Archive | April 2012

What If?

What if it never works out, and I end up alone?  I know I’m really too young to be talking like doomsday is right around the corner.  But, the question still hangs there: the elephant in the room.

Would I still feel like I had a full and fulfilling life, or would I die feeling like a failure?

At what point do you stop hoping for the Disney fairy tale and come to terms with the Grimm reality?  Is the very act of stopping to hope what seals your fate?  Or is the deluded hope what makes you feel like a failure in the end?

My only excuse for being awake right now is that I had a GIANT soda at the movie tonight, and I’m still waiting on my phone to back up texts.  Okay, so that’s two excuses, but in reality I’m going to have to sleep before my phone finishes.

Meanwhile, I think I might be suffering from a psychotic break.  I’m not even sure what that is or what it means, so I’m being facetious.  But these past few days are as close to a mental breakdown as I’ve ever had.

Well, guess what

I have a lot of feelings right now!  I am completely caught up in this twisted version of reality where I am between a rock and a hard place and a couple of spikes, and am about to be pulled down a black hole of emotional distress.  I’m stuck in a whirlpool (check out “WKUK Whirlpool (Live)” on YouTube) from which there is no escape!  Okay, that’s not true, but that’s how it feels at this very instant. AND LOOK, the skies above just opened and it’s pouring rain.  That’s especially great considering I dropped my phone in a glass of water last night and I am going to have to deal with getting a new one set up.

You know what stinks sometimes about life in general?  Most of us aren’t even reading the same book, so the chances we are on the same page with someone are nearly impossible!  I just want to be able to say things and have them be understood and not have any negative consequences.  Is that too much to ask?  Or better yet, if everyone could just be able to read my mind when it’s convenient for me, that would cut out all of the awkward trying-to-say-important-things times.  But I wouldn’t want them to be able to read my mind all of the time, because I think they might be terrified.  And by ‘they’ I mean everybody.

Since this is stream-of-consciousness style, I feel like I owe it to you to say that a few minutes have passed, and I have done some internet research that has put me on the yellow brick road to see at least one wizard.  My phone is not actually dead, but it does have water damage.  However, that does not appear to stop it from functioning normally, at least for the moment.  And while it is still hanging on, I decided to finally tackle the long-delayed task of figuring out how to back up my text messages.

I’m the kind of person who, if not kept in check, could end up hoarding stacks of newspapers.  I was talking with my friend Stacy last night about this, and I came to the realization that if it were possible to archive my entire life, from the shortest casual conversation to the longest heart-to-heart, I would do it.  I would keep all of the information stored in a closet somewhere, and I would be able to pull out a conversation I had on the night of March 14, 2009 and know exactly what words were exchanged.  I have also designed an impossible prototype (in my mind) of a camera that would be worn as a contact lens, and every time you blink it takes a photo!  Now, going through all those photos would be a disaster, BUT you would also capture some really great moments without having to stop and take out a bulky camera.

I want to archive everything because I am obsessed with forgetting things.  I get preoccupied with the present moment and let the past slip away.  And I know that’s how things are supposed to be, but I also know that in my perfect world, I would be able to have my present and keep the past, too!

So, that being said, I found a free app to save all my texts, and it appears to be working!  I’ve had this phone for about a year and a half, and I’ve exchanged 11,863 texts.  Is that a lot, or not very many?  Probably well over half of them belong to conversations with only a dozen different people.  I’ll be able to get more stats on this assuming it works properly and my phone doesn’t die in the process.  But even if the phone manages this task, I think I’m still going to go to the Verizon store and see about activating my backup phone.  It’s done 230 of them and it’s still plugging away!  Fingers crossed!

Just figuring that out makes me feel a lot better.  But honestly, things suck in general at the moment.  I feel trapped by the inability to do anything about my feelings.  This simultaneously applies to a half a dozen different life situations right now.  At every turn, it seems, I appeal to my sense of reason and make the decision to keep things to myself!  But pretty soon, if I can’t let some true things through my filter, I risk crumbling under the emotional burden.

It’s been perhaps 30 minutes more.  The phone/SMS process is taking a very long time, BUT it is also working, so no complaints!  I see a folder in my gmail where the texts are residing!  I hope that there is no conflict when I activate the new phone and try to use this program again.  I am also being an adult and getting help where I need it.  Tough times call for additional people in your corner.

So now I am about to take the ball of nerves that is my psyche right now and tie it up with a bow and work on doing the things I have to do.  This too shall pass, and until it does, I’m going to have to fake it til I make it.

Right now

I’m exhausted, both emotionally and physically.  Some pretty rough stuff has been happening.  Some tough stuff has been happening, too.  All of this has basically been causing the thoughts in my head to resemble the bubbles in a pot of boiling water.  This much stress and over-thinking can’t be good for my health!  I’m trying to remain calm and keep everything in perspective, but it’s not working right now!  I could easily be sad…devastated…and crumble under the pressure, but that’s not where my mind is going.  If anything, I’m responding to this all by pushing back towards it, but I’m not doing it with a clear head.

For various reasons, I simply cannot complain about what’s actually going on…even in vague terms.  So instead, I’m going to channel my frustrations into a proxy…Season 2 of The Voice.  I’ve been liking the format of the show much better this year, mostly because it hasn’t been as rushed as last season.  But I have NOT liked the results of the remaining contestants.  Last year, I zeroed in on Javier from his first appearance on the show, and I was not disappointed at and point, because he was THE winner.  This year, it’s a completely different story!  On Team Blake and Team Adam, ALL of my favorites have been voted off, and on Team Christina and Team CeeLo, there’s only ONE person left that I like.  That brings the total people I’m rooting for to TWO, and neither have been America’s Save, so they’re basically doomed to go home next week. 

I really hate how this season, The Voice is tipping its hand completely about who is ahead in the rankings.  I MUCH prefer the elimination format of SYTYCD, where the only results revealed are the BOTTOM dancers, and then one of them goes home.  So, you only ever know who’s doing worst, never who’s soaring ahead of the pack.  When you know who America’s save is every time, it takes some of the fun out of guessing.  I also kind of hate how the best person from each team goes to the final, as opposed to just the best four singers in the competition.  I think the singers should be competing against all the other teams right from the start, and not just in the finale. 

But what gets me really emotional is that in the past two weeks, both Mathai and RaeLynn have left the show.  I loved both of them SO SO SO MUCH!  They are both such creative artists with completely original voices.  I feel like in both cases, the artists that Blake and Adam picked over them were so much less original.  I don’t watch the show to just to watch people belt high notes; I want to watch people who have a new spin!  Neither RaeLynn or Mathai took a wrong turn at any point during the competition…but yet their coaches both chose to let them go!  I don’t think it’s fair!  Both of them have huge fan bases and are wonderful performers, whereas both Erin and Katrina look awkward and uncomfortable on stage.  I get that this show is not a beauty contest, but I do think Mathai and RaeLynn should get credit for being so much more entertaining on stage than many of the remaining contestants!  Grrr I wish they were still there!  I am so deflated about The Voice now…I may stop watching and participating.

But The Voice isn’t really the REASON I’m so upset right now…I’m just choosing to vent and channel some of my anger towards that because my real problems are too intense to be discussed here.

On the Idea of a Perfect Life

I’m studying evolution* and natural selection right now in my biology class.  As I may have mentioned before, it’s the first time that I’ve studied biology since high school, and it’s in conjunction with pre-nursing curriculum.  As student of geology in undergrad, I am really finding this biology reboot to be interesting!  In particular, the theory of natural selection appeals to my large-scale geologic interests, and ties in with the fossil record and other things with which I am familiar.

However, I also think that I can find a way to apply the idea of natural selection to an individual human life, at least metaphorically.  Natural selection relies on the assumption that different individuals in a population are competing for limited resources, and that those with the best adaptions will survive to reproduce.  They get these adaptions by sexual selection, genetic recombination, and random mutations in their genetic code.  The idea is that we’re ALL different and that some of us are better suited for our environment.  However, natural selection fails when a population has no limitations.  When a population can spread without consequence, and does not need to compete for resources, though all the individuals are slightly different, natural selection does not have a chance to act on those that are most fit.

When populations are unlimited, there exists no external force to form them into the most well-adapted individuals they can be.  Natural selection relies on the weakest individuals not living long enough to reproduce.  When they all live, the weak individuals contribute to the genetic pool in the same percentage as the strong individuals.

Now I’m going to apply this to a human life.  I believe that trials, tribulations, and limitations act on an individual person in a similar way that natural selection acts on a populations.  These challenges and limitations cause us to develop into better, stronger, and smarter people.  The common expression that whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger seems quite apt to describe my thought process.

Let’s imagine for a moment what a perfect life might look like.  Here are some things that we might all be able to agree upon: unlimited financial resources; no mandatory work; perfect and loving family and friends; freedom to act and travel as you please; perfect home; perfect neighborhood and community; perfect contentment.  What would you do if you had everything you wanted?  Maybe it might be nice for a little while, and I can’t argue that the idea is appealing because most of us are so far from perfect that it seems unattainable.  However, more important than what you would do, I really wonder this: what would you become?

Without challenges and limitations to push you, would you stop developing?  Without any reason to learn new things about the world, would you remain ignorant?  Without any concern for your community, would you remain complacent?  With a perfect home, would everything get dusty?

You see, even if an individual animal is perfectly adapted to its environment, the environment is always changing, and so the individual has two options: survive or die.  The environment is never going to stop changing, and so even if your life seems perfect, it simply cannot remain that way.  As Maroon 5 wrote in their new single Payphone, “The sun even sets in paradise.”

So, I would urge you to think more kindly upon your limitations and challenges, and consider them a gift rather than a curse.  Everything that hits you gives you a lesson you can apply to your future, and everything that challenges you changes you.  Don’t wish for a perfect life; not only would it be boring, it would also leave you defenseless in the face of change, which is inevitable.

Agree or disagree?  Leave a comment to let me know!

*If you don’t agree with the theory of evolution, you’re probably not going to agree with anything else I’ve written here.  That’s okay!  You’re entitled to your opinion, and I’m entitled to mine.

It’s the Perfect Dayyy!

I just decided something…  Just as beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, there can be many things that are simultaneously perfect.  For something to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be the ultimate best-case-scenario of all time.  Instead, to earn the title of perfect in my book, something only needs to be “just right” for the moment.  And today was definitely one of those days!

My Little is graduating with her Master’s in a matter of days, and so we are trying to take advantage of the time we have left together by doing superawesome things!  Today’s thing was going to a theme park, because we live near one that we really like!  It’s full of delicious food, cute animals, fantastic shows, and fun rides!  We started off the day with the food, then we saw some animals.  Both of us got to hold an adorable screech owl named Pickwick!  Throughout the day we saw FOUR shows, three of which were new to her, one that was new to me (but as a I am a more frequent patron, that was bound to happen), and all of which were delightful!  We also enjoyed some traditional rides like the carousel (shhh, we’re not 20-somethings with no kids) and the-one-that-claims-to-get-you-soaked-but-you-think-will-be-okay-anyway.  Newsflash: you always end up drenched!  On this ride, we met three very nice guys who wanted to ride it with us again…the only catch is that they were all under the age of 13, haha.  And, against all odds, I got my dearest Little to ride a coaster BY CHOICE!  There wasn’t even any guilt at all!  And, spoiler alert..we survived! 

But what made the day great was not specifically what we did, or how short the lines were (relatively), or how perfect the weather was…  Today was perfect because we were together!  I’ve known my dear Little for four years now, and we were basically besties from day one.  Who says forced friendship in sororities is always a bad thing?  Through all the years of our friendship, she can brighten my dreariest day and make anything that is good become even better. 

Some other great things happened today, too!  After returning home from the park, I took Bonnie out for a walk and some really cute kids in my neighborhood came up and wanted to play with her.  I think she was the tiniest bit overwhelmed, but she always bears it gracefully/enthusiastically; she doesn’t shy away like other dogs, but she does get confused about who to lick next!  Anyway, I had only met one of those kids before, so it was an exciting event!

And then when I got back inside, the world rejoiced at the long-awaited long-distance reunion of me & roomiefacebutt.  We had been slacking on our weekly phone calls, which are normally over an hour, so this was a marathon!  Two hours later, I think the only thing that stopped us was that both of us were out of breath.  But she always makes me happy, and our talk made my already perfect day THAT MUCH better. 

So I AM HAPPY RIGHT NOW.  Tired, but happy.  Because, oh yeah, on Friday, I ran 5 miles in the afternoon and then went on an Adventure in the evening that also involved running.  And then tomorrow I’m planning to sing in church, eat at lunch with dog park friends, Skype in the afternoon with a France-type friend, go to the dog park, AND THEN have dinner with the girls!  LIFE IS BUSY BUT IT’S ALL GREAT STUFF SO I DARE NOT COMPLAIN ❤

…and I didn’t even have dessert tonight; that’s how high I am on life!

I Want to Rock and Roll All Night

…and party every day!  Except that my version of rock’n’roll style partying involves listening to audiobooks while I play on the internet, or having a few friends over to play games, or going out to dinner and drinks with a friend.

Life has been calm.  Despite all of the various things that have been happening, my schedule has been fairly flexible, and thus I have had plenty of time to do whatever I please.  And I like it.  Not many people are lucky enough to have this freedom that I have, which is part of the reason I wanted to take a moment to really appreciate it.  *Deep breath*

I also realize that there will be phases in my life where it is not as easygoing as it is right now.  Right now, part-time work and part-time school, no significant other, no family to raise… combined with good friends, good dog, a settled house, and a lack of ambition… yields easy breezy days.  Now, lack of a significant other is something I’d like to change, but I’m not feeling lonely because I really do have great friends.  And a lack of ambition doesn’t quite describe me, because I am in school and will be applying to Nursing School in a few months.  But I just don’t have any extra ambitions.  I’m keeping it simple.

I really don’t know what compelled me to write.  Sometimes I have to write a blog simply because I’ve updated my facebook status too recently to overshadow it with a new post, and this seems like a less obtrusive way of shouting to the world.  I don’t think I have any regular readers, but most of my friends know about this and can check it whenever.  They probably don’t, but if they should, this will be here waiting for them.

Oh, I guess I do know what compelled me to write.  I was digging through some old things (mementos from middle school and high school), throwing some out and reminiscing over others.  And what really means something, now that almost 10 years has passed since most of that transpired, are the little things that I wrote.  It’s like little snapshots of my past…  I’m something of a pack rat, but only because I am terrified of forgetting my past.**

In the coming year, I hope to do a complete run-through of all the odds and ends I’ve accumulated over the past 20ish years.  I started phased 1.7834 tonight (Phase 1 has begun many times, unsuccessfully).  We’ll see how far I get!

**So in the years since then, I have written often…on various forms of online media (Xanga, Livejournal, Facebook, blogs)…to preserve those everyday thoughts in my head.

Gotta Run Your Own Way

Today, I set out to run my farthest distance yet!  I ran down my usual path, and then instead of turning around, I added an additional 2-mile loop.  All together, it added up to 4.8 miles.  I’m slightly bummed that it wasn’t 5 miles (which sounds a lot more impressive), but I am pleased that I covered the distance in 1:08.  It’s nice to know that even if my 14:00/mile pace is slow, I can sustain it over that distance.  I feel like I’ve broken through another wall: the part of me that honestly believed I could never run more than four miles without stopping HAS BEEN SILENCED.

But I really want to highlight a much more specific moment in my run today.  Forgetting about the beautiful sunshine, the glorious breeze, and the fact that I didn’t once cramp up or get wheezy, something much more noteworthy happened.  I had passed the halfway point in my run, and I was nearing the end of an uphill stretch.  Because I had a nice, slow pace going, I didn’t really need to slow down to conquer the hill.  And as I was nearing the high point, I saw a pair of guys about my age running towards me.  These guys were clearly “runners” compared to most of the folks who use this trail.  In the presence of real runners, I am always a bit intimidated.  Their stride is longer and more powerful, and they really look at ease with the activity.  Compare this to red-faced, practically shuffling me, who is just trying to fake it ’til she makes it.

We were just about to cross paths when I made the customary, polite nod.  And before I could say something like, “Good afternoon” or “Hey there” one of the guys said to me, “Nice job!”  (Or it might have been nice JOG…I’m not certain.)  I can’t even fully capture what an impact that had on the rest of my run.  If I was tempted to stop and take a walking break, I thought about how that guy was proud of me, and imagined him rooting me on!  I pushed through to the end of my run and felt great!

For a total stranger to offer me some encouragement really touched something in me.  As a result, I feel a deep sense of camaraderie with my fellow humans.  To quote from HSM, I feel like, “We’re all in this together!”  And goals, even as large as mine, seem a lot more surmountable when you’ve got the support of others.

So I would like to give a shout-out to a fellow member of the human race, who gave me a simple gift of kindness that made a huge impact in my life.  I hope I can pay it forward by doing that for the people I encounter.