So, this is my life.

And I want you to know that I am both happy and sad and I'm still trying to figure out how that could be.

Monday, May 30, 2011

quote of the week, thus far

"Oh, you're a lawyer?  My husband calls himself a 'recovering lawyer.'  Now he's in real estate.  He's a lot happier."

-a random woman who i met and who saw deep, deep into my soul.  


Saturday, May 28, 2011

quote of the week, thus far

"We grew up with loose ends, loose labels and high expectations. I think we are doing just fine."

-from the article to which i linked in yesterday's post.  i really like that line.  


Friday, May 27, 2011

never grow up

an interesting article on the Forbes blog reminded me of my own thoughts about our generation and our struggle with growing up -- a struggle of which, as i near 30 yet remain unsure about the major decisions regarding my future, i'm constantly aware.

several years ago, here, i theorized that our generation was a Peter Pan generation, though at the time i called us the "Neverland Generation."  the Forbes blogger takes issue with the name that i implied and, unwittingly, along with many others, have labeled our generation:

Another name given to us is the Peter Pan Generation. It is not a particularly flattering sobriquet, meant to reflect the perception that we are having trouble “growing up” in a traditional sense. Some say that this definition is based purely on the economic realities of our time, i.e. the recession has made it hard for this generation to enter the working world with the relative ease of previous generations and has sent us back to our parents’ houses, delaying our transition into adulthood. Some take a more sociological approach, explaining the increasing age at which the rites of adulthood are performed as a reaction to the mistakes of the previous generation, e.g. we marry later because so many of us are children of divorce.

There is some merit in both these explanations of how this generation has picked up the Peter Pan label, but they don’t mitigate the condescension remaining in the word choice. Embedded is the perception that my generation does not want to grow up, and therefore is childish, churlish, and shirking our responsibility–Peter Pan did not remain attached to his childhood because he had trouble picking up work or because his parents lived in separate houses. Rather, he chose to remain a child, and symbolizes both the idealization of our youth and our fear of adulthood.

 a few of my own thoughts on the topic, in case you're of the Peter Pan Generation and are too lazy/impatient to just click on my link, above: 

whereas patrick thinks this phenomenon is exacerbated by urban living, i think it's a cultural shift. on one hand, he's right that city-dwellers who are chasing financial success have a different focus, a different way of viewing the world. but all across the country there are 30-somethings wasting their evenings playing video games (case in point: my older brother) and partying like they're still 21.

we're the generation that will contribute $300 to a pair of jeans before we'll contribute it to our 401K. we're the yuppies who work hard and play hard, rather than just working hard and resting, like our forefathers dreamed of. at the end of the day, i think we're innately different from those fat, old lawyers we see on the street.

the Forbes blog, which i encourage you to read (click that link above), places great importance on the role of 9/11 and on numerous scandals that our generation has, in the midst of our formative years, observed and internalized.  i don't necessarily agree that the qualities that have given us the "Peter Pan" label have anything to do with those phenomena.  i genuinely believe it when i tell people, "30 is the new 20," which might sound silly but which makes sense when you consider the events in the life of a 30-year-old of previous generations and those in the lives of those in our generation.  my theory is that we don't want to grow up because we don't think that we have to grow up yet.  we will live longer than previous generations, we are waiting longer to do what previous generations did, and we have longer to enjoy our youth and great skin.  thank god.  

i did appreciate the end of the aforementioned blog, though: 

Please, do not judge my generation too harshly. We live in a post-ironic environment and are struggling to create meaning when there is precious little about which to feel sure. 

Every generation is diverse, complicated and has their own obstacles to overcome. In this regard, The Lost Generation is the same as all that have come before us. History, not misplaced optimism, suggests that we will get by, and will welcome adulthood on our own terms. We grew up with loose ends, loose labels and high expectations. I think we are doing just fine.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


gotta get down on a half day!

just the other day i found myself thinking, as i discussed the Philadelphia Museum of Art with a co-worker, how nice it would be to have a day, or even half of a day, off and to be able to go wander around the museum on a weekday without the headache-inducing din of children and crowds. 

that got me thinking of all the great things i could do if i had a half-day.  i could stop by Reading Terminal and pick up some fresh Amish produce with which to make a super healthy dinner.  i could sit on a bench down by the river and read one of the books that i recently purchased at the used book store (i got 3 great novels, one of which is hardcover and the other two of which are Kingsolver [based on Tay's urging that i read more], for only $7.  i love used book stores and exchanges.)  i could lie out on the patio and get a tan.  i could finally find a small harness and begin training Mr. Finch to prance around the neighborhood like a show dog (it is possible. i've seen it.).  i could clean the house thoroughly while watching the 6th season of Weeds on DVD.  i could go out for a good, long run on Kelly Drive or a bike ride around Fairmount Park.

"There are so many things that I would love to do with my afternoon, if only I were off work," i found myself thinking the other day.  

today, by some twist of fate and Jesus and way too much overtime, i got to leave work at noon. 

isn't life funny, the way you can be thinking of something one day and two days later it happens? or you spend days trying to think of a name or title or melody that eludes you, and then you encounter someone who mentions the very thing that has been killing you because you couldn't think of it.  or you have a really dirty dream about a random person who you rarely see, and then you run into that person and feel so awkward that it likely manifests itself in your interaction with that person, leaving him or her to wonder what he or she did to upset you.  yeah, life sure is funny.  so are dreams.  the other night i had a dream that i was in a haunted house for a job interview, and my mom and several law school classmates were applying for the same job.  in this economy, that's not too far-fetched -- not even the haunted house part!  (?!?)

but i digress.  there are so many things that i would love to do with a half day.  but guess what i'm doing.  go on, guess.

i'm sitting at my desk, in my underwear because the air conditioning is taking a while to heat down, catching up on the book of faces as well as your blogs, listening to vintage Lady Gaga because i like it so much better than her new album, calling my BFF to tell her about the terrible struggle i had with a muffin this morning (as a carboholic to his sponsor), talking to the cat because no one else is home for another couple of hours, and planning how i can spend the rest of the afternoon naked, which i rarely get to do because i have housemates. 

what about the museum? the bench down by the river? the sunshine? the cardio?

it's too hot to do anything but sweat, and cardio on Kelly Drive or through Fairmount Park is only fun when there are lots of hotties running or playing soccer, respectively, to distract you from the interminable bore of cardio exercise.  plus i have so much DVR'd television waiting for me.

Monday, May 23, 2011

coelho says...

A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.


Thursday, May 19, 2011


1. the act or process of speaking or expressing in words

by virtue of its location, the new cafe that i recently helped to open is frequented by lawyers and legal-job-workers all day, every day. our customers are generally very nice and eager to become friends with us, whether by adding us on the Facebooks or by coming in just to say hello and staying far too long just to chat.  

after fewer than two months, we've already gotten to know a majority of customers' names and their professions (so i'm not guessing when i mention that almost everyone in the building works at a law firm).  i hate to stereotype (no, i don't), but our nicest customers tend to be assistants or paralegals: they love us, frankly, and they want to get to know us and spend time chatting with us -- maybe, in small part, because they're down-to-earth "people-people" to begin with and that's why they have their jobs.  

on the second tier of the great-to-horrible customer ranking system (CRS) that i just invented are the paralegals, office managers and young attorneys (with some of whom i even went to law school): they're not prone to lingering and getting to know us personally, but they're very kind and allow us to get to know them, as they love to talk about themselves.  incidentally, these customers are fun and are often hung over, which necessitates their needing a bagel and segues into their telling us about their crazy night/weekend/bender/date. 

finally, there are the horrible customers, though every tier has its exceptions, and this tier is populated overwhelmingly by lawyers: they don't have time to chat, and even if they have time to stand around and wait, they focus on either their Blackberries and/or the daily newspaper.  they often don't hear us ask how they are today, and if they do, they ask us in return but never, ever wait for the answer ("Good, thanks, how are you?JUSTATALLLATTETODAY.")  they may tip better than other customers, but the interaction with these customers is strictly business and leaves something to be desired after seeing the same person twice a day for two months.  

in sum, most of our customers are fantastic; however, when the occasional rude, hurried, socially retarded man or woman comes in, ignoring other customers and focused on only one specific goal, i often think to myself, "Typical lawyer."

my experience with this clientele is affirming a decision about my self and my future that i made a few months ago.  today i was forced to articulate my decision in front of two lawyers, thanks to a co-worker who put me on blast.

coworker: [turning the conversation to me while speaking with two of the friendlier lawyer customers, both middle-aged, about their weekends ahead, which would inevitably be spent working] Matthew, when you were a lawyer, did you work many weekends?
me: [giving death glare to coworker] Yeah, almost every weekend.
lawyer 1: You're a lawyer? [visibly confused as to why a lawyer serves him coffee.]
lawyer 2: Do you have your JD?
me: I was a lawyer. I practiced for the last three years.
l2: You're still a lawyer.

[at this point, we all figured out that l1 and l2 are also alumni of my law-ma mater.]

l1: So what happened? You having trouble finding work in this shitty economy?
me: No, I was actually one of the lucky ones.  I quit my firm recently.
21: Why? You didn't like the work?
me: I liked the work, actually, most of the time.  I didn't like the people, though.
l1: You didn't like the lawyers you worked for? Where'd you work?
me: I didn't really like the lawyers at my firm or any of the lawyers I opposed.  I think a lot of lawyers are miserable and are genuinely bad people, and I didn't like working with them. [in retrospect, i regret saying that last sentence to a lawyer who is a good tipper and isn't as horrible as most lawyer customers, but i'll get to that in a minute.]

[l1 laughed, then wanted to know where i worked, maybe it was just that firm.]

me: No, it was me.  I just wasn't happy in that environment, and I worked at two firms.  On top of that, I didn't see any other happy lawyers around me.  Every older lawyer I knew was unhappy and unhealthy and their personal lives were messes.  I had no examples of happy lawyers, so the future looked grim.
l1: I'm a happy lawyer.
me: Well, you're one of the few I've met.
l1: [appearing to be ready to back away slowly] Wow --- a disaffected lawyer.  I had no idea. Eh-- you'll go back to law at some point.

that was the end of our conversation.  

in retrospect, i wish that i had better and more simply articulated my unhappiness with the work environment and the spirit of the career, rather than admitting that i didn't like most of the lawyers i encountered along the way.  the "genuinely bad people" comment, while my opinion of a number of lawyers, was also unnecessary.  all i needed to say was, "I wasn't happy."  all that mattered was, i wasn't happy.  

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

carlson says...

Dare to be happy. Most people don’t allow themselves the luxury of being enthusiastic, light-hearted, inspired, relaxed, or happy…It seems that a great number of people are frightened at what a happy demeanor would look like to other people…This is a very unfortunate form of self-denial.


Sunday, May 15, 2011

post(ing) secret(s)

i not-secretly-at-all love Ke$ha's music.  also not embarrassed at all.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

my afternoon smile

listening to Pandora all day is an awesome way to find new artists like Landon Pigg, and this video is totes cute.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

outta my, outta my head

okay, i know i already posted this awesome song here, and you've all probably heard it many times, yada yada yada, but this is my life anthem right now and i never outta-my-headed it before now, so here it is again and this sentence is a run-on.

listen to it every morning and report back on how up-beat you are afterward.  


Monday, May 9, 2011

something smells niiiice

do you ever catch a whiff of something lovely, a nice fragrance or the fresh smell of soap and, halfway through enjoying it, realize that it's yourself that you smell?

or -- am i the only one who does that? daily.

today at work it happened as i lifted my arm and smelled my roommate Shaunice's boyfriend's deodorant (sometimes you just need to wear a different deodorant for a few days, partly in order to remind your armpits just who is in control. i know you know what i mean).  just now it happened again as i sat by my open window and smelled the awesome Olay beauty bar still clinging to my skin after my shower.  and i thought, "I  smell so good."

that's all.

you know, it's not always going to be deep thoughts and over-shared emotions on here.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

near and away

i had a lovely weekend.  a genuinely blessed weekend.  i hope you did also.  but enough about you...

this weekend i reconnected with so many friends.  aside from one friend who left town for the beach and another who is studying for law school finals, i saw almost every one of my close friends over the course of this weekend. miraculous.  some of these friends are now long-distance friends, some of them are just rarely seen short-distance friends, and one short-distance friend is about to be a long-distant friend.   the weekend really got me thinking about 'moving on' and moving away. 

i would never begrudge a friend for moving and leaving me or my city behind.  it has happened so many times.  when i lived in Pittsburgh, everyone i knew moved to New York or DC.  after a few years in Philadelphia, several of my closest friends moved to New York and DC.  now my buddy Tom is moving to Chicago, which gave rise to the happy occasion of a goodbye party where a bunch of our buds got together and caught up over baked brie and a bunch of booze.  

i'm happy for Tom and all the other friends who have moved on to bigger cities or simply better opportunities.  i miss so many of them but -- wait.  no, i don't really miss them.

because it doesn't usually seem like they're far away.  i know what's going on in the lives of my friends from around the country, thanks to El Facebooko and Gchat.  i don't feel left behind, because it still doesn't feel like some of my friends have left.  two dear friends who moved to LA at the end of 2010 were in town this weekend and, while i loved hugging them and seeing them in person, i didn't feel as if we had missed a beat.  it's the same with New York friends, who are fortunately a quick drive or bus ride away.  it will likely be the same with Tom once he's in Chicago.  i think that we're so lucky to live in a time when people move around a lot but our nomadity (just made up that word) doesn't have to affect the closeness of the relationship.*  

there are also quite a few advantages to having friends move to new cities.  for instance, when it's time to travel for business or for a vacation, you're more likely to have friends in that destination.  that means no hotel bills and hopefully a ride from and to the airport.  those are pretty much the only advantages that i can come up with right now, but i'm sure that there are others.

*romantic relationships are an exception.  you can't hold hands or kiss over El Facebooko, though i guess Skype lets you do some fun things together.  the LTR is a crazy concept, and i'm not a fan.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

monroe says...

"I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." 

Friday, May 6, 2011

florence says...

Happiness hit him like a train on a track...

well, it hit "her," technically.  and the Machine may also have said that.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

should've been expected

this is the waiting room table at a fertility clinic.  why was i so shocked and disappointed to find that every single magazine in the waiting room was sport-related?

apparently not too many gay best friends take their bffs to donate their eggs.  which is why everyone referred to me as "your husband" to my bff throughout the day.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

quote of the week, thus far

"Well, we came here to have fun, and we're not having fun.  That's why I think we should leave."

-a ridiculously eloquent elementary school aged child,* to her mother, both sitting on the bench across from me and T in Rittenhouse Square.

i wish many adults i know could be this good at communicating.

   *T thought that the girl was probably 7.  i think she looked more like 9.  either way, she was young and i have no idea what ages children are.