What Do You Desire?

Date: March 6, 2013 at 8:59 am- by Ali- Comment(s): 42

I’ve been feeling quite introspective lately, which is always a good thing for me and a terrible thing for everyone else in my life. Conversations can quickly and without notice shift from “What should I have for lunch today?” to “What should I be doing differently with my life? How can I improve? What is my path? What are my goals?”

And then it’s usually back to the lunch discussion.

This is a part of my lunch lately. A toasted English Muffin with hummus and cucumbers. Two halves. Plus an apple. Plus a box of Girl Scout Cookies.

This is a part of my lunch lately. A toasted English Muffin with hummus and cucumbers. Two halves. Plus an apple. Plus a box of Girl Scout Cookies.

But I’ve had a few fleeting moments lately where I’ve pondered what I’m doing not just on a day-to-day basis — running, working, eating, sleeping and not much else — but in the grander scheme of things.

I want to be a better person. I never want to lose my edge or my passion for what I’m doing.

I feel lucky every single day that I fell into the job I have at Dance Spirit. Yes, I worked hard to get here. Exceptionally hard. And I still work hard every day. Lately my work never leaves the forefront of my mind. It’s a constant swirling discussion with myself about how I can make this magazine better, stronger, more exciting and more fun.

With that comes plenty of stress. It turns out, when you carry the weighty title of Editor in Chief, you also take on a lot of responsibility. In fact, you can take on all the responsibility. There’s no pushing blame, there’s only acceptance and taking responsibility for your actions and everyone else’s. That’s something I love about this job. I love being in charge and I love working with a team of motivated, excited young women.

We also get to talk to really cool people every day, and they write us love notes.

Of course she wanted to be Julie Andrews. Cat Deeley, ladies and gentleman. The woman I would 100% ditch men for.

Of course she wanted to be Julie Andrews. Cat Deeley, ladies and gentleman. The woman I would 100% ditch men for.

I love my work. I love my coworkers. Waking up and coming to the office is rarely tragic for me. Most days it’s something I look forward to. Other days I refuse to get out of bed. Other days are so stressful that I manage to go through the entire day without realizing I’ve been grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw the entire time.

People — especially people in New York City — are obsessed with money. They talk about it, they spend it and, if they’re very fortunate, they have some of it left over after paying rent, the electric bill, the Time Warner bill and the ever-rising MetroCard fare.

Honestly, if I could somehow just steal ONE piece of art from The Met...I think I'd be set for a while. Put that thing on eBay and yeah, money IS no object.

Honestly, if I could somehow just steal ONE piece of art from The Met…I think I’d be set for a while. Put that thing on eBay and yeah, money IS no object.

I never went into the publishing industry because of the money. That would have been a sad mistake.

Growing up, I never thought about money. It wasn’t something we talked about very much in my family. I knew my family was “middle class” by New Hampshire standards, and that we weren’t out buying new cars (my dad pretty much refuses to buy new cars, which is why he rocked a 1994 Ford Taurus until 2011), but we could stand to take a vacation from time to time. We were always well fed (maybe too well fed) and my parents supported my crazy expensive competitive dance hobby without mentioning to me how much it may have been depleting their hard-earned bank accounts. (Sorry, again, Mom and Dad. You guys are the best. Also sorry my recitals were usually four hours long. I understand now why you tailgated in the parking lot before I took the stage. Well played.)

I assisted classes at my dance studio in high school to earn some extra spending money, and during summers home from college I worked at a local printing company hand-binding, collating and shrink wrapping spiral-bound books. I oddly loved that mindless job. I waitressed in college to afford my Franzia addiction, and then immediately made the move to where I wanted to be: working for Dance Spirit.

I based my entire career decision and my entire life plan on what I wanted to be doing — and I never thought about the money.

As it turns out, there’s not a lot of money in magazines! Maybe on the sales side, and surely for the higher-ups at many of the large publications over at Conde Nast and Hearst. But most editors, at least the younger ones, aren’t exactly raking it in.

The view from the Mandarin Oriental, where my friend got married. Central Park, you are stunning from every angle.

The view from the Mandarin Oriental, where my friend got married. Central Park, you are stunning from every angle.

So naturally, as much as I love my job, I think it’s normal to occasionally think, “How can I be making more?”

I’d love to be rich. Shallow? Sure. But pinching pennies in New York City sucks. Sometimes you have to choose between having clean laundry or having a new bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs, and I’m going with the Mini Eggs every time. I will live in filth, but I will not give up my addiction to hard shell coated pastel candies.

Where am I going with this? That’s always a great question.

As I walked to work this morning, I watched this video:

The narrator asks, “What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your time?”

Now naturally my brain went nuts with this. I didn’t even finish the video. I paused it and I really thought about the question.

What would I do if money were no object?

I would run. I would run as far as I wanted every day, and after my run I would have time to stretch, foam roll, ice and eat. I wouldn’t rush off somewhere without proper recovery. I would also take fun classes at the gym and I’d try every instructor I could find. I would leave my sweat everywhere.

Spin class? Sign me up. Triathlons? Yeah, I've got time for that! Ultramarathons? BRING IT. No, actually don't. My knees will shatter.

Spin class? Sign me up. Triathlons? Yeah, I’ve got time for that! Ultramarathons? BRING IT. No, actually don’t. My knees will shatter.

I would spend more time with Tyler. And maybe young people in general. Lately I’ve found myself really enjoying being around kids. I think they’re funny. Not so much when they poop and cry, but kids make me laugh.

On the left, he is tired. On the right, he is excited about the snowstorm Boston might get. Or is getting. I don't know. I can't be bothered to care about the weather anywhere beyond Manhattan.

On the left, he is tired. On the right, he is excited about the snowstorm Boston might get. Or is getting. I don’t know. I can’t be bothered to care about the weather anywhere beyond Manhattan.

I would travel. I would travel to see my friends. I would finally make my way to Vermont to see the place Lauren brags about, and I’d return to Utah and Colorado, if only to get five deep breaths-worth of that clean mountain air. I’d travel to ski and I’d travel to lay on the beach.

I would cook. I probably wouldn’t grocery shop, though I guess if time were no object I could go to Fairway at 11 PM when it’s significantly less madness-y. But I would definitely spend more time in the kitchen. I would learn to make things beyond “cheese casseroles” and “granola bars.”

I can't be bothered to buy myself nice work clothes, but I justified this purchase of an apron. It's going to motivate me to cook more. So it's VALID. (Says the girl who just complained about being short on cash...maybe this is why...)

I can’t be bothered to buy myself nice work clothes, but I justified this purchase of an apron. It’s going to motivate me to cook more. So it’s VALID. (Says the girl who just complained about being short on cash…maybe this is why…) Also I got a haircut this weekend. No one has yet noticed. Rude.

I would volunteer. There’s the rush you get from a long run and there’s the rush you get when you make your deadlines at work. Then there’s that unbeatable feeling you get when you’re helping someone else. Not a lot compares to that. I want to spend more time doing things for others. Introspectively, I want to feel less selfish. I want to use any resources I have to make other people live better lives. I want to give back more than I take.

The night I spent volunteering a few weeks ago left me feeling high for days. Sooo I should probably do that again, right? If only for the free hairnet...

The night I spent volunteering a few weeks ago left me feeling high for days. Sooo I should probably do that again, right? If only for the free hairnet…

And I would write. I would absolutely, definitely write. I would keep blogging. I’d be able to say all the things I really want to say every day. I would write about dance, too. I would see Broadway shows, I’d go to the ballet and I’d scour the country looking for up-and-coming dancers just about to make their big breaks. And then I’d write about them.

OH LOOK. Talented young dancers! Take note, Dance Spirit. COVER WORTHY!

OH LOOK. Talented young dancers! Take note, Dance Spirit. COVER WORTHY!

In today’s world, it’s hard to just forget about money. As much as this video inspired me, it also frustrated me a bit. Society says that we need money. We need it to buy food, to have shelter and to support ourselves and our families. Money, unfortunately, is an object to most extents.

But if money were no object…this is still what I would be doing.

So I guess I’m doing OK.

Though I still have no idea what I’ll want for lunch today.

YOUR TURN: What would YOU do if money were no object?

42 Responses to "What Do You Desire?"

I would run and I would write, too. Absolutely. And hike. And adopt lots of doggies that need good homes and give them a yard of their own to run free.

YES!!! WTF was I thinking, not mentioning that I would adopt ALL the rescue pups? Good call.

If money were no object, I would too would run everyday, travel with my family and make memories, have someone else clean my house but I would still cook and maybe take some cooking classes.

I would buy houses for all my friends on Fire Island, so everyone would be out there all the time with me. I would also buy a boat and pay a captain to run it for me. AND, I would throw yearly parties at the Mandarin Oriental so I could re-live my wedding once a year.

I would also open a huge sanctuary for all the homeless doggies and kitties. And horses 🙂

I noticed your haircut in that photo before I read the caption! It looks really great. If money were no object, I would do a whole lot of take fitness classes, maybe teach fitness classes since that’s not a moneymaking field anyway, give money to charities that save sweet puppies like my Larry from being killed and spend a LOT of time doing absolutely nothing.

Thank you for noticing 🙂 I should have known you would, master observer!

I would travel. I would take a year (or three!) and go to all the places on my bucket list. It would be glorious. And I would stay in amazing hotels (except for in places where the real experience is staying in weird crappy tents/villas/whatever), and eat amazing food, and fly first class everywhere. And then I would come home, buy a ridiculous amount of purses and shoes (hello, Chanel) and hire a personal chef and personal trainer and buy an incredible apartment and a beach/countryhouse. Once all of that was done, I’d follow your lead and pick a few great causes/organizations and spend the rest of my time volunteering. Phew.

I had a Franzia addition in college too!! Sadly money is of such high important in NYC but I do the best I can. 🙂

I love this topic, but since it’s so wildly unrealistic, I write my blog to help people realize their dreams in a world where money is a very real issue. 🙂

It doesn’t have to be depressing, it just takes some honest prioritizing and lots of gusto.

Travel! I would love to do the whole exercise at loads of gyms. If a gym class/facility tester job exists sign me up! I’d shop til I dropped and always have blueberries strawberries and raspberries in my fridge! Then I’d take my time and figure out what I REALLLY want to do 😉

If money were no object, I would go back to my first love – horseback riding. I rode for 16 years, 13 of those competitively. I would buy back my horse I sold when I was 22 and maybe a couple other horses. I would just spend my days riding and competing and living the life. Oh, if only…

I would travel and take cooking lessons from local chefs and take dance classes in each country’s traditional dance form. I would run every cool international race I could find. I would also spend a lot more time volunteering with kids, and learning new languages.

Courtney says: March 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

First, I’d pay off all of my student loans, my siblings’s student loans, and figure out how to help my parents and in-laws with their mortgages (and also fund old age / health / medical funds for my parents and in-laws). Then, I would travel, be a yoga instructor, own and run a winery, and maybe write a book. And adopt all the puppies.

Oh the thought if money were no object. I would obviously indulge my love for running and travel the world and run in all those amazing places you see…do every rave run RW has featured…warms my heart to think about it.

I have been doing a lot of soul searching lately – so this post resonated with me big time! I think it’s important to think about what we LOVE to do, regardless of the money, to determine how to truly be happy in life. (Even better if you can truly do what you love as a job!) Who knows what the future may bring, but I hope it includes what I love to do!

Love, love, love this post. I think about this a lot. If I had unlimited funding and money was no object, I would travel the world with friends. I’d try as many different foods and be exposed to as many different cultures as I could and bring different fun friends with me along for the ride. I’d also hire someone to decorate my [amazing large] apartment, because I always feel paralyzed when it comes to interior decorating (too many options! what to buy!?? ahhhh!) Those are the top 2!

I know this sounds really snotty but I don’t think I’d do much differently. I love my family, I love my rented home, I love my car. I guess I would probably buy a house as it’s a wise investment and I would LOVE a second toilet.

I WOULD travel more, that is such a luxury, the chance to see the world. And I do quite fancy getting my teeth sorted out – oh the trials of British teeth in California.

It doesn’t sound snotty! It sounds like you’re doing it right! Keep it up, my British friend! Also I want to start saying “I quite fancy.” I don’t think I can pull it off, but here’s to trying!

I would definitely run all the time. I would also work on writing a book

I would spend all day everyday doing active things. I love outdoorsy activities. I would finally learn to surf. I would also spend my days traveling and eating all the delicious food in the world. And also open up a yoga studio.

I’m so glad your blog is something you would continue. I absolutely love reading your posts. So many fun and thought provoking entries!

I hope this doesn’t come across wrong, but you might want to pass along to your brother and sister-in-law that that sweet little face shouldn’t be in a puffy coat in the carseat! The fluff in the coats can compress and leave the harness looser than it should be, which can lead to ejection in a crash. It’s frigging freezing here, too, and I put my baby in a fleece zip-up hoodie and cover the seat with a shower-cap style cover instead.

If money was no object, I would be paid to eat chocolate and take naps.

Love this post! I would buy a house on a lake and I would travel and I would run. I would have a nutritionist and a cleaning lady. And I would work a job I would really love!

I have this conversation with myself a lot and people ALWAYS say: What would you do if money didn’t matter? But, I don’t know that read books and watch TV and eat lots of food can be everyone’s answer, you know.

Money is part of the equation, though it doesn’t have to be a big part. There’s a whole debate going on twitter and online right now about journalism and pay and how much writers should be paid. So, it has to be a factor, because you have to like something enough that it’s worth it, right?

If money were no object I would NOT stress about money. I would be all zen-like because I wasn’t so stressed about whether I could to eat a meal out with friends or sign up for a race or go get fitted on my bike because it’s not comfortable! Otherwise I am doing what I love, I am just very tightly wound, due to financial constraints. 🙂 And yes, I when I get all introspective I should just hide from everyone.

If I had money, I would take the time to live life and do all the things I can’t with a job and little money, such as travel. I would also live where there is a perfect temperature all year so Ican run outside all the time!

You have inspired my blog post today! erikahuertaruns.com =)

100% understand about magazines and no money! If money were no object, I’d travel, run, host the best parties for my friends, have a house big enough for all the homeless people in NYC to have a place to sleep at night, and buy my parents the beach house they’ve always dreamed about!

I would retire and be able to work out in the morning when I like it. I would do destination races. I would buy that second home on the water. I would travel. I would never cook again.

Ohhh how eloquently you said everything in my heart lately.
That is exactly what I have been thinking about lately…
What do I really truly want? Not career wise, I’m perfectly happy there, but elsewhere!

I’d go to Culinary School right now…and have a never-ending supply of cereal.

I have this thought all the time lately! It must be something that is on the forefront of your brain this time of year.

If money were no object I’d be traveling like a fool. I would spend my time just pushing myself and seeing how far I can go, in running, in trying new things, just in general. It’s such a freeing and exciting thought!

Travel! Would love to visit US (never been) and re-visit Europe.

LOVE this. I think we should all live life a little bit more as if money didn’t matter — I mean it DOES matter to the extent that you need some money to live but I don’t think life should be driven by money either. If money didn’t matter — I’d teach at barre n9ne purely because I love it, I’d learn to garden (bc why not right?) and I’d spend as MUCH time with my family and friends being silly, doing all the things I always say I’ll do one day but actually doing them. like ice skating, or learning to jumprope, y’know, the really important stuff 😉 AWESOME post friend.

Love this post! I think we all fantasize about what we would would if money were no object…

PARIS! I would book the next flight to Paris and never leave. I would move my cat, my horse and my husband with me. We would eat Haribo candies, macarons and baguette sandwiches. There would be wine. We would walk everywhere. And I would write. Write from our Parisian apartment, write from the steps overlooking the Eiffel Tower, write from cafes, bridges and museum courtyards.

Thank you for the daydream!

Like, you I wouldn’t change that much of my life’s core. I graduate from nursing school in May and I definitely did not pursue nursing for the $$$. If money were no object, I would graduate and look for a job (like now) but I would upgrade my 14 year-old care that looks like it has leprosy, buy an airplane for my fiance, and travel all over (SE Asia, South America, New Zealand first). I would go to Bikram and/or Pure Barre everyday. I would also buy one of everything in Lululemon and update my wardrobe. I’d enroll in cooking classes and go to as many restaurants as humanly possible. I would visit my friends around the country and I would hire a dog walker. Okay, I think I could go on for days but I won’t…

And by care, I mean car…

i would run a senior dog rescue/hospice. Through experience, Ive learned with each senior i’ve rescued from the high kill Los Angeles shelters, it takes between $300-$500 to get them vetted and healthy as possible. They often need special diets and medications. I do it on a small scale but i would love to have a large enough piece of property where i could comfortably take care of about 10 of them.

And i would run every other day and keep up training for half marathons.

Why look at that lovely haircut; so split end free and shiny. To do what you like for a living is amazing thing. If money were no object, I’d cook more, still blog, take up spinning, try to start more community gardens in inner cities, and then teach cooking classes on how to use those same veggies.

“…for a living is AN amazing thing…”
“…take up TEACHING spinning…”

So many typos on the blog of an editor, no less. Sigh. It’s Friday night of a very long week; does that help justify my grammatical errors?

Dear Ali
My name’s Puje and I live in Mongolia.
Recently, I was searching running related blogs on google and found yours. So glad I did.
Loving your posts :).
Please keep writing.
All the best wishes,