The next time.

Last week, a former coworker of mine, Regina, passed away from breast cancer. She was 34. I can’t say that we were especially close, but we were more than acquaintances. Friendly acquaintances, I guess. After I moved away from NYC, I saw her once when I visited and we exchanged Facebook messages as recently as a couple of years ago. By that time, I knew she had been diagnosed but was improving. She invited me to her walks and events, and I watched the “Rally for Regina” messages and photos pour in through Facebook. I got updates on her through our mutual friend every so often, but I had no idea that her condition had become so dire.

So when I got the email about her passing, I was surprised and sad. We tend to say typical things when someone dies: “She was kind.” “She had the biggest smile and the biggest heart.” “She was the life of the party.” “She would do anything for anyone.” But, really, Regina was all of those things. I can still hear her booming laugh and voice as clear as day, five years later. The tragedy of Regina’s passing didn’t truly hit me until this morning, when I read her obituary. I remembered that we were fellow Geminis, and bonded to some degree over that. But when I saw her birthdate, it came into focus — I am exactly one year and five days older than Regina. That’s how much more time I’ve been allotted. Continue reading

Living the high life.

My friend Melanie once told me that, being a Gemini, I can easily find myself bored. That I constantly need stimulation — people to see, places to go, projects to do. Now, I am a person who relishes laying around watching TV for 15 hours, but it’s true that I thrive with structure and purpose and fall into slovenly behavior when those are absent.

Well, it’s officially been 7 weeks since the layoff and I haven’t been bored once. I’ve actually been enjoying my mini-retirement, keeping a schedule and even tiring myself out with all that I need to accomplish. It makes me wonder how I survived when 40+ hours of my week were claimed elsewhere — did I sleep? Did I have a social life? Did I ever carry through on anything? And let’s not even think about the MBA I somehow completed.

The past few weeks have been incredibly full — I’ve had uproarious dinners/lunches/brunches out with friends, I’ve volunteered my time to good causes, I’ve stayed in touch with my b-school folks and prepared for graduation in a few weeks. Keep reading »

Reflections of the way life used to be.

I have just realized, as we head toward Christmas and another turn of the year, that 2011 has been quite a transitional year. Most of my pursuits and priorities in December were actually unfathomable to me back in January.

I mean, Oliver joined me in March.

I went to South Africa in May — and if you had told me that I would cross the equator twice to Australia and South Africa in one calendar year, I would have rolled my eyes at you.

I got a new job in July.

Then a couple of weeks ago I (finally) finished my MBA after 3+ years of nose to the grindstone and personal sacrifices. I will desperately miss the learning and the family I found there … but maybe not for a few more months.
Keep reading »