Gay Marriage for All!

Personal

I am a huge supporter of gay rights and believe in the equality of all people, regardless of race, gender, or sexual orientation. I was elated after last night’s election and I am looking forward to the future of this country and the development of same-sex marriage as a right to all Americans. Hooray!

“Remember there were white people fighting for black people’s rights in the civil rights movement. There were men fighting for women’s rights in the feminist movement. I would be greatly ashamed if there were no straight people fighting for gay rights in our movement.”

To see more happy photos of couples’ reactions to the laws passed last night: click here!

PG-21 Parental Guidance Still Suggested

Personal, Travel

I’ve been blessed to have parents who are supportive of my crazy half-baked dreams. While they encourage me to do things that will better myself and my life, they also help to elevate my financial consciousness. They would prefer I choose a career in which I won’t be calling them asking for help paying my phone bill before it promptly shuts off mid-call and they are doomed never to hear from their broke-ass daughter again.

My dad may not be the easiest person to eat with (he has preferred seats, meals, wines, etc) or live with (his way or the highway) or talk to (if you attempt to talk to him while the Packers are on he’s like a disgruntled caveman) but he listens and knows when and what I need to hear. My dad went to college to get an an education in Physical Education with goals of being a P.E. teacher. After a few years, he realized this perhaps wouldn’t be the most lucrative choice. He then got his CPA license and eventually his CFP and now owns his own business.

My dad and I at the TCU vs Wisconsin Rosebowl

My dad helps me to understand that there’s time to figure everything out. He’s living proof that things change and we end up doing what we are supposed to be doing. He’s 50-something and he still parties like he’s 28 (he goes to concerts at the House of Blues every month) and acts like a 13-year-old boy (he bought himself a remote-controlled boat for our pool this summer) and he wakes up doing what he loves every day. And up until a year ago, he did it with a mullet.

My mother is insane. She’s loud and she’s opinionated. She hates silence and therefore constantly asks questions. She’s obsessed with people and knowing about their lives. She strikes up conversations with people at the table/barstool next to her on a weekly basis. And she’s basically me, or who I’ll eventually become after one too many glasses bottles of wine.

But she also gives me some of the greatest advice. This weekend I explained to my parents how impressed I am with the longevity of their marriage in the face of over-surmounting divorce rates. Their advice?

  • “Marriage is something you work at every day.”
  • “Divorce is just trading one set of problems for another set with someone else.”
  • And of course, “I couldn’t be married to your father if alcohol wasn’t a foundation in our relationship.”

The anecdote my mother told me about travel this weekend truly inspired me. She spent a year in Sweden working as an intern after college. I’ll admit she doesn’t really talk about much and I have a sneaking suspicion it’s because she had just as wild of a time in Europe as I did. I was reminiscing about my semester abroad with her late Sunday night over a bottle of Chianti. I was describing for her some of the incredible people I had the chance to meet while traveling and how lucky I felt to have met them.

Then she said this to me: “You know, I’ve tried to find the people I met over there on Facebook now and I haven’t been able to. I would love to get in contact with them again and see what they are doing. I know their first names but can’t remember their last names anymore. But I can distinctly remember their faces. It’s been over 30 years and I haven’t forgotten what they look like. I don’t think I ever will.”

I can tell my mother something and she’ll forget it within 15 minutes. (“Where are you going tonight? Oh that’s right.”) but she remembers Swedish friends she made when she was in her twenties. That’s the impact of travel and the friendships you form when you’re there. I loved when new cities became my home and the strangers I met became my friends, even it was only for a couple days.

She reminded me once again why it’s so crucial for me to go back again. I’m not done meeting people. I’m not done learning about different places and cultures. I’m not done exploring and making memories and getting lost and then finding myself once more.

I’m lucky I have parents who remember what it was like to be young, because they’re still young at heart.

Possimpible

Personal, Travel

“The place where the impossible and the possible meet. Nothing and everything is possimpible.” – Barney Stinston

For the majority of my short life, I’ve always assumed it would go one way. My life was like a set of directions on how to arrive at the final destination.  Turn right at high school. Make a left and attend college. Continue straight after graduation into your first job. In approximately 3 years, make a slight left at the promotion. Make a stop at marriage. Exit at 32 when you have a baby.

By now, I hope you get the metaphor.

As of now, that plan came to a crashing halt. Luckily the only damage incurred was the loss of that damn roadmap for my life. Now I have no destination and no directions and it’s okay. I understand that ‘real life’ doesn’t have to immediately begin as soon as a graduate. There are more opportunities for work than just that one perfect job. But most of all, I’ve realized there’s time.

“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road can take you there.”

My life now looks like one long, open road. I’m not sure where I’ll turn or where I’ll make a pit stop, but that’s okay because now is the time to explore. I watch my friends who are graduating in December stress ands struggle, throwing every fiber of their being into finding a job after graduation, fighting to plan every detail of their lives, and I feel anxious for them. Anything and everything will happen during our lifetime, whether we realize it or not right now. Why are so many young adults having a quarter-life crisis and getting burned out at 30 in demanding jobs they hate? Take a beat. Evaluate the possibilities, because once you actually take a look they are truly endless.

And whether this next part interests you or not, here are some of the paths I’m considering post-grad:

  • Teach for America
  • Grad School for either Religious Studies or Education
  • Seminary School for Inter-religious Studies
  • Copywriter at an advertising agency
  • Taking a year to figure it all out
  • Traveling

I’ll be sure to keep you updated on how things pan out this year. After all, it’s only October.

 

Disasters in Dating

Dating, Drinking, Personal

WTF.

I apologize for the lack of posts. What with school starting up again this fall I haven’t been nearly as bored as I was during my internships. But there’s something else I’ve been doing lately – I’m kind of, sort of, seeing someone.

Oh yes.

I feel like just as I was getting into the whole idea of being single and gettin’ my swag on at the bars every weekend, I just happened to wind up dating someone. After of course, my mother asked him for his phone number and he subsequently wrote it down for us as a joke. And then I in turn left him a note reading, “If you were just working for a tip tonight, great job, but if you need someone to squeeze your flat ass sometime, give me a call.”

Oh yes.

And my crass humor and brazen (mostly delusional) self-confidence got me a lunch date, followed by many more drinks out and now I’m here. Dating someone. It’s new and it’s uncomfortable and I constantly feel like I have no idea what I’m doing or what I’m supposed to do.  It’s been almost 6 months since I ended things with my ex-boyfriend of over five years. He was my first everything. First real date, first time saying ‘I love you’, first date kiss, first sleepover, first fight, first struggle to find a balance in a relationship.

My most recent first date…ended in a high five.

And the awkwardness didn’t stop there. I’ve been fumbling my way through dating for the past few weeks and let me tell you, it’s nothing like a romantic comedy. I’ve said numerous things that have made me sound more idiotic than a drunk, blonde girl who ‘auditioned’ to be in a Girls Gone Wild video.  I told him I was scared of his penis. I’ve thrown up in his front yard and proceeded to pass out in his bathroom. Last night, on accident, I punched him in the groin.

Oh yes.

I’m sure there will be more stories to come. I can’t imagine I’ll get any better at this.

Hm…really? You don’t say.

Brick Walls

Inspiration, Personal

Brick Walls

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.”

― Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

Don’t Let Your Dreams Be Dreams

Inspiration, Personal, Travel

I’m really fearful of letting go of my aspirations.

I’m scared of the judgement I hear in people’s voices when I tell them I’m going to move home when I graduate. I’m even more scared by their disdained faces when I tell them I’m saving up because I’m going to travel instead of getting a ‘real’ job.But what’s more terrifying is not following my dreams.

Okay, it may be unorthodox to backpack instead of going straight into the employment cycle without any real plan for afterwards, but what dictates employment as the norm? I understand I may be making a mistake by putting my career on hold for two years, but for me it doesn’t feel like a mistake. I have my whole life to work 40+ hours a week at the same desk in the same city doing the same job. I’m scared of monotony. I’m worried I won’t live an unforgettable life.

“The days are long but the years are short.” – Gretchen Rubin

The intoxicating idea of traveling anonymously through Europe. Following my heart instead of my head. Following feelings instead of a calendar. Meeting people instead of answering emails and phones. I’m anxious to explore and grow. I’m daunted by the idea of living an ordinary life instead of literally pushing the boundaries of my experience.

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” – Jack Johnson

I can’t let this go, no matter how many people advise me against it, no matter how many shitty jobs I’ll do, and no matter how many terrible customers I’ll deal with along the way, it’s going to be worth it to me.

“It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the dreams will come to you.” – Randy Pausch

My friends and my parents tell me if there’s one person who they know who could do this – move abroad and get out of America, lead a life they would be jealous of – it’s me. I just need to be strong enough to remind myself to do it in the face of adversity.

I also want to thank all the bloggers who are inspiring me to do this with my life. The writers who are brave enough to venture outside of their comfort zone and explain the terrors and the joys that come along with traveling. The photographers who capture the beauty in the ordinary that you find while you discover a new city. The few who stand up and choose to do something exceptionally inconceivable by so many. You are giving me the courage to live my life remarkably. Thank you.

Work it Out

Dating, Personal

I like to work out. Most of the time I forget that I do, but it’s true.

However, when I was at the gym yesterday I started thinking about why I work out.

I usually do yoga because it makes me feel great after a class because I’m centered and I had my ‘savasana’ (yoga term for nap time essentially). In yoga, I forget about my what’s bothering me and dedicate an hour to my body. After yoga I always feel confident in the strength of my body and what it can accomplish. I can see which poses I’ve come far in and which ones I’m still working to achieve – like crow, dammit.

When I’m at the gym my thoughts and feelings are incredibly different. I’m concerned about looking like I’m ‘working’ out. I look at all the other girls clad in their neon Nike attire who have been on the treadmill for two hours and have no intention of stopping. I check out the cute guy sprinting around the track. I go down to the weight room and immediately realize that I’m the only girl and therefore the only one using the 15 pound weights for my wimpy arm exercises.

Despite all the incredibly distressing thoughts I have, I still have a great work out. I work my ass off (literally) and I feel great afterwards.

When I was working out, I was listening to rap music and thinking about how I needed to run faster, do more crunches, do that extra set because I wanted to look good in my jeans or in my new tight dress. While this is great motivation for working out, I started wondering if this was negative reinforcement. Last summer I lost 30 pounds – while I was still in a relationship with someone who loved me regardless if I ate a cookie. I worked out and dieted because I wanted to improve myself. Now, I do yoga for myself, but sometimes I feel like when I work out at the gym I’m doing it to impress other people now that I’m single.

Why do you work out? Is it for other people or yourself? Which is better motivation?

Man Trapped in a Woman’s Body

Dating, Personal

It’s not as much as fun as you think it would be.

Lately, I’ve felt like a dude. It’s actually fairly difficult, because I don’t really subscribe to traditional gender roles. Women bringing home the bacon, making the first move, being on top, etc. Bring it on, women can handle it.

But as much as I would like to think that men respect this – surprise – they don’t.

Examples from my life as a single, strong-willed, and sometimes ballsy woman:

1. I have made it explicably clear to someone that all I want is a very causal relationship. What does he do? Acts like a boyfriend.

2. I make the terrible mistake of having the conversation with a man about numbers. He then tells me I really know how to make a guy feel special. Wait – I’m sorry, were you supposed to be special? Because making out on the street didn’t feel especially special.

3. (this is the only slightly positive outcome) I approach a man at a bar and hit on him, because it’s almost last call, someone bought me a shot, he was cute, and my friends can usually coerce me to do anything after 1:30 am if they tell me it will be funny. By the end of the conversation, he gave me a hug, said thank you, and told me it was cool that I approached him. Well…awesome?

Overall, most of these guys are just fleeting moments for me, I’m not looking for any stand outs or for someone to sweep me off my feet. I’ve been swept already and now I’m just hanging out. As much as guys say that’s what they want and that’s their idea of a ‘dream girl’, in my research I’ve found that they want just as much respect as any woman deserves. Basically, there is no winning. So I’ll just keep doin’ me while you keep doin’ your little pansy thing. Cheers.