29 things I know for certain

10408781_10104472449991249_4298835229105406970_nMy birthday is Dec.1.

It’s always a reflective time to see where I’ve been and where I am headed. These are 29 things I now know to be true:

1. Friendships aren’t built in a day. True friendships won’t break in a day either.

2. There will always be people that have more and have less. You must find out for yourself what you are comfortable with having in your life. And your own definition of “having.”

3. Saying ‘I was wrong’ and ‘I will try better next time’ is a good way to be honest with people and keep yourself honest, too.

4. I still do not fully comprehend the sustainability of happiness or contentment. Maybe that will come. Maybe I will come to accept a level I embrace. Or settle on the statement that life ebbs and flows.

5. Few people get you completely. That’s OK.

6. Routine is important for your health. So is sleep.

7. Your body responds to whatever you put into it.

8. Everyone has issues. Tell them yours. Most people listen and will respect you for it. As far as the others, F***k them for not being there yet. And when they are, if ever, listen to them.

9. If your job is important to you, you need to love it and give it what you’ve got. If it is your hobby, your kids, your mom, same deal. You just need to prioritize. Calendars help a lot.

10. People having babies and getting married can’t convert you with pressure. Lifestyle is a choice. Not a religion. (Even though I do love me some babies in due time)

11. As an adult, you have to manage your family. Remember, you did not pick them.

12. The world is so much bigger than your bulls**t problems. See your insignificance and respect it.

13. Life is long. Or short. We don’t know.

14. Adults need to do things that children do. Play. Compete. Do arts & crafts. Tease other adults.

15. When you floss your teeth, you are supposed to go right to left to right on each individual tooth. And brush your gums, too.

16. Keep faith in something. It signals hope.

17. Everything in moderation. Even cupcakes.

18. Ambition should be celebrated unless it controls you.

19. Breathe deeply.

20. Your time is precious. Don’t waste the time of others.

21. There is no excuse for not keeping in touch. We have too many social media platforms and devices for that not to be a moot point. I encourage folks to roll their eyes at people who still use this excuse or send them a photo via text of you rolling your eyes.

22. I don’t foresee us caring about Daylight Saving Time as much in the near future and remembering clocks, since your smartphone remembers. More things will become smart.

23. No one really knows where journalism is headed in the next five years. We do know we need better business models. And it is an exciting time for the industry. We get to create the next five years.

24. No one can truly make you feel inadequate or underprepared or overdressed or overwhelmed except you. That’s your voice telling you that and your duty to stop it.

25. Mentor/mentee relationships are organic. Don’t force them. It gets awkward.

26. I officially think the term networking is silly. Just talk to people. You’ll always learn something new. Networking is so forced.

27. Covet the people, places and things most important to you. Spend little time with the respective areas that are not. See number 13.

28. Try new foods. Even if you can’t pronounce them. And then check the dictionary punctuation sound file so you can.

29. Set attainable goals and exceed your own expectations. Then, set new ones.

Follow @JessicaDurando on Twitter

Best one liners I’ve said to boyfriends

I’d like to remember these zingers I’ve said to boyfriends of the past. Some, amuse me, still today:

1. “You are the only person I know still pushing his agenda from his hospital bed.”

2. BF: “You put me on trial.” Me: “No, you just very willingly get on the stand to testify.”

3.  “Does it bother you before you go to bed at night that you haven’t accomplished much on your own?”

4. “I don’t think we should date anymore because I’d like to own property in my life. Ya know, real estate.”

5. BF: “I wonder what those people in prison think about all day.” Me: “I’m sure one day you won’t have to wonder.”

6. BF: “You just flicked a bottle cap at my head. That’s abuse.” Me: “Meh, I think it is more impressive that I have good aim.”

7. “When I look at you, I just see a lot of “No’s” dancing above your head. And I’m waiting for the next one to come out of your mouth.”

8. After not calling a man for two months… “Hi, I called because I thought it might be interesting to have this awkward conversation where you wondered why I fell off the face of the earth and then I reappeared. No really, I was sorting some sh*t out.”

‘One day after the other’


I just found out my long-term ex-boyfriend died after his battle with brain cancer. He was 28.

I good friend told me via Facebook message as I was starting a normal Saturday run on the treadmill. Naturally, I got off the machine quickly and called her to start to process the details.

Our relationship–mine and the ex– was an interesting one, albeit rocky. We weren’t very compatible and we knew it. We were very attracted to one another and we knew that, too.

I had strengths he wanted–an independent mind and a pick-yourself-up-by-your-bootstraps attitude. He had strengths I wanted–stability and a curiosity for adventure. He didn’t fear things. He embraced dangerous things. But as far as shared goals, world views, compassion for others– we were very different.

I haven’t thought of him in a while. I think life just happens that way.

But he was a son, a brother and became a husband to I’m told a very kind person. Good people really gave him so much. They really loved him.

Today, I am thinking about them– his big, Italian family on Staten Island– and how they are coping with the loss of a very young man. I loved that family and what they reminded me of from my dad’s family. (something I lost in my parents’ divorce). So, a lot of feelings coming up for me on a lot of levels.

For Ed:

So Driver, stop that bus, I’m off at the next stop,
I need to take some time to lay it all down,
Hey Driver, I’m gettin’ off, no I can’t win the race,
I’ll just walk myself to that place where we all end up.

Running out of future, and heavy with the past,
We drag ourselves, grab on to another.

So Driver, stop that bus, I’m off at the next stop,
And I need to take some time to lay it all down,
Hey Driver, I’m getting’ off, yeah at the next stop
I’ll just walk myself to that place where we all end up.
One day after the other — Lou Doillon

‘That’s very lucky, to be miserable’

Image Being sick with a virus for four days triggers all these things that I (and many others) struggle with in addition to feeling like crap:

  • Being alone for long periods of time
  • Feeling not needed
  • Asking for help
  • Relinquishing independence
  • Patience
  • Acceptance

I’m also prone to do things that do not help me get better fast. I’m usually first in a state of denial. I overextend myself in hopes of just pushing through it. Then I usually reach a point (like at 3 a.m. Friday after a coughing and sore throat fit when I felt like I couldn’t breathe) where I think, “OK. You need to really rest and take it easy.”

Panic sets in. What will I do with myself for all of these hours that I don’t feel well?  Why can’t I focus? My mind races. I start to think odd, existential things like:

Am I living my best life? Have I accomplished enough by 28? Will I be alone as an 80-year-old in an apartment feeling like crap? Oh, god. Why do I want my mother right now? Am I going to turn into my mother?

Anyone who has ever lived with me knows how god awful I am to deal with when I am unwell. I go completely Annie Hall neurotic. Speaking of which, here is a great line:

Alvy Singer: I feel that life is divided into the horrible and the miserable. That’s the two categories. The horrible are like, I don’t know, terminal cases, you know, and blind people, crippled. I don’t know how they get through life. It’s amazing to me. And the miserable is everyone else. So you should be thankful that you’re miserable, because that’s very lucky, to be miserable.


13 things I learned in 2013

ImageThis year proved to be all about growing pains for me. And I’m thankful for it now. I learned a heck of a lot. Thanks to those who helped me along the way.

1) The importance of money is all relative. You need to match your standard of living with your paycheck. And live within those means. Can’t afford what you need or want? Get a higher paying job. But all by itself, making more money will not make you happier. It may help you sleep better at night, however.

2) Do what you love. I’ve had these things in my head that I “should” learn to do. For example, I “should” learn to code. It is a very marketable skill. But I don’t want to code.  We spend so much time focusing on things we “should” do for others, for career advancement, as a grandmother’s last dying wish. This year, I said screw it. I’m going to do the things that interest me and I will do them well.

3)  Surround yourself with people you truly love and those that truly love you. I was watching a Real Housewives of New York episode while on the treadmill (yes, guilty pleasure at the gym) where two of the characters agreed that they didn’t get along and decided not to pursue a friendship further.

It was surprisingly an amicable arrangement and I remembered one of them saying, “I have enough friends.” I thought, hmmm, I do too. I also had these people in my life that weren’t really adding to it positively. I made a concerted effort this year to either walk away from them or keep a healthy distance so that I could spend more time on the people in my life that I hold very dear. And also to let in new ones that are fabulous, too.

4) Eat organic. It just tastes better.

5)  Failing is ok. Every inspirational speaker says this. The whole “fail forward” concept is very popular. But no one feels that way when they are going through it. This year I came to terms with failing on a few levels. I had to confront it, feel crappy about it, and then put it to rest. It was a process. And with a little space and time I can say I’m better for it.

6) Life is a motherf**ker sometimes. Embrace it because as someone close to me often says “what’s the alternative?”

7) Let yourself change your own mind. Last year, I had a three-year plan. I was switching jobs, going to graduate school, going to have a master’s degree at 29 and then explore my options thereafter. Well, I wanted something else a year in. I missed news so much. And I was lucky enough to find an amazing opportunity to go back to it quickly.

8) Have the hard conversations. But have them in a diplomatic, genuine way.

9) Get into running. It really clears the mind.

10) Listen to others. Sometimes I go too fast. I don’t hear people as much as I should. This year I’ve been working on slowing that down a bit.

11) Hold out for the things you want. Now I’m getting picky about a master’s program. I want one that is affordable, innovative and online. I decided I’m going to wait until I see that happen in the journalism world or maybe help create one :)

12) Push yourself when you think you can’t. Hold on to that feeling of accomplishment when you do what you are afraid of. Think about it the next time you want to do something that scares you. It helps.

13) Good things pass. Bad things pass. It all ebbs and flows.