"Update" NYC

Under Pressure

It’s Monday morning, the alarm goes off and it’s the start of the work week. Otherwise, known as HELL, especially during the winter months when all we’d like to do is stay warm underneath the covers. But this is reality and we must tend to our responsibilities. However, as my own alarm went off this morning; it got me thinking about pressure. The pressure to get to work on time, the pressure to avoid the sweets and focus on my smoothie and the pressure to look good at the office and all this pressure is occurring before 9 a.m.!!! It got me thinking about the pressure and how it affects our day to day life. Feeling under pressure can feel a lot like you are drowning and you can never catch a breath of air. Pressure…is it good or bad for us?

From the moment January 1st begins, the pressure is put upon us. The pressure to start our resolutions, the pressure to lose the holiday weight some of us might have gained, the pressure to achieve all of these monumental goals all by the end of the year and when we don’t achieve these goals; we are left feeling deflated by what we couldn’t accomplish. What’s even more depressing is that we can’t even really blame society or the media for this pressure because this pressure is coming from within. Sure. There is the pressure to want to look like a certain celebrity or have what your friends might have but regardless of how this pressure is being projected…it’s still coming from somewhere within us all.

By the time New Year’s Eve rolled around, I decided to not put pressure on myself that there will be no “special guy” to kiss at the stroke of midnight. I was mainly excited to be able to see my friends after being away with family for a week. We had a nice party hosted by my friend in Brooklyn and by the time midnight even rolled around, the entire party was drunk, kissing, hugging, laughing and that was just the beginning. By the time it was 3:30 a.m. another friend of mine suggested we take the train back to the city since all cabs and cars were charging three times the regular price to get anywhere. We snuck out of the party because it was still in full swing and probably would’ve been there till six a.m.

The next day, I woke up with a nasty hangover. I hadn’t been that hungover in a very long time. Must have been all the champagne I drank but it was certainly not the best way to start the New Year. I was getting text messages from my friends all day asking me to go bowling with them that evening but I was resisting because I felt so terrible. They finally managed to break my resistance and I ended up having a great time bowling with everyone at Chelsea Piers. I left that evening thinking how lucky I was to even have so many friends wanting me around and if that was the way the New Year was to start; then I was all set.

The weekend came by rather quickly and along with the weekend came a very bitter cold storm in the northeast. However, I had managed to schedule my first date in 2014. Well, actually it was a second date with this guy but my first for the New Year. The plan was to see a movie followed by drinks. I offered up the opportunity for him to cancel seeing that the low that night was going to be 4 degrees, there was snow everywhere and he lives way uptown. His response was, “I have been waiting for over a month for a second date with you. This is happening.” I took that as a rather nice sign and agreed to brave the artic temperatures. I was dying to see the movie, HER, and he agreed to see the movie even though he would have rather see a different one.

When I arrived at the movie theatre on 42nd Street, he sent a message that he was across the street at a Starbucks getting a drink. I didn’t mind waiting; it gave me a chance to defrost. When he finally arrived, I had forgotten the reason why it had been over a month since our first date. I really wasn’t that attracted to him. I decided to not let the fact that I wasn’t physically attracted to him distract me from getting to know this person. As we rode the escalators up to the theatre, he said something but I didn’t quite make out exactly what he said and so I asked him to repeat himself. He said, “I just have to tell you that the view from here is mighty nice. Great ass.” Really? That was his opener? I just smiled and didn’t say anything else about the subject of my ass. I tried to make small talk with topics from the holidays, work and what we both have been up to since we last saw each other. The entire time, he didn’t ask me one question about my life. So, I sat there while we waited for the movie to start and I listened to him go on and on about his life. I couldn’t wait for the lights to go down and finally they did.

About twenty minutes into the movie, he leans over to me and says, “I’m hot. I’m burning up and so I’m going to take my shoes off.” I was expecting him take his sweater off but not his shoes! So, there he sat cross legged next to me with no shoes on. I tried to not let that bother me but then he did his best to hold my hand and each time he did; I acted like I was cold and put my hands under my thighs or grabbed my scarf. I was doing anything and everything to avoid physical contact. After the movie was over with, he wanted that drink that we had discussed earlier in the day. I told him, “Before we go outside, we need a game plan. Where would you like to go?” He didn’t have anything planned and so I suggested we go to, Bocca Di Bacco, on Ninth Avenue. I chose it because it was also close to my apartment so I wouldn’t need to travel far after this heinous date was over with.

As we were walking in the bitter cold to the wine bar, he said something else that I couldn’t quite make out. So, I asked him to repeat himself and I should’ve just nodded my head instead I was greeted with him telling me, “By the way. I am going commando.” It is literally 4 degrees outside, snow is flying everywhere, you are only wearing jeans and you’re going commando? I asked him why he thought it was appropriate to tell me this and if he was trying some experience to freeze his nuts off. I was cold. I was cranky and his words were not putting me in the best mood. He told me, “I thought it would be sexy if you knew I was going commando.” I didn’t respond and changed the subject. When we arrived to the bar, the bartender asked if we wanted a bottle. My date was in mid-sentence to say yes but I interjected and said, “Just one glass for me.” This date was ending the minute my glass of red wine was over with. As I sat there, drinking my red wine, he continued talking about himself and even the bartender was laughing because I said not one word. After the bill was paid, we grabbed our coats, bundled up and as he was trying to schedule a third date; I told him where the train station was for him. It was a tad rude but after all his immature comments; it was time to put this date to rest. We hugged goodbye and I walked as fast as I could to my apartment. The pressure to have a great first date in 2014 was now taken off. I survived and it wasn’t great at all.

The next day, I knew was going to be a lot more fun than my date. We were all celebrating a friend of ours birthday. He decided to go old school and have an early dinner at, Pastis. About fifteen of us all laughed, ate and of course…drank. It was nice to be around everyone because when we’re all together; there is no pressure whatsoever. The only pressure is to have as much fun as we possibly can and we certainly achieved that. Once dinner was over with, we all walked over to the Standard Beirgarten for a few drinks. The original goal was to take the birthday boy to a strip club but between the weather and how full we were from dinner; it just wasn’t going to be that kind of night. Instead, after the beers; we all jumped in cabs and went to Pieces to finish out the night. By 2 a.m. I was more than ready to call it a night, so I kissed everyone goodbye and jumped on the subway. Despite the nasty weather, I was glad to be back in the city, back with my friends and back to my own little reality.

Yesterday, something out of the ordinary happened. Something I NEVER do. Something I have to force myself to do kicking and screaming. I relaxed. I didn’t leave my apartment once. I cleared out the DVR; I read books and even my old journals from when I was a teenager. The only reason why I stayed inside was because it was another nasty weather day in the city and there was not one reason why I should be out in that. It was a pressure free day and it taught me that there is something this relaxing thing. Not thinking about work, finances, romance or anything else that can cause pressure sure makes for a lovely day.

There’s no doubt about it. Pressure will remain in our lives till the very end. It comes in all different levels and from all avenues. From our jobs, our family, our spouses and even our own internal pressures but it’s how we handle the pressure that affects our outcome. If we allow the pressure to take over than we will never be able to get out from underneath it. Maybe instead of being under pressure all the time, we get on top if it and see what happens next!

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