Taking stock of friendship

Friends and Heart

On Friends. On Heart.

In NYC for a few days and then off to DC and Baltimore.  I was sort of dreading this trip since I was still so tired and jetlagged after my recent trip to Mozambique.  The trip itself was tiring since I barely slept, but the 30 plus hour flight back in coach with a woman whose arm kept digging into my side the entire time was brutal.  Needless to say I’ve no desire to do that sort of travel anymore.  It’s like something just clicked off despite how rewarding the work can be at certain moments.  That’s okay though.  Changes are good.

What I’m also realizing during this east coast sojourn is that I also need to pare down and prioritize my efforts with friends.  I have those friends who are dearest to my heart and they will always hold that place.  The friends I’m talking about the more occasional ones, the ones I see “when I’m in town” versus making the effort to be in town to see them. Continue reading

The Roosters are Back!

Work HealthOn Work. On Health.

I had a feeling it was coming.  The weather in Maxixe has been simply gorgeous – high 70’s and breezy, clear skies.  But the rainy season is lurking around the corner.  And I knew my room at the hotel in Maxixe was too good to be true:

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The roosters are back in my life.  The Health Board workshop begins today and carries on for three days (into Saturday).  Our group meets at 7 a.m. for breakfast and I woke up at 3:15 a.m.  Thank you, rooster.  I think I’m delirious for lack of sleep since I’ve now named this rooster Itsallright.  Yup, all one word in fairly typical African fashion using positive phrases.  I thought about naming it Coconut, after the girl at the front desk, but since it’s a rooster, it wasn’t really gender appropriate.

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Maxixe, Mozambique – ever heard of it?

Work Health

On Work.

This is a quick post. I’m about to head off to Africa to assist in a 3-day health board training workshop.  Mozambique to be exact.  Actually, to a town called Maxixe in Inhambane province.

Yeah, so the last thing I feel like doing is getting on a plane and flying around the world which is pretty much what I need to do:  Santa Fe to Denver – Denver to Washington DC – Washington DC to Johannesburg, South Africa (one night layover) – and then a flight the next day to Inhambane to arrive in the town of Maxixe.  I’m not even thinking about the total number of hours involved.  There’s no point.

Anyway, needless to say, I’m a reluctant traveler.  Another grueling flight, for another remote, jungle location.  I haven’t been excited at all about going to Mozambique, even though it’s a new country for me, and have been glad in some ways that my stay would be very short (excluding the flights).

But today I finally made an effort to see exactly where I was about to go. Continue reading

Finding a new home – San Francisco, California?

Home Work Health FriendsOn Friends. On Home. On Work. On Health.

I recently spent some time in San Francisco with the sole work purpose of getting more knowledgeable on the start-up healthcare landscape.  I’m hoping to do this around the country, hitting the main cities focused on healthcare innovation.  I knew San Francisco would be a major high point, just given all of the tech that’s based out there, the venture capitalists and angel investor groups, and the larger number of sizeable hospital systems.

I also have some really good friends who live in San Fran and, for some reason, everything I did and everyone I reached out to during this trip, was incredibly welcoming.  I also lived in San Fran for a year after college so even though much of the city has changed, much of it also just feels familiar to me.  Anyway, it’s the most invited I’ve felt in a very long time.

San Francisco has an incredible energy in many ways, the least of which is the startup scene.  Anyone who spends any time at all on Market/10th (where Twitter has its headquarters) or ventures down into SOMA (South of Market) where Airbnb and Pinterest have massive campuses will feel this.

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Losing a parent

Friends and HeartOn Friends. On Heart.

One of my best friends just lost her mother.  It was expected.  We knew it was coming, but it still shocked me when it happened.  When my friend told me, I cried, and she had to repeatedly tell me, “It’s okay”.

No, it’s not okay.  We try to make peace with loss because what choice do we have?  Life is still a gift and we have to keep living ours as best we can while we still can.  But moments like this – life-altering moments, have the impact of clock chimes ringing around the world.

Time is so sneaky.  One minute we are here, doing small things, paying bills, trying to eat right, fixing our hair, frowning at a new wrinkle.  Time is so quiet, it just tiptoes in and takes what it wants, like a cat burglar.  It’s always here with us, shadowing us, waiting to claim without remorse.

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Feeling like a kid again

Home and HeartOn Home. On Heart.

My parents were just out here in Santa Fe for a couple weeks and, I have to say, their presence really made Santa Fe feel like home.  I know I’m too old to be “living with my parents” – that those high school days are long gone.  But there is still something so nice about not having to worry about my place in life, the decisions I’ve made or about to make, or what I’m going to eat for dinner.  When my parents are around I can just be their kid again and let them run errands, or fix things around the house, or just plain look out for me without question or request.

Yes, I know I won’t have this kind of time with them forever, and that time always wins… But I am grateful for the time I do have with them – now – and that my eyes are open enough to appreciate it. Continue reading

Ebola, Africa & America

Work Heart

On Work. On Heart.

Made it past the birthday blues!

Now, I’ve been thinking constantly about the global Ebola crisis.  I’ve been very out of sorts about it since it directly affects Africa and West Africa, in particular.  I spend a lot of time in Ghana on various work projects and have made a lot of good friends there. It’s close to my heart.

So since I’d been reading everything I could find on the various impacts and implications of Ebola, I decided to somehow link it to my work at Debtwire where I write on municipal healthcare issues (sounds rather dull to a normal person).

Anyway, here’s the article I wrote, basically commenting on the Ebola issues here in the U.S. and the potential financial implications for our hospitals. Oddly, the article did really well, generating the most hits of the week which was a surprise to me.  Sure, I find this topic fascinating, but who would have thought other people reading Debtwire also would?

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Making the most of a birthday

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On Heart. On Home. On Friends.

So I’ve been feeling a little off these past few weeks, post Ghana, etc.

I’m no longer sad or heavy emotionally, but I feel very pensive.  My birthday is this week and I remember a time when that was such an exciting thing – presents, special attention, calls from people who love me, etc.  This year though, I’m more reflective than anything else.

My main realization is that I no longer want to invest in relationships, whether they be friendships or romantic relationships, that don’t come somewhat naturally to me.  I’ve worked so hard in past relationships that I’m just over it.  I’ve learned enough lessons to last lifetimes (thank you, universe!).  I have this urge to be more cautious in life.

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Need to get out of the doldrums

SSpieOn Heart. On Home. On Health.

Back in the U.S. and having a really tough time getting into a rhythm.  Much of this comes from having such a great and rewarding time in Ghana and then coming back to NJ.  I love my parents, but it was definitely a come down on energy.  Now I’m back in Santa Fe, and though I adore Santa Fe, it is a slow-pace, chill locale.  I can hear a bee buzzing on a rosebush outside my window.  Me and a bee.  That’s what my life has come down to.

This past week was brutal.

I had a huge falling out with someone I thought would be a good friend in mommiethe area – a very ‘Mommie Dearest” realization on my part and actually glad to have my distance now rather than later.

Objectively, things are moving along here on various work fronts which should also get me better connected to the community.  I need this sense of community.  I know that.  I just wish it was happening faster than it is so I can get thoughts of Ghana out of my head… Continue reading

Should age matter in relationships?

Heart

On Heart

I’ve been thinking about age lately especially when it comes to relationships.

Men date younger women all the time and it’s no big deal, right?  Is that because these women are fertile, can still have kids and generally look better the younger they are whereas men “age better” (though most of the guys I seem to know are all bald or balding, but let’s assume this is generally true)?

Is it true that if we’re the same age we then have a shared past or experiences? What if  I grew up in New Jersey and he grew up in Afghanistan?  Even if we’re the same age, I can’t imagine he grew up salivating after Michael Jackson and Madonna or watching Beverly HIlls 90210.  Shouldn’t it be more important to have a shared present and future?  Does it really matter if the person I’m with digs 80’s music or is it more telling that we both read The Economist today or want to travel to the Maldives in the future?  What are the things that really define the core of a relationship with someone?  Is age just an anchor we wear around our necks? Continue reading