I’ve finally accepted that I’m aging

When I was younger (teen years, to be more precise), I frequented many online communities and I was always amused by the amount of people who had to step away from their duties as forum moderators or webmasters or whatnot because “real life was in the way” or “taking up too much time.”

Now that I’m an “adult”…I fully, completely 100% understand the sentiment.

I do feel guilty for letting my web hobbies fall to the wayside. After all, they consumed much of my adolescence and were a source of pride for me. But man oh man, this whole being an adult thing is serious shit! I was around 12 years old when I began experimenting around the Internet and learning the trades of website design and creation. Now I’m in the later half of my 20s, and my mind and body is starting to feel the effects of aging (and yes, I’m aware I’m not quite that old yet, but whatever). Just getting up and doing laundry is now considered an accomplishment for me.

This morning we said good-bye to my younger brother as he jetted off to Japan for a year of teaching (technically, he hasn’t jetted off yet—apparently they’re still stuck at the gate. Good ol’ O’Hare delays). It’ll be really weird to not have him around in the same metropolitan region/state/country but all the same. Very proud older sister here.

Did I mention I’m starting to feel the effects of aging? It’s now 2:49 in the afternoon and I feel ready for an old lady nap.

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?

A letter to the one I thought ruined my life forever

(Note: This letter was written in a moment of pure catharsis yesterday that my friend encouraged me to write in order to finally obtain closure over this one stupid boy that I’m sure I’ve mentioned countless times on this blog. I think it worked. Maybe one of you will take more away from it that I can. Oh, and I’m too lazy to change names, locations, etc., so there is a frighteningly realistic chance that the one to whom this letter is addressed may one day come across it.)

So. Today is Valentine’s Day.

I remember bumping into you in the main stairwell at BHS on Valentine’s Day. That was six years ago. At the time, things had cooled off between us since that night at the park and I realized there was no way in hell my dad would let me date you, and we hadn’t really talked in a while. But we greeted each other. I remember wishing we were Valentines that day.

I remember bumping into you at a frat party Valentine’s Day weekend during our freshman year at U of I. That was five years ago. Things got steamy on that couch. Then somehow you got into a fight with one of my friends, and her cousin threatened to beat the shit out of you. I called you at 3 in the morning to see if you were OK and you said it wasn’t a big deal. But I was concerned. I cared. Thinking about it now, I should’ve stopped myself then. Stopped that caring before it ever started.

Read more…

Arise, Golden Gabby

My earliest memory of the Olympics was the 1996 Atlanta Games. I was 5 years old. Kerri Strug had just limped off after doing her second vault (back when it looked like a pommel horse!) and the U.S. women had just won gold for the very first time. All I remember thinking at the time was Ouch, that looks like it hurts.

When I started watching Olympic gymnastics, American women were in the conversation but not in the same fold as, say, Russia or Romania. And then in 2004 Carly Patterson won the individual all-around, the first American woman to win the gold on foreign soil, and in an Olympics that wasn’t boycotted. I was 13 and thought that was pretty rad. Four years later, Nastia Liukin won in Beijing. I was entering my sophomore year of college then. I thought her win was awesome.

Today Gabby Douglas won gold too, the third straight American woman to win an event that was previously out of reach to former U.S. Olympians. She’s the fourth American woman overall, and the first African American to do so. This time, I think it’s absolutely amazing. Watching her right now, on this tape-delayed broadcast, I feel so hearty and proud (have I mentioned this is the first Olympics where I’m feeling really really old, considering a good chunk of the competitors are younger than me and the same age as my baby brother’s?!). She’s also the first American to win both team and individual golds in the same Olympics.

Congrats Gabby!