We are officially full-fledged house hunters. Wahoo! We applied for a mortgage early last week, right before the holiday so it’s still being reviewed, but we have been searching the internet for houses! We’ve driven around our local neighborhoods, scouring for “for sale” signs and turning our noses up at quite a few homes that look WAY better online than in person. We’ve seen multiple foreclosures that clearly had pissed off owners; broken windows, spray painted walls, ripped up flooring. -_- Playing the waiting game (AKA obsessively checking my email for notifications!) is difficult for me, the world’s most impatient person, but it’s also a really exciting time! We’ve found a small handful of homes that we are really interested in, sans spray painted, and I can’t wait to start the process of actually touring them!
I’m not 100% that we will be taking the plunge into home ownership; there are a ton of factors that we need to consider first. It’s definitely an awesome time in our lives, though. Just to know that we are capable of taking that HUGE next step is a great feeling. I’ve been watching HGTV a lot more, too. 😉
I have to say that potentially buying a home is a really great way to cut down on senseless spending. You know what I’m talking about. The $15 sweater you don’t need. The $20 movie. The $10 clearance shoes. The chapstick value pack. The this, the that… it’s all unnecessary, random, CRAP. Now that we are waiting on our pre-approval to come through, I feel guilty every time I go to buy something that I don’t “need”. (Other than the $7 Christmas rug I got at Kohl’s on Black Friday. I NEEDED that. Duh!) It’s definitely been padding my bank account.
I’m looking forward to this next chapter of our lives. I really hope we are one step closer to that finished basement, wrap-around porch, fenced in backyard dream that I’ve had for as long as I can remember.
Today is an ordinary day. I woke up, tired still and not quite ready to face the rest of the world. I am going into work later than usual today, so I drink my coffee and watch talk shows. I peruse on Pinterest. I read the news. I am content here on my couch. Soon, I will get ready for work like I do every day; albeit, with a bit more enthusiasm as it is no longer dark outside. I will go to my office and stare at the paperwork mountain on my desk, the motivational quotes on the walls. I will work with youth; we will discuss domestic violence prevention today. We will listen to stories of battered women, scared children, families affected by violence. We will talk about what we can do to curb violence. I will come home and wipe off my kitchen counters. I will throw a load of laundry in. Maybe I will paint. Maybe I will stay up late reading because tomorrow is Friday.
No, there is nothing special about today. I’ve lived this day many days before, in fact. Slight changes, of course, maybe I had tea instead of coffee. Maybe I took kids on a college tour, or listened to someones story of their multiple foster homes. But this day is familiar to me. It is comfortable, even, like a favorite sweater on a chilly day. This day is mine, this life is mine. This is what I have created for myself.
I will love it, all of it, for that reason. This life is my sunshine.
When you look at your life, what do you see? Is it the life you had planned for yourself? Is it more? It is less?
How do you evaluate something so multifaceted? Is there a checklist to determine if you’ve done a good job or if you’re still a work in progress? I know that in a way, we are all a “work in progress”; a never-ending project with tweaks to make here and there. There are potential improvements, of course. A friendship that needs a little mending, a job that could be better. There are always things we could “fix”. We are a nation of fixers. We want to take everything, every little thing, and morph into what it “should be”.
Expectations versus reality: how do your plans match up with your actuality? Do you recognize the person you see in the mirror? Are you happy with your list of accomplishments? What would you do different if given the chance?
We all want to believe that this life, the one we have created for ourselves, this is it. This is what we wanted. We took so much time to construct it, after all. We took pieces and placed them side by side, one at a time, until we completed a puzzle that is supposed to be our masterpiece. The time, the doubt, the sacrifices; they were all worth it. Now we have it. We have succeeded.
But what if we haven’t?
Working with older youth, it’s common to discuss goals. Where do you see yourself in five years? Ten? What kind of education will you seek? What kind of career do you want? What is important to you?
Five years? They’ll say. I don’t know where I’ll live next month, let alone 5 years.
Ten years? They laugh.
Education? I don’t know. I want to make something of myself.
Career? I want to make good money. I want to provide for myself.
What’s important? Family. Happiness.
The answers are so vague, yet so clear. These kids want what we all want, I think. When it comes down to it, we all want to be loved. We all want to feel like we have succeeded in our accomplishments. Whatever path we take with school and work, we all just want to look back and say “I am happy”. Sure, we want the nice paycheck and a lavish home to go to after a long day at work, but that’s not what really matters. What matters is that when we lay down to bed at night, we can say that we are healthy, we are happy, we are grateful.
Sometimes life can seem overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard to decide what path to take. Sometimes it’s easier to take no path at all; to succumb to the “I can’t” attitude. Sometimes, though, all it takes is a gentle reminder that the every day subtleties; your morning cup of coffee, your favorite song on the radio, a night in with your family… those are enough.
This life is enough, even if you haven’t got it all figured out just yet.
As I get closer and closer to the dreaded “mid-twenties”, I’m starting to realize that there is a long list of things that I am getting too old for. I used to think that you didn’t get “too old” for stuff, but that people just conformed to how they should act at a certain age. Nope, wrong. So wrong. Let’s go over just a few examples…
- The Junior’s section. I used to make a beeline for the graphic t’s and hoodies, but now I find myself standing in between Juniors and what I still refer to as “the grown up section”. Do I buy the “Case of the Monday’s” crop top or the practical but still cute blazer? I DON’T KNOW. I like both, but I feel this responsibility to extend my business casual wardrobe outside of the office. What if I run into a coworker wearing the same thing as her teenager daughter? Awkward. I don’t think I’ve reached the point of being too old altogether… but I’m getting close.
- Staying up late/sleeping in. By 9:00pm on weekdays, I start thinking it’s about time to “turn in for the night”. I swear. I’m typing this from my bed. I’m still in my early twenties at heart though, because life is fair game on the weekends. Stay up until 1am?! Sureeee, just sleep in the next day! Oh, wait. Sleeping in is now 8:00-8:30am.
- Drinking. I’m always like “ugh, what a rough week! Time for a few beers or glasses of wine to unwind.” Next morning: wake up feeling like I never slept and big foot may or may not have stepped on my head.
- Haphazard plans. That kind of thing was cool when I was like 18-19, when our main objective was to “hang out”. Now, I need something a little more detailed to find the motivation to interrupt my Netflix binge-watching of Orange is the New Black. Oh, you want to go do something that sounds mildly fun 45 minutes away? Eh…
- Sleeping at someone else’s house. This might just be me, but there’s nothing that sounds less appealing to me than starting my weekend off by waking up at someone else’s house. Just no. I am way too old to “crash on your couch”, thanks.
Being in your twenties, whether it to be early, mid or late, is a weird thing. Like, you look forward to it so much when you’re a teenager because you just imagine it being so great. You’ll live on your own, buy whatever you want, do whatever you want… it’ll be great. Until you realize it isn’t, and now you’re just on a downward spiral towards 30. Can I go back to eating cup of noodles for dinner and wearing crop tops?
Spoiler: I still purchase/wear crop tops. -_-
You want the things you’re saying, doing, planning, dreaming about, to matter. You want to believe that there is all some bigger purpose to life than the day to day monotony. Surely life isn’t all 8-5’s, health insurance premiums and pension plans, right? Everything that you do all year; the stress, the extra hours at the office, the anxiety over raises and promotions… is it all for one week of vacation? Is your life a waiting game for that one little slice of time where you allow yourself to “let loose”, to do the things you really want to do, to be truly happy? Not “oh I found this really inspiring quote on Pinterest that I’ll post on my Facebook and subsequently my Instagram (with a selfie)” happy, but legitimately happy. That logic is really hard for me to wrap my head around.
I mean, what is it exactly that we are all trying to do here? I understand the materialistic side of things, I really do. I want the clothes, the car, the house, the level of comfort that having money provides. I also understand hard work, dedication and a sense of responsibility. I subscribe to all of those beliefs and find them to be important qualities for the general population to pride themselves on. BUT… is that what life is? It’s really sad for me to think that my life up until this point has been geared 100% towards obtaining some kind of skill/education that allowed me to begin a career. Now that I have that, the rest of my life is just planning for retirement? I know that we’re supposed to be thankful for the little things. I should be grateful that I’m lying in bed on Sunday night typing away in bed. I have a candle lit (a lovely soy candle called “sunshine” that I bought in Sarasota, Fl. this year on vacation), my tummy is full from dinner and I have a job to go to in the morning. I’m grateful for all of those things; but, can’t I be both grateful and still want for more? Maybe I don’t want for “more” but for “different”. I want spontaneity. I want crafts. I want travel. I want love- the ache in your stomach when they walk in the room kind of love. I want French-pressed coffee with whip cream and I want possibilities. I feel like I can have all of those things if I let go of this traditional way of living that everyone is so convinced they MUST live by.
You can be a cliche and note that you only live once; but I prefer the add-on to that saying. “But if you do it right, once is enough.”
So the question you have to ask yourself is, are you doing it right?
I haven’t written in awhile and I’m creepin’ up on my self-set bed time (gotta get those 8 hrs of Zzz’s!) but here are a few of my recent goals I’ve set for myself. I’ve been feeling rather creative/inspired lately but I haven’t been able to find an outlet for it. I know that I want/need to make changes, but I’m not sure where to start. Here are some vague ideas of where to start…
Yoga Every Damn Day! (I’ve been slacking lately).
Disconnect more from social media- I have a slightly addiction to Instagram & Pinterest. I need to stop scrolling through pictures of other people’s lives and start living mine!
QUIT SMOKING. While being social. While driving. Just quit, sheesh. (36 hours into attempt # who freaking knows.)
Go back to the gym. I was going 4-5 days a week and while I have been doing work outs at home instead… I’m wasting the $32/month. Locked in for a year, so, may as well use it! Orrr suck it up & spend the $70 to cancel.
Be more frugal. Between paying for student loans & a car payment on a social worker’s salary… I am strapped for cash! I need to really sit down & look at my bank account to tally up all those random “small” expenses to see how much they add up! At least if I can ditch the cigs I’ll be saving $6-7 every time I DON’T run out and buy a pack. So far I’ve saved $4.89 according to my quitting app. 🙂
And the famous last words of every blogger, blog more. Seriously. Blogging is one of my favorite things to do; it only makes sense that I dedicate some time for it.
I’ll write a full post soon (promise) but now it’s time for some yoga & an organic sugar face scrub before bed. I’ve got quite the to-do list to tackle tomorrow!
“Each day, you have a decision: make progress, or make excuses.”
Your life is more than just a string of Friday nights. Who decided that the only worthwhile memories have to be made on a time frame? Your life is right now. Your life is happening at the grocery store, at work, while you’re cleaning the bathroom, while you’re drinking paying bills, running errands or cutting the grass. Your life is more than just the good moments, the exciting ones, the breathtaking ones. Your life is mundane, it is repetitive, it is sometimes exhausting but it is all yours- every single moment of it. You hold all the power and you have the freedom of something so beautiful… choice. You make concrete choices every day; whether they seem big or small in the moment, they are all connected and pieced together, they form a portrait of your life. It may not seem like much when the alarm is blaring in your ear at 7:00 AM or when your bank account is low, but this life is yours and you only get one shot at it. Are you unhappy? Figure out why. Develop a plan to make changes. Set goals for yourself. Find a hobby. Talk to a friend. Spend quality time with yourself. Journal. Do yoga. Do anything. DO SOMETHING. Stop looking forward to your next day off work, your next vacation, your next whatever. Those days will come regardless whether you wish the present away or not, so why rush the minutes away? Stop treating life as if it is simply the tick of a clock, or days on a calendar. Life is happening right now, my friends. Enjoy it.
Your life is more than just a string of Friday nights. Your life is more than…
I’m baaaack! Hello, long lost readers of Girl Meets World. Are you still out there? Oh my goodness it’s been over a YEAR since I’ve written on this blog! I was scrolling through the archives and what a walk down memory lane. Around this time last year I was still in college, waiting to begin my internship. I completed my internship and graduated with my Bachelor’s in Social Work! I DID IT GUYS! My signature now has a very pretty BSW after it which, six months post-graduation, still makes me a little giddy. I mean, come on, it took me 4.5 (okay, 5) years to get that degree; I’m proud! I also happened to land a job at the agency I interned at- get ready for it- before I even graduated. Fast forward to today and I’ve been working my first professional job for 6 months already! Where does the time go?! For those of you who attended some kind of technical/business/traditional college, you also know that that 6 month mark means something else. A dreaded, expensive “something else.”
Student loans. Oh, how I loathe student loans.
I could go on and on about the woes of student loans, but if Yahoo! Finance* is correct, then about 1/4th of college grads complete their schooling with roughly $29,000 in debt. So if you’re in the 1/4th with me, then you know my pain. If you’re not, Google “student loan statistics” like I just did and weep for us. P.S: I really like how “Google” is a verb now. P.P.S: No one tells you this, but you don’t really need to retain all that information from college. You can just Google everything. It’s a widely accepted practice in the office. You’re welcome.
Anyways, I digress. It’s been a pretty great year. It’s been so great, in fact, that I think it’s time to get back to blogging. You know, share the greatness with the world. (I’m exaggerating just a little bit; I’m a social worker, not a world renowned artist or something). It also dawned on my while writing this post that the Boy Meets World spinoff, Girl Meets World is airing soon and has no correlation with this blog. However, maybe people will Google the show and end up here.
If that’s you, I’m sorry. You were probably looking for adorable pictures of Cory & Topanga and you just got an earful about student loans and search engines. Wow; that just made me realize how yawn-inducing this post probably was. Seriously guys, it’s been a year, give me a break!
[I tried to insert a picture of Cory & Topanga but I kept getting an error message. I swear. Maybe it’s a sign that you were meant to be a loyal follower of this blog? That seems logical. Better trust the internet Gods on this one.]
Come back soon,
*Not necessarily from Yahoo! Finance. Maybe even Wikipedia. I’m not in college anymore, I don’t have to cite this crap!
Two weeks after I graduated high school, I got my first job. (Minus that one weekend I worked at McDonald’s in 10th grade). Two months after that, I started a program at a Business/Tech school. One year after that, I quit school and took a year to figure out what I wanted to do. During that time, I switched jobs and considered not going back to school at all. After deciding a life in retail wasn’t for me, I started at a traditional college for a degree in Communication Disorders. Somewhere around there I quit my retail job and started working at a restaurant. A year later, I changed my mind again and switched to a Social Work degree. In the past five years I’ve worked three different jobs, gone to two different schools and gone down three different career paths.
I’ve taken 115 credits worth of classes (plus more that didn’t transfer), spent countless hours doing homework and writing papers and probably even more hours bitching about it. I’ve gone to God knows how many hours of classes, spent insane amounts of quarters on the toll road on my way there and filled up my gas tank an obscene amount of times.
I’ve said “I just want to quit” hundreds of time in the past five years, but the finish line is finally getting close. In just ten short months, I get to quit counting the number of homework assignments, the toll money and the hours spent
Facebooking/blogging to avoid studying studying. In ten months I get to graduate and hopefully find employment so I can stop counting tips, too.
Today is my last pre-graduation check to make sure everything is in order before I start my practicum. Crossing my fingers that everything goes well, and if it does…
Then I’ll have to start the countdown until my student loan repayment begins, and well, we won’t rush that. 🙂