On Being Alone

“He didn’t know why he was running away.
Maybe because being close to someone took a hell of a lot more guts than being alone.”
— Linda Castillo

I think I can identify with this quote far more than I’m comfortable with. It feels to me that a lot of single people my age (early twenties) seem to fall into two categories: either they desperately want to be in a committed relationship with a significant other, planning a future and a life together; or they’re flitting from one meaningless fling to another. And then there’s me. Content with being alone, determined to figure out my own identity and values before I entangle myself with another person.

I have this tendency to throw myself into relationships with others wholeheartedly — I have acquaintances and then I have close friendships that I focus a good deal of energy on, to be a good friend, to stay in contact with them when they move away. Once I’m in, I’m emotionally invested and it takes a lot to make me walk away from someone. Knowing this, understanding this aspect of myself, I’m hesitant to find a significant other. I feel that the most I can give people right now, is the sort of focus and investment which I give my close friends. I’m not ready to make that sort of all-encompassing commitment to someone when I don’t know where my future is taking me, when I am still forming my identity and focusing my beliefs.

Occasionally, though, I find myself wondering if I’m alone not because I don’t feel capable of fully committing to another person, but because I’m safe being alone and I’m just not brave enough to be that vulnerable with someone else.

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Serendipity

Soulmates

Marry someone who lets you have a bite of their brownie, even when you said you weren’t hungry. Marry someone who laughs at the same things you do. Marry someone who kisses your nose on a cold day. Marry someone who you can watch Disney movies with. Marry someone who is proud of you whether you earn £5 a week or £5,000 a week. Marry someone who you can tell everything to. Marry someone who isn’t afraid or embarrassed to hold your hand in public. Marry someone who lets you take over when decorating a cake. Marry someone who you can spend the day in Ikea with without feeling stressed. Marry someone who wraps you up inside their coat in the winter. Marry someone who accepts your fears and phobias. Marry someone who gives you butterflies every time you hear their key in the door. Marry someone who you don’t always have to shave your legs for. Marry someone who accepts you all day every day, even when you don’t look or feel your best. Marry someone who puts three sugars in your tea, despite telling them “just the two”. Marry someone who doesn’t judge you when you eat your body weight in cookies. Marry someone who doesn’t make you want to check your phone, because you know they will reply. Marry someone who waits with you to get on the train. Marry someone who understands that you need to be alone sometimes. Marry someone who gets on well with your parents and isn’t uptight about family events. Marry someone who calms you down when you get mad about stupid stuff, and never tells you it’s “only stupid stuff”. Marry someone who makes you want to be a better person. Marry someone who makes you laugh. Marry someone who you love. Marry your soulmate, your lover, your best friend.

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15 Obvious Bucket List Choices

Sunlight

Blog Challenge Day 9: What’s On Your Life List/Bucket List

  1. Attain a level of advanced fluency in the French Language.
  2. Return to France for at least six months.
  3. Become proficient in a third language (Maybe Portuguese or Italian or Spanish).
  4. Satiate my sense of Wanderlust by visiting Nepal, India, Brazil, New Zealand, etc.
  5. Write a book.
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  6. Work abroad for either a short or long term assignment in a development capacity.
  7. Fall in Love.
  8. Learn how to snow ski.
  9. Go to Graduate School.
  10. Watch the sunrise from the beach.
  11. Go on a long hiking trip, camping overnight.
  12. Live alone, without roommates or a significant other, and appreciate having my own space.
  13. Adopt a dog from the humane society and truly put effort into training it to be a companion.
  14. Attain my ideal healthy weight and maintain it.
  15. Go on a road trip with my significant other.

Paying It Forward

John Green

Blog Challenge Day 6: Your Most Recent Random Act of Kindness

It’s sad when someone asks you this question and you can’t quite remember an intentional thing that you did for the sake of being kind. I’m telling myself it’s because I try to be thoughtful so much of the time that the smallest things are really done without intention at all anymore, like holding the door open for another person, complimenting a stranger or smiling at a passerby because those small things are proven to brighten the days of others. I try to do those things all the time…but now I’m wondering how kind I actually am. Regardless, I do have an answer to this challenge, it just isn’t as recent as, say, this morning.

The restaurant where I work is in an upper-middle class/affluent part of town, it’s a mid–priced family style kind of place and the tips are generally 18-20% (which is what you should be tipping your server these days, by the way). My employer, indisputably, likes to employ a particular type of person, specifically responsible high school or college aged students who could be (and occasionally are) the children of our regular patrons. This means that most of my coworkers and I come from a similar demographic: hardworking parents who expect us to get good grades, go to college, start a family (in that order). Of my coworkers, there is one anomaly to this generality.  For the sake of anonymity, I’ll call her N.

As soon as N came on two years ago, she was (and still is) a bit of a shock and adjustment for most of the staff. From the beginning, she put us all off by giving the impression that she was better than a lot of us because we “had supportive and encouraging parents who always set good examples” (not necessarily true for some of my coworkers) and she had to work harder than many of us because she wasn’t handed everything she needed in life. In the same vain, it was clear that she felt insecure because so many of us were in college and had done well in school and she was perfectly open about the fact that she had slacked off. I know firsthand that N is not unintelligent, but I’ve come to understand that she’s had influential people in her life lead her to believe that she is. I struggled for months with how to love this girl as my neighbor,  and in fact I still do, when she clearly looks down on me for the fact that I come from a more stable background than she does. I’ve been trying to be better at that in the last few months, but watching someone refuse to be proactive about their life, refuse to realize their potential – it’s challenging for me. My passion for international development has lent me an awareness that being impoverished in America is not nearly as devastating as it is in the developing world. If a healthy, literate American is living below the poverty line, he or she has so many more opportunities available to them to better their circumstances than those living in poverty in sub-saharan Africa. So, for me, it’s frustrating to see an American refuse to take an advantage of those opportunities.

Since joining the staff, N has had a child with her boyfriend. N is the only one who actively contributes to the household income and, not surprisingly, money tends to run tight for them. Over the last few months, business has steadily declined at our restaurant and recently, N has confessed her stress about utilities and rent and where is she going to get the money for it all?

So all this buildup and here’s my random act of kindness: when it was my turn to take a table of regulars who always tip more than 20% came in the other night, I turned to N and made her take the table.  It’s a small thing, but I know it boosted her take-home money by thirty percent that night and short of directly putting money in her hands for herself and her baby (which I’m not really opposed to), it was the best I could do.

Does this count as a random act of kindness? What about you? What was your random act of kindness this week?

Of Mudpies and Movie Makeup

ChildhoodBlog Challenge Day 4: What Is Your Favorite Childhood Memory?

I spent a lot of time thinking about this challenge. What is my favorite childhood memory? Oddly enough, when I tried to recall slumber parties or playdates or beloved school friends, I came up blank. Sure, I can name my closest friends from elementary school but would I say they embody my favorite childhood memories? Not so much.

When I reminisce on my happiest moments as a child, I always go back to my sister. I can honestly call my sister one of my best friends, and I think she’s the only person in the world who will never surprise me or disappoint me or fail to support me. That’s not to say that we don’t fight, or that I think she’s predictable- quite the opposite, really. I never know what she’s going to do next, but I’m also never taken aback by her choices. I’m always proud of her and I’ve always got her back.

Our relationship hasn’t always been so solid, there were horrible fights and we both walked away with bruises and scrapes (I even got a black eye once for waking her up too early). But there were also the days when we tried gardening and made mud pies instead, or the nights that she played makeup mannequin and barely grimaced when my attempts turned out horrendous, or the time the creepy boy on the bus wouldn’t stop harassing me so she “took care of it” by playing the Big Bad High Schooler and scared the hell out of him.

This challenge asked me to pick my favorite childhood memory but it would be impossible to choose just one.  As cheesy as it sounds, growing up with my big sister was the best part of my childhood, and I’m really lucky to have her in my life.

Eureka Springs