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In Spite of Everything, I’m Ending 2020 Feeling Very Lucky

30 Dec
Sunset over Chestnut Hill Reservoir

By nearly every measure, 2020 was not a good year. The reasons — many of them stemming from the coronavirus pandemic, the contentious election (and politics just in general), and the multiple cases of racial injustice — have been well documented, so I don’t need to spend a lot of time rehashing them here. We’ve all lived through this year, and we know how bad it was.

But, while the pandemic may have taken a lot from us, including plans, people, and the passage of time, it did not take away perspective. In fact, the darkness of this year only made the light shine brighter.

To that end, there were also plenty of good or fun things that happened, and things that were worth smiling about. These things should be remembered, too. We should be grateful for all the doctors and healthcare workers, the public health officials, the teachers, the supermarket employees, and many other “essential workers” who went above and beyond to keep us safe, healthy, well fed, educated, stocked, and supplied this year. And of course, we should applaud the millions of people around the world who rightfully took to the streets to affirm that Black lives do, in fact, matter, and to demand that others said the same and acted accordingly.

To be clear, I’d never say I had a good year in 2020. I spent much of it alone in my small apartment, I was often confused or angry or frustrated (or all three), I lost my job over the summer, I couldn’t travel or go to the movies or experience concerts or do other in-person things I enjoy, and there’s been a nagging sense that life is passing me by while I social distance. As the Lone Bellow sang in their song “Dust Settles,” “I’ve been missing from the land of the living.” 

And yet, amazingly, in spite of everything, I actually found something to be happy about every single day this year. That’s just one reason why I’m ending 2020 feeling incredibly lucky.

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So Long, and Thanks for All the Cookies

2 Apr


Like Pavlov’s dog and the bell, these cookies made me salivate on a regular basis

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I’m a very lucky person.

Today I’m saying it because I’m happy to announce that I have a new job and it’s my last day at my current place of employment.

Woo hoo!

To be honest, I don’t even want to say I’m leaving my current job. Rather, it’s more like I’m seizing an opportunity and moving on.

This opportunity came along at pretty much exactly the right time, and was the kind of job I was hoping for next. Actually, it’s the kind of job I was hoping for when I left a previous employer back in April 2012. So, yes, I’m very excited about the change, and the fact that things for me professionally seem to be back on track again.

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Instead of Happy New Year, I’m Celebrating Happy This Year

31 Dec

Photo credit: nImAdestiny/Flickr/Creative Commons

Photo credit: nImAdestiny/Flickr/Creative Commons

I really didn’t want to write this blog post.

No, not for the same reasons that have prevented me from writing more often this year. I just didn’t want to admit — to myself, or to anyone else — that 2014 was over.

A year ago, things for me were looking (and feeling) good, and I was on the verge of some much anticipated professional stability. If things went as predicted, I was finally going to be able to reprioritize and shift from job searching to living my life again, and let things get back to normal. And then it happened: In January, my contract gig became a full-time job, and after about a year and a half of being unemployed and putting my life on hold, I was ready — determined — to make up for lost time.

And holy crap, did I. Continue reading

Happy to Celebrate a Happier New Year

31 Dec

One of my favorite pictures from one of my favorite days of the past year: Soaking in the excitement of the Red Sox Rolling Rally after they won the World Series

One of my favorite pictures from one of my favorite days of the past year: Soaking in the excitement of the Red Sox Rolling Rally after they won the World Series

What a difference a year makes.

For example, last year the Red Sox finished the baseball season in last place. This year, they’re World Champs. (Yay!)

Last year, my upstairs neighbor was annoying me with her late-night vacuuming and hyperactive dog. This year, she’s moved out. (Yay again!)

Last year, on this very day, the President and Congress reached a deal on the fiscal cliff, ensuring that the long-term unemployed would continue to receive benefits. This year, not so much. (Boooo!)

A year ago, that last item had me nervous up until the ball dropped. This year, I’m relieved that the insensitivity of our elected officials no longer affects me (directly, anyway).

In short, 2013 is ending on a much better note than 2012 did, and I have good reason to move into 2014 happy, hopeful, optimistic, relaxed, and in a better, more positive frame of mind than I’ve been in for quite some time.

Hooray, indeed.
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41 Things I Learned During My Year of Unemployment

1 Apr

back-to-workIt’s a big day for me today: I’m going back to work!

(Insert obligatory Soul II Soul reference here.)

If you’ve been following along over the past 12 months, you know I left my last job at the end of March, 2012. Since today is April 1, that means I had exactly one year “off.”

During that time, I had some fun, took on some freelance and short-term contract work, and applied for more than a handful of jobs. Obviously, most of the jobs I applied for didn’t work out. But the one that did work out is one I’m really excited about.

And given the timing of when I was hired, it just goes to show you that things will work out when, where, and how they’re supposed to. It just may take longer than you expect it to.

In other words, you have to be patient.

That’s one of the important lessons I learned this year. I thought I’d take a moment to share some others:

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Back to Work

26 Mar

It’s funny how things work out sometimes.

A year ago this week, I left my job and went in search of a new one.

I was optimistic, armed with a strong network of contacts and great experience, and had every reason to believe I’d be back on my feet in no time.

But things didn’t go exactly according to plan. While I was lucky enough to find freelance work (actually, most times it found me), and I enjoyed having time “off” (especially during the summer), the ensuing months were frustrating as job leads didn’t pan out and I intentionally downsized my social life.

All I wanted was something new, and for my life to move forward. Instead, I felt like my life was on hold.

But that’s over now.

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I’m Ready for the Start of Something New

3 Sep

When you live in the general Boston area, it’s hard not to be reminded of the passage of time.

Every May, for example, when graduation season is in full swing, it’s only natural to take stock and think of all you’ve accomplished since you graduated. Have the years been good to you, or have you not gone all that far since “Pomp and Circumstance” was playing?

A similar thing happens every Labor Day weekend: As the city deals with the influx of college students and the chaos and hell of moving day, your first instinct is to be reminded that, oh no, another school year is starting and the city’s a lot more crowded and a lot louder than it was just days earlier. Continue reading

Email Is Not Dead. Now Shut Up.

30 Jul

Here we go again.

On Friday, the latest in a long line of “email is dead” blog posts was published, this time by a guy named Ted Landphair, and as if right on cue, folks I know in the email world got all riled up about it, going back and forth about how stupid and misguided the blog post was.

Every now and then this happens — too often, really — and it’s always the same routine: A provocative article gets published declaring the end of email. Industry folks and others all link back to the article, thus driving up the writer’s traffic. Email folks go on defense, arguing that email is still an effective marketing channel. Email folks claim moral victory. Nobody cares, and nothing changes. Continue reading

Two Great Gifts for My Birthday This Year

7 Jun

How is it possible that an entire year has gone by since I turned 37?

Not that I’m complaining, of course, because today is the Day of All Days.

It’s my birthday!

Woo hoo!

Anyone who knows me knows that I love my birthday.


Yes, despite being 38 — not 40 — and past the age when I should probably stop making a big deal about it, I still love my birthday.

The truth is, it’s hard not to celebrate when there’s so much to be happy about.

And this year, I am in a particularly good mood on my birthday. That’s because I’ve received two great gifts recently. Continue reading

Change Is Good

30 Mar

Long-time readers of this blog know that I often write about needing change in my life.

Well, today I’m announcing some big changes. Three of them.

The first is the obvious one: I’ve moved my blog to a brand-new home.

After six and a half years at, Martin’s Musings has taken up residence at WordPress, and yes, here at

It’s the same blog you’ve come to know and love, but better.

For example, I’ve done away with the white-text-on-black-background look that screamed “Amateur!” and I’ve chosen what I think is a cleaner look for this new iteration.

In addition, now you can subscribe to the blog, so you won’t miss anything. Just type your email address in the field at the top-right-hand corner of this blog post.

And you now can share the blog posts you like, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and yes, on Google+ too. (All those options are at the bottom of this and every blog post.)

I’m even going to be writing more often than I have been, on some different topics than movies, so that’s something to look forward to as well.

Why is that? Well, that brings us to the second big change … Continue reading

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