100 Things: It’s been a while

I talked a lot about this a long time ago, but I haven’t been keeping on top of it.  I came up with a list of 100 things I want to do before I die.  Some of them are serious, some are fun, some are random.  I haven’t looked at the list in a while so I thought in the spirit of the new year I would check in on my progress.  I have completed 16 of my 100 things and I have two that are currently in progress.  Here are the ones I haven’t updated about.

#8: Meet a Boy

This is really not news to those of you who read my blog (all 4 of you. I don’t claim to have a huge fanbase by any means. haha).  I have been hanging out with a guy almost every weekend since April.  Things are still going well, I still REALLY like him, but things are going slow.  This is not a bad thing, it’s just nice to have a guy to talk to and to get this new type of attention that I haven’t had much of before.  I’m sure there will be more to talk about at a later time.

#84: Find Animaniacs on DVD

Merry Christmas to me!  My mom found Animaniacs on DVD and gave it to me on Christmas.  I have been looking around for months and months and I have to say I am really excited!  (also, I am a HUGE dork! But again, this is not news to those of you who know me. haha)

#10: Compile all of the 100 greatest songs of the 90’s according to VH1–In Progress

I started compiling this list of songs a while ago now, and I don’t know if it’s impressive or sad that I had so many of these 90’s songs without even trying. haha.  After a couple of years, and many itunes gift cards, I currently have 75/100 of VH1’s 100 greatest songs of the 90’s, and I have to say that I am feeling pretty confident that I can get the rest of them this year.

#38: Learn to stay busy. When I am bored DO SOMETHING!–In Progress

This is an interesting one.  I have been doing this thing lately where I get stir crazy and physically antsy almost every evening around 8/8:30 and feel like I need to get out of the house.  I have been a lot better at finding things to do.  I have been watching a ton of movies, listening to some new (to me) music, and otherwise doing what I consider a pretty good job of occupying myself when I start to get bored.  I say this one is in progress because I still get those antsy feelings, it usually takes me a while to decide what I am going to do to entertain my brain, and there is still a lot on my brain to entertain.  In all seriousness though, I am getting much better at staying busy and hoping that the coming months (with apartment searching, room de-cluttering, and overall getting organized) will help with some of this.  Mission almost accomplished.

So there you have it.  I would like to say that I have accomplished more than 16/100 things, but at least I am still making progress.  Of course I keep thinking of different things I want to add to the list, so why stop at 100…Interesting food for thought.  I may have to continue editing and adding to this list, There are so many things that I would like to do as I get older…Anyway, thank you for listening (or reading as the case may be).  I’ll have another post soon.

 

2013: Reflection of Things a Long Time Coming

It’s been a while, I thought it was time to give an update.  I always say I will be better at updating this thing but as usual I have not been on top of things.  I could make the argument that part of the reason is that I have been a little busy (in a great way!) with my new job.  But really, I have had a lot going on and a lot on my mind and simply haven’t taken the time to sit down and type anything out.  So here goes nothing.

It’s the end of the year, which means that I am in my usual pensive, analytic mindframe and thinking about how the year has gone.  There have been definite highs, and looking back, I also realize the extent of my definite lows.  The biggest, most exciting news of 2013 is my new status as Full Time Employee.  I started at Institute for Human Development on July 22, and I could not be happier with the way that things are going.  The work is interesting.  I am learning a lot not only about the projects and products that we are working on, but I am developing new skills, trying new things, and embracing this new, predictable, full time schedule.  And I LOVE it!  My coworkers are fantastic.  I fit right in with everybody.  I am comfortable asking them for advice about work things and about personal stuff that I am just trying to figure out.  I am happier with my day-to-day than I have been in a LONG time and I am excited to go to work in the morning.

They say hindsight is 20/20, and because I am in such a stable place (which I don’t think I have ever had being a student, waiting tables, or working retail), I keep comparing how I feel now to the way I felt in the nearly year and half between the time I graduated in May 2012 and the time I started working here.  I thought I was dealing with the un/under employment thing pretty well.  I tried to keep a level head and stay hopeful, but before I got the call about this job in July I was a hot mess.  I will go as far as to say that I was depressed.  I have never felt so helpless to make things happen in my own life as I did when I was sending out my hundreds of resumes/applications and getting rejection after rejection.  It is crazy to me that I was that low and wasn’t able to really see it until after I got out of that place.  It was the worst of times before it was the best of times…But honestly, I still think these times can be better, and I am trying to look ahead to what else I can change.

Now that my day-to-day is so stable (and amazing), I am coming to the realization that I still want more.  In the last couple of weeks in particular, I have been SUPER antsy and restless.  I obviously I understand that I have to get up and go to work everyday if I want to get paid for working, but I really do enjoy my job.  My recent revelation is that honestly, I am really just happy to have a good legitimate excuse to get out of the house every day.  I am physically uncomfortable hanging out at my own house.  Maybe it’s because I spent so much time there when I was only working 12 hours a week at Old Navy and jobsearching.  But, and this is some new, deep thinking on my part, maybe I’m uncomfortable because I don’t have any sense of ownership at home.  I come to work, I am responsible for getting my projects done, working 40 hours a week, keeping on task, and I am held accountable for all of those things.  But my house is still my parents’ house.  My parents pay the bills and buy the groceries.  My mom still fixes dinner and asks when I will be home.  My bedroom hasn’t been redone since I was in high school.  I don’t own any part of that.  Could I take ownership of some of that?  Yes, but if it hasn’t happened yet, and at this point I don’t know that it will do much good.  Don’t get me wrong.  I LOVE my parents, and I am SO appreciative that they are letting me stay at home until I can get onto my feet.  But I have changed and the house has not.  I’ve got my own shit to worry about.  I want to worry about my own shit.  And I am increasingly aware that my adult status has not really changed the way my parents and I interact with each other on a daily basis while I am still living under their roof.

So this is where my hopes for 2014 come into play.  I am going to move to my own place.  I just need to jump in and do it, and my goal is to at least have papers signed by my birthday.  I NEED to have my own space that I can make my own.  I need to figure out a lot of things and I have kind of been feeling stuck in the traditional parent-child relationship that really has been difficult to grow out of while I am still living at home.  I want to get out of this parent-child mentality and get to a place where my parents and I can be honest with each other and really be adults together rather than keeping them in a place where they feel obligated to care for me.  Sure, I still have credit card bills and loans, sure I don’t have a lot of extra money to spend on getting really good furniture right away, sure I may have to live with hand-me-down dishes and silverware, but I want so badly to take control of every aspect of my life.  And even if it’s difficult, even if it’s a difficult “empty nest” transition for my parents, even if I have to pinch pennies until I pay off some of my debts, even if it is harder than I am anticipating, I seriously need this.  For my sanity mostly.  And probably for my parents’ sanity too.  It is the strangest thing being more comfortable at work than I am at home.  And it is weird to actually be saying this out loud.  But I am almost 28 years old, it this has been a long time coming.  The great apartment hunt starts in January.  And I am ready.

There is so much more that I can say about these things, and so many other things that I have been trying to figure out (related to boys mostly), but for now I will leave this reflection at that.  Things in my life are finally becoming stable.  Now it’t time for me to write another section in this chapter of my life.  Cheers to 2014!

Confidence Booster

I have been having a lot of interesting self-reflection/self-realization moments lately.  It is kind of weirding me out because I have been reflecting on just how crappy I felt before I got my job.  I was really bad.  I was sad.  I was mopey.  I was stressed out.  And I took my rejections personally.  I was e in the top 5 or so candidates for three or four jobs, got an interview, and then I didn’t get the job.  I know they say you can’t take these things personally, but I couldn’t help but wonder what I was doing wrong.  I internalized most of these feelings and didn’t talk about it most of the time because I felt like there was no realistic solution anyone could offer but to give me a job.  Why complain if you can’t help me?  That was my attitude after a while.  And I didn’t like it.

Fast forward months and months, and now that I’m here, now that I finally have a full-time job, I LOVE it!!  My coworkers are awesome!  One coworker texted me yesterday morning and offered to pick up some coffee from latte land because she was stopping on her way into work.  I get along with everybody, they talk to me when I need a distraction from a task, it’s kind of awesome!  Anyway, the last week or so has been really great.  When I started working here in July, I was kind of thrown into projects that this team has been working on for a couple of years already.  I have had to learn all of the acronyms and concepts and do a bunch of background research in order to understand what everyone is talking about.  I like it, but because the projects have been around for a while, I haven’t really gotten to know all of the information that my other coworkers have about them.  Recently our team recently got approved for a new three year grant.  It is just in the beginning stages and I was asked to participate in the inaugural meeting about this grant.  I get to see the whole thing from the very beginning.  And I am really excited!!  This is kind of like my new baby.  Today I have actually been doing a lot of background reading to get better bearings on exactly what they are trying to do with this research project, and I have to say that it is REALLY cool!!

To add to my excitement about having a new work baby, I also get to participate in a conference next month.  My first day on the job in July I drove to Columbia MO with my then brand new coworker, manned the registration table, and then drove back in the same day to get a glimpse of what the first day of the conference would be like.  In October they are having a very similar conference over three days and I was asked to participate in the whole thing!  I learned that one of my other coworkers will soon be retiring and I may need to pick up some of the slack until they get someone new hired.  Going to the conference will give me a chance to meet some of the people that we work with on this particular grant (people that I now know only by name and email), and I get to learn the ins and outs that I haven’t seen in action yet.  I have a room booked and everything!!  It’s official, They like me! and I’m starting to finally get really comfortable here:)

All of this has been a real confidence booster for me!  I keep thinking back to those difficult, stressful days when I was looking for a job (they say that hindsight is 20/20) and realizing that I had it really bad.  Strike that, millions of people are un/underemployed, but I sure felt bad about it when I was living in it.  I don’t know how anyone managed to spend time with me because I was so down about everything.  But now that I know that my coworkers approve of me, now that I know that they want to keep me around, now that they’re putting me in the future plans of the research team, I am loving it!  I can’t remember the last time I generally felt so good.  And I can’t remember the last time I appreciated someone’s good opinions so much.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that I didn’t expect things to be awesome once I got a job, I just didn’t expect to feel this awesome!  It’s amazing how a little confidence can completely change your outlook on…everything.  I feel capable.  I feel competent, I feel wanted.  And I feel like I can take on the world! (or at least take on my world) and finally gather the gumption to make things happen.  Here goes nothin…

Best I Can

I feel like I should make a post, but I am kind of distracted and an not quite sure what to write, so I thought I would post some song lyrics.  I have been listening to a lot of new bands (well, new to me anyway), and I have been really into a band called Art of Dying lately. They played an acoustic show at P&L a couple months ago and the totally killed it!  Not only are they great musicians, but their songs are fantastic.  Their song Best I Can really touched me.  I heard it for the first time before I got my job and I was literally crying as I listened to it.  I was thinking “I really am doing the best I can!!”  I know I posted some of these lyrics over the summer when I first heard the song, but for some reason I feel like posting them again.  I seriously love this song!  Here you go:

Tonight I feel like the world won’t miss me

So much to say but there’s no one listening
If we’re alone are we all together in that

I threw a penny in a well for wishing
and prayed for all the things I think I’m missing
A little time is all I really need

I am doing the best I can with everything I am
Don’t you know nobody’s perfect
Do you understand how hard I’m trying to do the best I can
The best I can

A second chance to give you something
It takes a lifetime to come from nothing
I refuse to believe in running away

I am doing the best I can with everything I am
Don’t you know nobody’s perfect
Do you understand how hard I’m trying for you
I am doing the best I can with everything I am
Don’t you know I think you’re worth it
Do you understand how hard I’m trying to do the best I can
The best I can

I got a picture of what matters and I keep it close to my heart
It’s a little faded but so am I

Cause I am doing the best I can with everything I am
Don’t you know nobody’s perfect
Do you understand how hard I’m trying for you
I am doing the best I can with everything I am
Don’t you know I think you’re worth it
Do you understand how hard I’m trying to do the best I can
The best I can [3x]
The best I can
The best I can

And I’m doing, oh I’m doing the best I can
I am, I’m doing the best, oh the best I can
The best I can, oh the best I can
Oh I keep doing, keep trying

And because I am really fancy now and have been learning all kinds of website stuff at work, I’ll even give you a link to the song so you can take a listen!  My point in posting this is to say that I am generally feeling fantastic, but I am still trying the best I can to make things happen.  I am excited to move forward, but with everything I am I just want to be better.  Nobody’s perfect, but I’m doing the best I can…

Apprehensive? or Aggressive!

I am having a pensive day.  As per usual this means that there is a lot on my mind and I am trying to figure out what it all means.  Related to my last entry, and considering the guy I saw a concert with last night, I thought I would type it out and see if I can solve any of the world’s problems.  Here goes nothing…

This is what I am starting to realize.  I have talked before about the changes I have seen in myself.  When I was younger, I will go on a limb to say that I was afraid of everything.  When I was in kindergarten and into wearing my frilly, flowery dresses and patent leather shoes, I was afraid of getting dirty.  When I started youth group in middle school I was afraid of not fitting in.  When I started college, I was afraid to be in a situation where I was forced to meet new people and to start a new routine.  I of course also had the usual fears that people think about: fear of heights, the dark, people in strange costumes, etc.  But there are also persistent, significant fears that I have had for a long time too.  I was afraid of failure, afraid of getting in trouble, afraid of rejection, afraid of looking like an idiot in any given situation, and that list also goes on.  I think what it boils down to is that I have always been afraid of unknowns.

In the last few years this has been changing for me.  I am excited that my entire life is not planned out.  I am excited about having possibilities.  I am excited to try new things (music, food, etc).  I am excited to meet new people and at the prospect of developing new relationships.  And now I am excited to learn through failure because that means I have actually developed meaningful chances to make my own decisions.  I don’t think I could have said this 6 or 7 years ago. My frustration revolves around the fact that despite the appearance that I am more confident now than I have ever been, despite the appearance that I am feeling better now than I have in a long time, despite the appearance that I know what a great catch I can be, that shy, apprehensive, timid, scared little girl is still lurking under my skin.

This is what is tripping me up with the guy I was talking about the other day.  I REALLY like him.  I REALLY want to spend time with him.  I REALLY want to find out if he feels the same way about me too, but the truth is I am apprehensive.  I am nervous.  I am afraid.  I am afraid that I will sound like “that girl” who is annoyingly obsessed with the boy of the month (ie “what are you doing now?  Do you want to hang out now?  Will you text me back now?  Can I call you now?  Will you tell me you love me now?”).  I do not want to be “that girl” who goes to that extreme, but in the process of avoiding “that girl” I have settled for being the wallflower who stands in the corner and waits for the boy to talk to her at the dance.  I am excited that I have the opportunity to spend time with a nice guy, but I am afraid if I really put my heart on my sleeve, things may not go the way I want them to.

I really need to get over this apprehensive shit.  It is not doing anybody any favors, and it is not helping me figure out how this guy feels about me.  So far I have been trying to be subtle.  Instead of saying “I would really love it if we could hang out tonight.” I say something like “My plans for the evening didn’t pan out so I’m flipping through channels, what are you up to?”  Subtext (in my head anyway) is I AM FREE AND AVAILABLE, I REALLY WANT TO HANG OUT WITH YOU!!  I have talked with several girlfriends about this (and now it occurs to me that maybe I need to reach out to some of my male friends for additional insight because I really have no clue what I’m doing here…) and the consensus is that it would probably be too much to start a conversation with this guy by saying “Ok, listen, I really like you, so what the hell are we doing here?  Is this going anywhere?”  So maybe I shouldn’t lay down the law, but how am I supposed to get over all of this nervousness to really tell him how I feel?  Is there a happy medium between too nervous and too aggressive?

The whole point of this entry is to say that I am confident in myself, but I am not quite sure what to do with that yet because I am nervous about where that might lead.  I know who I am when I am by myself, but I don’t know what that means out in the world.  Is it possible to quiet the apprehensive little girl I used to be and to fully embrace the confident woman I am becoming so I can finally get away from the wall and start dancing?

Nervous Nancy

(Do You Like Me?  Circle Yes No Maybe)

Ok folks, this is where I would love some friendly input.  I have blogged (and possibly over-shared) about the boy situation I have going on right now.  That situation is still going on, but it is going very slowly…Let me start from the beginning and break it down.  Then you can tell me what the hell I’m supposed to do here.

Last April, I met an old friend from youth group for coffee.  We hadn’t seen each other in something like 6 or 7 years.  I had a RAGING crush on him when we were in middle school (he of course does not know this), but life happened, we graduated from different high schools, did our separate things, and lost touch.  Since our initial coffee meeting in April we have actually been hanging out a lot.  Side note: I have problems with that phrase: “hanging out.” What does that even mean?  We are not dating, we are not a couple, we are completely platonic, but I consider him more than just an every day friend. So I guess we’re just a couple of people hanging out…Anyway, our “hang outs” have consisted primarily of going to those free concerts at P&L I’ve talked about before and watching movies at his apartment.  It is completely friendly, he and I haven’t gone on an official, legit date, we have interests in common to talk about so it’s no weird or anything.  We simply are friends, hanging out once every couple of weeks.

Here is where I think the lines become a little blurry for me.  First and foremost, I really like this guy.  I always feel better when I see him.  He is kind, considerate, interesting, and I think he is very attractive which is a bonus.  It has been established that we generally enjoy each other’s company.  He has told me that he likes watching movies together and has even come up with various themes for our movie nights (for example he suggested an “Old School Spielberg” night to watch Jaws and Close Encounters).  Not only that, but he has cooked for me.  We went to the movies a couple months ago.  I met him after work (when I was still at Old Navy), and he planned it so he would have dinner ready when I came over.  He invited me to his parents’ house when he was dogsitting while they were on vacation so he could grill burgers (and no, I have not met his parents in case you were wondering).  All of this combined adds to the sentiment that I REALLY freakin like this guy!  But when we “hang out,” like I said, it is completely platonic.  This is where the nervous Nancy in me comes out.

I like this guy so much that despite the fact that I am actually comfortable around him, I get really nervous.  I can feel myself being guarded.  I am not as open with him as I am with some of my friends that I’ve known forever.  I don’t know what to say, what to talk about, what to do… I clam up and then kick myself at the end of the night for not being 100% myself.  But it’s not weird when we’re together, I just wish I knew how to express myself in a way that didn’t’ make me feel like a 14-year-old girl with a crush on the hottest guy in school.

We are going to P&L tomorrow night to see Chevelle, and I am kind of freaking out!  The way I see it, there are several things I could do.  First, just say how I feel. “Listen dude, I really like you and that makes me nervous.”  Second, just get over it, lighten up, loosen up, and don’t let me nerves get the best of me.  Or Third, do nothing and wait to see what happens.  This isn’t a bad thing, if nothing else I have a good friend who I can hang out with and I’ll always have a movie buddy…The problem with the third option is that I am always thinking about what would happen if he and I were more than platonic friends.  I want more than just a movie buddy.  What if he asked me out? What if we went on a legit date?  What if we started a relationship?  I think I could be good at it.  I have a lot to offer, and I cannot emphasize this enough, I REALLY freakin like this guy!

So what do I do?  And can I get over these nerves before tomorrow night?  I’ll let you know what happens…

Foodie Frenzy

I just want to point out that this is the third time I have been on here in a week…That’s pretty good!  I wasn’t lying, I am trying to be better about keeping this updated.  Coincidentally, I can add Webmaster of sorts to my list of responsibilities and new things I’m learning at work.  IHD has taken charge of the website for one of the grants they are working on. They happen to run the site through wordpress and I am learning all kinds of new things!  I can link stuff and add media files and I feel so fancy!  I am going to try to incorporate some of my new-found blog/web knowledge to my personal blog to.  Why not, right?  I promised a Foodie Frenzy post.  This is actually connected to my new interest in music that I blogged about last time.  I think because I am feeling really good, because I have gotten out of the funky funk that I have been living under for a long time now, I am generally becoming more open to trying new things.  Stuff is changing in a good way and I might as well overhaul everything if I’m going to embrace these new changes.  Go big or go home, right?

So anyway, Along with looking into all sorts of new music, I have also been looking into new food, for several reasons.  First (and least related to my interest in new things), quite frankly I am tired of eating what my parents fix for dinner.  My mom has the same 5 or 6 go-tos and we eat them every week!  She likes them because they are quick and easy.  So much of my life in this house has revolved around when Mom can have dinner ready for everybody.  It’s gotten a little better since my brother has started working days.  Up until a few weeks ago, Mom would get home between 4:00 and 5:00, rush around to fix dinner so my brother could leave for work by 6.  There are all kinds of observations to be made about this behavior, but I think my mom is just being a mom and doing what she knows how to take care of her kids.  It’s nice, but she doesn’t need to stress herself out and rush around so much, it’s just dinner.  Anyway…I had to tell you all of that to tell you this:  Because my mom has this “fast and easy” dinner plan in her head for so long, and because I think my mom is generally stressed and doesn’t have the energy to put into coming up with something new for dinner every night, the food in this house is BORING!  I am tired of burritos!  I am tired of chicken nuggets and french fries!  And I want to change things up and try something new.  (I am not saying all of this without a plan by the way, I am working on coming up with something delicious to fix for dinner in the next week or two, I just have to find something that sounds good…)

On top of being bored with the food at my house, I am actually beginning to come around on a lot of the things that I haven’t been able to eat in a long time.  For example tomatoes.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have never eaten tomatoes.  I don’t like ketchup, I don’t use salsa, I don’t put tomatoes on sandwiches or salads, I have just never liked them.  But I am *starting* to come around.  I am still not a fan of eating them straight, but I had some tomatoes on a sandwich for lunch the other day and it was actually pretty good.  They were farmers market tomatoes that a coworker brought to work and they were pretty tasty!  I am not a fan of just chips and salsa, but I enjoyed the salsa on my burrito the other day.  I don’t know what set off my dislike for tomatoes, but I am realizing that for a long time I haven’t eaten them because I never eat them.  Why continually avoid doing something with no other reason than “because I just don’t.”?

Finally, in my foodie frenzy, I am becoming a lot more spicy!  Like I said, I used salsa the other day.  I went out to dinner to a Mexican restaurant with the fam a couple weeks ago and I had some enchiladas with some kind of warm/spicy magic green sauce that was SO good!  I practically licked the plate!…Seriously, I almost LICKED THE PLATE!  And here is my most interesting adventure, I tried spicy Chili Chocolate Cupcakes with Chili Cream Cheese frosting.  Here is the recipe.  (see what I did there?  I totally just got all fancy with all of my blogmaster knowledge!  Take that!)  Anyway, these cupcakes turned out REALLY good.  The chocolate mellowed out the cayenne and chili powder a lot, and the cinnamon in the frosting added a nice finish.  They have kind of a warm heat that settles in as you work through the cupcake.  I highly reccommend these to anyone who is feeling a little adventurous:)

Apparently I am really excited about this foodie frenzy, I have written a freakin novel about it.  My point in writing all of this is to tell you that I am hungry.  Not only for new  and exciting food, but for new and exciting experiences as I start to grow into my place in the world.  I am hungry to taste more, try more, do more, and I cannot wait to see where this culinary/life adventure takes me.

Musical Maiden

As promised, I am posting sooner than later.  I’m hoping to keep up the momentum, things are seriously going well right now and I feel like I should write (or type as the case may be) it out for posterity…or something.

Anyway, lately I have been feeling very musical.  To some of you this is not big news.  I am always getting songs stuck in my head, I am always singing to myself in the shower, I am always busting out my (limited) knowledge of song lyrics with musical tourrets at the loudest, most recognizable part of songs that come on the radio.  But lately I have been actively seeking out new music.  I have often gotten stuck on the things that I know.  I have been in an old school, good ole days mood with music for a long time.  I know all of the lyrics to the songs by bands like NSync, Spice Girls, etc that I listened to in middle school and high school and I have quite a collection of 90s stuff on my iPod.  And of course there is the long-standing classic rock phase.  But for the most part I have been sticking to the songs and bands that I know and listening to the same 5 or so CDs that I really like…Until recently.

I have blogged before about how I have been going to a lot of concerts.  I have seen Sugar Ray, Eve 6, Saving Abel, and Buckcherry to name a few for free at Power and Light in Kansas City.  I also went to the Imagine Dragons concert at Starlight a while ago.  I am really enjoying live music.  But lately, like I said, I have actively been seeking out new music on the radio too.  I am listening to the radio in the car instead of just my CDs.  I am so invested in seeking new music that I started keeping a pad of paper in the car to write down cool bands I hear on the radio so I can remember to look them up later.  At my job, I have been doing a lot of work at my desk, so I look up the bands on grooveshark.com and play them while I’m working.  It has been really fun to actually listen to a lot of these bands that I have heard of but that I haven’t actually listened to much before.

But there is more to this musical story believe it or not.  I noticed a few weeks ago that I am even doodling more on the piano than I have in a long time.  I haven’t really just sat down on the piano bench and gone through songbooks or played the repertoire of songs that I have memorized in months, maybe even a year.  But I have been practicing and playing around on the piano lately and putting those lessons to good use again.  I noticed that all of these changes, all of this interest in new music has happened in conjunction with my new job.  I have been really down about being unemployed and underemployed.  More down than I have ever admitted out loud.  And I had no idea how deeply this feeling of frustration and defeat has affected every aspect of my life.  But now that I have a job that I really like, now that I don’t have to be stressed out about applying for full time jobs anymore, now that I am starting to feel a little more stable in embracing my circumstances, I just want to eat it up.

I feel good, so I am motivated to try new things.  Things are changing for me in a good way, and I want to embrace the change and add some new to the mix: a bunch of new bands, a bunch of new experience to go with the new opportunities that I have going on right now.  It’s almost like I am kind of letting go of the “good ole days” of 90s music that I have clung to since I was younger and I am seeking ways to change the things I am invested in as the circumstances around me are changing.  It is kind of exciting!  I can’t remember the last time I was in this good of a place with things, but I can tell you that as I grow into my new role as full-time employed professional I will come out on the other end with a kick ass musical soundtrack to push me through.

Settling In

Ok, here I am, having all of these awesome life moments, thinking all of these thoughtful thoughts about how I am moving forward and generally feeling better, and I haven’t blogged in two weeks!  What is that about?  Before I got my job, I felt like all I had to talk about was the fact that I didn’t have a job.  Now that I am settling into my full time working girl schedule I am experiencing all kinds of interesting moments and I haven’t been talking about it, how weird is that?

Anyway, let’s start small and I will work to blog more frequently to get at all of these great feelings I am having.  On the job front, I am REALLY enjoying it!  The people are great (which is something that I pay attention to.  I had several interviews where I knew from the get-go that I wouldn’t fit in or want to work there.  But seriously, my new coworkers are awesome)!  Apparently my coworkers have been planning a “team retreat” since before I started working there.  By “team retreat” I gather that they really mean “Hey, we have a pontoon boat, let’s hang out on the lake for an evening.”  They are playing it like a team building activity, but really I think they just want to get together outside of work to hang out and relax.  This may mean tomorrow can be a short day at the office….We’ll see what happens there…But seriously, I couldn’t ask for a better group of coworkers, who are nice to me, put up with my silly questions, make lunch to share with the whole office, show me the ropes, and keep me entertained when I need to step away from my desk for a few minutes.

One thing that I am still getting used to is working for 8 hours a day, 5 days in a row.  That is a lot of time to get things done!  And right now there are not any major deadlines or big things that my team is getting ready for (that I know of anyway) so my tasks are “hey do this and let me know when you’re done.”  I have things to do, but there hasn’t been a lot of structure regarding when those things get done.  I realized that this is a contrast to the way I have been trained to work in food service and retail.  At Uno for example, I knew exactly what I had to do during my entire shift,  I took care of the people in my section, checked in on them, brought them their food, bussed tables, moved at a fast pace, and kept busy.  At Old Navy, I usually worked 4 to 4 and a half hours at a time, and I knew that I had only that amount of time to clean up a particular section or keep up with the clothes in the fitting room.  I had my task and I completed it as asked.  Now, I have all day to work on my tasks.  I am totally the newbie and I think I am getting some of the time consuming tasks like formatting things for consistency or googling things and comparing features, but seriously 8 hours is a long time!  And I really like that the atmosphere relaxed in the office too.  We don’t have to clock in or out, we don’t have a defined amount of time for lunch (though usually people eat and work).  Sometimes one of my coworkers will want to take a break and just come sit and talk with me.  Several days a coworker or two made a coffee run or gone to pick up lunch for everyone (I actually like tagging along on the field trips), and that is totally fine as long as your work gets done.  There is a lot of wiggle room which is something that I am still trying to get used to.

After three weeks, work is starting to feel homey.  I have a routine, I’m getting more and more comfortable with my coworkers, I am learning a lot not only about the work that Institute for Human Development does, but about the way I work and the way that I navigate through this new big-girl environment.  I enjoy my job.  And I am generally feeling really great.  This has been a long time coming, and I am so glad to be settling in to a new job and not hunkering down for another month of job searching.  I am finally starting to feel like a grown up, and it feels awesome!

 

Blogs to come:

Musical Maiden

Foodie Frenzy

Nervous Nancy

(See, told ya I have a lot to talk about!  And apparently I feel like using alliteration too!  So there you have it!)

My Life Is Changing, But Am I?

Two days on the job, and I am not entirely sure exactly what I am getting into…But I know I am going to like it!  This week is interesting because my direct supervisor and half of the office are at a conference in Columbia.  My first day on the job was an unconventional one.  I woke up at the asscrack of dawn and was at the office by 6am.  From the office I rode to Columbia with one of my new coworkers (who is my age and who I  am really starting to get along with).  We got to the conference where we organized the registration table, handed out nametags and books, ate lunch (free to me which is always good), sat around for a few hours, and by 2:30 we were on the way back to KC.  It was an eventful, and yet uneventful first day, and I can’t complain.

Today was a more traditional office day for me, but like I said half of the office is at this conference so there really wasn’t much going on.  Without my supervisor around, there were only a couple of things I really had to do.  My coworker went over some of the HR stuff with me, I got a thorough tour of the facilities (now I know where the chocolates are kept. Very important), and my supervisor emailed me a couple of piddly things to work on for the rest of the afternoon.  There was a little bit more instruction and a good deal of new information about how things are going to work, but I was mostly done by 3:30.  Another short day.  I have no idea what life at the office will be like once everyone is back from the conference on Thursday, and I have no idea what a “normal” week at the office will look like, but I think this soft transition into full time working life.  I talked about this last time, and I am realizing that it is still true: I am really excited about all of these unknowns and I am ready to face them head on.

Here is my interesting revelation for the day.  Working full time is a completely new adventure for me.  I have had a college student lifestyle since I started college nearly 9 years ago (holy crap that makes me feel old!!).  After being unemployed and underemployed since graduating with my Masters degree, I know that this job is a complete game changer for me.  My schedule, my responsibilities, my paycheck, my reality are all going to change…My life is about to be completely different than it has ever been before.  Moving out of the parents’ house can be an actual viable possibility, taking care of my debt, actually having some fun money, all of these things that I have been hoping for for so long will actually happen sooner than later and I LIKE it!  I have told myself for a while now that once all of these things fall into place, I want to embrace the change.  I can afford a gym membership with my salary, I should use it.  I have been talking about eating better, losing weight, paying attention to myself for once instead of stressing out about all of the things in my life that have been going wrong.  I have been complaining about not having anything to do, so while I’m keeping busy with work and embracing this working lifestyle, why don’t I get off my ass and do something?

Tonight is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  In my head I want to stay busy.  In my head, with a full time job I no longer have to worry about whether or not I can afford to put a full tank of gas in my car, so maybe I should spend a little bit more time trying to improve the things I know I should be working on for myself.  Tonight, though,  I got stuck in the same ole web of twiddling me thumbs.  My parents went to the pool this evening.  I could have gone with them, I could have gotten some exercise, I could have gotten away from the tv, but instead I divided my time between sitting on the couch and lounging on my bed.  And I got pissed at myself about it.  I was home by 4:30 today.  That’s PLENTY of time to go for a swim or a walk before dark.  That’s plenty of time to do something productive around the house.  That’s plenty of time to put my money where my life is and embrace the change of this new lifestyle I envision for myself.  But apparently old habits die hard.  My life is changing but today I felt like a stick in the mud the minute I got back to my house.

All of this being said, it is only my second day of work.  Am I overreacting? I still have a lot of learning to do on the job and at home as these changes officially start kicking in.  I guess my point in rambling on about all of this is to say that I have realized that my life is starting to move in the right direction (or at least in a direction that I feel good about), I just didn’t take into consideration the fact that I might have to change a few things about myself to keep up.