Two Elon alumni (2002) have pooled their talents to bring excitement and joy to your day. One is a classy woman who combines her Italian and feminine powers to influence men of all shapes and sizes. The other is a tall blond man who relies on wit and boyish good looks to impress women, especially when they're drunk. Join them in their epic pursuit of the phenomenon known as adulthood. NoSalesTax side effects may include addiction and abrupt laughter as colleagues look on in confused jealousy.

Friday, December 16, 2005

High School Reunion, Sorta

A girl I graduated HS w/ recently emailed me photos from her September wedding. It was strange looking at pictures of the "popular crowd" more than seven years after we threw our tassled caps in the air and said goodbye to high school. There was a level of discomfort looking at the photos, as if I were intruding on others' lives, spying on them during a celebratory moment none of them will forget, one to which I was not (rightfully so) invited. Even more surreal was seeing my HS crush in her bridesmaid dress, smiling and seemingly happy w/ the life she's chosen long after I've dismissed her from daily thoughts.

As I skimmed through the photos, I couldn't help but wonder how different these people were from the ones I knew in HS. Being popular in HS, were their dreams greater than mine? Or do they seek to rediscover the happiness they enjoyed as the kings and queens of homecoming and prom? If they've changed, has it been for the better? What would they think if we ran into each other at a bar? Would they see a guy they wished they'd gotten to know better in HS? Would they be jealous of my travels across America while they settled down close to home? Or would they simply see a guy they sat next to in chemistry class, the funny kid who was always a bit weird, the one who played on the basketball team and worked on the yearbook staff, the one who pursued the "popular girls" because he felt he had a chance?

It's amazing what thoughts enter the mind after having the past return to memory, like an old man watching a boy throw rocks into the same pond he grew up near almost a century before. Only from our pasts can we see how we've grown or deteriorated. It's an experience both impressive and sobering.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Exploring Other Possibilites

In J-Mazz’s last entry, he wrote: “it's never too late to give up on dreams, no matter how old you are. Fear, for the most part, is the only thing preventing a change in job, relationship or address. What would you do if you weren't afraid?”

I believe this was, in part, a response to a previous entry I wrote where I discussed careers I would like to try. I believe he was trying to tell me that it’s never too late to try any of these things.

I think he is right. I think it’s never too late to try any of the things we think about, want, or feel passionately about. That day I felt like writing about career paths. But I think it is important to remember that people can strive to live dreams that don’t relate to their career. I think that’s where I am at right now.

For those who knew me in college, you would probably all agree that I was making a huge mistake, trying to live out a relationship that was too much like a car crash or a bad movie or a really, really depressing love song. I was sacrificing my life in terms of it all- my friendships, my heart, my intuition, my self respect…and then a friend came along and helped me realize that I did have dreams way beyond that. So I didn’t give up on my dream- I got over the fear of being alone, of having wasted 3 years, of making a mistake. So that’s what I did when I wasn’t afraid anymore. I moved on.

Maybe this isn’t the kind of change J-Mazz is talking about, but it was a life-altering change for me. And maybe when we dream, we dream in different terms, but I do still dream, and I do still try to live those dreams.

Driving to Montana to write for six months isn’t something I want to do. Neither is teaching tennis to kids in Europe. Maybe being a hair dresser or a Journalism teacher is, but just because I am not pursuing those things right now, doesn’t mean they don’t have a place in the future. It might mean that there are other things I want to do right now- do first.

Right now, (and if talking it makes you stop reading this blog- then bite me) I am pursuing another dream- having a real, solid, purposeful, healthy relationship with a good man. I am learning how to love someone for their faults, be loved for my own nuances, to communicate without worrying about sounding smart, to listen objectively, to accept reality, to take care of myself and someone else. I’m learning how to be the kind of person I want someone else to love.

This is a dream to me. And it might seem insignificant to some people, or wishy washy or unimportant, but J-Mazz said it best: we are all dying. And this kind of love is one I am not willing to live, or die without trying.

This doesn’t make me “better” or bigger or worse or silly, and it doesn’t make me less of a woman for needing this man. It just makes me, me.

I could die tomorrow without ever being a Journalism teacher. I could die never knowing what it is to be a press secretary. But I would die knowing I was in love and that it was good, and that I was loved in return, the way I always knew I should be. I could die knowing that I balanced a full time job, friends, making dinner, laughing with family and that I was truly happy being me.

Is that better than being a hairdresser? That’s a question we have to ask ourselves. I can’t answer it for anyone except me.

Monday, December 12, 2005

The Power of Possibility

A while back (August), T-Rock wrote about different professions she wishes she'd pursued. The heading was In Another Life, Maybe. It was very well-written (she does have an Elon diploma), but something struck a nerve w/ me. Only now am I getting a chance to reply.

No one should close the door on any dreams, esp. at the age of 25. It's never too late to throw out the map and drive down a side street. Unless your goals involve becoming an Olympic athlete or swimming across the world, anything is possible, at any age.

I didn't land a "real job" until December, and it's what I've wanted to do since college. I love the variety of working at the YMCA, overseeing many departments that keep me on my toes year-round. Whether it's camp, teen programs, pre-school sports or any other hats I wear, I always find challenges to keep me focused and happy.

With that being said, there're still many career paths I hope to pursue, and many non-career paths I plan to explore, as well. With no lease and no car payment, and with student loans almost paid off (thanks, AmeriCorps), there's nothing stopping me from quitting my job and moving to Montana for six months of writing. I could sell my car and hop a plane to Europe and teach children tennis. I could go back to fighting fires in California, wait tables on Catalina or work at a camp anywhere in the world. I could wake up tomorrow, get into my car and drive for as long as there's road ahead.

My point is it's never too late to give up on dreams, no matter how old you are. Fear, for the most part, is the only thing preventing a change in job, relationship or address. What would you do if you weren't afraid? Think about that the next time you catch yourself thinking, "If only I..."

Whenever someone asks me what's wrong, I tell them I'm dying. The funny thing is, we all are, day by day. Isn't that reason enough to throw out your current map and re-discover the one you charted when you were younger? Be sure to rip out the rearview mirror, too. You won't need to look back.