Today

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How is it that today is the last day of August? Is summer really coming to a close? After an amazing weekend on island time with family, friends, and my girl, I am very much feeling this sentiment. It doesn’t help that the next three days are going to be insane. There is a silver lining, though, as my vacation officially starts Thursday. Did I mention this? If not, please forgive me. We are off to Holland and Belgium. Have you been? If so, do share any must do’s. And as I settle into the afternoon hour(s), let’s just remember this classic:

 It’s just another manic Monday
I wish it were Sunday
‘Cause that’s my fun day
My I don’t have to run day
It’s just another manic Monday

Be sure to check back tomorrow. I’ll be sharing highlights from our Catskills getaway.

Image credit: Pinterest

Ten Things

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Why hello there! I thought today I would take the time to share a few tidbits that you probably don’t know about me.

* My first highway driving experience was at the ripe old age of 24. It was up to Maine for my dear friend Stacy’s {whose birthday is today} bridal shower. I was gripping the wheel so tight, I had hand cramps for hours.

* I don’t have my ears pierced. Thank goodness for screw back earrings. I scour eBay and vintage stores to add to my {growing} collection.

* I’m a 13th generation Nantucketer on my father’s side {dating back to Tristam Coffin, the first English settler on island} and 12th on my mother’s {decendents of Edward Cartwright hailing from England who moved to the island in 1673 from Maine to help teach the ins and outs of cod fishing}. My great, great-grandfather, Archibald Cartwright, is said to be the last whale captain of Nantucket.

* For such a foodie, I sure am one picky eater. No mushrooms, lobster, clams or ground beef for me {but I will gladly take a hot dog if no vegetarian option is available}.

* I’m a purist at heart. Given the choice of 50 ice cream flavors, I’ll always chose vanilla.

* I hate nuts in my baked goods {unless it’s a sconset cookies from The Sconset Market. My only exception}!

* I am known to start at least 3 side projects before heading to work in the morning. I really don’t like doing household chores {besides cooking} when I get home.

* I still travel with my blue stuffed animal dinosaur Dino. A gift from my Mom in 1988.

* I’ve been to 31 out of our 50 states. High on my wanderlust list are Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho.

* I don’t have a middle name.

 There you have it… did any of these surprise you? Stay cool today, friends. It’s hot out there!

10 Years

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I believe it was Lao Tzu who wrote “new beginnings are often disguised as painful endings.” Today I am not sure if truer words have ever been written.

Today would have been my 10 year wedding anniversary. That is, if things had gone the way I planned. But as we know, they never do. My divorce and subsequent relationships have taught me invaluable lessons. Lessons that if I hadn’t learned, I wouldn’t be where I am today. And friends, I am so happy to share with you that I am in the best place I have ever been.

I moved home to my little island before the summer of 2012 to heal. To pause. To take time to reflect. And be quiet. And still. I knew I wanted a loving and committed relationship but for some reason, it just wasn’t working out for me. So I moved to a beautiful place. Alone. To figure it out. And figure it out I did.

My friends have always joked with me that I don’t have a type. I really don’t. The men I have dated span the spectrum. The one consistent piece was always me and my {sometimes too} open heart. But sometimes my heart and head weren’t aligned. I held onto moments instead of the realities. In those two years of quiet reflection, I realized I yearned for a love I had not yet experienced. “I crave a love so deep the ocean would be jealous.” I knew when I met that one who was just as open as me, that things would just be.

And be they are. I met my companion. The one who makes me laugh. The one who holds me when I cry. The one who believes in all my dreams {and wants to be part of them}. My best friend. And her name is K or as I like to call her #mygirl.

As a graduate of a women’s college, many would suspect that I did that college thing and explored a relationship with a woman. I am here to deny all such suspicions and confirm that never happened. I did have a “crush” but when I thought about developing it into anything else, it just didn’t seem right.

That was before #mygirl. Still the only girl who caught my eye. I met K through a mutual friend and early on, I knew there was something different about her. She made me pause. But our lives were in very different places.

But last spring, our paths aligned. “When love is real, it finds a way.” I had just returned from a trip to sunny California to visit my parents. It was on that trip, I decided it was time to leave the island and head back to Boston. A week later, I was back in Boston and everything changed.

Deciding to open my heart and life up to K has been the easiest and best decision of my life. My friends and family have welcomed her into our lives with open arms. She has brought out the very best in me. Ten years later, life is exactly how it should be and I am quite certain it will only get better with each passing year.

Summer Bucket List

Summer Bucket List
Truth be told, I completed very few things on last year’s summer bucket list. So I have added a few new ones and hoping that me and my girl(s) visiting this summer will be all the incentive I need to complete!

1. Pick strawberries at Bartlett’s Farm and/or Moors End Farm.
2. Experiment with a new recipe incorporating freshly picked strawberries. A few contenders include: this jam, this salad, and perhaps this dessert.
3. Go deep-sea fishing.
4. Finally, finally take a dip in the phosphorescence.
5. Rent a jeep and spend the day out at Great Point, which also means driving on the beach for the first time!
6. Surf lesson with ACK Surf.
7. Head over to Wellfleet Drive-in one Sunday night.
8. Get in a bike ride at least once a week.
9. Sleep on the beach (keep this one quiet… I believe it’s against the law).
10. Greet the sunrise.

Endings

My girls
Friends… once again I apologize for my silence as of late. Last week was my last day at Nantucket Looms so as you can imagine my days had been a bit hectic making sure all the loose ends and little tidbits of information I acquired over the past 18 months were passed along. As with all transitions, I’ve been doing quite a bit of reflection of what I’m looking for in my next move. And while this summer I will be keeping busy in the catering kitchen, I’m excited for my upcoming move back to Boston. Finding an apartment, reconnecting with old friends, checking off all those things I never got around to the first time around (list forthcoming)… starting new.

I’ve been out of college for 13 years now, have worked at 6 different companies (4 law firms and 2 small island businesses), and have collected a few pieces of wisdom. As I begin to think about what’s next, I hope these will help guide me to that “near perfect” opportunity.

1. It’s all about team.
I have worked with some fantastic people along the way. My colleagues at Nixon Peabody and WilmerHale are still some of my closet friends. And at the Looms, I had the privilege to work side by side with the two ladies pictured above. Stephanie and Becky. Creative souls, amazing moms and business women who are carrying on the tradition of Nantucket Looms. Work is certainly work but to collaborate with those you respect, care for, can laugh with and generally like… that’s the key.

2. Work to live, not live to work.
The COO at Nixon Peabody use to always say this at our annual retreats. Of course we are employed to fulfill a certain set of tasks and job functions. But we have to work in-order to indulge and enjoy the things we enjoy in life. While I have loved every minute living on this little island, I have realized that the ability to do my weekend road-trips and impromptu travel is difficult. And for me, the ability to pick up and go is a must.

3. The bottom line.
The world lost an amazing voice today: Maya Angelou, who I believe said it best. “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” Liking and believing in oneself has always been a struggle for me. Part of the reason I returned home was to heal and work on that piece. And today, I can confidently say, “I like myself.” And so the rest will hopefully follow. I like to do so many different things. I want to be creative but analytical. I want to write. I want to present. I want to tackle a project head on. And I want to work for a company I believe in. That has vision. That is a member of the community and believes that comes with some responsibilities. Hopefully when these things align, I will find success.

So here begins my search for what’s next. Endings are always hard but they lead to beautiful new beginnings. Beyond excited for this next chapter!

35

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Friends… please accept my sincerest apologies for my absence as of late. I was in a bit of a funk last week. You see, Friday was my 35th birthday. That’s right… in 5 years I will be 40.

I share a great deal with you on this blog: dreams I have; failures I’ve had along the way; and thoughts on the future. I have no regrets. Only one wish that my sweet brother was here to celebrate these moments with me. But something about turning 35 just set me back a bit. My evenings were filled with worries that I don’t have a child. That I’m divorced. That my savings account has dwindled down to nearly zero after taking these past two years off from corporate life. That I won’t find a job back in the city. Worries.

But you know what, so many great things have been happening lately. I have a wonderful group of friends who helped celebrate my birthday with a bang and who I know will be lifelong friends after I leave this little place. My nephews showered me with cards and a cake and sang happy birthday to me (if you follow me on Instagram you will see the artist talents of my nephew Tuck). But the greatest gift of all… I have met someone who has changed my life in ways I never knew were possible. And while I don’t want to jinx anything or share too much, I can tell you that all the heartache was worth it. So I welcome 35 with open arms. And every morning while blow drying my hair, I greet those gray hairs that have finally come to be with open arms!

Possibility

May

“The world’s favorite season is the spring. All things seem possible in May.”

My namesake month is here! I am overjoyed and oh so happy to say hello to May and again goodbye to winter, although the weather as of late has me wondering if spring really is here. I’m excited (and a bit sad) to share some exciting news with you. As you know, I returned back to island life nearly 24 months ago. I fondly called it “my time-out on life.” After many quiet days (and nights) and endless hours of soul searching, I have peace in my heart to let you know that I will be leaving my little island 30 miles out to sea. But please don’t worry, I won’t be leaving before summer. I mean, who leaves Nantucket before summer, right?

With this revelation, though, I have decided to return to managing an island catering company full-time. While I have loved nearly every minute of my time at Nantucket Looms and all the creative endeavors I have been a part of, I need to work my little tail off this summer to put away some hard-earned cash for this next chapter. Where will it be? I’m not sure just yet but as soon as I decide, I will let you know. And as Edwin Way Teale so beautifully reminds us in the quote above, anything is possible in May.

I have lots of fun plans to look forward to this month. Let’s see…

– I am off to Fryeburg, Maine and Hardy Farm this weekend to be celebrate the marriage of one of my nearest and dearest.
– Next Friday I will awake to my 35th year. More on that later.
– The weekend of May 15 is the 18th Annual Nantucket Wine Festival. A few Boston friends will be visiting so very much looking forward to yummy dinners and delicious wine, of course.
– The official start to summer is Memorial Day weekend (and the my last day at Nantucket Looms). I’m hoping to do a little weekend getaway for the thought of waiting in-line to dance at The Box with those Figawi sailors… no thank you!
– And I will end the month with a concert on the Boston waterfront with the one and only Ray Lamontagne (and two of the greatest friends a girl could as for). Can’t wait!

Good

Magic
Good Friday has always held a spot near and dear in my heart. You see, it was on this day many year ago I received my acceptance letter to Mount Holyoke. The story is actually quite funny.

My Mom went to the mail and saw the package: an express overnight envelope. For anyone who knows a thing or two about college acceptance, a big package is a very good thing. She was so excited she quickly made her way to Beautiful People, a little boutique I worked at my senior year of high school (my shopaholic tendencies started early). Since it was one of those first gorgeous spring days and we had a half day of school, my boss said to take the afternoon off, which meant I could join my friends for lunch. I must have missed my Mom by no more than 10 minutes. Now remember, this is well before cell phones so I didn’t give my Mom the courtesy call that plans had changed as I figured I would just head home after lunch. The magical part of this story is that there were two Mount Holyoke alums in the shop at the precise moment she was relaying the good news to my boss… that a large envelope had arrived for me. They wouldn’t possibly send a rejection letter overnight, would they? The exact question my Mom asked. Love her.

I decided to walk home that afternoon as I wanted to take in every moment of the arrival of spring. As I turned into the driveway I saw my Mom in the garden and she told me I had received a letter from Mount Holyoke. I said “big or small” and she didn’t answer. I ran in, saw it, opened it and in that moment knew my life would change forever. Earlier that week I received the dreaded rejection letter from Davidson, my top choice. This acceptance quickly eased those wounds. I ran outside with tears in my eyes and was beyond words. In those moments I knew that Good Friday was always gonna be a good day in my book. As I shared before, my years at Mount Holyoke were some of the best. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. It turned out exactly as it was meant to. My mom later confessed that she may have opened the package. I guess she is as impatient as me at times.

And friends, on this Good Friday I am more hopeful than ever that life is revealing itself to me just as it should be. Have faith. Trust yourself and believe in magic for as Roald Dahl reminds us “… watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Transformation

Spring
It’s here. It’s finally here. Enjoy this beautiful first day of spring, dear friends!

As we all know, the spring season signifies renewal, rebirth and growth. This spring, instead of doing a bucket list (see past lists here, here and here), I want to focus on one simple but very important task: transformation. I have come to some rather big life decisions as of late and have begun the process of thinking where to go next. It’s exciting but also daunting at the same time. My transformation continues and I want to thank you all for being here to support me through it. May this new season bring you all that you hope for!

To My Younger Self

Dear
This will probably come as no surprise to many of you but I have spent a great deal of time in therapy. After my divorce and losing my brother, I started weekly visits to Barb. We had a good run together. Four years. A success. The one thing I can still hear her saying, all these years later, is “Maybeth, you must nurture that sad little girl inside of you. What would you say to her today.” Nearly four years since my last visit to Barb, I finally came up with the words to say to my younger self. Hopefully you will find some peace in these words too.

Dearest May,
Who would have thought we would come this far and end up back 30 miles out to sea. Remember when we left and said we would never return. Funny how plans always seem to change. I was having a conversation with my dear friend Liz last week and we were talking about what we would say to our younger selves to help us today. What I can tell you is this… love yourself. To realize that indeed you are good enough, you are smart enough and you are beautiful inside and out will change you. When I think back to all those years I never allowed myself to enjoy food or indulge in a sweet treat because I didn’t think I was thin enough, I am just sad. Good news, we have finally made up for it! Enjoy life and eat dessert first, as my favorite bakery suggests. Life is far too short to worry about those calories. But do remember to be kind to your body. Nourish it. Eat your leafy greens and yogurt and try to shy away from soda and processed foods. We really are what we eat.

After learning to love and accept yourself the next exciting but sometimes challenging act is finding that certain someone who makes your heart skip a beat . Little May, please know you should never, ever be with someone who doesn’t treat you like the true gift you are. Don’t settle. Don’t stay with a man because you are afraid of being alone. And don’t try to force someone into loving you. When someone shows you their true colors, pay attention. People can certainly grow and change over time but know you will never be the force to change that person. Be patient, my dear. There are wonderful ones out there. Until you meet him, date. Meet people. Awful dates give you something to talk to your girlfriends about, I promise. They also help you figure out what is really important in that life partner. Here is a hint… it’s not just about looks. Find the one who makes you laugh!

Speaking of girlfriends, spend a great deal of time nurturing these relationships. Boyfriends will come and go, your family will sometimes disappoint, but your girlfriends will always be there. A weekend away with the ones who know you best is always a good thing.

Little May, I know you still carry around a great deal of pain over your childhood. Know that Mom and Dad did the best they could at the time. Life is never as black and white as we think. We need to get comfortable with the gray. And know, everyone’s family has their complications. You are not alone in this. Learn to accept your parents and your siblings for the unique and wonderful people they are. Will they let you down? Of course. And you know what, you may do the same to them. It’s ok.

Please try to not be so perfect. Life is all about the struggle. Everyone is trying to figure it out just like you. Our mistakes and imperfections are what make us who we are and you know what, you are pretty great. And don’t always look for the answers. Sometimes they aren’t always clear. As one of my favorite quotes go… “Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer.” Some of the best advice I could give you.

So hang in there. If you are feeling down one day, that’s ok. Be true to your feelings. Honesty really is the best policy.

Love to you always. I promise there are great things ahead!