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Laura J. Lieff

Specializing in Expert Service

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How to Enjoy Dating

Posted on December 2, 2015 at 4:34 PM Comments comments (339)
People who aren't in relationships during the holiday season might feel a bit self-conscious or lonely during this time of year as it appears that everyone else is half of a couple. Although this isn't, necessarily, factually true, it can feel that way, especially around the holidays and Valentine's Day.

Many people choose to be single as their independence is vital to their well-being, however, that is not true of everyone who is unattached.

Most people who are single date. Although some people enjoy dating, there are plenty of people who don't and who view dating as a necessary evil. 

Dating doesn't have to be boring or a waste of time. If people would spend a little time thinking of creative ways to date, they might find dating more enjoyable. Instead of going for just a drink or a meal, a date can be arranged around an activity that interests both parties. For example, a date can be a visit to a museum or art galleries, a tennis game or a trip to a driving range, a lecture, a photography class, a trip to the zoo, etc. After the activity is over, if both people want to continue the date over drinks or a meal, they have that option. Otherwise, they can go their separate ways without feeling as if they've wasted a few hours as they will have been engaged in doing something enjoyable.

Dating is a numbers game: the more people with whom one goes out, the better the chance of meeting Mr. or Ms. "Right". Dating doesn't have to be work. With the proper mindset, it can be fun. The goal of dating should be to find someone whose company you enjoy and with whom you want to spend a lot of time. People like to be around upbeat, fun people so, the immediate goal of dating is to enjoy yourself and to be entertaining and/or charming for your date. There will be plenty of time to discuss more serious matters, later on, if you concentrate on having fun in the early phase of a relationship.

A Balancing Act

Posted on July 7, 2015 at 3:33 PM Comments comments (107)
I, recently, told someone that I've never been older and I've never worked harder.  Of course, none of us has ever been older than we are at this moment, however, that's not exactly what I meant.  I think what I meant was closer to "Why am I working so hard at my age?"

I never thought of myself as a workaholic, in the past, and frankly, although I've always worked hard, within a finite amount of hours, until February 2013, work never overtook my life.  In early 2013, I was preparing the launch of my new company.  From that time until late May of this year, it feels as if I've been working, non-stop, and, in fact, I pretty much have.

It doesn't matter whether that was a good or a bad thing because it was what I felt that I had to do to accomplish the "lift-off" of my business.  At times, it was very enjoyable and exciting; at times, it was frightening and depressing; and, many times, it was downright exhausting; however, there was no way around it, if I wanted my business to succeed.

On Memorial Day, I had plans to meet a friend for lunch and a movie in the UWS of Manhattan.  On the day that we met, the weather was glorious:  sunny and not too humid or hot.  I had worked the entire weekend until Memorial Day.  I was glad that I had plans to meet my friend as, had I not made plans, I wonder whether I would have done more work.  My friend is very funny, very bright, and a very good conversationalist.  I really had a blast with her and we saw an interesting Spanish film about revenge.  The film left us with plenty to talk about, not that either one of us needs to be prompted to talk. 

I realized after that wonderfully fun day, that I had been denying myself enjoyment during the start-up phase, not purposely, but probably because I was afraid that if I took some time out for fun, I would lose my focus.  Well, I discovered that I didn't lose my focus and the day of fun that I had with my friend was like the medicine that one, sometimes, needs to take to cure an illness.  It was very necessary.

We're always hearing from life coaches, TV hosts, and shrinks how important balance is.  It can be very annoying to hear that when you really have no time for yourself as you're either (1) taking care of your kids (2) trying to make time for your husband or for dating (3) working full-time and/or (4) involved with health care decisions for a parent or two.  It seems as if the word, balance, is a foreign word with no discernible meaning.

I can tell you, from first-hand experience, that having a balanced life is as important as being healthy and helps you, almost as much as exercise does, to remain healthy.  Having interests other than your career helps you enjoy the time that you spend working more.  If all you do is work, you begin to resent your career or job and, if you're not being as successful, at your career or job as you'd like to be, you wind up not feeling that good about yourself.

For those of us who are self-supporting and have to work, which is true for many of us, it is essential that we enjoy the work that we do.  I love what I'm doing for a living, however, when I work too hard, I don't love it quite as much.  For example, this weekend, I spent most of the time working, again, and was a bit resentful that I had no choice in the matter as I had a rush project to complete.  To make up for the fun and/or r&r that I had missed, I took yesterday and today off. 

You might wonder why I'm writing a blog post instead of hitting golf balls, going to the movies, going to a museum, etc.  The answer is that because I'm not pressed for time, right now, and because I know that I'll have to write this post, anyway (I try to write one blog post a month), I really don't mind taking the time to do it.

That doesn't mean that I'm going to spend all day writing this post.  It means that I'm going to take care of work and spend the balance of the day enjoying myself in whatever way I choose to do so.  It, also, means that I'll enjoy whatever I choose to do, more, because I've completed some work.

Does that make me a workaholic?  Perhaps it does.  Am I happy or sad about the fact that I've become a workaholic?  I can't answer that question because, much like an overworked housewife who is taking care of her kids, has a full-time job, and has parents who need her assistance, I do what I have to do.

Can I see myself in a better situation?  Sure.  I can envision a situation in which I'm working only 3 or 4 days a week and playing the rest of the time.
Would I ever give up working, entirely, if I could afford to do so?  I don't know.  Why don't you make me a good offer and we'll find out.


Unplanned Fun

Posted on May 3, 2014 at 3:07 PM Comments comments (144)
Some of the best times that I've had in my life have come about completely unexpectedly.  Yesterday, after an exhausting day, I was sitting outside in front of a neighborhood bistro, enjoying a glass of red wine and my solitude when, all of a sudden, two younger women with suitcases in tow sat down at a table next to mine.  Despite the fact that it's never peaceful or quiet on First Avenue and 61st Street (in Manhattan) I was able to tune out the traffic and occasional blowing horns.  (I guess I'm used to the cacophony of Manhattan noise.)  I was slightly annoyed that these women were going to encroach upon my peaceful environment.  Within, approximately, three minutes, they asked me if I would take their picture.  I did.  I asked them where they were from and they told me that they were visiting from Toronto.  Well, all I had to hear was the mention of Canada and we were off and running, kind of like the horses at the Kentucky Derby.  You see, my sweet father had been born in Canada and I felt an immediate kinship with these women.  When I told them that I was, as one of them put it, half Canadian, they felt a kinship with me.  Soon afterwards, three of their friends joined us.  One of the new women asked if I minded if she sat at my table.  I didn't mind, at all, so she sat down.  What happened after that was truly delightful:  I proceeded to tell the women how wonderful New York is and how much I love (to be more accurate, love/hate) it.  Most people who live in Manhattan have a love/hate relationship with it:  we're boxed in like rats in a cage and there is that ever-present noise, not to mention the stench of the humid summertime garbage.  I told the Canadian women how I always get a rush of excitement when I land in New York when I travel.  I don't know whether it's the idea of being home or the ever-present remembrance of how exciting life is in Manhattan or a combination of the two.  

Then, I told them a true and entertaining (I made it entertaining) story of how a movie star-like gorgeous man had once bet me that I couldn't carry his golf clubs.  When I rose to the challenge, as I usually do, his response was "How much?"  I had to think for two minutes or so as I didn't want to quote a price that he would pay just so that he'd prove a point and win the bet.  So, my response was "$1,000!"  Although this Roman god-like man could have easily afforded the $1,000, he was smart enough, or kind enough, not to take me up on the challenge and was silent.  (Frankly, I would have carried his golf bag for $1,000 even if I would have come back from this ridiculousness hunched over and in pain.  I suspect that he, somehow, sensed that.  I was much younger, then, and would not have backed down from the challenge.)  The women enjoyed my story.  

Then, we proceeded to talk in groups.  I learned two things that I didn't know: one was that if you go to a sophisticated restaurant in London, you should never ask to sit on the patio or outside.  You'll be told, in a condescending tone, that it's not that kind of establishment.  There are pronounced social classes in London and those classes don't mingle with each other;  I, also, found out that in Paris, if you're sitting, outdoors, at a bistro, you'll pay more for your food for a seat closer to the street!  I could have lived my entire life without knowing these factoids, however, as I love learning new things, no matter how irrelevant they are, this new information was very welcome.
  
My conversation with the lovely ladies from Toronto lasted anywhere from 20 - 30 minutes, however, when I walked into my apartment building, the young doorman, with whom I sometimes chat, saw the huge smile on my face and I practically chirped "Hello" to him.  I had had so much fun chatting with these lively, engaging women and it had been such a delightful pick-me-up as I had been utterly exhausted before I met them.

You never know where or from whom your next fun-filled moments are coming and if you're completely closed off and don't enjoy these snippets of opportunities that lead to nothing but fun, as they come along, you wind up missing out on some of life's very enjoyable moments and, also, missing out on learning some seemingly-useless bits of information that, if inserted into a conversation about the Brits, the French, travel or restaurants, can make you a hit at the next cocktail party or networking session that you attend.

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