A whole lot of nothing.

None of that “New Year, New Me” bullshit, and no apologies for not writing when I swore I was going to write. I’m just going to warn you right now, this is not a blog post worth reading. Stay tuned for witty reflections on life and “adulthood” (note the quotes), but this post is just me over-using the word “shitty.”

Lately I’ve been feeling… disconnected. I keep thinking of all the people I know and what a shitty job I’ve been doing at keeping in touch with them, and at the same time, about the shitty job I’ve done meeting new people and attempting to build friendships with those people. (Can you say, “run on sentence”?) To all of my friends and acquaintances whom I have sort of ignored – sorry! And I really am. It will probably come as no surprise to you that I am a bit self-involved. And although I do genuinely wonder what you are up to, and wish that we could talk more or hang out more, I never really put the effort in to do that. Partly this is because I am selfish and partly it is because I prefer the other people to make the plans because then I am more confident that people want to hang out with me instead of just coming along with me because I asked. So maybe it’s less about being self-involved and more about being lazy and insecure. I do sort of think laziness is a form of selfishness, because it’s certainly not acting in consideration of anyone else.

Anyway, I’m not lonely. I’m an ambivert, so I’m perfectly happy being alone or around people.  I spend most of my time with my co-workers, and I do like them. But I don’t really do a whole lot, other than work. Although there are a few people I can call up if I really want to go out and do something, I haven’t tried very hard to make more friends.  Every time I RSVP to go to a meet-up group, I end up changing my mind at the last minute. Usually because I’m lazy but this time, because I genuinely feel kinda crappy and sick.

I’ve lived here for more than six months and frankly, I’m ashamed of myself. Because I know it takes time, and the problem is that it also takes effort and I’ve made a shitty go of it.

I’m not good at making friends, and I’m not good at maintaining the friendships I already have. But I feel disconnected and I miss my people and I would really like to meet new, additional people. So I guess this is about a resolution after all, because dammit I’m going to try harder this year.

Starting next week when I no longer have a cold.

On “Being Yourself”

I’m quite certain that every one has been offered the advice to “be yourself” at one point in their life. Usually, at the point in which this advice is given, it is also the most useless piece of advice you could ever hope not to receive. “Who the hell is ‘myself’??” teenage you wonders. 

How are you supposed to be yourself, if you don’t know who you are, really? 

Being yourself is incredibly difficult when you aren’t sure who precisely that is. There are so many pressures from peers and society that it is easy to lose “yourself” and become what others expect or want you to be instead of what everyone keeps telling you to be (yourself).

Somewhere in the last couple years of college, and even more so now, in the Real World, I stopped asking myself this question. Because I know who I am. I don’t have words to define it, really. I could provide a long list of adjectives that are probably more flattering than I really deserve, but that’s not really adequate. 

Anyway, my point is that it’s funny how hard I once tried to fit in, and to be the kind of person I thought other people would want to be friends with, when I’m so much happier now than I was then and I don’t try nearly as hard. Because despite how meaningless the advice seems when you are young, it really is the best suggestion out there. It might take a while before you learn who you are, when you do, it’s the only way to be.

Sleeping.

I’m writing this in the morning, about ten minutes before I have to leave for work, so this will be a quick one.

I have kickball on Thursday nights, which means that by the time I get home, at 11:00 or so, I’m so freaking exhausted that it is all I can do to throw myself in the shower and then throw myself in to bed.

I miss always getting enough sleep. It’s impossible to do anything remotely fun and also get enough sleep. I know people, who, even now, as adults manage to stay awake until 2am and still function at work the next morning, but I am not one of those people.

If only I could have just one more hour of sleep, and get to stay in bed until 8:45 instead of 7:45, I think that all of my issues would be solved, and I’d be cheery and happy in the mornings, but I know this to be untrue. The only thing that makes me cheery in the mornings, is sunshine and good music on my walk to the metro, and even that doesn’t always do the trick.

Hopefully I’ll remember to post this tonight. I don’t want to fail BEDO on Day Three.

The Five Things I Miss Most About College

I could get in to all sorts of specifics; I miss people and places and Bloomington itself… But I’m going to stick to vagaries this time. 

5. Myriad social opportunities.
Believe them when they tell you how difficult it is to make friends outside of college. It’s not so challenging to meet people; there are people everywhere, provided you put in the effort and join an activity or club or just socialize at work. Still, it is difficult to really get to know people well enough to confide in them. Even in college, it took a fair amount of time for me to make real friends, but I get the feeling that it’s going to be a long time before I have a solid “friend group.”

Living in a dorm had its ups and downs, but there was no other time in my life when I could just walk down the hall or to the main quad to find some like-minded, cool people to talk to. After moving, I don’t really have a person to talk who can cheer me up when I’m having an off day, whereas in school, there were people all around me who could cheer me up.

4. Your time being your own.
Here’s a thing I never really appreciated during school. Your time belongs to you. Yes, most of the time you have a million things to do, and not enough hours in the day to get them done, but the only person who watched over whether or not you got all your shit done was you. 

Sure, you have two papers due within 20 hours of one another, but if you want to watch a movie instead of working on them, you can. No one is there, standing over you to make sure you get it done. Now, working full-time is like having a lackadaisical babysitter with really high expectations watch over you for 8 hours a day. They don’t pay super close attention to what you’re doing at all times, but you can feel people start to pay attention when you’re not performing as well as you should.

I spend a good portion of my free time trying to figure out what kind of job I can get where I can work whatever hours I want and not have to report to anyone on a regular basis, and so far the only thing I can think of is “author,” so we’ll see how that works out…

3. Staying up and sleeping in late
I haven’t seen the hours between midnight and 4am in a really, really long time. I have, however, seen the hours between 5 and 7am. I used to sleep in until 1pm on a Sunday. Now, I wake up VOLUNTARILY at 9:30am on weekends. Don’t wanna waste that precious weekend daylight.

2. Reading
You groan now when you think about the 150 pages you have to read for tomorrow, but I genuinely miss reading all of those fairly mind-numbing articles and textbooks. There’s something to be said for studying and making connections with your brain. I feel like I never really think deeply anymore, which is one of the saddest realizations I’ve had since graduating. I’m reading more for fun, but I find that the “fun” books I’m reading are not nearly as stimulating as the reading I was doing before. Guess I’ve got to pick up the latest Malcolm Gladwell…

1. Intellectual discussions.
Since moving out here and starting work, I can count the number of real discussions I’ve had on one hand. This being DC, I know that there are plenty of intelligent conversations going on in this city, I just haven’t been able to get myself entrenched in any yet. This is part of the reason I’m incredibly tempted to go back to school, although I have no idea what I want to study (or really, what I want to do with the rest of my life). 

Stay tuned for when I’m in a better mood and write “The Things I Don’t Miss About College.” Trust me, there are many.

October?!

So I decided this morning that I would make every effort to blog every day in October. Partially because I haven’t blogged in ages, and partially because I really want to do NaNoWriMo this year, and it will be a lot easier if I get into the habit of writing again.

So, here I am. I’ve been up to lots of things, but I’m not going to explain everything right here and now, because I am most definitely going to run out of things to write about soon, probably by the end of the week, and I want to keep those locked away for when times get desperate.

I went to Trader Joe’s today after work, because my day was an “I need a glass of wine after this” sort of day. Naturally, it being Trader Joe’s, I came home with a fair bit more than just a bottle of “Two Buck Chuck.”

Unfortunately, I’m now drinking beer instead of wine because my Corkscrew BROKE whilst trying to get the damn bottle open. The cork is still securing keeping the wine fresh, but who knows how the hell I’m going to get the wine out of there when the time comes. Perhaps I’ll have a wine-tastic evening one of the nights this weekend, since there’s no way I’ll get the cork out with out completely destroying it. I knew I should have tried to find a screw-top bottle…

And the pre-made Indian food I bought on a whim, well somehow it’s less Butter Chicken, and more Butter Chicken Soup.

I also bought a butternut squash. I only know how to make one dish involving butternut squash, and it also involves sweet potatoes, of which I have none. So, guess who’s going back to the store tomorrow?! MEeee! Let’s see, I went to Giant yesterday, Trader Joe’s today. If I go to Whole Foods tomorrow, I just need to find a Safeway for Thursday and Target on Friday and then I will have hit all of the grocery stores in this area that I’ve heard of.
So this was a downer of a first post for… BEDO? Sure, yeah BEDO. Damn, I could have done this in September and it would have been BEDS… Oh well, you live and learn.

Here’s to a better October than the day I had!

Oh how the time does fly.

If I had a patio or a balcony, right now would be the perfect time to sit there and listen to music and contemplate all the beautiful, interesting things that life can be.  But I don’t have a patio or a balcony, so instead, I’m sitting inside, listening to music while my macaroni and cheese boils and writing here.

The weekend will never be long enough. The workday will always be too long. The milk will always go bad the day you decide to make macaroni, causing you to half-run to Giant before you start making dinner because you were so excited for that specific meal that now you can’t imagine not having it.

Where did this summer go?

It’s been almost four months since graduation. Almost four months since I said goodbye to my friends and to Bloomington. I don’t… I don’t know how the time has gone so quickly. It feels like yesterday. And yet, there are the statuses about Welcome Week, and class schedules, and Monday will bring complaints about professors and the work they expect or the fact that someone has a class with that one person they hoped they’d never see again. Being reminded that school is starting, watching my friends who are entering grad school, or who are still in college prepare for the start of another year makes me me miss it all the more. Holy shit, do I miss it.

But I know I did the right thing, and though I had my doubts, I am happy here. I still have moments where I am cripplingly lonely, and when I don’t understand why I came here, where a Whiskey Sour costs over $7 and even hipsters don’t dress like hipsters, because they’ve got day jobs working for non-profits.

When I walk around the city on one of those rare low-humidity days, when I play kickball at the base of the Washington Monument, when tourists ask me for directions, when people still read real, printed books on the Metro, when I hear a dozen different, beautiful languages in the same day. Those are the moments when I truly love it here.

Though I still have my doubts, though I still wonder what I’d be doing now, if I hadn’t taken this risk, I am glad I did.

This city has many things to offer me, but they will not find me, I must go looking for them.

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I should really start taking photos of the places I go.

I was going to wait until Tuesday to write a post commemorating my two-month anniversary with this city, but I’m feeling thoughtful and I’m feeling reflective and I feel like writing.

Right now I’m watching Innerspace, which is a movie I remember having watched with my sister on TV when we were kids. I have only vague memories of the film, mainly that Martin Short was in it. I’m not sure why I knew who Martin Short was, but not who Meg Ryan or Dennis Quaid were. Clearly we watched this movie before my obsession with You’ve Got Mail began and before the remake of The Parent Trap came out, or else I would have remembered them as well.

I spent the afternoon in Georgetown. My plan was to find a park I had read about, called Dumbarton Oaks Park and spend the afternoon there reading and perhaps even writing. I’m trying to find “my place.” I spend almost all my time alone, but I still long for a place to be truly alone with my thoughts, without distractions, where I can just think and daydream and imagine. I need a place to be solitary, to be alone with my thoughts, a quiet place to bring myself peace of mind. I’m still searching for that here, and although this particular park is rather inconvenient to get to, I can see the potential. Unfortunately, I spent too much time perusing shops and didn’t manage to make it to the park before the threatening storm clouds above me decided to burst.

I’m already used to sudden torrential downpours, and I’m starting to actually love them. On my walk back to the metro, the skies opened and not one, but two different people asked if they could shelter under my umbrella for a few seconds as I walked the direction they were going. The first girl was one of a group of students or college-aged interns who jumped under my umbrella as she asked if she could. I said, of course, and we introduced ourselves laughing before she ran off to huddle under an awning with the rest of her group. Next a woman who was cowering under a tree with her friend called out and asked if she could walk under my umbrella for a second to get to the parking lot across the way. “It’s just my hair will get ruined,” she said. Her hair was beautiful and she wasn’t prissy about it, it was just that she had clearly just gotten it done and was on her way out for the evening. Her friend laughed and ran to take cover and I walked with the woman until she made a run for it as well.

I love summer rainstorms. Being outside in a storm makes me happy in a really odd way. Most people hate rain. I don’t really care much for it when it lasts all day, lazily drizzling for hours and hours, which makes going outside a nuisance. But when rain does what it often does here, which is that it downpours for several minutes in huge drops. It’s impossible to stay dry even with an umbrella. When you’re soaking wet and have to carry your shoes for fear of them being washed down a storm drain, the only thing you can do is laugh. So laugh I do, and so short rainstorms actually make me happier than sunny days.

I bought stationary today. I have 100 Jane Austen themed post cards, and 20 gorgeous note cards to send out, so please please let me know your address if you’d like to exchange letters.

It’s still not easy, being here, but I think I’m starting to feel more comfortable. The more time I spend in the city (instead of Arlington), the happier I am. So cheers to Two Months and here’s to many more.

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I’m still alive.

Hello there. Once again, I feel obliged to inform those of you that care that I am, in fact, alive.

I’ve been here a month and a half, if you can believe it. The four weeks of training for work, which once seemed like an incredibly long time, are now over, and in the morning I will have my first day of actual non-training work. Cool.

It’s strange knowing that being here… it’s not permanent, but it’s the closest to permanent I’ve had in a long, long time. I’m here indefinitely. I could leave, if I found somewhere else to go, if I found another job or decided to go to grad school after all… More and more people keep telling me that I’ll end up having to go to grad school eventually. We’ll see, but for the time being, and for the foreseeable future, I’ll be here. It’s not like college, which though at times seemed like it would never end, was always only going to be four years.

I might be here for a year, or two years, or ten years, but the fact that there is no definite end in sight makes me feel just a bit trapped. It doesn’t help that I haven’t really felt at home here in these six weeks. Not like Bloomington, which felt like home immediately or Canterbury, a city I loved after having spent mere hours there when I was 17.

I won’t say I’m not happy here. I don’t know yet. Certainly at the moment, I feel a little lost. A little lonely. A little homesick. Certainly at the moment I’m wondering why the hell I decided to do this. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t find my place. It is absolutely vital that I do, or I’ll continue to be a little lost, a little lonely. I’d much rather be other things.

All my life, I’ve been pretty independent. I don’t like relying on other people. I don’t like asking for favors or help. Sometimes that gets me in to trouble, but for the most part, I’m self-sufficient. Or I thought I was. Being here, being so incredibly isolated, so unsure of myself… it’s about more than just being independent. Because I am independent. I don’t need help figuring out the Metro, yes thank you that’s what a smart phone is for. If I want to go do something, I’ll figure out what to do and how to get there. I don’t need help. I don’t need people to accompany me to the grocery, or the mall, or some stupid Fourth of July Festival at which The Verve Pipe is playing.

But it would be nice.

So… I need to put myself out there more. Talk to people. Try to make friends, which involves getting over my crippling fear of rejection, so that will be an adventure… Sometimes I just want to scream and shout because WHY IS THIS SO HARD?!

But I chose this. I could have played it safe and stayed in Indiana or Ohio. I wanted adventure. I wanted change. My favorite mantra, the one that has served me best, in multiple situations, is “no reward without risk.” I just have to push myself harder and keep doing the things that scare me. It’s easy to get stuck playing it safe, but that’s not who I want to be.

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Just Keep Swimming

My last post was over a week ago now, and I feel inclined to tell you that I’m doing much better. Oh, don’t get me wrong. I still miss people. I still miss Bloomington, especially when I walk to and from the metro and don’t have the luxury of walking past Collins, in all it’s castle-y splendor. I also really miss the grilled cheese food truck, which when you consider the plethora of truly amazing food trucks in and around DC, just proves how much I love(d) that Momma Smacker sandwich. My mouth is watering just thinking about it…

Yes, I still miss a great many things, but I am doing better. Work is actually far more interesting than I initially expected. I don’t plan on going in to much detail about work… I don’t want to get in to the habit of bitching and moaning about things only to have someone, either my superviser or a client of the company see it. Let’s just say, in the vaguest of ways, that my job entails helping people make money though information which I will input into a database. It makes me a bit uncomfortable, to be honest, but at least I know that the company is not likely to go under any time soon.

My training class at work is made up of 23 others, most of whom have also only just graduated college and are starting their first Real Job. Most of them are quite nice, and there are a few of them I would even like to become actual friends with.

There is something slightly pathetic about spending eight hours sitting in front of a computer, and then coming home to sit in front of one, so I’m thinking about taking up some new hobbies. If you have any suggestions for hobbies one can still be capable of before they have adjusted to working all day, please let me know. As of now, when I get bored or sick of the computer, I tend just to go to bed, even if that means I go to bed at 9:30. I never thought I would voluntarily go to bed at 9:30, but it’s just after 10pm right now, and my eyelids are starting to get veeeery heaaavyyy…

My roommate is leaving Friday to spend two months in Cambodia on an internship. I’m quite jealous of her, actually.  Leaving the country, travelling. The day of my last post marked the 0ne-year anniversary of the day I came home from England. It’s been a year since I’ve been out of the country, and I don’t know when that will change. Now that I have a job, and have a set number of vacation days, none of which will kick in until October… I don’t even know when for sure I’ll get to go home, let alone when I’ll next be able to take a big trip. There is, however, the possibility that I might be able to transfer to the Glasgow office of the company I’m working for. The possibility excites me, because living in the UK is just about the best thing I can think of. Then again, I also dread having to sell or store all of the furniture I just bought, and then replacing it when I found a place to live in Scotland… It doesn’t do much good to think about right now, I’m not even eligible for at least 6 months, and that’s only if there will still be openings at that point.

But since my roommate is headed to Asia, I will be spending the next two months living alone; something I have never actually done before. Hopefully I won’t go crazy, BUT if you’re worried about me going crazy, a great way to help me in this would be to VISIT ME.

Seriously. I’m not joking. I have an air mattress. There is a sofa big enough to sleep on. And if we are really, really good friends I might even consider letting you sleep on my bed. Yep, I’m that desperate for visitors. Seriously. My two conditions are that only one or two people come at a time, and that I know both people pretty well. I’m not running a hotel, after all.

In summation: I’m doing better this week, but I still miss everything/one. I don’t hate my life or anyone in it. I find it very difficult to stay up past 10pm. PLEASE visit me.

XOXO, Gossip Girl

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I’m just missing you…

I wanted my first real post-move-in blog to be full of touristy tid-bits, stories of my adventures and general proof that I’m doing okay. But it’s 1:30 am, I can’t sleep, and I’m lonely.

I think it’s safe to say that my regeneration is complete. It took almost six weeks, but the fact that I’m starting work on Monday signals that the actual transformation is complete. I’ve been in Arlington for over two weeks now, as insane as that is to believe.

For the most part, I’ve had a good time. I’ve wandered and explored and gone to see some pretty nifty things, and eaten at some pretty nifty restaurants. But I miss my friends.

Today I went to a café and sat alone with a book, as has been my habit the past two weeks. I like to watch people and eavesdrop on them, and sometimes I’ll even talk to people myself. The café I went to today was different than the others, or maybe it was me that was different. Usually I go in, and there are a few people sitting in small groups, but plenty of other people sitting alone. This café was full of people in pairs or groups, and whenever anyone new came in, someone in the place knew them, said “Hi! How are you?”, chatted with them.

I was the only one there alone, and I can not remember the last time I was so jealous. Throughout the afternoon, everywhere I went I saw happy people celebrating the weekend with their friends.

I miss having friends nearby. I miss talking to people. I like my roommate a lot, and we get along well, but I miss the comfort of talking to someone you’ve known for years. I miss laughing at inside jokes and gossiping. I’ve met people, and spoken to people, but no one that I’ll see again. Today I was actually tempted to go in to the Apple Store to see if any of the people who helped me before were there.. just to see a familiar face.

I know that I’ll get through this bout of… well I wouldn’t quite call it homesickness, but it’s something similar. I know that it will eventually pass, and hopefully I will eventually make friends, or at least meet people to go to happy hours with.

But for now, I’m lonely, I miss my friends, and I need a hug.

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