Tuesday, October 28, 2014

On Moving Past It

The title is kind of ironic because this post is actually about the....not moving....and the trying to move...and.... Let me 'splain.

First, you should all know that I just went out on my first OkCupid date. I was so nervous before I thought I might ralph in the bushes before arriving at the designated coffee shop. Seriously, Elise and I discussed if Pre-Date Anxiety is a real thing....we're convinced it is. The good news is, although I'm a chronic victim of PDA (which should mean pre-date anxiety but sounds like something else entirely so I will henceforth not abbreviate it ever ever ever again), I actually handle myself pretty well once I actually get ON the date. It's just the pre-game that gives me anxious nausea, apparently. It could be worse.

The point is, I did it! I chatted with someone online and I went through with meeting in real life. I still think I prefer dating in ways that are more comfortable for me, but what is this year of my life if not a heaping pile of anti-comfort-zoning? Like that time when I bought a car I didn't know how to drive and learned some lessons about challenging yourself to do hard things in the name of life. And, you guys, June Cooper and I are still very much in love.

And on the note of OkCupid, I've enjoyed the responses I've gotten to that really honest and long profile I wrote for myself. It's been kind of awesome to see the personalized responses I've gotten from it -- so much more encouraging than the generic stuff you get from a generic profile. What I'm saying is that all you single peeps can now pay me $$$$ to write your profiles for you. JK, JK. (Except, I actually would give you input if you wanted. Not because I'm an expert at dating -- but because I am pretty good at writing personal essays and/or paragraphs. So, you know how to reach me.) 

What was this blog post? Oh yeah...moving slash not moving past stuff.

This week I wondered, again again again, if it ever stops hurting to find out that an ex-lover is engaged or married to someone else. The likely answer is that it probably depends on the person, and how it all ended, and if there's still unresolved feelings there, etc. I honestly do pretty well, most of the time, when I find out that an ex has put a ring on someone else's finger. And then there's the ones that just get me right in the tummy, you know? I had one of those experiences this week. I think maybe I didn't even know I was still holding on to some residual hope, in this particular case, until I saw the upcoming wedding proof in writing and had a lump in my throat that kind of made me want to cry in the bathroom at work. But, I didn't. (I won't say I haven't before, though. There is something particularly challenging about trying to grin and be professional when something in your personal life is really undermining you at the same time, am I right? There should be emotional "get out of jail free" cards we're allowed to just hold up at certain points during work days and be allowed to go home without anyone asking questions. This should be a thing.)

I'm not sure where I'm going with this post, other than to say that....sometimes it's hard to move past stuff. There's a couple sore spots on my heart with certain people's names on them that I'm not quite sure will EVER heal themselves away. But, I have said that in the past about a couple that did eventually turn into just a faded scar, with pain that I could finally let go of one day. I never quite know what my little heart is capable of, both in terms of healing AND in terms of refusal to do so. Just full of surprises in the chestal region, you know? (That came out super weird. I don't really want to describe my chest as surprising ever again.) (OK look, I won't rule it out.)

It's also those sore spots that make me feel super sensitive to thoughtless comments about being single, making marriage a priority, etc. When people say shiz like that, sometimes I want to just bluntly tell them a couple rough stories and thank them for carelessly hurting me and my other single friends, and then inquire what long-term difficulties of theirs we can flippantly discuss. But, you know, why start arguments? That's why I have cathartic music and chips. I don't know why I chose chips, in this moment, as the correct comfort food, but....I do love chips. And salsa. Mmmm

It's been a good week for a Taylor Swift album to come out. She always seems to write a song or two that makes the healing feel a little more possible, and the hurting feel a little more raw right when I just need to be validated. She and Sara Bareilles, together, have done a lot for me in that department. Shout out to my angsty girl music, I guess! The rest is filled in with emo Dashboard and playing "Teenage Dirtbag" on repeat. We all have our ways.

And now back to work....because when you have an emotional week, sometimes it's hard to focus during the day and you end up finalllllyyy finding your concentration zone at 11pm. So, let's do this, work queue!

(yes, I drove to Target to buy that album before work on Monday morning....she's my not-guilty guilty pleasure, ok? ok.)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Happy Diwali // Festival of Lights

Did you know this week is Diwali?

I'd never heard of this holiday before, but I interact with a lot of people at work who live in India and they kept being like "stop scheduling meetings for me during Diwali" and I was like "what are you even talking about." I looked it up and was immediately hooked.

Here's what wikipedia schooled me about this holiday:
"Diwali, also known as Deepavali and the 'festival of lights,' is an ancient Hindu festival celebrated in autumn every year. The festival spiritually signifies the victory of light over darkness, knowledge over ignorance, good over evil, and hope over despair. ... Its celebration include millions of lights shining on housetops, outside doors and windows, around temples and other buildings in the communities and countries where it is observed. ...Diwali is one of the happiest holidays in India."
Light triumphing over dark! Millions of lights! Happiness! I feel like this is a message I can really get behind. I really like taking parts of different cultures that speak to me and incorporating them into my own Katie culture. So, maybe I'm going to celebrate Diwali from now on!

Regardless of this religious belief or that religious belief or non-religious beliefs, there is something just innately....good....about the concept of light triumphing over dark. It feels good, unifying and simple...and those are three of my favorite adjectives. Wanting good things to happen to people is a belief that's always going to be a constant for me, and I want to hang on to things like that when so much else can seem iffy or tumultuous or confusing at times. I believe in good, and I believe in light. Amen!

Plus, fireworks make my soul so friggin' happy. So, there's that!

I already had a couple friends coming over for dinner tonight (I made lasagna; who am I? I cook things?), and I just HAPPENED to have some sparklers tucked away in a drawer (you never know!), so.........

Happy Diwali!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Little Things & Tummy Laughs

I enjoyed my few minutes of free writing so much yesterday that I'm doing it again today.

And it's funny what the act of blogging will do to put you in the mood for more blogging. You know what I mean? The juices in my brain were flowing better today than they have in awhile. Blogging brain is back! 'ello old friend.

Little things make me really genuinely happy. Like those socks. (I think they might be my mom's?? Oops sorry mom) (Hi mom)

And fireworks and good snacks. And FRENCH FRIES. These are some of the moments that graced my Twitter and Facebook in the last 24 hours:

...all of those, together, plus other moments, just added up to put me in a really good mood, even when little setbacks at work had potential to stress me out. I just love random, funny crap like that.

My people are important to me.

Yesterday I was pondering about what my career goals are. You know what my first career goal is? My people. My people are always going to be my #1. So whatever my jobs and roles are down the road, I want to always be in a position to put my people first. If I'm swamped and one of my family members or best friends calls, I want to be able to insert a break into my To Do list and take that phone call. Last night, I knew I could chisel away more at my queue of work....but I'd also had a conversation that afternoon with a dear friend who I don't spend enough time with anymore. So I drove to Jack in the Crack (er, Box), got us some curly fries, and went to her apartment to sit in the hot tub. And I loved that! It was a perfect Tuesday night.

Twice in the last 24 hours, I've laughed until my eyes cried and my tummy hurt.

Once it was about this classic gummy bear amazon review. (Go on, read the first one, titled "Just don't. Unless it's a gift for someone you hate.") I can't remember what the second time was. But I do know that, if I'm going to measure my life by anything important, I think I want to measure it by those moments right there. And maybe by gummy bears. And also the moment this afternoon when I got to plant kale with my coworker in our team garden plot. Kale and I are sworn frenemies, much like me and most vegetables, but I loved stepping outside of the office and getting my hands dirty and standing in the sun for a few minutes. It was one of those perfect, happy moments.

And that's all for my allotted blogging minutes today. See you tomorrow? This is fun.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Tuesday Afternoon 7-Minute Free Write

I am allowing myself exactly 7 minutes to blog. So, let's do this.

I love my new job. I love it because it's busy, and I feel like I'm solving puzzles all day. It also helps that I have a weird love of calendars, and I spend most of my day playing with calendars and trying to make people's schedules fit together. It's a game to me. A game with boxes and....tetris. Let's pretend that was a complete/clear thought and I'll move on. Dontlookatme

Being so busy at work makes me have to be intentional about what I do with the free space that I do have. Unfortunately, not much of that has been allotted to blogging lately when my other options are friends, family, sleeping, reading, and watching Parks & Rec. So here I am, being intentional about blogging.

How much can I blog in just a few minutes? Something you might not know about me is that I can type freakishly fast. Sometimes I like to challenge people to typing speed contests when I want to make them feel bad. Just kidding, I actually avoid any and all competitions in which I might possibly make someone feel even slightly bad. This is why I never play Scrabble with most people. It's uncomfortable for me to win by too much. I avoid playing basketball for the opposite reason.

I miss baseball.

It's the playoffs, and I miss baseball. Somehow I don't get enough of it in my life since moving to CA, but it was a big part of my childhood. I miss it and I love it and I want to make some kind of commitment to going to as many games as possible next year. Baseball, I love you forever, even if we've had this trial separation. I need a hot dog.

One thing that inevitably makes me feel better on busy/stressful work days is to listen to all The National songs on my playlist for a couple hours on end while I chisel away at my work queue.

Their music is monotonous and shouldn't blow my mind, but it does. I don't know how. It's calming and thrilling to me all at the same time. I didn't even think I liked them at first, and then somehow I became obsessed one day. It's working music, is what it is!

Why haven't I seen them in concert?

I had an interesting weekend, because I was sick. And being sick makes me think.

Sometimes I think I get sick right when the universe/God is compelling me to take a closer look at stuff. It also makes me have weird dreams about my friend having an extramarital affair with Donald Trump and then tasking me with telling her husband about it. First of all, no. Second of all...wha?

This weekend I had a random thought come into my head while I was sitting in bed. Something about worrying if I've let my childhood slip away. Keep in mind, there was Nyquil involved in this moment of thought. First of all, I'm only 27. Secondly, I almost never think like that. I love birthdays. I think every new year is my best year yet. And, most of my friends are usually a few years older than me -- so I perpetually feel like a spring chicken, and can also see a lot of examples around me of how the coming years are still going to be good/great/productive/fun.

This was my soup when I was sick. I ate it with all 3 of those utensils:

Sometimes I think about going back to school. I don't mean that.

When I look at my finances, I realize I really don't mean that at all. Debt be gone, you minion of satan. But, I do have some honest moments where I wonder, if I'm really going to make this career switch from writing to HR, if I will need an MBA or other grad degree to really make it happen. I mean, living on pennies works out okay in your 20s.....but you know, 30s are coming. And then 40s. And I don't want to just scrape by forever. Does anyone ever reach a point where they feel like they aren't scraping by? Tell me what it's like over there.

OK, granted, "scraping by" is probably an exaggeration of my circumstances. I know I'm always planning some kind of travel and going to concerts, etc. But I would love to reach a point where the combination of rent, car payment, dental cleanings and Redbox overdue fines in a typical, non-traveling month, doesn't make me just come even on the finances. Maybe there are $$$$ areas I can tighten up here and there? (Don't even mention Redbox, it's beyond me.) (I'm the girl who started shipping books to myself via Amazon to read rather than going to the library, because it was more economical than paying library fines.) (Trust me.) (Plus, I love books. My library is always growing and I love it.) (Books aren't negotiable -- they're food for the soul.) (Lay off me.)

My time is up. See how fast I typed?? Also, confession: this was originally a 5-minute blogging window. Seven it is.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

someday you'll return to it

Sometimes I have spiritual moments at concerts.

OK, I frequently have spiritual moments at concerts. I go to a lot of concerts, you know? There's just something enlightening about the pulse of the music, the stars over your head and the swell of the crowd....oh yeah, and all that secondhand weed. OK, so maybe I have spiritual-and-slightly-high moments at concerts. Hard to tell.

Recently I was at a country concert (man, I went to so many of those this summer!) and the opening act played a song called "Dirt," which is all about the role that, obviously, dirt plays in our lives. That sounds weird...so here's some lyrics to help explain it better:

You get your hands in it, plant your roots in it
Dusty headlights dance with your boots in it
You write her name on it, spin your tires on it
Build your corn field, whiskey bonfires on it
You bet your life on it

There's another line in that song -- and it's the one that inspired this particular enlightened moment. The band was talking about a recent encounter with a young fan who had leukemia, who passed away not long after their meeting. Now, we all know I have a **major** soft spot in my heart for children with leukemia, thanks to my days of working for Make-A-Wish America, the forever-love-of-my-nonprofit-heart.

And after talking about this young fan, the singer quoted this line from that song about dirt...

You know you came from it,
and someday you'll return to it.

...and it just kind of made me pause for a second in the middle of that crazy, crowded, rowdy, redneck lawn.

"Someday you'll return to it."

I'm reminded all the time of how short life is. Sometimes it's by losing someone I love, sometimes it's by watching or reading the news about other people losing loved ones, and sometimes it's even via fictional movies/books/TV shows. Thinking about death and loss inevitably puts me in this transcendent place where very few things matter except what's REALLY most important. (Every time I watch Meet Joe Black, one of my favorite movies, I feel like I need to go on a long walk and get lost in my thoughts about current goals/priorities/relationships and if I'm making the choices I need to be making in all those arenas.)

Cue one of my favorite Steve Jobs quotes:
“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Almost everything -- all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure -- these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart. "
Because it's a fact: life is short, and unpredictable. And one day you have infinite mortal minutes and hours and hopes and dreams and plans, and the next minute you have....no more mortal minutes or hours or plans. It's one huge aspect of life we can't plan: when it's going to end.

And so I was reminded again, in the middle of that country concert, in a cloud of secondhand weed and noise and sweat and cowboy hats and Wranglers, that I need to make every day count. And that I can't put off until tomorrow all the things I want to say, and all the adventures I want to have, and all the risks I want to take, and all the people I want to love, and all the life I want to live.

"Someday you'll return to it." So...what are you going to do with your life, in the meantime? "There is no reason not to follow your heart."

Thursday, October 9, 2014

thirsty for rain

Here's a truth: I almost never write my blog posts actually IN Blogger.

They usually come together via notes on my phone, scraps of paper and sticky notes, and a draft email I keep open at work for writing down random thoughts without having to keep a whole browser tab open for Blogger because browser tabs are precious in my line of work, I go through dozens and dozens a day, let me tell you.

I have this little lull happening right now between finishing my work (much earlier than any other night this week, hallelujah!) and going to check out a biweekly frisbee game with people who work here. I'm a little intimidated. I'm always intimidated about playing with a new group. I've been playing for a few years, so I've done this whole try-a-new-group thing before, but it still gets me every time. The good news is, all it takes is once! I go once, and I'll know if I want to go back, or if it'll just be a bad memory to stuff away somewhere. And, I can do just once, either way :)

Anyway, this little lull. So I'm using a whole browser tab to type directly into Blogger and it feels like some kind of special luxury. Look at all this white space to fill!

Here's another truth: this post was supposed to be about rain.

I just bopped on over to hey natalie jean's page (i do love her blog and her instagram and her honesty and her style and, man, i'm jealous of her new tattoos, look at me i'm fan-girling over here) and she wrote this whole post about rain and the pictures of her rain-soaked windows and balcony made me feel all kinds of feels.

Do you know I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen rain since moving to California?

Oddly enough, I miss how much it rained in Arizona, hashtag irony.

Oh, bless that beautiful, tumultuous, warm, steamy monsoon season in the August region of Arizona! California is sunny paradise for sure.......but that's about all it is. And I love it, don't get me wrong. It's nice to be able to depend on the weather being good/calm/sunny. It's not nice that the entire state is in a drought and crops are being compromised, so that's the serious side of the issue. The non-serious side is simply that.....I miss the rain. I wrote in my last post about how my favorite kind of happiness consists of a whole variety of emotions, including everything from sad to mad and joy to silliness.

I guess I like my weather like I like my happy. With flavors.

But, not snow flavors. HEAVEN FORBID NOT FROZEN SNOWY FLAVORS. Four years in a snowy state for college will suck any faint snow-loving tendencies right out of any respectable desert rat :)

Also, I feel weird about the phrase "snow flavors." Except that it makes me want shaved ice real bad.

And now it's time for me to play frisbee, so this post is what it is. xoxoxo all you cats :)

p.s. me, once, several years ago in the AZ rain:

Monday, October 6, 2014

this, right now

One thing I try to avoid doing is blogging about lack of blogging.

Like, when I haven't written in a few days...or weeks....should I explain myself? And you know how I used to post on the daily like clockwork, but now it's more like once a week? And I used to have sticky notes FULL of blog ideas...too many to fit on the calendar....and now the canvas just feels sort of blank most days?

All the time I think, "Maybe I should blog about that." And then I start thinking it through, and I ultimately decide I don't have that much to say....or it's already been said....or that I'm boring myself so I probably shouldn't publish anything. haha. But seriously.

Maybe I did get kind of boring?

But actually, I think I'm just really...content...lately.

My job woes are currently behind me (at least for another year), I'm mostly without dating drama at the moment (minus a few hiccups of activity here and there -- but I've never quite figured out how to blog about my dating life without being THAT GIRL WHO BLOGS ABOUT HER DATING LIFE)....the weather is lovely in California because the leaves *almost* started to change but then summer was like NO! 90 DEGREES! soooo it's like I'm being teased over here. But it's the good kind of teasing, when the choice is between two favorites, e.g. summer and October. I think California might be flirting with me? (It's working. I'm smitten.)

I go to a lot of concerts these days.

Like, almost every weekend for the last couple months. You know that already if you follow me on Instagram, etc. It mostly results in me feeling hungover on Sundays (even without alcohol consumption! it's a real talent) but I wouldn't trade it. It keeps me young and feeds my soul. On Saturday night I went to see Jimmy Eat World, which is my favorite band in all of ever, and my heart is still feeling 23 flavors of happy because of it. I ate at a taco truck beforehand, so it pretty much felt like my birthday that day. No complaints.

I've also been working on cleaning my room for approximately 5 months now. I legitimately just cleaned out the last of the knick knacks from one of the bags I took to Iceland back in June. That's my system. But I'm seriously close to being done. So proud.

And that's just the rhythm of my life right now.

It's consistent, but interesting, and busy and exciting but slow and meandering all at once. (Which is a pretty accurate description of California as a whole, right? Think: ocean. I'll let you write that metaphor yourself.)

And I'm very happy. I mean, I've got my heavy stuff. We always have our heavy stuff. I have things that worry me late at night sometimes, or give me anxiety dreams that wake me up at 4am and I'm never quite sure if it's because of the dream or simply because I had to pee so bad, and I've got my melancholy days and somber moods.

But those days and moods don't detract from my happy...they are part of my happy. I don't want a fake happy that's always sunshine and shallow feelings and no variety. I want a life that's rich and full and flavored with all kinds of emotions, experiences, brave adventures and fetal-position-don't-anyone-talk-to-me-right-now-I'm-having-a-moment naps.

Recently someone asked me what my favorite age in my life has been, and I thought for a minute, then answered, "Every year gets better."

And it does. Sometimes new years are hard, but they always add something to my life. Something I like myself a little bit better for. I feel like I've spent a lot of time in my life always waiting for whatever's next. I think most people do.

But I love my life....right now. I love my people, I love my job, I love that I made a crazy move to California and I love that it's finally winding down into less crazy, I love having travel plans, I love having weekend plans, I love having Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday night plans, and I really love Friday nights without any plans because that means I get to wear pajamas and watch Parks & Rec....it's all just very good.

I love this, right now.

And I'll love what's next. But right now, this. And it is so good.

And now here's my just-woke-up, still-wearing-my-retainers morning happy face, when I woke up and realized it was Jimmy Eat World concert day: