. Something about these songs takes me right back to a very different time.

I had coffee with an old friend today, someone I haven’t seen in over five years, someone who was around during that very different time. She’s in the city for a couple of weeks auditioning for some stuff (everybody wish her many broken legs!) and she took an hour out of the craziness to have some coffee and catch up.

This seems like a little thing to reflect on but, for a few reasons, it’s really not.

First, if you’ve ever dealt with any kind of anxiety, you may understand how nerve-wracking making plans can be and how easy it is to find a million reasons to blow them off. To make social plans and follow through with them is an accomplishment for me. And it’s one I’m very happy about because seeing an old friend and being able to catch up like no time had really passed, well… that’s pretty awesome.

Second, something my friend said resonated with me. Something simple. She remarked on how we had a lot of fun back then. And I thought, “Yeah, you’re right.” And that was a strange thought because I’ve spent a great deal of time judging myself for my indiscriminate youth. But it wasn’t all bad. Seeing this friend reminded me that the good memories deserve as much weight as the not-so-good ones. Maybe they even deserve more.

Third, talking with someone my age who hadn’t given up on the big dreams definitely made me wonder how crazy I’ve been to put such strict limitations on my own. I spent a year auditioning for everything I could get seen for and it was overwhelming and stressful and just really, really hard. But there were times it was also exciting. Hanging out with this friend reminded me of how much courage and optimism it takes to try. She’s still determined to somehow make a life out of performing and that deserves a standing ovation.

And finally. Between apartment hunting and career uncertainty and life changes, my love affair with this city has felt very tenuous lately, but somehow just being able to say to a friend, “This is my favorite place in the city,” reminds me that roots take time to grow, but that some of mine are sinking into these busy sidewalks. And that’s something to hold onto.

One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years…

Well, it’s about that time again. Time to start packing up all the crap that has accumulated throughout the year and putting it in boxes. Time to pull up whatever tiny roots have managed to sprout and transplant in some other neighborhood. As someone who has moved at least once a year for the last decade, I gotta tell ya, I am OVER IT. Packing an apartment up to move has to one of the most heinously grown up tasks that exists and I hate it violently. Possibly the only grown up chore I hate more than packing is actually finding a new apartment.

rent

If you’ve never tried to find an apartment in NYC, there is nothing I can possibly tell you to illustrate how awful it is. If you’re in the same boat as me, whether for the first time or as a seasoned New Yorker, well, Godspeed. Apartment hunting in NYC is a special level of hell reserved for serious masochists. The only thing that makes it at all worthwhile is that once it is over, you get to wake up every day in the greatest city in the world. Whether you end up in an affordable place in the Far Rockaways or an outrageously overpriced loft in Williamsburg, you still get to lay your head down every night in New York City. And that? That does not suck.

But still, if we could maybe cut down just a little on the bait and switch nonsense and crazy broker fees, well, that would be helpful.

Wish me luck, friends. The next six weeks could be rough.

“Growing older does not seem to make you more certain. It simply presents you with more reasons for doubt.” -Jessie Burton

First order of business is to announce the winner of the Everything, Everything giveaway! The lucky new owner of this completely incredible book is…

LISA!!

Congratulations to my final commenter! You made it just in time and random.org decided it was your lucky day! Please let me know where you would like your book sent by emailing me at grownupsforpretend@gmail.com.

And thanks to everyone else for entering. This has been a great week for my blog and it means everything, everything to me that you all took the time to stop in and say hello. Feel free to follow along on my misadventures and keep an eye out for more giveaways. I picked up lots of amazing ARCs at Book Expo and BookCon and I want to share this embarrassment of riches with all of you!

Now, I’ve spent a good amount of time since that crazy book-filled weekend talking about books and kind of ignoring the other purpose of this page, which is to share the ups and downs of navigating this weird thing they call adulthood. I think I’m gonna get back to that a bit today. But never fear, book lovers, I have a To Be Read list that’s a million pages long, so I’ll still spend some time chatting about books with you, but I have had all kinds of grown up stuff on my mind lately that I feel the need to blather about a bit.

So here goes.

My wife and I received some information recently about becoming foster parents. Full disclosure, this is not a decision we’re quite ready to make. We’ve barely got owning a ten pound dog figured out at this point. But the thing that is so interesting about this particular agency is that they focus exclusively on placing older kids. Now, I fully realize how important this is, but, no lie, one of my first thoughts was, “They’re gonna trust me with a teenager?!?” My face still regularly breaks out and I rarely manage to get laundry done before the day I run out of underwear. How is it possible that someone in the world thinks I could potentially have a positive impact on a half grown kid? Most days I still feel half grown myself. And I definitely don’t feel mature enough to guide someone else into adulthood.

That said, later the same day I found myself pre-treating some stains on my clothes before the laundry people came to pick them up. I feel like it is unarguably a grown up type thing to pre-treat clothes instead of just throwing them all in the bag and hoping for the best.

So I noticed myself doing this grown up thing and I stopped for a minute and marveled at my hard won maturity before continuing to scrub the coffee stains off my white shirt. (Sidenote- I should seriously just stop wearing white- it’s basically inevitable that white clothes plus me equals Jackson Pollock-like fashions by the end of the day. But I digress…) And I thought to myself, “Well Self, maybe that organization isn’t so crazy after all.”

It seems to me that this grown up thing doesn’t happen all at once and for some of us maybe it’s a little slower. For me it seems to be coming in a series of little moments here and there like paying the bills on time every month or learning to carry a Tide pen on white shirt days or even occasionally having something for dinner that involves more work than pulling up delivery.com. So maybe today I’m not sure if I can positively change a life, but perhaps I’ll be a little more confident tomorrow and even more so the day after that. I definitely don’t have all this stuff figured out yet, but my shirts aren’t covered with coffee and, hey, that’s a start.

pollockI think Mr. Pollock would like my shirts better if they looked more like this, but this sometimes grownup is a Tide pen ninja now!

“In the beginning there was nothing. And then there was everything.” Nicola Yoon

I’ve finally had a chance to start reading some of the Advance Reader Copies I brought home from Book Expo America. First up, one of the top YA picks for the fall- Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon.

everythingeverything

I have to admit, the premise isn’t one I would normally gravitate to, but after hearing it discussed at BEA, I added it to my must read list. In this story the protagonist, Maddie, has a rare disease and faces some insurmountable odds. She’s basically a bubble girl, allergic to the world, and unable to leave her house.

And then a boy moves in next door.

I’m not usually a fan of girl meets boy and life finally gets interesting, but Yoon gives the old archetype some new life and the book is insanely readable. There’s a love story, sure, but it’s part of a larger narrative and that’s what keeps you reading. Maddie makes you want to root for her.

Also, being a big supporter of diverse books, I have to say that I appreciate that the protagonist was racially diverse, but was allowed to tell a story that had nothing to do with race. Stories about learning to accept what makes you different are important, but equally important are stories where diverse characters are accepted as part of the story without having to highlight the ways in which they are different.

Kudos and congratulations to Nicola Yoon on writing a story worth reading. I couldn’t pull myself away from the book until the end, and even then I wanted to know more. Everything, Everything comes out on September 1, 2015 and I highly recommend finding yourself a copy.

Oh, and of you want to read it first, leave me a comment below. If at least five people comment with their favorite book featuring a diverse character, I’ll pick one commenter randomly to win a copy of Everything, Everything before it goes on sale. The winner will be posted next Friday, July 10th. Good luck and happy reading!