Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Good, the Bad…the Old.

Yesterday was my birthday. I am now 28 years old and firmly entrenched in my “late 20s.” The mid-20s are gone, and my early-20s are looong forgotten (actually, much of the early-20s are quite literally forgotten).

Each year when my birthday rolls around, as I creep up there in age, I feel like this is the year that I have to grow up, be serious, and start my transition into adulthood. After all, I’m no teenager anymore. This year though, I’ve wondered what exactly I expect myself to do…after all, I’ve been supporting myself for years, have held a steady job, and gee, bought a house. This year, instead of focusing on the things I could do to make myself more of a grown-up, I decided to focus instead on how I actually have grown up, and the events that have led me to 28.

Let’s take a look, shall we?

  • I’ve had a steady job since I was 16. I actually started working when I was 14 (not counting baby-sitting and pet-sitting jobs). The summers when I was 14 and 15 I worked at Orange Julius at the State Fair. When I was 16, I started working at Linens ‘n Things – I remember taking Mom’s van to the interview because it was hot and I didn’t want to sweat my makeup off in my truck with no air conditioning. I only worked at Linens ‘n Things for a month (it was AWFUL) before moving to Plantation Coffee, where I finished out the school year. I had a summer job working for a beer distributer before going off to college. I actually didn’t work the first part of my year in college (mom didn’t want me to work) but by the third quarter I’d gotten a job with the school’s cafeteria, transferring recipes from their old recipe cards to their new computer program. I started with the state about a week after I came home from school, and I’ve been here ever since, moving on up the ladder.

  • I’ve lived on my own. I went to college at 17, came home for two years, then at age 20, moved out with a friend. We had a gorgeous apartment that we shared, until we moved in with her then boyfriend. After a few months of that I started looking at getting my own place; there was a short two-month period of living back at mom and dad’s before moving into my very own, roommate-free apartment. A year later I moved downtown, again to my own place, until Grant moved in. We’ve lived several places since then, but have always paid our bills and our rent on time.

  • I bought a house. Okay, I bought it with Grant, but we were mature and responsible and waited until the market settled down and we could actually afford a house. Then, we bought something in our income bracket. We were furloughed the month we signed the papers, and we’ve still been responsible enough to curb our spending in other areas (namely my shopping habit) so that we can afford our home.

  • I own a dog. Yes, this is a grown-up, responsible thing. Bruiser is my first inside-dog, and when he was a puppy, I swear he was a baby with fur. He’d wake up every hour at night to pee, and let me tell you…it’s much worse to go outside in the middle of the night in winter with a miniature dachshund than it is to change a baby’s diaper in a warm, dry room in your house. Also, he whines and barfs and constantly needs your attention. He’s good training for having a child.

Those are just a few examples. Now, I’m not perfect. I’ve racked up a boatload of credit card debt, eaten ramen for breakfast, and spent my phone bill money on a purse. But, everyone is allowed a few mistakes as long as you LEARN FROM THEM! Repeat them a few times, maybe, but eventually – learn from them so you don’t keep making those mistakes and so that you can grow.

I suppose that’s why I finally admit I’m a grown-up. Not only am I responsible, but I’ve made mistakes, learned from them, and moved on. I guess that’s an adult.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Goal #1, Day #1

Okay, I got up on time this morning (having gone to bed early last night...I really do feel better in the morning after getting a good night's sleep), showered, blow dried my hair and put on some makeup.

What do you think?

Oh, and I got my new glasses last week...cute, no?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Don't Do Resolutions

For the last two years, I’ve made resolutions. To be completely honest, I can't remember what they were...although I do remember putting a lot of thought into them and feeling that they were grown-up, mature, reachable goals.

Since I don't remember them, I have a feeling I didn't achieve many of those goals.

This year I'm doing something a little different. I'm going to name one "goal" at a time (rather than resolution...that seems so final) that I'm going to attempt to achieve. Rather than measure success by whether or not I achieve said goal, I'm going to measure success by whether I change my habits and work toward the goal. If my goal is to get healthy (this is more broad than I would make my goal, but just as an example), I’d measure success not by how much weight I lost, but by whether I was going to the gym or doing some form of exercise regularly and consistently, or whether I’d incorporated more fruits into my diet, etc.

My first goal for 2010 was inspired by my friend Katie’s blog (you can read her inspirational post here). She describes her utter frustration with women who leave the house looking trashed. Now, I don’t leave the house in sweats and slippers, but lately, well, I’ve stopped caring a whole lot. It’s really a combination of laziness, having just enough self-confidence to not care what others think, and well, laziness. I never leave the house in PJs, although sometimes I’m in jeans and a sweatshirt, because it’s comfy. I don’t normally wear makeup on the weekends anymore, and even during the week I only do my eyebrows and slap on some mascara. My hair – well, it has its ups and downs (literally…and its frizzies, its greasies, and its flats). I try to always look put together, but sometimes, in the rush to get out the door, I feel frumpy, not cute.

So – my first goal is to spend more time…on myself. I will ALWAYS do something to my hair, and I will no longer let it get to that day where you just don’t want to wash it because it’s cold outside so you throw some baby powder in it and put it in a ponytail (wait, are you saying you didn’t notice my hair today?).

I will always put my face on, even on days when I am supremely lazy. This will include, at a minimum, eyebrows, mascara, and lipgloss. During the work week, it should also include powder, eyeshadow, eyeliner, and blush.

I will spend some of my free time primping, plucking, exfoliating and moisturizing. I hate doing any and all of that, but I will make an effort to have trimmed nails, smooth skin and non-reptilian heels.

I will continue my exercise routine with gusto (it needs some gusto…in the last month it really got some wind taken out of its sails). This is not necessarily to lose weight, but to help me sleep and give me some energy.

Finally, I will go to bed at a decent hour every night so that I don’t hit snooze eight thousand times in the morning, only to finally wake with a headache because I slept so little and so not well.

Thanks Katie for the virtual push – and thanks everyone for reading! Keep an eye on the blog for periodic updates to this goal, as well as other goals for 2010.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Writing Project #1 - Article Thoughts

I've always been a big fan of reading, and there is one type of book that I particularly love. I love books that not only tell a story, but really let you into the character's head so you know what they're thinking and why. A few of my favorite books are Save Karyn, the Confession of a Shopaholic series, and The Devil Wears Prada. I know, they're not literary classics, but in each one, the main character leads you on a journey of their inner-most secrets. There's always something in these books that you can relate to, even if you don't want to admit it. Like in the Shopaholic series - as I read I can literally feel the thrill of hunting for a new purse, finding just the right one, and reaching into my wallet at the checkstand to pay for it...the feeling of victory when the screen flashes "approved" and the cashier hands the item to me and it's officially mine. To me, reading books like these are like looking in someone's house to see how they live: what's in their junk drawers, what brand of makeup is in their bathroom, what bills may be laying around in their piles of mail.

I love to learn the things about people that we don't normally share - I've said it before, I'd love to stop random women on the street and ask them what's in their purse. I think it's so interesting to see what other people have, why they have it, what they use it for (after all, at first glance would you guess the permanent marker in my purse is for writing? It's not - it's for filling in scuffs on my black shoes...see, interesting, no?).

Today I read an article on, one of my favorite websites to peruse when I am on a break at work. This news story caught my interest - I really couldn't care whether this woman can't sleep, but I loved reading the things she worries about that cause her not to sleep. Not because any of the things she worries about are things I worry about - after all, I couldn't care less if acid wash jeans make a comeback, and I don't worry about getting the ebola virus (okay, maybe a little) - but just because I'm curious what others think. Here's a list of things I worry about when I can't sleep:

  • I worry that I'll never get back in shape. It used to be so easy to lose weight, 'back when I was young.' I'll be 28 in 2 days, and it sure was easier to lose weight at 21 than it is at almost 28...what's it going to be like when I'm 40!?!
  • I worry that I'll never pay off my debt, and I feel guilty about the amount I charged up. I admit it - I used to be a spendthrift. Perhaps it was a little too much Shopaholic influence, or perhaps it was just a normal 20-something getting carried away with a hobby she loved, but boy did I use my credit cards. To my credit (ha, get it?), I haven't used credit in about three years now, and my debt is well on it's way to being gone. But I lie awake sometimes thinking about the things I could be doing (or buying) if I wasn't still paying off old debt.
  • I worry about what I'll do with my life. I went through a phase recently where I didn't really see a reason to have kids; after all, unless you know they're going to become the president or create a new life-saving drug, then really, you're just bringing someone into the world who is going to use up it's natural resources and contribute nothing to society. I mean, what have I contributed? What do I really want to do with my life? Should I make a radical change and try to work in a "helping" profession? Will that make me feel like my life is meaningful?
  • I worry about trivial things like what I'll wear to work the next day. I have a closet full of clothes that don't fit, and the clothes that do fit are pretty limited. Either that or they're the ones strewn about my bedroom that I can't find when it's dark and I'm not fully awake in the morning.

So, read the article, then think about the things that keep you awake at night? What are they? Do we share any worries? Do you have any strategies for dealing with your worries? I'd love to hear them!

The Writing Project - Accidentally Continued

Do you remember me saying that I was going to be disciplined and write at least one article/story/something a week? Well, I got sick right after I wrote that, and then discipline all but disappeared from my life.

Until today.

Today I had a stroke of genius! I was trying to decide how I’d decide what to write about. I read a news story where a man rolls some dice each night and the numbers on the dice become the number of words he includes in his story each night. Then I thought about the movie Julie and Julia, and how she wrote each day about the recipe she cooked the night before. I needed a great idea, but I’m not so great at coming up with new ideas – I’m actually better at copying and improving upon other’s great ideas.

Today I finally got an idea of my own. It may not be great, but it’ll work for now, and hopefully it’ll keep you interested. I’m going to write each week about a news story.

Don’t start yawning on me now – just wait. It isn’t necessarily going to be a huge news story about peace in the Middle East (or lack thereof), or the rise (and fall) of Wall Street. I know this is probably bad, but honestly, I don’t care that much about those things. I read news stories about things that interest me or affect me. I know both of those things do potentially affect me, and should definitely interest me, but they don’t. I’m interested in missing person’s cold cases, the horrible leadership of our great state, or a great shoe sale at Macy’s. I may be interested in articles on child-rearing (hey, it’s in the future) or urban planning, or the newest superfood. I like to think I’m a pleasantly eclectic mix of interests…not too heavy on one subject so as to alienate my readers who, like me, may crave variety.

Today’s article (coming soon in another post) is actually neither of those, but more of a light-hearted look into the way someone else thinks (which, as you all know, is something I love…taking a look into others’ lives).

So, join me on my writing project – comment, leave tips, leave thoughts. Or don’t. Whatever works for you.

The 50 Book Challenge is Back

Last year (well, two years ago now I suppose, since its 2010…eek!) my friend inspired me to read 50 books in one year. I didn’t make it to 50, but I did make an impressive dent in the library (okay, I think I read 36 books…still, nothing to sneeze at). In 2009, I completely failed at reading. Sure, I read lots of books, but many of them were repeats, and I think I spent more time watching TV and playing video games (easy to do since we got Direct TV and a Wii in 2009).

2010 is going to be the Year of the Bookworm in my household. Okay, Grant hates to read, but it can be the Year of the Bookworm for me. Inspired by yet another friend (who read 48 books in 2009!) I’m going to renew my vow to read 50 books.

And I’m already four days behind!

The rules are as follows (yes, there are rules):

  • Any book that contains a majority of words and minority (if any) of pictures counts as a book. For example, I’m currently reading “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” If I finish, I’m going to count this as a book. There’s a whole story in the beginning, and scattered throughout the recipes are additional narratives. In my book, this is a book.
  • You cannot read the same book more than once. You can, but it won’t count more than once. You can even reread a book you’ve already read, but you can only read it once this year for credit. For example, I’m going to read the Harry Potter series this year. I’ve already read them all, but the first time I read them this year will count towards my grand total; if I reread them a second time this year, the second time does not count as a book.
  • The year is a calendar year from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. Which means I’m already four days behind – shoot!
  • You must track your books. You must keep track of the books you’ve read (for obvious reasons, such as so you know how many books you’ve read, and then also just for fun), the author, and how many pages each book is. More pages isn’t always more impressive, but it’s still neat to see how many total pages you read.

So – anyone else up for the challenge? Come on, who wants to read 50 books with me?