the fat kid.

You’re not going to live forever. You only have one life. Treat your body right. Eat right, sleep well, exercise. Take care of yourself, so you can be around to have kids, watch your grandchildren grow up, and live a long healthy life. An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

We as Americans are so good at giving health advice. We know all the right things to say, don’t we? In a world where information is readily available at our fingertips, we have access to the latest diet trends, health advice, exercise videos and calorie counters. We find thousands of diet blogs, and we follow along and read anxiously as we relate to the blogger’s weight loss triumphs and trip-ups. We peruse websites for healthy recipes, “pin” new healthy fitness quotes and ideas to our Pinterest boards, and talk openly about our desperate desires to be the healthy human beings we know our bodies are capable of being.

Then we go out and eat a giant cheeseburger, drink six beers or stuff our pretty little faces with ice cream. We know damn well what it’s doing to our bodies, and yet we can’t for the life of us stop ourselves from partaking in such activities.

I’ve struggled with being overweight for most of my life. No, I don’t eat my feelings (contrary to what I sarcastically exclaim every time I’m craving a donut), and I don’t stress eat or even eat when I’m bored. I am, and will always be, a lover of food. I love good food – I’m willing to pay for a great meal at a fancy pants restaurant, and I happen to have a very unhealthy relationship with anything involving bar food, ranch dressing or any restaurant that serves margaritas. I love mozzarella sticks. I also love french fries, and am virtually uncontrollable once I’ve started eating them. I eat because I like food, and that will never change. Food has always been a celebratory outlet for me – birthday dinners are a prime example of how I was raised with the understanding that eating out at a restaurant was some kind of reward – for graduating, surviving another year, etc.

For the greater part of my life, my weight has never hindered my ability to live my life. I danced as a kid, took gymnastics and was otherwise pretty active. I regularly played capture the flag with the neighborhood kids across a landscape that spanned the entire course of the block. I participated in color guard and winter guard in high school – an activity that, despite what the untrained eye may observe, is more athletically challenging than some of our more famous sports. I walked the hills of Athens, Ohio during college, trampled the streets in high heels and even ran a half marathon last year. I’ve never been on a medication for my weight, and despite being regularly told by doctors that I ought to drop the extra poundage, I’ve never been given the scary ultimatum of either dropping the weight or being faced with one of several diseases in “X” number of years.

Losing weight has always been about vanity for me – as it is for most young people who struggle with being overweight. I want to be skinny. I want to fit into whatever I deem an acceptable size of clothing. I want to look hot, be the envy of people who said I couldn’t do it, or to throw it in the faces of every douchebag who’s ever cracked a fat joke at me (really, guys – please find more intelligent and witty insults. Making a crack at the fact that I’m overweight isn’t new or brilliant. I’ve been aware for quite some time, thanks). I have notoriously made jokes about my weight for most of my adult life – always making sure to claim myself as the token fat kid before someone else could; I was always the first to point out that I was out of breath after running up a flight of stairs – if I made a joke about it, then no one else could, right?

Well, here I am at 25. I know, I’m still incredibly young. But more and more, I’m learning about people in my life who are having health issues – some due to weight, others due to heart issues, diabetes, high cholesterol, etc. The possible health issues I could develop later in life are limitless, I know that. Some of these issues, as I’m also aware of, are hereditary, and there may not be a damn thing I can do about it. But the more I hear, the more I realize that I’m playing with a dangerous amount of fire by eating Chipotle once a week – even if I do run 12-20 miles a week. I’m being awful cavalier about my life, aren’t I? Knowing what could potentially happen to me as a result of my eating habits and my inability to get my shit on lockdown?

Diabetes. High cholesterol. Heart problems. Knee problems. Back problems. God, seriously…I could go on for days. When you really get down to it – how fucking crazy are we for knowing that these things could happen and yet we continue to do things that aren’t in the best interest of our health? If I’m going to die of a heart attack in thirty years, I’ll be damned if it’s going to be because I didn’t take care of myself now. I mean – whether you believe in fate, karma or the Lord Almighty as the big hands behind your life, don’t you want to go out knowing that you were the best, healthiest you that you could be?

It’s not a perfect theory, I know. I mean, I argue with myself on a daily basis as to whether or not I should go to the gym after work or just say “fuck it” and meet at the bar for happy hour. Sometimes, the bar wins. Sometimes, it should win. There’s a balance in everything, and figuring out your own balance is hard. And honestly, most of us spend the greater part of our youth destroying ourselves with food, alcohol, binge drinking, not sleeping, smoking this, trying that – and that’s not all bad. But there comes a point where we have to realize we’re not invincible. We’re no different than our grandparents who are now struggling with heart issues, from our parents who are desperately doing everything in their power to avoid going on pills for whatever it may be. If we don’t get our shit on lockdown now, that’ll be us. And even if we do get ourselves healthy and fit now, there’s no saying that we still won’t have to struggle with issues later. But if we do, at least we can say we didn’t do it to ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be around for the long haul. And I’m not going anywhere. At this point, I still want to fit into this and that, and look good for this and that – but I also want to be able to stay active and able when I’m 70. So if I have to eat a salad now to avoid having an insulin pump in 50 years, then that’s a fair trade for me.

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ridiculous wrap-up.

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I think it’s pretty customary for those blogging for personal reasons to look through old blog posts to see how much their lives have changed over the course of time. In a world that revolves around so much social media to archive the major events in our lives, we often grow too dependent upon old Facebook statuses, Twitter updates and blog posts to remind us how life was a year ago. Who needs to remember anything when you’ve probably jotted it down in 160 characters or less, tagged all your friends in it and linked it to every one of your social media accounts? God, that’s horrible. As the capabilities of the Internet and the multitude of social outlets grow, we tend to log our lives in our mobile uploads album on Facebook so we can recall them later, without actually remembering the now.

Don’t get me wrong – I have no lecture for you on how to stop this never-ending cycle. I, too, log most of my memories in the form of status updates and mobile uploads; with Facebook’s newest Timeline option, I can now apparently view my drunken statuses from years ago, and I’ve enjoyed reading through my archives as far back as when all statuses read as “[insert name here] is looking forward to the weekend!” So in honor of such dependency (or so I affectionately refer to it as – “socialmediaitis”), I was sifting through old blog posts to see just how much my life has changed from this time last year.

The beautiful thing about discovering my 2010 wrap-up post was reading the part that specified my one and only new year’s resolution: to make 2011 better than 2010. FINALLY, damnit. I’ve actually stayed true to a new year’s resolution! Bring out the red carpet, because this is probably a once in a lifetime chance for me. It feels so good to actually be walking out the door of 2011 with the knowledge that I’ve bettered myself this year. Those of you who know me can see a drastic change in my lifestyle from last year to now. And to highlight this very fact, I’m going to utilize Facebook’s newest “Activity Log” option, and compare statuses from each month in 2010 with this year. My, how things have changed…

January 2011: “preparing for an epic beer pong showdown tonight.”
January 2010: “glad that 2010 starts with a 3 day weekend so I can recover from last night’s ridiculous festivities.”
….okay, so maybe some things don’t change. Sorry.

 February 2010: “bad juans and high heels.”
February 2011: “Space Jam is on TV. Best. Sunday. Ever.”
…I’m pretty sure that I spent too much Sunday time at the bar in 2010 to ever even realize I had a tv.

 March 2010: “feel like shit. I wonder if I’ll ever grow up enough to realize that drinking until last call on a weeknight is not a great life choice.”
March 2011: “4 miles and 600 calories…before the sun even rises. Hell. Yes. And my encore treadmill performance to Eminem on mile 4? You’re welcome, Urban Active. It’s going to be a great day!”
…apparently I did not learn until 2011 that it is possible to do something productive before work other than slam some Tylenol, order a venti and pop enough mints to hide last night’s tequila breath.

April 2010: “that’s why your dad is so stressed out all the time… he has to please all of these people…assholes, shitheads, democrats…” – my grandmother
April 2011: “Steve: ‘that burp smelled like an abortion.’ Ballz: ‘where the hell has your mouth been?’”
…okay, so maybe the level of inappropriateness that stems from every single person I know has not changed, nor will it ever.

 May 2010: “contractors will be done with my house in ONE WEE! J AHHHHH, painting all day, then Sunday funday later!”
May 2011: “officially only 4 more car payments away from owning my pretty little Jetta, and having an extra $300 every month. HOLLER.”
…the level of stability I’ve gained in the past year, both financially and personally, is unbelievable. I officially own my car, I have a mortgage and have moved beyond the world of renting. There are still some financial kinks that need working out, but it is such a relief to have this under my belt.

June 2010: “I fully intend on karaoking, binge drinking, and most likely doing the Cupid Shuffle after impulsively buying rounds of shots. SCORE.”
June 2011: “[replace notorious friday night drinking status with workout/carryout/movies/boyfriend status] …don’t worry, fellow alcoholics, i can still party.”
…this is pretty self-explanatory. I think the most shocking part of this 2010 status is suggesting that I buy people shots. Because I hate buying people alcohol. Also, I acquired an additional person in my life, other than Scout. His name is Rob. He is my boyfriend. We live together. Please lift your jaw off the ground and get past the shock factor, please.

 July 2010: “I want to go to a concert every single day of my life.”
July 2011: “enjoying coronas on the river, pre-Kenny Chesney concert.”
…so glad this is one thing that hasn’t changed. Music, especially when paired with beers and the summer sun, is one of my favorite things in the world, and will be until the day I can no longer drink beer in the sun (at this point, you should just kill me). Also, how lucky am I to be dating someone who also enjoys this luxury?!

 September 2010: “Marco Island in 5 days!”
September 2011: “Hilton Head bound! Can’t wait to spend a week at the beach.”
…so apparently I like to vacation in the fall? I think it’s because summer is so crazy at work, and vacations directly following busy season are the only way to keep myself sane. Also not mentioned in this month: I registered for my first half marathon in September 2010, and one of my dear friends from college got married in September 2011. Turns out September is a monumental month for both years… despite the fact that a year after registering for my half, I can barely push out 3 miles. How sad. I see a new year’s resolution in the works.

 October 2010: my feet are feeling the effects of wearing my beloved calvin klein heels to work today. my stomach is battling one of the worst food comas against j. alexander’s that it’s ever seen in its lifetime. and my ability to function is temporarily disabled as a result of a 3 a.m. bedtime and an even shittier hangover. you bet your ass i’m in my sweatpants.”
October 2011: “Instead of working, I’d really like to go home, put on sweats, drink spiked hot apple cider and carve pumpkins while watching Casper (yes, the one featuring 90s teen heartthrob Devon Sawa).”
…I’m pretty sure I made it a fulltime job to test the limits of my body last year. I pushed it past exhaustion, past any type of appropriate level of alcoholic intake and consistently left my switch in the “on” position, leaving me in a total physical meltdown at least once a week. Needless to say, I’ve found a ridiculous sense of balance in the past year – a serious accomplishment, since “moderation” was a word I didn’t quite understand, let alone know how to implement. One thing stands true though: I love sweatpants.

 December 2010: “I very strongly dislike Taylor Swift.”
December 2011: “Taylor Swift should not be allowed to sing Christmas songs. Ever. It’s painfully awful.”
…I’m kind of impressed by how much time passes, and I still dislike the same artists. Proof that I’m not just “not giving them a chance.” They actually are awful.

Okay, so I didn’t include August or November. Mainly because nothing dramatic happened in either of those years for me to reference, and also because I’m lazy. And I also apologize if I bored you all to death. I know it’s a pretty cliché way to compare your life, and feeds straight into the Internet dependency we’re all trying to break ourselves free of, but I feel like the transition from 2010 to 2011 has been the biggest one yet in my life. I think there were a lot of people last year who tried to tell me I was doing something horrible – that hanging out with certain crowds, living in bars, not taking care of myself physically and mentally would never lead somewhere good. To those people? I am pleased to announce that you’re wrong (LOVE when I get to do that).

To those of you who judged, looked down upon my choices, or condemned me to a life of adolescent rebel, I relish in the opportunity to tell you I’m damn proud of every choice I made last year (minus a couple). Without it, I wouldn’t be here right now. I wouldn’t appreciate the slow life – the settled down phase I’m finding myself settling into. Without the rebelliousness, without the crazy nights followed by horrible mornings, I might not be able to fully appreciate what I have in front of me now. Without the craziness behind me, I might be questioning whether or not there’s more out there. Am I missing out? Have I sewn my wild oats like I had intended? Did I do it all? Get it out of my system? The beauty of the clusterfuck that was last year, is that I can now answer “yes” to all these questions with confidence that leads me into the future. My refusal to settle down, abandon my crazy lifestyle or vacate my regular seat at the bar has paid off, and for that much, I’m thankful.

I have no idea what 2012 will be. From the looks of things, I might as well expect the apocalypse, since no one will shutup about it. But the truth is, all I can hope for is to build upon this year. To grow, improve, and be able to embrace every ounce of happiness without taking any of it for granted. And hopefully do a lot of awesome shit that tops the hell out of 2011 (sorry. I’m getting greedy). Oh, and to get a puppy friend for Scouters.

scout’s most dedicated advocate.

Today on my run with Scout, I had to pick poop off my dog’s butt with a very small leaf.

Yes, I washed the shit out of my hands (literally and metaphorically) when I got home.

Doesn’t that just scream, “Yep, I have humans willing to pick poop off my butt?”

It takes a special breed of people to be dog owners. And I mean good, honest, let the dog lick your face, live with permanent dog hair everywhere, dog owners. They’re really no different than children. They need constant attention, exercise, food, water. They need to be let outside, and then let back in. In the snow, rain, blazing heat. They need their paws wiped, they go to the doctor, they take medications – and sometimes expensive ones. Some have allergies, some require special diets, and some – like my dog – deal with urinary incontinence issues their entire lives. Dogs are real. They’re not accessories, and they can’t be left for days on end like cats. Quite frankly, dogs can be a pain in the ass.

The first month after adopting Scout, I was convinced we were not a good match. I imagined adopting a dog to be something similar to having a baby. They say that pushing seven pounds out of your vagina will turn even the least motherly people into instinctual nurturers. That parents instantly fall in love with their baby, and that from that moment forward, they can’t imagine anything other than protecting and raising that child (quite frankly, I still don’t understand how you love something that you have to push out in the most inhumane, painful way imaginable). So imagine my surprise when I brought Scout home and was convinced she hated me for the first month.

I learned that my dog is not excessively cuddly. She hates fetch. She has this condescending way of staring at me when I do something totally idiotic. And for as invasive and relentless as she can be, she likes her space. I assumed we were not a match. I couldn’t get myself to love her in this unconditional automatic way I had hoped for, and I knew she could sense my anxiety. In my fantasy world where dogs and people are equal, I was shocked to find that adopting a dog and having a child are actually NOT the same thing (who knew).

I don’t know what happened. I can’t pinpoint the moment when I realized that my dog was the best thing to ever happen to me. Perhaps it was the warm body that laid in my bed as I suffered through the post-college “what am I doing with my life” depression. Maybe it was the desperate-to-get-out-of-her-cage puppy who couldn’t wait to greet me when I got home. As any dog owner can vouch for – there is very rarely one particular moment that defines a relationship with a dog and its owner. It seems more appropriate to say that you wake up a day, a week, a month, or a year after having a dog in your life and realize that you have no idea how you made it this far without them.

My dog isn’t perfect. God. People who know me, know that my dog is arguably the next star of the sequel to Marley & Me. She has the listening capabilities of Helen Keller. She has, quite possibly, the shortest retention of any dog I’ve ever known. She has no idea that her 70 pound frame is not conducive for fitting through small spaces, on the laps of my friends or underneath tables. She doesn’t know how to drink water from her bowl, and as a result, there is constantly water on my kitchen floor that people slip in on a regular basis. She has single-handedly destroyed an entire arm chair and its matching ottoman. There are homemade arm covers to my sofa to cover up the hole she chewed into it. She sheds year round more than thirty Saint Bernard dogs during August in Ohio. Her head rests perfectly along the dining room table, and she takes full advantage when you’re eating there. Oh, and according to my boyfriend, she has the worst farts of all time.

However, despite all that, here is what she is: She’s funny as hell. She plays independently – because who needs a human to throw a kong around with her when she does it herself and has more fun? She is as lazy as I am, making her the perfect couch companion and an even better weekend sleep-in partner. She senses feelings – and she reacts appropriately. If there’s yelling in this house, she won’t be seen. She’s off in the other room waiting for the noise to be over, understanding that it’s not the right time to puke on the carpet or knock a glass of water off the coffee table with her weapon-sized tail. She’s a picture whore. I’m convinced she’s posing when I’m in the backyard pretending to be a photographer with Instagram on my iPhone.

She’s a fierce walker, and dedicated to seeing me succeed in my training. For as horribly behaved as she is in other areas of life, she’s the best dog on a leash I’ve ever seen. She’ll trot for miles alongside me, never slowing, never yanking me down in pursuit of a squirrel. She sits at intersections, and ever since I faceplanted on a sidewalk last year, she looks back at me every minute or so just to make sure I’m not yards behind her in the dust. She’s loyal as hell, and while loyal to her may not actually mean listening to me, it does mean that every time my boyfriend jokingly tells her to attack me, she inevitably jumps on him and tries to knock him down. She knows the sound of my car from down the street. She puts her ears back and sits in front of me, trying to shake my hand when I’m crying.

She’s the best. And there’s no question about that. And it’s this confidence in her faith in me that makes me able to love her unconditionally, and do things for her that I never thought I’d do in a million years. So today, on our run, after Scout was finished politely pooping in someone else’s yard, she realized she still had a piece of um… well, poop, still hanging from her butt. And there I was, on the middle of a main road, with her looking at me like “what do I do, mom? this doesn’t feel good.” And there I was, on the middle of a main road, with a leaf in my hand, trying to help her out. “Trying to help her out” is obviously code for “picking poop off my dog’s butt with a leaf.”

I don’t know a single human on this planet that I’d do that for.

 

all about me.

I’m feeling a little vain today. So kill me. I have no idea how many facts I’ll think up, or how long this will be, but…incase you were interested:

I love to cook. My boyfriend says I’m good at it, and I love the trial and error of new recipes, and the ultimate “first taste face” of someone eating a recipe I’ve tried for the first time.

As much as I love “stuff,” I’m a much happier person giving gifts to others than actually receiving them. This little habit has only been enhanced by my relationship, and is the reason for my sky-high credit card bill.

I’m 25, and the first time I got my hair colored and cut without putting it on my credit card was less than a month ago. As horrible as that may sound, I’m actually pretty proud of it.

I stockpile candy and other treats in my purse and car, and give them to my boyfriend periodically when I drag him to places he doesn’t want to go. Works like a charm.

I find grocery shopping to be incredibly therapeutic.

My favorite physical attribute is my hair.

Pinterest is, hands down, a much better outlet for my time than Facebook. Instead of stalking people, I’m gaining insight to creative ideas, projects, recipes and fitness inspiration. Facebook doesn’t stand a chance. Nor does Twitter.

I am currently in love with pretty much anything Foster the People does. Houdini makes me happy.

I spend most of my time doing things now that the me from a year ago couldn’t imagine doing in her lifetime. Anything from cooking and errand running to dressing up my dog in an insanely embarrassing pumpkin costume for Halloween… the 2010 version of me is rolling over in her grave.

Speaking of changes, I like all things wedding and marriage now. Not that I didn’t before, but it’s a lot easier to tolerate when you can actually picture yourself having one eventually.

I got an iPhone. How many years did it take me?

The number of “friends” I have has dwindled to a ridiculously low number. However, the number of good friends I have is infinitely stronger and has managed to synchronize itself into this new world of settled down adulthood I’m discovering. It’s this last part in particular that reassures me those friends will be around in the long run.

We’re doing Thanksgiving at my parents’ house for the first time in my entire life. I don’t know why this excites me so much – probably because my dad and my boyfriend plan to deep fry a turkey for the first time. This may be our first turkey day at my parents’ house and our last one without permanent burn marks.

I gained back a lot of the weight I lost in 2009/early 2010. It’s really disappointing, but I’m finally mentally back into a place where I feel confident that my body can redeem itself after 2010’s terrible drinking spell.

I’ve learned not to love Dayton, but to love the life I’ve built here. Nothing (and I really do mean nothing) has worked out according to the plan I had when I left OU, but I’m really happy here and know that leaving isn’t always the answer.

I’d love to take about two or three weeks and travel Europe for my honeymoon. Not necessarily for a honeymoon, but it seems like as good a reason as any.

I am notorious for finding really awesome craft projects and then never starting them. Apparently procrastination is a lifelong trait.

After seeing one of my co-worker’s kids perform at a school event a few weeks ago, I have finally decided that I will inevitably end up having kids, and that I’ll probably like it. I know. Shutup.

We have a huge wall of file cabinets in my office, and sometimes when no one is around while I’m back there filing, I will pull up my dress and adjust my tights. Not even kidding, and if I should be ashamed, then I’m sorry I’m not.

I’m already planning dishes to bring to Thanksgiving. I told you I love cooking.

Despite having a live-in boyfriend (weird saying that now, for sure), I am a firm believer that dinners, drinks or any other random activity with some of my close girlfriends is the best therapy I could ask for, and quite often the best way to spend a Friday night.

All I want to be when I grow up is as similar to my mother and grandmothers as I could possibly be. Minus my grandma’s incessant need to spit on everything and everyone when she talks.

I only own dark jeans. Do people still wear acid washed jeans now? If so, they should stop making them bigger than a size 4.

I don’t like red wine. For as big of a wino as I claim to be, I can’t handle red wine. That being said, on a good night, I can easily keep the white wine industry in business.

90% of the photos on my phone are of my dog.

Foods I will never understand how people eat: onions (unless they’re deep fried and smothered in some kind of delicious batter and sauce), mushrooms and broccoli. Seriously. You’re disgusting. Oh, and fish. Gross.

Clearing space out for my boyfriend to move in proved to me that I am one stack of papers away from being a hoarder.

I am often brought to tears when I see some of the cases of animal neglect posted by animal rights groups I follow on Facebook, but I can’t get myself to “unlike” them. It’s like I’m intentionally punishing myself for not being able to adopt more animals.

I love hosting events. Parties, dinners, or planning events for other people – clearly I missed my calling.

Do you ever postpone going to the grocery store, avoid it at all costs because you don’t want to spend the money, and then suddenly you’re out of one particular thing and all of a sudden it’s, “I HAVE to go grocery shopping!!” For me, that is peppermint mocha creamer.

I will never support puppy mills or purchase a dog from a pet store, but it still breaks my heart that pet store puppies are supposed to go un-purchased. It’s not their fault they came from a puppy mill. I know it’s ultimately for the better that people don’t support it, but those puppies should have every chance to live, too.

Ok, I’m done.

who you’re with.

Yesterday, on the six month anniversary of the first time Rob and I decided we actually wanted to spend copious amounts of time together, we moved in together. Like, his stuff and my stuff under the same roof – share your utility bills – officially say things like “our” and “we” live together. Every time he comes home from work, I will be here. Every time I want to lay around in my sweats eating entire boxes of Kraft macaroni and cheese while watching Law & Order SVU reruns, he will be here. Scary, huh?

No. It’s really not. To be honest, in a world of total uncertainty and lack of focus, moving in together is one of the few things in my life that makes perfect sense. I’m certain – without a doubt in my mind – that this is one of the best decisions I’ve made in my twenties, and I will confidently say that until proven otherwise (and let’s hope I’m not, right?). The truth is, most of my blogging up until this point has been about not knowing what you want – you’re expected to make some pretty life changing decisions in your twenties, and I’m no stranger to being completely aware that my life hasn’t exactly worked out “according to plan.” And let’s face it – while we’d all love to play the movie star who abandons her current life in pursuit of the wonderful unknown, the reality is that most of us are faced with college debt, credit card bills, rent and basically every other financial string you can think of.

So I’m here. And I’ve been here, since November 2008 to be exact. And since then, I’ve been making bigger plans. Plans to leave Ohio, leave my job, and leave behind a life that I never wanted to live when I was imagining my perfect post-grad life. But what I didn’t realize is that the only plan I had was to not be here. Don’t move back to Dayton, don’t work for the family business, don’t settle down in a dying town. Don’t, don’t, don’t. I didn’t realize until recently that I didn’t have a “do” plan. I had dreams of going south, but never considered the fact that my family wouldn’t be there. I decided I’d settle for any job, just as long as I could be away from Ohio, but never considered the fact that I had no idea what I wanted to do for a living. The only goal I had was to get the hell outta dodge, because I was so hung up on the stereotype of being back in the hometown we all desperately fled after high school. Being here meant I had failed.

Enter October 2011. I have a mortgage and a house I’m beyond proud of in a quaint, suburban neighborhood with awesome walking paths and neighborhoods to run through. I have family close by, and I’m lucky enough that they’re not the invasive type, which makes them perfect company and very useful resources for things like pet sitting, home projects and other things for which I have no experience. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to appreciate them as people, not just parents, and I am so incredibly grateful that I have such an awesome support system. I have a job that yes, while I sometimes regret having gone down the path I chose, I am fortunate enough to feel like a valuable member of a business that wishes nothing but the best for me, whether that be with the company or elsewhere. I have some really great friends here – and while my immediate social circle has dwindled due to career opportunities and life pursuits outside of this city, I take comfort in knowing that some of my closest friends – if not here – are only a short drive or plane ride away. I also relish in the fact that because I opted for a not so pristine lifestyle in a city with seriously intense living costs, I am able to do things like vacation to awesome new places, visit friends or take whirlwind weekend getaways with my boyfriend.

And probably most important, I am lucky that in my stumbling pursuit to “figure it out,” I managed to walk face first into a really really great guy who, for whatever reason, enjoys spending the same obnoxious amount of time with me as I do with him. Seeing his stuff in this house – our house – yesterday, made me realize how hard it will/would be for us to ever leave this place. I’m building a life with someone, and for as tacky as it may seem, I’ve never been happier about it. In all of life’s uncertainty, he gives me the reassurance NOT that it’s all going to be alright, but that we’re in it all together, for better or worse. It’s comforting to know that someone is on your side, and the fact that I get to be there for someone else and make someone else happy makes me so ridiculously giddy I could puke up a rainbow.

I caught the end of Post Grad yesterday, a movie where Alexis Bledel plays a recent college graduate whose picture perfect dreams don’t work out the way she’d planned. It’s pretty cliche, and though I think it’s about time someone made a movie about the post-college trials and tribulations, I think it’s a far stretch to think we all find the perfect Hollywood ending with the man of our dreams like she did. But I did take away an awesome quote that essentially inspired this post. Someone said to her,

“What you do with your life is only one half of the equation.
The other half – the more important half – is who you’re with when you’re doing it.”

As tacky as it sounds, I’m really happy. And I really have no idea what the future holds for me – it’s hard to think past today, next week or next year. But I do know that in this moment, I am so blessed. And I hope that it stays this way – that these people stay in my life and that I get to stay in theirs, that I am able to make Rob as happy as he makes me, and that one day I can make enough money to drive a BMW and make regular visits to Florida. Or something like that 🙂

tell them yes.

How many times have you heard the old saying “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” and then completely ignored it, brushing it off as one of those obnoxious cliches created by adults in one of “I’m trying to connect with you” kind of tones? Probably about as many times as my grandma spits food on someone while talking during dinner – a lot. And the crazy thing is – how many times have you gotten “x” number of months down the road and thought “DAMNIT. They were right?! AGAIN?!”

It’s a bitch, eh? Admitting that maybe – just maybe – you ought to listen to the sound advice of your parents, co-workers, professors and anyone else who was actually around to see The Doors live.

Today at work [while working hard, obviously], we started talking about the epic midlife crisis (one that I really am not looking forward to, seeing as I’m finally getting out of my quarter life crisis). I’m the youngest one in my office, so I hear a lot of the obvious “you’re still young – you can do whatever you want with your life” lectures. I’m always fairly mindfucked by them, honestly. I am notorious for falling into a comfort zone – a habitual pattern of life events – that I never realize how much time has passed before I’ve actually gotten back to that big “is this what I really want to do?” question. Well, this conversation spurred the obvious next big idea:

If you could leave your current job to do anything in the world, knowing that your family, finances and expenses would remain intact, what would you do?

We left it open to anything except for “sitting around on my ass, living off the system” – because let’s face it – no matter how self-righteous we all try to be about being a proud productive member of society, I guarantee we’d all willingly reap the benefits of the unemployment chain for a few weeks. The crazy thing is that most of us said really humbling things – helping under privileged kids learn how to read, growing and selling fruits and vegetables from a homemade orchard, and my own personal response – running a no-kill animal shelter on a large piece of land. And what I find even more interesting is that we all responded without thought – like it was a dream still alive in the back of our minds that we occasionally watered once a week…not enough to keep it alive and thriving, but just enough so that it didn’t die.

So, why aren’t we doing these things? Well, once again – the responses are pretty obvious. Because the real issue isn’t that we don’t have the passion, it’s that we’ve somehow locked ourselves into mortgages, car payments, braces for our kids, or credit cards racked up with frivolous spending in our younger days (ok, so that last one was mine…and they aren’t my younger days…I’m only 25. Don’t judge). We don’t believe that our lives allow this kind of passionate freedom.

As people get older, they see the younger generations and their eternally burning flames of passion as a hopeless dream that will eventually die. We can’t all save the world is the general consensus of adults. As we get older, we forget about the childhood dreams we had of being an astronaut, being a writer, becoming the next president. And sure, we soon learn that there really aren’t enough years in our lifespan for all of us to run the country (besides, let’s be real – the weird kid who used to attach fireworks to cats is probably better off not in charge), and that maybe the person who can’t stand the sight of blood would find better career luck outside of the medical field. But the passion we had as a kid, that colorful belief that the opportunities for us to channel our passion are limitless – it somehow manages to get stored in a box covered in cynicism, financial obligations and let’s face it – the occasional beatdown from those “older and wiser” than us who think we ought to find “realistic” outlets for our knowledge.

Why do we feel the need to stifle our dreams in exchange for the desk job we never asked for? Is the crappy second job we work every night the price we pay for a family that’s able to enjoy their lives together without the worry and concern of what they’ll have for dinner tomorrow? For some, the answer is obviously yes – you make sacrifices for your family and the people you care about, no questions asked. But at what cost? Do we sacrifice our own dreams so that future generations may live out theirs? And if that’s the case, isn’t it just a vicious cycle? Where do we draw the line between being able to live out our dreams and still functioning in this jaded place we call the Real World?

I guess this next paragraph is supposed to be an answer to that question, but unfortunately, I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t think I’m old enough to know, to be honest with you. I’m still in the “you can do anything you want” phase of life, and I’m struggling enough with that because clearly working in an office isn’t what I pictured when I played the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” game in elementary school. Also, I was called “the help” this week. Just thought I’d throw that one in there, just to add salt to the wound.

I guess all I’m saying is that we have to evaluate our happiness on a regular basis. I don’t want to end up at 50, miserable at a job I never asked for and questioning whether or not it was all worth it. I have a lot of great things and people in my life right now, and there are some things I know I’ll look back on in 50 years and be forever grateful for. Others? Not so much. The trick is to find those things that you hate – the things you know you’d look back on and regret – and fix them now. Will you regret not volunteering? Not trying your luck at freelancing? Not opening your heart to someone? Then you’ve GOT to figure out how to do it.

The last thing we want to do is picture ourselves at 75, telling our grandchildren how much we hated our jobs, never took the risk, missed the opportunity. Instead of giving advice, BE the advice. Don’t just let it happen, make it happen. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself sitting at the same desk in 50 years, wondering what you could have accomplished had you just believed that you could. Lastly, I’ll leave you my favorite quote from Nike. It’s essentially how I got through my half-marathon, and we often forget the control and power we have within ourselves in the midst of the negativity our society impresses up on us. Enjoy, and happy happiness-evaluations 🙂

“All your life you are told the things you cannot do. All your life they will say you’re not good enough or strong enough or talented enough; they will say you’re the wrong height or the wrong weight or the wrong type to play this or be this or achieve this. They will tell you no, a thousand times no, until all the no’s become meaningless. All your life they will tell you no, quite firmly and very quickly. And you will tell them yes.” – Nike

my boyfriend doesn’t read my blog.

So tonight, my boyfriend told me that he doesn’t read my blog because he likes to read “useful information.” If I didn’t love ice cream so much, I would have spent the rest of the evening flinging spoonfuls of peanut butter sundae at him (don’t worry, no ice cream was harmed in the process). But really. What the fuck constitutes as “useful information?” Because his idea of “useful” usually has to do with catching obnoxiously large fish, watching people make guns or otherwise maxing out his mental library of Family Guy quotes.

NOT SO USEFUL, eh?

Note to all men: Stop being douchebags, and read your girlfriends’ blogs. You’ll probably learn something, and at the least, you’ll know when you’re being a total dickbag, because we’re most likely writing about it. And if you don’t read our blogs, lie about your reason. No one gives a shit about honesty when it’s as harsh as “No offense, but I like to read useful information.” Just sayin.

why people piss me off.

I’m going to vent. And let’s face it, you’re going to end up agreeing with me.

I can’t stand people who constantly complain about how difficult their life is, especially when they make themselves out to be some kind of martyr. You know who I’m talking about – the people who always seem to have it harder than everyone else. The ones who, after you vent about your hectic work day, always seem to story top you with some anecdote that implies they need the vacation more than you do. Haven’t gotten a raise in a year? Don’t worry – this guy hasn’t gotten one in one year and a day, and he’ll be the first to tell you about it. I’m so aggravated by people like that – don’t be so quick to story top someone, judge their story or automatically assume they’ve got it better than you. Everyone has their struggles, and your bitch of a home repair is my stack of paperwork at the office. You’re not better than me.

Ever notice when you’re walking down an aisle in the grocery store, heading to the bathroom at a sports game or heading to the bar to get a drink that YOU’RE always the one who steps aside for the other person to get by? Is it just me? I feel like every time I come across this uncomfortable “we’re totally going to bump into each other if one of us doesn’t move” situation, it’s always me who moves around someone. The other person hardly ever acknowledges the gesture either – unless you consider a blank stare and a total lack of recognition to be an acknowledgment. What if I didn’t move? Would you? Maybe I’ll just stop going out of my way and start ramming my shoulder into people’s sides. It’d be a shit ton more entertaining than watching your pretentious ass scuffle back to your table at the bar squealing about the free vodka cran you scored off some creep at the bar. Seriously. GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Have you ever known someone who continuously tells you things you don’t care about? Who can’t take the hint that you’d rather eat your arm than endure one more pointless trivia lesson about some shit no one cares about? I don’t understand how to make these people get it. Short of just punching someone in the face (and let’s face it, there’d be a lot of people with black eyes in my life), I don’t know how else to handle it. Do I just tell someone I don’t give a damn? Because I feel like that’s rude. And I’m not talking about me being insensitive to other people’s lives. Because I care about people, I really do. I’m talking about absolutely ridiculous, mind blowingly stupid, “why are you still talking” shit.

I don’t care if you text or talk on your phone while you drive, but for the love of baby jesus, if you can’t do it at the speed limit, then get the hell off the phone. That’s all I’ve got on this one.

I’m really kind of over people who won’t grow up. And I’m not talking about the people my age who are still lurking regularly in bars (because let’s face it, that’d be me had I not acquired this thing called a boyfriend). I’m talking about the people who can’t handle life on their own. Who can’t manage or even cover all their financial obligations, who don’t work, or who live off the system with the hope that the god of employment is going to sweep down and grant you a job that pays you more than you make on unemployment. It’s called pride, people. Is there any semblance of the American dream left? At all? I seriously cannot handle people who think the world owes them something. I’m not saying you have to have your life figured out. Because I don’t think anyone ever does, regardless of how old you are. What I’m saying is that there comes a point in time when you need to be a productive citizen of society. Work. Pay your bills. One of these days, your parents will be retired and you’ll find yourself still relying on them… and maybe…just maybe, your unemployment will be up. I know, scary thought, eh?

Adults who allow themselves to partake in childish high school drama make me smile. Once you get older, you learn what matters and what doesn’t. And along with that, you ought to learn what you deserve and what you don’t. For the love of God, STOP allowing people in your life who don’t make you the best you that you can be. Sixth times a charm? No, I don’t think so. In addition, Facebook doesn’t fucking matter in the real world. Here’s what matters: love. family. friends, experience. Here’s what doesn’t matter: the date you changed your relationship status, the first photo you posted of your girlfriend, boyfriend, mother’s cat’s mouse, and what so and so wrote on his wall two weeks ago.

Ok. I’m done. I don’t know why I just got on a rant about all the absurdities of human nature, but I felt like it was only necessary for me to share them with you. And you’re totally full of shit if you think I’m being out of line here. Because you’ve all been nodding your heads in agreement the entire time.

bittersweet happiness.

Here’s the problem with being happy.

What? What is wrong with you? There are no problems associated with happiness. Don’t you understand? Stop shoving your glass-half-empty attitude in our faces.

I know. Leave it up to me to find a problem with that magical little nugget of bliss we all spend 99% of our time searching for. But please, let’s be real – you wouldn’t read this if I were always vomiting up unicorns, would you?

The problem with being happy is just that – it’s a bitch on my writing. Why haven’t I blogged lately? Because I have nothing to bitch about as of late. With the exception of monsoon season in the midwest and the regular drunken antics of people I’d much prefer to punch in the face than write about, I’ve been at a loss for words. It’s obnoxious, I know.

This got me to thinking – am I really that cynical? Do I only produce good material when I’m bitching about some sort of social faux pas that makes us all crazy or the ineptitude of midwestern drivers, stigmas and grammar fails? How disappointing. If that’s the case, then I’m going to have to pick one – witty blogs or happiness.

It is painfully obvious that no one would tolerate me writing about happy things. Discussing the beauty of child birth or the aesthetics of the midwest during springtime doesn’t seem like my piece of pie. In fact, I had a difficult time even typing “beauty of child birth” without throwing up in my mouth a little bit. Switching my frame of mind from the rebellious 20-something bitchy female to someone who is mildly content with her life is a cyclical argument that forms a nice little hamster wheel in my head where my three-legged hamster runs for its poor little three-legged life waiting for me to figure it all out.

As emo and sad panda as this sounds, actually being “happy” forces me to lose a large part of the sarcastic cynicism that I love about myself. Can you be both?

I have to find a way to keep the bitter cynicism alive in my writing. I have to. It’s what makes me love it so much.

Oh, and PS – the hour of bliss I discussed in my last entry about the time change? It’s here. And it’s beautiful. What are you doing to enjoy it?

the time changes, and so do we.

Most people have spent the earlier parts of this Sunday complaining about the awful “spring forward” time change. Losing an hour of sleep isn’t really all that hot of a concept for a population of people who, most of the time, would give their left arms for an extra few hours of pillow time. As for me? I’m jumping for joy (not literally… I’m far too lazy for unnecessary jumping). While I’m feeling the need for the nap right now, I’m thrilled for what this time change brings. The most important part? SUMMER.

I’m a firm believer that Mother Nature takes this lost hour we’re all so distraught about and gives it back to us each and every day until we “fall back” in November. There’s that glorious period of time – lasting anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes usually between 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. – where the world is right. It is both night and day outside, leaving your ambition for fun in limbo between the nighttime party attitude and the daytime Jimmy Buffet peace of mind. You enjoy the comforts of the day’s heat and sun, with all the hope the night has to bring. This period of time is best spent with people you care about, on patios drinking wine, grilling out, catching a baseball game or congregating around the nearest watering hole to celebrate the day ending in “y.” It is also best enjoyed alone – in a hammock with some Third Eye Blind, in the car with the windows down, or sweating it out with a long run.

It’s brilliant, and getting that momentary hour of perfection makes all the midwestern winters and gloom completely worth it. How do you know when that time comes? You feel it. You feel yourself hopeful, nostalgic and completely content, all at the same time. When that beautiful hour comes, it doesn’t seem to matter that you bombed a presentation at work that day, or that the guy you dated turned out to be a total tool. And I honestly think it’s something only the midwest can appreciate – because we know those days are few and far between, that they’re only here for 4-5 glorious months of the year and they ought to never be taken for granted. Here in the midwest, we know anything is possible and not everything lasts. The weather changes hourly, and when it changes for the better, we know exactly how to embrace every single moment of it, knowing full well that it may snow the next day.

But while the time change is predictable and comes like clockwork twice a year, I know better than to think I could predict the same of my own changes. The time change only reminds me that change is inevitable, and fighting it won’t do anything except leaving me backstage in the concert that is my life. I’ve blogged a lot about change before, mainly because it’s a constant struggle for me. I’ve said a thousand times how I’ve fought against it, grasping at something resembling the “way things were” to give myself some sense of familiarity, never understanding that even some of the most seemingly awful changes can actually push us forward if we’d only let it. If we stop fighting change, stop being set it our ways and stop desperately trying to reverse the past, is it possible to actually let change throttle us into new life?

The answer is yes. Change sucks sometimes, especially when you’re not the one making the changes. When someone else or some outside forces gets to call the shots in your life, you’re the one left with the struggle of accepting that you actually aren’t a super hero, and you can’t control the thoughts and actions of others. It’s an awful feeling, isn’t it? It’s the kind of change we never asked for, the kind that sneaks up on you and demands that you change your attitude or train of thought, no matter how ill prepared you are for it. Suffering the loss of someone you care about, losing your job, or a breakup – they all completely fuck with your sense of normality and stability, and force you to move on without a how-to handbook or a rubric on what you need to do in order to succeed.

But while most of us, including myself, see the terror in that – of being left without an itinerary on life – there is the possibility that we ought to embrace the awful things that life throws at us. I’m not a religious person, so I’m not ever going to pull the “everything happens for a reason” card or the idea that God has put you up to this shitty task. I only preach the idea that we are given one life, one shot, one opportunity (Eminem lyric… get ittt), and you’re only going to waste it by trying to explain to yourself why you got fired or why he left you. As adults, we fight constantly with notion that we can’t change someone’s mind or control someone’s actions. It drives us nuts, and we spend more time worrying about why things are the way they are than we do assessing how we should move forward and react. Newsflash: You may not be able to control anyone else, but you can control yourself.

This is a brand new concept to me, because I tend to live by a certain moral code and have a hard time understanding why people don’t act the way that I do. But, as difficult as it is to admit, I’m slowly realizing that I shouldn’t spend my time trying to tango with anyone by preemptively trying to figure out their next step. All you can do in your life is be you, and be that well.

And the bottom line is that if you’re being a really kickass you, then you ought to be able to handle the curveballs that the pitchers in your life are aiming straight at your pretty little face. Dodge them, so they don’t leave a scar. And since you can’t dodge them all, then you’ve got to find a way to make all the scars and all the bruises a part of your future, and not your past. Oh, and get a really kickass plastic surgeon. Please let me know if anyone has a good one.