Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What happens in Lakebay ...

I feel like my last few posts have been kind of negative - like I'm complaining about my family and an trying to justify my trip to them. And maybe I am, but that was not my intention in writing. So, in an effort to lighten up the mood I am sharing a few pictures from my recent trip to Lakebay. What happens in Lakebay stays in Lakebay right? (except when I post the pictures online for the world to see ...)
This dress was purchased for homecoming my Junior year of high school. My parents (specifically my dad) HATED it but I thought it was the funniest thing ever. I found it this weekend when I was going through old clothes. Of course this meant I had to try it on. My mom provided me with her "Russian" fur hat. But basically, this is my ugly green dress and I'll probably keep it forever. Sorry Dad!

I'd say this picture personifies my relationship with my brother Parker. To be fair, he was looking at the camera at first, but then it took forever to take the picture so he turned around. This was on our way to the movie theater to see W at Parker's insistence. Unfortunately the film did not live up to his expectations.

That's it for now ... I'm sure more will come later. :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Paper Cranes

On Friday afternoon I found myself 30 minutes away from getting off work and sitting at my desk making a paper crane. Really?!?! I had a very productive, albeit a slow day on Friday, but nonetheless productive. I crossed several things off of my list. I organized my desk. I completed a few personal “art projects,” I gave a campus tour, and I helped to solve a few office paperwork mysteries. Yep, it was a productive day but as 4:15 approached, I could feel myself counting the seconds to when I could officially leave early to run an errand for the office and then head down to Renton to meet a friend for dinner. So there I sat at my desk folding yellow paper into a beautiful crane.

I wonder how much time I spend in a day just wasting away.

In high school my mom gave me a keychain that read, “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time.” I have used this keychain ever since and surprisingly it has held up well. (I‘m not very gentle with my keys and many of my fun keychains have not even lasted a week.) I love this quote – and the keychain. I love the personality that it represents. My mom gave it to me I am a huge procrastinator. Well, I used to be – I have gotten a lot better as I’ve “grown up,” but I still put things off as much as I can. I’ve always been responsible and things get done, they just get done at the last minute. This can be stressful for some people, but I thrive in that type of atmosphere. It gives me the push I need to complete a task.

While the keychain may have started out as a joke between me and my mom, it has developed into a sort of subconscious mission statement as I reflect on my upcoming plans. (Yes, I know I talk about my new adventure a lot, but it’s what is on my mind, so there!)

When I tell people about my plans I am greeted with one of two general ideas of thought, even if they don’t say it, I can see it in their eyes. The initial reaction is either a “Wow, that sounds like an incredible and exciting opportunity and I can’t wait to hear more about it” type of response or I’m met with a deer in the headlights look and the equal reply of “Can you afford that? What will you do when you get back to the US? You shouldn’t go alone, that’s unsafe – you’d better take someone with you.” I’d say it’s about 50/50 which response I will get but I usually know going into the conversation what is going to come out of it. (People are so predictable J)

I guess what it all comes down to is that some people may think that taking a year off of “real life” to travel is a waste of time and dangerous. But there are just as many people who would say that experiencing something like this is what real life is all about.

About a year ago, my dad told me that he was excited because he was finally living out his “somedays.” He had worked hard his whole life (and still does work very hard) and was now able to reap the reward by experiencing the things he had always said he would do someday. I think that is fantastic and wonderful and something great to look forward to, but I also want to enjoy my life while it is happening. I don’t want to always be waiting for the next thing to come down the line. I don’t want to have everything put in the “someday” category. It’s good to have goals and something to look forward to, but I think it’s also good to have experiences when you are young to propel you through life.

I don’t want to sit at a job making paper cranes day after day after day just waiting for the seconds to melt away until I can go out and live my real life. I want to enjoy and experience life as it happens. I want todays and somedays, but I want a healthy mix of both.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Valid Concerns

Yesterday my dad and I were chatting about my plans for this upcoming year and I was telling him about the changes to my plan that have happened in the last few weeks. What resulted from this conversation was frustration. Please understand that my dad is a wonderful person. I love and respect him and I value his opinion. He and I have very similar personalities and I think that is why I become frustrated with our conversations so easily. I’ve come to realize that the concerns that he has about my trip are the same concerns that I have, he just expresses them while I have reconciled them in my mind.

Now, I am an extremely rational person. I think things through and weigh everything out, but when it actually comes down to making a decision I usually go with my gut. I don’t forget about the rationale behind my thoughts, but I go with my intuition and when I move forward, I make arrangements to counteract my concerns as best that I can. I make my decision and I commit to it. I have to do this so that I don’t let my fear of the unknown keep me from pursuing what I want, because it will if I let it. So, when my dad begins to express his concerns about me traveling alone in foreign countries I become rigid.

I don’t want to have the fact that I’m a girl traveling alone be a reason for me not to have this adventure. Why should my plans have to be put on hold until there is someone else who can be a part of them? I don’t want to hear about how I’m going to be an easy target for thieves because I want to travel lightly with one or two bags. Why should I be any more of a target than I was when I was traveling in Europe with my family last time? I seem to recall that my dad was the one who almost got pick pocketed, not me.

Obviously I’m not na├»ve enough to think that I can go anywhere and do anything without taking precautions to be safe and protected, but I think I deserve more credit than that. I’m a smart person and I am aware of my surroundings. I plan to do my research and if I am confident in my actions, that’s half the battle to avoiding becoming a target. I fully understand that my dad’s warnings are well based. He’s concerned about me. He doesn’t want me to be hurt or be robbed and I appreciate that. I’m not frustrated with him for bringing these things up. I’m annoyed that his anxieties are the same worries I have for myself. I’m discouraged by the fact that there is nothing I can concretely do to ease those uneasy feelings. And that, for those of you who know me well, is probably the hardest thing for me to accept. I can’t fix it all. I can’t be in control of every step of my journey. I’m going to have to rely on myself in every situation I stumble into.

I don’t think my trip is going to be easy. I think it’s going to a huge challenge for me to be on my own in various foreign countries where I will have no clue as to what anyone is saying. But for me, that’s the beauty of it all. Am I excited? Yes! Am I afraid? Of course! But am I going to let fear of the unknown cripple me and keep me from an adventure I’ve been thinking about for over 10 years? Heck no!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Realizations

I change my mind a lot. It’s a simple but true fact that I have come to discover about myself. I don’t think it’s something that I do because I’m fickle or high maintenance, I think it has more to do with the fact that I have too many things that I want, or think that I want. I have a multitude of ideas that I want to express and goals I want to achieve at any given moment which causes for confusion. I can’t focus on one thing because so many other things seem to pass me by when I’m not looking.

Probably the most obvious example of all of this is with boys. As all of my friends know, I develop crushes at the drop of a hat. I often refer to myself as a crush slut, which some people have told me is a derogatory thing to say. Yes, it is kind of negative, but it’s such a realistic description of what happens. These are crushes that are fleeting and of the moment and aren’t really given another thought after a day or two. I forget about the boy once he is out of sight and move on to the next one I see. It’s terribly funny to watch myself go through this, but because I know what is happening I don’t give the crushes too much credibility. Of course there are various levels of crushes and those just mentioned are at the very bottom of the relationship totem pole. As I remain interested in someone for a longer period of time (without having him in constant view) I know that it’s more than just a crush and that I actually like this boy, but even then there are often a few guys who live in this category. I can’t close any doors unless I know that there is real potential with a guy, and I haven’t been there in a long while. But I digress …

The other place in my life where I can’t seem to come to a decision is in my life plans. As you should all know by now I am planning to go to Europe. But when am I leaving and where am I going? Don’t know yet. I’d like to know and be able to make plans, but there are just so many different ways I could go about this whole adventure that I don’t even know where to begin. There are so many ifs, ands, and buts that it gets very confusing and the only way I can really deal with it is to stop for a moment and forget about it completely. But this is something I can only do so often since the window for purchasing a reasonable plane ticket is rapidly closing. I need to make some decisions soon; that much is clear. But once again, what if I close the wrong door?

I think I’m too independent of a person sometimes and then other times I let myself be bullied around by myself and talk myself out of things. I am a responsible person and I take responsibility for my actions. I don’t expect anyone to take the blame for me. If I do stupid things, I own up to them. It’s just my nature – or at least it has become my nature, I’m sure I wasn’t as fault accepting as a kid. The point is that I don’t want to just do (or not do) something because someone tells me. Yes, I take the advice of people I trust and care about and who care about me, but I also think about things myself. I weigh the options and make a choice. Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad, but ultimately I have learned that I need to do things for myself and not for anyone else. It sounds a little selfish as I say it out loud, but it’s the truth. I know it isn’t always about me, but sometimes it is ok to put yourself first and to make a decision that is right for you even if it puts other people in a tight spot. There is consideration for others and then there is letting yourself be walked all over. I am not a doormat.

I guess the point of my rambling is that I would consider myself to be a fairly confident person. I have purpose and direction and am happy with who I am as a person. I may not always know how I am getting somewhere or what it’ll look like once I do, but I have faith that I will get there. Life is one big adventure and there has to be some surprises otherwise it wouldn’t be an adventure. It’d be predictable and boring and life should never be that way. Everyone has a different journey and you have to live your own. You can’t live someone else’s. I’m just trying to enjoy every moment of mine and learn every step of the way.
 
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