My Happiness Hat Trick

Date: April 7, 2014 at 9:09 pm- by Ali- Comment(s): 37

When you’re sick, weekends suck. It’s not like, “Oh, sweet, it’s the weekend, I can get lots of rest and feel better by the time the workweek returns on Monday!” No, not at all.

Instead, being sick on the weekend means being stuck inside, in most cases, doing nothing (or doing everything…in the bathroom, at least), while the rest of the world does everything you want to be doing.

While you’re up early because your maddening stomach pains woke you up, everyone else is up early to engage in hours of exercise.

You are still sick in bed = everyone else has already Instagrammed pictures of their legs + Garmins. Sorry. Your life sucks.

You are still sick in bed = everyone else has already Instagrammed pictures of their legs + Garmins. Sorry. Your life sucks.

By the time you’re on your third roll of toilet paper (I never claimed to be subtle or sexy), the rest of the world has successfully run 20 miles on the most beautiful day, followed by a much-deserved hot shower, a fancy brunch with friends and a sweet afternoon nap.

No one tell Brian that this is on the internet. He might not love it. I don't know. I certainly didn't ask permission to post this. #ethics

No one tell Brian that this is on the internet. He might not love it. I don’t know. I certainly didn’t ask permission to post this. #ethics

While your life sucks, everyone else is having the best weekend ever.

And not to be all negative or whatever, but this “hypothetical” weekend scenario was my life for the past, what, millions of weekends? Rough estimate.

The weekdays were easy. When I was healthy enough to make it to work, I had a nice distraction. If I had to stay home, at least I knew I had plenty of crap on the DVR to get me through the day.

LOOK AT THIS TABLE I BUILT! I did this during a sick day. Pretty impressive. Every day when I walk in the door, I expect it to be on the floor, broken into a million pieces. Clean that up when it happens, Brian.

LOOK AT THIS TABLE I BUILT! I did this during a sick day. Pretty impressive. Every day when I walk in the door, I expect it to be on the floor, broken into a million pieces. Clean that up when it happens, Brian.

But I dreaded weekends. I hated watching the rest of the world at play, and I had to really avoid social media because it led me down a dark, scary road of anger and sadness.

Three weekends ago, though, something happened.

I finally started to relax. And my body seemed to follow suit.

I woke up early on Saturday morning and went to a 7:45 AM yoga class. And then I ran home.

Awwww my old familiar route along the West Side Highway! Remember when I used to live over there? I guess not, because I didn't really have this blog up and running yet.

Awwww my old familiar route along the West Side Highway! Remember when I used to live over there? I guess not, because I didn’t really have this blog up and running yet.

By the time I got back to the apartment, Brian and I agreed: “Let’s get out of the city.”

We rented a car and drove “out east” to my very happy place: the North Fork of Long Island. We got to our sweet little Hilton Hotel, took a long late-afternoon nap and then went out to dinner with Brian’s mom at one of my favorite restaurants in all the land, the North Fork Table & Inn (do it).

We slept in deliciously late on Sunday — hotel beds are my favorite — and then embarked on some hardcore outlet shopping. On the way back to the city, we stopped for a big ol’ steak dinner.

I went to bed back in our apartment that Sunday night feeling the happiest I had felt in months. All it took was being OK enough to leave the apartment.

Just five days later, it was time for another weekend.

This time, it was off to New Jersey for my cousin’s wedding.

FANCY AS SHIT. Even fancier, actually.

FANCY AS SHIT. Even fancier, actually.

I got to spend an entire weekend with my family at another one of my happiest places: Ocean City, NJ, where my aunt lives.

Pretty typical, really.

Pretty typical, really.

And unlike all 10 or so of the weddings I attended last year, I was able to fully enjoy this one. As in, I spent the entire night on the dance floor…not in the bathroom. How’s that for progress?

Remember being little and being a Girl Scout and having those Father-Daughter dances? Those were special. My dad always got me a corsage and it felt very fancy. WHERE WAS MY CORSAGE THIS TIME, DAD? What a load of crap. I got nothing.

Remember being little and being a Girl Scout and having those Father-Daughter dances? Those were special. My dad always got me a corsage and it felt very fancy. WHERE WAS MY CORSAGE THIS TIME, DAD? What a load of crap. I got nothing.

The weather all weekend was crappy, but I still got out for a little run on the boardwalk in the middle of a downpour. I had the whole boardwalk to myself and it was perfect.

This past weekend marked my third getaway in three weeks — this time to Saratoga Springs, NY. Brian had a bike race up there, so I tagged along, if only for the promise of a hotel bed and a hot tub. The abundance of competitive spandex-clad boys racing bikes doesn’t hurt either. (I only have eyes for one in particular, but ladies, if you ever want to tag along, I’m tellllllling you, there are men a’plenty just looking for a nice girl who wants to talk about watts and power meters and other seemingly boring bike stuff.)

Photo credit: ME! They ride bikes and I get to play with the big, fancy camera. It's how I earn my steak dinners and hotel beds.

Photo credit: ME! They ride bikes and I get to play with the big, fancy camera. It’s how I earn my steak dinners and hotel beds.

Brian and I got back to the city around 5 PM (after making a pit-stop at the Woodbury Common outlets, because I can’t not) and I felt really relaxed for the first time in so long.

Whenever I start to get sick, I recall all the “familiar feelings” that come on so suddenly. The fevers, the night sweats, the aches, the frantic bathroom runs…even if it’s been a while, the minute those factors come back into play, it’s like they never settled down to begin with.

But the same is true with these happy feelings.

I’m not running much, but when I do get out there, every step feels so precious (ew, I just said precious…”Yeah, I can’t call you that…” anyone?). I am so deeply grateful for every run I get to take.

Happy places abound in this post!

Happy places abound in this post!

Today, I took the subway — the downtown 6 train — from my apartment down to my office. It was the first time in months I did an entirely underground commute (as opposed to taking a cab or taking the bus, which is less stressful because it’s not underground).

Some days lately have still sucked. At one point last week, the night sweats came back with a vengeance and I just about lost my mind in a state of panic.

People ask how I’m feeling, and the easy response is, “good!” The truth, of course, is that my standard for “good” is horribly low. What passes for good for me these days is still a poor quality of life, but it’s better than where I’ve been in the very recent past, and I’m not complaining. I wish “good!” didn’t mean “I still spend hours in the bathroom every morning, I still can’t really eat anything without pain or discomfort and my greatest fears are spinach, salad and restaurants with single-occupancy bathrooms.”

My days lately are filled with little victories, though — taking the subway, not having to leave the room during yoga, sleeping through the night or going out with a dear friend to a real restaurant.

Photo credit this time: Sara! Reunited and it felt pretty good, until I thought I was OK enough to order that second glass of wine (uhhh, the most I've had in more than a YEAR, people). Then I didn't feel so good. I also didn't feel so good the next day. Or the next day.

Photo credit this time: Sara! Reunited and it felt pretty good, until I thought I was OK enough to order that second glass of wine (uhhh, the most I’ve had in more than a YEAR, people). Then I didn’t feel so good. I also didn’t feel so good the next day. Or the next day.

So I’ll take the “good,” whatever that means, because it sure beats all those sad weekends.

WHERE’S YOUR HAPPY PLACE? Let’s talk, because I’ve been missing you. Where’s your weekend “gotta get away” hot spot? And can I go there with you? I’ll bring snacks.

37 Responses to "My Happiness Hat Trick"

First—damn girl you look beautiful in those wedding pics!
Second–good is good. Not great but good.
Third–love that you are relaxing and having some fun, you deserve it.
Fourth– you will get better and you will be kickin trash again soon.

I’m glad to see you back to focusing on the little things!!! My happy place is more of a combination of activities. When I manage to spend time with friends, my husband, relax, get workouts in and eat good food I’m a happy weekend girl!

So happy to hear about three solid weekends! Always keeping you in my thoughts!

3 go to weekend escapes:
1) New Hope, PA
2) Vermont- ski house
3) Cape May, NJ

I really don’t have “weekends” but when I do get my couple days off….be it in the middle of the week or on the weekend, I love feeling like I finally have time!! I travel for work so my favorite are being home, running and just hanging out. Although, I do have a huge trip planned to NY in May and I’m taking 10 days off. So excited!

Yay New York! We can’t wait to have you 🙂

Yay for good! Any standard of good is worth celebrating. And also, that dress!!

That dress looks gorgeous on you and I’m so glad to see you out and about. Who cares if 2 glasses of wine doesn’t leave you feeling your best. At least your’e well enough to overindulge 🙂

So happy for you! My happy place is my family’s mountain house in Woodstock, NY. Going there takes away all my troubles!!!

Sounds like things are looking up! My happy place is outside!!!!!!! Whether I’m running, riding bikes or hiking, as long as I’m outside I am generally happy. 🙂

Meghan R says: April 8, 2014 at 9:52 am

So glad to hear that things are “good” for you right now. Better than awful right? 🙂

yay for feeling better one day at a time, and i hope you continue on in this way! love Saratoga so much — i’m from up that way and it’s definitely one of my fave towns to lose an afternoon or evening in.

Yes, it’s the cutest town! We had a really incredible dinner there on Friday night. I was bummed we didn’t have more time to explore throughout the weekend, though (we stayed in a hotel in Saratoga but were mostly in Cambridge during the weekend). Definitely planning to return!

Really glad your weekends were good – and that dress is honestly spectacular! You look amazing.

My Happy Place is Apple Hill – a little area just outside Sacramento CA full of apple orchards, rolling hills and sunshine. I was only thinking yesterday we haven’t been yet this year and it’s been bugging me ever since! Feel very free to come with us, drink apple cider, eat apple pie and pick berries!

ORCHARDS ARE THE HAPPIEST OF ALL PLACES.

You sound and look really happy. So glad for you!

My happy place? A trail, a sunrise, a few good friends, and monster breakfast out afterwards. Anywhere will do.

Congrats on three good feeling weekends! You are slowly but surely getting better! Hang in there and continue to blog! We miss you!

The North Fork of LI is one of my most favorite places. My fiance and I were there a couple weekends ago looking at wedding venues! It’s so beautiful. So happy you were able to get out and enjoy it!

Ali,
Sometimes good is just enough. 🙂 *hugs*

I love hugs!

That striped dress! You look stellar!

My happy place is a good run, feeling strong and no pain. My other happy place is the mountains, and being a half hour from my house they’re my ideal weekend getaway. Those giant ground rocks are just so good for the soul! You can definitely come. Mountains and snacks go hand in hand.

Name ... says: April 8, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Were you at Battenkill this weekend?! I love going up there for that race….so pretty! Glad you’re getting out and feeling better 🙂

Yes! Brian raced on Saturday and Sunday. Such a cool race!

It is crazy when good is just better than the baddest you’ve been (yep, I said baddest :)), but we’ll take it. So happy for your getaways- sometimes a break from the regular ‘ol potty spot where we spend a lot of time is just the thing for the soul.
Happy places: the beach in CA (basically anywhere, but I love Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands and Summerland and Butterfly beaches near Santa Barbara)… the pond at my parents house in VT, the Viceroy in Palm Springs…
Happy for you!

So happy that you are finally getting some relief! I have to ask-where is that striped dress from? I love it!

It’s Kate Spade. I got it at the outlet a few weeks ago.

Abbe Lew says: April 8, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Precious. Phoebe Buffay. Paul Rudd + Lisa Kudrow = dream sitcom couple.

Also. Love you. That’s all.

That is so fun looking!!! Glad you got better! I had a sick weekend last week! Usually mine aren’t eventful…but I got sick when all the fun things were happening…seriously multiple get-togethers with amazing food!

I love the fancy striped dress! You look great in it!
Happy place for me is usually taking my dog for a hike in the woods. I love our “alone” time. I can talk to him out loud without people thinking i am crazy for carrying on a conversation with my labradoodle. But I SWEAR he understands me and he is a very good listener. I can cry and no one sees me too. I usually return home feeling so much better. Continued small victories to ya….to the 6 train and beyond! =)

LABRADOODLES ARE THE BEST DOODLES. You’re so lucky. Goldendoodles are good, too.

Sounds pretty magnificent! Traveling in comfort…with relative ease = heaven 🙂 Awesome hat trick! Big Sur is the only weekend place I’ve been to without kids or pain. It’s pretty sweet 🙂 One of my favorite “couple of hours to spend” place is Muir Beach in the late afternoon/early evening. Fun place to catch the sunset. Wishing you many more weekends of feeling good 🙂

Yippeeee! So happy that you’re feeling well enough to enough to enjoy the weekends, Ali.

Charlotte says: April 10, 2014 at 3:08 pm

One of my friends recently commented something like “it doesn’t really take a lot to make you ecstatic.” Well, I’d say that’s a pretty awesome way to live life.
Ran fast as hell (ok, not really, but faster than expected) at a race Sunday, and was completely high with that experience for a couple of days.
Ok, I’m rambling. Sorry. Also, is it weird to throw down a comment like this when you don’t have a clue who I am? (Hi, I’m Charlotte!)

Keep up the happiness!

Hi Charlotte!

Jennifer says: April 14, 2014 at 5:15 am

Ah! Saratoga is one of my happy places! I grew up there and never fully appreciated it until I moved away. I love when I can get back home – not only because my parents are there and live out on the lake, but also because downtown is awesome and there’s always so much to do. I hope you’re able to make it back there sometime and can really enjoy the town. If you go in July or August, you can catch the NYCB at SPAC or the Philadelphia orchestra (Saratoga is the summer home for both). Sit on the lawn, being some wine and cheese – it’s lots of fun and super relaxing. Or you could always go to the track and bet on some horses.
Glad you’re feeling good these days! It’s been too damn long of feeling crappy 🙂

That’s pretty awesome. My happy place is a tea shop (I’m living in China) that’s always quiet and overlooks the city. Perfect place to chill out

Love the dress. I went to Northfork last month and fell in love. NFTI is awesome too! I’m from Saratoga–I hope you had a great time! That is definitely on of my happy places.