So, I’m leaving Los Angeles.
I don’t know if text-on-a-page can properly convey how terrifying that is. I was born in Anaheim, and raised in Monterey Park and then Laguna Niguel (right outside of Laguna Beach). Then, I moved out here to attend USC, and I’ve been an Angeleno for (oh my God) nearly 7 years. I live about 10 minutes from the Los Angeles house my mom immigrated to in (now) Historic Filipinotown, and work about 15 from where my dad grew up in the SGV/East LA area.
I didn’t see snow until I was 20. I am more comfortable in a car blazing down the freeway (or sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic) than I am an in, say, a train. I spent summers on beaches and at Disneyland. I’m about as Southern Californian as you can get, and Los Angeles has run in my veins since birth
So, as hyped as I am about the concept of adventuring to new, even-beachier places, I am also a little terrified sometimes. I’ve come to realize that some of the things I love just won’t be in my life anymore, and that it’s time to enjoy those things while I still can enjoy them. A fantastic person I know is making an equally long journey across the country (to much colder climes), and we’ve been talking a little about “The Bucket List.”
I’ve never loved this concept. I always wondered if experiences could be quantified like that, as “the last time” to create memories. Now that I’m actually faced with the concept of leaving somewhere, though, I find myself desperately clinging to the concept as a way to try and ensure I leave with no regrets. So, after a little bit of thought (and some help), here’s the first working draft. Please, if you have anything to add, let me know!
As you can see, a highly abbreviated list. Anything to add? Restaurants I must try? Places I must see? Trails I must run?! Let me know! What do you think I have to do before I leave Los Angeles?
Not Less-than-Awesome (because most of this IS AWESOME)
Things like this don’t happen to people like me.
That was what I thought as I hung up the phone Thursday evening. On the other line had been a Teach For America staff member, offering me a position as the Operations Associate and Assistant to the Executive Director.
Yes, folks, the “big news” I have been vaguely hinting about for the past month or so? The one where you
may have been probably have been annoyed and thinking SHUT UP AND SAY SOMETHING OR JUST DON’T OKAY JESUS? It’s that I have been applying for education positions throughout the nation. Including this one in Hawai’i.
So, long story short, you are likely correct in your assumption: I am moving to Honolulu in early May. I can’t even begin to describe how excited I am.
When Shayna, the staff member who will also be managing me, told me, I was honestly speechless. Sometimes, I still am. It wasn’t an easy decision. As far as private corporations go, I currently work for a pretty solid one. I like the people I work with, the work is interesting enough, and, yes, the money you make in the private sector is…well…certainly different then what I made as a high school teacher.
As the past few months have worn on, though, some family and life things fell into place in a way that made me stop and think Wait, I could leave Los Angeles. Then, I started thinking about what I REALLY wanted to be doing in my life. Where was I going?
What’s next? is not only the title of this blog, but a question I try to ask myself as often as possible. While I’m young, I also know that life is short, and what I wanted was starting to become more and more clear. I like my job, but I’m not overwhelmingly excited about it. The people I was working with are nice, smart, funny, and dedicated… but I missed being really passionate and fired up about the work I was doing. The world needs change, education needs to be completely reformed, and I am young, excited and passionate about making that happen. So what am I doing to fix it?
I began poking around at what jumping back into the education sector might look like. After binging on cover letters and interviews (at one point I texted my beloved Stuti, “I didn’t think it was possible, but interviews have done it: I am so over talking about myself.”), I had some options. I was getting revved up. I had applied for and been excited about this position in Hawai’i, working with Teach For America, but after a week of waiting and not hearing, I assumed I was out of the running.
So you can imagine my surprise when Shayna, the Director of Talent, Strategy and Operations at TFA Hawai’i, started off our phone conversation with, “I’m really excited to chat with you this evening.”
This was not how I expected this conversation would go.
In a flurry of surprise and cautious (I had been talking myself out of this job for months, just to make myself feel better for not getting it), epic excitement, I talked through some of my thoughts about the offer with Shayna. I said I needed the weekend to decide: I had been offered another position here in Los Angeles, and was supposed to interview in San Francisco at the end of the month.
In what was an epic #firstworldproblem, I now had more than I was ready for, in the span of a few days. I immediately texted my family and close friends. I had shared with them that I had wanted this Hawaii job, but I had told them last week that I was likely not going to be moving to the islands. I needed some clarifying thought, and another set of eyes.
The first to call me was Jack.
Jack and I have been as functional in our break-up and transition into friendship as I think we were when we were together. We are (now) comfortable around each other. He’s dating a beautiful, equally-television-and-film-loving blonde from Boston, and I couldn’t be more happy for him and proud of all that he’s doing. I also have been epically happy to have someone back in my life that, frankly, probably knows me better than pretty much anyone in the world.
The minute I picked up the phone, there was silence. Then I said, “Oh. My. GOD.” Then, we just started laughing.
We talked. Knowing me as well as he does, Jack has become not only a great friend, but also an excellent thought-partner. We parsed through this decision. Then, he said something that really hit home.
“You know what we didn’t do after college?” he posited.
I knew immediately what he was going to say. “We didn’t adventure, did we?”
“No,” he admitted, “we didn’t adventure.”
With that, a huge smile crossed my face.
The more I spoke with people, the more the decision became clear. When else would I be in a place in my life where I could do this? Come Friday morning, I had made my choice. By Friday afternoon, I had emailed TFA Hawaii my acceptance, and shared the news with my close friends and family. The love immediately poured in.
I loved being a Teach For America corps member. Despite the struggles I had as a teacher, the jokes about our jargon, or the good-humored accusations about “drinking the Kool-aid” I got from others, I have always been so proud to be part of a movement I truly believe in. Every time I interacted with anyone interested in Teach For America, or even currently working in Teach For America, something always felt “right.” I felt like I was in my element, “like home,” (a similar feeling I had the first time I walked on the USC campus).
Now, as the opportunity presents itself for me to rejoin the Teach For America ohana (my welcome letter said this. The smile on my face when I read it was HUGE) as a staff member, I know what the right path is.
The fact that I get to rejoin and live in Hawai’i, one of my most beautiful places in the world that also happens to have family and friends in it? Just gravy on top of everything else (really epic, fantastic gravy though). I know I will be embarking on a huge, epic adventure: I will be moving out of Southern California for the first time in my life, and work at an organization I love, and do it in Honolulu.
I could not feel more blessed.
That’s been the guiding question, right? Well, I fly out of Los Angeles sometime between May 1-5. In the meantime, I have moved into a little pocket-of-a-room (with a private balcony, remember?) for the month. My 2-weeks notice is being given tomorrow. I am normally alternating between being so hyped I can barely speak, wrapped up sobbing in a blanket out of terror and anxiety at the thought of leaving my friends or, for the first time, living more than an hours-drive from my parents, and being blorft.
Anyway, let’s grab a drink (if you’re close by). Give me a hug. I will provide numerous opportunities to say goodbye to me, but all you have to do is shoot me an email or ask. While I can’t way to start on this new adventure, I am also immensely saddened to leave behind of the people I love. Of course, it’s never really goodbye. Aloha is both hello and goodbye, yes?
Anyway… let’s do this thing.
Urges I Have Successfully Overcome While Packing:
Things I Have Consumed While Packing
Decisions I Have Made About “The Next Place”
A little 3-2-1 to start off the week:
3 Things Making Me Happy
1) HUGE weight lifted off my shoulders as far as life-changes. I know this is all vague, and I apologize (you could always ask), but I should (FINALLY!) be able to talk about it sometime in the next 2 weeks. Woo!
2) The cable is cancelled, the gas and electric are being shut off, and I’m off! I’ll be staying in a sublet for the month of April. While I’ll miss my old place, I’m psyched to save a little money and wake up to a new morning view.
3) Er, life is just crazy-busy in an epic and fantastic way. I’m back into running again (the LA Marathon seems to have cured my leg pains. This means 20-35 mile weeks again. woo!), I’m going out and getting to know new people, I’m going out and passing out on couches with people I already adore. It’s all just generally fantastic.
2 Things Bumming Me Out
1) I have to give my beloved cat Bingley to my neighbor. :( I loved getting to watch cat for about a year, but he’ll be happier with neighbor since I’ll be moving around so much.
2) In all the crazy-busy-ness of my life, I’ve kind of lost some of the balance I feel like I had found last month. Hoping to gain back a moment of zen or two sometime in the next two weeks (I did get it when I went to yoga last night… and got to hang upside down on ropes. Epic.).
1 Thing Getting Me Hyped
1) Travelling! Going to get to do (hopefully) a few weekend trips in the next few months. Woo!
(Also: spending more time with new people, spending more time with already-loves, getting to run on some new streets, and the fact that Chipotle has brown rice now. Woo!)
“If you could see my life right now…I’ve been living at the speed of light”
That’s how I started off a section of the letter to Carolina. Apologies, to SISTER Carolina.
I hadn’t written one of my best friends since October. I didn’t tell her about my birthday, or wish her tidings of joy at Christmas. I didn’t wish her a happy new year.
I don’t have a good reason for this. I have a selfish one.
My life was going at light-speed. I barely had a moment to breathe, absolutely breaking one of the promises I made for myself at 24.
It wasn’t all party lights and shiny sparkles either. In retrospect, I’ve looked back on my life from October to now, and some of it has been stressful. Some of it has been hard and trying and forced me to rethink how I look at myself and what I value. I hadn’t had some time to think and breathe. That, and the things that were great were hard to explain, still kind of intangible, and some of it was just awkward to describe to your best friend…when she’s a nun. I mean, how do you tell your nun-best-friend that it’s distinctly possible you threw up behind a chair at New Year’s?!
So, the 10 or 15 times I started a letter to her in the past few months, it just seemed too hard to wrap everything up. Even though I’ve longed for her guidance and her voice numerous times in the past 6 months, having to sit down and write everything out to her in prose-form instead of rambling it off on the phone would mean that I would have to stop and examine what I was doing: what was making me happy and—much more frustratingly— what was making me sad or scared. Quite frankly, I didn’t want to.
Then, when I stopped to take a big pause and look at things this past month, I really didn’t want to rehash or go through any of it another time. One of my double-edged swords is that I am quick to adapt. More often than not, when things tough things happen, I want to examine them, learn from them, and then wipe off my hands move the fuck onward and upward because life is too damn short to dwell on the little things. I am not a dweller.
While I think that’s been a credit to me a lot of times, I think it can do a disservice to me too. Sometimes, to let ourselves heal, we have to listen and deal with and think the bad stuff. We have to get angry and sad and frustrated so that we can really move past it and get better. Still, when I knew I needed to sit back and reflect on everything and open up to Carolina, I didn’t want to. I was too scared. I knew it would hurt. So I was selfish, and I stayed silent.
Cut to Valentine’s Day, when I received a letter from Sr. Carolina that she had written at the beginning of the month. I tore the letter open, and started crying when I read what she had assumed my silence meant: Was I mad at her? Did I feel awkward around her? Was I worried she didn’t want to hear from me?
Well… for lack of eloquent wording: I suck.
So, I sat down and hashed it out with her. The bad stuff. The mean stuff that I didn’t want to think or say because it’s unfair, petty, and not nice, but still kinda felt because I’m human and imperfect. The things that made me sound weak and small. I told her the good things too: the things that made me so happy I could sing, that made me sound boastful and not at all humble, because who else can celebrate that with you and not judge you but someone who loves you?
At the end of the 15 minutes it took me to fly through three and a half pages, I smiled. A weight had been lifted off my chest— a small one, because I really have felt consistently blessed these past few months. Still, the cathartic feelings of just sitting down and getting it out far surpassed the pain I had felt doing it.
So, now, cut to Lent.
Lent, if you don’t know, marks the 40 day period of time before Easter. Many people of all different forms of Christianity (and some non-Christians) choose to honor this period by giving something up.
If I’ve realized anything these past few weeks and months, it’s that a lot is changing in my life. There’s (as always) a bit of tumult, I’m consistently on the cusp of…something, and I need to make sure I’m taking times to think things through. I need to take the time to sit in the silence and the struggle so that I can find joy and light in it.
In an effort to do that, for Lent I’ll be jumping off MOST of my social media. I’ll be stopping to consider my words instead of my normal spout-everything-I-think. No Facebook, no Twitter.
Impossible for me, you say? I thought so too, but I actually did this three years ago and got a lot out of it. Some people say that you shouldn’t give up something you’ve already given up, but frankly I think that’s bull. If something is helpful, why not do it?
Now, I won’t be giving up writing fully, meaning I’ll stay on Tumblr (just sporadically), for a few reasons:
1) I still blog for the lovely people at The SF Marathon, and I want to do my part in spreading the word and getting hits for them when I can.
2) Like I said, a lot is going to be changing in the next few weeks, and while I do want to try and keep my space from the social media world, I would also feel awkward not keeping at least some people updated on what was happening. Could I do that in a phone call, mass e-mail or text? Sure, but that’s not really the world we live in, so… sorry?
3) Writing is one of those few things that’s kept me sane, and sometimes shared experiences feel good.
So, that’s that folks. I’ll be here, writing occasionally, but I’ll be heading off the grid (not really) for a little starting Monday morning. Catch you on the flip side.
OH! If you want do want to contact me, consider sending me letter, or writing me letter-like emails, you can ask for my e-mail or address (or just use it, if you have it). I love writing to people, I’ve realized recently. :)
“Recently, I’ve come to realize that one of the best ways I can show love is to tell someone that I’m thankful they are in my life…”
That’s how I started off the entry in my Gratitude journal a few nights back, one of the daily journals I (try to) write in each night.
So, for this Valentine season, I decided to spread the love in my life with a bit of thanks. I sent out thank you cards to some of the people that have just been there for me this past month, or just been a big/important/special/caring part of my life. They weren’t well written, and there weren’t nearly as many as them as I could give out (I have strangely small hands and bad penmanship, so my hand gets tired pretty fast). Still, I just wanted to let them know that, no matter what, they meant something to me. I hope it brings a smile to their day when they get it.
Anyway, I wasn’t even sure if even I wanted to post this, since patting myself on the back about it was absolutely the opposite of the point of this exercise(I was worried it would come off a little “Let me be AMAAZZINNNGG at you.” (- Tina Fey, Bossypants)). Definitely not my intention.
However, I really liked the idea, especially for those searching for meaning in the day. I just thought I’d put it out there as a thought:
For this Valentine’s day, don’t just tell the people in your life “I love you.” Tell them “Thank You.” Tell them thank you for sharing part of your life experience with you, for the lessons they teach you, and for the love and light they bring to you.
Every day, I’m so lucky that I have these people, all my friends and family, in fact, to make me laugh or to take care of me. I am consistently so blessed, and they are a very big part of why.
Sadly, someone I love who will not be getting a card will be Cat. I do pick him up like the big baby he is and cradle him at least twice a day though, so hopefully that makes up for it.
Anyway, it’s been a rough weekend. Expect to see a post about losing a great man and father figure to me, Fr. Fred, at Corpus Christi. I have no doubt he’ll be moving on to great things and get to transform the life of another parish, but I’m
a bit heart-broken to see that part of my life end change.
In spirit with what he taught me, though…
To any of you that might stumble on this blog this season: blessings your way, light your way, and remember, above all, you are loved.
Something will be born from
this goodbye. In the pain of
setting forth, something will die.
With the release of the old
comes a moment when nothing
is firmly held, and the unknown
burns the bridges of the past.
When the smoke clears, my eyes
seek out the new horizon.
Nothing is known here, but
the air is sweet and breathing
deeply I see long dormant
seeds send up their shoots
from the fertile ground of change.
As leaves unfurl to meet the sun,
the circle is complete.
I will not forget a single
step of this journey, nor will I
let comfort lock me
in its warm embrace.
I do not know what fruit these
seeds will bear, but I have faith
that what is taking root today
will surprise me with its vigor.
In birth and death,
in breath and the final exhalation,
there is pain and the movement
into truth. I take the step
that I am called to even if
I do not know the final destination.
Setting Forth - Danna Faulds
I am so full of blessings, love, and light for the people in my life. And I’m so excited to see where our journey’s take us next.
PS thanks to the lovely Kat Reiner for this poem.
Words and I, as you might have guessed, hold a pretty special relationship.
This is interesting, as I learned to read a little late (middle of 2nd grade) compared to a lot of my friends. Once you got me going, though, I couldn’t stop. I wrote in journals. I read voraciously (once, when I was 8, my dad tried to punish me by telling me that I could only read if it was for school. I was genuinely distraught for about an hour… until I realized that I could tell him all the books I was reading were for school. Have I mentioned I can be a horrifically sneaky person?!). For a chubby mixed-race kid with weird hair and obnoxious tendencies, books were a fantastic way for me to find a world when I felt a little disconnected in my Orange County home.
Years later, and words still govern my life. It’s interesting— when I mention to people that I have a theatre degree, few are surprised (Oh! That’s why you’re so… animated!). Then, though, comes the inevitable question: Do you wish you were an actress? Do you miss the theatre?
The answer is always no.
Now, let’s be clear. I’ve absolutely adored the work I’ve done in the arts. I will also very quickly say that I haven’t done a lot of work in the arts. What I have done, though, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. What I think I’ve realized these past few years though was that none of the traditional things artists love about the theatre- the tense joy of rehearsal, the adrenaline rush of being onstage— were ever really things I truly enjoyed. What I loved was that acting allowed me to literally physically embody words. Performing words out loud allowed them to remove the barrier between me and the paper and have them become a part of my being. They allowed me to spend my time studying, breaking down, and figuring out the way the words I would be speaking would have a physical effect on my body. Acting, in many ways, was a way to be as intimate with words as possible.
Of course, that wasn’t always a good thing. I can still hear the magnificent Charlotte Corwnell, who was truly a transformational acting teacher, yelling at me to “stop playing the subtext!” It was a command that, frankly, I never mastered.
The other part of words I loved was trying to figure out what they meant. My other, frankly more beloved degree is in English. The time I spent breaking down words, discussing their context, and studying the meanings of text are, nerdily (not a word), some of the happiest of my life. I can’t fully explain it yet, but searching for meanings and connections in a text is like being on the most epically exciting treasure hunt of my life.
So, now I’m in a job where, while challenging and rewarding, has me use words in a new way and, honestly, a little less. Not in a bad way— I think I’m a much better writer, and much more aware of my audience (especially in a business setting). I’ve missed writing a little though. Fortunately, the fantastic folk at The SF Marathon have let me write for them. Clearly I write here. BUT, in an attempt to find a steady stride during an ever-tumultuous time, I got these three little beauts on Monday:
The Q&A Journal - 5 Years of Questions, 1 each day of the Year
And, maybe my favorite, the Gratitude Journal
(and yes, in case you were wondering, if you go to Amazon you CAN look inside!)
So, Words. It’s time. You and me. Let’s have a renaissance.
So, I know, it’s been a long bit of time since I’ve written. A quick and dirty update on my life and why it’s been so nuts lately:
1) I recently moved from the rack stockkeeping department (warehouse) of my job to the Export department (office). While I miss the people in my old position, this has been awesome for a number of reasons.
Now, the company I work for is pretty awesome, so if they tell me jump I’m likely to say, “how high?!” That said, I’m happy that they needed me in a department that happens to work out with my lifestyle a little better. :)
2) My family is going through a bit of a time right now. I’m not going to go into it here, but any positive vibes you could send in our general direction would be awesome. Needless to say, it’s definitely made me re-prioritize and reformat a lot of things.
3) The people in my life are awesome. I adore them all very much.
Okay, moving along.
Sometimes, you find yourself at home with very little plans. Maybe because it’s a Tuesday night, or because you’re trying to get some much-needed rest, but you’ll finally make the very adult decision to not go spend money on drinks or a too-fancy-for-its-own-good restaurant.
So, you get home from work and you decide, Hey, I’m a grownass woman. I’ll make myself dinner. And you take a cue from your beautiful bff Stuti, who, last time you went to her apartment in shambles made you eat a delicious salad and pasta she made for you, and make yourself a little mini-feast for dinner (even though you did not run and ergo probably do not deserve it).
(Mini grilled cheese with basil, pasta and spicy sauce, wine)
The thing is, that glass of wine is delicious. You’re pretty tired. And now “Law and Order: SVU” is on, and your cat is snuggling you, so all of a sudden there’s napping.
But then you wake up, and it’s only 8p. You realize that, because you are somewhere in your twenties living on your own, and potentially without a real career, you lack the following things:
Of course, you are not planning on making out with anyone tonight, because you are may be ridiculous but you are still somewhere in the realm of an adult, and you are either a) giving your significant other a much-needed respite from your nonsense or b) not going to go trolling for guys to make out with because dammit, you’re better than that fucking shit.
So, since you want to be comfortable, and because you haven’t done laundry in, let’s say, oh I don’t know, three weeks, you are walking around looking like this:
Awwww yeahh. Let’s dissect this piece of joy from top to bottom (by the way, in what Tina Fey calls a “supreme act of bravery,” I am showing you my face un-photoshopped and looking… like that). Anyway, from top to bottom:
Hair: completely undone and a little bit dry because you really need a hair cut.
Face: Definitely no make-up. Also, if you wear contacts (I can’t), you are definitely wearing glasses instead.
Clothes: “I Want to Go To There” 30 Rock T-Shirt. Coachella Sweatshirt. Shorts. Polka Dot Knee Socks. You are nailing it right now.
A Cat. Because that’s about the level of commitment you can make to caring for another living thing.
Still, you’re wearing clothes, so you may as well do something. Maybe you have a delightful friend who will let you hang out and watch television with them. So you bring the a WINE CUBE, which you just experienced last week, and that you maybe even introduced your significant other to last night.
What’s a wine cube, reader? Oh, friend.
A wine cube is a delightful little invention that keeps those two bottles of wine fresh for four weeks, enabling you to occasionally grab a glass of wine with your dinner. Your friend hasn’t had this. So, like the little box-wine fairy you are, you expose another loved one to this joy and sprinkle classy-single-glass-wine-drinking-experiences throughout the land of the other twenty somethings.
So off you go. You throw on some boots and you’re out the door.
And it’s joyous. You are young, you can drink wine and laugh with your best friend, and not care that you look ridiculous. What more can you ask for?
Last March, I half-jokingly checked my horoscope for the remainder of 2011. While I will occasionally pull up cheesy online horoscopes for me, my friends, or…other people in my life (just wait for THAT blog post), I rarely put stock into it. Yes, I will admit that I hold a number of the “Libra” traits that are associated with my birthday, but I’m more amused than anything else when/if something comes of it.
So, when the horoscope for 2011 said that I would see “big changes” in the upcoming summer, and that I should expect “more-than-ripples” in my “home life,” I didn’t think much of it. In fact, in spite of the typical-horoscope language, I smiled. My life course had seemingly been set. I
knew thought I knew what job I was getting, where I would live for the rest of my life, and how I would be living it. I assumed the big changes on the forefront for me in the remainder of 2011 would involve merely skipping across the large stepping stones along the very-well-crafted-plan called “Christina’s World.” (Yes, in case you’re wondering, its theme song would be sung to the tune of “Elmo’s world.”)
Well, as I’ve mentioned probably too many times, the fates had other things in store for me this year. The river swelled, and the stones across that path disappeared, leaving me soaking wet and with no idea where to step next. It has been confusing, and more-than-a-little tenuous, and for a brief time slightly unpleasant. Still, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t enjoyed diving into the water and going for a swim (like that allegory action there?). So, after jumping in with open arms, the past five months have been a whirlwind. So much so that I think I’ve tweeted/yelled HOW IS TIME MOVING SO FAST?! about 10 times in the past few months alone. So much so that I definitely just counted the months on my fingers and went Wait, SERIOUSLY?!
Now, as the year winds to a close, I’m still taking time to try and catch my breath. I have to say, it’s a lot harder when you don’t have a nice 2-3 weeks off of sitting and relaxing! Still, I can’t complain in the slightest. A year ago, these were the hopes and beliefs (the link with explanations) I wanted to hold onto in 2011:
- Give More Love More Consistently
- Take the coming days as a gift
- My Body is a Temple
- Potential is Unlimited
- Words and art are part of my soul
- Count your blessings
All and all, I think it went pretty well. I probably struggled the most with #2 during my final days of teaching. Also, even though I have become a much more focused runner, I definitely do not eat as healthy as I could (so many cheeseburgers. So much red wine). Beyond that, I am consistently pushing myself to find the merits of these 6 areas of focus in my life. I’m definitely writing and laughing more. In fact, I considered just continuing to focus on these things as I go into 2012, because I am finally at a place where I feel like I have (begun to) comfortably integrate these into my daily life.
That, however, is not how growth works. We don’t become better by doing what’s comfortable. So, with 2012 looming on the horizon in a blaze of what’s-to-come, here are the hopes and beliefs I hold with it:
“And why do we fall, Bruce? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.” - Batman Begins
So. There you have it. Clearly, I have some less-life-changing goals (run 2 marathons, one sub-4, run more in general, basically just run better, and read more books), but these are the big 3 I want to push myself to do. Mind you, I have no intention of giving up the things I gained in 2011 (especially the “count your blessings” piece. Every day I am blessed).
That said, it has certainly been one hell of a year. I’m ready to meet the next one with a smile on my face and love&light in my heart. I figure if I do that as completely as I can, then I’m off to a pretty good start.
O God. Please bless this Trader Joe’s frozen meal that I am eating. Your merciful bounty is absolutely appreciated as I enjoy this totally delicious meal at $6.99, while not feeling too guilty that I am scarfing it down over the kitchen sink at 8:45p, because TJ’s is “classy” and “way better than that shit from Pavillions.”
Loving Yahweh, please help me to know that it’s okay that my life is in shambles. When I look at the 4-week pile of laundry that is 1 part work clothes, 1 part barely-used workout gear, and 1-part slutty club wear, I may not feel adult. I may feel ashamed when I find the random Claire’s feather earring among the pile, or the business card of that douchey lawyer that tried to hit on me whose info I absolutely took in exchange for a tequila shot. Help me to remember that I am (You-willing) only around a quarter way through my life (as long as this drinking doesn’t catch up with me), and that grown-up, matching-socks-and-not-so-much-Forever-21-dresses-laundry can wait until later.
And, when I am tempted to miss the morning meeting, O Lord, because I am in an intense text discussion with either my boyfriend (“okay, but what do YOU want for dinner?”), that guy-I’m-seeing-but-don’t-really-know-where-we-stand (because I’m STILL TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE WE STAND), my best friend (about what a nuisance her ex is being), or my mom (as I beg for Vegas money), that part of this transitional phase is learning to make good choices. So, I will put my phone on vibrate, and stick it screen-upwards in my purse, while I act adult in the morning meeting. Please, Father, grant me patience as I slowly pick my Costco croissant apart while I hear each vibration of my phone and wonder what people are saying.
Also, God, please grant me stealth-like qualities as I slip out with my phone “to the bathroom” so that I can actually read all the text messages that came in the last 10 minutes.
O God, grant me serenity about boys. I know that science, Glamour, and the random all-girl health class I took in middle school have taught me that boys are about two years emotionally less developed than I am. I get that. I really do. But ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT?! Because, honestly, I can’t with them. I really can’t with them. The amount of time, effort, nonsense, and concealer-money I put into this shit is absolutely ridiculous. I mean, if I had the wherewithal or forthright thinking to actually keep a budget sheet, it would probably show me that 50% of my budget is spent on boys; whether it’s looking hot for them, or covering Burning Man tickets because I will, on occasion, date boys that do not know how to manage themselves and ergo convince me to pay for things we don’t need.
God, that’s probably an exaggeration. I think it’s closer to 15%. My bad.
But, really now, I’m a grown-ass woman. I pay most of my bills on time. I have degrees, maybe even a graduate degree. I work out occasionally (if you count dancing-at-the-clubs and sporadically-trying-Pilates). I try to buy nice stuff at the Banana Republic sale shelf, Forever 21, and H&M. I make good conversation, I am passionate about the world, and have an interest in craft brew beers. I care about being a good kisser, and will watch all four Die Hard films with someone. I shouldn’t have to go on this many horribly awkward first-coffee-dates with a guy that can barely speak to me.
When one does speak to me, I would also appreciate if it could work out sometimes. Can’t we all just be HONEST with each other? I get that you may not be ready to be with me, but can you tell me that before I tell my mom about you?
I am over guys that act cool, then text me “sorry bro :(” when they bail because they are “still into that chick from hs debate team,” or “need to spend more time on their blog.” ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THIS SHIT?!
I MEAN, I JUST WANT TO MAKE OUT AND HOLD HANDS WITH SOMEONE THAT IS NICE, SMART, FUNNY, AND TELLS ME THAT I’M PRETTY AND COOL SOMETIMES. WHY IS THAT SO HARD TO FIND?!
God, grant me patience.
Also, grant me the wisdom to feel unfettered joy when I am blessed and lucky enough to find a guy that is funny, nice, smart, and a good kisser. That guy is really awesome. He probably deserves more trust and care than I am willing to give in this moment.
O Lord, help me find joy in the small things. I am pretty psyched when I find out that there’s a Gap sale, or that when I say, “Give me boops!” my cat snuggles into my nose. I hope You are psyched as well. Really, though, I’ll try and remember more that I’m pretty lucky. Those moments when I’m riding in the back of hummer limo for my best friend’s birthday, laughing hysterically at what is happening, or just sitting on a girlfriend’s couch watching Parks and Recreation while drinking Cupcake wine are essential and perfect. I don’t know what I did to deserve them. Thanks for those.
Oh, also, please grant me patience and wisdom while I try and figure out what the fuck I want to do with my life. I had dreams. I have many degrees. I had a passion. Why is that so hard to turn into a career? Please, try and make the economy less shitty so that I can actually pursue something of the career I had in mind. Also, if You could keep an eye on me while I work a corporate job to pay the bills, work as a hostess in a seedy kareoke bar that I tell my parents is a “five-star establishment” so I can go on auditions, or troll Craigslist as I apply for unemployment, the sentiment is really, really appreciated.
O LORD, please, give patience to my parents. They love me more than I deserve. They are more caring, invested, loving, and patient than I have earned any right to merit. I know I don’t call as much as I should. Please, let them know that I still love them. That I know they did everything for me. That, whether it’s a quiet moment in my car or a split-second while I order a drink at the bar, I know that I would be nothing without their patience, guidance, and love.
God, please, just let me know that I’m not alone. I know I’m in a weird place in my life. When you’re wrapped in Target throw-blankets drinking straight from the bottle of Trader Joe’s Zinfandel (remember, it’s classy), it’s hard to know that every generation feels that they are in a silver second of change, where everything can be different. I know that I’m living a little on the cusp right now.
So, while I can’t help but feel the twinge of embarrassment, disgust, and envy when I see a Facebook friend get engaged, please tell me that it’s okay that I’m in this really weird place where nothing feels set and everything is tenuous. I know it could all go away in a second.
But that’s a blessing in its own right, isn’t it? That I have the ability to go with the flow and try something out if I want to. I don’t think that my parents had that. So, if anything, give me the wisdom, love, patience, and trust to enjoy that as much as I can, while I can.
So, this post came to me while I was running. It does not all pertain to me, and a lot of it is the combination of my experience AND that of my friends. Either way, this goes out to being in a really awkward place in our lives— no matter where that may be. <3
So, I’ve aged.
I mentioned to someone last week that 24 feels anti-climactic as an age. They pointed out that, really anything between 21 and 25 is a bit of a non-starter. 21 gets you to that seminal place of “adulthood” in our culture, with the ability to drink and socialize in bars. I think, for many, it’s the beginning of your life as a “young adult,” whatever that definition may be.
25 puts you over the hump of your 20’s. It feels like you jump from “early 20’s” to “late 20’s” in one fell swoop, putting you closer to that even more adult age of “30.” Everything in between 21 to 25 is the gradual climb from here to there.
So, it seems completely apropos that the phrase “on the cusp” has been sticking in my thoughts quite a bit. I have one foot firmly planted in the past and present, only to understand and take away the lessons I’ve learned from it. I finally feel settled enough in myself that the consistent contorting to fit into whatever role someone might need me to play just doesn’t feel as necessary.
That said, I only have a few toes dipped into the future: of what that new-found confidence actually means for the people around me (hopefully good things), of where it’s taking me (no idea) and how to keep and cultivate it (now it sounds like a rosebush. I may not be a great writer). It’s… exhilarating. It’s like coming to the top of a summit: you can finally stop, plant your feet on solid ground, and take in the vista. Still, you have no clue how the fuck you’re going to get down the other side of this mountain, and you’re pretty sure that it’s going to be a bumpy ride and end with a knee scrape or twelve.
Anyway, I normally try and figure out something I want to focus on or do for the year. Last year, I think it was something like “love the challenge.” I think I did pretty well with that, or am at least getting better. Woo!
This year, I think I’m going to go for something a little more unexpected of myself:
“Slow down, shut up, and listen.”
I can already tell you that I am horrible at the first one. I’ve spent that past 23 years challenging myself to go faster, to work harder, and to be better. The concept of purposely taking a step back to “slow my roll” is completely foreign and against my nature. I mean, I’m still in my early/mid 20’s— isn’t the time that I should absolutely be pushing myself?
I think, in some ways, sure. Still, with all the changes and curve-balls (many good) that have occurred in the past few months alone, I think taking a second to let that all process and really try and take them into full effect is an important one. I’d like to actually try and get some real, lasting enjoyment from those curve-balls too.
The next two, “shut up and listen” aren’t directed so much at other people as much as it is to shut up and listen to myself. I try my best to shut up and listen to other people (with varying degrees of success). Normally, however, if I have a plan I barrel on through and I don’t complain about it. Once I’ve set a goal for myself, I can tend to get a little single-minded about it, and not always stop and check if it’s what I should actually be doing.
As usual, the idea of it came from running. After two consecutive calf-pulls (my life is comedy), I had to lower my mileage significantly over the past week. I was so, so tempted to go out and run on a pulled muscle anyway, because I was terrified of not meeting my running goals and somehow losing everything I had worked for.
I realized, though, that perhaps I was missing a more important issue than not running. So I took a week off. I only ran about 10 miles (I’ve been doing 30-45 for the few months). I stretched, and I stopped and did my research. Turns out I haven’t been taking great care of myself as a runner, and the week off gave me a chance to retool some things in my routine. I finally stopped and listened to what my body had been trying to tell me for weeks, and actually learned something too. Success (I ran 38 this week, uninjured)!
So I want to spend the year trying to turn my focus a little more inward. I’m pretty good at ignoring what I might need to take care of everyone around me. I’d like to try and spend 24 keeping up the latter half of that, but also listening and reflecting on what I need and want.
Well, that’s that. Hopefully a year from now, I can report back that, at 25, I stopped and smelled the roses just a little more.
As I sat in my childhood bedroom after a rough few weeks, I found an old writing assignment from a journal warm up I had actually found for my students that I liked (mostly because I’ve been having a hard time getting any written word off the ground).
What are 3-5 principles, ideas, or mottos you live your life by? What makes them important or special to you?
Yes, it was made for my students, but I thought the question was a great one to force myself to think about. Seeing as this last week was rough (and there are potentially more rough days to come), I am reminding myself that I want to live by the following 3 ideas:
1) Strive for an unfettered joy about all aspects of life by consistently remembering that I am blessed.
2) Keep open arms, an open heart, and an open mind towards all people and situations.
3) Remember, above all, you are loved.
(thanks Fr. Fred for that last one)
I can’t believe I’ve already been working new job, trying a new path, and living a new phase of my life for nearly two months. Where did August and September soon (Jesus Christ it’s almost October!) go?!