Obligatory NYE Blog

There’s usually a bit of pressure to do something grand to mark the occasion (which is why I’m travelling this weekend), including finding some sort of romance by the midnight deadline.

In truth, I spend the last couple hours before midnight reflecting on not if 2015 was a good year to me, but rather, if I used the gift of time properly.

Let me scroll through my Instagram to review some of the milestones I’m actually proud of:

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April 2015. What an incredible experience to interview two Holocaust survivors—Betty Cohen and Albert Rosa (in October)—this year.

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May 2015—got my Bachelor’s and a mountain of student loan debt.

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May 2015. LOOK IT’S JOSH GROBAN. GROBAN. GROBAN……AND I USED MY WIT AND CHARM TO CARRY ON A 20-SECOND CONVERSATION WITH THE MAN.

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July 2015. Got me a big-girl job in the newspaper (not with the Missourian though), though I feel it was really more of being in the right place at the right time than anything done by my own efforts.

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August 2015. I got to climb this pretty cool looking rock with my dad and sis at Arches National Park in Utah.

So while being able to think about things like the above is great, I tend to spend more time thinking about what I didn’t do and should have done. Couple these thoughts with a celebratory glass of wine, and the picture just looks depressing.

I guess I don’t really get the hullabaloo of New Year’s Eve/Day, unless it’s the turn of the millennium. To me, it’s just another day, the continuance of another week, and actually the hype behind it is what gets me down.

It’s not so much the ludicrousness of seeing people become all gung-ho about resolving to lose weight, be more organized, interesting, better-groomed, etc. and ultimately failing that makes me cynical. Now, it’s the near expectation that some of the goals we set—no matter how determined we are—are simply doomed to fail. Sometimes it’s not by our own willpower or lack thereof; it could be others that help contribute to our shortcomings.

Maybe this year will be the year I find solid footing in my profession. Maybe this time I won’t watch the one I thought was for me fall for someone else. Maybe I won’t blow it this time.

But even if I do make my usual slew of mistakes, I hope they’re beautiful ones in the end. I hope they are the kinds that make me chuckle just slightly the next morning, almost immediately after the thought “What just happened?” runs through my head.

 

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Boarding

Boarding pic

For a long while, I waited at the station. I had my things with me, and I was always ahead of schedule.

Each day I double, no, triple-checked my schedule to make sure a train hadn’t suddenly decided to board and leave early.

But after a few years, I realize it’s not going to stop for me. It slows occasionally, but it doesn’t stop.

I wonder, if I stand close enough to the ledge, can I catch onto one of the car’s railings and hoist myself into a vacant one?

It’s a thought I’ve mulled over for a good while, but never have had the courage to pursue. There’s a risk of losing grip and slipping under but the plot twist is this:

I’ve never been sure where the train is headed. And I wonder if another part of me is more scared of the uncertainty of that than the certainty of what comes after falling onto the tracks.

Merry Stress-mas (and Blue Year?)

Merry Stress-mas

Christmas is in a week and I feel like I’ve failed to do most of my Christmas-ly tasks, save shopping for gifts.

*Cue Michael Buble Christmas album playlist to bring me up to speed.

I just haven’t had much time to invest in it.

Even with the holidays around the corner, the nature of my job means that even when the rest of the country is on break, I still have to generate the same amount of “product” I would in a normal week (holiday vacation wha–?).

**DISCLAIMER All opinions here are my own, not a reflection of the publication I write for**

Even now, I should be working on a couple different articles I’ve been assigned, but my head feels like it’s going to explode if I try to pick it up again right now.

Let me preface by saying I like what I do most of the time. I love seeing the spark that lights up in some people’s eyes when I say “I write for news”—it’s a cool thing to be able to say, especially with my limited experience.

What I tend to downplay is the trade-off that comes with the prestige of the job title. And lately, it’s been taking a huge toll on my physical, emotional and mental health.

As I look back on 2015, there’s so much that’s happened, for much of which I can be grateful. There’s graduation (in case you missed the last 70 times I’ve brought it up in these blogs), not feeling shame at the fact that I’m too poor to NOT live at home with my folks, procuring a couple internships and an actual job this year, and slowly re-acclimating into a new social scene.

But if I’m being real, this year has largely been a lonely one too. I’m not without friends or anything like that—but I’m alone in that I feel I can never accurately convey the feelings I’ve felt for most of this year to anyone else. How can they understand? Likewise I would never be so ignorant as to think I could fully understand anyone else’s personal challenges.

The 20s are supposed to be the best years of our lives, right?

Yet I can count more times that I’ve cancelled engagements than kept due to how much I struggle just to keep up with the work pace.

I’m jealous of friends who have full freedom after finals, or who have time to invest in their new love interests instead of tending to existential crises, wondering if what I’m doing is actually doing more harm than good.

I can’t help but feel a little injustice when I see my dad and sister (both teachers) come home with fudge, Starbucks gift cards and cookie-scented candles from their students while I get…angry phone calls about something I’ve written or should have written.

I’m learning how much I still have to learn, the hard way.

My self-esteem is shot pretty much every day to the point where I realize I’ve probably cried more times than laughed this past month.

The solace I take from it all though—aside from the bi-weekly paycheck—is that I’m engaged in self-defense classes for my mind. Give me another six or so months (if I make it that far), and I’m convinced few things will be able to kick me to the ground that I can’t handle.

Now that I’ve whined sufficiently, let me say thank you—and that I’m surprised yet touched you’ve made it this far.

What I really want for Christmas (and the new year too) is a sense of normalcy. It can’t be normal to find “happiness” from being minimally satisfied with simply surviving each day in a quiet existence, because I’ve managed to disappoint only a few (instead of a lot of) people?

I thought as I would get older, my Christmas wish-lists would get less complicated. They’ve certainly become less materialistic, but the bike or whatever I thought was so great as a kid was far easier to obtain than the feeling of being safe, or “at home” I’d rather have now.

Although each breath of life is a gift (that’s why they call it “the present,” so they say), a sigh of relief would also be a truly wonderful gift.

I hope by this time next year, I’ll hear the cheery notes of silver bells instead of the wake-up alarm on my cell phone; the first sound-off of another day to “get through.”

Maybe a silent, restful night too, Santa?

 

 

 

When You’re Not Looking

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They say you are what you eat, and if this is true, my diet consists of mixed nuts and mixed stir fry. You know – things that are jumbled or have some sort of layers.

“What about a cake? A cake has layers!” quoth Donkey from “Shrek.”

I’ve noticed that a good chunk of my favorite flicks are children’s movies, and I think part of it is because they tend to reveal a larger truth through a series of one-liners that make kids laugh but are really aimed at the adults watching them.

More now than at any other point in my life, I’ve become frustrated with the one view others seem to have of me. It will vary from person to person, depending on what the context of our relationship is. I know I shouldn’t be that annoyed; it’s impossible for anyone to get a real picture of who you are as a person because the person who spends the most time with you is, well, you.

But it’s hard not to be annoyed.

Just today, someone said to me, “I’m pretty good at reading people…I’m going to try to read you.”

Sure, yeah. How much of my figurative “text” will you really be able to get through in a span of five minutes? I hate it when people make general assumptions about me, although I can to a certain extent understand it because we all only spend a certain amount of time with each other and only give a certain amount of ourselves to others.

I’m always afraid of running into people I went to a Christian elementary and middle school with, as those years were not very kind to me, overall. Those years provide very poor examples of who I am at this moment in time.

Fast-forward to the present. I’ve evolved significantly since then, mostly due to natural, kid-to-adulthood maturation, but also because there’s so much that I have to be now that I never had to worry about when I was in grade school. I have to be so many things that it’s almost impossible for me to know which person I am the most.

To be frank, the person I would like to be is who my dog thinks I am. The person I would like to be less like is who I am when I’m driving in rush hour traffic. But realistically, I’m pretty sure it’s the person I am when no one’s around.

These days, it’s been harder than ever for me to be consistent in what face I put on for the world to see.

Work, for example, has been consuming most of my life. I like my job the good majority of the time (seriously, if any of my employers/coworkers have stumbled across this link and are reading this, please know this!), but when you work an average of 50-60 hours a week versus the 40ish you clock in for, it’s hard not to let your work persona to overlap into your everyday self.

Likewise, it’s hard not to let my more introverted self spill into every other area of my life.  Sometimes my reserved-ness is misconstrued as me being stuck-up, nervous, even me being a b—ch, or lacking a sense of humor. Sometimes it’s interpreted as some air of “mysteriousness” some friends say I give off when a dude is involved, but I resent that (seriously, there is nothing you can’t find out about me by simply asking. Really.).

But what I think all these situations have in common is that the 6th-grade personality I thought I left entirely behind manifests itself whether I like it or not. That part of me is always seeking some sort of validation when I don’t know which of my personalities—if any— is making the cut.

Social media makes it easy for us to put up a front of how we want others to perceive our personalities. For the most point, the persona I put online pretty much hits who I perceive I am. But of course, it’s easy to post something witty, relatable, embarrassing-but-not-too-much-so, a flattering pic, or a recent accomplishment than it is to publicize anything that will guarantee less than 10 “likes.”

They say you can’t be a different person for everyone, but I don’t think that’s totally true. I’ve been many things to different people (none of them bad, necessarily), as required by various situations.

I don’t think this makes me two- or multiple-faced. People use the word “two-faced” at the wrong times. There’s a difference between being malicious and being polite in front of people you don’t necessarily like. A “spiritual” person could just be someone who does three different yoga poses a day, and a wine enthusiast could be someone who just likes to get hammered. An avid reader could just be a reader of comic books. Just because someone doesn’t come off as a bitter person doesn’t mean they aren’t, and someone who claims to be a private person while blabbing on and on about their “private life” is the opposite of a so-called private person.

I don’t really know where I was going with this, but maybe it’s also a healthy reminder for me to realize this truth about those I encounter. They too are more than what I see and more than what they want me to believe about them.

How interesting people are.