My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

The Almosts

img_3584edit

There is a place in which most accomplished-but-still-self-doubting people frequently exist. It’s a creeping place, the kind that gnaws at you and refuses to let you forget that you are not there. It’s the land of the people who are successful but aren’t quite sure how, who feel like they lucked into something they actually worked very hard for — the people who hold their breath because they think one false move will make it all go away.

I call it living in almosts.

It’s the feeling that what you’re doing, what you’ve done, who you are — everything about you is almost but not quite good enough. Almost but not quite exactly what anyone else is looking for in that moment, in that instance, in that circumstance. Whatever the goal — a job, a relationship, hell, even a strong-enough credit score to land an apartment — there is some sinking, nagging feeling that you overlooked something, that you said just one tiny thing wrong, that you didn’t do everything perfectly, and so because of that one small, hairline fracture, everything else will come tumbling down.

So you overanalyze. You microanalyze. You lay awake at night, trying to find the flaw, picking yourself and your attributes over, even though you know by now that there is nothing else to glean. There is no more. What you did is what you did, and what will happen, happens. You say this like a mantra. Que sera, sera. What is out of your control will happen whether or not you worry yourself to death over it.

Still, though, there is that fear.

I have always struggled with the concept of almost, but not quite. I think I fear it more than I do abject failure, honestly, because in that small space of the “what could have been,” there is an infinite amount of questioning. If you fail outright, if you are told no, if you cannot pass go and cannot collect $200, you know that is it. It’s done. That’s all there ever could have been, and it’s that much sooner that you can lick your wounds, eat your pint (or three) of Ben & Jerry’s, turn around and find another path. You can learn from your mistakes that much faster. But when it is an almost — when you are strung along and think that maybe this (whatever this is) could really be it, The One, the moment at which you finally achieve your dream, only to find out that no, now is not your time yet — it feels almost like a waste. Like you could have tried harder. Like you should have said something differently. Like you were so very close to having everything, if it weren’t for something you did to sabotage yourself somewhere along the line.

But the fact of the matter is, almost does not shift the blame onto you. Almost means you’re actually on the right path — there just might be a little more work to do. Almost is an arrow in the right direction, if you can find it. And you always can. Sometimes it just takes a step back from the gleaning, the obsession, the manic fixation. Sometimes you just have to let things be.

Because sometimes, it simply isn’t your time yet.

I know that’s a trite aphorism, and so much of life is equal parts timing and equal parts working very, very hard, but how much of each can you rely on? Simply, then, you work very, very hard, and then when timing is ready for you, it will let you know. But that feels like you’re leaving a lot up to chance. Which, honestly, you kind of are. But that’s how the world works sometimes. Not everything is meant to be in our control.

First, though, you have to believe you’re good enough as it is. Or you have to tell yourself, even if you don’t believe it yet. Because if you don’t, who else will?

And even if you’re not — if you’re not yet, you have to tell yourself, because eventually, you will be, in some capacity for some role or someone or some dream — then that’s fine. After all, nobody’s perfect. And getting everything right on every first try is never the case.

So fail, and fail a lot.

Fail spectacularly. Fail the most anyone has ever failed before. Get so close to something and let it slip out of your grasp by millimeters, because at least that means you reached as far as you possibly could — and maybe next time, you’ll be able to stretch a little further.

Maybe next time.

That little maybe is called hope.

And hope is what helps turn the almosts into reality.

#DearMe

If you could give your younger self any piece of advice, any at all, what would it be?

That’s the premise behind this really cool YouTube initiative I just happened to stumble upon (I may or may not be procrasti-writing). This particular initiative encourages people to upload a video letter to the site, addressing their younger selves and the struggles/challenges/insecurities they faced growing up.

While it’s a couple years old, it’s worth a watch (or three). #DearMe is an empowering and inspirational campaign that asks the question, “What would you differently?” More importantly, it is a strong reminder that you, yes YOU, are enough just the way you are.

That you, yes YOU are amazing and beautiful and smart and all around kick-ass. I absolutely love this idea, and while it was originally created in coalition with National Women’s Day which takes place on May 8th every year, I don’t feel that it should be just directed at women alone, but everyone in general.

Every one of us has our own insecurities, even the people you least expect. I think it’s up to us to help this next generation who is beaten down by bullying not to just accept who they are, but to also, and more importantly, love who they are.

In observance of this awesome campaign, I was inspired to do my own #DearMe entry. Here are just some of the things I would like to tell the younger me.

  1. #DearMe, happiness is found when you stop comparing yourself to others and celebrate your rocking individuality.

b_qpyq-wkaavp8i

  1. #DearMe, take risks. Don’t be afraid to fail. Try. Try again.
  1. #DearMe, you may not be able to change the world, but you can surely try.
  1. #DearMe, when you smile, smile with your whole self. When you laugh, laugh from your whole soul. When you love, love with your whole heart.
  1. #DearMe, learn that it’s okay to say, “no.”
  1. #DearMe, crimped hair would be a good thing to say a big, “HELL NO!” to. Just leaving that little nugget here as an example. And because CRIMPED HAIR!
  1. #DearMe, your value has nothing to do with a silly size or any number on a scale. Nor does it have anything to do with the clothes you wear, the makeup applied or the way you style your hair. You are beautiful; freckles, scars, sweatpants and all.
  1. #DearMe, not everyone is going to like you. And that is OKAY.
  1. #DearMe, sometimes it’s okay to treat yo’ damn self! Necessary in fact. So grab that book, take that bubble bath and go to town on that pint of Ben & Jerry’s. You’ll thank me future me later.
  1. #DearMe, don’t ever take for granted your family and friends. Call them just because. Pop over to see them. Tell them you love them as much as you can. If you’re lucky enough to have people in your life who love, support you [and make you ugly man laugh and smile] unconditionally, don’t ever let them go.
  1. #DearMe, just because you’re an adult, doesn’t mean you can/should eat ice cream for breakfast. HAHAHAHAHA!! Just kidding. Of course that’s what it means!!!!
  1. #DearMe, you will fall in love, you will get your heart broken, you will doubt if you will ever be able to fully heal. Don’t worry. You will. You will eventually meet someone who is the peanut butter to your jelly, the chocolate chip to your cookie, the Jim to your Pam. And when you do #DearMe, enjoy every damn second. When you smile with and because of this person, smile with your whole self. When you laugh with and because of this person, laugh from your whole soul. When you love and love because of this person, love with your whole heart.
  1. #DearMe, relaxxxxxxxxxxx the fuck out. Stop trying to plan everything, to control everything and just…be. Everything will work out. You’ve just got to have a little faith and a lot of hope (and a fully-stocked emergency chocolate stash).
  1. #DearMe, be brave. Be strong. You’ve got this in the bag! *But I was dead serious about that crimped hair thing.

If you could tell your younger self anything, anything at all, what would it be?

30

13450220_10100948402407622_2372310606698475506_n

Today began like any other day.

I woke up, hit my alarm two three five times, rolled out of bed and slowly greeted the morning. After I got done pouring myself one two three bowls of Frosted Flakes and two four five cups of coffee, something hit me.

HOLY SHIT!

I’m 30! As in, three decades, six whole hands, in-bed-by-nine and keeps-hard-candy-in her-pockets-at-all-times years old.

HOLY SHIT!

I want to preface this by saying that I’ve never really been one to harbor on the whole age thing. I’m one of those cliche weirdos who go around touting that “age is but a number” and “you are only as old as you feel.” And I’ve fully and wholeheartedly believed that.

But the big 3-0.

Damn.

That’s kind of a big one.

As I sat there hovering over my kitchen counter this morning, I couldn’t help but get just the teeny, tiniest bit sentimental.

I’ve been a lot of things in my 30 years.

I started out at as the preemie baby, the girl who beat the odds.

I was a daughter, grand-daughter, sister and best friend.

I was a t-ball player turned soccer ace turned wanna-be track star.

I was a book nerd, writer, baseball nut and avid ice cream aficionado.

I was a student and forever-learner who would go on to become a college and graduate school alum.

I was a struggling young professional just trying to find her way, searching for an opportunity to make her mark on the world.

I was a girlfriend, an ex-girl friend and hopeless romantic (even though I would never admit to that last one).

I was an eternal optimist, dreamer, thinker and doer.

I’ve been a lot of things in my 30 years, but most recently, I’ve been me. Just me.

This ‘just me’ has been fortunate enough to have thirty years of memories.

Thirty years of experiences.

Thirty years of accomplishments and heartbreak and laughter and joy. Thirty years full of places I’ve seen, people I’ve met, lessons I’ve learned and moments I would drop everything for just to relive one more time.

Thirty years have certainly given ‘just me’ many things: my first gray hair, face wrinkle and a whole new appreciation for Spanx. But what I’m most grateful for, the things that make me genuinely excited about turning the big 3-0? Those are yet to be seen, heard or felt.

For my 30th year around the sun, I’m going to be chasing these things, the things that light me up, make me so happy I find myself smiling for no particular reason. I want to do the things and see the places and feel the feels that make me feel like the truest version of myself.

We all have the ability to choose who we are and what defines us, no matter what point in life we are in.

For this next chapter in my life, I think I kinda want to pick and choose my favorite elements from each past phase (*with mayyyyybe the exception of that whole crimped hair thang because no one needs to see that ever, ever again!) to curate a brand-spankin’ new one, one that’s filled with adventure, excitement, happiness, passion and full-on, hard-core life-living.

I’m 30.

HOLY SHIT!

 

 

FullSizeRender

Y’all, big news. HUGE! OPENING DAY FOR THE MILWAUKEE BREWERS IS JUST 4 (4!!!) VERY SHORT DAYS (and 9 hours and 26 minutes and 15, 14, 13…seconds) AWAY!!!!!!

Not that I’m counting or anything.

Totally not counting.

Okay. I’m definitely counting. For those who don’t know, I’m kind of a big Brewers fan[atic]. Like, the biggest. I’m not even gonna try to sugarcoat it. And this madness, this undeniable fandom that I have? It’s a crutch. Being so emotionally invested in a handful of professional athletes who don’t even know you exist is a torrid addiction. This is a sports fan’s cross to bear. But here’s the thing you have to understand: If we’re going to have this as a vice, it’s much better than any other vices we could possibly adopt. Really. You’re lucky it’s sports we love.

But please don’t ever say it’s “just” a game.

  1. Thou shalt not interrupt the game.

It’s sneaky and disingenuous to ask us to take out the trash, or what we want for dinner, and especially if it’s okay if your mother comes to visit. Please save all questions on how our day was until the final buzzer/inning/quarter. We appreciate that you care, but how we feel about our day is wholly dependent on this game. We will be able to tell you how our day was afterward. Also, if you RSVP or plan an event or date at the same time a game is on — especially when you know the game is on — you waive all rights for being angry when we explain why we just can’t even.

  1. Thou shalt not tell us we’re getting too loud in the bar.

If the bar did not want us to be loud, they would not be playing the game on one of the TVs and encouraging us with loads of alcoholic beverages. WTF!!! ARE YOU CRAZY, UMP?!!? HE WAS TOTALLY SAFE!!!

  1. Thou shalt not record your show when the game is on.

Hulu and HBOgo exist for reasons. The game takes precedence. This is why it’s wise to invest in the kind of DVR that can multitask recording one show while you’re watching another. Really, it’s worth the money for all parties involved.

  1. Thou shalt not call us crazy when we stay up late or wake up early to watch a game.

Sssh, babe, go back to sleep. We need to watch this in real time. It’s not our fault time zones absolutely suck.

  1. Thou shalt not question absurd team-related purchases.*

Such items include: $300 for an autographed picture; a signed ball; a vintage, collector’s jersey; ridiculously exorbitant tickets when our team is finally in town; tickets to the championship, etc. If this is our one chance to spend hundreds of dollars on a playoff game? Yeah, we’re going to do it. When else would we have $900 lying around for no reason? This might not happen ever again!

*This does not apply to cardboard cut-outs of our favorite player as living room decor. Really, it’s for our own good. We’re gonna want to do it, but don’t let us do it, because if you do, pretty soon we’re inviting Lucroy to the dinner table and saying that “Lucroy and I agree” when we disagree with you and really, nobody wins in this scenario.

  1. Thou shalt not try to understand why we are so emotionally invested in a game whose outcome we have no control over.

Look, rooting for sports is like loving movie stars in that there is really less than 0.00005% chance that having a crush on Chris Pratt or Chris Evans (call me!) is going to result in holy matrimony, and there’s less than 0.00005% chance that our undying love for our team is going to help them win a game. But, you know, there’s a chance. We like to think there’s a chance. It gives us the will to go on.

  1. Thou shalt not question our “odd” pre-game rituals.

Up to and including: sitting in the same chair every night; live-tweeting the game like it is the second coming of the Oscars; or wearing the same, grubby jersey/pair of socks every time. We will take care of that sacred piece of laundry when we see fit.

  1. If we are in a fight, thou shalt not begin rooting for the rival team just to piss us off.

And if we go into this relationship already rooting for bitter enemies, well, get ready for some really passive-aggressive, irrational arguments. (And you’re not allowed to introduce us to your friends as “She’s great, even for a [____] fan!”)

  1. Thou shalt not complain when all of our friends always come over to watch the game.

The rules of Sportsfanship™ clearly stipulate that the house with the biggest TV and appropriate cable package hosts any and all game viewing. If you really want to see less of the rowdy couch cheering section, get a smaller TV… actually, no, please don’t do that.

  1. Thou shalt order the pizza and wings to show that you care.

Truly clutch people also buy the beer, but really, if you just respect that this time is sacred time between us and a motley crew of athletic spectacle, that is more than we could ever, ever ask for, amen.

**Cubs and/or Cardinals fans need not apply.

The Friend Zone.

untitled

It’s a place we’ve all been at one point or another in our lives. Some of us (*cough ME *cough) have been there so long, we might as well take up a sublet and get a parking permit. If you’re one of the lucky few who don’t know what it is, the Friend Zone is a kind of relationship purgatory where one party is in deep like/love with the other party, but the other is only putting off friendly vibes. Basically, it’s the saddest party on the block. Or at least it feels like it at the time.

Let me preface this by saying that I am ALL about being somebody’s BFF. I place a lot of value on friendships and am always up for the opportunity to add another pal to my posse. But when you start to develop feelings for said other person, real feelings, and not have those feelings reciprocated, it can definitely be a blow to the heart. In fact, it sucks. Because no matter what you say or do, this other person will only ever see you as their friend.

The Friend Zone is a place I know all too well. I’m the Norm of the Friend Zone, the Mayor  McCheese of the Friend Zone, that “one pesky zit on your face that will never leave” of the Friend Zone. Most of my relationships have started and ended the same way: I meet a great guy, stomach is filled with butterfliespterodactyls, sparks are a flyin’ (at least in my mind), texts are exchanged, amazing dates are had and I begin to think, “Damnit. I really like Bob/Joe/Jim/Moe.”

Annnnd then it happens.

The dreaded “I think you’re a really cool girl, but…”, “You’re really great, but…”, “You’resosweetandIovedhangingoutwithyou, but…”

But…

But…

But…I just don’t like you like that.

Ugh. Friend Zoned.

I’m not sure why I’ve had the pleasure of frequenting this place so often. I mean, on the one hand, I’m flattered that guys think so highly of my mad friendship skills, but on the other hand, sometimes a girl just wants to be looked at as more than that. Be it the optimistic romantic in me, I like to think that this will happen. And I know it will. One day. And it will for you too. But that doesn’t mean that in the moment, it doesn’t suck like a vacuum any less.

While being given the “Friend card” isn’t exactly the most ideal of situations, it’s also not the end of the world. Take it from me, your [self-proclaimed] Friend-Zoned love guru, it can actually present itself as a somewhat positive thing, albeit a somewhat positive thing dressed in some pretty impressive camouflage. But a positive thing nonetheless.

Here are just some things to remember in order to help you get off of that dating bench and back into the game.

  1. It’s not you; it’s them.

Yes, it’s the cliché to beat all clichés. But it’s a cliché for a reason. The toughest thing you will face when put into the Friend Zone is the how and why’s. You will more often than not spend an embarrassingly amount of time wracking your brain wondering what you did, what you didn’t do. At what point did I go from this person’s potential SO to just their “pal”? HOW DID THIS HAPPEN?! The truth is, you may never know. As much as you would like to change how someone sees and feels about you, you can’t. The only thing you can change is how you see and feel about yourself. If the other person in question doesn’t look at you the way you look at a burrito, then it’s time to walk away and find someone who does. Because burritos are delicious.

  1. Take this opportunity to actually be just friends.

Just because the opportunity for any kind of romantic relationship is out the car window doesn’t mean that you can’t get a pretty amazing friend out of the deal. After all, you liked this person for a reason, and them you. You began as friends and if you’re lucky, you can still retain that after all of the awkward dust settles. Some of my most meaningful friendships stemmed from the dreaded (but really not-so dreaded) Friend Zone.

  1. Recognize how much of a kick-ass friend you really are.

When the other person tells you how “great” and “cool” and “awesome” you are, listen to them! In the moment, of course these compliments of true authenticity go in one ear and out the next. And understandably so; you just had your heart broken. All you can think of are the things that you aren’t. But when the dust settles a bit, realize that these things that this person is saying are true. You are funny and caring and smart and funny and witty and one heck of a great person! Never, ever forget that!

  1. Use this experience as a learning opportunity.

I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. Like just this morning for example, I woke up late and didn’t have time to eat breakfast so I stopped by Starbucks for a quick bite. Turns out they were giving away free bagels with any purchase of a coffee. Being given free food is the ultimate reason to believe in serendipity in my opinion. The same rules apply to relationships. Use this opportunity to learn from your experience. With each relationship you have, you grow. You find out what it is in another person you like and what you don’t. You become more confident and self-assured. Ironically, you’ll on occasion, if lucky, be given free food. Full circle.

  1. Get back on the horse!

It’s natural and completely normal to be sad, to wallow a bit, drown your sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and an endless loop of Nicholas Sparks movies. Let it out, have a good cry, contemplate becoming a crazy cat lady/man. But then put your big girl/boy panties on and get back out there! This particular relationship may not have worked out, but that just means that there is one even better out there that will! Don’t lose hope. Focus on having the best life possible, spend some quality you-doing-you time, and just at the exact moment when you’re not looking for it, it’ll happen. Another cliché, but it really works. Or so I’m told; I’m still busy not looking for love in order to prove this point.

Image via

Moments

women sunsets mountains landscapes photography lakes 1920x1080 wallpaper_www.wallpaperhi.com_47

Our lives are made up of a series of moments.

If you’re lucky, you’ll get to have thousands,

even millions of them.

There will be funny moments, sad moments,

moments you’ll want to forget.

Moments of anger, moments of passion,

moments spent deeply rooted in love.

There will be moments that alter you,

completely dwarf you,

moments that show you just how beautiful it is to exist.

You’ll even have default moments.

Moments that fall through the cracks.

Moments where you’re doing something so mundane,

you don’t even realize it is one.

Then there are the big moments.

Your goosebumps moments.

The moments that leave a blue hickey on your life’s neck.

These are the moments that crack you open and leave you wanting more.

These are the moments you’ll want to keep safe.

Hold on to.

This right here, this is a moment.

A tiny pinprick in eternity that is only yours to create.

Here’s to the magic you create.

Here’s to your moment.

14359196_10101028738648152_3982167144945350259_n

Fear is a funny thing, guys. A funny thing, but also very necessary. If you go back in history, fear was what enabled the cavemen (and cavewomen because I’m pretty sure they were out there kicking some serious mammoth ass along with their male counterparts) to identify a dangerous situation. Fear heightens your senses, pumps adrenaline into your system, and it helps you survive whatever it is that’s scaring you.

And since we no longer have mammoths IRL–our lives are a lot less difficult and fewer stakes are raised–our fears tend to be the things we manifest inside ourselves. They’re the things we let fester, the dreams we never pursue, the chances we don’t take, the places we never visit, the people we never admit to loving, and the jobs we never apply for. There are so many things to be afraid of, but most of these things reside inside our own head. Because what if we fail? What if we never recover? What if, what if, what if?

But what it we don’t?

What if we do the scariest thing of all–what if we actually get everything we ever wanted?

I had a former track coach who would always tell me that you should get uncomfortable, because being uncomfortable is where you begin to see changes. (If only I had a dollar for every time he lovingly barked this sentiment as I sweated through 200 meter suicides, my snazzy new Nike Frees would pay for themselves.) And it’s true–not just in the biological sense that your body responds to harder work by adapting and becoming stronger, but because your mind becomes stronger, too. You begin to withstand the scary things, the things you never thought you were capable of. And in this, you become more resilient.

Because being scared is uncomfortable. Being afraid is supposed to be uncomfortable–it lights that metaphorical fire under your ass in order to tell you to work towards being more comfortable. But there are two ways that you can do this: either retreating, and avoiding the thing in the first place, or working through it to the other side. Riding out the uncomfortable and the scary until you’re stronger and things aren’t as scary anymore. Fight or flight. Do or die.

Laughing in the face of fear and doing the damned thing anyway.

And of course, in order to really understand how to withstand the scary things life throws at us (relationships, jobs, failure, spiders and a serious Chik-fil-a craving on a Sunday afternoon), you have to get to the bottom of why you think it’s scary. Why it gets under your skin, why it terrifies you, why it dregs up memories of all the other times you faced scary things and didn’t come out stronger on the other side. There’s a whole host of reasons, really, and each will vary from person to person. But I think one of the things that connects this fear we all experience isn’t all that unique.

We’re most afraid of being happy. Of having a good life. A great life.

Not that we don’t want to–oh, of course we do. But we wonder if we deserve a good life, a great life. This doubt creeps in and we’re left second-guessing ourselves when we have to stand up to the thing that is in the way of our happiness. Of whatever it is we want. After all, what would happen if we wound up getting everything we wanted? What if it all got taken away?

But I guess that’s a risk with everything you do. So you might as well face the scary parts head on, because chances are, the outcome you want least to happen, might happen anyway. Whether you tried or not.

And if you don’t try, the what if–the magical, fantastical, best-case-scenario–will never happen at all.

Do the things that scare you. Get uncomfortable. Get really uncomfortable. Stand your ground. Speak up and go after the things you want, no matter how scary it is. Apply for that job, tell the person you’re crushing on that you like them, take that risk.

And if you do wind up with everything you ever wanted it’s because you did that work. You put in the effort, you found the grit within yourself, you realized that the scariest things in this world can sometimes be the most wonderful.

We’re scared of change, is all. But change is good for us. Great, even.

Change is how we learn, how we grow, how we overcome those mammoths.

And there’s nothing more fulfilling or badass than that, my friends.

Tag Cloud

%d bloggers like this: