Age is Just a Number Series: Author Hilary Grossman talks turning 25

Welcome Hilary Grossman, author of Dangled Carat, and my friend and fellow Booktrope author to my blog. Hilary compares how she imagined she would feel turning twenty-five with the reality of her feelings on that day. (PS: Happy Birthday, Hilary!!)
It all started in September.
I wasn’t able to put my finger on what was happening at first.  All I knew was that something simply wasn’t right.  I was unhappy.  I was scared.  I was frustrated.  And slowly but surely a feeling of dread began to wash over me.  With every very passing day the feeling got stronger, encompassing every aspect of my life.
In early November I left work early. I  wasn’t feeling well. I had chest pains. I couldn’t catch my breath.  My mom picked me up at the train station and drove me to my doctor.    He didn’t react the way that I thought he would. He gave me a quick exam.  Rather than confirm that I was dying from a heart attack, he simply said I was having a panic attack.
He helped me calm down.  My heart rate returned to normal and I was able to breath easily once more.  But I had to admit to myself and my mother what was causing me anxiety. And by this time I already knew.
November 10th was right around the corner.  My birthday.  I was turning twenty-five and I was dreading the day.  How can I be twenty-five and feel the way that I did?
Hilary at twenty-five

Hilary at twenty-five

Thanks to all the wonderful books and movies out there I had definite ideas of what twenty-five should feel like, and my life was nothing of the sort.  Forget about not having a fairytale existence there was nothing about my life I was happy about!
I spent the last few years studying for and passing the CPA exam. Why I kept wondering? I hated my all consuming job.  I was always on the road with no control of my schedule. I worked ridiculous hours. I was bored out of my mind half the time and the other time I was walking on eggshells because my boss was the modern day version of Dr. Jekell and Mr. Hyde. I never knew what to expect when I showed up for work.  As a result, stomach would constantly be in knots.  I used to wake up every morning and count down the number of days I had until I either retired or died.  What happy mornings those were!
Of course I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time either.  I was okay with that (or I told myself).  What I wasn’t okay with was I had no social life. None, zero, zip!  All I did was work.  Most of the year I worked for the CPA firm 6 days a week. But I also continued to wait tables nights and weekends.  And if there was a lull in that excitement,  I added the occasional babysitting gig into the mix.  #partytime
This was not what twenty-five was supposed to feel like.  Was it?
I started to express my feelings to others. I learned there was a term for what I was going through – a quarter life crisis.  Knowing I wasn’t alone, I started feeling slightly better.  And after the dreaded birthday passed I decided to make some changes in my life.
I cut back on waitress shifts. I started to hang out with friends.  I started to date. I allowed fun back into my life. And when I was presented with an opportunity to shift my career path I jumped at the chance.  Slowly but surely I found happiness.
I am turning forty-one on November 10th. I wish I could go back and tell my twenty-four year old self that everything will be okay. That the sacrifices that were made then would allow for much successes and joy later.  But I can’t. And even if I could, I know that I wouldn’t listen…
Hilary in present day

Hilary in present day

Links:
Twitter @feelingbeachie
Dangled Carat

 

Happy Birthday Mom!

Today is my mom’s birthday and so I am dedicating my blog post to her—Happy Birthday, Mom!!

photo (11)

I love my mom with all my heart, and I credit her with being one of my most productive muses. In fact, she inspired the mother character in my debut novel, Just Friends with Benefits. Little things my mother says/does always appear in my writing. I think my mother has a love/hate reaction to seeing “mommyisms” in my writing—she is both flattered and embarrassed.

Despite the obvious affection we share, my mother and I argue pretty frequently. She likes to harp on certain aspects of my life (*cough* my love life) and sometimes, particularly when I’m not happy about it, she stresses me out. I don’t like to confide anything until there is something significant to share. At the same time, I like to assure her that I’m not sitting at home waiting for Mr. Right to knock on my door so that she doesn’t worry about me being a hermit, a spinster, etc. We both lack the patience gene and get frustrated pretty easily. It’s not pretty…

My mother is an avid reader of my blog and while I believe she‘s always hopeful that I will share something personal (*cough* my love life), I know that she’s genuinely interested in all aspects of my life, including my friends, my day job, and my writing.

Although we bicker often and are both aware that time spent together should probably be limited to 48 hour intervals at a time, we have shared many good times together. These are some of my most cherished memories with my mom:

Christmas day – My birthday is December 23rd and since I was raised Jewish, my family typically does not celebrate Christmas. Almost every year since I’ve been out of college, my mother and I have spent either Christmas or Christmas Eve together. We see a movie and then we go out to dinner. Among the movies we’ve seen are The Wolf of Wall Street, Up in the Air, The Pursuit of Happiness, Young Adult and Schindler’s List. Although there have been years that I was away during the Christmas holiday and years we’ve been joined by a third person, those years are few and far between. The tradition is really ours and I love having my mother all to myself.

Day trip to the beach – My mother loves the beach and another tradition we share is reserving a day in the summer to drive to the beach in Long Branch, New Jersey. We leave the house by 9am, arrive at the beach by 11am and stay until at least 5pm. The snack bar at Long Branch makes the best hot dogs ever and I think we look forward to that as much as the beach. Parking is never fun, mostly because I have to carry both of our beach chairs. I’m sure my mom remembers the bitchy woman who purposely took forever packing up her car because she knew we were waiting for her spot. And I know she recalls the year after I graduated college when we passed Monmouth University and I started crying when it hit me that I wouldn’t be going back to my own college, Suny Albany, anymore.

Shopping – there is no one I enjoy shopping with more than my mother. She has impeccable taste and she’s always honest with me about what is flattering and what is not. Growing up, I would lose sleep in excitement the night before a planned shopping spree with my mom. To this day, I entrust my mom more than anyone else to help me choose dresses for important occasions and I’m never quite certain if something works until my mom gives her okay.

Amusement parks – One of my proudest moments of being my mother’s daughter was the day we went to Six Flags Great Adventure. While my sister and I bit our nails in anxiety while waiting in line for the rollercoasters, my mother was fearless. It was pretty awesome.

In sickness and in health – I don’t like being sick but when I’m under the weather, I always want my mom to nurse me back to health by making me her famous “orange aid” with a maraschino cherry. This was a tough winter for me health wise—I was five minutes away from a flu at all times. My mother escorted me to Urgent Care and she also made me several helpings of orange aid and Matzo Ball Soup. There is nothing like feeling under the weather to turn a grown woman into a mama’s girl.

Broadway – Since my mother’s birthday is so close to Mother’s Day, my combined gift to her is always a mother/daughter outing to a Broadway show and dinner. We’ve seen The Producers, Fiddler on the Roof, 9 to 5, The Pajama Game, Mama Mia, Hairspray, La Cage Aux Folles, Billy Elliot and many others. This year, I bought us tickets to see Beautiful. Although it costs me a pretty penny and it seems the tallest guy in the audience is always seated directly in front of one of us, I love sharing the experience with my mother.

There are so many more wonderful memories where my mother is concerned and I look forward to creating more in the years to come.

Happy Birthday Susan Jane Goodman. I love you!

Isn't my mom cute?

Isn’t my mom cute?

Your Littlest “M”