WE ARE MOVING (Part 1!)

Photo cred: itsabrideslife.com

It is currently ten minutes to 4 o’clock in the morning and about 9 hours ago, I set out on what was going to be a lengthy drive.  Knowing that I was going to be driving into the wee hours of the morning, I grabbed myself a Grande Chai Tea Latte at the start of my trip, followed by an iced coffee at a gas station a few hours later.  Turns out, that to an individual who does not consume caffeine, this particular concoction of beverages will not solve the problem of falling asleep on the road, but rather morph it into the problem of not being able to sleep hours later.

Yay for 4 am.

Yay for needing to be on the road again at 10 am…

But let’s get to the real picture here.  I haven’t written a blog post for a few weeks now and I promise, there’s a good reason for that.

Currently, at this very moment, “oh” dark hundred in the morning, of the 23rd year of my life, here’s what’s happening.

I left my job three weeks ago.  And really, all that I have to say about that, is that it went relatively smoothly, and happened quickly and was right.  And also, I’ve been counting my blessings that I had a job to quit at all.

Luck seems to have struck for me.  Or maybe just years of extremely hard work and trudging my way through life situations that have been far beyond my maturity level have caught up and the universe has decided to align in the “age of Aquarius” and give me a little break.

I quit my old job because I was offered a new position – which I actively sought out – and it’s in a place that I’ve always dreamed of living and the job is in, well, IT.  And, it focuses primarily on, well, computer programming.  Which, I understand isn’t everybody’s thang, but it seems to be mine and I’m so, so grateful.

So, I quit my job, I took a new one (in a different state), and because apparently not enough was happening in my life, I decided to buy a house.

*Take two steps back, place palms on both your cheeks and stare at me, dumbfounded*

This wasn’t in my plan.  I didn’t plan to move out of state pronto, and buy the fifth house that I looked at with a realtor, and decide to move into said house with my boyfriend [read, not fiancé, not husband].

Nah, that wasn’t the plan.  But for the sake of being open and honest and candid…

This feels like a far better decision than any of those other things that I spent weeks and months and years sifting through and picking over in my head.  I, for the first time, am owning my twenties, grabbing the bull by the horns, and moving in the direction of my dreams.

It feels wonderful, it feels liberating, and it feels like I’m 23 and finally beginning to understand what it means to be in control of my own life.

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On Letting Go [of Prom Dresses and Sports Trophies]

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My four high school years were some of the best of my life thus far. Successful in academics, athletics, friendships, and never without a date to a school dance, it was a wonderful time. That is, until that rejoiceful day when I donned my cap and gown and then realized for the first time that I was going to uproot myself for the foreseeable future from so many that I loved and cared about.

In “understanding” that we were meant to grow up and forge new friendships after high school, my hometown graduating class of ’09 adopted a philosophy that it was bad or immature to hold on to those dear friendships from that time. To this day, I still hear “so and so went to college and still hangs out with only people from our hometown, which is totally their choice, but just not for me”.

There were some who looked that stigma dead in the eye and said “screw it”, finding that they had more in common with those that they had met walking into kindergarten almost two decades ago than someone they recently crossed paths with on campus. There were some that had such abundantly welcoming personalities that they discovered a new set of lifelong friends within weeks.

And then it seemed, there was me. Despite my ease of finding friends throughout my youth and adolescent years, it became incredibly difficult for me to find commonalities with others in college. Friends drifted in and out of my life like an ocean tide, and alongside these newer, younger friendships, I lost friends that I had known for years, simply because we grew apart.

Yet, despite the sob story that this seems to be coming across as, there is a silver lining. I have found that throughout the years, those that were my best of friends (*cough* Annie *cough*) have remained figuratively and literally by my side through the ups and downs. And equally as importantly, I have decided that I finally feel ready to let go and move on from all those other high school friendships and novelties (insert sigh of relief).

You see, for years, I have unhealthily been looking back and longing for those days when I felt on top of the world.  As a result, I was missing out on making friends from this period in my life.  And while I can’t go back to kindergarten and make new lifelong friends, I can develop relationships at this point that will better suit me and last for years to come.  It’s time I start remembering high school in a healthy way; in a way that lets me move on.

Scoring the winning goal at a soccer game with my teammates – who felt more like sisters – is a thing of the past. So are the weekends with nothing to do but two hours of homework and a whole lot of socializing…

And they’ve been replaced by something beautiful. They’ve been replaced by sleeping in until 8 on Saturday (oh God, did I just say that?!), and for the first time in years smelling coffee brewing in my house – reminding me of the presence of my boyfriend. They’ve been replaced by family, and the hope of children in years to come. And by coworkers and the familiarity of a friend going through the same struggles in life, at the same time.

Most importantly though, that feeling of longing to return to those glory days of Most Improved sports trophies and Art Show awards has turned into a feeling of embracing the present and those beautiful souls that are a part of my everyday life right now – regardless of whether they’re from my hometown or not.

Redefining Self in Your Twenties

About two months ago, I watched a TED talk (http://www.ted.com/talks/meg_jay_why_30_is_not_the_new_20) that a coworker had recommended to me.  The speaker’s name was Meg Jay and she spoke to the idea that many twenty-somethings are coasting through an extremely influential decade in their life, claiming that adulthood starts ten years later.  While she makes many good points, the most memorable excerpt for me was the idea that in our lives, our brains go through two major growth spurts.  The first is as a child and the second is in your twenties.

The result?

Your twenties offer you with a new boost of personality and a new opportunity for you to develop into who you want to be.

I gave this idea some thought the other day and quickly spiraled into a level of reflection that I haven’t reached in quite some time.

It turns out that I am in a period of transition.  If you were to ask me what I want to do with my career, I wouldn’t have an answer.  The same is true for when I want to have kids, or where I want to live, or even bigger things, like whether I have a soul that will continue on after I die or whether, ultimately, I should be inherently selfless, or look out more for myself than for my neighbor.

To be completely honest, what prompted this soul searching was my recognition of how I have been dealing with relationships and leading conversations in my life.  My stepmother has told me before that “it is far easier to be negative than to be positive in life” and my goodness, I’ll be damned if that isn’t true.  So, to determine a cause for the shift in my life outlook, I began to deeply consider the things that surround me.  Why, in this critical period of personality development, would I be turning into an irritable, hard-to-deal-with person?

The truth is, I feel like I encounter intolerance everywhere I go.  On the commute home, it’s as if every man is for himself.  People cut each other off and honk their horns and follow too closely.  At the grocery store the other day, I literally had an old man snap at me for accidentally picking up the deli meat he had ordered at the counter…  Only to have an old woman yell at me in the parking lot after she nearly backed into me.

So, what’s the point?

The point is that I have realized that in trying to juggle the demands of adulthood, I am slowly, but surely, becoming jaded, just like the man at the deli counter or the woman in the parking lot.  And as a woman in my mid twenties, it is extremely difficult to think back to the vivid hopes and dreams that I had as a child – of the person that I was going to be and the life that I was going to live [I literally thought that I was going to change the world] – and recognize that I am living the same life as my neighbors, am equally as (if not more) frustrated than them with the inconveniences of daily life and have adopted that into my psyche without acknowledging it…

Is it inevitable that in adapting to our world as adults, we lose touch of the fire and drive that we felt as children?  Does being a good person to those that you love constitute as changing the world?  Why do we feel such intolerance for our neighbors, who are trying to “get by” day to day, just like us?  Is there a set path that we are meant to follow psychologically and physiologically when we get to this age?  If so, am I on it?

Am I ultimately developing into the person that I want to be?

These are the questions that I want answers to…

-E

“Baby, you’re so kind”

You_Are_Kind
I read recently in Women’s Health that when viewing a series of photos, women spend the same amount of time as men looking at another woman’s hips and chest as opposed to her face. Aka women want to see how they measure up in comparison to other ladies (re:yardsticking).
I am as guilty of this as anyone. I recognize that this is a simple fact of the reality that we live in and I would love to see the day when this is no longer the case.
Sure, media is to blame, but so am I and the people who surround me day to day (no offense to you, my loves, it’s just ingrained in us all!)
Since when did “you’re beautiful” [or insert other positive aesthetically oriented adjective] become the king of all compliments?
Don’t believe me? Why do women dress up in tight clothes and put on gratuitous amounts of makeup to go to the bar (btw, guilty, again, as charged). Is it so we can be the most loving, kind hearted woman at the bar? I think not.
Now, I’m not in any way suggesting that you omit these compliments from your vocabulary. I’m simply asking you to contribute equally with the “you’re beautiful” counterparts. E.g. “You’re so kind”, “you’re dependable”, etc. etc.
After all, in the end, not everybody has the capability to be stunningly beautiful.
Yet everyone does have the ability to be unconditionally kind… or passionate… or welcoming.
Reward that.
-E

Deciding between Career and Love

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Photo credit: jennaleeauclair.deviantart.com

About three weeks ago, I made what will probably be one of the most difficult decisions of my adult life.

At the end of March, I was conditionally offered my dream job.  As in, if I aspired to become a professional soccer player, I had been recruited by Manchester United – although, admittedly, I was redshirted for a couple of years until I proved myself worthy of a field position.  But after the initial joy and excitement, a dirty detail found its way to the surface of the offer with no clear scapegoat or person to take the blame for it.

I was told in the most inexplicitly, explicit manner that all signs pointed towards me not getting the job if I continued to date my boyfriend.  Aka, at 23 years old, I was being asked to make a decision that most everybody uses in a hypothetical sense…  IF you had to, would you choose your job or your family?  Sure, he’s not my family yet, but I, one measly year after graduating college, was being asked to make this decision.

Please check a box:

Box 1) Career.

Box 2) Love.

…I checked box 2.

Actually, that’s a lie.  I checked box 1.  I exchanged keys with this man and gave up on the idea of living with him starting this Summer.  I was devastated.  And when I called him over the course of the time that we were broken up, he was devastated too.  Out of necessity, I forced myself not to think about it, because the decision that I had made was too painful.

So I searched for the answer.  I reached out to Annie.  I reached out to my other best friend of over ten years.  I called my stepmom.  I called my dad.  I called my old coworker and friend.  And you know what?  Not a single one had THE answer for me.

A night passed and the next day, I sat in my living room and, desperate, I looked into my heart.  For three weeks I had been attempting to make this decision, which, in my mind, never should have had to have been made.  At work, I was a zombie in meetings, getting by only on routine.  At home, nothing was getting done.  Not laundry or working out.  Not cooking or grocery shopping.  I was coasting and I was avoiding this wretched decision.  But the clock was constantly ticking, and I had a limited time to make this choice.  And as soon as I was honest with myself, I knew what I had to do.

I logged onto my e-mail and I retracted my acceptance from the position.  I called the man that I love and told him not to leave his house… I was coming over to hold him and to have him hold me.

During this time, this man, my boyfriend, had been making a decision of his own.  An issue that he had been facing for years had reached its zenith and he was forced to do some soul searching as well.  He spoke with his most trusted confidant – his father – regarding the situations that we were both facing and his father told him this.

The decisions that you make throughout your life are nothing more than a series of sacrifices.

In other words, at each fork in the road, you reevaluate what is important to you and you move forward in the direction of the things that you are absolutely not willing to give up.  It’s poetic to me; life constantly offering you decisions so that you can better find yourself.  Then, at the end, imagine what you are left with.  You’re left with the things and relationships that you cherish the most in this world.

Looking at life in this way makes me view it as a journey.  As I live and grow, I will filter out the elements of my life that no longer suit me or my family, leaving, at life’s end, the purest sources of happiness in our lives.

– E

DIY Clothespin Message Board

I introduced my boyfriend to TJ Maxx the other day – a quite successful endeavor, I must say! – and while there, I ran across some tiny clothespins which I HAD to have.  Naturally, he had no idea why I would ever want to purchase these small, barely functional tools so I came up with this project to make use of the find!

Supplies:

Clothespins, wooden frame (to assemble), paint and brush, decorative wire, decorations of choice, ribbon, nails, hammer, cardstock, hot glue gun.

photo 1 (1)

 

Step 1) Paint the four pieces of the wooden frame with the color of your choice.

Step 2) Cut the decorative wire so it is just longer (by maybe 0.5 to 1 inch) than the width of the frame that you are using.

Step 3) After the frame has dried, drive the nails into the wooden frame along the longer sides at regular intervals.  Only drive the nails in about 0.5 inch and then remove.

Step 4)  Roughly assemble the frame and begin to glue the wires into the holes that you created from the nails.

photo 2                  photo 3                  photo 5

 

Step 5) Once the wire is securely in the holes, complete your assembly of the frame.  This may take some finagling, but just have patience and all will be fine!

Step 6) Fasten on your decorations with the hot glue gun.  At this point, I also hot glued the ribbon on to hang it up.  A bow may be cute for the ribbon as well.

Step 7)  Add your clothespins and begin hanging your notes, grocery lists, etc.  Enjoy!

photo 4 (1)                  photo 2 (1)                  photo 3 (1)

 

– E