Packing

I’ve spent just over the past year of my life packing and unpacking and repacking.  Constantly trying to organize and compartmentalize my belongings.  Dresses in this box, shoes in that box, books in this one.  I try to make my belongings smaller and smaller each time I come home.  At some point, I started compartmentalizing my life too.  Family over there, school friends over here, ship friends on Facebook.  It gets hard to balance all those boxes.  Some people get more time than others, and not always the ones who deserve it.  It seems the bigger my life gets, the smaller I try to make it because it’s the only way to balance it all.  The more people I meet, the more people I lose touch with.  Maybe that’s just the natural cycle of things.  The people who are meant to stay part of my life will. The rest will fade. Who can say who will fall into which box. Certainly though, it’s a two way street.

Christmas Eve Eve

As a kid, I always remember going to my grandma’s house or my aunt’s house on Christmas Eve for a big Italian dinner and opening presents form the family (we still waited til Christmas morning to open presents from Santa, of course!)  Then we’d go to “midnight mass” (which I put in quotes because it actually started at 11!)  and sing Christmas hymns by candlelight.  These were always the things that made Christmas Christmasy for me.  The things that defined that day from any other day.  Then Christmas day we’d have 40-60 of our closest friends and family come to our house to eat and drink all day and night.  I loved these Christmas Eves and Christmases.  As I got older, and my family moved away, our Christmases began to feel less Christmasy.  We’d go out to dinner on Christmas Eve, and we could never even stay up for mass.  My siblings and I had to set an alarm to wake up at five for “santa” as we were no longer excited enough to get up on our own.  We’d open presents and eat breakfast and by 10 or 11 am, Christmas was over.  Sometimes we’d go see a movie.  But it felt like it wasn’t even worth it anymore.

As I was on my way to work today, Christmas Eve Eve, it occurred to me that this is the day that has become the most festive and eventful for me in the past few years.  Five years ago, it was a bunch of coworkers and myself driving an hour north to help another restaurant that was so busy and whose employees were so over worked they hadn’t even had time to finish Christmas shopping yet!  Three or four years ago, it was making the most epic Christmas cookies with one of my best friends who I only get to see on holidays when we both go “back home”.  Last year, I was at Candy Cane Karaoke, singing and dancing and dressing goofy with all my friends (and doing delicious candy cane shots!)

While today was mostly uneventful (although I did brave the grocery store to get the ingredients to do some last-minute holiday baking) it still marks the first real touch of Christmas spirit in my otherwise downtrodden heart.   This will be the first Christmas ever that my family has been separated.  My mom will be here soon to spend the holiday with my brother and I, while my dad and sister and brother-in-law will all be back home and working on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  I guess this is what growing up does, but I still always hoped that Christmas would be the one day we’d all get to enjoy together.  Hopefully, I manage to find the spirit soon.  If not though, I will be sure to find my birthday spirit in a few days!  And, this will be the first New Year’s I’ve had off in 6 or 7 years!

Where will YOU be in ten years?

Remember back in high school people would always ask you “Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten years?”  I’m pretty sure that question was on every college admissions application.  How did you answer?  Did you really know?  Did you have a goal or did you just put what you thought they wanted to hear?  Or were you honest and said you had no idea?

I honestly don’t remember what I would put for that.  I’m fairly certain I generally just left it blank or filled it with question marks.  I’ve always had a few random ideas for where my life could go, but I always figured there were so many variables that affected it to know for sure.  At one point I wanted to be either a profiler or linguist for the FBI.  At another point I wanted to be a computer programmer.  I also always thought that by ten years I’d have a husband and kids and a family and a house.

Today, I realized that it HAS been ten years.   Did you end up where you thought you would?  Did you accomplish any of your lofty adolescent goals?  I didn’t.  No fancy, important career.  No husband or kids.  I do have a house.  I suppose that’s something.  One out of four ain’t bad, I suppose.   Still, I ask myself what I have been doing for these past 10 years?!?  I’m no closer to any of these goals than when I graduated high school.  In fact, I feel like I’m further away from any of them.

Someone pointed out today that there are kids half my age that have accomplished way more in their short lives than I will ever hope to accomplish in mine.  It’s kind of a depressing thought.  I suppose it gives you something to work towards, but for most of those things I feel like the ship has sailed.  And let’s be honest, a 3o-year old doing the things that a 10 year old is doing isn’t nearly as impressive.

I suppose the only thing to do now is ask myself: Where do you hope to be in 10 years from NOW?  Funnily enough, the answers remain pretty much the same (except even less lofty):  husband, maybe kids, decent career (I don’t need anything too fancy, just something I don’t hate and can make a decent living at), and maybe have visited a couple more foreign countries.  Those don’t seem lofty do they?  I’m not asking to be a pop star or anything!  Just some basic, All-American goals.  And hopefully, my next 10 years will be more successful than the last 🙂

Most Memorable Memories in Life Were Once a Crazy Random Happenstance

A few months ago, I wrote a post about some of my favorite “things” (which were actually more like memories).   Most of these things were not planned, they kind of just happened.  I feel like sometimes someone pushes us to go somewhere because that is where we are supposed to be.  A couple months later, I wrote a post about opening myself up to more unexpected opportunities that could turn into these types of memories.  (P.S. Links to both of those posts are contained within the text!)  I would like to update and expand on both these posts to show that I am somewhat, slowly but surely, allowing myself to take such opportunities.

I would  like to add to my list of favorite memories the Bikini Laser Tag Rave (yes you read that correctly) I attended because I happened to accept a free ticket to a Tampa Bay Storm Game where one of my friends happened to be reading a newspaper that had an article for an event happening the following night which I just happened to have off.  I had always wanted to attend a rave since high school, and this was a good, clean opportunity to do so.  And it was a blast.  I danced until dawn, made new friends, got a free photo shoot, and listened to some great music.  I would also like to add to my favorites list my two recent trips to Daytona.  Both were fairly random and last minute and ended up being tons of fun!  First was the Daytona 500 in February, which I would never have thought to go to until I won tickets and had a blast (and met Brad Paisley).  Second was a mini beach vacation with a friend that seemed to be just what the doctor ordered to add new life to my other wise busy schedule and just happened to fall on my two days off.  So yes, late night road trips, drinking all day, and good music with family and friends.  Sounds like a winning combination to me!

The moral of this post, and a few of my others, is that you never know what life has waiting around the corner.  You can plan all the trips you want, but, at the end of the day, the most memorable ones are the ones you weren’t expecting.  I figure I get particular days off for a reason, meet particular people for a reason, and end up in particular places for a reason.  I may not yet know that reason, but I’m pretty sure part of it is to have fun and enjoy life!

Life is All About Building Relationships

If you had to pick one thing to do for the rest of your life, what would it be?

For me, it would depend.  If I had to pick something completely independent of everyone and everything else, I would pick dancing.  If that were one of Dante’s rings of Hell, I would want to be stuck dancing for all of eternity.

But if I had to pick something else, something with maybe more parts to it, I would pick theme park adventures with my wonderful family and friends.  There are numerous theme parks to explore, and lots of people to explore them with.  And I do not know anyone that can not have at east a little fun in a theme park – there’s something for everyone!  If someone would pay me to go to theme parks all the time, I’d do it in a heart beat.  And I don’t even ride roller coasters!!!!

But at the end of the day, they say it’s not what you do that defines you, but your relationships that define you.  I like to think I have a lot of good friends.  They’re like my extended family (which is already quite big simply due to my DNA!) And there is never a shortage of things to do with them.   Honestly, even the most mundane things like grocery shopping or washing the car are way better when you do them with your friends!  I love my friends.  Van Wilder said it best, “Life is about building relationships.”

Quarter-Life Crisis

I feel like, after the accumulation of everything that has (and has not) happened this year, I have reached a quarter-life crisis.  This is different from a mid-life crisis in that I don’t have a need to buy a motorcycle or date a man half my age or get my year’s salary in plastic surgery.  But it is very similar in that I feel the strong need for change, big change, and soon.

Unfortunately, like everything about me, my desire is at opposite ends of the spectrum in this too.  On the one hand, I hear the quintessential “clock ticking” giving me the strong urge to mate and have a family.  Which I would absolutely love and is my ultimate goal in life.  But like everything I consider doing in life, I’m gravely afraid of screwing it up.  The other part of me wants to pick up and move across the country or get a job on a cruise ship and travel around the world.  The only problem with either of those plans is the house I bought in hopes of moving towards the first goal.

With conflicting goals I basically have to decide now which goal I would like to pursue for my life. That’s a tough decision to make at my age! And, unlike Miley Cyrus, I fear I cannot have the best of both worlds.  It can be so hard to figure out what I want- and it never seems to be the thing I want a few weeks later! All I can know for sure is what I don’t want. And what I don’t want is to be stuck in my crappy, dead-end job, making not even enough money to pay for the house I’m depressed to sit alone in and therefore try to avoid.

In school they give you guidance counselors to help tell you what classes you should take. Why can’t there be life counselors to help you make grown up choices? Why can’t there be someone telling you what job to get. Or where to live. Or, most helpful, who to date? Heck I’d take guidance on just one of those and be doing a heck of a lot better than where I’m at right now!

I don’t know where I’ll end up next year, but I feel like it will not be where I am now. I hope it is not. I’m not sure I could stand it if it were. All it takes is one big change, and I buy at least a few months before I get sick of that.  I’m trying. I’m exploring my options and weighing out their merits.  But like always, I’m too scared to jump. Too scared to make that change myself. I’m to the point where I need something that will force me to choose. Something that will leave me no other choice than the right one.  Some cataclysmic event to finally change my stagnant life and get it moving again.

So I sit and wait. And pray for a clear sign. At the end of the day, life is all about choices. And I’m terrified of making the wrong ones.

All In The Family

So I have to say- I love my family.  I never realized just how awesome my family is until my sister’s wedding.  Not only did my mom’s side and my dad’s side come together, but I realized just how much everyone has to offer.  Whether it was doing hair or nails or makeup, or cooking or mixing drinks, or babysitting, or decorating, or taking pictures, or opening champagne, or giving advice on life, finances, and religion- everyone helped in some way or another.  Seriously, my family could start their own town! Okay, maybe not a town, but definitely a comprehensive wedding services package!  Or, a quick and cheap remodel service- got $3500 and 3 days?- you’ve got a new kitchen! O, I love my family!

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