February 27, 2011

Post #13: Week Six: Five Thousand Facebook Friends

"Friends are those rare people who ask how we are and then wait to hear the answer."

- Ed Cunningham

February 12, 2011

Post #11: Week Four: Drama

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

-Eleanor Roosevelt

February 5, 2011

Post #10: Week Three: Untaken Risks

“Often the difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one's ideas, to take a calculated risk - and to act.”

- Andre Malraux

When Kyle and I had been dating only a month, he took off to study abroad in Spain for three months. No, I didn't make him want to flee the country. At least I don't think I did. He had paid for the trip before we had started dating. Either way, to a 19-year-old, three months seemed like forever. I mean, come on, it was three times longer than our relationship had been. We "broke up," cried at the airport, and said goodbye. Then we e-mailed and talked on the phone every day that he was there. A week after he had left, my friend asked, "Have you thought about visiting him?"

WHAT? ARE YOU CRAZY? That is so not me. I don't fly six or seven thousand miles to chase after some guy. No way. But...maybe if my sister wants to go to Europe with me over Spring Break...

And, so, I called my sister, we checked flights, I picked up extra shifts for a month, and we took off to spend 10 days in Paris and Barcelona. My sister hadn't ever met Kyle before. I was a nervous wreck. I didn't know if he and I were still dating or if my sister would approve of him or, or, or...

Then I let it all go. The first night we arrived, after a huge ordeal with switching flights at the last minute, sleeping at the airport for hours, and meeting a friendly Brazilian woman who helped us find the metro at midnight, my sister stayed at the hotel while Kyle and I went on a walk. That night, it rained for the first time since Kyle had been living there (and continued to do so until the morning we left for Paris). At one point, as we walked through a crowd, he put his hand on the small of my back to guide me through the hoards of people. Right at that moment, I knew this trip, this risk, had been well worth it. Three and a half years later, we were married.

Some of the best experiences in my life have not happened to me but because of me. I don't mean that to sound arrogant; my point is that, for the most part, people aren't successful or happy just because they were super lucky or especially qualified. I believe we can all have a taste of success and happiness if we decide to work toward our goals and take more risks.

Happiness doesn't just happen. We have to do some of the preparation for it. I took a risk with Kyle, and I'm about to take a risk starting a new job in a couple of weeks. If it turns out half as well as my decision to fly to Europe, then it will have all been worth it.

Taking (calculated) risks is something we're all capable of in our lives. I have found that, in addition to "knowing the right people," life is about knowing the right times to leap. As so many wise people before me have said, you have to be willing to risk if you hope to gain. To (calculated) risk taking!

(Next week's thing my life doesn't need: Drama.)

February 1, 2011

Post #9: Posting on a Whim

"I don't even know what I was running for - I guess I just felt like it."

- J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye

I don't really have anything in particular that I plan on writing about; I'm just glad that I'm feeling the compulsion to write again! I've been reading other people's blogs tonight and just feel inspired to start transforming mine into something worth reading. I used to share short stories, poetry, pseudo-intellectual observations, etc., on my Xanga blog in high school. I even had another blogspot blog in college, but I left it in the dust.

Interestingly enough, I stopped writing right around the time I started dating my husband. This kind of makes sense because a lot of my writing stemmed from the pain of unrequited love or just general teen angst. I met him just before my 19th birthday and started dating him about eight months later. So it might just all be a coincidence, but who knows?

That also ties in my quote that I used at the beginning of this post. I chose it because I felt like posting for the heck of it, and The Catcher in the Rye is my all-time favorite book. It all makes sense now though because I gave my husband a copy of it for Christmas; he had never read it before! Can you believe that? Anyway, I think he read it within a day or two of my giving it to him. I felt like I was sharing a part of my past with him because I fell in love with that book when I was 12 and then again at 16. The first time I read it, I remembered feeling like I wasn't alone in this world. That might give you the impression that I was a really cynical, frustrated young girl. I wasn't. Quite the opposite, actually.

I was always optimistic and outgoing, but I still related to something about Holden on this deeper level. Salinger really knew how to get to our age group, I suppose. I wasn't as unique as I thought, which I guess is part of the irony of the whole story. We think we're alone and special in some dark, tragic way when, in reality, we're just in the middle of a phase that everyone goes through at that age. We just haven't lived long enough to be objective and realize it isn't the end of the world.

For a while, I was worried that I had outgrown blogging. It seemed like its only purpose for me must have been to get out all that angst I mentioned earlier. Without it, I felt like I wasn't creative or interesting; it was my drug. Now that I'm in what I think may be a state of full recovery, I'm starting to realize that life can be just as deep and meaningful in a simpler way. Being happier and more content need not mean that life is boring.

Oh, and I may be a married woman, but my husband won't deny me my handful of celebrity crushes. Here is my all-time favorite, James McAvoy: