Holidays Not-So 101: Holidays with the Other Family November 27, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Cooking, Dating, Family, Food/Dining, Holidays, Holidays Not-So 101, How To, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Relationships.
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We all, at some point in our lives, reach the inevitable point where we stop having holiday dinner with our family…and start having dinner with our significant other’s family. On one hand, congratulations on the great achievement and milestone in your relationship, on the other hand…shit. Your own family is hard enough, Thanksgiving or holiday dinner with another family is like a minefield times ten! Even if you, or your significant other, have the best relationship with his or her parents, holidays are like a permanent marker, one false move and it’s branded on your for life, all because it was Thanksgiving. How do you navigate the field of “oops” bombs?
To begin, do your homework. There’s nothing wrong with being a little prepared. What are the general traditions for this meal or holiday? Will you be expected to say what you’re thankful for at the dinner table? Will it be a formal evening or should you be prepared to hang out in sweatpants? Does everyone help out in the kitchen or stay put in front of the TV for the game? So on and so forth. Also, communicate your traditions to your man/woman. People always want you to feel welcome and will often do something that is important to you, like make your favorite dish, or a special tradition like having mimosa’s as a cocktail. Every family is different and when you start celebrating holidays with a significant other, those traditions start to combine.
It’s better to be safe than sorry. For the most part, you’ll be expected to show up, say thank you twelve zillion times, and not insult anyone. However, it’s always good to make a nice impression. Bring flowers, a dessert, or a small gift like a holiday themed candle to show your appreciate for the invite. Volunteer for things you wouldn’t normally do if your mom were slaving away in the kitchen like loading the dishwasher, helping cook, or uncorking the wine. 9 out of 10 times they’ll say thanks but no thanks. It’s awesome to be comfortable, but remember that you’re a guest here so even if this is the eighteenth holiday with the in-laws, you should still be on your best behavior.
Don’t be a weirdo. Spending a holiday with the boyfriend/girlfriend’s family is lots of fun, but it can also be a stressful situation. No one wants to feel awkward, so don’t make it that way! “Just be yourself” is perhaps the most annoying but also truest phrase in the book. If someone tells a joke and you’re a loud laugher, just laugh. Trying to stifle a laugh or make the joke better by being inappropriate won’t give people a good impression of you and a false idea of who you are. It’s better to be who you are and maybe end up a little embarrassed instead of feeling stupid for doing something out of character and then trying to rectify it. If you’re a relatively quiet person, don’t try to be outgoing; if you’re a lively character, make sure you’re stepping in at the right times.
Gifts can potentially be the biggest stressors of the holidays. Really, what do you get your not-so-soon to be sister-in-law whose husband just bought her the world? Or the nephew that you met once when he had the flu? Or the mom that’s still trying to figure you out? Something with the best intention but the smallest commitment. Unless you know there is something specific they want, a more generic gift will let them know you thought about them this holiday season. A nice candle with their favorite store’s gift card, a zip-up sweater and a scarf from Gap or Express, a moderately price doll and one of her cool accessories, or a Tonka truck and a git certificate to Lego Land. Always include gift receipts and let them know it’s “just a little something”. Don’t go overboard, or pay too much, just keep it simple and classic.
While the holidays make everyone anxious it’s important to remember why you’re going through all this. You’ve met someone awesome and they like you enough to bring you home for the holidays. Bonus points all around! So remember to have a great time, and treat it like what it is, a holiday.
The Real Institution of Marriage November 23, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Dating, GoodGuys File, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Men, Relationships, Women.
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The GoodGuys File
The girl who wrote this article is very much like me. Maybe even exactly like me. Maybe her parents only dated a year before getting married. Maybe all her friends want big, diamond rings set in platinum, maybe they want a grade-A DJ, smoke, and colored lights at their wedding, or giant ice sculptures and center pieces so elaborate three of them cost the same as a down-payment for a car. Maybe all her friends are sizing up the right ring instead of the right guy and all the while she’s feeling like she’s kind of abnormal for not wanting those things.
Even since I was itty, bitty, I had my wedding planned out to the T, over the years certain ideas have changed, or morphed, but for the most part I’ve known what I wanted. More recently, I’ve started looking around for the kind of ring I want. I hate the 21st century jewelry style, I believe one, Diddy, once coined it “bling”? More so, I’ve been watching those Say Yes to the Dress type shows since I was a baby, judging every move the bride makes and critiquing the highs and lows, wondering how some people could wear such ugly dresses. I’m wedding obsessed.
You can be obsessed with a lot of things; pineapples, puppies, sports teams, crafting, dinosaurs, shopping. It seems like the entire planet has their choice of obsessions but all of us chose the same one. Yet, the author of this article is correct, we’re not obsessed with getting married, we’re not obsessed with love, we’re not obsessed with finding someone we want to spend the rest of your life with. We’re obsessed with having the photographs of the best day, with the best ring, all made-up, in the best dress. I’ve been saying this for years, I’ve been blaming the wedding industry, reality TV, parents spoiling their children, and social media fueling this overexaggerated bubble that is weddings. When people told me the institution of marriage was a fraud, I told them that the industry was to blame. People get married because they want to be special, they want a wedding, not because they’re in love…and definitely not because they’ve sat down and discussed if being together, forever, is really what they want, or what they believe they are capable of, together. People get divorced because they should have never gotten married in the first place.
So, I know all this, and I’ve been preaching it for years. So how come after I read this article I burst into a thousand tears, to which my boyfriend stared at me wondering what the hell was wrong. After reading this article, I was angry with myself, I realized that I, too, was being sucked into this “I’m in a relationship so I should start planning my wedding, yesterday!” phenomenon. At the core of it, I don’t want to get married, not now anyway, I’m not ready to be someone’s wife (a role I take very seriously). People don’t get it, people think that since we’ve been together a couple of years we’re just days away from getting engaged. People make us feel like the abnormality, most people don’t stop to consider that perhaps we feel like we’ve found the right person, so rather than rushing to put a ring on it, we’re taking our time figure out other parts of our lives, together. Our finances, our careers, taking care of our families, we know that the other isn’t going anywhere. There are a lot of our friends out there who aren’t as secure as we are, once they meet the person they’re with, they want to lock it down, make sure it can’t get away, ensure that they’ve found the right person and make it permanent, but the reality is that marriage isn’t permanent, even though it’s supposed to be.
After my meltdown I realized I wasn’t the only person feeling sucked into the mold and I also wasn’t the only girl out there who didn’t want to get married right away. What did I decide to do? I decide to throw away my ambitions of getting a ring, wondering about the moment, when it will be, and picking out flowers for my wedding, and just work on being together. There are a lot of things we need to work on before we get married, or engaged, and ever since I read this article, everything got easier, everything became clear. Tulle, and champagne, and shiny things really cloud your perception of love. In today’s world, love is not a synonym for wedding, and it should be. Celebrate what you have today, instead of worrying about how you’re going to celebrate tomorrow.
“Love what you do and do what you love.” November 18, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Finances, How To, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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“Love what you do and do what you love. Don’t listen to anyone else who tells you not to do it. You do what you want, what you love. Imagination should be the center of your life.” Ray Bradbury
There is a saying I heard once, a man told his son, “First, find something you love to do. Then, find a way to make money doing it. This is the key to being happy.” When I heard this, I thought it was a genius piece of advice, not because it was true, or to the point, but because the best advice is the kind that isn’t always the easiest to apply or achieve. Finding something you love is hard enough, finding a way to make money doing it seems next to impossible.
After years and years of hard work, dedication and making good choices (good, not always being fun, or the most convenient), I have found a way to make money, and be comfortable, doing something I love. Sure, a lot of it was fate, but most of it was relentless work, never giving up, and always being positive, telling myself there was always a way, one day, that I was going to make this happen. Finding a way to make money doing something you love isn’t always knowing exactly where you want to be in life, but more so, it’s about trying many different things to see what clicks or what feels right. Your journey may take you in directions that seem like the opposite of your goal, but in the long run, everything we do is like a stepping stone to what we want to do.
Age is also misleading, for many of us twenty-somethings there is either plenty of time or barely any time. When we’re in our early twenties, we don’t focus as hard on finding a way to make money doing what we love, because we feel like we’ll get to that eventually, in the inevitable future. When we’re in our mid-twenties we realize that now’s the time to start worrying about our careers, then by the time we’re in our late twenties we scold our former selves for not taking life more seriously when we were 22. However, there’s no way around that, it’s the path of life and even if we feel like we’re running out of time to make our dreams come true, dreams are something that take time and the more we stress about them, the less we’ll accomplish.
For many people, money is the reason they can’t do what they love. Everyone loves something; painting, beer, the internet, buying jewelry, traveling, playing sports. Finding something you love doesn’t mean becoming a professional artist or dropping everything about your life and trying to become a buyer for Kay Jewelers. It means finding a path that will get you to into a world that is about what you love to do. Much of the time these “worlds” or “jobs” have to be hobbies for a while because they don’t pay enough to sustain life. For many people this means devoting extra time to something that’s not necessarily giving much back, besides emotional satisfaction. This may also mean sacrificing time from other things, or people, because it’s important to you.
Then there’s the issue of simply not knowing what you love. People decide they want to make custom frames and open a store on Etsy, but it turns out to not be something they want to do fulltime. Other’s may want to coach kids soccer, but find that the time commitment doesn’t really equal the financial needs. Perhaps you’re the type of person that falls in love too quickly with an idea, or invention, and then a couple of months down the line realize it’s really not what you want to be doing. These things happen, to more people than not. It’s better to try and possibly change your mind, then not try at all. How will you find what you love if you never take the risk to figure it out?
The road to finding a way to make money doing something you love is a long one for most, for some, it’s very easy. There is no blueprint for how it should work. There is a decision you can make to make it work, and not give up on it just because you get sidetracked for a year, a month, or simply a while. To do something you love as a career, you have to be brave, and you have to accept the challenges, and at times, defeat. The reward will be the feeling of achievement and having the opportunity to do what you love, for the rest of your life…even if it takes you 40 years to get there.
A Guide to Living with Humans November 4, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Apartment Life, Dating, Family, Friendships, How To, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Relationships, Tips and Tricks.
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Whether it’s living with your best friend, your boyfriend, or someone you just met, living with humans is no easy feat. For the last ten years I’ve lived with 10+ people, different friendships, families, and roommate situations and the entire time, I always felt like I was missing something valuable. It wasn’t until I started living with my boyfriend that things finally felt right and I could look back and analyze all the mistakes I had made when it came to living with others. I could also understand their mistakes and how they contributed to our living togetherness ending, and possibly even our friendships ending.
A couple of days ago a close friend called me, near tears, and told be about her recent experience of living with another human. In light of this event, and my own experiences, I felt it was time for DLIH to expose the truths of what living with others means. She has allowed me to share her story, knowing that she’s not the only one out there who’s gone through this.
My friend moved in with her best bud about seven months ago. They had been very close in college and rekindled their friendship when she moved back to the city last year. They were thrilled to be living together. When she first moved in, they laid some groundwork that would prevent any friendship-breakups or arguments. Some of the things they discussed included that each person would pitch-in with cleaning and buying cleaning supplies, dates or boyfriends were allowed over but not for long stints, if someone was unhappy with how something was in the shared spaces they would have to sit down and discuss it before changing everything. You know, the basic stuff all roommates discuss. Well, for the first couple of months it was fine, however, slowly dishes seemed to take up the sink 24/7, her roommate’s boyfriend seemed to have become a third roommate, minus the rent part, and one day she came home to find the entire living room redecorated with all of her belongings, that previously lived in the common space, lying on her bedroom floor. When my friend addressed the various issues, her roommate would either apologize by take no action, or get very defensive finding excuses such as “well you were at work, I couldn’t ask you” or “my boyfriend is in a fight with his brother, so he needs to crash here”. Long story short their friendship ended and eventually my friend found a new place and moved out two weeks ago, they haven’t spoken since.
The reason we shared this scenario isn’t because it’s unusual, it’s because it’s the most common experience amount people who live together. Maybe it’s not your roommate, perhaps it’s your mother who has spent three weeks too many crashing with you while “looking for her new place”; maybe you and your partner just moved in and you’re realizing that you can’t live together, what does that mean for your future? Living with a human is just that: living with a human. Humans are selfish, arrogant, rude and dirty…or they are OCD about cleaning, always perky, want to help out with everything and ask you constantly how you are. Either way, you’re never going to have the perfect person to live with, even when you’re married with babies! So here are the things you can do to learn to make living with humans a little bit easier.
- Make your space your own. shared spaces can be tough. I’ve had multiple roommates that wanted things the way they wanted them and didn’t care about my input. So my bedroom was my space, it was exactly how I liked it and my sanctuary when I needed space.
- Don’t be a hypocrite. If there is something they do that bothers you, make sure you’re not doing it too. If your human friend never cleans the stove, make sure you do when it gets dirty. This way, if you need to address it, they can’t say the mess is yours.
- Establish a verbal contract. Where does mail go? Where can you find the spare set of keys? Who is in charge of bills and when are they paid? This will reduce the amount of monthly or weekly tension. It also creates a common ground, if you come home and there are envelopes sprawled across your bed you can say “Hey, roomie, didn’t we agree the mail goes in the kitchen?”
- Don’t be defensive, but don’t be combative. Sometimes people will accuse you of things you didn’t do. “You left the TV on all night”. Instead of making a point to fight, just say “Oh…I wasn’t home, so that’s strange, maybe our TV is possessed! Either way, I’ll make a point to always make sure I turn it off”. Likewise, when you need to address something, don’t come off judgmental “Those dishes have been in the sink for weeks!”, try “Hey, I’m planning on cooking a big meal tonight and will need the sink, would you mind just washing those dishes really quick?”. Now see – “don’t be a hypocrite”.
- Learn how to let things roll off your back. No matter how many times you ask, beg, or talk about things that need to change, sometimes they won’t. Unless these things are bringing rats into your apartment or creating fires, learn to just accept that this human you live with is flawed (as are you!) and count backwards from ten when they’ve left toothpaste all over the sink again. You won’t have to live with them forever.
Intro To…Making Friends October 31, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Friendships, How To, Intro To, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Relationships.
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This you: “I am going to make new friends! Let’s do this, self!”
This is what really happens: “Please….be my friend?”
Making friends is the worst! There are people out there who can’t handle a job interview, or the pressure of a difficult class, most people are afraid of heights or asking someone out, I get anxiety over making friends…do you? Here’s the deal, comrades, I really enjoy talking to people and usually once I meet someone at a bar or party or work, we make a pretty good connection, but what happens after that? Have you ever gotten the “Oh my gosh, we’ve got to hang out! Friend me on Facebook and let me know when you’re free!”. Not to sound like a girl on the phone with her bestie, but what does that really mean? Does it mean that you’re sincere and really want to hang out with me, or does it just mean that you’re being polite…or maybe it was just you, in the moment, wanting to hangout and then later realizing I wasn’t that cool. Have you ever done that, actually tried to make plans with the person to no avail? Usually they mean no harm, they’re just really busy or forget to reply. Then you just feel like someone who got stood up on a date, “stupid! stupid! stupid! I actually thought she liked me!”
I guess there’s a misconception about me because of the way I look, that I have loads of friends and I’m totally confident that everyone I meet is just smitten with my movie star smile, but anyone can have trouble making friends, even the people who are the friendliest and can strike up a conversation with anyone.
So, what happens when you’ve just gotten a new job or relocated or started your first day of grad school and you’re thinking “I don’t know a soul?”. You could be that weirdo who walks right up to someone with a firm handshake, practically squealing as you introduce yourself and cry “It’s so nice to meet you!!!!”. Sure, you could do that, and make no friends EVER. Then there’s the laid back approach, the “I’m going to just sit here and be super cool, so cool that people are going to wonder who I am, this cool, cool person, and come up to me”. That works wonders too…arrogant, stuck-up wonders. Finally, there’s the awkward girl in the elevator technique. The one where someone makes a funny joke, and instead of laughing with the rest of the crowd, you hesitate in an effort to not assume you’re part of the crowd, but quickly realize how stupid that makes you look and laugh after the fact, only making people stare at you like the plague. Nice work. So clearly, making friends isn’t as easy as it seems.
Friendship is like shoe shopping; sometimes you try on one pair and you’re good to go but other times it takes a couple of stores and a truck load of boxes to find the pair that’s comfortable and looks good. Meeting new people can introduce you to other new people who will become your friends, don’t try to jump the gun by being best friends with the first person you talk to, friendship takes times. Find what you have in common with others – your personality, your hobbies, where you went to school, where you grew up. Don’t focus on hanging out with people who have material things in common with you like great taste, a fat wallet, or an upscale car brand. Those things are facades to who people really are and what high school friendships are made of.
Don’t be afraid to get personal, keep your guard up and filter the information you share but don’t be a piece of cardboard. Telling people you got plastered at a work party and tried to hit on your boss is probably information that shouldn’t be shared until months or even years of friendship have gone by, but if you’re a little down about just being dumped, talk about it…it makes you human, and relatable. People want to make friends with people who they have an empathetic connection to, not a wall.
There’s no rule that says this is how you make friends, or that is what you should do, but if you follow the rules of your mother, and the mother’s that came before us and “Just be yourself” (with a little bit of risk, of course!) You’ll be meeting great people in no time.
20-Somethings, Not All of Us Are Yuppies October 11, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in 21st Century/Technology, Education, Family, Finances, Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Real World.
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First off, homework time! Don’t hate me:
Reading Comprehension: Read this awesome sauce article, it’s really more of a picture book
Questions: What is a Yuppie? What is Generation Y? Why are unicorn’s amazing?!
Now, let me tell you why not all of us are slacking. Before I begin, I would like to address the “I’m special” phenomenon. All of you out there read that and said “Oh, that’s not me, I don’t think I’m special, I actually am”. You’re that guy who is kissing my boss’s butt but a jerk to the rest of us, get over yourself. No one is special. When I was a little girl, my dad never called me a princess, my parents never told me what I did was excellent, and when it was back to school night my parents proudly looked at my work but didn’t scream down the hallway “OH! MY BABY IS SO TALENTED!!!! SO ADVANCED! LOOK AT HER DOODLE!” In my parent’s eyes, of course I was special, but they didn’t want me growing up thinking I was; they wanted me to have a work ethic that would make me work to prove I was worth it, not expect people to just know I was worth it.
There’s this preconceived idea about 20-somethings nowadays, and for the most part, I agree with it. I looked at many of my peers, still on their parent’s family plans at 27 years old, or living with a roommate at 33, and I wonder “Aren’t you hungry to be an adult?”. Generation Y got it easy, we didn’t know too much financial hardship, we didn’t have all that much political warfare growing up, and the housing bubble wasn’t really a big ginobubble yet. Not to mention, we got the computer, the cell phone, the hybrid, the internet. We know how to look up a reference book in the library, we can use a fax machine but we can show our 48-year-old boss how to download an app that will manually shutdown other apps so that his battery doesn’t run down by lunch time. We are super…but we aren’t special. Since we got it so easy, there’s a large group of us that stopped trying. Sure, in our heads we are trying, but in reality we’re lazy compared to generations before us.
However, there are those of us who broke free from the mold (before the Mold Monster could get us, RAAAARR!..okay, sorry, had to.) I don’t remember the last time someone gave me a handout, because it’s been that long since I’ve been supporting myself. I don’t just mean financially, I’ve found all my own jobs since I was about 21, I’ve gotten my own apartments, set-up all of my own accounts, and had to deal with my own taxes. Truth? I hated it, I used to look at my friends or other people my age and be angry at my family problems. I didn’t think it was fair that I couldn’t be on a cell phone family plan, or on my parent’s insurance, or that I had to figure out why I owed 1200 dollars in taxes. I’m not going to give you a line about how it made me stronger, because figuring out stuff alone and young is hard and, I too, will probably shelter my kids from it, but the reality is, I did it.
I hate telling people my age. I think they think less of me because I fall into their “I’m special” category. As I get older, every year, the feeling of needing to prove myself gets less and less, but sometimes I can see it in people’s eyes when I tell them I’m 20-something, sometimes they’re shocked that I’ve got my head screwed on right, and I’m actually accomplished in life.
There is a small branch of us, 20-somethings, that have got it together and by 30 we’re going to be happy, accomplished, and successful, so maybe we are special…we’re special because we’re screwing statistics and fighting the odds, and we’re saying to others “Think what you want, judge me sideways, I know who I am, and I’ve been working to be this person all my life.” We deserve to be proud of that person, we deserve to look at our peers who are making us look bad and ignore them. We deserve more than the credit we’re getting, and we know we aren’t going to get it…that’s why being a non-yuppie is so cool, you always get to prove people wrong, and you get to do it all by yourself, on your own merits and your own time. Rise up non-yuppies! We’re going to take the world by storm!
Dreams Change October 6, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Jobs and Work, Life Lessons/Growing Up.
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I knew a beautiful ballerina that fought all the odds to get to her dreams. Now, in your head you’re thinking of obstacles like lack of funds, a traumatic incident, coming from a bad neighborhood, the obvious “obstacles” we think of when we hear the verb “overcame”. However, we forget that we fight things everyday. To us, these things don’t seem like obstacles but in reality they are small victories everyday but overtime they become one large string of setbacks that we find a way to get through. If we don’t, we don’t move on through life.
This beautiful dancer I knew is still a beautiful dancer; she is happy and healthy, financially stable, as is her family. She went to a great school, met a great man who is now her husband and has great friends, a wonderful life. However, being on the inside of her life, I know that what appears as flawless from the outside can actual be covered in turmoil in the depths of people’s hearts. This little girl dreamed of being a prima ballerina and graduated as the best in her class, but she couldn’t get into college as a ballet major, so she chose contemporary dance. She graduate as one of the best in her class from college and began a career as a professional dancer. She worked her entire life to prove to people that she was worth more than a small paycheck every now and then, and still, to this day she has learned how to live her life on this paycheck to paycheck schedule. She finally proved herself to some amazing people, but the one place she wanted to dance her whole life, her obsession, her first true love never gave her a chance. In fact, they flat-out told her to stop auditioning because they weren’t interested. So, it seems like a huge failure, it seems like it was one sacrifice after another. The thing about dreams, is that dreams change, and we forget that….and we forget that it’s okay.
When I was a little girl, I thought about being a vet, I also thought about being a pop star, or being on a game show, or even being a fancy journalist reporter (ok…I still think about being a pop star). However, I am none of those things. Today, I have a dream job in my head, and I’m working towards it everyday but I’ve also come to realize that this one pinpoint job has many facets, many areas that interest me and while I’m on my way to getting my dream job, I can also work in jobs that are related to my dream. I can learn new things, that will lead me on new paths and one day I might get my dream job, or I might find a new job and never want to leave it.
Let’s say you want to be a personal trainer. Today, jobs are few and far between, or it can be hard to gain experience. In the meantime, you could find a job teaching kids to play soccer, working on the administrative end of a gym, veer into fields like physical therapy or chiropractics. If the part about being a trainer you like is helping people, you could organize a daily run in the park and have people in your neighborhood join. You may find that you love outdoor workouts with kids more than you like being cooped up in a gym all day. Maybe you’ll learn something new about yourself, how great you are with business, and you’ll want to get your MBA, or open up your own gym rather than simply be a trainer. Who knows where your “dream job” will lead you, you can’t lock yourself into a box that’s all or nothing.
So…how did it end with the beautiful ballerina? She’s a stay at home mom. She didn’t stop dancing because she couldn’t make it, or didn’t want to, she had a baby and suddenly her dream changed. She wanted to have more children and raise them and spend her time making sure they have the best home possible. She wanted to support her husband and build a life for them. To many, this looks like a failure, someone giving up, but there is no better feeling than realizing how truly happy you are and knowing that the choices you made all lead up to this moment.
Follow your dreams, but don’t be afraid to take that hidden path, it may be the one you need to get where you’re going.
Coming Out of Your Shell…One Inch at a Time September 27, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Around Chicago, Fashion/Clothes, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Shopping.
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When you move with a cat, experts advise you to put the cat in a single room, with their liter box, and food and water, close the door and leave them in their to acclimate. Well, we never did that because we think our cat is a princess, but that’s not the point. The point is that when it comes to change, I’m very much like a cat. I wouldn’t go as far as saying I don’t like change, but I’m very slow to adjust, I like to keep in my pattern until I feel comfortable to venture out on my own.
When I first moved here, I really wanted to go out and experience everything, but I didn’t. I stayed in my 5 block radius and only went places I knew. I tried a new coffee place, but after not knowing how to order, I retracted back into my shell and went back to Starbucks where I know all the cool kid vocab. However, slowly, overtime, and without any pressure, I began to wonder what was outside of my little room with my food and water, and I felt comfortable to explore without freaking out that I didn’t know what “L” train to take.
I think branching out, whether it’s because you moved, you’re trying to start a new chapter, or you just want some space, can be hard. Really, doing anything alone and without knowledge of how it will end is hard, hence, this post. I felt like if I could do it, it would inspire others to also take a step outside of their safety circle. Come with me on my adventure…
Day One: When you gotta go, you gotta go…to Target. And when you’re significant doesn’t feel like driving you and you never got around to learning stick shift, welllll your option is to go or to not go. So, uncomfortable, and awkwardly pretending I don’t need to look at the train map while I do, I headed out. I went, I bought, I conquered, and then I went to TJ Maxx, in a totally different part of town. Bonus points: I took the bus home. I’m starting to feel like a local, and local who probably looks terrified and smells of tourist.
Day Two: I’m coming back from the gym, the place I frequent the most except my home, because it’s basically my home anyway. I’m alone. I’m starving. My significant other ate without me. My option is to go to the sushi place I’ve now been to three times in two weeks and the people are starting to recognize me…in that bad way. So, I sucked it up and I went to Whole Foods. An entire three blocks away from the farthest point I’ve been EVER, near my apartment. And it was great! (Minus the guy outside Whole Foods who tried to offer me drugs, a true rarity for my area. Maybe he really likes Quinoa, hm?)
Day Three: Once you’ve done it, third times a charm, hardly seems like work at all. So, I headed downtown all by my lonesome and actually enjoyed my trip down. You think being a New Yorker, mass transit comes easy to me, but quite the contrary. When you’re in a city and you don’t know every single stop on every single line, it’s like a pattern of panic but maps on smartphones ease that anxiety. So, I bought some work clothes for 40% off, and got convinced by the nicest saleswoman ever to buy a brand new lipstick shade, I discovered a bunch of steak houses I can’t afford to go to, and a giant mall on the Magnificent Mile that has a Potbelly on the top floor (hidden treasures!..A Potbelly next to a Cache, go figure). Before I knew it, it was 6:30 and I was on my way home, like it was any other day, like I live here. Feeling like I finally live here.
People think that if you’re courageous, and ambitious, and adventurous that you’re never scared. People think that when you jump into the deep end you didn’t give a second thought, but the truth is that before we even get to the diving board we analyze every outcome, push the fear down way, way low, and right before we finally jump, we put on a brave face to show everyone we aren’t a scared little turtle, we’re a cheetah! Getting used to change takes time…let it, before you know it, it won’t be change, it will be what feels normal.
“When You’ve Been Dating as Long As I Have” September 23, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Dating, GoodGuys File, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Men, Relationships, Women.
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The GoodGuys File
“When you’ve been dating as long as I have…” people say it all the time. There are those who have been dating one year, two, five, ten, thirty, sixty-five; no matter where you are in the journey, love is like a really rough bike trail; ups, downs and death turns, you never know what’s coming till you get there and when you’re there, you can’t do anything but deal with it. So, once you’ve found The One, and you’re with them, and it’s all magical, how do you keep it that way?
Earlier this summer I was having serious girl talk with two girlfriends, one was telling us about her budding relationship, how she brought her pillow over to his place, her toothbrush, and a full second set of clothes. She was so excited about seeing her pillow on his bed, not worrying about what outfit she’d need to wear the next day, while my other friend and I looked on lovingly. “You’re both so cute! Be excited now…before you know it that pillow will be why you’re arguing, he’ll move it and you’ll want it to be in the same place it was, and then you’ll start arguing about something that happened three weeks ago and an hour later you’ll be fighting about nothing.” Friend number two agreed and laughed. It sounds awful…but it’s love. While the “I just left my toothbrush at your place” is definitely the better part, the arguing about moving your toothbrush is a sign that you’re on your way to old married couple.
So, how do you make sure the tiny fights don’t ever become big fights? How do you know that fighting is okay and not a sign that you’re growing apart? How do you know that The One is really The One and isn’t a lust that you mistook for a lifetime? I’m not a sixty year old grandma who can tell you the secrets of being married from day one for the rest of your life, but I’ve made my mistakes and I’ve learned from them and the one thing I have found out is that no matter how angry I am, even if I want to storm out of the home, or think about throwing something heavy at the TV (none of which I’ve ever done…I have a wild imagination), even when I hate the moment I am in, I still want to make my mate happy. I want to do something to put a smile on his face. I want a hug, or a kiss on the forehead, or a bowl of popcorn and a movie. When holidays come up I want to find the best gift, outdo myself last year, find out what he really, really wants, or what he isn’t expecting and get it and then see how his face lights up. When you love someone, no matter how long you’ve been with them, no matter how mundane the days may seem, you still get excited for the littlest things, like buying a new chair together.
If you want the secret to success, find the oldest married couple you know and ask them every question you can think of, but if you just want to know what it’s like for the rest of us out there, here’s the dilly. We fight, we yell, we threaten things we wouldn’t mean in our wildest dreams, we cry, and then we feel stupid because we can’t figure out why we’re arguing if we both decided we want pasta for dinner like an hour ago, yet, we’re saying “NO, I want you to want to get pasta, not just want it because you already wanted it before I suggested it!!!!”…and then we’re laughing about how stupid we are, and we cuddle, and we watch a slap happy comedy and go to bed forgetting that we ever argued in the first place. It’s backwards, it’s senseless…no one said loving someone was about sanity, it’s the farthest, best thing from not being crazy.
Everybody Needs a Tribe September 20, 2013Posted by doinglaundryinheels in Friendships, Life Lessons/Growing Up, Moving, Real World, Relationships.
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If I were to go and live in China, I think I’d find out pretty quickly that I don’t have much in common with the people there. To start, I don’t really speak the language (well, I don’t speak it at all, expect -” dumplings”), I wouldn’t know how to get around, or where good or bad areas are, and most of all the culture would be totally lost on me. Sure, overtime I could adapt and become one with the locals, but I’d always be missing that internal part of me that’s totally American and needs things like Monday night football.
It seems bizarro that you can grow up in an area and reach a point where you begin to relate to no one. Some people are born with certain values and goals, grow up, get older and maintain those values, but for many of us, growing up is a process of understanding which values are important and how they relate to, or help form our goals. After living in New York for fourteen years it seemed odd when I began to feel like an outsider and I went on an epic search to find a place I fit in.
For those who don’t know, I lived in Iowa for eight years as a child. I pretty much believe I got the best of both worlds; the traditional, wholesome American dream in the classic American suburb and the busy, eclectic, big city world of New York. So, somewhere inside I was a mutt and no one from New York could really understand, and no one from Iowa could really understand. You have to find a place where you belong and sometimes moving is the only thing that’s going to give you that tribe you’re looking for. However, leaving one tribe to find another is kind of like leaving the pack of wolves that raised you – on one hand, they’re wolves and you’re not and you’re never going to be one, but on the other hand, they raised you and the habits and traditions you have are all you know.
Ever since relocating, I not only feel like I can be myself but I’m surprised with the level of camaraderie in my everyday conversations. Moving can result in feeling very lonely, I only know a handful of people here, and don’t talk to too many people on a daily basis while I’m still unemployed. However, the small conversations I do have prove that, while I’m not accustomed to all the traditions yet, I’ve found my tribe. Even basic things like “Oh, I have a sweet tooth” or “My boyfriend went to college there” result in these great conversations with cashiers, bankers, or people on the train. I remember being in New York and being so annoyed with either A. having to carry on a conversation that wasn’t interesting or B. starting a conversation and then realizing there was nothing to talk about. Now, don’t misunderstand, I’m not the crazy lady who’s going up to people in the street and saying “Hey! You think they serve beer here? You new? You been here before? I come here sometimes, they don’t always have beer.” (Direct quote from crazy lady I “met” yesterday, by no fault of my own), but when I’m meeting people, whether in a job interview or just at the store, I enjoy talking about something other than the weather.
Sometimes when you live in an area, where you don’t feel like you fit in, you continue to blame yourself. Similar to High School, you just want to be part of everyone else’s group, when you naturally don’t, you wonder what it is about you that makes you so unfittable, Well, rather than trying to mold yourself like a pile of Play-dough, you have to find the right mold in which you already fit. Things like customs, traditions, knowing the area like the back of your hand, all that will come. Take it from someone who could literally get around New York with her eye’s closed, not knowing names of roads or the entire public transportation map is really uncomfortable and a feeling I haven’t felt…ever, but I know that these are minimal things that will come.
There are two kinds of uncomfortable, being uncomfortable for being who you are is something you should never feel, but being uncomfortable because you’re taking an adventure in something new will make you stronger as a person. Don’t be afraid to go out and find your tribe, even if it takes a while, even if it’s a little out of your comfort zone.