Friday, January 30, 2009

What A Difference A Year Makes

Early evening champagne, originally uploaded by La Pauline.

This photos was taken exactly one year ago today at a Junior League party. It was pouring rain out, and I bought that dress two hours before the event at Filene's Basement in Union Square for $30. (A large chunk of my wardrobe comes from Filene's, I might add.) I took a cab to the party by myself -- I didn't even bother to rustle up a date -- and assumed that people I knew would be there. They were.

This time a year ago I was working at a job I didn't love, but it was a paycheck and I had health insurance. TR and I had kinda sorta started seeing each other, but for sport I went out on a few dates just to see what was out there. (In short: a lot of damaged goods, including a freshly-divorced doctor who talked about his ex-wife the whole time and stuck me with the check. I never pick up the check. Or pay full price, for that matter.)

I lived alone with Peppe, my orange and white Persian, in a basement apartment in Gramercy that had a well documented roach and mouse problem. When the boiler, which was on the other side of the wall went off, the ceiling shook. A 12-year-old girl with too many friends lived above me, and if I came home early from work I would have to listen to selections from The Pussycat Dolls through the floor.

It was around that time that a friend suggested I get a real estate license, in case I wanted to do it on the side for extra dough. In March of 2008 I started going to the classes at night and all day on the weekends, and in the spring I was slated to take the state exam. As luck would have it, I got laid off from the job I didn't love at the end of April, scored a month of severance and started the first week in May in a new career at Citi Habitats. A month after that, in June, I moved out of the Gramercy bunker when the owner decided to give my apartment to a relative. I don't miss the bugs.

A year after the above photo was taken my life has taken a complete 180 degree turn: The new job is working out well, I moved into an amazing doorman building on East 79th Street, I acquired Valentino, a daft but sweet shorthair kitten, and TR and I stuck together after an unintentionally romantic Valentine's Day date at Pop Burger on East 58th Street.

A year ago when I was in the back of the cab alone, en route to the Junior League party, I never thought I would be five months pregnant and legally married 365 days later, but I guess you never know where the wind is going to blow you. In fact, last week at the Junior League party my friend Susan and her husband were floored when I gave them my whole update. A year earlier we ruminated about how my job/housing/dating conundrums would work out. They had no clear answers.

I'm no motivational speaker and I won't be upstaging Oprah anytime soon in the inspiration ring. All I know is that when things have reached a new level of suck: a job loss, you catch your man cheating with a 40-something woman who looks like a Basset Hound, or you realize you're surrounded by idiots at work, that's when you have to try new things. Take some classes in a new field of work or date guys that aren't like the ones in the past. It's pretty basic, but in the long run it may bring about some change. Maybe a year from now you'll be pregnant and hitched, too!

For short term satisfaction, adopt a homeless Persian cat, preferably an orange one. They make everyone happy.