Monthly Archives: February 2010

What might have been…

As young naive teenager, I had this vision of what my life would be like. Looking back at my old daydream is both hilarious and tragic. Nothing is as I thought it would be. I can’t decide if that’s good, bad or doesn’t really matter either way.

The Fantasy (Per my sixteen/seventeen year-old-self)

– Prance off to college of a full scholarship

– Join the best sorority on campus

– Join all the best clubs/organizations

– Declare major. High school French teacher? Yes, please.

– At the end of sophomore year or beginning of Junior year, meet “The One”

– Get engaged at the end of junior year/beginning of Senior year. Have super cheesy candlelight at sorority house.

– GRADUATE. With Honors. And as many cords, stoles, medallions, etc. as I can get my hands on.

– Get married. ASAP. Preferably the Saturday following graduation.

The perfect little family with their perfect little starter house

– Move back to the hometown to be close to the fam. Get cute starter house and start working.

– Start trying to get preggo on 2nd wedding anniversary.

– Have beautiful babies, stay home, be PTA President & the Cheerleading Coach. Oh, and don’t forget about the Junior League.

Seriously, that is how I thought my life would play out.

The Reality

– College? Check.

– Join bad ass sorority? Check.

– Join various & sundry clubs & organizations? Half-check. I did campus climb it up for the first 3 semesters of college, but once I realized that early graduation was upon me, I sort of moved on from filling out club applications to filling in LSAT bubbles and post-grad apps.

– Declare major? Let’s just go with French minus the teacher, after all, I’m going to an attorney so it doesn’t matter if I can’t fall back on my bachelor’s degree, right?

– Meet “the One”? Bahahahah. Yeah freakin’ right. I think it’s abundantly clear from reading my blog that this did not happen.

– Engagement? Candlelight? Negatory, but I did examine many a ring and sing many a candlelight song for my sistas.

– Graduate? Hallelujah, I did it! Unfortunately, I was too busy hitting up Thirsty Thursdays with my allowance to pay for the cords I should have worn that day. The parentals were none too thrilled with my lack of regalia.

*** This is where my actual tale takes a very significant detour from the fantasy route…

– Move to south to attend alma mater’s rival for law school. Get tiny apartment & awesome dog.

– Relish in my own averageness at the middle of my class.

– Look for law job alternatives. Teach for America, why oh why did you not want me?

Law School Graduation

– Graduate. Move into my parents’ “pool house” (i.e. tiny room off the garage where some previous homeowner’s poor butler used to live). Pretend to study for the bar exam.

– Get part-time job. Woot woot! Actually, study for the bar exam. Consume mass amounts of Alka seltzer, Tylenol PM, cigarettes & cold medicine.

– Take bar exam. Move in with Miss PoliSci & Miss H.

– Pass Bar. Get full-time job.

And that’s pretty much it. Just navigating the working world, trying to wrap my head around the fact that I didn’t learn anything practical/applicable/useful in law school (teaching us how to think does not actually put motions on the table), and struggling to keep up with the learning curve of life. (Wow, that got deep.)

So my life isn’t at all what I thought it would have been at this point. And honestly, I probably could have lived out the fantasy if I had tried a little harder. Does that mean I didn’t actually want it? Or that it just wasn’t right for me? Maybe I just got a new fantasy as I got older. I will say that the old one sounds pretty good right about now. But then again, I get to put Esquire at the end of my name (not that I ever actually do it). So I’m not married, I don’t own a home, I don’t have summers off or any babies. I used to think that having those thing was just how it worked. Clearly, that hasn’t been the case for me, or for a lot of my friends for that matter. And now I know that it’s okay to not be who I thought I would be. The real challenge seems to be deciding who I am and who I want to be. Once I do that I get to figure out if who I am and who I want to be are one and the same.

Maybe my path hasn’t been conventional in light of my buckle-of-the-bible-belt-church-of-Christ upbringing. At least I can be proud of some of the things I’ve done so far, and I can claim them as my own — no one suffered through law school on my behalf, that was all me. And I tell myself every day, it isn’t too late for the house and the love and the babies. I can still have all those things, I just got the timing a little differently than planned.

Is your life what you thought it would be 10 years ago? Do you wish it were or are you happy with how things have turned out?

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My 26th Year in Preview: The Plans, The Hopes, The Dreams

The Plans

1) Suck it up. I have been living with a sort of woe-is-me attitude about a lot of things in my life and to be perfectly honest, it’s isn’t getting me anywhere. This year I want to do more talk/whine less.

Me at my 26th Birthday Party. It was Olympic themed. I was sort of Shaun White.

2) Read. I want to read 50 books this year. I know that sounds ambitious, but I think I can do it. Plus, it helps me watch less TV, which is always a good thing. (You can see what I’ve been reading lately here)

3) Run. For me, running seems key to losing weight. Plus, I’ve already signed up to run the OKC Half-Marathon in April and plan to run the Route 66 Half-Marathon again in November. Running is good for me because it gives me something to work towards. I need goals — the kind that I can put on a list and then check off as I accomplish them.

4) Pray. I have recently started attending church regularly for the first time since I moved back to Tulsa. I can honestly say that when I am diligent in prayer I have so much more peace in my life. And peace was another thing I pledged to work on in 2010. (For the record, I don’t think I’ve been doing a very good job with that so far…)

The Hopes

1) Lose weight. I know that I can fulfill my running plans. I will get up and go run the races I sign up for, even if I haven’t trained as diligently as I should have. But actually putting in the full-fledged effort to lose the weight, well that is a whole other story. I know that I need to commit myself in order to accomplish this, which means it should probably be under “The Plans” instead of “The Hopes” but after trying and failing on innumerable occasions, it’s hard to get up the guts to re-declare this goal. I hope that this will be the time it works, it really sticks, I really get there. And if I don’t, well, I will know that I tried and that is all I can hope to do, right?

2) Happy. I would say that I struggled to be happy in year 25. I wouldn’t say that I was depressed or miserable. Nothing was truly bad (thank goodness) but I just felt blah. About pretty much everything. I don’t want to be blah. I want to be happy. I think as a society/culture we get wrapped up/bogged down in all of the things that aren’t going our way, that make us unhappy, that generally bring us down. But happy doesn’t mean changing everything in my life or getting a different job or finding a man or losing weight. Happy is being satisfied in what I have — physically, financially, emotionally, spiritually, relationally, etc. Happy is a perspective I hope very much to adopt and apply this year. I don’t need a year filled with major events where the happy comes from the anticipation/adrenaline/excitement. I hope to be happy in a way that is every day, genuine and simple.

The Dreams

1) Love. I would love to say, “This is it, this is the year I’m going to fall in love!” But come on, I think you know me better than that by now. It’s not that I don’t believe in positive thinking, I do, I just don’t believe that I can completely manifest meeting the man of my dreams out of thin air, much less get him to fall hopelessly in love with me. I think that’s up to a much Higher Power than me. Timing is everything and I’m not running this show. However, this year I will continue to dream of love and I pledge to be open to it if it presents itself to me.

As I finish thinking about the things I want/need/hope for in the coming year, I am honestly surprised to see that the only dream I can think of is love. Surely people dream of professional success, financial freedom, job security, home ownership, etc. Why is my only dream love? Somehow love has become that thing that I can’t control and therefore want so badly (plus, it’s everywhere — books, movies, music, television, my friends, etc.). It feels like the heat is on to find it but it also feels like it isn’t something I can go get for myself. I can do the things I need to do to create success in my career and my bank account and my fitness level. I can for the most part control those areas of my life. But I have no control over the love – when it will come, who it will be, whether they will love me. It really is maddening. So I guess it will stay a dream because it isn’t something I can make a to-do list in order to get.

As for the rest of it, I think year 26 will be a good year. Hopefully better than year 25, but if it is equally good, I will be more than content with that.

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My 25th Year in Review: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Tomorrow, I turn the ripe ole age of 26. I thought it would be appropriate to do a little reflection/introspection/self-assessment as I not-so-gracefully enter the last year of my mid-twenties. [FYI, I breakdown this ever-important decade as follows: 20-23 Early Twenties: still just a naive, young pup; 24-26 Mid-Twenties: a little confused and lost but still self-important, and lastly, 27-29 Late Twenties: the years (I hope to God) it all comes together.] So in my 25th year, here’s what went down….

Kicking off the 25th year with my parentals...

The Good

Miss PoliSci, Me, & Miss H at Mardi Gras 2009

Miss PR & me

1) I kicked things off with an awesome Mardi Gras birthday party – Miss H, Miss PoliSci, and Miss PR deserve all the credit. Plus, most of my favies were in attendance. All-in-all an excellent fete.

2) I spent 99% of my summer weekends at the lake. And it was glorious. I was tan & well-read & completely smitten. I took a 5-day Fourth of July weekend and loved every minute of it.

Waiting out the rain with the fam...

Waiting out the rain with the fam on the 4th

3) A. C. L. My first Austin City Limits experience, despite the completely shoddy weather, was incredible. I saw some major loves – Kings of Leon, Pearl Jam & DMB – and found plenty of new musical crushes – Citizen Cope, Phoenix, Girl Talk, & Zac Brown Band. Oh, and I had excellent traveling companions – Miss Dubs & Miss H. We faced the rain and the mud, brought our own toilet paper, and had an amazing time.

Miss H, Miss Dubs & Me listening to Phoenix on Day 1 of ACL

4) I started contributing to my 401(k) at work. I know it seems lame, by my girl Suze Orman would be proud and to be honest, I’m really proud of myself. I wanted to take more financial responsibility for myself and this was definitely a giant step in the right direction.

5) I’d call my 25th year the year of friends. There were so many moments where my heart just felt full of love for them, which was good because it warded off the lonely, dull ache that sometimes emerges when I’m feeling darky & twisty. But this year, it was all about my friends and we had some amazing times. After feeling emotionally disconnected to the human race pretty much throughout law school it was completely refreshing to reconnect with the people I love. [Pause for gagging on all that cheesy goodness]

The Bad

1) Clearly, I’d be lying if I said all my friendships were perfect. I let a few slip away in the last year that I wish I hadn’t. And I tolerated behavior from others that I shouldn’t have. I struggle to find the right balance of keeping up with the people I care about and of maintaining high standards in those relationships.

2) Let’s say I fell back into an “Old Habit” that I just can’t seem to shake. When I feel lonely, Old Habit is all I want, even though I know it isn’t good for me. I have been known to joke that I’m an emotional cutter and most of the time when I say it, it’s exactly that — a morbid, slightly inappropriate joke. But when it comes to Old Habit, it is so painfully true. So this year, I re-tortured myself by letting Old Habit come back.

The Ugly

1) I was irresponsible with my money. Don’t worry, I didn’t do anything terrible but I didn’t really accomplish anything either (401(k) contributions excluded). My rainy day savings fund is embarrassingly small even though I had every intention of starting a cash nest-egg. So much for a new car or house down payment – clearly, I was more interested in other things than protecting my financial future.

Arrrrgh! (That's my best pirate-speak)

2) I wore an eye patch. Seriously.

3) As a result of my highly social state of mind (the year of the friends, remember), I not only poured money down my throat, I also gained back all the weight I lost in year 24. Boo hiss. I’m not really sure how I so easily fell back into old bad habits. And I would guess that having an actual salary instead of living like a student made it easier to wine and dine myself back to a place where I’d rather not be. But really, no matter the influences or possible excuses, I am the only person to blame for the general malaise I felt towards my own health. I let sloth creep in and set up shop in my life.

Well, that list ended on a rather depressing note, but in a way that’s how last year felt. Don’t get me wrong, The Good outweighs The Bad & The Ugly (what can I say, I’m trying to be a glass half-full kind of girl). Miss Agnes & I have joked that 2009 was one big hangover because 2008 was one of the biggest years of our lives. That’s how I felt about year 25 compared to year 24. Fortunately for me, tomorrow I start year 26. And tomorrow I’ll tell you what year 26 (hopefully) will mean for me…

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Conquering Lovefest 2010

So being single on Valentine’s Day wasn’t that bad this year.  I know you are completely shocked to hear that from me considering how much I typically lament about my super singleness. And to tell the truth, I have publicly declared on many occasions that “I’m anti-Valentine’s Day,” which in retrospect could not have made it more obvious how desperately I wanted a Valentine to call my own. But this year, thankfully, felt different. It seemed somehow that I was set up for success from the get go.

Success #1: Valentine’s Day was on a Sunday

A Sunday Valentine’s was completely ideal. No one got flowers at work or asked about me plans (or lack thereof). I didn’t have to go out on Friday or Saturday and see doe-eyed couples galore. Honestly, it barely felt like Valentine’s Day at all. Hallelujah.

Success #2 My roommates are both in long distance relationships

Both Miss H and Miss PoliSci have boyfriends, which is a little weird because last year for Valentine’s Day we went out together as a posse of single girls and had a complete blast. The idea of sitting on the couch watching the Olympics while they got ready for fancy dates with their boys sort of made me miserable. Lucky for me, both of them were heading out of town for the weekend so I didn’t have to watch them head off for romance.

Success #3 I made plans

I knew that even though Miss H and Miss PoliSci wouldn’t be around, staying at home watching TV with the dogs would be potentially dangerous to my mental health. So in my infinite wisdom, I offered to watch my hilarious nephew on Saturday night so my sister and brother-in-law could go on their own Valentine’s date. Taking care of a highly active two-year-old is more than enough to push away any potential pity party. The nephew and I ate some Pei Wei and watched the Olympics — kind of my ideal Valentine’s Day to be honest. Plus, he hooked me up with a sweet Pez dispenser as my V-Day gift. Win, win.

Success #4 I gave it a rest

I pretty much constantly obsess over who/when I will meet “the One.” Part of it is out of excitement/anticipation/joy at the surprises, but part of the obsession stems from fear/desperation/loneliness/anxiety. Sick, I know. But a couple of weeks ago at church, the message was about making God your “the One” and your spouse/future spouse the Two. The minister prayed for the single people to seek God as the One and rely on Him to provide the Two. I found so much comfort in this idea and have been trying to think about my love life differently. I’ve tried to focus on working on myself in preparation for the eventual meeting of my Two. So far the change in thought process has helped. That’s not to say I haven’t been wondering about my Two — what his name is, how we’ll meet, etc. — but the wondering feels a little healthier than it did a few weeks ago and that is definitely a good thing.

You can check out the sermon about making God the One and your significant other the Two here:

http://www.lifechurch.tv/message-archive/watch/once-upon-a-marriage/1

Surviving another Valentine’s Day alone was gratifying. I didn’t die. I didn’t cry. The world didn’t come crashing to a halt. But somehow being more successful at managing my loneliness is almost sad in a way. Is deciding to be okay with it or at least not miserable in it in a way resigning myself to it? Obviously, wanting to not be alone cannot rule my life (and I really hope it doesn’t!) but at the same time deciding it isn’t horrible scares me too. Then again, maybe deciding being single isn’t the worst thing in the world is the best thing for me right now.

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