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.

Source

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?

A Thorough Definition

Blog Challenge Day 3: What Makes You Happy?

I think this has been the broadest prompt yet — so I’ll try to be thorough. Define happiness. Fulfillment? Validation? Elation?  Fangirl Feels? I’m going to have to resort to listography for this one as well, I’ll give you one thing for each of the four “definitions” listed above.

Fulfillment:

I think I’ve mentioned before that I majored in the french language for my undergrad. To date, learning a second language has been one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever taken on. I’ve put so much time and energy into learning (what felt like) a million different tenses for 5,000 different verbs, memorizing all the grammar rules and memorizing when the grammar rules don’t actually apply, deciphering what was supposed to be “modernized” french poetry from the middle ages, and composing pages and pages of essays…all the nights I felt like I had no clue what I was doing….like I said, learning french was one of the most intimidating and frustrating goals I’ve ever endeavored to accomplish. And the payoff was like nothing else I’ve ever experienced. I still have moments (days even) where I want to pull my hair out but then, to watch a movie in french or listen to a news reel or read a book in the language I’ve wanted to learn my entire life — it’s incredible. I feel an incredible amount of fulfillment every time I look at how far I’ve come. I’m still not fluent, but I’m getting there. I’ve studied in France once and I’m working on getting back there again. I don’t know if I’ll ever actually use French in my job, but I hope that I do. Even so, even if I never have to use it in any professional capacity, it’s been an amazing journey and I learned so much about myself, what I’m truly capable of. I’ll never regret the time that I put into mastering a second language. Plus they say a third language is even easier to pick up, so maybe I’m take up Spanish or Italian next!

Paris I

Validation:

I believe that a lot of people can relate to this, but I love helping others. I love listening to my friends problems and giving them my advice and helping them work through and find a solution. I feel a huge sense of validation from knowing that I was useful and that I was able to be supportive and aid someone I love through a difficult situation. I took the Myers Briggs Type Indicator test recently and my description was dead-on: as an ENFJ (extraverted, intuitive, feeling, judgmental) I always want to bring harmony to an environment, I want to find the potential in everyone and I want to help them fulfill that potential. So yes, helping others to live more cheerful lives, I find a lot of validation in that.

Mel and KT

Elation:

This one is too easy: I love music. I love talking about music, listening to music, playing music. When a favorite band drops a new single or releases a new album? It instantly brightens my day, I can’t even describe it. Arcade Fire is releasing their fourth album, Reflektor, on October 29. You can expect a very, very happy blog post around that time from yours truly, in which I rave about how incredible this band is and how much I can’t wait to see them in concert again (hopefully very soon).

Fangirl Feels:

Really, I already posted a taste of my fangirl feels here when I went on and on and on about Austenland, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen and then later, JJ Fields. (I regret nothing). There are a lot of things that I get at least a little fangirl crazy about, but Jane Austen and P&P are by and large the most consistent (this is the part where I halfheartedly own up to being a twilight fangirl at one point but that’s neither here nor there). Since I already shared with everyone my passion for Austenland, I’ll give you a new Austen-inspired rec: Emma Approved. From the same people who brought you The Lizzie Bennet Diaries (They won an Emmy!), Bernie Su and Hank Green have embarked on a modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Emma, in vlog style format. They’re only 5 episodes in so far, but given how FANTASTIC  The Lizzie Bennet Diaries was, I can tell you that this is probably worth checking out — it updates on youtube every Monday and Thursday at 9 am (pacific, so that’s 11 am for me in CST). I can promise you though, at some point in the next several months, these people are going to kill me with feels. And it’s going to be so perfect.