How Are You? (Really?)

Hey guys! I wanted to check in.

I’ve shared some life updates, but have stayed pretty surface-y for the most part. And then I was thinking about how I always want to know more when I read blogs, so I figured, why not. Here’s what’s really going on…

I moved back to NYC, as you know, and — full disclosure — I’m living with my parents until I get my feet on the ground. My brother and his wife live across the street (literally like, 10 feet away), and it’s been so, so nice to finally join in on family dinners after all these years of being 5 hours away. I really cherish it. I also feel very lucky to have a place to stay — in (what feels like) the world’s most expensive city. Speaking of expensive, looking at apartments to rent completely freaks me out. It seems like my only option is living with 5 roommates and lots of cats, or having my own place the size of card table. I really, genuinely have no idea how I’m going to figure it all out.

As for my job, I’m currently working as a therapist assistant at a trauma-informed clinic for mothers and babies. It’s challenging and new and rewarding work; whenever I tell friends about it, they often say that it sounds like such a good fit, and I’m excited to be doing something that feels true to me and my interests. I’m actually thinking about going to graduate school for social work, and it thrills me as much as it scares me to begin planning (any advise would be GREATLY appreciated!). This is all so new, but I will definitely keep you updated on that.

What else — Kevin and I are good! Long distance is working for us in many ways — we can do our own thing, we can live out our annoying habits in peace, and when we get together, our hearts have had opportunity to grow fonder :). That isn’t to say that it’s smooth sailing all the time. Just ask him about the not-too-long-ago time I cried for 12 hours straight ;). And I miss him the most after work, when I wish I could go home, put my feet on his lap and tell him everything about my day. In the past year or so, I’ve been learning to let go of this idea that we should be madly and uncontrollably in love with each other at all times of the day and night. I honestly attribute this expectation to Instagram, and I think it’s harmful and not at all achievable. Has anyone else noticed how social media has shifted our expectations of relationships?

A few other things I’m thinking about: finances (saving, being better with my money, being responsible, thinking big picture, blah blah), and daily routines. I renewed my Headspace subscription (there are always promos going on — so keep an eye out!), and I have to say, their meditations are ON POINT. I’m trying really, really hard to create “white space” in my day to day, and I want you guys to hold me accountable.

One more thing: TRAVEL! I’m not the biggest fan, but I really want to try to fit in a few trips this year to places I’ve never been that feel manageably far away (i.e. travel plans for a wuss). Currently on my list: Charleston, Montreal, New Orleans. Would love recommendations, too!

I’d love to hear how you guys are doing, if you feel like sharing. Also would love to know if there are any real talk posts you’d like me to cover this year — I’m game to tackle any! Sending a big hug out there on this freezing winter weekend. Hope everyone is hanging in there. XOXO

14 thoughts on “How Are You? (Really?)

  1. Hey Joy,

    Thanks for sharing the update (it’s scary to be more than surface-level!) And I totally hear you about the social media aspect warping your perception of life (relationships included). A big +1 to this entire update.

    I felt the same way about apartment hunting in NYC. It truly is the worst (

    When I was looking, a friend of mine actually gave me a pep talk with some great recommendations
    – Make a list of non-negotiables and be specific (my list included: must have natural light, windows on both sides of apartment, bedroom doesn’t face the street, etc).
    – Imagine what it would be like to walk from the apartment to the closest transit stop in terrible weather (torrential downpour, snowstorm, heatwave). If it’s unbearable, nix it.
    – If the majority of friends are more than 40-60 min away on Subway, nix it.
    – If the broker/landlord/neighbors gives you bad or sketchy vibes, nix it.
    – Make a spreadsheet or doc with the listings you’re looking at, this will make it seem manageable and not overwhelming.
    – Prepare all your docs in advance (employment verification, credit check, etc.)
    – Sign up for the Listings Project ( or local Facebook interest groups for word-of-mouth listings.

    Also for travel Charleston and New Orleans are great! I definitely recommend Chicago, DC, Philadelphia and San Francisco if you’re looking for more areas to venture. I’m trying to plan a trip myself (somewhere close to a national park so looking at states like Colorado, Utah, or California).

    Keep us posted!

    • Lyanne — thank you SO MUCH for these tips!! I am going to refer back to these often, and sign up for Listings Project now!! I also have been really dying to go to California (I’ve never been) and do a little road trip up the coast. Thanks so much for your comment, it’s great to hear from you :).XO

  2. Hi Joy,
    Thanks for the updates. I’ve been wondering what work you were doing in NYC so it’s great to hear that you’re doing work that you find meaningful, valuable, and a good fit for you. I teach English literature at a large university where I’m also the graduate advisor to MA students, and I talk to both undergrads and grad students all the time about what they should think about when considering a graduate program. I know it’s an entirely different area from social work, but feel free to email me if you have any questions or are unsure where to start. I love talking about both the practical and less tangible concerns when making this big decision–it’s hard to do it on your own.

    I’m moving into my own place this week after living with a roommate for many years, which is both exciting and overwhelming (so many boxes to pack!). It’s also the first week of classes so right now it feels more overwhelming than exciting, ha! I actually just subscribed to Headspace earlier this week to help me be more present in my daily life this year, and to manage my anxiety about the future.

    I’d also love to travel more this year, and am trying to challenge myself to take a small trip completely by myself. I’ve traveled on my own, but only in small bursts–like spending a day or two in a city before meeting with a friend. I’m at the age where it seems like everyone I know is partnered up or has children, and travel companions are hard to come by. I don’t want this to prevent me from doing something I love, but I’m also unsure if I’m really a solo traveler at heart. If I lived in NYC, I’d want to go to Philadelphia, Boston, DC, and the coast of Maine (once summer hits!).

    Best of luck in this new year, especially with the apartment hunt!

    • Jessica, oh my god CONGRATS on your new place! That’s so exciting. Moving is so stressful, and I’m thinking of you this week, but also so happy to hear you have your own place (are you excited to decorate?!). Planning a trip to travel alone sounds like fun — you can do exactly what you want, when you want, eat tacos at 3pm, take a nap in the middle of the day…I think you should do it!!


  3. Hi Joy,
    It’s so fun to know what you’re up to in NYC!

    What you said about relationships, “In the past year or so, I’ve been learning to let go of this idea that we should be madly and uncontrollably in love with each other at all times of the day and night. I honestly attribute this expectation to Instagram, and I think it’s harmful and not at all achievable.” really resonated with me. I’ve been with my boyfriend for 6 years and sometimes start to doubt myself and how we’re living our life because I compare our comfortable, relaxed day-to-day to everyone else’s highlight reel on social media. Then I take a step back and realize comfortable, content, drama-free is exactly what I want and how silly for me to let some pretty photos make me doubt that.
    Thanks being being so real, honest and open! So glad to have found your little corner of the internet to be a part of! 🙂

    oh and happy new year!

    • Thank you so much for your sweet comment, Lauren!! I’m glad to have you here in this little corner of the internet — my readers are seriously the best!! XOXO

  4. The best guidance I got about graduate school was “Graduate school is permission to be with the people you most want to help.” Even though it’s tedious and debt-creating, it leveled me up with the people thinking about what I wanted to think about – something experience can do too, of course, but there’s a ceiling at some point. So bravo for thinking about an MSW! Social workers make the world go ’round, let’s be real. I’m also living at home right now, such a gift, such a challenge, and either way, a time I’ll probably never get again. My boyfriend lives a plane ride away and it sucks, but it makes us really talk too; so far, it hasn’t let us be casual about tending the relationship. We’re reading the same book and listening to the same podcast to mediate the disconnected feeling. You’re doing a great job being a human! The hardest thing of all.

    • Kathryn, loved your comment, and love that you and your BF are reading the same book and listening to the same podcast, that’s so sweet. Thanks so much for reading!

      P.S. “tedious and debt-creating” <– lol, gulp.

  5. Hi Joy, great updates! I can totally relate to the apartment woes; t’s the same in SF (although we have more moderate weather). Also, I got my Masters in Social Work from Smith College and I’m so glad I went for it. There are many different types of social work and programs vary widely depending on what you’d like to be your focus; I did a lot of research on programs before I applied and I’m happy to be a resource if I can!

    • Paige, hi!! I might actually email you with some questions, if that’s okay! I’ve heard great things about Smith. Thanks for reading and be in touch! XO

  6. Hi Joy!
    It’s really nice to read your updates! Seems like you have a very exciting year ahead 🙂 It’s crazy how change can seem scary at times but how, after the fact, it is always so rewarding no matter what!

    I really hope you find a great place to stay, and on that subject I agree with what Lyanne said : the best way to know if an apartment is right for you is to write down your requirements.

    I moved into a new apartment with my boyfriend (we were long distance for 2 years so see, there’s hope! ;)) last June and went from a dark-and-not-well-maintained first floor, to a super bright, clean and renovated, but still full of historic details, third-floor corner apartment. I feel so lucky to be here ! I even have a guest bedroom/office, which feels like the biggest luxury ever. The perks of living in an affordable city – Montreal.

    Speaking of, I of course highly recommend visiting Montreal and would be happy to suggest places to see, foods to eat and museums to visit. Or even go for a drink if you’re up for it 🙂 Feel free to email me if you would like!

    I wish you the best with everything and looking forward to your next updates.
    Take care!

  7. My husband and I long distance dated (4 Hours) for 10 years and were long distance married for 4 years. Though difficult at times, it does make the time together precious and we learned to not spend time on the petty. It takes a lot of trust, patience and of course love to work…..but we are worth it.

  8. Hi Joy! Thanks for the update. Would you mind me asking a bit about your transition to the work you’re doing now? How does it complement (or not) your writing? I’m thinking about a change in my career—from academia to…something else—and just struggling with where to start even thinking about it. I’d love to hear more on new jobs and changes and all that (or maybe you were already doing something similar on the Cape?). Thanks 🙂

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