A Holiday Song

So basically, I’m beat. I’m tired, I’m pooped, I’m exhausted, I’m all that and a whole lot more of just worn out. Give me your tired, your weary, your poor — basically, me in a nutshell.

It’s the double-edged sword that is the Holiday Season. (Note I didn’t say ‘Christmas’ as a feeble attempt at Politically Correct-speak.) You hustle your little bustle off — here, there, everywhere. (I sense a song coming on…so hum the following to “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, if you will…)

You know dashing to parties to be quite a vixen,
Wishing for Cupid while gettin’ a-blitzen,
But do you recall…the most famous tradition of all…

Visa, the big fat charge card,
With a high limit, it’s a cinch,
And if you ever need it,
It’s always there in a pinch.

Visa, its brother Amex,
Are little devils in disguise,
The banes of my existance,
My money gone before my eyes.

But on one windy Atlanta day,
I received my bill,
“Aubrey you must stop right now
before it makes you ill”


As I’m such a pauper,
I need to tell you one more thing,
This year don’t expect big snazzy gifts,
I’m making everything!

Consider that your first hand-made gift, with love from me, to you.


Top Five…

…Songs that are my own guilty pleasure in the fact that they’re either technically atrocious or overplayed but regardless bring a smile to my face
1. Glory of Love (Peter Cetera, circa 4th grade bus rides and Karate Kid 2)
2. Blame it on the Rain (I don’t care if they were faking, that song moved me)
3. Love Bites (Sad that the only culmination of my dream of slow-dancing to this one happened on the roof of Hooters in Cleveland with a Bartender. Sadder yet that the year was 2001.)
4. Your Body is a Wonderland (Apparently John Mayer wrote this for Jennifer “my friends call me ‘Love'” Hewitt, but despite that obvious bad choice on his part, the description of ‘crawling towards the pillows’ charms me)
5. Love the One You’re With (If you can’t be with the one you love, I suppose this is good advice. Or at least advice that I follow)

…Things I Have Eaten in the Last Two Nights that are a DEFINITE PERK of my Job but will Surely Send me on the Road to Obesity
1. Blue Crab, Lobster and Shrimp Appetizer in a creamy buerre reduction sauce
2. Grand Marnier-flambeed Crepes
3. Blood Orange Creme Brulee
4. Blue Lump Crabmeat and Lean Sirloin with Three-Cheese Polenta and Wild Mushrooms
5. Pan-Seared Swordfish with Spinach Risotto, Braised Artichokes in a Butter/Olive Oil/Wild Mushroom compote

…Cities that I would one day — perhaps sooner than later — run away to and the reasons why
1. San Diego — Convertibles. AAAH.
2. Chicago — Lake Shore Drive. Oh, and the shopping.
3. Charlotte — Wanna raise my kids on Queens Road West, a sentence I often repeat when drunk without realizing that speaking about kids to boys when I have none should send them running to the hills
4. Austin — Matthew McConaughey lives there
5. Sydney — Bridge Walk guides and Surfing instructors who didn’t balk at the sight of me in a wetsuit

…Things that despite my never-ending love for my sweet kittens annoys me to my very last nerve
1. Samantha’s boycotting of the litterbox and subsequent confusion over “my bathtub” vs. “her litterbox”
2. Sullivan’s incessent desire to try and explore the depths of my naval cavity as entered through my nostril
3. Sebastian’s obsession with the faucet and his misbelief that every time I stand up I am, in fact, walking upstairs to turn it on for him to drink out of
4. Their tendency to eat faux Holiday greenery and garland, only to witness it later during Litterbox duty
5. Sebastian’s Alpha-Male syndrome of harrassing Samantha just for shits and giggles

…Things that make me forget their bad behaviour and know I’m truly blessed to have these loving creatures in my life
1. The way they sit, patiently, with a true look of concern in their faces when/if I ever find myself in tears, be it over a lost love or out of frustration with my overburdened ‘falling-down-on-my-head’ closet
2. The fact they can contort themselves into self-anal cleansing yet, unlike what most males I know would try and do, don’t take advantage of that fact by exploring, um, other parts of themselves
3. The fact that they never mention that I am an atrocious singer and, at least I like to believe this, they actually enjoy my off-tune ditties
4. That they’ve never let me down, and no matter what type of day I’m having, don’t change the subject and turn it back to them or the delight of a two-car garage
5. The eternal delight in knocking things off of shelves just to see what happens when they fall to the ground

…Books or Movies that have made me weep in true sadness or cry with a smile on my face
1. The Lovely Bones
2. Life as a House
3. My Life
4. Stepmom
5. Life is Beautiful

…Things that I have done that will either make you mistakenly think that I (still or currently) like you or that will make you (mistakenly) think that I don’t
1. Called you a few times after drinking
2. Called you a few times after drinking and was too drunk to accurately enter *67 so you wouldn’t realize that I called you the next morning
3. Called you a few times after drinking and was unfortunately a bit forward or irritating
4. Talked about other boys in front of you while, surprisingly, drinking
5. Never telling you my true feelings, one way or another.

…in the true sense of the ‘top five-ness’ list (and for this one, no particular order)
1. Heath Ledger
2. Michael Vaughn
3. Kirk Herbstreit
4. Scott Speedman
5. Paul Walker

Aubrey version 2.0

Announcing…the release of Aubrey, version 2.0. Bigger and better in some ways, and hopefully NOT bigger in others, the new release offers more functionality and more insight. It offers improved interaction, aestheic look and feel, and an all-around improved user experience. It retains the features that many of you (hopefully) know and love, the quality you’ve come to trust, and the inherent style that makes it unique. Definitely a work in progress, but definitely has come long ways from previous versions.

Please take some time to experience the updated 2.0 version of Aubrey, as feedback is definitely appreciated. Bug reports, problems, and questions will be addressed and responded to upon their receipt of arrival, and can be categorized as follows: “Too many emails invoking me to check out the site”, “Unwanted late night phone calls”, “Negative depiction of public photographs on site”, “Unnecessary public make-outs”, and the like.

Aubrey 2.0 comes with no user manual but offers some tips and tricks for your interoperability:
1. Flowers make this release respond in positive ways
2. Too many VS+2L (Vodka Soda + 2 Limes) strongly affect response time
3. Charm with actions, not words
4. Proffer patience, as bugs are still being discovered and worked out daily
5. Be supportive of further releases, including new ventures, jobs, locations, boyfriends, etc.
6. Offer feedback — 2.0 is still technically a Beta release and needs input to develop into a more viable and even better product

Thank you for your continued support of Aubrey v. 2.0 — entertaining as always, a work in progress, in one tidy lil’ package of a displaced Ohioan.


(Oh yes, beyond my own personal changes, I’ve updated my website as well!)

Tiny Tim had it right

So many things spinning around in my brain right now, don’t know if I’ll be able to make sense of up vs. down, right vs. left, and San Diego vs. NYC vs. Raleigh vs. Atlanta (the four cities that I’ve graced with my presence in the last 7 days.) Thus this is a conglomerate, a cluster-fu*k if you will, of this, that, the other and a whole lot more.

Let’s begin.

I am looking out my window of this sub-zero computer lab at this enormous tree that is reaching out for attention, leaning and standing and just massive in its trim, natural beauty. Behind the tree appears to be a church tower, just one of the facades of Mission Valley, my present location. There are houses perched precariously on a hilltop and the angle of the sun is quietly enlightening some of the foliage while other areas remain shaded. It’s truly a beautiful and understated site, a surprise from the Over-AC’d room o’ bits and bytes and computerspeak.

Soon I will get in my new favorite vehicle, a 2002 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder, a car that never before I had noticed but now am desperate to own. It’s a sporty, sprightly little bugger, with its V6 engine allowing me to zoom in front of the all-too-frequent cement trucks and it’s (perfect for San Diego) toplessness allowing me to easily cut in front of others, as I believe they’re afraid of hitting a blonde with her hair flying about in a car with no roof. Either that, or my Southern appeal has somehow charmed them. It travels through air, you know.

I’m sad to leave this place, as it’s warmed on me a lot since my last visit where I was surprisingly underwhelmed. Perhaps it was the weather, which was perfect and perfectly contrasted the rain in ATL, the ice storm of NC, and the ear-aching biting cold of NYC. Whatever it is, if I could somehow take refuge in this valley, an oasis in the midst of the upcoming Cleveland gray, drab, freezing winters and a calm in the frenzy of daily/nightly Holiday parties, I happily would. If I could just abscond my little car and live out of my enticingly small suitcase for another week or, heck, year, sign me up. But it’s nearly time to leave, to return to the reality that is my life, my forever-exciting assessment of epidemiological software in sub-saharan Africa, and to that, I am underwhelmed.

Maybe it’s the flight, a Red Eye that gets into Atlanta at 5:20am. Maybe it’s the frantic pase that will ensue as soon as I return. Or maybe I just like San Diego, its climate, its fish tacos, its sushi at every corner, but whatever it is, I’m itchin’ to stay. Futile, I know.

So that’s me, now, here, and I’ll soon be me, there, doing that. I’ll throw on my red ball gown and enjoy the delight of the Four Seasons, I’ll cavort in that same ruby-red wonder of a frock at my dear friends’ birthday and Holiday bash later that evening, and heck, you never know, I may even be found on the dance floor of Atlanta’s finest establishment, Hole in the Wall, in said gown. And I suppose, when it comes down to it, it’s worth it. The holidays are when we hustle and bustle and see our family and friends, our likes, our loves, our ex’s, and perhaps it’s the glow in the air or the fact that it gets dark at 5pm, the twinkling Christmas lights or the magic of holidays past, anxiously awaiting to see if Santa came, that makes everything alright. Makes us a bit disillusioned, a bit giddy, and a lot forgiving. It’s the “God Bless Us Everyone” syndrome that is the true Holiday Spirit that is nothing less than magical and, well, I must say I’ve got it.

Hoping you do too,

PS: Yes, I’ve finally redesigned my website. You can even leave me your comments on this or my older posts, but be nice — my ego is a bit fragile.

Carly and James

It’s a little known fact that Carly Simon wrote the song “You’re So Vain” about her ex-husband, James Taylor. As she so bluntly details in the lyrics, he “gave away all the things [he] loved, and one of them was [Carly]”, so, out of spite, out of pain, or out of just plain anger, she immortalized her feelings in a catchy little ditty. Ballsy, my dear, quite ballsy.

Actually, though, this isn’t that uncommon in the celebrity scene…watch any Barbara Walters “post-celeb breakup” interview and you’ll see what I mean. Justin dished on Britney, Gwynnie on Ben, and the list continues. It’s become socially acceptable — almost mainstream — to air one’s dirty laundry in public. To get down and dirty, dish the dirt and, well, say all the things that you never did but always wanted to.

It seems unfair, somehow, that they get the privilege of the last word while us common folk only replay our “shoulda, woulda”s in our heads. They get the virtual time machines and the subsequent do-over of what they had really meant to say. Well, I think it’s time to shake things up a bit, so I’m assuming my celeb role for the day and exercising this privilege myself. Thus, I give you the “Things I Meant to Say but Didn’t” list below, and was so kind to exclude the names to protect privacy and, well, a few egos…

Things I Meant to Say but Didn’t: A list of comebacks, retorts, and my true feelings, some months and years later

Actually, it was rather average.
No, this isn’t the first time I’ve done that.
You just about broke my heart.
I can’t think of something that could make you LESS sexy.
You’ll never know how close I was to falling in love with you.
No, it’s not alright for you to not come visit me.
Marry me instead.
That is NOT a normal fetish.
I deserve a whole lot better than this, and a whole lot better than you.
No, that does NOT turn me on.
You haven’t even begun to realize what you’ve lost.
I was faking.
I love you.

Wow. I’m feeling very J.Lo-esque already. As such, I think I’ll take a bubble bath, put on my fuzzy slippers, and wait for Babs to call. After all, I can dish dirt with the best of them…


PS: Check out my Holiday Interactive Gift Guide, perfect presents for, well, ME!

Creative Financing

I’ve always been told that I was creative. From the days when I would pad around the house with my “I’m a Sesame Street Kid” t-shirt on and a cardboard portfolio in hand, saying that I was going on a “photography trip,” I’ve forever had an active imagination.

My creativity is put to use at different times, however, in different ways. When drinking, the elaborate schemes that I tend to create are, the next day, written off as being ‘creative.’ My dreams? Again, beware — Aubrey’s imagination is at work, including my recurring High School dreams where not only can I not find my locker (or remember the combination, for that matter), but I realize I have a math test/final and alas and alack, I’ve yet to crack the books. Those are what I term my ‘creative anxiety dreams.’

Yet I bring this ever-so-versatile trait into my finances as well. Let me explain.

Us twenty-somethings, we’re (for the most part, and minus a few financial M&A studs that I know) relatively destitute. The relatively part comes into play because while we’re often feigning poverty, it’s not usually that we don’t make enough money to support ourselves, we just don’t make enough money to support ourselves in the exact way that we’d like to.

Point in case.

Let’s just say I’m at a happy hour with some friends. We eat, we drink, and we decide to get an appetizer — say, cheese dip. Well, as it always seems to turn out, I’m rarely carrying cash so we end up splitting it on our credit cards. Now, when the bill comes, my generous side and my fiscally responsible side are battling it out in the Ultimate Fighting Challenge, and more often than not, the generous side (aided by a few drinks) wins. Now, this discrepancy between my budgeting brain and my friendship brain is the exact phenomenon that’s inclusive in what I call “Financial Creativity.”

Let’s do a working exercise here. For all respective purposes, we’ll pretend that my monthly salary is $1000. First, we’ll subtract the bills. Down to $200. Of that $200 to last me the month, the following are things I feel that I DESERVE AS A HARDWORKING WOMAN and justify it in the same way that dieters do food: Anything in moderation is ok. So,

Lunch: Am so happy that I don’t want to stab my coworkers through the eyes with an ice pick (as, ahem, I may or may not have wanted to do in my previous task — no self-incrimination here!) that lunching with coworkers is necessary. Eating at one’s desk is so gauche these days…
Drinks: Atlanta has the reputation of an un-dateable city, so I feel it’s my goal to prove this stereotype wrong. That said, where do you meet people? Out for drinks. Case Closed.
Shopping: No Garden-of-Eden-ing it for this gal — it’s a societal necessity that girls dress for other girls to ‘one-up’ each other on the “classy, head-turning, and offering a little sexiness but not so much that it looks like you’re begging for it” wardrobes. This doesn’t come cheap, my friend.
Target: I dare you to leave there for under $50.

Add in incidentals like the perfect new shade of OPI nail polish, cat food/litter, haircuts, shoe repairs, oh, and grocery store bills, and that $200 was spent 5 times over.

I’ve had enough. I’m instilling the Aubrey Budgeting Plan from this point forward and will adhere to the following stringent rules:

No more Target for me.

Watch out, Bank of America and the like. I think you’ve met your newest financial genius.

May visions of sugarplums begin dancing in your heads, (Christmas IS just right around the corner!)


Disturbing Statistics

I was recently checking some of the stats on my website — hits and whatnot — and I came to the list of the keywords. Basically, some of you out there were searching for this site, or came upon it by going to your happy little favorite search engine and entering a related word when — voila! You came here. The list itself, however, is a bit interesting, and for your viewing pleasure, I’ve included it below:

20% aubrey
12% wwwaubreysabalacom
12% aubreysabalacom
8% naked
8% aubreysabala
4% sabala
4% songs
4% phi
4% drinking
4% spade
4% perfume
4% kate
4% dating
4% hooters
4% com

First, I am glad to see that ‘naked’ was used by 8% of the searchers to reach this site. I hope you found what you were looking for but, basically, I doubt it. With the exception of a nipple or two (NICE, Billy, VERRRRYYY Nice…) aubreysabala.com is pure wholesome living.

This is supported by the 4% keywords of ‘drinking’, ‘dating’, and ‘hooters’. Wow. My life summed up in a nutshell. Throw in ‘kate’ ‘spade’ and ‘perfume’ and we’ve found ourselves a winner.

AubreySabala.com — naked, drinking, dating Sabala hooters. I couldn’t be more proud.


A Letter

Dear Alcohol,

I thought I’d take a minute to discuss some troubling factors with you. First and foremost, let me tell you that I’m a huge fan of yours…your many sides and dimensions are mind-boggling (different than beer goggling, which I’ll touch upon shortly.) Yes, my friend, you always seem to be there when needed — the perfect post-work cocktail, a beer with the game, and you’re even there around the holidays, with a touch of cinnamon, you warm us even when stuck in the midst of endless family gatherings.

Yet lately, I’ve been wondering about your intentions. You see, I want to believe that you’ve got my best interests in mind, but I feel that your influence has led to unwise consequences, briefed below for your review.

1. Phone calls: While I agree with you that communication is important, I question the suggestion that any conversation of substance occurs at 5am.
2. Eating: Now, you know I love a good meal, and though cooking is far from my specialty, why you suggested that I eat mashed potatoes with barbecue sauce coupled by a veggie corn dog and some stale corn chips (washed down with cranberry juice and topped off with a Kit Kat) is beyond me. Eclectic eater I am, but I think you went a bit too far this time.
3. Clumsiness: Unless you’re subtly trying to tell me I need to do yoga more to increase my balance, I see NO need to hammer the issue home by causing me to fall down the stairs. Completely unnecessary.
4. Spelling Bees: Reference point 1 (Phone Calls) above, but even if calling 411 for Matthew McConaughey’s number (in Austin, I believe) IS a grand idea, the fact that you temporarily suspended my ability to spell his name surely amused the operator. Surprisingly enough, he didn’t seem to be listed.
5. Pictures: This is a blessing in disguise, as it can often clarify the last point below, but the following costumes are herefore banned from being placed on my head in public: Indian Wigs, Sombreros, Bows, Ties, Boxes, upside-down cups, bras.
6. Beer Goggles: If I think I may know him from somewhere, I most likely do not. PLEASE do not request that I go over and see if in fact, I do actually know that person. This is similar to the old “Hey, you’re in my class” syndrome circa 1996 at UNC, and should heretofore be rendered illegal. Coupled with this is the phrase “Let’s Make Out.” While I may be thinking this, please reinstate the brain-mouth block that would keep this thought from being a statement, especially in public.

Further, the subsequent hangovers have GOT to stop. Now, I know a little penance for our previous evenings’ debauchery may be in order, but the 2pm Hangover Immobility (and the new-found-trend of morning booting) is completely unacceptable. I ask that if the proper steps are proactively taken on my part (i.e., water, vitamin B, bread products, advil) prior to going to bed/passing out facedown on the kitchen with a bag of pretzels, the hangover to be quite minimal and in no way interfere with my daily Saturday or Sunday (well, any day) activities. Come on now, it’s only fair — you do your part, I’ll do mine.

Alcohol, I have enjoyed our relationship for some years now, and want to ensure that we remain on good terms. You’ve been the invoker of good stories, the provokation for much laughter, and the needed companion when we just don’t know what to do with our extra quarters in our pockets. In order to continue this relationship, I ask that you carefully review my grievances above and address them immediately. I will look for an answer no later than Thursday at 5pm (pre happy hour) on your possible solutions and hopefully we can continue this fruitful partnership.

Thank you for your prompt attention to these matters,



AAAH, Chicago. Its windy days, its chilly nights (even in October) — it’s the perfect combination for the impetus for an AIA (Aubrey-Impetuous-Action). Such actions in the past have included a move to Atlanta, and without some resistance and a few lectures from well-intended loved ones, this one may just follow suit.

Chicago is a city of similarities and uniqueness…it resembles NYC in its offerings but is smaller, cleaner, and (at least to me), has more easily accessible culture (and less-scary subways.) Thus far, it has spoken to me, and being the generous gal that I am, thought I’d relay you some of the messages received and lessons learned…

1. A person can actually gain weight by smelling food alone. Walking by the various olfactory wonders that are the steakhouses on State Street, I swear my jeans are shrinking or my thighs are expanding. Or both. Either way, it’s disturbing.

2. Walking shoes are a necessity. After a few blocks in posh mid-calf boots, shoes sans heels are a must-have and any and all purchases of said shoes are justified.

3. There is an inordinate amount of good looking — no, change that — frighteningly, shockingly, abnormally amazing looking, men in this city. Perhaps the hottie bus is a one-way trip from any other US city to Chitown, and if so, save me a seat next to the tall, dark, and perfect looking one. (Meaning, any seat.)

4. F+P+P=F (Frump + Plump + Poor = Funk). Meaning, after gorging on sushi and trying on lovely (but unaffordable) cocktail dresses and wearing a un-couture outfit that increases warmth but decreases fashionability, funks may ensue. On a similar token, overpriced jeans, when rolled up and coupled with flat running-esque urban shoes, somehow lose any aura of designer-ness that is heightened when swapped for Charles David pointy-toed heels. Versatile jeans, nes pas?

5. Monikers are regional. I have hereby added the following names to my list of names I could never, uh, “mention,” in intimate situations: Craig, Keith, Dwayne, Dwight, Henry, Harry. Oh, and lets add Lloyd for good nature.

A list girl by heart, here’s some additional information gleaned from The Windy City:

Mr. Kite’s Chocolates on State St.
1451 N. State Street, a house that I would lovingly refurbish and occupy, if only the chance
North Shore Drive and its running trail
Rice Balls at this little Italian place underneath the John Hancock building. Amazing.
Pizza, Panini, and Pasta
Shopping. Any and all.
See #3 above.

Housing prices. $1.5 mil for 2500 sq. feet. Hmm, sounds like a super deal to me!
Cold. Wind.
I own a house. In Atlanta. In warm weather. And its only 4 months old.
See #5 above.

I think it’s a tie — well-intended lectures allowed and requested…



My Mom loves Oprah.

Not simply love in the “I love chicken marsala” sort of way, but more like the “I adore her to the extent that everything she says is taken as gospel and I want to BE her” variety. I swear, if Oprah said that jumping off of a bridge into a pit of Coral Snakes would be good for the soul (or any other of the gobbledygook buzz words for therapeutic remedies), Sue Sabala would be the first one up on that bridge, sporting bells and all.

Anyhoo, I had just recently cured my Mom of the annoying little habit of calling me midday when I was at work, asking if I was “watching Oprah” (which, since I’ve yet to be informed of any benefit including tv’s for in-office Oprah-viewing, was always answered with a sighing ‘this again?’ sort of no) when, alas and alack, my work hours changed and I was actually home in time to watch The Show (capitalized to maintain its sanctitude), if I wanted to, that is. My Mom, a member of the DoDoo’s (Dangerously Obsessed Disciples Of Oprah — my moniker for all things related to the one-word megabrand) could now justifiably SUGGEST (in a way that only Moms can) that I watch the show.

“Dr. Phil is on, Aubrey, and you MUST buy Gary Zukov’s new book. It’s the Heart of the Seat of the Pants, and it’s riddled with wisdom.”

“Aub, turn on Oprah. It’s about women who hate men who love women who hate men who love women. I think it’s perfect for you!”

You get my drift — topics aplenty of things that I would somehow find to be fitting in some aspect of my life and thus both disturbing and annoying. I can only do so much, here…

But despite the eye-rollingness, the acquiesence that I would have to sacrifice my much-needed daily nap extraordinaire for a DoDoo invitation a la SusieSab, I have been known to watch. Yeah yeah, get over it. Every now and again, something hits home.

Like today. In my 7+ hour drive back from North Carolina, I had ample opportunity to do some thinking. Luckily, I had a lot to think about. From the hustle and bustle of the weekend just ending, I encountered a little of this and that. Without going into details, I was surprised, offended, charmed, shocked, comforted, amazed, enthralled, and both taken aback and finding that my expectations were fulfilled. It’s the juxtaposition of elements that makes our lives so full, and mine, my friends, poureth over.

But back to Oprah. On one of these shows, either one I saw or one in which the transcript was relayed quasi-verbatim from my sweet Mom, one of her guests said that we need to listen to the people in our lives as they tell us who they are. They tell us in both words and actions, and it’s when we don’t listen — whether intentionally or unintentionally — that conflicts often arise. You know that little voice in the back of your head? The one that we try to push away, thinking that we know better? Yes, that’s the very one that we should actually take the time to listen to, and then take the time to wonder why we’re trying to ignore it. While the success rate for veracity is probably batting .500, I’d probably err on the side of caution and at least address the very issue(s) that you’re trying to push away. And hey, if you’re wrong, all the better.

The subtle clues in life, yes, those are often missed. It happens to everyone. Yet listening — something we all think we’re inherently capable of — is something that takes work. It takes practice. It takes just one too many instances of disillusionment, of displacement, of wondering why things aren’t the way they would be if our life fit into a 30-minute sitcom package o’ perfection. Why, when all is said and done, we know that Ross & Rachel WILL be together at the end of Friends but heck, who knows who our next date will be with. It’s this very frustration that we encounter in our quarterlife crises that could be mitigated if only we knew that when all was said and done, we’d get our Ross or our Rachel and our perfect baby Emma and the credits would roll and Joey would crack a joke and all would be right in our technicolor existances.

Yet, as we all know, it doesn’t work that way. We get the unexpected. We get the pain. We go through those times when all you want to do is climb out of your skin and take a vacation from your own life, when it all seems a bit overwhelming and the thought of running away from yourself is startlingly appealing. Our tools of preparation, of reconciliation, are few, but as we wade through the whirlpool of emotions that en masse create our lives, we can at least do one thing.

We can listen. We can begin to take our own advice. We can start listening to that little voice, at least for a second, before we dismiss it with a laugh. And most of all, we can listen to others, as they do, whether good or bad, tell us who they are.