This section of my blog emulates that of Carrie Bradshaw’s column. Here, I will write about my observations of life, love, and friendship. Occasionally, I may throw in a rant.
I got to thinking about progressive views. Why are these sometimes considered controversial? Why are people around us afraid to think differently? Why are people scared to see the world in another lens?
I have a lot of progressive views. One of these views is looking at veganism in a positive and moral light. One of these is not changing my name after marriage. I have others, but let’s just start there. Why am I looked at differently for thinking differently? Shouldn’t we be celebrating differences? Maybe these differences will help you change your tune? Maybe these differences can create real change.
I find that people are scared of progressive views and unwilling to change. It breaks my heart. Life isn’t about what happened years ago. Things change. Life changes. And that is okay. While we don’t have to feed into all progressive views, it doesn’t hurt to give them a chance. Think about it. Ponder it. And maybe your entire world would change for the better, open up.
And wouldn’t that be quite nice? So maybe do this… give things a chance.
I have been gone awhile. Sorry! I have been busy wedding planning! Well, my mom has been doing the bulk of the work, but I have offered lots of opinions. Maybe too many opinions? Anyway, wedding planning is a lot of work! Lots of girls have told me that it is the most exciting time in my life. Meh. I would disagree. It has been quite stressful. I think it will come together. I think it will be beautiful. That said, I am ready for the wedding. I am ready to be married to my love and go on a honeymoon. Speaking of the honeymoon… that has been a fun planning process! We’re almost done with that.
Anyone have any tips to keep us sane while wedding planning? Maybe on the little things? It’s always those little details that get you! Any advice is appreciated. Tweet me @carolineadejong
I got to thinking about having it all. Do some have it all? Do some have nothing? What about the in-between? Are there some of us who have something, but not everything? I am not sure. I think I have a lot; I am lucky. I am happy most days. But do I have it all? I don’t think so. But I have something. And maybe that’s what matters at the end of the day. We don’t have to have it all. We have something, each of us. Don’t we? Maybe that’s naive to think. But I surely hope all of us have something.
I got to thinking about faces versus names. Are you good at recognizing faces? Or do you recall names easily? I am the latter. I tend to have a hard time distinguishing people’s looks. But names… I will remember your name forever. What is your strength? And are you working toward the other?
….and not those we love?
Hear me out, as I got to thinking about kindness… and kindness to all.
I am guilty of this. I know that you are, too. We’re happy and kind and nice to strangers. We thank our waiters profusely. We laugh with the man at the checkout. We’re friendly, even if we’ve had a bad day. And when we get home, we take out that bad day on the ones we love. Why do we do this? Because they’ll always be there? Or so we think. This Lenten season, instead of giving up something, I am trying to be kinder to those I love. It means something to keep an extra smile for our favorite people. They mean something. I want to keep them in my life. And the best way to do it… be kind. Be kind and nice to strangers; and also to the ones we hold dear.
I got to thinking about spinning around and around and around. And around. Mind wandering. Breath heavy. Feet restless. Where do you go from here? Why can’t you stop? Where are you now? Will you cease this spinning around and around?
Do you find yourself spinning? Looking for more? Not having enough? I do. And I wish I could stop.
I got to thinking about New Years. While my title might sound elated and confident, I tend to veer on the negative side at New Years. The holidays are over and stupid, cold January has begun. It’s the middle of winter. Why are we all so excited?
Yes, this might be pessimistic. So what? That’s how I feel. I feel I sense of unhappiness and darkness come January 1st. It is my least favorite day of the year. But then January 2nd comes. And January 3rd. And pretty soon, we’re into February, then March. And the darkness fades. That’s what I remember on January 1st. The darkness isn’t lasting. There is light–literal and figurative–at the end of the tunnel. And you know what? I think that makes me pretty damn optimistic. It’s all about how you get out of the darkness. Know that.
So Happy New Year! I can’t wait until Spring.
I got to thinking about keeping the peace. Keeping the peace anywhere… in your personal or professional life. At what point do you just have to sit back and not say anything? And does this mean that you have to compromise your morals, your beliefs, to keep the peace? Or should you always stand up for yourself, no matter the cost?
Should I keep the peace or stand up for myself?
I got to thinking about fighting yourself. I fight myself. I have internal battles, more often than I care to admit. Do you? Often? Not so often? Do you question things about yourself? Why am I so angry all the time? Why don’t I care what people think? Why can’t I just smile and not argue even if I know someone is dead wrong? Do you hate yourself in times of strife, maybe even in times of happiness, worried that this person is shameful and maybe just a bit off? And why? Do you think you’re supposed to be a certain way because society, or even just those around you, tell you so?
What if everything you’ve been fighting within yourself is actually how you’re supposed to be? What if the person you know is actually the person you’re supposed to leave? What if you’re not supposed to fight these battles? Maybe these aren’t battles. Maybe this is you. Maybe you should just fight for YOU.
I got to thinking about being special. We grow up learning that we’re special. We’re unique. There’s no one else out there like us. Then we learn that that really just means we’re like everyone else. Isn’t everyone special, we think. We get complacent, we don’t fight for the things we really want… the things that actually make us special. We conform and act like the non-special adults who comply and never ask for more. But why? Where does that get us? A boring life we’re not impressed with? Does thinking we’re special really vilify us? Why can’t we think we’re special?
So I ask: Are you not an adult if you think you’re special? Are you a selfish child who thinks the world should be handed to him/her if you think this? Or, are you just working toward something that you consider tougher, more rewarding, and when you get it, you think that you’re special? You got everything you ever wanted… because you’re special, and also, lets be honest, quite hardworking and devoted. I choose to believe the latter.
I think I’m special. I am hardworking and devoted to my craft. I have to believe that I am special. It’s what gets me through life. And maybe that makes me less of an adult. But, honestly, I couldn’t care less. Be you. Be special, and achieve those things only “special” people can.
I got to thinking about magic. Do you believe in magic? Do you believe in miracles? Sure, most of my generation believes in the magic of “Harry Potter” and we’re all still waiting for our Hogwarts letters (I still consider myself to be a Slytherin nonetheless), but I don’t exactly mean that. I mean the kind of magic that exists every day, the miracles we read about online or hear about from friends. This kind of magic makes you believe in something greater than yourself. And isn’t that what we all want, what we’re all searching desperately for? What magical stories have you heard lately? What have you witnessed in your life that astounds you? Share it. Believe it. Keep it.
If you don’t believe in magic just yet… look at the stars. Just look up. Think about how small you are, how vast the universe is. And if you don’t believe in magic then, well, I don’t know what to tell you. Maybe believing is innate. Those of us lucky enough to have that belief are certainly lucky enough.
I have some news… Please find my bio on #TouchPointPress. Please look for more to come in the following months!
I got to thinking about anticipation. We have a vacation planned and just cannot wait one second longer for it to begin. We’re excited for [insert] and just cannot stand the suspense. And it’s an amazing feeling to be excited about something. It makes the clouds seem to slip away just a bit, as you’re just too excited! But… What if anticipation is better than life itself? Hear me out.
Sometimes I worry that my excitement for events, people, places is greater than the actual day(s) I’m supposed to be excited about. Is that normal? Am I doing something wrong? Do I let such an immense anticipation take over and forgot to actually enjoy whatever I’ve been looking forward to? Conversely, I would argue that maybe that’s okay. Maybe it’s good to anticipate things and that anticipation be better than the actual “thing.” We need to look forward to the future. Sometimes this helps us get through a troubling present, a tough day at work, or an obstacle we’re going through. Maybe we can enjoy the present with this anticipation, this giddy excitement. Do you think so?
I got to thinking about disappointment. More disappointment. It sometimes feels like life is a ride of disappointment, with a few waves of happiness sprinkled in there. Or maybe that’s just me being cynical again.
Recently, I’ve had to deal with more disappointment. And while I ultimately feel liberated and freed, it’s heartbreaking. I have to start over. Again. Part of me wants to give up and go to Plan B, even though Plan B is less than desirable. But the other part of me wants to try again. And again. Until I get what I want. I’ve never wanted anything more in my entire life than to be a true, published writer. My heart aches for it. I cannot let my heart break into a million pieces and give up. I cannot! I will not. Maybe this disappointment will lead me into a wave of happiness. I have to believe so. So here I go, into another journey forward, to hopefully find that my dreams can come true.
I got to thinking about changing my name. You know, after marriage. To my future husband’s last name. I see girls I know getting married all around me, changing their names immediately on facebook. I think it’s safe to assume that they’re changing their last names in the eyes of the law as soon as possible, too. Sometimes they tack on their new name to their old name. But they’re adding the new name nonetheless. And I wonder what their fathers think when they see their daughter’s new name in print: are they happy for her? Ambivalent? Slightly sad? Do they think they’ve lost (or halted) their family lineage in a small way? What exactly does changing a last name do to a family? Or does it do anything at all? I can’t seem to come up with an answer. But I do know that it’s rare to find a girl who does not participate in this tradition.
A bit of a contrarian (the nickname my father gave me as young child), I’ve never been keen on this tradition. In fact, I have no plans of changing my name. Sure, I might just be lazy and don’t want to become a herded sheep in an exasperatingly long Social Security line. That’s absolutely part of it. However, I simply like my last name. It’s the last name of my father and my late Opa. I like that piece of them; I like my Dutch heritage. This name is a part of me and I cannot imagine letting it go. Why should I have to change my name merely because society says so? Why can’t I be one of the few women who keeps it? Well, I intend to do so. This is no disrespect to my future husband; this is merely a choice that is right for me. I want to be a DeJong. And I can still be part of my husband and his family without taking his name.
“One person to think you’re cool and you’re in. The others will be too scared to question it.” – Never Been Kissed
I got to thinking about this quote. I hear it a lot in my head. And it’s true. Have you noticed? It only takes one person to think that someone (or something) is great and it’s a hit; it’s cool. You just need to find that someone who thinks you’re worthy of this elusive thing called “cool.”
Thus, I got to thinking more about my writing. It only takes that one person who can launch it into a success. But how do you find that? Is it through knowing the right people? Doing the right marketing? Having the right platform? Or is it time and place… pure luck? Can my writing be “cool” just based on luck? Can luck lead me to the endorser who will solicit my book to their followers? How can I seek out this “cool” factor? Will I ever get it? Please tell me yes. It is my hope and my dream. And for once in my life, I’d like someone to think I’m cool. Maybe then, I can actually tell you “how to be cool.” 😉
I got to thinking about judging those around us. We all do it. We all will keep doing it. But if we can remember that we don’t really know what’s going on unless we “walk in that person’s shoes,” we can tweak those judgemental attitudes just a bit. We won’t be perfect–but we can be slightly more accepting.
Let me explain something that happened recently. I met a new girl who will be around me often. (There will be no specifics.) And she doesn’t smile a lot. She seems aloof and not happy; she is shy and does not talk much. In fact, she seems scared most of the time! I couldn’t figure her out… until I realized something in myself. Basically, she is me. At least, until you get to know me.
Of course, like the human being I am, I took this as her being upset or unhappy or angry. But after getting to know her a bit more, I realized that wasn’t the case. She’s just shy and doesn’t open up right away…. just like me! I judged way too soon… as I’m sure others do with me, with my chronic resting bitch face. Honestly, I feel horrible for judging someone like that; I get so offended when people around me seem off-put by my naturally stoic and reserved manner. (We don’t all have to smile 24/7, people!) So, after some identification of her personality and matching it to mine, I decided to push her out of her comfort zone: I would talk to her. And it was a success! I don’t see us being best friends, but at least the judgment has passed. And who knows? Maybe she was judging me this whole time, too. Wouldn’t that just be my karma? But it’s deserved.
What’s really interesting to me, though, is that I didn’t identify myself in her right off the bat. I just decided that she wasn’t friendly. Sure, I forced myself to get to know her a bit better, but I also judged her. Why would I do this to someone just like me? Does that mean I don’t like myself as much as I think? I think these are interesting questions. Can we not identify those qualities in others that belong also to us? What do you think?
So I’ll try to judge less. And you can, too. It’s all about reading people and going from there.
I got to thinking about not being social. I’m not that social. Like I said in my previous post, I’m an introvert. I flee from crowds and savor time alone. It’s me time–and it matters. Sometimes I just don’t want to go out; sometimes I just feel like crowds will kill my soul. (Okay, that might be dramatic, but you know what I’m getting at.) And the worst part of being like this is that people just don’t seem to understand. You cannot judge my life choices if you don’t understand them. You can not want to live life like me, but you cannot judge me. This is my life. And I don’t have any regrets thus far. I think not being too social is working for me.
If you’re like me, it’s okay. Don’t let anyone tell you that you have to be social and have dozens of friends to enjoy life. Do what you love; do what makes you happy. That’s how you should live your life.
I got to thinking about a change in personality. I think that happened to me. No, I’m not talking about bipolar disorder or multiple personalities. I am talking about one’s personality changing as they grow older. Let me explain.
As a kid, I was outgoing and gregarious, always ready to meet new friends. In fact, I met all the kids for my brother and me. I liked to perform Spice Girls songs and never missed a school talent show. I would definitely say I was an extrovert. There was no stage I didn’t love and I thrived being with others.
This changed after puberty. In fact, I attribute it to puberty. I will not be getting into that on here, as you’ll understand after reading this blog post. But something inside me changed. I started to withdraw from being the center of attention and finding friends became harder than ever. I enjoyed spending time alone (writing, reading, doing other introverted things) to time with friends and just people in general. Writing helped me express all that angst I was too afraid to say after my personality turned introverted. Hence, I am still a writer. And you know what? I am shy. I am okay with that, too.
What happened? Everything, really. But I’ve learned that we can change dramatically as we get older. And this doesn’t have to be a negative thing. It’s okay that I don’t flock to crowds and have trouble meeting people; it’s okay that I am shy and introverted. I get my energy from myself: writing, reading, listening to music, having a glass of wine with my boyfriend and/or family. This is me. And I won’t apologize for changing. I love myself. It took me years to fully recognize that I could love a different person, but I did. And you can, too. It’s okay to be introverted and shy. Just be yourself and be kind. Any change is okay in that.
I got to thinking about happiness. Where do you get happiness? Can you build it? Business Insider seems to think so. And I agree. For those of you who know my daily reading habits, Business Insider is close to the top of the list (that list also includes my guilty but completely legitimate pleasure that is Usmagazine.com). I haven’t always been Miss Happy, so I am constantly looking for ways to improve my mood, to be happy. And something in the article I read today really resonated: listen to a sad song. I do this constantly. If I feel down or even completely demolished, I listen to my emo music. Or sometimes angry music. And it works! It really, really works! It’s almost like it gives me the hope to feel better; things could be worse. And there are other people out there with me. I am certainly not alone and have every power in my being to slowly fall out of the sadness track that I am running on. At least that’s what I get from sad songs.
What do you get? Do you agree?
Here’s the link: http://www.businessinsider.com/simple-ways-to-improve-your-mood-according-to-psychologists
I got to thinking about marriage. Is marriage everything? Is your relationship not real if you’re not married? Is it any less loving, important or special without marriage? Sure, in the eyes of the law, it doesn’t matter. But I am not talking about the law; I am talking about public perception.
Recently I noticed that marriage seems to be more important to those around me than a committed, long-term relationship. It’s not even a level playing field. But why is this? Why can having a child out of wedlock be the norm these days, but God forbid, if you don’t get married (without children), you’re suddenly a barbarian? This thinking confuses and slightly angers me. I do not love my longtime boyfriend any less just because we aren’t married. We aren’t any less committed. So, please, stop saying that we are not. And stop forgoing any inclusion of “family” for us. This is real. This matters. Please acknowledge that.
Marriage isn’t everything. Relationships and love are everything.
I got to thinking about simple decisions… rather, what I think are simple decisions, but apparently aren’t simple for all of us. I was recently eavesdropping on an incredibly loud conversation that was disturbing was supposed-to-be-peaceful lunch hour. These two women were talking about making decisions. This led one of them to say: “I haven’t decorated my house yet because I can’t decide what I like. And I’ve lived there three years!”
What?! How can you not make a decision in three years?!
Honestly, though, I cannot understand this. Maybe it’s because I’ve always been a decision-maker, a rapid decision-maker. I don’t hesitate and know what I like and what I don’t like. That’s just me. So it truly baffles me to hear that someone hasn’t decorated their house in three years. How can you not decide what you like? Is making decisions quickly and knowing what you like innate? Is this about knowing yourself? Or is this just another example of pure avoidance? I really am not quite sure.
All I know… they gave me good fodder for my blog. But also disturbed my lunch. But maybe the former makes up for the latter. 🙂
I got to thinking about writing as a career. Of course, as you know, this is my dream. I want to make a living as a full-time writer. And I know that I will. I just have to be patient and continue to work my butt off. So this leads me to a thought about advice on making writing a career.
Before I started at Loyola Marymount University, I was told by a current screenwriting major that the major is wonderful, but if I could be happy doing anything else, do that instead. She basically told me to not be a writer if I could help it. And, naturally, I could not. But I was flabbergasted by her negativity. My parents called it realism, but as a dreamer, I found the statement negative and just completely discouraging. Why can’t writers offer encouragement in the path they’re seeking, too? Why do writers put other writers down? Is it a competition thing? Is it fear? Or is it realism? Are writers just naturally negative people?
I don’t really care what other writers, or other people, have said. I could be somewhat happy doing something else, but why would I? I want and love writing more than anything. And that counts for more than semi-poverty. I plan to make writing my career with my utmost being and hard work. I will not let others get in the way. And I will show that hard work and dedication is what will make you a success to other writers. I will offer encouragement. We could all use a little bit of encouragement, right? That’s what I would’ve wanted. And that’s what I’ll give.
I got to thinking about repetition. I am the “Queen” of repetition. Or I think of myself that way, at the very least. I watch the same TV shows and movies over and over. I like seeing things twice; I’ve been up and down the beautiful California coast several times and plan on visiting the most perfect city in the world, Paris, again. So what is this about? Am I sick? Just weird? Do I not have a firm handle on things? Maybe. But I also do not like things to end. Pure and simple. I have a hard time letting things go, and this repetitive nature I have garnered over the years has enabled me to not let go. I won’t let go. I can’t let go. I refuse! I like to experience things over and over because then it feels like those chapters, or episodes or plans or whatever it may be, aren’t over. I don’t like the ending; I like the beginning and the middle. There’s something so final about an end, and I have no intention of being a part of that. However, this is not to say that I won’t experience new things. I love going new places and being immersed in something unknown. But don’t ask me to give up what I’ve already seen. I won’t. At least not the things and places I’ve deemed important.
I got to thinking about support, support for those around us. It’s imperative to support those we love, to help them and encourage them in arduous and exciting processes all the same. But in my experience, support doesn’t always seem to go both ways. I am one of those people who truly believes that one should be treated the way they treat others. Thus, if you don’t treat me right, chances are I won’t treat you right (at least to an extent). Sure, this might seem petty, but it’s really about respect at the end of the day. Don’t you think you deserve respect? YOU DO! If you can’t or won’t support me, why should I support you? Support is a two-way street. You must treat people like you want to be treated.
Yes, this was a rant about personal experience. But sometimes, you know, writing is the only way to get the message out! Thanks for listening. End of rant.
I got to thinking about abandonment. Maybe this is a dramatic term for what has happened to me. But maybe it isn’t, after all, it’s how I feel. And should I deny my feelings?
My publisher announced on Friday that it would close its figurative doors. They plan to remove all of our books from Amazon, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble. And in just 30 days. I will lose my “published author” status come June 1st. And you know what? I am heartbroken. There has been a ton of work that I, and my team, have put into my first book. Without much warning, all that work is going away. And somehow, I am losing my dream. I am angry and sad and depressed. I haven’t been talking much: just thinking and going through pro and con lists in my head, listening to “Rootless Tree” by Damien Rice over and over. Should I self-publish? Should I try again for another small publisher? Honestly, I have no idea.
I just want my dream back. I am disheartened that my dream could just be stripped away in a simple email. How could they do this to all of us? HOW?? But at the end of the day, I am a fighter. I have always been the girl who doesn’t give up. I can’t give up. I want this so badly. It hurts so much, but I have to fight for it. I won’t be happy in this life without writing and sharing that writing with the world.
So my decision is to be determined… please stay tuned. I will be back. No one can stop me. No one can abandon me. NEVER. I just need another facet.
I got to thinking about eavesdropping. Well, you could call it listening, too. Maybe you could even call it people-watching, observing those around you. I recently overheard this on my commute in Los Angeles: “I learned that you can’t be a mirror to those people if you want to see your reflection.” I really liked this. It took me more than a moment to really understand what he meant, though. I still think it’s up to interpretation, too. But I think he meant that you can’t follow people if you want to discover yourself, be yourself. You must have a mind of your own. Do not follow those around you; you’ll never find yourself in doing that. You cannot be yourself if you mimic anyone else.
What have your overhead in your city? Anything worth writing down? Anything worth sharing? I would love to hear it.
I got to thinking about loss. I lost my Opa (Dutch for grandfather) just two weeks ago. He had been in and out of the hospital for two months for minor things. Those minor things were apparently not so minor. But now in the aftermath, I am heartbroken. I did get to say goodbye, but that’s never enough. Saying goodbye might lead to a sense of closure, but it’ll never repair that empty spot left in the heart. Does it ever close up?
So I’ve moved onto grief. I didn’t really get a chance to mourn right after he died as I was exploring the wonderfulness that is Eastern Europe, but I didn’t forget to raise a toast to him and have a beer for him. Sure, the kind of beer I drink wouldn’t be his first choice, but it was symbolic nonetheless. I toasted to the perfect, diplomatic and loving Opa that he always was. I know that he loved me. And he knew that I loved him. But somehow, acknowledging that love just doesn’t seem like enough to move on. At least in this moment.
His obituary came out a few days ago and I bawled my eyes out. It was wonderfully written and right on point. I know that he led an amazing life. He had the love of many, many people. He will never be forgotten. Maybe knowing that will help me to move on. I know that I have to. I know that I can. But it’s just a matter of time. I need time. I need to process the loss and then grieve and do everything else in between.
Here’s to you, Opa, Aart De Jong. May you rest in peace and watch over all of us. We love you.
I got to thinking about the ocean. I once read: “Go to the ocean. It forces you to be a dreamer.” While I live in California and do not spend much time at the ocean (sand in my toes is not my favorite thing in this world–unless I’m ready to sunbathe and break out a good book). However, I love love love looking at the ocean. It’s magnificent. It’s so vast and unpredictable and makes you feel so small. Or at least, it should. I do, in fact, agree with this quote. The ocean makes me into a dreamer. There’s just something about it. Can you name it? Can you place it? I can’t exactly. But every time I venture near the ocean, I become lost in it. And that’s enough to get me writing. What else could I need?
I got to thinking about knowing what is a dream. I know that I’m late to the game, but I recently finished Dawson’s Creek. I loved it: the angst, the drama, the love. Dawson said: “I know it’s a child’s dream. And that’s how I know it’s real. It’s what I wanted to do before I was scared and cynical.” This really resonated with me. I knew I wanted to be a writer at age 11. This was before I was scared to face the fear of failing, the fear of being judged by this sometimes cruel world. I went after my dreams, anyway, allowing writing to consume my time, and have never looked back. Sure, I find myself afraid and cynical now from time to time, but I try to keep that in check. I try to be that child I once was and allow for my dreams to blossom. What is a dream without hope?
I got to thinking about this quote by Ernest Hemingway: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.”It’s like he knows exactly why I write. I write to escape pain, I write to feel happiness, and I write simply because it makes me joyful. There’s no better place to go to therapy than writing it down, in your own words, on your own terms. Do you write about what hurts? If you do, do it fully. Don’t worry about what others think. This is your catharsis. This is everything.
I got to thinking about recovery. How long does it take to recover, from medical issues, from breakups, from losing someone you love? Do you ever really recover? I’d believe you do. I recently had gum graft surgery. My gums are receding and there’s nothing I can do to stop it (blame braces and thin gums). Thus, I am twenty-five and having a procedure more common in those decades older than me. The recovery hasn’t been awful, but it hasn’t been ideal (is recovery ever ideal, though?). I feel like there’s gauze in my mouth at all times. It’s awkward and uncomfortable and hurts to smile. Plus, when I talk, my mouth barely opens and makes a sound that even I don’t recognize. Not my best looking time.
However, this recovery has made me realize that even though I have medical issues that a twenty-five year old usually doesn’t have, I’m lucky that it’s not worse. It could be much, much worse. I won’t even go into that. So, as I sit on the couch watching endless dramas (watching a comedy requires smiling, which kills my mouth) and drink boring banana smoothies, I remember that my recovery is almost over (in total, about 4 weeks). And maybe I’ll have another problem sooner rather than later. But if I’m lucky enough to have to minimal medical issues in my life, I am lucky enough.
So count your lucky stars.
I got to thinking about ambition. What is ambition? Is it all about work? Is it about achieving your personal goals? Or is it about more? Can ambition be about family? Can ambition being about having children and leaving a legacy through your children and their children and their children’s children?
I consider myself to be ambitious. I have lofty personal goals I want to achieve. My dreams of becoming a notable and successful writer have been with me since age 11. That’s how I know these dreams are real. But for those girls (and boys) who’ve dreamed of being parents since age 11, does that mean that’s their ambition? Is that enough of an ambition? Can ambition just be about the thing you’ve always wanted? Or does ambition mean more… leaving a name for yourself in this world of 15-minute fame? I am really not sure…
I got to thinking about social decorum. This baffles me. I find it to be nothing short of fakeness and trying to prove a point. But those around me seem to disagree. So am I the wrong who needs to reassess? While I’d hate to find myself wrong, maybe social decorum is something I need to work on. If someone invites you to something, you have to invite them back. And right away. There are rules for acting essentially “socially responsible.” You have to be nice to those around you, even if you’d rather fling food in their hair. That’s probably a dramatic reaction, but maybe I am just dramatic? Anyway… I’ve learned recently that I can’t be honest at all times. I have to invite those who invite me. It’s social decorum. While it’s annoying (and I still find it to be fake), I must do it to retain relationships. If you’re like me, just do the social decorum thing. Be the person your dog thinks you are. That’s all.
My debut novel came out this month, “A Lovestruck Freshman.” It is book one in my “These Four Years” series. I am so proud of it. While it’s unnerving to share my writer self with the world, exposing my deepest thoughts and darkest observations, I am so excited. This is my dream! I never gave up on it. I persevered through rejection after rejection. I couldn’t give up; that was not an option. And look where I am now because of this attitude? I’d like you all to think about your lives’. What do you want? Reach for it. Clench it. Don’t ever let it go. Ever. You’ll be rewarded for it.
My debut novel, “A Lovestruck Freshman: These Four Years Book 1” is now available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and iTunes! I look forward to your thoughts. Enjoy 🙂
I got to thinking about “sorry.” It’s one simple word that means so much; it’s one simple word that can change almost anything. But for some reason, most of us are too proud to say it. What is that about? Why are we so hurtful to our fellow humans? I was recently very hurt by someone. Someone else close to me stood up for me like my knight in shining armor and asked her to apologize. She did not. Instead, she denied it happened. And maybe she doesn’t remember saying that hurtful thing to me. Maybe she’s too proud to apologize. I honestly don’t know. But what I do know: I remember it. I know she said it. And it tremendously hurt my feelings. All I wanted was an “I’m sorry.” That’s it. Is that too much to ask? Am I being unreasonable? Of course, I don’t see it that way. And sure, you can call me bias. That’s fine. But I just hope to get an apology sooner rather than later. What she said was untrue and disrespectful and it really hurt me. I can forgive that moment of hurt, but I just want to hear an apology. Simple as that. Let this be a lesson: Don’t be too proud. Always say you’re sorry. It’s the only thing that matters.
The cover of my first published novel! Check it out!
I got to thinking about self-centeredness. Someone recently told me that I was self-centered. Not a stranger, someone close to. And you know what? It really hurt my feelings. Like, really, really hurt my feelings. Why would this person think that? I spend plenty of time devoting myself to others, but I also have “me” time. And shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t everyone? I am twenty-five years old; I don’t have children to worry about and I am unmarried. Why can’t I devote time to myself? This person who told me this made it seem like I was self-centered because I was focused on my career. Yes, I want to be a writer. It’s been my dream since age 11. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I work damn hard every day to make this dream come true. That absolutely does not make me self-centered. That is driven.
So why didn’t this person understand the difference? I am not quite sure. But I hope this person does now. I am not self-centered because I don’t want to have a family immediately. I am not self-centered because I want to follow my dreams. I have to work hard every day, and if that means putting other things on hold for a while, so be it. But I am not self-centered because of it. Do not ever tell a hard-working person he/she is selfish because you don’t understand their goals. That is awful. And just disrespectful.
Follow your heart, always, be a good person, and don’t let naysayers get you down. That will just crush your dreams. You know what’s right. Just ignore that noise. It takes practice, but you can do it.
Hello readers. I am checking in. I’ve been away for quite some time for a reason I hope you’ll understand. My first novel, “These Four Years: Freshman Year” is scheduled to be released this December. It’s been quite the long and arduous process getting it ready, but I am so excited. There’s no better feeling than this. I am a Booktrope author and hope that you’ll buy it, on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes & Noble! More details coming soon. Thanks for reading, as always.
I got to thinking about heroism. What makes you a hero? Is it an act? Does it have to be unselfish? And who can proclaim that you’re a hero? Can you? Would you let yourself be a hero? Or would you just brush it off and step out of the spotlight? Could I be heroic if need be? Would I step up? Would you? If I didn’t, does that make me the anti-hero? Or simply, a coward? I think being heroic is brave, stressful. But I do believe that we all could step up if need be. We all have the ability to be heroic. We just have to find it in ourselves. So find it. And when you’re in a situation that forces you to be heroic, take it. That’s how life is lived.
I got to thinking about ambition. What does ambition mean? What does ambition look like? I always thought ambition was about going after what you want. Ambition is doing the best possible thing for yourself, and fighting for it every day. Do you have to work a desk job, or something society recognizes as conventional, to be ambitious? Does it mean you’re not ambitious if you don’t want a conventional desk job? I think people look at me, as an aspiring writer, and think, ‘that’s nice.’ They don’t think I have ambition. But they’re wrong. I work hard almost every day, fighting to be a writer, for that’s the only way my dream will come true. I’ve probably been through deeper waters than the average person. I’ve been rejected and tortured and so down on myself. But I haven’t given up. You know why? I have ambition. Just because I don’t want a traditional job doesn’t mean I’m not ambitious. And I won’t let anyone EVER tell me I’m not ambitious because I don’t have the same goals as the rest of society.
I got to thinking about sleep. There are those who believe sleep is for the weak, a waste of time if over five hours a night. There are also those who believe sleep is the most luxurious, wonderful part of the day. I’m proudly part of the latter group. I relish sleep. There’s nothing more satisfying than lying your head on a pillow after a long day. Sleep replenishes stamina and ability to get through a long day. How could that be a waste of time? Studies I’ve read over the years as a hypochondriac say that most adults need 7 to 8 hours each night. Go read a study if you don’t believe me! In addition to that medical information WedMD spouts, sleep is a place to dream. Dreams capture your true self, and how could that be unproductive? Dreams allow us to escape to a place we wouldn’t otherwise; dreams make us believe in the future. That’s not a waste of life. Go sleep; sleep for hours. And savor every minute. Sleep is worth everything.
I got to thinking about getting in trouble. I’ve always been afraid of getting in trouble, doing the wrong thing. I am notoriously into rules and following authority. In elementary school, there were yellow cards and red cards. My goody-two-shoes nature helped me stray from the card system. I couldn’t face the humiliation of getting in trouble. While that certainly isn’t a bad thing, it also gets in the way of every day things that happen without warning. What am I talking about? Cavities.
I always thought that people who got cavities didn’t take care of their teeth. I’m obsessed with my straight (created by the miracle that are braces) teeth. I work hard to keep my chompers clean and white. I follow every rule WebMD has on preventing cavities. And guess what? My worst nightmare came true: I have a cavity. I feel like I just got a red card by my fifth grade teacher. I did something bad. How could I do this to myself? Could I have prevented it? Probably not. I really did do everything right. It’s just inevitable for most of us. But I never wanted to be ‘most of us.’ That’s another nightmare. Regularity is boring and just not for me. And here I am: REGULAR. I blame myself for this cavity. To be honest, I want to cry my eyes out when I think of what I’ve done. I got in trouble by the dentist. And I can’t go back. This red card is following me for the rest of my life…
I got to thinking about making decisions together, with your spouse or partner. I recently overheard a phone conversation in which a husband was stupefied to hear that his wife had adopted a dog… much to his dismay and without his consent. He told her he was very upset and wouldn’t be walking the dog EVER. I can’t say I blame him. Not that I don’t want a dog, I love dogs dearly, but I wouldn’t want my partner to make that decision without me. Isn’t that a decision you make together? Shouldn’t you lean on your partner? Is it a partnership without agreement and deciding things together? Is it ever okay to make a huge life decision without consulting your partner? Is getting a dog without consent grounds for divorce? What would you do? How would you deal with it?
I got to thinking about waiting. As in, waiting for your life to happen. Why do we wait around and expect things to happen to us? Can we expect things to happen automatically, with minimal effort? Shouldn’t we go after what we want? We should, we should, we should! Going after what you want is the only way to get what you want. You can’t wait around, expecting life to hand you everything. Sometimes life does, but most of the time, life isn’t that generous. It’s you who has to turn it all around and make the change. You have to put in effort. You have to fight for a change. And when you do, you’ll be rewarded greatly. So what are you waiting for?
I got to thinking about learning experiences. There’s nothing more important in this life than to have lived, and to have learned. Sometimes we don’t enjoy an experience; sometimes we can’t wait for the next one. But if we stop and look around, we might learn something. We have to find the good, the lesson in everything. We can learn from even those experiences that make us cringe, those that make us cry. What have you learned recently? Have you stopped and actually taken in your experiences? Do so. There’s a lesson in everything. You have to find it. Why? Life is about learning, growing. How can you possibly move forward to another experience without having learned from the previous one? You must learn in order to leave an experience behind. So leave the experience behind, with the memories and lessons you can entwine in your brain forever.
I got to thinking about making it better. Are you unhappy? Is your life not going quite the way you envisioned it would? Do you feel restless, desperate, wishing for something greater? Sometimes I do. I get the feeling. I’m not exactly where I thought I’d be four years ago. And maybe that’s okay. I have time. I can achieve my dreams and goals in due time. But in the meantime, I will strive to make my life better. I’ll do whatever possible to find happiness in the every day. I can make the mundane better. And when I have everything I want, I’ll be grateful for it all.
I got to thinking about standing up for yourself. For what you believe in. How do you make the choice? Is it from your heart? Your head? Maybe the choice you make isn’t the most favorable to the common person, but it’s what you feel is right. And that’s all you have. Your gut. Your heart. Your beliefs. Your beliefs aren’t wrong. You have to make the choice that makes the most sense to you. And sometimes, others just won’t understand. But if you feel, with all your being, that what you’re doing is correct, then that’s enough. Follow your heart. Stand up for what you believe in…. and never regret it.
I got to thinking about pretending. You cannot pretend that nothing happened. You cannot just try to be my friend again after everything that you did. It doesn’t work like that. Maybe I should open my heart and forgive. Maybe I should grow up and be the bigger person. But why? I have no intention of being friends again. And it’s a shame. It’s heartbreaking. I didn’t want it to be this way. We were so close, and I miss you, but I won’t be treated the way you treated me. And that’s the end of it. It breaks my heart, but I’m moving on. I’m not ready to make nice; I wonder if I’ll ever be.
I got to thinking about flaws. We all go through those days picking apart ourselves: our bodies are too fat, too short; our ears are too big; our arms are too long; we aren’t social enough; we have ugly, frizzy hair. And sometimes, there are things we can work on daily, to be our best selves. But we shouldn’t go through an entire day picking apart everything. That’s when we get into the danger zone of hate. And you should never, under any circumstance, hate who you are. What’s the point of life then?
I’m as guilty as the rest of you. So today, I’ll accept myself, flaws and all, and move on. But I will also work hard to be my best self. And I hope you can, too.
I got to thinking about being certain, certain about who you want to be. How do we know we’re certain? Can we decide? And how do we know we’re correct? Is it a leap of faith? An educated guess? I think that when you decide who you are, when you find yourself, stick with that. It’s a feeling. You have certain thoughts, you have certain opinions. That’s the utmost you. And that’s exactly who you should be every day. Without those thoughts, who are you? Be certain. It doesn’t matter how you get there.
I got to thinking about stress. I’m one of those people who gets stressed out at the drop of a hat. It takes very little to get me worried and anxiety-ridden. And this is a problem. But how to solve it without going to Xanax? Some days, I take a deep breath. Some days, I watch a little television and write. But there are the days that I want to scream. I scream inside, hoping that no one will see right through me. And maybe that solves it for a little while, but I’d like to believe there’s a greater answer to stress in this every-changing world. And if I’m really lucky, I’ll figure it out before my inevitable ulcer.
I got to thinking about what’s hard versus what’s exciting. Are they one of the same? Are the challenging things in life the most exciting? Should we accept the challenge, just to have some excitement in our lives’? Or can we find excitement without the challenge? There are some who can follow the easy path, with a little excitement here and there. And then there are some who have to have the utmost excitement, even if they don’t find it for years, and are willing to take the most difficult path to get it. I am the latter. What are you?
I got to thinking about the point of life. What’s the point of life? To procreate? To find ourselves and make those around us remember our names? To be charitable? I have never fully understand what the point of life is. I would like to say that it’s about love… to find that other person that fully makes you feel whole, to live a life for another. Otherwise, what’s one to do? So I hope you find your soul mate, your perfect other half. There is someone out there for everyone. And we all deserve it. We all deserve to discover the point of life.
I got to thinking about flakiness. The flakiness of people. Does life really get in the way, or do people just flake out because they possess the disastrous quality that is flakiness? I think life gets in the way one time out of ten. Not three times out of four. Life is tough. I get it. Things come up. But there should also be a certain level of respect. You make plans, you keep them. I don’t think I’m flaky, which is quite possibly why I don’t understand those who are. Why do I get flaked on when I don’t flake on others? Shouldn’t there be some sort of karma for these kinds of people?
I got to thinking about this. I am not as concerned about offending people as much as others. Is that bad? Should I care what people think? Should I censor myself and not be brutally honest? Does it hinder my chances of making friends by being honest? I’ve always been an honest, to-the-point person. I am not fake. And sometimes I need to learn this. I don’t hurt people’s feelings, but I do tell them like it is. But I’ve found that being blunt DOES get you what you want; you just have to phrase things politely.
I got to thinking about Americans who are overworked. This is an increasing problem in the United States. Employees in every field are overworked. How do you know if you overworked, or just simply working hard? Or is there a difference? I think there is. Being overworked is staying up until midnight every night to hit the daily grind again at 5 AM. Working hard is giving your all, making a difference, and working efficiently. At a certain point, you have to say: “Screw it. I’m done until tomorrow.” Some nights you might need to be overworked, but I suggest to keep the American dream alive, while still sleeping and having a life on your weekends. You earned your weekends by working hard!
I got to thinking about those who will never meet their potential. Most of the world thinks these people are the creatives of the world. Is this true? Are we just dreamers without real goals? Just because creatives don’t take the conventional way, doesn’t mean they lack ambition and goals. In fact, I’d argue it’s the opposite. It’s damn hard to be a creative. You must have a thick skin and let the rejections brush off your shoulder without notice. Not everyone can do this. Maybe our path to success is windier, maybe our dreams aren’t conventional, but creatives work hard, and should be recognized for it. We’ll meet our potential. Don’t you worry. And you know what? We’ll meet our potential with grace, money, and the feeling of getting what we’ve always wanted. There’s no success better than that.
I got to thinking about being duped. Should you trust everyone who promises you something, whether large or small? How do you get your trust back when they let you down? How do you know when you’re being duped? And what can you do about it? I’ve been duped. I won’t go into details, but I can say that it’s aggravating, disheartening, and utterly rude. Even though I wouldn’t call myself a people person, I would never have the audacity to deceive someone as I’ve been deceived. I’d like to think my trust in people will come back soon. I’ll let you know. End of rant.
I went to Thailand this summer. While I didn’t get to see Bangkok or Chiang Mai, I did see Phuket and Khao Lak. Khao Lak is a city on the Indian ocean side (I crossed off another ocean) that was greatly affected by the 2004 tsunami. In fact, Khao Lak had to be mostly rebuilt. We stayed at the beautiful Le Meridien Khao Lak property, in a villa no less! Thanks, #SPG!
I found the people of Thailand to be warm and genuine. Their food is delicious and the weather is divine. My brother and I went during off-season, but it was still a wonderful, albeit rain-soaked, experience. Here are some of my Khao Lak tips:
Go on an elephant trek!: Make sure the company you use treats the elephants with respect and love. Not all companies do.
Khao Lak town: Make time to visit Khao Lak town. There are some good restaurants (and a McDonald’s if you’re not feeling too adventurous). Explore everything the town has to offer. Odd fact: lots of eyeglass companies (like Pearl Vision equivalents). We couldn’t figure out why…
My favorite part of Thailand, though, was the wonderful beaches and people. Please go! It’s a great country.
I got to thinking about fitting in. Do you fit in with others? Have you always? Or never? Creative people don’t always fit in, or feel like they can fit in. After years of feeling like I didn’t fit in, I’ve come to understand something: you don’t have to fit in. It’s okay to be a loner; introversion is how we creatives get out our emotions. The best thing to do is write about it. Write it all down. Paint it. Act it out. Just do something creative. That’s fitting in, too.
I got to thinking about the UN campaign, HeForShe. Emma Watson spoke on gender inequality at the United Nations a few weeks ago. It was an inspiring speech, an eloquent speech. I never considered myself to be a feminist, but Ms. Watson brought up an interesting point: inadvertent feminism. I am an inadvertent feminist. I believe in gender equality; I believe that women should be paid as much as men. Really, though, why aren’t they? It doesn’t make sense. Why are women treated differently? HeForShe is starting a conversation; everyone is invited to participate, including men. And that’s what’s inspiring. We all need to be involved. We can all be feminists. We can all make change. #HeForShe. Here’s the video, watch it!
I got to thinking about Greek life. I was in a sorority. And I’m not your “typical” sorority girl. You know why? It doesn’t exist. You cannot assume that just because someone was in a sorority or fraternity that they fit a certain mold: vapid, constantly drunk, rapist, materialistic, dumb. Those are degrading stereotypes, and frankly, NOT true. Let’s try this: don’t mock someone for their Greek status. Being Greek has given me a lot: friends, confidence, something to do on Friday nights, sisterhood… and I wouldn’t change anything for the world. I know that being Greek isn’t for everyone, just like math club or drama club isn’t for everyone, but if you’re lucky enough to join Greek life, give it a chance. It’ll change your world. And there’s nothing more priceless than that.
I got to thinking about disappointment. There’s always going to be disappointment in life. I’ve always been one of those people who tries to hide from disappointment. I love the ABC Family show, Greek. In it, the character of Cappie says: “The first rule of avoiding disappointment… lower your expectations.” Is he right? Should we set our expectations lower in order to avoid something we don’t want? Should we carry out this pessimistic attitude in order to not be upset in the long-run? I’d like to believe we should. I usually do. But I also think that hope is what gets us through the day. We can avoid disappointment. But when we’re faced with it… we have to rid our pessimism and pick up the pieces. That’s when we’ve truly won. Take that, pessimism.
I got to thinking about people-pleasing. How often do you seek others’ approval? Do you think it matters what other people think? Don’t think for a second that this is attainable. You cannot please everyone. That would take all your strength. Just try to please yourself. At the end of the day, you have to do what’s best for you. And that doesn’t make you selfish; you’re doing what’ll make you happy. And that’s the goal.
I got to thinking about Cambodia. I was lucky enough to visit this beautiful, friendly country this summer. I truly think it’s a hidden gem that deserves a greater reputation than merely housing the world’s most beautiful, still-active temple: Angkor Wat. The Khmer people of Cambodia are accommodating, genuine, and truly happy, despite not having the wonderful luxuries we Westerners take for granted on a daily basis. Our tuk-tuk driver was diligent, eager, and so deserving of an extra tip. One thing about Cambodia: everything is in the USD, so it isn’t as cheap as Thailand or Vietnam. If you decide to visit this beautiful country, there are must-sees:
Angkor Archaeological Complex: All the temples are part of this complex. You must buy a pass. There is a one-day pass for $20, three-day pass for $40, or seven-day for $60. We chose the three-day, since we only had two days.
Angkor Wat: What a beautiful sight. Make sure to go before the sun rises, about forty-five minutes prior to sunrise. There’s nothing like it. The sun shines behind Angkor Wat to showcase a beautiful, old, and immaculate temple. Make sure to take lots of pictures. Internet photos don’t do this place justice. There’s too much beauty. You just have to see it for yourself.
Ta Prohm: This is the temple where Angelina Jolie’s Tomb Raider was filmed. You’ll see the tree that’s growing among the temple, rising high into the sky. It’s fascinating.
Bayon: This is the temple with the faces. That’s how I describe it. It’s not quite as impressive as Angkor Wat or Ta Prohm (but seemingly much busier), but it’s a must-see.
The smaller temples: We loved the smaller temples in the Angkor Archaeological Complex. We visited: Ta Som, Ta Nei, Prei, Preah Kahn (not so small, but less famous), and Neak Pean. Here, you can explore without the crowds. But beware of people giving “tours.” They do offer helpful temple information, but demand tips in return.
Angkor National Museum: This is a skip. We weren’t that impressed with it. It’s a high-priced museum without air-conditioning. And in the summer, there’s nothing more wonderful than air-conditioning in Cambodia. There isn’t that much to see; you’d be better off spending more time at the temples and reading about the Khmer people (fascinating people) on Wikipedia.
Cuisine Wat Damnak: MUST EAT HERE! It is AMAZING food! They offer a rotating tasting menu. I tried beef tongue here! It was fabulous.
I got to thinking about standing still. There’s nothing that makes you complete. You are empty. You are frozen. You are worthless. And then you take a step… maybe a step in the wrong direction, but a step, no less. And that’s when everything changes. Humans cannot stand still. We cannot live incomplete, useless lives. We have to be doing something. We have to be someone better than we were yesterday. If you find the one thing that makes your heart beat faster than a Concorde, keep it. Go forward with it and never look back. Don’t be sedentary and don’t wish you had something more. You will. All in time. All because you’re not standing still.
I got to thinking about soul mates. Do you believe? Should you believe? I’m under the romantic notion that soul mates, do, indeed, exist. Is there a perfect person out there for you? Do they complete you in ways that you cannot complete yourself? And how does it work? How do you find that person? I think it’s about timing, hope, and belief. You simply must believe. There’s a love out there that can make you better, see more, and dream greater. You have to believe in it to find it. Don’t succumb to the biggest fear of all; it’ll happen for each of us. And if you’re with someone who doesn’t make you better, whole, then you’re not with your soul mate. Don’t give up on romance.
Please read this. I thoroughly enjoyed it! #3 rang true to me.
Happiness is kayaking in Ha Long Bay…
I got to thinking about forgetting versus forgiving. I know there’s a difference. But there’s a fine line between the two. Something happened to me recently that got me evaluating how to proceed. Should I forgive? Do I have the strength? Or should I merely forget? How can we decide the difference? Do we decide? Or do we let time do the dirty work? I don’t fully know how I’ll proceed with my dilemma, but I know that it won’t be forgotten soon. I’ve been hurt drastically and am slowly picking up the pieces. Maybe someday I’ll find it in my heart to forgive. God would want that. But what do I want?
I got to thinking about disappointment, about loss. Something terrible happened recently. I lost a friend. This was someone I thought of as a sister.
We lived far away, but always managed to pick up right from where we left off every time I went back to her home state. (She never visited me. Maybe that was a sign in itself.) We’d drink wine coolers behind trees as kids, talk about our relationships, and made up silly swim routines to perform for the family. I will truly miss this person. She was an amazing part of my life. But I’ve recently become disappointed by her. I’ll leave it vague: she promised something and denied it, without bothering to tell me first. I had to have the balls to pick up the phone and initiate confrontation. I wasn’t like a sister to her. She told me that she never saw me this way. This was like having needles stabbed into my heart. There’s nothing that can make this pain better. I’m so hurt, and I hope that it soon subsides. Losing a friend is like losing a piece of your soul. I wouldn’t wish this feeling on my worst enemy.
I got to thinking about the emotion of life. Life is downright emotional. Life is unexpected, complicated, and jarring. When do we get a break from it all? Do we ever get a break? If the Earth sold a baseball cap, I wouldn’t buy it. I’m not a fan. There’s too much disaster and hurt and sorrow to love the world. But I am a fan of the little things in life. There’s vacations, Starbucks, making your dreams come true, whatever it is that makes your heart flutter. I am a fan of that. And you should be, too. While we don’t have to love the world, we must love ourselves. We must love the little things. The world is a dangerous place. But also a place to become whomever we’ve wanted to become. So don’t buy the baseball cap. Make your own baseball cap.
I was lucky enough to make it to Europe for the first time this Spring. I fell in love with Paris. It’s the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen. I felt like I was walking onto a movie set with every step. The buildings are old and glamorous. Besides the business district (to which I did not venture, but could see from the Eiffel Tower), Paris does not have too many new buildings. And that is lovely. Who likes new, anyway? I’ve always been a fan of old world charm. Let me offer some Paris tips:
Eiffel Tower: CANNOT miss. For obvious reasons. But also because it’s truly a work of art. We decided to forgo the long elevator line and walk up to the second floor, saving a few Euros each, too. 669 steps! It was exhausting. But worth it. We could savor the views at every step. There’s a break at the first floor, complete with bathrooms! Unfortunately, you cannot walk all the way to the summit. Once at the second floor, you must wait in a line for the summit. This was a 45-minute wait. And supposedly, that wasn’t too long. We chose to enjoy the beautiful view from the second floor instead. Make the walking journey. It’s spectacular, plus shorter lines. Doesn’t everyone like a shorter line? And a discount? Use those muscles and walk up the Eiffel Tower. Below, there’s a picture of our feet, looking down at the ground from the first floor!
Palace of Versailles: I want to move into Versailles. It’s breathtaking. The old world glamour mixed with gorgeous antiques is something that everyone should see, whether you like old or not. The grounds are groomed perfectly and offer tram tours. This is an extra expense. Even though it was raining that day, we chose to walk the grounds. This way, you get to see everything. TIP: Make sure to follow the yellow signs to the left of the entrance before standing in the long line to get in. You must have a ticket at the entrance. You don’t want to stand in that line again! Get there early. Fifteen minutes, minimum, before it opens. There will be lots of tourist groups pushing and shoving, but that’s because they want to see all the beauty that Versailles offers. Push back!
The Louvre: The most iconic museum in the world. The Louvre lived up to its standards. The Mona Lisa, while not the most beautiful painting in the museum, is a must-see. It’s not as small as everyone says, though. When you’re at the Mona Lisa, turn around. The painting behind it is large and unbelievable. The colors are vivid. I’d say that was one of my favorites. Do not miss The Sphinx or Venus de Milo. But venture off. There’s so much to see. You have to see the popular things, of course, but there is much more. My favorite off-the-beaten track sight was the Napoleon III state apartments. It felt a little bit like Versailles. Old world charm and intricacies that just aren’t around anymore. Go anytime. It’s always crowded!
Champs-Élysées: A walkway of divine shopping. There’s a price point for everyone. Make sure to stop at Ladurée for the best macaron you’ll ever eat.
Arc de Triomphe: At the end of the Champs-Élysées (or the beginning, depending on where you start) is the iconic Arc de Triomphe. I don’t think it’s necessary to climb to the top, but I’d take lots of pictures of it. It’s unassuming, but beautiful. It’s the perfect way to begin/end a street. The U.S. should follow suit.
Notre Dame: Quite possibly my favorite place is Paris. It’s a beautiful chapel (no photos inside) with great details. The gargoyles are are an interesting sight! There’s nothing else like that. Pay the extra Euros here and walk up to the top! 327 steps. It’s worth it to see the gargoyles up close. It was a long and windy wait for us, but we just escaped the rain!
River Seine Dinner Cruise: We loved our dinner cruise on the River Seine. It began just before sunset and we ventured down the Seine toward the Eiffel Tower to enjoy the lights show. Spectacular! You must do a dinner cruise on the River Seine. Read reviews. Not all are created equal.
Whatever you’re doing… drop it now and go to VIETNAM. Such a beautiful and friendly country. Can’t you tell?
I recently made my inaugural trek to Europe. It was an unbelievable experience I knew I had to share with y’all. Europe is perfect. There’s a reason that millions of tourists travel there every year. My highlights, below:
I found London to be a bustling large city with great public transportation, much like New York City. My mom and I bought our Oyster cards for the week and took the tube several times a day. I highly recommend the week-long Oyster card if you’re focused on not missing anything London has to offer.
- London Eye: While the London Eye was £20 for an adult, I found the experience unforgettable. The views of the city are spectacular. Don’t miss that.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral: Make your way to the echo room! It is 200+ stairs, but completely worth it. Sit across the room from your travel buddy and whisper into the wall. You’ll hear what they have to say. Creepy, but awesome.
- Borough Market: Get the almond croissants! I tried two, from two different bakeries. Don’t miss this bustling market with some of the best food in central London.
- Houses of Parliament: FREE! You just have to go through an intense, airport-like security. We listened to the House of Commons debate each other and throw snide remarks. Amazing! The House of Lords is less exciting, but still not to miss. One Lord was so bored, he fell asleep!
- Tower of London: Get there EARLY! While £22 for an adult, this is one of the most celebrated tourist places in London. The Queen’s Crown Jewels are unlike any jewelry you’ll come across, unless you’re a Queen yourself. In that case, you should consider charging money to see your jewels! Go on the Beefeater tower. This tour is “free” with the price of a ticket and gives an insider look into the Tower. The most interesting aspect: two Princes were killed in the tower… and it’s still a mystery as to whom killed them hundreds of years ago. Conspiracy theories are the best.
- British Museum: While I wouldn’t call myself a museum person, this one is excellent. Go find the Rosetta Stone; it’s amazing.
- Westminster Abbey: Surprisingly, this was not my favorite attraction. While it was cool to see where Will and Kate got married, I found the Abbey to be a nicely decorated church with a great price (£16). The Abbey is full of tombs. I am not a tomb person. Well, who is?
- British Library: At first, I was disappointed in this place. You cannot go into the reading rooms unless you’re a research student with three forms of ID (who even has that?). But there is a small museum tucked away on the second floor that is a must-see. Here you’ll find everything from Shakespeare’s early works to Beatle’s lyrics to my favorite, screenplays and manuscripts. It is a place anyone obsessed with the literary world should visit.
- Cellarium Cafe at Westminster Abbey: Go for the Cream tea, £7, delicious and unpretentious.
While on an Evan Evans tour, we visited the city of Bath. It is what I envisioned the English countryside to be like. The residents are friendly and helpful, and the scenery is unlike anything else. The Roman Baths are a must-see. Take the self-guided tour and see the baths where the Europeans flocked hundreds of years ago to cure themselves. And don’t forget to taste the filtered, bath water. It is warm and rather nutty, but something you just have to experience.
While some say this is just “a bunch of rocks,” I beg to differ. Stonehenge was fascinating. The history behind it, and the mystery that consumes us over what these rocks really signified, is beyond amazing. There is nothing like it in the world. Plus, there are sheep in the field next to Stonehenge. I wonder if they know they’re at such a sacred site?
This is a definitely day trip. About an hour outside of central London, this castle explains the great history behind the Windsor family. There is an unassuming Abbey within the grounds. The day I visited, Prince William threw a charity event and all the famous British celebrities attended. Where was my invite? Maybe next time.
I got to thinking about risks. The biggest risk is the one you don’t take. You can’t conceive the things that aren’t right in front of you; you can’t dream of the things that you won’t chase. Why is that? There is no love without risk. There is no hope without risk. There is no breath of air without risk. And that’s just simply the way it is. Will you take a risk? Will you put your heart on the line?
I got to thinking about perseverance. I’ve heard that life is about perseverance. That is, unless you’re lucky enough to have parents in the same field in which you’re planning to pursue. Then, well, life comes much simpler. But for most of us, we have to work hard. We have to fight for what we want. And it’s damn difficult. And sometimes, I just want to give up, as I’m sure most of us do. But I can’t. I have to persevere. I can’t imagine life without my dreams. What is life without dreams? Nothing, really. So this is what I suggest to anyone who feels like giving up: persevere. Your dreams can be achieved. Follow your dreams without hesitation and never look back.
I got to thinking about suffering. There’s a point in life, after our naivete of childhood has ended, in which discover that the world isn’t perfect. People are flawed and things don’t always end up desirably. We suffer. Some suffer more than others, due in part to circumstances, fate, and timing. Some people are just supposed to suffer. But how do we change our fate? If we tend to suffer, if we don’t generally get what we want, unlike that perfect girl or boy everyone knew that seems to have it all, are we fated to suffer forever? Does he or she have it all? Or do they suffer just as much as us? Can we ever know? Suffering seems to be internalized. We can’t compare it to anyone else. We can’t attribute suffering to fate. We suffer because we let ourselves suffer. It’s time to end that.
I got to thinking about paradise. I dream of paradise. I know exactly what it looks like. I know exactly how it makes me feel. But I don’t know how to get there. I know it’s attainable; I know because I’ve seen it. I’ve had a taste of it. And I pray that it’s still there when I return. I need it. I thrive on it. Don’t we all need to find our paradise? Do we all find it? Or do some of us spend the rest of our lives’ looking? I believe that if you believe, you’ll find it, and you’ll live it. Paradise is about faith and patience.
I got to thinking about this. When is something too good to be true? Do we underestimate our talent when someone seeks us out and says we’re good at the thing we want so desperately? Or should we be wary? Is it too good to be true? And how can we know the difference? How can we be wise enough to know the difference? I wish I had the answers. There are days that I doubt my talent; I wonder if an opportunity or an email expressing a follow-up to my writing is real. Where can I draw the line? Should I have mere faith that it’s merit, and shouldn’t be so skeptical? Research into the odds? I do not know. I wish I knew.
This is an amazing snippet of Marina Keegan’s advice. I love it!
I got to thinking about standing out. Without sounding high and mighty, I’ve always been one of those people who’s wanted to stand out. I never wanted to be the average girl on the playground. Creative to the core, my interest in sports was kicked to the curb early on, I found myself wanting to be a writer. I found myself not putting up with people and situations that broke my heart. And I’ve lost friends because I’ve stood out, and stood up for myself. You pay a price when you stand out. I’ve found that, in most occasions, people don’t stand out because they don’t stand up for themselves. They’re not willing to pay the price. While we all can’t be headstrong and fight for what we want, I wish more people would be willing to stand out. It’s important to fight for what you believe in. Sometimes it doesn’t end well. But when it does, your life will forever be changed. And isn’t that what we all want?
I got to thinking about my journey. And your journey. Life is merely a journey we all embark on, everyday. It’s a journey of strife, of love, of acceptance, of faith. You cannot plan your journey, but you can choose the doors to open and the windows to escape from when all the doors have shut. And not everyone will accept your choices. The windows you choose to sneak out of may not be what they would’ve chosen. Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t have to. It’s not for them. You can never compare journeys. You must simply do what is right for you. And with that, the strife will become smaller, the love will become deeper, the acceptance will become more clear, and the faith will become more real.
I got to thinking about mistakes. Are we better if we make mistakes? Are we more competent, more creative, more aware? Do we become a closer version to our destined selves? Or do we veer off the path and just hope to make it back on track? Should we make it back on track? Or is life better, easier, more liberating if we do something different? I’ve learned that mistakes will lead us where we should be, where we want to be. But you must learn from your mistakes as well. Make a lot of mistakes. You’ll be forced to grow and learn and see the world in a better way. And that’s the only thing that matters. Truly.
I came across this wonderful quote from Barbra Streisand recently. I thought I would share it. “I don’t think anyone should underestimate the power of their own voice… you are the women we’ve been waiting for.” I’d like to think she is talking about me, too.
I got to thinking about the dreams of children. I know that children dream of becoming ballerinas, astronauts, actors, and the like. I know this because I told my parents at age five that I was going to be an artist. This was never attainable, given that my stick figures need serious work. But at age eleven, I knew I was going to be a writer. And I haven’t wavered. I know that being a writer is also a child’s dream, but that’s how I know it is real. It’s what I’ve wanted to do before I was cynical, before I was afraid of failing. The innocence of my dream is utterly real and cannot be denied. While becoming a writer isn’t an easy thing, it is my dream. It has been for twelve years. That has to stand for something, right? I sure think so.
I got to thinking about the craziness of life. Let’s be real: some of us are crazier than the rest of us. I would say I’m the former. I don’t necessarily find myself to be conventional; I like to stray from the path and make my own. I don’t handle change well, but I’ve learned to adjust. I go crazy when there’s an ounce of stress in my life. And you know what? That’s simply who I am. Some people never go crazy. What horrible lives they must lead. A little crazy never leads to a boring life. And maybe crazy is the answer to keeping things exciting.
I got to thinking about “Girls.” The HBO show, that is. I was recently watching the season three episode, Free Snacks. Hannah Horvath (portrayed by the wonderfully honest Lena Dunham) gets a job at GQ only to realize that her dreams of becoming a writer might fade with the allure of corporate America and well, free snacks. Hannah’s coworkers, all of whom consider themselves to be writers, have given up on writing creatively. Hannah is outraged and simply cannot understand how writers would give up their dreams so quickly. She doesn’t want this to happen to her. So Hannah sets a schedule. She decides to write every night for three hours. When she arrives home, she quickly falls asleep clutching her laptop like a teddy bear. Will she keep up with her dream? I sure hope so.
It made me wonder, can any of us keep up with our dreams after signing for jobs that keep us in the world of free gym memberships and unlimited Sun Chips? Is the ability to pay rent and eat at nice restaurants more of a draw than our dream? Do we have to give up our dreams? And if we do, are we a sellout, or just practical? I would like to believe that I can keep up with my dream of becoming a novelist while maintaining a career. I’ve always wanted to be a writer: it means more to me than anything. And I’d hope that my life wouldn’t get in the way of that dream. And I hope Hannah can follow that philosophy, too.
I got to thinking about dwelling. I’ve always wanted to be one of those people who doesn’t worry. Those happy-go-lucky kinds who go through life without acquiring a wrinkle or an ulcer. And maybe you can become that kind of person; maybe you can’t. I once told someone: “I have to dwell on the inevitable.” And I do. It’s just in my nature. I am too wrapped up in the future sometimes. I want to know what’s going to happen. If I don’t, I dwell on the inevitable. I am eager and unreachable. Is this bad? Well, depends on the type of person you are.
I got to thinking about animals. I’ve always been fond of animals; the zoo was a second-rate Disneyland for me as a child. Let’s be real: it still is. Unfortunately, the only animals I’ve called pets are fish and mice, neither of whom I’ve been enthralled about. But my love of animals has ingrained a deep protection for animals, especially those who are killed to be eat. This is why I’ve always considered being a vegetarian, maybe even a vegan. I haven’t quite made it there yet, given that my love for steak and hamburgers is like the moth to the flame, but I find myself becoming more and more repulsed by animal products, at least once I think about what I’m eating. It may not become a reality in the near future, but I think that cutting back on animal products will serve me well. At least, it makes me feel better.
I got to thinking about love. “Never love anybody who treats you like you’re ordinary.” Oscar Wilde said that. I like this because it’s how I’ve always felt about love. I always told myself never to settle, never to tell myself that “this” is enough. Because it isn’t. Ever. How do you feel about love? Do you think that you should live the life of a princess or prince? You should. And if that isn’t where you are, find it. Trust me, you’ll regret settling for anything and anyone less.
I got to thinking about the escape. We like to escape because there is pressure that outweighs performance; we like to escape because dreaming seems unequivocally sound. But we don’t have to leave everything behind to escape. We can seek out refuge in those things that are important to us. Let the things you love be your escape. It’s one thing to have dreams, goals, but it’s another to find solace in those things. If we escape to those things we’re good at, those things we love, what could go wrong?
“Don’t you ever wonder maybe if you took a left turn instead of a right you could be someone different?”
I really got to thinking about this. In one moment, we can go off course and be someone entirely different. We have this luxury, this choice. But will we take it? Will we go against convention and take a chance on something from the heart? Or will we stray and live the monotonous existence we think is happiness? Will we fight for this chance? Or let it slip away? … We must make the choice…
I got to thinking about cell phones. I don’t particularly like cell phones. In fact, I loathe them most days. Obviously I realize the convenience and necessity of a cell phone, but I don’t have to love those things. The world has become this fast-paced, technology-obsessed place that I can’t quite keep up with. I wouldn’t actually say I would, even if I weren’t so technologically inept. But mostly, I loathe cell phones because they pull us away from those we love. We stare and type and analyze our phones all day, every day. Can we just stop? Can we just put those things down for a small moment in time? I think we can. I think we can make my feelings of detest for cell phones more into ambivalence. Put down the cell phone. Life is happening.
I got to thinking about the third world. As someone who grew up in the wonderful United States of America, I have a skewed perception of what is normal. I find it normal to turn on the lights in the morning, use a working toilet, and wash my hands in a sink, with cold or hot water, whatever I so choose. That isn’t true everywhere. I have learned this by living in abroad for the last month. During my stay abroad, I experienced the lack of running water, the power turning off and on sporadically, and searching for fresh fruit that isn’t outrageously expensive. This was all so odd to me. Of course, it was good to be exposed to the experience of travel, seeing a country not quite as wealthy as the United States. I learned a lot. But I am a proud American, and more in love with my country than ever.
I got to thinking about knowing. How do you know? Is it something your heart speaks so eloquently… you just fall? Is it something that speaks to your thoughts, your mind? Is it innate? Does it make you question everything? Do you change your life for it, once you know? Or do you stay the same, pushing the idea slowly into the oblivion? I think you just know. It’s something you cannot fight. You cannot tell yourself it’s wrong, even if you walk away. It’s there. And you just know.
“The less you reveal, the more people can wonder.”
Don’t reveal everything. Wondering is what makes us so complex, so interesting, so desirable.
I got to thinking about what everybody else thinks. I don’t really care. I never really have. I won’t say that I break the rules often or start an argument with those who don’t see things the way I do, but I also couldn’t care less what everybody else thinks. I have been this way as long as I can remember, doing things the way I see fit. Everyone claims to not worry what everybody else thinks, but I really don’t. Of course I want those whom I love to love me; of course I sought validation as a student, and am still seeking validation as a writer. And as a writer, I’ve had to develop a thick skin. But I know that great things will happen to me someday. I know that my writing is good. And I am not conceited; I am proud of my work. And you know what? I don’t care what everybody else thinks. I care what I think, and that will bring everybody else on board.
I got to thinking about looking for trouble. We avoid situations because we worry it’ll be troublesome. Sometimes we seek out danger just to feel the rush. And sometimes, we look for trouble simply because we are bored. What I have found is that there is a balance of trouble. We shouldn’t seek out danger because there is nothing else.We should seek out those troublesome situations that might garner a payoff. And if we are so lucky, we might be greeted at the end of the long, winding road with a reward. That’s when you should look for trouble.
I got to thinking about decisions. We have our own minds’. Why do we decide certain things? Is this based on how we were raised? Or simply nature? Is it possible that it’s both? Why are our decisions different? And why can’t we understand that? Making a decision that someone close to us doesn’t agree with sparks arguments, tension. We can’t seem to fathom why this person wouldn’t listen to us. We think they’re idiots, obviously. While they might be idiotic sometimes, most of the time it is just difference of opinion. That’s what keeps things interesting, so I have found.
I got to thinking about taking the long way. I’ve never really been conventional. I’ve never really wanted what my peers around me have wanted. The easy way has almost been non-existent in my life. I take my time and figure out what is best for me. Slowly and carefully. And I’ve made my peace with that. I never seem to do it like everybody else. Quite frankly, I don’t want to be like anybody else. I can take the long way. It may not be the conventional way, or the way those around me expect, but it’s my way. It’s the way that makes me happy; it’s the way that I’ll accomplish all of my dreams. I just know it. Have a little faith in me. I will get there. In due time…. taking the long way.
I got to thinking about this. I am not ready to make nice, in the oh-so eloquent words of the Dixie Chicks. Sometimes we can’t make up. Sometimes we can’t forgive. We might try to forget, but that might be the end of it. But the most powerful thing we can do is move on. If we aren’t willing to forgive, we have to forget. We don’t have to be nice; we have to be courteous and poised. But we certainly don’t have to let our hearts go anywhere our heads are telling us to run from. We don’t always have to make nice. But also, don’t be “mad as hell” forever.
I got to thinking about pushing away dreams. Most of us do this; we seek the easier, safer route. We let go of our dreams because people tell us we can’t make it into a future. And we listen. We fall into a hole of doubt because those people have our best interests at heart. Right? Absolutely not. We control our future. We shouldn’t listen to anything but our own hearts. If we don’t follow our dreams, we will be left with regret. No one else will have these regrets. No one else will hate their jobs as much as we do. We must take a chance, even if everyone else is telling us no. Don’t push away the dream. Always follow your heart. If you’re destined for greatness, you will reach it.
I got to thinking about suffocating. There are days I feel like life is swallowing me whole; there are days where I feel carefree and believe anything can happen. But the former days make me feel like suffocating. I feel as if I cannot get out of the situation; I feel I am in limbo. Does the suffocating ever stop? Will those carefree days become few and far between? I worry that I will be suffocating for awhile. It’s the end of the suffocation that I look forward to. And I know that day is imminent; I have faith. I must be patient.
I got to thinking about an ordinary life. Most of us lead these: 9 to 5 jobs, getting married, having children, dying with our spouses, and everything else in between. While this ordinary life is fulfilling to most, I wouldn’t say it would be for me. I want something more. I want to go down in history as an acclaimed writer. I want people to know and remember my name. This is not to say I don’t want these ordinary things, but I surely want something more. I have never done anything the conventional way, and I don’t plan on starting now. I won’t be ordinary. I refuse it. I will achieve my dreams. And you know why? I can’t possibly imagine not.
I got to thinking about impressions. Making a first impression is imperative when it comes to just about everything: finding friends, job interviews, meeting the parents. But sometimes we sacrifice ourselves in order to impress others. We put up a front that is nothing short of fake. We tailor our opinions and ideas. We seek respect. But what we don’t seem to realize is that we are much more deserving of respect if we put ourselves out there first. While we shouldn’t press heavy topics right off the bat, we should always remember to be who we are. That will impress anyone; that takes courage, and will always earn respect.
I got to thinking about long distance relationships. Or LDRs, as Glamour has named these. I am about to embark upon a long distance relationship. I don’t know what to expect. I don’t know how sad or lonely or calm I’ll be. But I do know something: I know that people do this everyday. Why would it be different with us? We can conquer anything. We aren’t like everybody else. We can do anything. And at the end of the day, that is my relief. That’s what will get me through these next several months.
I got to thinking about being snubbed. I was snubbed recently. A girl I grew up with, one of the meanest girls I’ve ever known, didn’t acknowledge my presence on her special day. Let’s be clear: I was invited to this celebration by her mother, but it would’ve been nice to be acknowledged, to say thank you for attending. She also snubbed my parents. While I was rather certain this would happen, I wanted her to prove me wrong. I wanted her to show that she isn’t the meanest girl I know anymore. But she didn’t. And I cannot say I am surprised. Very disappointing. End of rant.
I got to thinking about traveling. I haven’t had the wonderful opportunity that of my peers to travel the world. I haven’t been to Europe or Asia or Australia. I haven’t seen the world outside of the United States and Canada. While my travels to these places have left nothing but fondness in my heart, I yearn to see more. I yearn to see the world. I don’t know how non-Westerners live; I would love to find out.
I got to thinking about trust. How do you know who to trust? Who is reliable? Who will be there for you no matter what? Do you follow your heart? Your head? Is your intuition always right? I think that trust shouldn’t be based on logic; trust shouldn’t be based on past events. Trust is about the now. And that certainly means you must trust your heart. You already know who to trust.
I got to thinking about being one thing. Are we defined by one thing? Is there an element to our personalities, our lives, that make us who we are? Or is there so much more to people than one thing? I’d like to believe that I am not just defined by the things I am good at: writing, being a human GPS and calendar. But somehow, we all get pigeon-holed in that one thing that makes us special. And sometimes that’s okay. This is where we thrive; this is where we belong. But I find it challenging and hopeful to not define myself, or anyone else, by one thing. We are so much more than that. We have stories to tell. And these stories are not simply about one thing.
I got to thinking about the American Dream. This dream, that our country has sought out for centuries, is a combination of ambition, love, and hope. The ambition comes from working so diligently that you become exhausted and questioning. The love comes from something deep within your soul that cannot be turned down even if you fought against it. The hope is the inkling of faith you carry around, knowing that someday, your American Dream will come true. For me, this is writing. The American Dream is becoming a famous novelist. My ambition, love, and hope will fuel this dream every day without fault.
I got to thinking about approval. Why do we seek each other’s approval? Do we want it? Or do we need it? I have become wise to the notion that approval isn’t always necessary. We can do everything possible to get others to approve; sometimes, it just doesn’t happen. Approval is about changing who you are to get someone to like you. And you shouldn’t have to do that. Be yourself. Then go from there. If you get approval, that’s wonderful. If not, move on.
I got to thinking about family dynamics. There are those families you’d love to watch from afar, just to see how they treat each other when no one else is watching. There are those families you’d love to combine with your own. And there are those families you’d rather run from faster than can be. I love watching family dynamics. There are no two families alike. I grew up in a structured, loving environment. I always thought that was how everyone lived. It wasn’t until recently that I realized there are different ways to grow a family. And there isn’t really a wrong way (even if I am biased, and believe the way I was brought up is the best). The only thing you have to get right, I’ve come to learn, is love. Family dynamics must create love.
“I think it happens to everyone as they grow up. You find out who you are and what you want, and then you realize that people you’ve know forever don’t see things the way you do. And so you keep the wonderful memories, but you find yourself moving on. It’s perfectly normal.” -Nicholas Sparks
I got to thinking about optimism. How am I going to be an optimist about this? How can I look for the silver lining? I don’t see it; I don’t expect to see it. And what if I can’t ever see clearly again? What am I going to do? It will change my life. And I don’t need that. I can’t handle it. I’ve been here before. I won’t go down that road again. How am I going to be an optimist about this?
I got to thinking about stories. Some stories stay with us for days. Some stories stay with us for years. But the most important stories stay with us forever. These are the stories we find inspiring, heartwarming, breathtaking. These are the stories that ease comfort into our hearts’, no matter what the day. Most of all, these are the stories that we live out, knowing that they will later cling to our souls with a sense of knowledge and love. And that’s the most important story of all. That’s what we’re supposed to remember.
I got to thinking about Disney. Disney films portray life as poetic and magical. Unfortunately, life isn’t like Disney fairy tales. Life isn’t easy. Why can’t we live a life like those characters we love in Disney films? Why can’t we get our Prince Charming? Why can’t we achieve all of our dreams? I think that we can. In time. We first have to believe in our dreams. Then we can wish upon a star and go after those dreams. Believe that you can do something, and you can.
I got to thinking about incessant worrying. I worry about everything. I worry about my cell phone not being charged for the duration of the day; I worry about my parents; I worry about my happiness and my sadness; I worry about how life will be ten years from now; I worry about if I’ll make a good parent; I worry about shark attacks; I worry about life. And I can’t stop. It’s like a disease. I have this need to fulfill everything instantly. And if I can’t, I worry. How does it stop? Can it stop? Will I let it stop?
I got to thinking about failure. We don’t like to talk about failure. We don’t like to solicit the things that don’t work out. But for the sake of honestly, I will. I recently didn’t get a job that I really wanted, and that I thought I would be good at. And you know what? I’m devastated. I feel like a failure. I feel like there are so many opportunities out there that seem so unattainable. But I won’t give up. This is just a stepping stone. I’m sad and confused and anxiety-ridden, but I won’t give up on finding the place for me. I can’t. I can’t go from failure to failure.
I got to thinking about college graduation. I graduate from college tomorrow. It’s so surreal; I still feel like the nervous freshman walking onto campus without any friends. But it’s bittersweet. Part of me is ready to move on, while the other part of me doesn’t want to let go. I’ve learned and I’ve grown in college, and for that, I will never be the same. I just need to remind myself that there is an exciting world outside of college. All I have to do is embrace it.
I got to thinking about hiding. We all hide behind something every day. Sometimes we hide behind our friends because it’s just too hard to branch out. Sometimes we hide behind our feelings, not wanting to admit that we’re dying inside. Sometimes we just hide our sad eyes behind sunglasses. And sometimes hiding is cathartic. But it’s certainly not cathartic when you’re hiding who you are. You don’t need to hide. You have to be who you are, let the world see your individuality and creativeness. Even if that means you have to do something unfavorable. You have to be yourself. If you aren’t, what else is there?
I got to thinking about being left out. That really hurts my feelings. You decided not to include me, like I was something that could be thrown to the wayside. Is that what you think of me? Is this how you see our friendship? And I never would’ve expected that from you. Maybe from her, but certainly not from you. I know that I should forgive you. Forgive and forget. But sometimes that doesn’t come easily. You broke my heart. And now I have to pick up the pieces. I hope you understand.
I got to thinking about living in the wrong century. I think I’m living in the wrong century. I’ve always been one of those people who believes that life was much simpler in the 1950s, the 1880s. There wasn’t technology; I’d be okay without the latest technology. But since I live in this technology-obsessed world, there’s a reason to have technology in my life, even if I’d much rather avoid it altogether. There also wasn’t an expectation to be rich and successful and perfectly thin and happy all the time. Life was about surviving. And honestly, I still think this is the most important thing to life. Unfortunately, society doesn’t share my views. If only I could make a time machine and see the world decades and decades ago… what would I think if I could travel back?
I got to thinking about resentment. We’ve all resented someone. We’ve all probably been resented, with or without our knowledge. Resentment is the most harmful when it comes into our romantic relationships. We shouldn’t expect our significant others to be anything other than themselves. So why do we? We hope that they’ll get the biggest paycheck in town or be the most respected person in the state. But what we don’t realize is that this is ultimately what we want for ourselves. It’s easier to wish they’ll get it. Our work is done. Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen. If we want the biggest paycheck in our home, or whatever other goal we’re seeking, we have to go out and get it. We can’t resent other people for not getting what we want. And that shouldn’t make us love them any less. If we want something, we sure as hell better get it.
I got to thinking about reliability. It’s a shame, it seems like reliability is not something parents teach their kids anymore. And I wonder why? When I find someone who’s reliable, I cling to them. I love this quality. I love that they’ll be there for me, for us, no matter what. So if you’re one of those people isn’t reliable—learn something from those who are. It’s an invaluable quality that can change your relationships, career, and state of mind. All for the better.
I got to thinking about the twenty-something panic. Our twenties are supposed to be this great time when we can still eat what we want without having to run a marathon the next day, when we can change career paths without a skeptical onlooker saying something pessimistic, and when we’re figuring out our love lives.
But there’s so much more to it. This is truly a time of panic. We feel like we have to figure everything out fast. If we aren’t engaged by 27, like the rest of our friends, we feel inadequate. And I’ll be honest: I’m starting to panic. I’m ready to turn 30, even though that’s several years away! However, what we have to realize is that our twenties can be about getting our lives together. We don’t have to know everything yet. I’m sure I’ll panic throughout my twenties, but knowing that I don’t need to have everything figured out right away brings a sense of peace.
I got to thinking about frozen moments in time. These are the moments that have defined us. These are the moments we’ll always wish we could travel back to. These are the moments we’ll always remember. Frozen moments in time are the memories that will last a lifetime. These memories might be small; they might be life-changing. Nevertheless, these are the moments that have made us who we are today. And for that, we must remember them. But at the same time, we have to realize that we can never go back. We must go forward and cherish the moments fondly.
I got to thinking about odds. Winning the lottery is a slim odd. Becoming a billionaire is a slim odd. Giving birth to quadruplets is a slim odd. So are creative paths just like these odds? Can we ever attain our lofty dreams of becoming actors, writers, and singers? As we see all around us, there are some people who beat these odds. There are those who dream these so-called lofty things and make it there, quickly, or very slowly. We shouldn’t concern ourselves with odds. You should seek the dreams that have encapsulated your mind. Always. And without apologizes. You have a chance of getting what you want. You just have to be brave enough to fight for those dreams.
I got to thinking about cheating. There are those who cheat on tests just to ensure the requisite grade. There are those who cheat to get ahead in the workplace. There are those who cheat the economic system to make more money than owed. And there are those who cheat on their significant others. All of this is cheating, albeit cheating in vastly different ways. But at the core of cheating: is there guilt? Is there hopefulness? And are all cheaters the same? Is there something inside them that’s just slightly off center, or are they just like the rest of us, just trying to get more out of this life?
I got to thinking about Plan A. We all have two plans in life. Most of us want something more than just a desk job we aren’t passionate about. Some of us follow that path. We take the easy way, following our Plan B, thinking that Plan A is too ambitious and completely unattainable. But what I’ve learned recently: we have to go after our dreams. Our dreams are attainable. And that can only happen if we put all of our effort into Plan A. Sometimes we have to delete our Plan B to achieve Plan A. There can only be one option in order to succeed. And that’s scary, but it’s always much more rewarding.
I got to thinking about relationship obstacles. Do you run away from problems? Do you wish there weren’t problems to begin with? You’re bound to come across ups and downs in any relationship. Nothing is perfect, but not everything is flawed. You must work through your problems with poise, knowing that these obstacles will only serve to make your relationship stronger. Peaks and valleys keep relationships fresh. You have to see the dark times in order to appreciate the good times.
I got to thinking about having all the answers. It’s a pain not having all the answers. It’s stressful not knowing what the next chapter of your life will be. It’s dreadful having to worry about the outcome of situations we cannot change, no matter how hard we try. When will we get the answers we want? Will we always get the answers we want? And when we don’t, how do we deal with that?
I got to thinking about losing friendships. There are friendships that last decades. There are friendships that last through college. There are friendships that last mere minutes. But they’re friendships, all the same. I’ve learned that we can’t hold everyone to the same standard. We won’t have all of our friendships last. We can’t save everything. But we also must understand how important it is to savor those friendships while they’re happening. We may not meet anyone like them ever again. Each friend can change our lives’. And that, of course, is the beautiful mystery of the beginning and end to every friendship…
I got to thinking about this quote. “Grief can destroy you — or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see that it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together. It was everything; it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.” – Dean Koontz, Odd Hours
I got to thinking about violation. Being violated changes your life. You cannot turn back. You cannot change what happened. When you’re violated, you lose part of yourself, a part of your soul that was naïve and free and safe from pain. You wonder when it’ll come back; you wonder if it’ll come back. But the worst part of violation is that it makes you look over your shoulder more often. You wonder when it’ll happen again. Nothing will ever be the same. Can you ever get any semblance of your old life back? I’m not sure yet. But I’m hopeful.
I got to thinking about my life. There will always be those who tell us what to do. There will always be those who explain to us what is wrong and what is right. So the question remains: should we listen? Or should we create our own idea of what’s wrong and what’s right? I think, in order to enter adulthood, we must create our own perception of the world. This may not be what we were taught all along, but this what we believe. And if we can admit that, we can do anything. And ultimately, that’s what counts in this life.
I got to thinking about getting out of our heads. All I want is to find an easier way to get out of my head… to find a safe place where my worries are the smallest decimals. How do I go about this? Do I merely tell myself to worry less? Can I tell someone who understands? Will anyone ever understand? Will you?
I got to thinking about drama. Do we secretly want drama in our lives’? Do we seek it out by picking fights with those we love? And why must we do this? I have learned that people will disappoint me. People can be unrealistic and flighty and unreliable. I have learned that people will give up on things that I’ll never fully understand. And this is when the fighting ensues. But before we can dismiss those people from our lives, we must be able to distinguish the difference between the fight and the drama. Do we fight because we want the drama? Or do we fight because we can’t be the one who’s wrong? We can’t ever understand others’ motives. But we can understand acceptance. And with that, the drama will subside.
I got to thinking about mistakes. We all have these ideas of living a perfect life. We have the perfect family, the right job, and the most beautiful house on the block. We live so precisely that no one sees us make mistakes. But that’s just it: if you look a little closer, even those whom you think lead perfect lives’ actually have flaws. We all make mistakes. But if we can learn from these mistakes, we’ll finally see that perfection is impossible and overrated. So be easier on yourself. That’s what will lead to the happy moments the outsiders consider to be perfect moments in time.
I got to thinking about my novel. I finished my first novel very recently. And I’ve never been more proud of myself. This novel is three-hundred pages of my opinions, my struggles, my passions, and my fears. It was an amazing and tumultuous journey through my never-boring experiences in college. The next step is finding someone to publish this piece of work I can fully call my own. Well, that, and writing the next book in the series.
I got to thinking about confessionals. There are confessionals told every day. We confess our love, we confess lies we’ve told, and we confess how scared we are about the future. Someone once told me: “Writing is making a public confession.” And it is. I write things that I feel, even if those around me have no idea I’ve felt that way. It’s liberating and spectacular. But do you know what the best part is? I get to be myself in every sense of the word. I don’t have to hide behind what’s right and wrong. Writing is my public confession. What’s yours?
I got to thinking about liabilities. A wise professor once said: “Even the things you think are liabilities are actually possibilities.” He went on to say that we must see the light in those things that seem to be clouded in the darkness. There is always possibility. Sometimes, I don’t agree with this. I’d like to say that I’ve figured out all the obstacles in this life. I’d like to say that I have faith that everything will work itself out. But I can’t. With that said, I do agree with my wise professor. We can see the silver lining by just exploring what else is out there. And of course, we must always have faith in ourselves in doing so. Our liabilities will work out. Even if it doesn’t seem like it sometimes.
I got to thinking about changing ourselves. Sometimes we feel that we must change ourselves to fit in. Sometimes we feel that we won’t be able to sustain a friendship or a relationship without being someone else. But we mustn’t feel that way. Being someone else is boring. We’re never more alive than when we are ourselves. We’ll never discover exactly who we are being someone else. And that, of course, would be quite a shame; finding out who we are is the most imperative, significant, and magical thing we can do. I’m never changing who I am. And you shouldn’t either.
I got to thinking about saving money. Every time I step into a mall (which is sparingly, since shopping isn’t necessarily my favorite thing, nor do I like the claustrophobia of malls), I wonder how much those around me are spending. Then I wonder, how much are these people saving? Whenever I drive through Malibu or on the infamous Mulholland Drive, I find myself wondering where these people got their money. Does anyone save in this day and age? Or has our culture become a spendthrift nation?
I consider myself to be cheap. In fact, I have anxiety spending money on anything other than groceries. Well, excluding Whole Foods; that’s really a luxury. I consider the price of everything. Is a new cardigan really necessary? How can I save money on tissues? Do I have to eat more than yogurt for lunch? Money worries me. I worry I won’t have enough; I worry I won’t be able to experience the world for a lack of funds. I haven’t figured this one out yet, unfortunately. Have you?
I got to thinking about beliefs. We all have our beliefs. Sometimes those beliefs don’t align with those to whom we are close. Sometimes we find disappointment in those we disagree with. What happens when we can’t agree? Should we give up what we believe for someone else? Is it right to compromise ourselves for those we love? Or should we always fight for the things we believe in? I’ve found that my beliefs are strong. I believe what I believe, and that is that. I’ve always been one of those who will not compromise what I believe in for anyone or anything. And you know what? That doesn’t make me inflexible. That makes me decisive and confident.
I got to thinking about fears. We all fear something. The things that other people fear, we may not. And it’s difficult to understand those things we do not fear. We may even find it to be ridiculous. But we can whole-heartedly fathom our own fears. There are those who are afraid of the dark. There are those who are afraid of being alone. There are those who are afraid of sharks and other sinister-looking animals. Me, I’m afraid of not achieving my dream of becoming a famous writer. Well, that and spiders and burglars and diseases. We all must conquer our fears. We must rise above the terror and nervousness we feel. It’s easier said than done, but as long as we try, that is truly what matters. So don’t be afraid. You will overcome your fears in time. As will I.
I got to thinking about homesickness. There’s nothing more pain-inducing than homesickness. It’s worse than an awful sore throat or the worst migraine imaginable. But the most horrific thing about homesickness: it cannot fully be cured. The only way to cure homesickness is to travel home. Throughout my four years in college, I have found myself to be homesick many times. It’s a feeling that makes the head throb and puts unwanted butterflies in the stomach. It makes you cry, and it makes you believe that nothing will make it better.
What I’ve come to discover is that homesickness won’t ever grow easier, but it can be subsided with positive energy. I find this positive energy when I write, when I see certain friends, and when I watch my favorite television shows. We all have our cures. It’s just about finding what the best cure is for your own homesickness.
I got to thinking about winning. Is winning really everything? Must we always accept failure when we do not win? I do not believe that we must always win. Maybe this is my non-competitive nature speaking. Sometimes we lose. Sometimes things don’t always work out the way we wanted them to, and that’s life. But if we have always tried our best and done everything we could, losing isn’t so bad. We cannot do better than our best. Always put the utmost effort into everything, and if you don’t succeed, there is always next time. Winning doesn’t have to be everything.
I got to thinking about the New Year. I will admit it: New Year’s Eve is not my favorite holiday. I don’t really like it, actually. It’s certainly a pessimistic view of this holiday… but hear me out. I don’t like the high expectations to have fun ringing in the New Year. I don’t like the change that comes with a new year. I don’t like having to adjust to a new date, writing it wrong over and over until I finally get it right… in March. But my biggest issue with the New Year is that it seems to always bring me somewhere unexpected. I don’t have control over what will happen this year. The previous year, I figured out. All I have to hope is that I will figure this year out, too.
I got to thinking about real relationships. Real relationships aren’t immediately obvious. We must fight for these. There is a reason people give up. We know that something out there is better for us. We know that our love cannot sustain the grueling future. And that is okay. But sometimes, we hit the love jackpot. And that’s the best luck of all. But we must also realize: all relationships go through difficulty, but it’s solely the real relationships that get through these hardships. Once you get through a hardship, you know you’re in the right place. And that’s the craziest and most amazing feeling of all, to have found that.
I got to thinking about Christmas. The holidays are my favorite time of year. I love everything: the excessive amounts of hot cocoa with peppermint syrup, the ‘Nsync Christmas album playing over and over, spending time with family, the red cups at Starbucks. It truly is a magical time. The holidays reaffirm my happiness in this world. There is nothing more special than being with my family during the time of possible snowfall and Christmas songs. To a wonderful holiday season for everyone! May your wishes come true.
I got to thinking about prince charming. Does prince charming exist? Of course, there is the prince charming we all read in fairy tales and the one portrayed on the fabulous ABC show, Once Upon a Time. But what I’ve come to realize is that prince charming exists in the daylight, too. We may have to search high and low. We may spend our entire lives’ searching for our prince charming, but he is out there. And how do we know if we’ve met our prince charming? That’s easy. Prince charming will make you want to be better, love more fully, and finally come to understand what it means to be content. To those of you still searching, you shall find your prince charming. To those of you with your prince charming: keep him and never let him go.
I got to thinking about deal breakers. What are your deal breakers in relationships? In friendships? Do you have any? And are these deal breakers specific? Or merely just rules you set for yourself? I will admit; I have several deal breakers. But what I’ve come to realize is that deal breakers are important, if kept to a minimum. You should never compromise what you believe or what annoys you for anyone. But you should also not have such strong opinions that your deal breakers break your relationships.
I got to thinking about fictional characters. What is the obsession with fictional characters? We fall in love with fictional characters every time we turn on the television. I know I have. We wish these characters could be real; we wish these characters could sweep us off our feet. We hope for our Prince Charming to save us. Our absorption into this world has become a serious obsession. But what I’ve come to realize is that we shouldn’t hold out for a character that isn’t real. Love stories in real life can be just as romantic. We just don’t always think of it that way, as we aren’t seeing our love stories play out. Besides, our love stories are always more unique than any fictional story. Believe it, and it will be true.
I got to thinking about criticism. We all have critics screaming at us in the back of our minds’. Sometimes, we literally have critics shouting to change something that has already been altered several times. But should we listen to these critics? After all, we’re told to follow our instincts. William Arthur Ward wrote: “Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me, and I may be forced to love you.” This quote will stand the test of time simply because it’s true. We criticize ourselves, we criticize others, and we don’t believe compliments because criticism has jaded us. This is what I propose: just do your best, because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Criticism doesn’t matter. What we believe matters.
I got to thinking about love stories. There are those love stories we see in the movies every weekend. And these stories make us believe in love. But these are not the only stories we should watch. Real love stories are inspiring and worth of emulation. There are some love stories that last a lifetime. There are some love stories that last several months, or several years. And sometimes, there are love stories that only last a few months, maybe over a summer or a vacation. But what’s important to remember: these are all love stories, no matter the duration. Short love stories are great love stories, too. We should never take any love story for granted.
I got to thinking about happiness. Happiness is… writing with the utmost openness and honesty… finding someone who loves the same people as you… finding someone who hates the same people as you… listening to Snow Patrol… not the work out, but the endorphins… the smell of Coco Mademoiselle… watching Law and Order: SVU… the scent of freshly brewed Starbucks coffee… dancing in the moonlight… freshly painted nails… peppermint hot chocolate on cold nights… electric blankets on cold nights… inspirational quotes… York peppermint patties… cucumber water… apples smothered with cinnamon… Bob and Willie… finding someone who loves you for all your weirdness…
I got to thinking about depression. This is something not talked about enough. And that’s a shame, for everyone goes through it, whether diagnosed or not. We shouldn’t be ashamed of being sad. There are times that seem impossible to get through. We fall behind, we fall out of luck. But we must know that we can get through it. For it, too, shall pass. This is what we must always remember, in the eloquent words of Gary Lightbody: “There’s joy not far from here. I know there is.” When depression strikes, remember that there’s always something waiting for us around the bend. There is always something else out there for us. We must pick up the pieces and follow along the path that’s offered. And we must always, above anything else, believe in that.
I got to thinking about changing relationships. We grow older, we change. We find ourselves in a new environment, we change. We find out who we are, we change. And that’s all normal. Sometimes in relationships, we change. When we’re with someone so long, we find ourselves growing and evolving. But if we are the lucky ones, we can change together, grow together. These are the relationships that last. And this is what we all should pray and hope for. It’s not about changing; it’s about changing together.
I got to thinking about agoraphobics. An agoraphobic is defined as: “a person with an irrational fear of the public or open spaces.” But don’t we all act like this at some point in our lives’? Don’t we all want to hide from someone or something? And is there anything wrong with that? Sometimes we just need distance from those things in our lives’ that are bringing us unexplainable anguish. And you know what? I actually kind of understand agoraphobics. The world is the scariest thing in the world. But I do think that life is better if you face that world most days. But taking time to ourselves is just as beneficial. Don’t be afraid of the world, but also remember that time alone is understandable.
I got to thinking about little joys. It’s Starbucks cup time! It’s the holidays! I am devoted to the holidays and everything that comes with it. The holidays are a season of giving and receiving, spending time with family, and eating cookies. What is better than that? Nothing. When the famous Starbucks holiday cups roll out every year, my anger toward the time change and progressing cold dissipates. Those cups signify the beginning of the holiday season. And I find myself most at ease during this time. There’s a sense of warmth and comfort that certainly cannot top this time of year. And I will surely savor every moment of it.
I got to thinking about wishes. It is 11/11, after all. I believe in wishing. There’s nothing more beautiful than making a wish for something better. And what’s even more beautiful: getting our wishes. I believe in writing goals down and doing anything we possibly can to make these goals come true. But this begins with proactive-ness. We cannot sit by and hope that our dreams will come true. We must practice every single day to ensure that our hopes and dreams will become reality. Like the great Walt Disney said: “if you can wish it, you can become it.” So become it.
I got to thinking about self-love. Can love really move mountains? Can love really make you do things you normally wouldn’t do? And if so, will you believe in that? Can you believe in that? I believe love can change anyone’s life. Love is something you have to fight for and understand before it comes your way. Everyone can receive and give love; you just have to love yourself first. And that’s no easy task. But once you figure out your hopes and dreams, you can find the strength to love yourself. And once you do, everything will fall into place. And that will be the moment that you can fall in love with someone else. Wait for this moment. It’ll happen, and you’ll never want it to end.
I got to thinking about Disneyland. It truly is the happiest place on Earth. There’s something magical about Disneyland. I can feel the magic when I enter the park. Every time. Whenever I go to Disneyland, I feel immense joy. And I know that sounds childish and corny; but it’s most certainly not. There’s something so glorious about Disneyland: being a kid for the day, riding inventive rides, and even waiting in lines. Nowhere in the world is like Disneyland. We cannot live out our hopes and dreams as vividly as we can at Disneyland. This one is to Walt Disney, my mastermind idol, for creating such a comforting and magical place. I will always be forever grateful.
I got to thinking about neuroticism. I will be the first to admit it: I’m extremely neurotic. But you know what? That works for me. And it can work for you, too. Those who suffer from neurosis, me included, seem to get things done efficiently and quickly. And who wouldn’t want someone like that around? We neurotic types are also diligent when it comes to being on time and careful when it comes to danger. We are fearful of getting in trouble, so we mind our own business. Yes, I know what you’re thinking: we should all be neurotic! But in all seriousness, it’s okay to be neurotic, as long as it doesn’t take over your life. Live neurotically and happily!
I got to thinking about friends. A friend is someone who knows all about you and likes you anyway. Plain and simple. But why does this spectacular and utterly true quote somehow not seem to fit into reality? We should whole-heartedly love those to whom we are close. We should be there for them in pain and sorrow. We mustn’t give up on them when they do something wrong. These are our real friends. We must love them with everything we have, for if we do not, we cannot be loved in return. And that would the biggest shame of all.
I got to thinking about those who treat adults like children. I must rant. Why does this happen? Why are college students being treated like children? Of course, I cannot name specifics, but it has recently come to my attention that college students are being treated like children. We do not need to be monitored so intricately. As long as we aren’t inflicting pain upon ourselves or others, we are doing the right thing. That must be understood. End of rant.
I got to thinking about hackers. This is something I feel strongly about, for I believe it is a violation that can make us question the intentions of strangers. And that, of course, is a shame; it’s a fact that shouldn’t have to be. Recently, my email was hacked. Needless to say, I was not too pleased. In fact, my overbearing, paranoid mind took over. I began to think of the worst possibilities that could ensue with an email hacking. And let’s just say I covered all ground possible. But I still have this inkling that I could be hacked again. And again. I’m terrified of that, for the repercussions could be disastrous. We can fight back… but really, how much? And at what cost? Thus, hackers have made me more paranoid than normal.
I got to thinking about balance. This kind of balance can be related to everything from eating right to finishing multiple class assignments in a timely manner. Balance, apparently, isn’t always easy for everybody. As a Libra, supposedly I’m good at juggling many things at once. Most days I do find that to be true. I like having a full plate; being busy keeps me on my toes. I must be efficient enough to balance everything. Sometimes I can become overwhelmed, but as long as I take one thing at a time, everything will be okay. So you, my reader, must remember this: balance is about finishing everything, but it’s also about taking things one step at a time. Not everything has to be done in one day. And always, always, always take time for yourself. That will make balancing everything else that much easier.
I got to thinking about the future. This is a touchy subject. But it must be examined and dealt with eventually. I’m a college senior about to go off into the real world. And you know what? That scares me to death. I’ve enjoyed the comfort and learning process of college. I love taking classes and perfecting my writing. But now it must change. I wish I could say that I’m ready for the real world; I’m not. Independence is great, but it’s also something that I must adapt to. No more being a kid. Am I ready for the real world? I sure I hope that answer is yes in seven short months.
I got to thinking about opinions. Differing opinions can cause tension. We fight with those we love because of these differences. And sometimes, we have to state our opinions. But when should we hold back? Should we speak everything that is on our mind? Or should we bite our tongues? If we do bite our tongues, is it to spare someone else? Or is it to spare ourselves? I think offering our opinions is important, but we also must remember that biting our tongues is also necessary. An argument isn’t always worth saying exactly what we think.
I got to thinking about expectations. Some of us have these great expectations not only for ourselves, but for others. And I would argue that expectations are good, but can also be defeating. I stumbled across this quote recently that sums it up: “Sometimes we expect more from others because we would be willing to do that much for them.”
This is something I’ve always had an issue with. I’ve always hoped that people will treat me with the utmost respect and loyalty, as I do the same. But that isn’t always the case. And that’s difficult for me to understand. I would be willing to do anything for those I hold dear to my heart. So why wouldn’t they do the same? It breaks my heart that they wouldn’t. And it’s something that I’m sure I will never be able to fathom or accept. Honestly, part of me wouldn’t even want to. I will always be loyal and faithful to those I love; and I’d hope that they would do the same for me. Isn’t that what we all want? So let’s go do it.
I got to thinking about manual cars. Do you know how to drive one? Most people don’t. I always find those who can to be impressive. We got to talking in one of my classes about things we can do that not everyone else can; this is one of mine. I learned how to drive with a manual car. It was a painful, frustrating, and rewarding experience. I learned in the parking lot of my elementary school alongside my dad. Stalling was my specialty during this learning process. In the beginning I just couldn’t seem to understand the flow between letting up the clutch and hitting the gas. It’s truly not something you can learn in an hour. It takes patience, practice, and skill. Learning how to drive a manual car, even though I don’t drive one anymore, was one of my most rewarding life experiences. It’s a skill I won’t ever forget. But it also allowed me to bond with my dad, as well as learn something incredibly unique. And who wouldn’t want to do that?
I got to thinking about limitations. We all set limits for ourselves. We think that something can’t be inventive enough because there are too many limits. But why not defy those limits? We must go back to our childhood mindsets, back to the time when anything was possible. We dreamt of being a ballerina or a superhero. There wasn’t even a shred of doubt that we couldn’t reach these goals. We were going to do it, and that was that! These dreams always seemed attainable because there weren’t limits as a child. So why can’t that be the case for adults? When presented with an opportunity that seems out of reach, remember what it was like to be a child. You can do anything you want. But you must believe in yourself.
I got to thinking about character inspiration. Writers get inspiration from everything… and everyone. Writing from what you know and notice is simply the most honest and real expression there is, and that translates into better writing. Most of my central characters have been based on those I’ve known in my life, friendly or otherwise. A good writer would never reveal who’s who, but let me tell you this: if you’ve been in my life, chances are high you’re one of my characters. Don’t think you’re not. And if you’ve ever caused me pain, chances are you’ve been pieces of several characters. Like I’ve said before, writers use storytelling as a creative outlet to get out any angst and hurt and sorrow. My advice? Don’t make a writer angry. That is, unless you want to be an antagonist.
I got to thinking about creative outlets. All creative types, me included, need an outlet for their pain and sadness and strife. Creative people can take all the difficult things in their lives’ and make it into something wonderful that is cathartic and uplifting and honest. For me, that outlet is writing. My horoscope (yes, I read my horoscope) told me today to get all that pain and sadness I have been feeling lately out into a creative realm. So I was thinking about how lucky I am to have that. Everyone is down occasionally, or maybe more than occasionally, and we all deal with it in different ways. I love that I can bring my sadness into my writing and deal with it positively. Writing is therapy, and it makes me feel a million times better. Every single time.
I got to thinking about changing. People change. All the time. Third Eye Blind, in “Never let you go” put it rather eloquently: “You say that I’ve changed; well maybe I did. But even if I changed, what’s wrong with it?” Sometimes we are forced to change because of circumstances. Sometimes we merely grow up and find ourselves. And sometimes we realize that who we once were won’t survive the grueling adult world. And you know what? All of those are okay. Changing doesn’t have to be a negative thing. Change is simply a natural part of growing up. After all, you wouldn’t want to be who you were as a teenager forever, would you?
I got to thinking about temptation. In a theology class I’m taking this semester, we have been discussing the temptation that Adam and Eve experienced when the serpent offered them the forbidden fruit. I know that temptation is, for lack of a better word, tempting. There is something intriguing about it. But I have also come to understand that temptation is not usually worth the repercussions. Everyone can relate to being tempted into something dishonorable or shady in our lives. But it is those who find themselves unfazed by temptation that make it the furthest in life. Temptation won’t necessarily give us what we want; temptation might even ruin our lives. And that is something to remember the next time we’re tempted.
I got to thinking about relationships. Someone once told me: “A relationship doesn’t have to be perfect, but a love can be.” And I find this to be accurate. If a relationship was always roses and butterflies, it wouldn’t be real. Nothing is perfect. We aren’t perfect. And that is okay. No one asked us to be. So we must carry that notion forth into our relationships. The love we have for a significant other can be amazing and unequivocal and splendid. We should always fight for these kinds of relationships. This special kind of love cannot be altered. We may find ourselves in predicaments throughout our relationships, but if we can keep that special love in the back of our minds, everything will be okay.
I got to thinking about soul mates. Can a person have more than one soul mate? Or do we have just one person perfectly right for us? Most romantics would say that one soul mate is the only thing plausible. And I would agree with that. I don’t necessarily believe only one person is right for us; I think that there are several people in the world who we could grow old with and find happiness.
But my belief also says that there is one perfect person. There are several “right” people, but one perfect person. And this person is our soul mate. And we don’t always meet our soul mate. Some of us will marry those who are excellent partners, never knowing that our soul mate is still out there. And that is perfectly fine. My advice to all those romantics out there: search for your soul mate, and if you never find that person, know that the one you’re with can be equally as good, but you must have faith. Faith will become reality.
I got to thinking about September 11, 2001. You know the day. You remember exactly what you were doing that fateful day. And it’ll never leave your mind. I was almost eleven-years-old that day, getting ready for school. My mom had heard something on the radio, so she turned on the television. And that’s when my brother and I ran into the room to watch those two planes hit the World Trade Center. I will never forget that day. It changed the United States forever. I would argue that it brought us together, just for a moment, in patriotism. Hopefully, from this day forward, we may find our patriotism without strife. To all those who lost a loved one that day, I am thinking of you. May you get through today with grace and remembrance.
I got to thinking about piracy. I have to rant about something I feel so strongly about. This practice bothers me. Greatly. Every time someone steals a movie or television show from online, writers lose money. And writers are the reason these movies and shows are created! Ripping them off is unkind and unfair. Why would you rip off the people behind the magical essence of these shows? I urge everyone who currently commits this crime (yes, it is illegal) to cease its practice. You wouldn’t steal software a Boeing programmer creates, would you? So don’t steal these creations from amazing writers across the world. Give these masterminds their credit. They whole-heartedly deserve it. Trust me.
I got to thinking about the beauty of the world. Just look around you. This world is beautiful. Ever drive through Big Sur on California Highway 1? You’ll understand why I say this. But besides that, this world is magical. From human creations like the pyramids in Egypt to natural world wonders like the ocean, this world has so much to offer, so much to see. If I were given the time and money, I would certainly travel all over the world to see every beautiful sight written down in every guidebook. Wouldn’t you? To truly understand life, one must understand the world they live in. With that comes appreciation. And shouldn’t we appreciate this wonderful world?
I got to thinking about Twitter. I recently started a Twitter: @carolineadejong. Since Twitter emerged onto the scene, I never found its appeal. Was it for celebrities? Was it for regular people like myself? Or both? Both, I’ve found is the answer to those questions. With this new Twitter account, I’ve decided to update my blog linking both together. This won’t be an immediate thing, of course; technology hasn’t always been my friend. But I will try! I want to get acquainted with the world of Twitter; I want technology to be my friend. So please follow my Twitter! With your follows, maybe I won’t be so technology inept. That is the goal. That is all.
I got to thinking about school. It’s that time of year: back to school. The kids are all buying pencils and crayons; the teenagers are looking for book covers and locker shelves; the college students are unpacking their dorm rooms. We grow anxious about our new teachers and professors, hoping to like and understand them all. We hope that our classes aren’t too difficult, but challenging enough to learn something. Back to school season is an interesting time, to say the least. For me, I always dreaded back to school as a teenager. High school wasn’t my forte, in fact, I dreaded every single day. But as I’ve entered college, back to school doesn’t seem too bad. I love my major and most classes I have taken. Words from someone who has been there: going back to school gets better with age. And you don’t have to do arbitrary art projects!
I got to thinking about my favorite short stories most have not heard of. But you should know these stories! So go look them up and read! You’ll understand why I find them to be so amazing…
“Where will you go when your skin cannot contain you?” by William Gay
“A Stained Letter”
“The All-True Legend of Eliza and Artrum Lake”
“A&P” by John Updike
“City of Broken Hearts”
“The Fireman’s Wife”
Note: If the author isn’t listed, these stories are more difficult to find online or in bookstores. Sadly.
I got to thinking about defense mechanisms. There are times when we put our walls up. Sometimes we cannot handle the pitfalls in our lives’. Sometimes we hurt those we love because we are too afraid of getting hurt. We pick fights instead of letting those we love in. But these defense mechanisms just get in the way. It is merely a softer term for stubborn or immature. We cannot love with walls up. We cannot grow when we guard ourselves from everything. We must lose the defense mechanisms. Pride is much less important when compared to developing and keeping a relationship.
I got to thinking about personalities. Can we ever fully understand those with clashing personalities? Do we want to understand? And if we do, how can we mesh together, without incessant arguments? Or is it ever possible? Will we always have to bite our tongues around those we cannot agree with? I’ve come to realize that we won’t agree with half of what other people say, but finding harmony and balance between agreeing and disagreeing is essential. Sometimes we nod our heads and sometimes we fight for our beliefs. It is all about the time and place and person. Choose your battles wisely.
I got to thinking about running. No, not the satirical thing some call exercise. This kind of running comes from our loneliest thoughts. Sometimes we run away from feelings because it’s easier than putting our hearts out there. We run to escape pain. We run to find something more. We run because we’re afraid someone will find out who we are before we do. And sometimes this running will save us. We may find out who we are. But always know this: running will not solve those things lost in our hearts. We cannot run to avoid. We must run to liberate, and only when liberation must be sought.
I got to thinking about the things we don’t understand. For those cynically-inclined, we fear the things we cannot fathom. For those who tend to see the glass half full, we search for answers to the things we don’t understand. And it is only in this spirit when we can fully know how to accept those things we may understand after a long journey or may never come to understand. Sometimes the answers cannot be understood. And that is okay.
I got to thinking about death. Even though my mood can be “emo,” I am not talking about death in a morbid sense. I am merely trying to understand why death is sometimes more immediate for a 50-year-old than a 90-year-old. How can this be? Why does God choose to take those who still have tons of life ahead, like walking a daughter down the aisle? I’m not sure this concept can be understood. I would like to say that with the death of a loved one comes acceptance, but I would be lying. And I can’t do that. So in this time of mourning, hug those around you. Love them with everything you have. Death is sometimes sneaky.
I got to thinking about Ben Affleck. Today is his 40th birthday! For those of you who know me well acknowledge my love for Ben Affleck. And this is no ordinary love. This love has been since 1997, the year of Good Will Hunting and the year Ben Affleck’s truly eloquent writing skills entered into the public realm. One day I hope to be just as an amazing and published writer as he. After all, I have much to say! So here’s to Ben Affleck. Happy birthday! I will always celebrate. And you should, too!
I got to thinking about summer. There’s something magical about the summer season. This was the season I looked forward to most as a child. I was free from the boredom of school, the incredible amount of rain that winter and spring always brings, and I finally could enjoy some delicious fruit. I still love summer. Living in Los Angeles, summer is definitely less exciting, given the sunny and warm nature of the city year-round. The fascination with summer, though, will never cease. It is the season of weddings, tank tops, and swimming in the nearest lake. My favorite part about summer? That feeling at dusk when the air is still warm and a jacket isn’t necessary. That’s what makes summer truly memorable and lovely.
I got to thinking about distance versus silence. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that there isn’t a difference. There’s a huge difference. Distance is difficult. The feeling of being separated from those you love, for whatever reason, makes us stronger. Distance can give us clarity and confidence; distance can show us where we belong. But most of all, distance always brings
us back. Silence, however, is a demon in itself. Silence begins when we let go of someone or something. We separate ourselves to make things better. Sometimes we do not choose this silence, though. Silence ceases all things, changes all things. With distance, we can always go back. But with silence, we are changed forever. The moral of the story: don’t confuse distance with silence. Silence wreaks havoc upon all of our relationships; distance forces us to realize what we want.
I got to thinking about life experiences. Do we not have enough life experience until we are in
old age? At what point in life can say that our life experiences have made us who we are, have
defined us? Or can we ever? Must we go through something traumatic in order to garner life
experiences? Can those who live charmed and sheltered lives ever gain true life experience? I
am under the firm notion that life experience is based on how we see the world, what we do with
our time here. We do not need to be middle aged to understand the world. We must observe and
watch and write it all down. Seeing the world through others can be just as impacting.
I got to thinking about the day’s cards. This expression was recently said to me. The day’s cards
are loosely related to fate. Sometimes the day’s cards hold for us something spectacular, like
winning something we hadn’t expected. But sometimes the day’s cards give us a flat tire, or bad
news about a family member. We cannot predict the day’s cards. We cannot change the cards.
But we shouldn’t fear them, either, for if we fear the day’s cards the best of us will be gone
forever. Don’t let the day’s cards, the unpredictability of life, get in the way of happiness. Fate
will lead us to where we should be, anyway.
I got to thinking about decision. We make decisions every day, minor as well as life-changing. Sometimes, though, we would rather avoid something than make a decision. But what we don’t realize is that not making a decision is making a decision in itself. Why not control what little we can control in this life? If we choose to not make a decision, we are choosing to not intervene. But we must. It’s easy to intervene in our friends’ lives, but somehow, intervening in our own is a difficult feat. However, if we do not, we are giving away any kind of choice we have. So celebrate your choices. Make a decision.
I got to thinking about “thinspiration.” I cannot classify that as a real word. After hearing news that Kate Upton, the beautiful, slightly curvaceous (curvy to the industry’s ridiculous standards) model is “fat.” The blog, Skinny Gossip, claims that Kate Upton is “piggy.” So I had to rant.
These so-called “thinspiration” blogs make me mad. No, they make me disappointed. The industry has changed its ideal form of beauty in the last decade or so. If you’ve ever watched the original Beverly Hills 90210 (no not the crappy CW version), you’ve seen how the sizes of actresses have changed. Jennie Garth wasn’t rail thin, and certainly looked normal, and she was the queen bee.
So what has changed in the last ten years? I’d like to give the credit to pro-anorexia blogs. But I think it’s more about perception of self. If we stopped and looked at ourselves in the mirror occasionally, without judgment, we would see something beautiful. But that comes with acceptance. It isn’t necessary to be rail thin. In fact, I would argue that it takes much more courage to flaunt a body that isn’t just flesh and bone. And when you can do that, whatever size you are, that is when you’ll find your confidence, your sense of self. And those are the people we should celebrate. End of rant.
I got to thinking about the place where I am free. This is a place others may not always understand. This is my special place. And we all have one. Sometimes it takes us years to find this place. If we are so lucky, we will find this place as children. And we will keep it. We will fight for it. We won’t ever give it up. That shows our bravery, our courage.
For me, this place is buried deep within my soul. This is the place where my thoughts are examined, where my heart understands my head, and where my full identity can come out. And I was lucky enough to find this place as a child. I knew I loved storytelling from the days of playing Barbies. As a writer, like with any career, there are obstacles I will have to endure. But the end goal is way too spectacular to give up: to be called a published writer. And it’s not just the goal that matters; the journey should be celebrated. After all, this is the place where I am free.
I got to thinking about being young. Youth is wasted on the young, let’s be real. We don’t realize how spectacular and simple our childhoods are until it’s over. We take being young for granted. As for myself, I’ve always been an old soul, but I somehow cannot seem to get over the fact that my childhood is over. Why did I complain about it? How charmed, it was. And now, here I am, wishing to turn back the clock. But we cannot turn back time. And I honestly believe that is one of the scariest things about growing up. We realize that being young was a perfect moment in time that’ll never occur again. But if we’re so lucky, we may someday experience that youthfulness again. That’s what families are for.
I got to thinking about endings. You’ve all heard the saying: when one chapter closes, another one begins. We must finish one chapter to start another. Sometimes, though, we don’t want to close a chapter to begin the new one. I’ve had wonderful experiences in my life that I didn’t ever want to end. It was heartbreaking moving on, but somehow, I made it through. Then there are those experiences we all wish would end. And fast. We want to begin anew. But what I’ve realized recently is that we cannot rush things. Time is the same for good and bad experiences. We must learn from our bad experiences and savor deeply our good experiences. After all, there’s always going to be another spectacular chapter waiting for us.
I got to thinking about fate. Is everything already planned out for us? Do we have choices? Make choices? Want choices? Should we take the path that’s offered and hold on tight? Or should we walk where there isn’t a path and follow our hearts? Or do our hearts have our best intentions already, leading us to the end of the road? But maybe, just maybe, there is a bend in the road. We have to decide. Will we follow our fate? Or will we change direction, just for a moment, or for a lifetime, to see what is around the bend? Is that what life is about?
I got to thinking about secrecy. Why do we keep things from those close to us? Are we afraid that they’ll judge us? Get rid of us like an old television set from the 90s? Being an open book doesn’t necessary work for everyone; sometimes secrets keep things interesting. But sometimes secrets can ruin relationships. There’s quite a difference between withholding information and forgetting to mention something important. But where do we draw the line? How do we know where this line ceases and begins? What I’ve come to understand is that secrecy can alter things in ways we never anticipated. We don’t have to tell everyone everything. However, we must tell those we love the things that can change our lives’. If we don’t, we are not only being unfair to ourselves, living in denial, but also to those close to us.
I got to thinking about annoyances. I get annoyed easily. And I’m not saying that’s a good quality; but it’s a fact. Little things have always bothered me: gum popping, not throwing away things immediately, stopping in the middle of a walkway. But I got to thinking that I am choosing to be annoyed. I don’t think I will ever be cured of these annoyances, per se, but I can make myself tolerate them a little bit more. Thinking about things that annoy me just irritates me that much more. So for those things that annoy me, now more than ever, I will stop and push those thoughts out. Being annoyed is rather annoying, after all.
I got to thinking about strength. Not the kind of strength we fight for at the gym, lifting weights and taking classes that make us queasy. This kind of strength is greater than that; this kind of strength comes from within, and must be enacted during the worst of times. Being strong, holding on, makes us better, makes us able to get on with life. We must be strong. For this kind of strength is what separates us from the weak. Strength is not about luck. Strength is practiced every day. Life is much easier when we are strong. And when we are, there’s always something spectacular around the bend.
I got to thinking about marriage. I recently read an article about marriage. This article showed that young people, in my age group and older, aren’t as keen about marriage as they once were. These people studied explained that marriage then baby isn’t necessarily the norm anymore. And you know what? That’s a shame. Call me old-school: but I like the institution of marriage. I respect it. Marriage means you can’t give up at the drop of a hat, even if sometimes that seems like the only choice. We shouldn’t be degrading marriage; we should be celebrating it. Yes, divorce is all over the media and in our loved ones lives’, but next time you hear divorce, think about those who actually make it. Those people are to be commended, for marriage has once again proved itself. And it will again and again.
I got to thinking about things coming easy. In our lives we will try many things ranging from riding a bike to driving a car to passing a stressful exam like the MCAT. And sometimes these things are easy. We hear the success stories about those people who reach their destination right away. But what we don’t hear: those stories that aren’t quite a success. And they’re out there. We don’t like to talk about these stories because they’re flawed, different, and confusing. But we should. Things aren’t always easy the first time. Or the second. Or the third. But what I’ve come to discover after many miss-falls and attempts that we mustn’t give up. Things can’t always be easy. And that’s hard to understand, yes, but it also makes those trials and tribulations that much more rewarding when we finally get it right.
I got to thinking about longevity. How do we achieve longevity? Must we eat salads and protein for most meals, skipping that delicious tiramisu? Must we exercise 150 minutes a week, like the gloriously insightful WebMD suggests? Living a long time is about that, sure, but it’s also about taking time for ourselves. We must be appreciative of those around us, and those things in our lives that make us happy. But sometimes, time alone is what really counts. Read a book, watch a Law and Order: SVU marathon, and eat that tiramisu. Longevity is also about happiness. Doing those things we love will surely lead us to long lives.
I got to thinking about letting go. When do we know that it’s time to let go? How can we know? And will we do it? Letting go of things or people is absurdly difficult. Generally, our hearts tell us to hold on and our heads tell us to let go. Thank you, Grease, for explaining that to me many moons ago. But in all seriousness: letting go can be healthy, even if it’s terrifying. Sometimes there is something better for us around the corner. Sometimes we must let go of our past to enter our future. And sometimes, that will change everything. But we mustn’t be afraid of that, for it could be the biggest reward of all.
I got to thinking about inspiration. Where do these creative people get their inspiration? Does that inspiration automatically translate to paper or lyrics or art? I’d like to think of myself as a creative person. My answer to this is simple: inspiration can come from anywhere. My Duke Creative Writers’ Workshop instructor, Adam, a wise playwright, once told me to write what I notice. He said to observe everything, everyone. You never know where inspiration will come from. Just the other day, I was eavesdropping in on a conversation like a good writer would, and heard some interesting things that could easily go into my novel. And it’s that kind of every day observation that makes me ponder the world, and that gives me utter inspiration to write my heart out. I’m inspired most days; that’s real creativity in action.
I got to thinking about keeping in touch. There are those who will fight for friendship; there are those who will not. What separates them? Keeping in touch. Keeping in touch may seem so menial, but it’s the root of friendship. We cannot sustain friendship by putting those we love on the backburner. And you know what? Keeping in touch is a simple act that has been lost. And it’s a shame. Call that friend you haven’t in awhile, even if they don’t keep in touch either. Friendship is a two-way street, but sometimes just one person has to make the first move. Be that person.
I got to thinking about fathers, just in the spirit of Father’s Day. There are those fathers who work too much; there are those fathers who neglect their daughters, leaving them to become promiscuous or violent or depressed; there are those fathers who hold their daughter’s hand in times of crisis… the kind of father who would do anything for his little girl. Fortunately, my father was type number three. I’ve come to realize how lucky I am. Not every girl has a father so devoted, so caring, so kind. Even girls I grew up with, whether they were my friends or not, didn’t have as loving fathers as I have. So, in the spirit of Father’s Day, I give a shout out to my father, and all the fathers like him. These are the fathers who should be emulated and celebrated. Thanks to them, little girls turn out well. At least, I’d like to think so.
I got to thinking about romance. What constitutes a romantic gesture? Buying your significant other roses? Chocolate? Flying across the country to see them? Personally, I’m partial to all. But I’m not really the type to be romantic. I would call myself a realist, certainly not a hopeless romantic. But you wouldn’t ever get that from my writing. I’m currently writing a love triangle and it’s simply divine. The romance is clear-cut and full of fireworks. Writing just makes all of that easier to say, more contained and special. Since I consider myself a realist, romance can be an awkward thing. But what I’ve discovered in the past four years: romance can be brought out in anyone with the right person. And romance doesn’t have to be a public display of affection. Romance can be eloquent, unequivocal love letters. Remember that.
I got to thinking about plans. There are those of us who plan everything in advance, from our meal on Thursday night to our vacation in Bora Bora for Christmas. Then, there are those of us who don’t plan past 5 o’clock. I will attest to being the former. I love plans. I like to know what I’m doing the next day or the next week. This isn’t because I need total control; well, maybe a little bit. But I enjoy having plans because then I have something to look forward to.
One of my new favorite things is to sit outside at my local Starbucks and simply read and read until my heart is content. I make a plan for this two or three times per week. And I look forward to it. There’s nothing wrong with setting a plan occasionally. When we do, we’ll realize the finer things in life. That’s really what life is about, right?
I got to thinking about pride. We all have it. But the question is: what’s the fine line between pride and stubbornness? In my experience, the line is so fine that we can’t always tell the difference. Pride can get in the way of things. Pride allows us to forgo apologies; pride helps us stick to our guns, even if we aren’t always right. All in all, pride is merely a tactic for those who won’t admit when they’re wrong. And let’s face it: we can’t always be right. But we can step away from our pride for just a moment each day. If we do this, we can unlock the door to owning up to our mistakes. And if we do that, there’s nothing we can’t do.
I got to thinking about missed opportunity. If we’re lucky, we’re presented with options. Sometimes our dreams come in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes we have to choose. This missed opportunity is based on our choices. We could’ve done that, we should’ve done this, why didn’t we choose that? And sometimes this missed opportunity makes us full of regret, leaving us to feel bitter and angry. But we shouldn’t feel angry. We chose based on what we felt, or needed to do, in the moment. We cannot regret that. Also, we should remember that getting a choice is the luckiest thing we’ll ever get. There’s no missed opportunity in that.
I got to thinking about love. Love makes us better, loves makes us stronger, and love lets us forgive. There is nothing grander than love. Love is so much more than love. Love is unconditional friendship. You know you’re in love with someone when their face won’t leave your thoughts, when everything you see reminds you of them, when there’s not a day that goes by in which you are incredibly grateful to have found them, but terrified that it’ll all go away in an instant. We must always remember to love those we hold dear to our hearts with a sense of friendship. There is no love without friendship. Friendship and love go hand in hand, because, what is love without a little laughter?
I got to thinking about goodbyes. Sometimes it’s not a ‘see you later.’ Sometimes we must say goodbye, and that’s that. I used to not watch new TV shows just because I knew that one day they would come to an end and I would have to say goodbye. Then I realized that was how I lived my whole life; not having experiences and being afraid to say goodbye. I struggled in relationships, friendships, and everything else because of this. But then I learned that it is okay to say goodbye. It may be awful at the time, but time heals all goodbyes.
I got to thinking about doing things alone. You know, going to the grocery store, parallel parking, seeing a movie in theatres, going out for dinner. We never seem to realize how different things are alone. What fun is it to go to the grocery store without a friend? But we must adapt. We must come to understand that we can’t always have a companion for life’s everyday tasks. While that’s ideal, it’s far from reality. It’s just the adjustment period of becoming an adult. Not the kind of adult who turns eighteen in high school and now has voting rights. This is the kind of adult who lives his or her own life. And that’s the scariest thing of all.
I got to thinking about… if you were here beside me. I would tell you that I’ve missed you; I would tell you that every stupid fight we’ve had doesn’t matter. We are invincible. The long nights without your soothing voice, well, it’s driving me mad. I miss it all. I miss seeing your handsome, perfect face. And I don’t expect this sadness to subside without a fight. I’ve come to realize that I’m simply lost without you. I don’t need you; I want you. I want you to be near me. Always. The decision you made as a teenager changed my life; we got to be near each other. Always. In the words of Gary Lightbody: “the curve of you was curved on me.” Forever and always.
I got to thinking about loneliness. How do we fathom life without company? How do we get through the day without having a meaningful conversation with those we love? How can we shake this lonely feeling? I’m not sure there’s a way to get rid of loneliness. I believe loneliness cannot be cured; however, it can be altered. We can alter the way we feel. We can fill the gaps of time with things we love: reading, writing, watching television, exercising. Though we cannot cure our loneliness, we can make sure to fill our time wisely, to not dwell on those things we cannot have in that moment. For time will give us what we want. We must be patient with our loneliness, and realize that it will slowly subside.
I got to thinking about taking people for granted. Why do we do this? Do we think we can get someone better, even though the best people for us are right in front of our eyes? Why are we so bold and disrespectful? I think that sometimes we take people we love for granted because we know they’ll always be there for us. But will they? They could walk away at any moment, and for good reason, if we push them away so much. Taking the ones we love for granted doesn’t make things better, it doesn’t get us what we want. We are just too blind to see that sometimes the best people for us are standing by our sides. These are the people who won’t run away; these are the people to keep. Don’t take them for granted, not even for a second.
I got to thinking about nerves. There’s really nothing we can do about nerves, except for taking a deep breath, letting ourselves know that it’ll all be okay. Nerves sneak up on us and take over moments we cannot control, nor ever get back. But sometimes, nerves are healthy. Nervousness forces us to do better, be better, and work harder. All we can do about nerves at the end of the day: keep our belief in ourselves. With that, nerves will slowly subside.
I got to thinking about birthdays. Birthdays are important. Birthdays are special occasions. Birthdays enable us to be the king or queen for the day. And what’s more exciting than that? But if your loved ones forget your birthday, you’re out of luck; more than that, you’re deeply hurt. How can someone’s own children disregard their mother’s birthday? How insensitive can you be? Don’t ever forget a loved one’s birthday. Birthdays aren’t really about getting older; birthdays are about being pampered by the ones we love.
I got to thinking about leaving home. Leaving home for college, a job, or merely a change of scenery. I’ve never dealt with leaving home like an adult should. I cry, thinking that the world is over. But in fact, it’s not. I leave home for several reasons: I don’t like my hometown, the weather, the vibe. My college isn’t near home, either. And I don’t plan on coming back to my hometown after I graduate. I wish I could or would. But I’ve discovered that happiness begins in a place where you’re settled, where you’re happy. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. I’m spreading my wings. I will face leaving home with confidence, poise, and happiness. It’s really just about adjustment, anyway. Once you’re adjusted, any place can be home.
I got to thinking about Catholic guilt. It’s true, you know. We Catholics feel guilty about anything. I’ve held onto some guilt my entire life. This guilt hangs over our heads, forcing us to stress and make the next decision with more clarity and poise. Does this guilt make us better? Wiser? Stronger? I think that it does. It makes us know what we’ve done was wrong, that we must fix it the next time around. And yes, it is stressful, no doubt. But I’ve also discovered that Catholic guilt has served to help me make wiser decisions. I cannot do what is always right for me. It isn’t all about me, unfortunately. But it’s also important to remember that letting things hang over our heads doesn’t solve anything. Feel your Catholic guilt, and make it better the next time. That is all.
I got to thinking about selfishness. What’s the difference between independence and selfishness? Are we considered to be selfish if we don’t count on anyone for anything? Are we snobs? What if we don’t expect anything, therefore share anything, without question? Can we be independent without being selfish? Or do these things go hand in hand?
I got to thinking about articulation. As a writer, I find myself telling stories left and right. Humbly, I’d say that these stories are well thought-out and rehashed to my best ability. But this doesn’t seem to be quite the same in speech. My writing appears to be articulate; my speaking skills do not. Why is this? My stories seem to start and stop when I tell them aloud; there’s never a perfect flow. My inciting moments are left in the dust. How is it that I can be articulate in the written word, but not in everyday speech?
I got to thinking about discovery. We discover new things everyday: things about ourselves, things about others, things about the world. The most amazing part of discovery about the world is that we learn what is new, what is possible. This possibility rests in our laps. We must open our minds and our hearts to these vast possibilities. In this, we can discover who we want to be, where we want to be. And this is an amazing, exhilarating way to live. I’ve discovered many things about myself in college, simply from living in a new city. I know what I like about the world, and I know what I don’t like. I’ve learned this from keeping an open mind and discovering what the world has to offer. I challenge each and every one of you to do the same. Discover the possibilities; follow your heart.
I got to thinking about the ocean. The ocean and its vastness. The ocean and its dream-inducing qualities. The ocean, to me, is one of the most beautiful sights in the world. But even better: the drive on California Highway 1 from San Simeon to Big Sur. The ocean is as blue as a Crayola crayon. The road is windy and quite intimidating, but oh-so-gorgeous. It’s one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. And sights like that are important for us writers; we create ideas through beauty and vastness. We become immersed in this fantasy-like world that just so happens to be real. Big Sur doesn’t seem real; its loveliness seems too good to be true. But it’s real. And I highly recommend anyone taking that drive. You’ll be holding on for dear life; but it’s definitely worth it.
I got to thinking about travel. I’m feeling a little bit of wanderlust as of late. The semester is ending and I’m taking a much needed, relaxing vacation: a road trip. There’s something inspiring about road trips. You get to take the scenic route. You get to see things you normally don’t see, sometimes things you’ll never see again. That’s magical. There’s so much world for us to see, and we must take advantage of it. I won’t be back online for a few days, but know that my next few posts will be inspiring. I’ll write down every detail of my trip. After all, the best writing comes from what we notice.
I got to thinking about the difference between living and existing. What is this difference? Do we live to exist? Or exist to live? I’ve always found myself pondering this question. I find it to be like this: existing is going to that 9 to 5 job everyday that you don’t enjoy. It may bring in money, but it doesn’t satisfy you, it doesn’t make you want to be better, learn more, or ensure happiness. Living is doing what you love. Maybe this doesn’t produce much money, but at least you can say at the end of the day that you’re doing what you love, that you’re happy, that you’re following your dream. I’ve always found this to be a writer’s existence. We write because it makes us happy, that is really all we can ask for. I feel alive when I write; I can express myself in ways that I never knew were possible. This is my dream. And I will always follow it. So be brave, follow your dream. You won’t regret living.
I got to thinking about flexibility. Not the kind you learn in gymnastics class as a child, but the kind you learn in everyday life when things change, when you have to adapt. I was supposed to see my beloved band, Snow Patrol, in 2006. But timing changed all of that. The liquid bombings in London derailed Snow Patrol’s travel plans, forcing them to cancel their appearance at the concert. I was devastated. This was my band. My exuberant smile turned to a frown the moment I found out Snow Patrol wasn’t coming.
So I had to be flexible; I had to adapt. Let me tell you: that was no easy feat. And I’ve been waiting and waiting for them to come back to the United States. A great person in my life found Snow Patrol’s tour schedule a month ago and discovered they’d be in the United States in May. We immediately bought tickets. All it took was five years of patience. To follow up my previous post, patience granted me my wish. And it was certainly worth the wait. In the words of Gary Lightbody: “Light up, light up. As if you have a choice. Even if you cannot hear my voice. I’ll be right beside you, dear.”
I got to thinking about patience. Why is this world so impatient? Why must we all seek instant gratification? Isn’t anticipation worth the wait for something spectacular? Impatience is all around us. And we accept that. But we shouldn’t. Patience is a virtue for a reason. Patience won’t necessarily get you what you want, but it definitely will ease your mind. I’ve learned that waiting for something is the best option for many reasons. I have a clear mind, and I know that something great out there is waiting for me. If you’re patient, great things will come. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day, but eventually. And that’s certainly worth the wait.
I got to thinking about distance. There’s this saying I heard recently: “Sometimes you just need to distance yourself from people. If they care, they’ll notice. If they don’t, you know where you stand.” I’m guilty of pulling away from people when they disappoint me. But I’ve come to understand that distance isn’t a bad thing. Sometimes space will give us answers, and solve our dilemmas. We can deal with these dilemmas in an easier fashion if we have time to think it over. But I’ve always discovered that we must give those who keep crawling back into our lives a chance. These are the people who seek our friendship, who want to be forgiven. And these are the people we must forgive. So give yourself distance. See who comes back. It isn’t a mind game. It’s merely figuring out what you want in a friend after a betrayal.
I got to thinking about fear. Everyone is afraid of something. I’m afraid of driving. Not so much being a passenger, but being the person in control of the car itself. That’s a scary thing. But does our fear help us? Make us stronger? Force us to work harder? I know that my fear of driving forces me to be the safest driver possible. I drive as slow as a ninety-year-old woman. But you know what? That works for me. It helps me overcome this fear I have of driving. So do this: whatever it is that you fear, do one thing that makes you feel more comfortable to overcome it. For me, that’s driving safely. It may not be ideal for the person behind me, but at least I feel confident that I’ll get from point A to point B. We’ll all learn to conquer our fears if we do it our way.
I got to thinking about grammar. I’m a writer; we think about these things. It’s interesting to me that some of my peers are still contemplating how to use you’re versus your. Shouldn’t we have learned this in second grade? How can these students get into college without understanding basic grammar principles? I’m outraged by this. This outrage could spark from the mere fact that I believe in grammar, or it may simply be because all grammar really takes is a couple minutes of editing, a couple minutes of thinking over what you just wrote. And why don’t some people do that? They’re lazy. Get over the laziness. Proper grammar should be mandatory. Recognizing this and ranting about this, well, that’s a writer thing.
I got to thinking about popularity. There are those days when we all wish we were “cool.” Those days in high school or college, when the hottest parties are going on and we want an invitation. But what does it mean to be popular? Does is mean selling out? Do we have to change who we are, just to fit in? Popularity is overrated. Always has been; always will be. So why do we seek popularity? I’ve come to learn that popularity is merely about acceptance. We want anyone to think we’re worthy of their group. But you know what? Of course we’re worthy. We don’t need the approval of anyone else to fit in. Make your own group. You don’t want to be friends with people who only accept you after you do something “cool.” Know that popularity comes and goes. But being true to oneself doesn’t ever fade. And that’s what’s ultimately important.
I got to thinking about love triangles. I adore love triangles. I am fascinated by them. I love to write them; I love to read them; I love to watch them. This is not to say that I would want to be involved in a love triangle. However, my fascination for love triangles is reflected in my stories. The novel I’m currently writing, tentatively titled, The Sophie Shelton Chronicles, tells a story of a college coed conflicted between her feelings for two different guys. And it’s been amazing to write. There’s a sense of understanding when it comes to love triangles. We choose a side. We have to root for someone. And that’s exciting. But the most exciting part is writing the character that chooses, explaining why she chooses this person. We cannot always explain what our heart says. But love triangles can explain this common question.
I found this article on Yahoo! the other day. Apparently I’m not the only one fascinated with love triangles…
I got to thinking about pity. Why do we feel sorry for ourselves? Why do we insist others grieve with us? And if they don’t, we think the world is against us. But it isn’t. How can we overcome this? Will we overcome this?
I won’t lead you on; I’m one of these people. When my beloved grandfather died two years ago, I was grieving alone. The friends around me at the time didn’t ask about it, they didn’t show me that they were there for me. And that broke my heart. I wanted them to grieve with me; I wanted them to feel sorry for my loss. But you know what? I shouldn’t have asked for so much. Yes, they should’ve been there more; but how could they possibly grieve over something foreign to them? Once I learned this, I realized that grief is personal. However, being a good friend means dropping everything; it means doing everything to help the process of grief.
I got to thinking about chivalry. Why doesn’t the male youth of America know this? Were they simply not taught this? It baffles me that males my age talk about derogatory things in front of women, don’t open doors, don’t stand up when a woman comes to a table, and don’t pull chairs out. I’m not saying I’m a feminist—far from it—but there’s a certain expectation boys should learn from an early age. Chivalry hasn’t died, but it certainly is on a break. Let’s bring it back. To every young male in America: be chivalrous, respectful. This will impress any woman. Plus, you’ll get points in my book.
I got to thinking about appreciation. How much do we really appreciate each other? Do we always say ‘thank you?’ Do we always make sure our friends and family know just how much we need and love them? I think there’s a definite lack of appreciation in this world. We don’t always acknowledge that chivalrous man who opens the door for us; we don’t always tell our mothers and fathers how excellent their cooking is. And that’s a shame. We should acknowledge each other more. We should show our appreciation every day. This is to my mother, for her wonderful meals she makes every time I’m home. And for my father, who makes the best tacos in the world. I love you two! You’re amazing and I appreciate you abundantly.
I got to thinking about religion. At what point do we consider ourselves to be religious? Is merely believing in God, in heaven enough to be called religious? Sometimes I wish I were more religious than I am. I fully believe in God and pray most nights, but I don’t seem to make it to mass very often. And that’s a shame. I think religion is an amazing outlet because it gives us something bigger than ourselves to believe in. We think higher, believe higher, and know that there is life for us after death. Thus, death becomes a less intimidating element we all must face if we know God is waiting for us at the end of the road. How do I know this? It’s simple. I believe. And that makes everything in life much easier for me. I have someone always watching over me, protecting me. Religion makes me realize that I’m not alone. And that’s really all I could ever ask for.
I got to thinking about self-reliance. There’s a certain point when we all have to grow up and begin to rely on ourselves. But when is that point? And when do we reach the point where others will have to rely on us? Henry Ford once said, “Chop your own wood and it will warm you twice.” I’ve always found myself to be independent. I don’t rely on anyone else for most things. But I’ve found that as I’ve gotten older, it’s okay to rely on others for some things. Being fiercely independent is a quality most people yearn for, but sometimes we have to ask for help. We cannot do everything ourselves. Do what you can on your own, but ask for help when need be.
I got to thinking about forgiveness. Again. I think about this a lot. Maybe because it’s so difficult for me to forgive. And you know what? I’m only human. Why is it so much easier for us to forgive a stranger than someone we love? Why do we accept apologies from that moron who hit our car, but not from our friends and family?
I believe this: it’s much easier to push away someone you’ve gotten close to, someone you shared your soul with, someone who may know your deepest, darkest secrets. We push away those we love because we’re vulnerable. We don’t want to feel this vulnerability. But I’ve learned that we must forgive these people. These are the people who love us, who seek our forgiveness. That must mean something. So do this: if someone you love breaks your heart, trust, or something tangible that cannot be replaced, learn to forgive. It’s much easier than being bitter. It’s much more gratifying than holding a grudge. And at the end of the day, if you have forgiven someone, you have done something spectacular. Keep those who love you close. Forgive.
I got to thinking about green. It’s my favorite color, after all. Isn’t it obvious by the color scheme of my blog? I recently stumbled across an article that described what our favorite colors mean about us. For instance, since I love green, I am sympathetic and fiercely loyal. I can definitely stand behind the loyal part… I will be your friend ‘til the end if you so choose. But I wouldn’t call myself sympathetic. It’s a good quality… just not one of mine. Green lovers also don’t take crap. I’d say that’s true. And finally, green lovers are generally humble, even though they’re amazing at what they do best. Are you a green lover? Does this describe you? It’s funny to me that my favorite color does, indeed, describe some of my qualities.
I got to thinking about success. When do we achieve success? Is it after we get what we want? Is it getting a dream job? Or is there more to success that merely getting what you want? I define success as setting out to do something and completing it, whether or not you get what you want. Success is determination. Success is not results; it’s completion of a desired goal. So if you complete a goal, whether or not you get results, you are successful. Sometimes we don’t get what we want. And that’s okay. As long as we tried to get what we want, that’s when we know that we are truly successful. There’s no failure in success. We did what we could, and that, at the end of the day, is more than enough.
I got to thinking about high aspirations. We set short-term and long-term goals every day. We aspire to be more than we are. But we must also realize that our goals aren’t always in reach instantly; that shouldn’t stop us from believing and dreaming. There’s this quote by Louisa May Alcott that I love: “Far away in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow them.” So do this: follow your heart, set your aspirations high. You never know when you’re going to reach them, but you can always follow them. Someday, those dreams will come true if you follow them long enough. Never give up on your goals, no matter how out of reach they may seem sometimes.
I got to thinking about karma. What goes around comes around, right? If we do the right thing, will we be led to better things? That doesn’t always seem to be the case. Just because we’re the victim sometimes doesn’t mean we’ll experience justice. Even if we act accordingly, karma doesn’t always seem to act in our favor. Why is this? Shouldn’t we have good karma if we do the right thing the majority of the time? Honestly, I find this to be completely unfair. And I know, I know: life isn’t fair. But sometimes, it should be. What goes around should come around. I’ve been baffled by this lately. Hopefully, someday, I will understand why things turn out the way they do. And that’s simply all I need. Karma will come around.
I got to thinking about true happiness. What exactly does it mean to be happy? Does it mean you get everything you ask for? Does it mean wealth and stability? Does it mean true love and family? I don’t really think you can put a general definition on the word happy. Everyone defines happiness differently. We spend so much effort trying to make ourselves happy. We eat at fancy restaurants, buy the pair of shoes we have been eyeing for months, and force ourselves into situations we think will make us feel better. So the question I ask myself is: what do I define as happy? Is that what I feel? Usually I’ll say yes to my definition of happiness, and that is all I can ask for. That is all any of us can ask for.
I got to thinking about the mind of a writer. It’s a crazy thing, you know. Writers, for the most part, are generally quieter types. Writers are too busy noticing things and watching people to make conversations. After all, the best writing comes from things we know, things we notice. Most people just see what’s in front of them. Writers don’t. Writers analyze, over-analyze, explore the possibilities. And that whole thing about creative people being tortured? It’s true. Writers are tortured. Writers get out their aggression and angst simply in writing. We don’t hit punching bags, we don’t pick fights, we write about those things that make us hurt or hostile. Am I tortured? Of course; I’m a writer. And you know what? That’s what makes for the best stories. So I’m okay with that.
I got to thinking about consideration. What does it take to be considerate? How do we know if we’re being considerate? At what point do we put the needs of others above our own? I find consideration to be a simple matter of understanding. When someone asks you not to do something that annoys them, you don’t do it anymore. But why is this not such a simple concept to most people? Where do we learn to be considerate? Is this innate? Or this consideration something we learn from our parents?
However we learn the basic principles of consideration, we must remember that it isn’t all about us. That would be much easier, but it wouldn’t be a learning process. We cannot always put our needs first. When practicing consideration, remember that someone else may need something greater than you; remember to be understanding. After all, understanding is all consideration really takes. Well, that, and an awareness of other people. If you’re considerate, the favor will be returned.
I got to thinking about fairy tales. Why do we wish that our lives were as perfect as a fairy tale? Is it because the girl always gets the guy in the end? Is it because we wish our lives were just as uncomplicated? I think we do. But the next time you wish to be in a fairy tale, remember this: fairy tales end. What happened to Cinderella and the Prince after the movie ended? Who knows? The fairy tale ended. And maybe, you argue, the movie ended and that was that, but what goes on after the fairy tale is the most important. Relationships aren’t a fairy tale every day. Relationships are hard work. But when they’re right, they’re everlasting. Real love stories never have endings. Real, complicated love stories are what we should yearn for, what we should fight for.
I got to thinking about having faith. There is nothing stronger than faith. There is nothing wiser than faith. There is nothing more important than faith. So why do we not have faith in things? In ourselves? In God? We must have faith. Life without faith is like life without fresh air. We cannot carry on without faith. Eventually, we will lose our way in this world, and possibly not know how to come back. So put your faith into something. With that, you must believe in yourself. You must believe in the world’s possibilities. Faith will soothe us, comfort us, and make us strong. If you have faith, if you believe that all things are possible, then you’ll live a full and happy life. And isn’t that what we all want?
I got to thinking about “The Bachelor.” Yeah, that reality television show. I love it. But I didn’t love this season’s finale. I have to rant about it, you see; I’m quite unimpressed. Ben Flajnik, first of all, was one of the most boring bachelors in the show’s history. His personality is about as developed as a stuffed animal. My personal favorite bachelor? Andrew Firestone. But enough about the attractiveness of Andrew Firestone.
In last night’s finale, Ben did the unthinkable. He chose Courtney Robertson as his final pick. Courtney is crazy. She was hostile to the girls throughout the show, stripped down to her skivvies twice, and touched her hair more often than she spoke… which was too much. Ben knew that Courtney was rude and had two distinct personalities, yet he still chose her as his final pick. And he proposed! I guess Ben got what he deserved. He’s a moron. Here’s to hoping that Emily Maynard, the next bachelorette, isn’t so moronic.
I got to thinking about homesickness. Leaving home at any age is difficult. And I don’t think it gets any easier. You grow used to your environment at home, and then you’re taken out of it, and everything seems so out of sorts, so odd. There are days when I don’t think I have fully adjusted to life away from my home. That’s a scary thought. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only one who gets homesick. Being so far from home, I tend to get sad some days. And even though I feel like I’m the only one… it’s totally normal. In fact, it’s a good thing. I’ve come to realize that I have an amazing life back home. But that doesn’t mean I cannot have an amazing life in Los Angeles. Home is where the heart is, but Los Angeles is where the sun is. I have the best of both worlds.
I got to thinking about finding friends. Sometimes we find friends quickly; sometimes it takes years for a friendship to develop. We search for a commonality in our friends, something we can relate to. And when that happens, that’s truly magical. There’s this quote by C.S. Lewis that I love: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another, ‘What! You too? I thought I was the only one.’” I remember meeting one friend who changed my life forever. We have so many similarities. But, we also have differences. And our differences make it interesting. We found each other through a commonality of writing, which is obviously my favorite thing! This friendship was instant, but friendships that begin over time are just as amazing. Remember: our friends make us feel like we aren’t alone in this big world. And what more could you ask for?
I got to thinking about tact. Being tactful. So I’m going to rant about something that happened to me recently. Isn’t tact something you’re supposed to know once you hit a certain age, say twenty? Honesty is good. But being tactful when presenting something is even better. You can frame something awful in the best way possible. You can always bring out the good in the bad. And if you can’t? Well, that’s what constructive criticism is for. No one needs to be told something hurtful without a constructive way to fix it. So this is what I suggest: be tactful. Say what you mean, but in a constructive and kind manner. Why is that so difficult for some people to understand?
I got to thinking about decision. We all make decisions every day. Sometimes these decisions are minor: a hamburger from In-N-Out or a salad from Trader Joe’s? Sometimes these decisions are bigger than food or what to wear. Sometimes these decisions weigh us down. And I can’t help but think that making a wrong decision will change everything.
Will a wrong decision make me regret? Will a wrong decision cause me unnecessary strife and anguish? As a worrier, I believe this is true. But we can’t base our decisions on everything in our lives. We have to choose, whether these decisions are life-altering or not, and hope that we chose correctly. If it turns out that we didn’t choose correctly, then we must move on. You can’t change a decision, as wonderful as that would be sometimes. You have to live with it forever. So don’t stress over it; stress doesn’t solve anything. Trust me, I would know. Just always remember that life is full of decision. Make a decision and stick to it. If it doesn’t turn out exactly as planned, that’s life. Your next decision’s outcome will hopefully turn out better.
I got to thinking about safety. How do we know when we’re safe? Can our safety be taken away at any moment? Are we ever really safe? I’m a big advocate of safety. I always wear my seat belt, bike helmet, and look both ways before crossing the street… to name a few. I like to have control over my own destiny. But can I really control this?
There are times when I believe I’m unsafe. Usually I cannot see beyond this. I cannot live with this lack of control. I despise it. I want to be safe every moment of every day. But that’s not realistic. Anything could happen at any moment. And that scares the hell out of me. I hate to think that things could change, or end, or someone I love could leave, or die. But I’ve also learned that we can’t live our lives’ this way. We must live each day to the fullest, abiding by our own safety rules, and hope that everything will be okay. Most days it will be.
I got to thinking about losing. I guess this goes hand-in-hand with competitiveness. I’ve never been a competitive person. During my childhood soccer games, I would stick out my tongue at other players rather than fight for the ball. As I got older, I grew even more indifferent: running up and down the field to burn off calories rather than try to score goals. In fact, I always preferred that the ball stay away from me.
I recently took second place in a family poker game. This is not normal. I usually don’t make it far in poker because I’m not competitive, nor do I have a poker face or understand the strategy. It was an exciting game that I did end up losing, but somehow came very close to dominating. It was groundbreaking for me. My competitive spirit came alive, which almost never comes out in sports or games. And you know what? I like that.
I got to thinking about fashion. In no way would I describe myself as fashion-forward. I think good fashion can be achieved by adding boots to everything. That’s generally what I do. Leggings, boots, and a casual tee shirt are my staples. Sometimes I wish I was more fashionable. I enjoy reading fashion magazines and looking at designer’s websites, but somehow I cannot seem to complete a look like designers and celebrities do.
If I had to choose a favorite designer, I would choose Chanel. Chanel is timeless and elegant. I’d like to think of myself that way. My goal is to become fashion-forward. Or at least to a certain extent. Fashion is fun and exciting. I want to be a part of that! I want to dress myself like I know what I’m doing, but also adding in a little bit of my own flair. Fashion is black and white, but there is that gray area that I’ve always explored. That gray area is what makes us individuals. Why not show our individualistic nature through fashion?
I got to thinking about leap year. Today, after all, is February 29, 2012. It’s always been such a random addition to our calendar, in my personal opinion. Every leap year, I think about those poor children who are born on February 29th. I assume they have to change their birthday to either the 28th or the 1st. I know it seems like such a tiny thing, but I would hate to have to change my birthday. It just seems so odd. But I guess it gives you an excuse to throw a huge celebration every four years. I’m probably the only one who thinks changing their birthday would be weird; thankfully my birthday is in September, in a non-leap year. So… what do you think about leap year?
I got to thinking about coffee. I’m a self-proclaimed caffeine addict. In fact, as I write this, I’m drinking a venti toffee nut latte from Starbucks. I need caffeine in the morning, whether at five or ten. And part of it, I’m sure, is psychological. I need the caffeine in coffee to jump-start my day. But I also think some of it’s necessary. The days I don’t have coffee, I get an all-day, excruciatingly painful headache. It’s basically withdrawal. Some say I’m addicted to caffeine. That’s a decently tame vice that most of us Starbucks-lovers have, I’d say. And I won’t give it up. I won’t give up coffee for Lent, nor will I give up coffee if I’m on a camping trip. I will find that coffee. I will avoid that awful headache. And you know what? I’m okay with that. I’m a coffee addict. And I love it.
I got to thinking about The Vow. You know, that movie with Rachel McAdams and Channing Tatum? I just saw this movie. I was intrigued by the fact that it’s based on true events. Real love stories are always the most romantic, anyway. I was impressed by the concept. But it stopped there. This movie had incredible potential, but I ultimately left disappointed. Rachel McAdams, of course, was on her A-game, but the rest of the movie fell flat.
The writing didn’t impress me. A lot of the dialogue was on-the-nose and flat. I cringed during all of the scenes in Channing Tatum’s recording studio. The dialogue here was incredibly forced. I think most writers can recognize this. The movie wasn’t entirely awful, but it could’ve used a couple more edits to make the writing more believable and evoking. What did you think of this movie?
I got to thinking about writers block. All writers are guilty of this from time to time. But is it real? Or is it just a perfectionist’s excuse not to write until they have it all together? I would say it’s the latter. I’m not saying I don’t use this excuse. Sometimes there are days when I just cannot seem to find the right words. So I don’t write. But this is simply avoidance. The perfect words can be edited over time. It’s just important to get some words out, to get those feelings out. We can go back and fix things later. That’s what the editing process is all about! Besides, writing isn’t about perfection. Writing is about self-expression, self-awareness.
I will try to avoid saying I have “writers block.” It doesn’t exist. I cannot avoid perfection, but I can strive for writing what I want in the moment. After all, I write because I love it. And that’s what matters.
I got to thinking about avoidance. Why do we avoid things? Is it easier to avoid something than face it head on? Usually, yes. I’m guilty of avoiding things. I will be the first to admit that. I’ve never been a fan of change. I like things to stay the way they are. That’s the true simple life. But that isn’t how we should live our lives. Facing something head on is way scarier than letting it affect our lives, but it must be done. Ever heard this? … nothing ventured, nothing gained. It’s annoyingly true. We must not avoid things. If we do, we are avoiding life. In order to get the things we want, or to become a stronger person by overcoming something, we must tackle it with grace and confidence. You won’t get anything if you avoid everything. You’ll stay in the same place forever. And what kind of life is that? A boring one.
I got to thinking about family. Some of us are fortunate enough to grow up with loving, healthy families. Some of us are not. Luckily, I fall into the former category. There is nothing more important than family. I never fully understood this growing up. I always loved my family, of course, but I didn’t see how important they were. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized how much my family has done for me. I don’t think I would be the person I am today without them. As those who know me, I freakishly adore my family. I always go home on breaks to be with them. That’s more important to me than a destination spring break. Family matters most. Family is the glue that keeps me grounded. Family gets me through the unbearable times, when I just want to give up. Family is the utmost imperative thing in this life.
I got to thinking about time. There’s never enough time in the world. Sometimes I feel like I have to pick and choose one thing over another because of time. We simply cannot do everything. Life is way too short for that. But at the end of the day, how we spend our time should be doing what we love most. Certainly we have to do things we don’t want to do, like laundry and cleaning the dishes. But excluding tasks like those, we should always spend our time doing what we love. What is life without that? Life should be measured by how many moments that make us smile, not by how many moments we have. We should do the things that make us smile. Time is in short supply. So don’t waste it.
I got to thinking about high school. It’s an interesting topic, to say the least. I read once, before I entered those grueling four years, that high school was supposed to be the most fun four years of one’s life. That certainly was not the case for me. If those were the best years of my life, then I really was going to have a bad life. But high school doesn’t have to be perfect. My high school experience was awful. I hated every day of it after sophomore year. Girls were mean and guys were immature. I had three really great friends throughout high school. They’re three amazing girls who I still keep in contact with and will continue to forever. They helped me endure high school, giving me some great memories, pushing aside those horrific ones, along the way.
But now high school is ancient history! It doesn’t matter once you hit your twenties whether you were the quarterback, the cheerleader, or the biggest nerd in school. Life is NOT about who you were in high school. That would be pretty boring, anyway.
So this is what I propose. If you’re still in high school and it’s just as awful for you, take it in strides. It’ll be over before you know it. You don’t have to let people get to you. Chances are, you’ll do more with your life as an outcast. If you’re out of high school, remember that it doesn’t define you. If people were awful to you, always remember to not be like that to the new people in your life. High school, to put it plainly, is necessary and stupid. So don’t let it get to you. It sucks. But it’s only four years.
I got to thinking about money. Do we measure ourselves in money? Does money buy happiness? How much is enough money for us to get by? Everything requires money. And that’s a scary thing. Will we have enough money for our future? For a healthy meal? Sometimes I feel like I’m spending all of my savings at Starbucks or on dinners at my favorite Los Angeles Mexican restaurant, Don Antonio’s. Being a poor college student, I’m fully aware of what things cost. Money is all around us, whether we’d like to admit it or not. I’m not sure that money buys happiness, but it sure can buy a nice meal and Christian Louboutin’s. Money helps us, sustains us, but it certainly does not define us.
I got to thinking about perfection. Why do we strive to make everything so unattainable? Is perfection healthy? Does it motivate us? I don’t really think so. Working hard is important, but at the end of the day, doing just what you could is enough. Do your best. That’s really what counts.
In no way am I a perfectionist. I like things done the way I like them, but I don’t see the need to stress about perfection. Nothing is perfect. And that’s okay. We have to learn that nothing in life will ever be perfect. We can’t always have the perfect job, relationship, body, or grades… to name a few. But who needs perfection? Isn’t life a little more exciting when it’s unpredictable… when it’s about doing our best and leaving it at that? When today, and every other day after that, comes to a close, remember that you did what you could. Don’t stress about what you could’ve done. Just always remember that if you tried your best, you have done everything right. So sleep soundly!
I got to thinking about taking chances. When will it be the right time to take a chance? If not now, when? Should we go after everything we want? Or should we stick to the sidelines and play it safe? We’ve all taken chances. And some of these chances have turned out tremendously, others, not so much. And it’s those times when our chances turn out badly that makes us run. We run away from our dreams; we run away from our mistakes. But we shouldn’t. We should always remember that trying is half the battle. Trying something new is brave. Trying something new is fearless. Whether or not that turns out in our favor, we shouldn’t regret it. We took a chance. That’s all we can really do in this life.
I got to thinking about love today; it is Valentine’s Day, after all. Love is something I hold very dear to my heart. Love is not something I take lightly. When it all comes down to it, love is not just three little words mumbled before bedtime; love is sustained by those simple actions we do for each other every single day. That’s real love. Being able to know that someone is there for you. That’s real love. Someone who’s always on your side truly loves you, even when they can tell you that you’re wrong. Love is the greatest gift God has bestowed upon us, so we shouldn’t take it for granted. To all those lovers out there today, may you find your soul mate. Saint Valentine would want that.
I got to thinking about growing up. When do we really reach maturity? Should we automatically be mature, having it all figured out by our twenties? Or does it take much longer than that? I’m not really sure when maturity is supposed to sink in, but I’ve always figured it should happen by college. Shouldn’t we be independent (or somewhat independent) by now? So why are many people still completely immature?
This quote from Never Been Kissed always gets me thinking about maturity: “Boys, you know, I’d like to tell you that we grow out of it. But that’s a lie. Some of us will always be rattling cages.” And I think that’s true. Not just men, but women, too. Some of us will always be immature, not really knowing how to be an adult. Why do we do that? Is it out of fear? Is it a defense mechanism? Growing up is scary; I’m about to face the real world and couldn’t be more terrified. But you know what? I’m also excited. Growing up doesn’t have to be a stressful thing. I think that once you accept that you’re an adult, you’ll be liberated from any kind of fear that spurs immaturity. So grow up. Be liberated. You won’t regret it.
I got to thinking about forgiveness. I will be the first one to admit that I’m not too fond of that. I can barely say the word. When someone acts without loyalty, what is there to do? You can either forgive or you can forget. I usually choose the latter. And I’m not saying that’s a good quality. Forgiveness heals all wounds. Forgiveness makes you feel better. Isn’t that what life is all about?
But something has come to my attention as of late. I have learned that you can forget things easily. Moving things to the back of the mind is a simple task. It’s forgiveness that takes courage. It’s forgiveness that takes strength. And I want to be a strong, courageous person. I must forgive. We are all human; mistakes are inevitable. Feeling hurt is part of life. I never really wanted to understand that. But I must. I must allow forgiveness in my heart so I can feel better. I don’t want to live my life bitter. Instead, I will be strong and courageous. I will be the person I always knew I could be. And I can’t ask for anything more
I got to thinking about giving up. There are times when I feel giving up is the best possibility. There won’t be more trials and tribulations once you give up. You’re free of stress. You’re free of problems. But is that really true? I’d like to think it is; it would make our lives that much easier. But it’s completely false. When you’re thinking of giving up, you must remember why you held on so long. Why was this important to you? And will it be important to you if you think back on it two months from now?
I’ve learned that giving up doesn’t solve problems. In fact, giving up exemplifies that you can’t complete a task because it’s too difficult. And who wants to be like that? Where’s the drive in that? I think it’s imperative to be one of those people who refuse to give up, no matter what. When you refuse to give up on your goal or your friend or your job, the end result may not be perfect, but at least you’ll know that you gave it your all. And that’s all anyone can really ask for.
NEVER NEVER GIVE UP.
I got to thinking about knowing when things are right. When do you know if you’re ready for something? Is it merely that feeling in your gut that tells you to go on? Or is it something more? I whole-heartedly believe in female intuition; we know when things aren’t right, like when our gut tells us not to get on the elevator with the strange man. But that’s the problem. Can we know when things are right? And why is this such a dilemma?
There are some things that I have jumped into without much thought. I didn’t bother to think if it was right or not. But there are other things that require more deliberation. And I honestly don’t believe we’ll ever know if things will be right. But I believe that trusting your intuition will get you to where you want to be. Things may never be perfect, and that’s certainly okay. We must understand that taking a chance can be more rewarding than sitting back. Things will always fall into place.
I got to thinking today about loyalty. There are times when I think most of us don’t possess it. And that’s the worst, to think that your close friends won’t stand up for you. Or that your close friends won’t really be there when you need it. They say they will, but when the time comes, they’re nowhere to be found. I’d hope that my friends wouldn’t let me down. I’d hope that my friends wouldn’t make me feel so hurt. But it happens. And that lack of loyalty will only make me stronger, even if the initial sting is sharply painful.
But I’m certainly not saying all of my friends have been that way. I have some fiercely loyal friends who will fight for us until the end. And for them, I am ever grateful. They are the people I can call about anything. They’ll always be on my side. I would do anything for these friends, and it’s nice to know that they have my back. And they know who they are. And for that, I will always remain loyal to them. Because what’s friendship without loyalty?
I got to thinking today about competition. And what better of a day for competition than Super Bowl Sunday? Competition can be exciting; you hope your team will win. But competition can also be draining. It’s those times when it is draining that makes you question why we fight for things. Do we fight for things because we want them? Or do we fight for things because we just want to win? I’ve always been under the impression that winning isn’t everything. And it’s certainly not. But fighting for something you desperately and hopelessly want is worth everything. I’ve come to learn that you must pick your battles. You must fight for those things that at the end of the day will be worthwhile and sustaining for you. That’s what competition should really be about. And go Giants! (Only because Donovan McNabb isn’t playing.)
I got to thinking about acceptance today. Sometimes you don’t get what you want. Sometimes things turn out in the worst way possible. And sometimes we are ambivalent to the way things turn out. But what I’ve realized is that acceptance is pertinent. You have to give things a chance. Maybe you won’t get into your favorite college or number one sorority, but you must give things a chance. That’s being a strong person. That’s being a confident person. After all, things may turn out to be better than expected. And if it’s not, then at least you can say you tried. Acceptance will liberate you because it gives you the opportunity to do what you never thought possible.
I got to thinking about friendship today. How do we know who our true friends are? Is it just a gut instinct? Or do they have to do something to prove to us that they’re our true friends? I’ve always struggled with this concept. I’ve always held the belief: treat your friends the way you want to be treated. And I’m not a saint, but I can say that most of the time, this is how I have treated my friendships. So why don’t I get back what I give out? Am I doing something wrong? Or is it merely them?
I think that friendship is very important, but it’s also super scary. It’s way easier to get along with a crowd of 1,000 than just 1 person. We put ourselves out there every day hoping that we will get a friend in return. And sometimes we do; sometimes we don’t. But it’s in those times that we do when we feel like all the world can be conquered. One true friend can make you feel like the happiest person on earth.
With this said, I’ve learned not to tell everything to everyone. It can turn out unfavorably to say the least. But I’ve also learned that we don’t have to be “best” friends with everyone. There are friends for every facet of life.
Even though friends let us down, even though friends make us livid, we should always keep holding on. We should always remember that at the end of the day, a true friend is worth a million bucks.