Five Four and a Quarter

Questions, confessions, experiences, and inspirations of a twenty-something-year-old

24 October 1, 2012

I just celebrated my 24th birthday. I wasn’t very excited for my 22nd or 23rd birthdays –after you’re 21, birthdays aren’t as thrilling,– but 24 proved to be the best one I’ve had in a few years.  I don’t really make birthday or new year’s resolutions. I do, however, have some big takeaways from the last four years.  With inspiration from Thought Catalog, I figured, what better time than my birthday to take a step back and look at all the things I’ve learned thus far in my twenties?

  1. The friends that you make your freshman year of college may not be the ones standing by you for graduation pictures
  2. Don’t take it for granted if your parents help out with your rent during college
  3. You will have a bad experience with certain liquors that result in you never being able to drink them again
  4. Your 21st birthday will be one of the best nights of your life that you don’t remember
  5. It might be important to you to launch your career as soon as possible. It might not. Maybe you want to travel, or work a dead-end job and have fun. There is no right answer. Follow your heart
  6. Your friends are 10 times more important than being in a relationship. Always remember: bros before hoes, chicks before dicks
  7. Keep a keen fashion sense from your childhood and even from your parents’ childhood. The popular fashion of several decades ago will come back into style. Except for cargo pants. Those are never coming back
  8. Social media is an amazing creation. It has made the world 3 dimensional. It requires people to share their lives with complete strangers. A lot of the time, it isn’t clear exactly what a large impact social media plays in your life. Love it. Embrace it. It isn’t going away anytime soon
  9. Sleep is overrated
  10. You aren’t still in college and you will get hangovers. Your body just can’t handle the binge drinking like it used to
  11. Freezing cold, frigid, snot-freeze-to-your-face weather sucks. It doesn’t mean you have to move to Florida. It just means it will be that much better when winter ends and spring arrives
  12. Spring break doesn’t have to be like it’s depicted in movies. You can have just as much fun relaxing with a few friends or going on a cruise with your grandmother
  13. Graduating from college doesn’t mean that the best years of your life are over. So far, my mid 20’s have been pretty awesome
  14. Change is scary and often unwanted. However, it can also be exciting. Try to embrace change and focus on the positives
  15. Carpe diem

The Not-So-Lazy Days of Summer September 11, 2012

Filed under: friendship,having faith,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 6:44 pm
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I find it hard to believe that summer is over already. It feels like July 4th was two weeks ago and that it was Memorial day was right before that. Between work and my endless weekend plans, the summer flew by. Looking back at the last few months, I am amazed at how busy my life was –I was really only in Boston two weekends without anything going on?!– Maybe I made so many plans because this was the first summer since I was fifteen that I wasn’t working weekends in a restaurant. No matter the reason, it was a go-go-go summer for me. One of my co-workers said it best: “We’re Facebook friends and it seems like you have way too much fun on the weekend.” Here is a recap of the last few months’ weekends:

May 11-13: NH to golf, then Portsmouth for Mother’s Day
May 18-20: Had a friend visit from California and visited friends in Marblehead

Memorial Day Weekend: Cousin’s college graduation in Western MA
June 3: Girls’ day in Boston and Beauty and the Beast at the Boston Opera House
June 8-10: In Boston, but had to lay low because of my foot injury
June 15-17: Reunion with all my college friends in NH

June 22-24: IN BOSTON!!!
June 29-July 1: In NH all weekend for a friend’s grad party
July 6-8: IN BOSTON!!!
July 13-15: NH for the weekend to lounge by the pool
July 20-22: Burlington for the Vermont Brewers Festival

July 27-29: The Color Run

August 3-5 Portland, ME for Gentlemen of the Road

August 11-19: Annual family vacation at Conway Lake

If I had a drink it my hand, I would raise my glass to the Summer of 2012; one of the best I’ve ever had. It enforced my decision to move to Boston without a job –I’ve never been happier!– It brought relief to my fear of losing touch with my college friends –we’re closer than we’ve ever been.– Most importantly, it helped me to realize that it’s OK to not have a plan, for the weekend or for your life. Things work themselves out just as they’re meant to.


A Change of Pace July 6, 2012

Filed under: Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 2:43 pm

I became a runner when I started running track at age fourteen. I have run consistently since my freshman year of high school and it is now a big part of who I am –sometimes I even wear my running shoes around the house because they bring me so much comfort.– The one and only time I took a break from running was the summer I was fifteen, and it was so painful to start up again after a mere two week halt that I vowed I would never do it again. Eight years later this has held true; until about a month ago.

I’ve run through injuries my entire life. Should I? Probably not. But as long as I was able to and didn’t collapse from the pain, I always did. I’ve typically gotten one injury a year that I’ve always run through, either in the fall or winter. However, since the middle of February, I’ve been nursing injury after injury. First, it was my hip. It was extremely painful to run, but I trudged along anyway. In mid March, right when my hip got better on its own, the top of my left foot started to hurt. I’ve had running-related injuries on my heel and the outside of my feet before, but never on the top. I typically run in Saucony’s and had just changed to a new pair of Asics, so I ditched the Asics –even though they’re a better running shoe– and resorted back to my trustworthy Saucony’s. During this injury I took a few days off to give my foot time to heal, but I was still running a solid three days a week. Shortly after this debacle, my right calf started acting up. For a few weeks I ran through the discomfort, but it eventually got to the point where the strained feeling became unbearable. On May 20 I went on what was to become my last run in over a month.

Oddly enough, my calf was not the injury that proved my downfall. A week after I stopped running I went on a 4 mile walk, feeling fine until I was a block away from my apartment. That’s when shooting pains started searing through the bottom of my left foot. Every step I took was a challenge. My foot suddenly couldn’t take any pressure on the bottom of it, which clearly made walking a huge issue. After barely making it to the train the next morning on my commute, I made the drastic decision to go to the ER. This is saying a lot, because I never get injuries looked at. I didn’t even want to go to the hospital after getting hit by a car, but my parents and relatives demanded this to happen. I assumed that I must have randomly gotten a stress fracture in the bottom of my foot. However, after four hours at the ER, multiple X Rays, and no results of broken or fractured bones, I was at a loss as to what was wrong with my foot. Skipping ahead five weeks, I am still baffled as to what is wrong with my foot. I’ve been seeing a chiropractor twice a week and I am finally able to walk and lightly run again, but I’m not nearly healed. It feels great to be running after a five week hiatus in my active lifestyle –although I’m horribly out of shape to the point of it being painful to start up again,– but running 2 miles a few times a week isn’t me. This is not how I planned to spend my summer, the part of the year that is typically the most active for most people. For the last month I’ve felt trapped in my own body. Mostly, I’m just frustrated that so many different body parts have been failing me lately. That isn’t supposed to happen until I’m much older! For now I’m adjusting to this alien life of not waking up at 5:30 for a 4 mile morning run and I’m getting by—but just barely.


Know Who You Are April 22, 2012

Filed under: Life,Revelation — Arianna Bolotin @ 8:42 pm
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I recently read a blog post on The Rest Is Still Unwritten about the blogger’s relationship with his grandmother. The two had been close his whole life and were connected by the stories they shared. It really got me thinking about my relationship with my own grandparents and particularly my relationship with Zaydee, my paternal grandfather. Similar to this grandmother-grandson duo, I’ve always felt extremely close and connected to Zaydee. As he tells everyone he introduces to me, I would fall asleep on his bare chest as an infant when no one else could get me to stop crying. Twenty-three years later, we have a relationship different from any other I’ve ever seen between granddaughter and grandfather. We call each other just to say hi and chat. We constantly nag each other when we’re together–He jokingly yells at me when I eat “his” food, he tells me I will give all the old men at his retirement community a heart attack when I walk around in my bathing suit, and he always pretends to take me up on my offer to pay the dinner bill. I tell him when he’s looking exceptionally hairy, I always side with Bubbie when the two of them are arguing, and I let him know how pathetic it is that he uses his computer multiple times a day and still types with just his two fore fingers. The relationship we share is more of a friendship than a formal one based on “respect for your elders” — although I still won’t friend him on Facebook until he gets rid of his pseudonym virtual identity. However, I truly do respect Zaydee with all my heart. I marvel at his accomplishments and I give him –and everyone else in his generation– so much credit for accepting the evolving world and putting the time and energy into learning our technologies and ways of life that are so different from when he was in his mid twenties. But above everything else, I respect Zaydee for his writing.

Over the past few years, Zaydee has written many short stories. Some are true accounts of his life and some are fictional. While most of his written creations are simply shared and enjoyed between family and friends, Zaydee has submitted some to newspapers and writing contests, making him a published author. He writes each story on a pad of paper and then transfers it to the digital world, putting a lot of time and energy into those two pointer fingers of his as he brings his thoughts to life one letter at a time. I read and keep each story that Zaydee writes. Although I thoroughly enjoy them all, my favorites are the true accounts that teach me a little bit about my Zaydee and about my family. One of these, titled “I Remember,” is Zaydee’s account of being 17 and asking my Bubbie out on a date for the first time. Zaydee’s detailed recollection of this night many, many years ago and his ability to express himself in writing truly take my breath away. “I remember a spur-of-the-moment decision that I made on a warm night in August 1950. It was not a major decision…just a small one, the kind we make hundreds of times each day,” the story beings. Although it is a mere 583 words, I can vividly hear James Garner’s voice narrate the occurrence similar to how he tells the story of young love that stood the test of time in The Notebook.

The Notebook

Another one of Zaydee’s short stories, Coming Full Circle, is one that brings tears to my eyes every time I read it. This story relives a family trip to the beach we took a few years ago:

One day we all gathered on the nearby beach where we had spent many summer days
during the 33 years we lived in the neighboring town of Marblehead. As is typical of New
England’s rocky coastline, the north end of the beach provides a monstrous outcropping
of building-sized boulders that jut into the ocean. When my sons were toddlers and
adolescents, I had taken them to many such beaches to fish, swim, and hunt sea
creatures in the tidal pools.

And, during prior family gatherings, I had participated with my sons as they repeated the
process with my grandchildren. No big deal when you’re 50. Or 60. But what about 74?
After helping to set up the chairs, blankets, and umbrella, the “men” of the clan walked
to the rocks with the fishing rods that they had brought from home, some mussels
collected from the beach, and the purchased clams, squid, and herring to
hopefully tempt the Striped Bass that populate these waters in the summer. As my sons
scampered with their sons up and across the seaweed-encrusted rocks with their fishing
gear, I cautiously eyed the slime, barnacles, and jagged surfaces.

“Should I, or shouldn’t I?” I muttered to myself.

My machismo responded first. “Go ahead. You can do it.”

To which my arthritic knees screeched, “Are you crazy? We’re in trouble on stairs, even
with railings. You strain our balance and support when you’re on inclines because your
eyes have lost depth-perception; besides, you left your glasses back at the blanket.”
So, I bowed to the voices of discretion, and, shouting down my manly valor, called out
to my 49-year-old, number-2 son.

“Scott, I need help. I’m not steady enough to climb up.”

Scott stopped taking pictures of the others getting set up along the rocks at the water’s edge, and bounded down the rocks to reach his hand out to me. As I squinted up at him, I thought I saw a flicker of somber sadness flash across his face. Scott, who shares our family love of dark humor; lovingly calls me “old man” and often jokes, “You’re on your way to becoming just a photograph, Dad.”

I felt a twinge of sadness, too. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was the bounding hero
reaching out to rescue him?

Gripping my hand, he began to pull me up the rocks. As he guided my climb by pointing
out where I should place my feet, he offered encouragement. “Hold my hand, Dad. Step on that flat rock over there, Dad. Don’t step on that seaweed, Dad. It’s slippery.”

His cautionary chatter ignited my twinge into a full-blown flashback. Back, back, I went,
back 45 fast-flying years, to the days when I had introduced my sons to adventures
offered by ocean rocks. Back when Scott was a toddler holding onto my hand as I
uttered the same warnings to him and his brothers. “Hold my hand, son. Step over there, boys. Watch the seaweed.” Me, solid and safe. Me, young and strong.

I was awakened from my reverie by Scott’s hoarse whisper, “It all comes full circle,
doesn’t it, Dad?”

There are many things that will always remind me of Zaydee –spiritual Rafiki from The Lion King. My T-shirts and magnets that he airbrush painted. Distant memories of spending summers in Boston’s North Shore, riding bikes and being at the beach. Countless family photos and home videos. But Zaydee’s stories are something extra special. They are a tangible piece of him, of his thoughts and memories that make him who he is. They are immortal and in a way they will allow part of him to live forever, too.

There is no doubt that Zaydee and I will share many more memories and experiences over our lives together and his stories are something that I will hold onto and cherish forever. They depict who Zaydee is as a person, but they also form a little bit of my own identity and show who I am: I’m a Bolotin. The granddaughter of a writer, a believer, a thinker, and a doer. So keep on writing, Old Man.


A Year In Review March 14, 2012

Filed under: big decisions,Graduation,Job Search,Life — Arianna Bolotin @ 9:41 pm
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As of February 20, Five Four and a Quarter has officially been alive for one year. And what a year it’s been. 2011 was an enormous year of transitions and making big decisions. Looking back on the last 12 months, it’s incredible to think about how much I actually accomplished.  I held five different jobs –thank God I had an accountant file my taxes;– I moved to four different houses/apartments; I transitioned from a college student to a young professional; I experienced emotional trauma, physical pain, happiness, and sorrow; and I spread my wings and left Vermont, the place I have always known as home.

Off the top of my head, here’s what else happened in the last year:

  • In March of 2011 I quit a job for the first time
  • Last spring and summer, I spend countless hours searching online for jobs, writing cover letters, and perfecting my resume
  • I learned how to bartend
  • I lived with my brother for a few weeks –something I hope I’ll never have to do again– and we both survived
  • My first two friends from high school got married
  • I became settled in Boston with a job and an apartment that I love
  • I’ve made a lot of new friends but I still regularly see and talk to my friends from school, for which I am so extremely thankful

    College reunion for Mardi Gras

  • I reversed my daily routine to allow for 6 a.m. runs, something I never thought I would enjoy, but it’s actually a great way to start the day–as long as it’s only a few days a week!
  • I decorated my very own Christmas tree
  • I successfully 100% support myself

Needless to say, it’s an exciting time of life. Stay tuned to see what 2012 brings!


Resolutionless January 16, 2012

Filed under: big decisions,having faith,Life,Revelation — Arianna Bolotin @ 5:15 pm

It is now two weeks into 2012 and I have yet to come up with a new year’s resolution.


I’ve never been big on new year’s resolutions. –I confess, there were several consecutive years in high school where my resolution was to not throw up the following New Year’s Eve.– Seriously though, what do I want to be my goal for the coming year? To exercise? I already do. To eat healthy? Thanks to my parents, this has been engrained in me my whole life. To travel the world? Although that would be amazing, it requires both money and a time commitment that I do not currently possess. To keep in touch with old friends? I vowed I would do this long before the new year came around. To cook? To take on a new hobby? To learn a new skill? Not to sound overly confident, but these are all things that either already make up my life or that I know aren’t in my current hand of cards. Anyway, I agree with Grace Boyle when she says that “I think that resolutions, challenges and goals are important. The part I disagree with is only doing them on New Years.”

Still, a part of me recently felt self-conscious when I responded to questions regarding my new year’s resolution with “I don’t have one.” This makes me sound one of two things: either extremely cocky because I think I’m way too perfect to need a resolution –not the case– or incomplete as a person because I don’t have the motivation or desire to pursue a resolution. Not the case either. I spent the first week of 2012 trying to decide on a resolution, but during the following week I came to the conclusion that I’m okay with not having one.  Upon this realization, I let out a deep breath and immediately felt the weight leave my shoulders as this new awakening set in. I don’t need to start off the year with an overarching goal that I have 364 days to reach. Rather, I have full confidence that I will continue to live the year as I have lived each one previous: by completing both daily and longterm goals that I set for myself year-round, not only on January 1. After all, 2011 turned out pretty well without having a resolution:

With that, I raise my glass to an even better 2012!


Make New Friends, But Keep The Old December 16, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Arianna Bolotin @ 7:00 pm

Bob Dylan once sang, “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.” Nothing proved this saying true more than my recent reunion with college friends. Two weeks ago, I once again ventured up to Burlington for the weekend. Only this time, I was accompanied by all my friends who also moved away after graduation. People drove up from Southern Vermont, New Hampshire, Boston, and even as far away as Phildelphia to all spend the weekend together in the place that we called home for the last four years. There are a good amount of my friends still living and working in Burlington, so it was easy to set up camp at their apartments. To summarize a long and eventful weekend, it was absolutely incredible to all be together again.

Pinned Image

From the moment I arrived in Burlington Friday night to the time I left Sunday afternoon, I was in a great mood. The weekend was filled with drinks that were much cheaper than a Boston cocktail, going out to eat to some of my favorite past-time restaurants, and lots of dancing, to the point where I was sore for days. Miraculously, I got a run in Saturday afternoon along my old route through Burlington, while everyone else was at a bar! I’m happy to share that I apparently still have VIP status in Burlington, because I didn’t wait in line at any bar and I still got my 2 a.m. slice of pizza for free.

In addition to spending tons of time with my friends from school, I also saw both of my former roommates who are in a different group of friends, as well as some of my best friends from work. It was a very satisfying weekend and it again rekindled my belief that as much as I miss the people I left behind, I know that I made the right choice by moving away from Burlington. What can I say, I guess I was made for bigger and better things than the rural state of Vermont has to offer.


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