PG-21 Parental Guidance Still Suggested

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.

Expectations are the Enemy

Watch the clip below to understand the topic I will be discussing:

Expectations ruin any good thing you thought could happen and all you end up with is disappointment and negativity.

I’m still learning this now that I’m home. Expecting that cute shirt to look good when you try it on or thinking you are going to have a legendary night out are harmful and detrimental thoughts to actual reality.

When you let go of expectations and let life just happen, you will be a lot more satisfied by the outcome, because you aren’t comparing it to what could have happened.

Expectations are human constructs. We manufacture them for ourselves as humans to set boundaries and ideals for our lives. Religion, culture, fashion, etc are all perceptions of what society expects of us. Life is what actually happens. It’s uncontrollable, and the more you try to tightly hold on and constrain it, the more out of control you actually begin to feel.

In case you aren’t understanding what I’m saying, here is a graph to help.

My friend gave me this advice about guys, “Don’t wish for anything. Don’t imagine anything. Because as soon as you do, whatever you wanted to happen will never, ever, in a million years, happen.”

So being single I’ve learned that I should have no hopes or dreams when it comes to men.

Which as negative as that sounds – it’s just a more realistic way to look at life. Dating isn’t a romantic comedy staring [insert beautiful, witty, and charmingly awkward actress] and [insert hunky male star with gorgeous smile that makes you forgive them at the end of the film for being an asshole]. Life is about making the best of any situation because you are living life, not acting out a contrived plot. We won’t ever be able to guess the ending of our lives, and that’s one of the perks of living.

Stories from abroad: 

One thing I learned abroad was not to expect anything amazing, incredible, life-changing, or memorable to happen, because as soon as you expected it to happen – you would inevitably be disappointed when it didn’t happen.

The best example I have to champion the destruction of your expectations happened on a Wednesday night in Florence with my friend Stephanie.

We honestly wanted one drink. One simple drink. We went to our favorite student bar, Naima, and it was a slow night. The night was young and so were we, so we stopped by another bar called Lion’s Fountain. As we were perusing the crowd, we were approached by these guys who offered to buy us drinks. After talking for a while we went with them to a club, 21, and proceeded to get more free drinks. From there we went to a nearby pub, and following suit, more free drinks. Hell, Stephanie even got a bouquet of flowers. Then we went to another club, YAB. After that, the night is pretty much black. However, the next morning I woke up to this note in my phone:

No, I never saw Adam again, but that’s not really the point.

The point is, NONE of that would have happened if we had been planning on having some epic night out. We went out, not expecting anything and we ended up having a blast…albeit a black out…but a blast nonetheless.

So my advice to everyone on this Thirsty Thursday: screw expectations.