November 29, 2011

Rearview Mirrors

"Never tell anyone anything. If you do, you start missing everybody."

- Holden Caulfield, The Catcher in the Rye

As I often do, I read through a lot of my old writings tonight. I've been thinking about entering a writing contest or two just to have a new challenge and force myself to write about something other than my quarter-life crises. As usual, it left me yearning to be more like my 18-year-old self. And yet that self wasn't so different from the current version. A lost young woman striving to do something great and find what will help her fulfill her purpose. A lot of things have changed since I started college over six years ago, but I'm still the same at my core. It's like past me is a friend I haven't seen in years, but then we hit a point an hour into our conversation over coffee where we realize we're the same people we always were, no matter the specific circumstances that had changed.

Six years ago, all of my grandparents were alive. I always appreciated that on some level but not nearly as much as I should have. I miss them. I miss the certainty of their presence. I get paranoid about receiving phone calls with more bad news.

Does anyone else get caught between the reality of life that involves chores and errands and your favorite sitcoms and your favorite new shoes and the concert you can't wait to go to and sipping hot cocoa while you drive around listening to Christmas music and gazing at light-adorned homes...and the reality of life that involves faith and death and struggles and making ends meet and making difficult choices? Because I do. I feel like I'm shallow if I focus too much on the first and borderline crazy if I focus too much on the second.

I think my coworkers always think I'm a little bit off, and I just realized why. Family members have watched us grow up and basically accept us as we are, and friends have made the effort to get to know us better over time because they liked what they saw and heard from us and wanted more. Coworkers, however, inevitably get to know us pretty well over time, whether they truly enjoy us or not. Therefore, my coworkers have slowly but surely been subjected to my somewhat neurotic ways and quirky views on life as well as my tendency to over-analyze situations and extrapolate life lessons from the tiniest encounters. Let's face it, I'm probably weird.

I think I'm the kind of weird that a lot of people don't know what to make of. It's like...I'm basically a normal person who gets it, but then I say something awkward or strange that doesn't seem to fit or quite make sense. It throws people off, I've learned. Heck, it throws me off. It's times like those when I realize why my sister tells me I have a lot of "Larry David" moments. I'm so self-aware that it's ridiculous.

I'm not saying any of this with an agenda. It's just what I think, and I'm okay with it.

Are we ever truly comfortable in front of other people? Or will there always be this imperceptibly thin wall between all of us? Maybe it's unavoidable since we're constantly figuring ourselves out, too. Fabulous. All day, every day, all over the world...groups of people, none of whom truly know themselves yet, are thrown together to interact. It's a wonder that things aren't more screwed up than they already are.

I'm curious...what are you passionate about? What do you think is your "thing"? And how did you figure it out?

This post is all over the place because 2am is rapidly approaching. Also, the space bar on my keyboard is frustrating and has to be hit extra hard to make a space. So I'll stop here.

November 22, 2011

Dreams About Dreams

"All the things one has forgotten scream for help in dreams."

- Elias Canetti

I had a dream last night that I was scheduled to have a post-wedding bridal shower, which makes absolutely no sense to me. At the shower, I was supposed to sing a short tune. I was somewhat embarrassed to be singing it but felt excited about performing in front of friends and family. In hindsight, there were men arriving at the party, so I'm still not entirely clear why I thought it was a bridal shower.

The point of my yammering on about my dream is that it wound up that, by the time I arrived, new people had taken over the room where my shower was supposed to be. Everyone was leaving, and I had lost my chance to sing for them. I was desperately pleading with the person running the venue to please bring all the chairs and my guests back, which was also interesting considering that I realized the room I was speaking about was the living room of my parents' house.

Another interesting tidbit (only interesting to me, I realize) is that there was a male acquaintance there who shares a name with a coworker who was very rude to me yesterday right before I left work. The male acquaintance is someone who has seemed to distance himself more and more from his good friends over the years for a reason unbeknownst to me. I'm not exactly sure if there's any connection between them aside from their names, but I can't think of why else he would be the only person who I remember being in attendance at this incredibly late, co-ed bridal shower where I was the entertainment.

None of it makes any sense at the moment, so I suppose I thought writing it out would help. The only thing that stands out to me is the fact that I had my hopes built up and then nothing I planned on worked out. I've gotten used to that in life, as I think we all do eventually. Anything I get incredibly excited about, I usually partially assume it won't actually happen in the end. It makes me feel robbed. But I guess that's just life.

Am I really as negative as I sound when I write? I sure hope not. I've always prided myself on being an eternal optimist, but maybe the "eternal" part isn't quite as accurate as I'd always assumed. Maybe I'm just getting older and adding a little dose of reality to my optimism stew. Either way, I'm not a big fan.

A couple weeks ago, I read a hilarious blog post from Ali at Hairspraying about not giving a damn about hearing about other people's dreams. It had me laughing so hard that I read to at least three other people. And yet, here I am, blabbering about my dream and what it might have meant. I suppose the difference is that you could've stopped reading at any point in time, and I would never know it. But, when people share their dreams in person, you have to politely feign interest even if you genuinely don't give a rat's patootie what elaborate tale their mind conjured up the night before.

I'm a weirdo though, and I like to listen to friends' dreams because I think it's fun to help them figure things out. That's just because I like to help people solve their problems and sort out their thoughts and feelings. Again, why am I not applying to grad school to become a counselor?

Then again, what in the world makes me think I should advise others when I'm sitting around moping about having no direction? Perhaps the irony, which is probably only irony to me because maybe it's obvious to people who read my posts objectively, is that the one thing that would make me feel centered and purposeful would be to become a counselor. I'll chew on that for a while.

Sorry my last few posts have probably not done much of anything to enrich or inspire anyone else's lives. I'll chew on that for a while, too.

November 17, 2011

What to Complain About When You're Feeling Completely Self-Absorbed

"If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life - and only then will I be free to become myself."

- Martin Heidegger

I feel like I miss every day of my life by sitting in an office looking outside at the beautiful day that could be mine to enjoy in an alternate reality. I find myself daydreaming and being curious about where else I could be, like Disneyland with my nieces and nephews. I don't mean to sound ungrateful because it's wonderful to have a job in this economy, especially given the fact that my current workplace is probably infinitely more enjoyable than most I know of. In fact, I really do love where I work. Yet there's this emptiness within me.

I feel like I want to spend my every waking moment with family and friends. But they have their jobs, too. We all do. It's a fact of life. It's good to be busy, I'm sure. Not too busy, but a little busy. However, I haven't really found my "thing" yet. I've come to accept that one's "thing" they love to do isn't necessarily a paid job but can simply be a hobby. So I've decided to start pursuing some of the things I've always been interested in doing but have never really tried.

I would love to be an actress or a singer or a writer or even an inspirational speaker. I would love to learn how to play piano or guitar and sing to people. But first I would need a beautiful voice. Mine's okay. But it doesn't make me feel incredibly inspired, so I'm not sure it would make anyone else feel that way either. I haven't done anything in my life that's super inspirational, but I think I have the ability to get other people motivated to make the most of themselves. Which is why I'm so incredibly frustrated with myself for not figuring out how to do that for myself. It's always a lot more clear to us what other people are good at and capable of than it is in regard to ourselves.

I think I'd love to act mostly because it would help me let go of being afraid to say or feel certain things. And because it's the type of career (if you're wildly successful, that is) that gives you the power needed to help change the world by getting other people motivated. Anyway, I think it would help me become more open and honest with myself, and it would challenge me to get in touch with every part of my personality. I think acting also helps people understand other people's situations and personalities as well. I guess it all kind of makes sense since I love studying psychology and personalities and human behavior.

I wish that the things I'd love to do weren't so difficult to get into in the first place. I also dislike how much criticism is involved in the creative field since everything is mostly subjective in it, but, at the same time, it would probably be good for me to sort of go through a trial by fire. It would help me get over my fears of failure and what other people think of me.

I haven't totally been loving myself recently. I really don't have anything concrete to complain about, and I love all the people around me. In fact, I've been having a blast with my friends and Kyle recently. However, I think I kind of complain a lot since I'm becoming disenchanted with human nature and the world in general (which is kind of another tangent having to do with whether the world is just worse off right now or if I'm just getting older and realizing that not everything is quite as wonderful as I may have previously thought - that's a whole other topic for another post). And yet I'm still simultaneously amazed by all of it, too. Maybe what I've always seen in myself as balance is really just one big contradiction.

I guess that's all I have to say right now. Well, that's a lie. I just can't put the rest of it into words just yet.


Boy, I really am a broken record, aren't I? I was just re-reading everything I've written, and I feel like such an Eeyore. I guess I'm just in a creative rut and have nothing else interesting to write about at the moment. Any suggestions for what you do to get yourself motivated and/or jump-start your imagination?

Also, here's a slap for me. *SLAP* Phew, I needed that. I need to get out of my head and start looking around at other people. I need to figure out how to solve some of the societal problems that have been discouraging me recently. It's a daunting task, which is why I think I so often neglect my inclination to want to help fix things. Kyle gets to help people every day, and I would love to find something to do that could help other people in some small way, or inspire them at the very least. So that is the vague goal I have, I suppose. Good, now I've gotten to the core of what draws me to all of those things I mentioned earlier. That's a start at least.

Man, do you ever just get caught between the choices of completely focusing only on the things that truly seem to matter, like helping other people and providing enough for your family, and the more petty option of spending time reflecting on yourself and your choices? I start to feel really self-centered, and it really bothers me. Again, all about me, huh? How annoying. At the same time, though, I don't think we can neglect ourselves, our wants, our needs, our loves, or else we'll completely fall apart and be of no use to anyone else either. So maybe figuring yourself out is the foundation to being helpful in life and serving a purpose other than converting oxygen into carbon dioxide, which, by the way, is not that great of a purpose. Then again, I ain't no scientist.

Humans sure do have a wonderful capacity for justifying their own actions, don't they? I need to figuratively shut up now. No more writing. Okay, now I'm really stopping. Wait, now I am. Wait, gah! Isn't this the worst? I'm so cliché. Stream of consciousness, hooray!

November 3, 2011

Mad Woman

"I keep going to a lot of places and ending up somewhere I've already been."

- Don Draper

This is just a reminder to myself to post about Mad Men and how it has worked its way into my subconscious to the point that it disrupts my sleep. And apparently my productivity at work.