You can’t have it all

If there’s one thing I’ve learned this year in 2015, it’s the above. In fact, this may well be the story of my mid-twenties. I’m no longer the energetic, invincible wild spirit I was when I was 21 and gallivanting around Costa Rica. How is it possible that just five years can make that much of a difference in a person? Am I just maturing? Growing? Dying? Slowly losing my life synergy?

I remember one weekend in Tortugero, Costa Rica, when a couple friends and I suggested to our group that we sleep for the night in the hammocks. Several girls flat out refused, saying they needed their sleep (in beds) because if they didn’t, they would be awful bitches in the morning (well, kudos to them for being honest at least). I, on the other hand, thought sleeping overnight in hammocks would be an amazing idea. So I did it. Lack of sleep? Poor positioning? Meh, who cared!

And now? Well last Saturday I went out to Rosemont with a few friends and my brother, and when the DJ kicked everyone off the dance floor promptly at 3 in the morning, I took it as a sign to leave. My bed had been calling me that night since probably 10 p.m., actually. But of course, it took ages to round everyone up and to get them out the door. I was a raging lunatic by the time 4 a.m. hit and we still had not gotten to the car.

This is gradually applying to every aspect of my life. At work, I’m starting to realize that I can’t do everything all by myself and that the sooner I admit it, the better off I would be. Here, at home, in my kitchen at my makeshift desk, I’ve got piles of receipts and bills and printouts and mail to organize, write down, follow up on, etc., but I’ve given up hope of ever trying to manage them all in one night like I used to be able to do.

When you’re younger—from childhood to young adulthood—life is about exploring everything and doing everything. I took that and I embraced it fully, hardcore. So I guess learning that when you get older, the trick now is to be selective and to prioritize the things in your life, it was hard to accept because it goes against everything I embodied just several years ago.

You can’t have it all and you can’t do it all. So the things you do have and you do do—you be the best, most baddest bitch at ’em.

The Five-Year Plan

I’ll never forget something an old friend said nearly four years ago while we were studying abroad in Costa Rica (has it really been that long?!). We were in Tortuguero, this lovely little town on the Caribbean coast. In fact, the “hotel” we stayed at was so isolated, we had to take little boats to get there and at night on the beach everything would look nearly pitch black because there was just NOTHING else around. Except for the massive sea turtles that would come in from the ocean to lay their eggs. But that’s another story.

Shortly after witnessing said spectacle of turtle nesting, a couple of friends and I were lounging on the beach, sitting on logs, drinking, and enjoying the night. I still remember the moon shining so brightly, you didn’t need lights or electricity around to make you feel alive. Those were the days before smartphones too, and none of us had brought any such devices to the beach that night. That’s when someone said, “Hey guys…so, like, what’s your five-year plan?”

We all stared at him in amusement. Five years? As in…the next five years? (Remember that we were broke college students spending a semester in a completely foreign country, with no desire to even look past the next five months!) “Uh, well, I’m already almost done with my five-year plan,” said one girl, who was in her fifth and final year at the university.

“Do you mean like, for life?” I said (or maybe someone else did).

“Yeah. Like, last summer before this I worked at this one hospital and they said when I come back if I want to work for them again I like, totally can,” he said. “Might go start with them after graduation.”

I remember feeling aghast at this statement. Jobs after school? I mean, yeah we go into college with the full intentions of obtaining such jobs, but who was thinking about things like that when salsa dancing was to be had, and yummy rice and beans to be eaten, and NESTING SEA TURTLES TO WATCH AND PLAY WITH. I certainly wasn’t.

But ever since then I always think of that one friend with the five-year plan whenever I have to think about my own. Does anyone else ever find five-year life plans to be useless, pointless maybe? I love them and I hate them. They always seem to change on me every single year, making the subsequent planned five years invalid and having to make room for a different set of plans. Hell, at this rate they’re changing every five months.

Before this month I had formulated a solid plan: I was going to rethink all my finances and get my money savings habits in order. I was done traveling—after all, I’d just been to Germany, France, Morocco, Spain, England, and wherever else before. I had hit off the major places on my bucket list, so there was no need to be hasty and jet off somewhere I have no intense, burning desire to go to. I was going to get back to this blogging/website business again, and build things up so they can get going properly once more. I was trying to be more active—this year I started rock climbing again and doing all sorts of exercises that the boyfriend (old manfriend? ex-person? I’ve no words to label him at the moment) had taught me. I had all these bloody plans in mind.

Sadly, admittedly, I feel they’ve all gone out the window once I got dumped. I hate to be one of those girls, one of those sappy depressing girls, but I have to admit that I feel a little thrown off. While my five-year plan certainly did not involve marriage or kids or any of those freaky grown-up things that many people on my Facebook feed appear to be engaging in a lot lately, it did kind of hinge on the idea that he would be a steady presence in my life and for that I wanted to say home, here in Chicago. And now that he no longer is such a steady presence in my life, I all of a sudden feel ungrounded, loose, and without true ambition. I honestly have no idea what to work toward right now. Nothing is coming out on top, telling me to “FOLLOW THIS PATH!!”

Is this what they call that quarter-life crisis?

Oh how things have changed

My mood has gotten much better. Sometimes all it takes is a real good cry. It’s like when you’re hungover as hell—all you need to do is throw up and everything feels improved.

‘Course, it helps when your job decides to send you on a last-minute business trip…to England! Yep, that’s what I’m doing today. Flying out to the U.K. tonight, then coming back to Chicago on Friday. I literally found this out only a few days ago. But hey, I’m not complaining. In fact, when you consider that England is my dream destination, and that I’ve been dreaming of it since high school, this turns out to be a very happy situation indeed.

And in light of all this, one thing I’ve had to start researching is frequent flyer/miles rewards programs. This will be the third time I’m flying American Airlines this year, and the travel agent who booked me on this Manchester flight highly recommended I enroll in AAdvantage. Which I did. But it sucks because they won’t apply mileage credit for flights flown when not enrolled at the time. So those trips to Costa Rica and Miami I took earlier this year? Ineligible.

But you see…the reason why I absolutely detest these programs and why I don’t rush to join them is because they’ve just been so unreliable and unhelpful to me! Before 2010 I think I had only flown somewhere about twice in my whole life. When I studied abroad in Costa Rica two years ago, I took US Airways. I signed up for their Dividend Miles program, and now my balance of 4,694 miles is due to expire in a few days because of inactivity. So those are going to waste. Last year my family and I flew Delta Airlines to go to the Philippines. When flying home, the flight attendant handed me an enrollment form for their SkyMiles program. My mom encouraged it, and since I knew she’d gotten free tickets before just for her two previous trips to the Philippines (flying there is a shit ton of miles), I signed up. But lo and behold, they never credited my flight to the Philippines and back, and my balance there right now is only a measly 500 miles just for signing up.

Just thinking about these stupid things is making me annoyed again. OK, must stop and continue packing.

It gets harder and harder

…to update this blog! Seriously!

Costa Rica was amazing. It was like I never left, but at the same time so much had changed in the 1.5 years since I studied abroad there. So much happened (like semi-jumping off a waterfall!) that I will have to discuss later (as I still have to do about my previous experiences there, heh!), but I definitely would like to see myself moving there again in the near future.

Unofficial, as usual, was a blast. I’m starting to lose the thirst for college life, though. It’s taken nearly a year, but I’m starting to feel like post-college life ain’t too bad. Champaign-Urbana will always have a place in my heart, but there’s a whole world out there too.

Sadly I’ve made the decision to NOT go see J. Cole. Mostly because A) my friend is being so flaky, and B) I need to save my money for Miami! That’s right, I just booked my flight to South Beach for Cinco de Mayo weekend with some girlfriends. I am extremely excited about this. I was in Miami for both my layovers during the Costa Rica trip, and just BEING in that airport made me all tingly. So many sexy Latino men wandering about! Weekend getaway in Miami? Checking that off my list for the year. 🙂

Other than all that, life is peachy. I have an actual job (well, I’m still working my part-time job too, but I’ve gotten so used to working 50+ hours a week I can’t imagine doing any less), my family’s doing dandy, I’ve been staying in touch steadily with college friends, and I’ve got travel plans. What more can a girl ask for?!

This article accurately sums up how I feel right now.

I’M GOING BACK!!

It’s settled! I’m traveling back to Costa Rica in March of 2012!! Booked my flight last night, will be flying out on March 12 and spending 9 glorious, wonderful days in my favorite Central American country. I’m bringing two friends with me, girls who were originally planning on going to Mexico next month but decided to tag along with me instead. Not to mention, some of my old study abroad friends might meet up with me over there!! I’m going back to a real beach, the place where I was blissfully and unequivocally happy. Life is wonderful!!! I have something to look forward to again!!!