Sunday, February 24, 2013

A ship without a rudder's like a ship without a rudder...

Being a trailblazer can be a headache.

I suppose that in the past, times were simpler, and a person's path was probably quite similar to their parents' or even their grandparents'. Historically, my trajectory as a woman would most likely include (possibly) finishing high school, where I had probably already met the man who would end up being my husband. I would marry young, and start having children fairly quickly. I would live close to where I grew up, unless I married a military man, and then I could be whisked away for a while. At some point, I might contribute to the family with a secretarial job, if I even worked at all.

This is the schema that guided my life growing up. For background: my parents met in high school, married as soon as my mom graduated, and had me seven years later. I grew up having "young" parents. I can remember when my parents became the age I am now, and it freaks me out just a bit. Go back one generation earlier, and I have a grandmother who walked down the isle a few months shy of her fourteenth birthday (something that probably wasn't very uncommon in post-war times in the mountains of Georgia). Go forward a generation, and there is my brother who said "I do" when he was 21 (and on my 29th birthday, nonetheless). At seven years my junior, he has a spouse, three children, and a house; a true adult.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong. And it's me.

At the ripe ol' age of 33, I have yet to be a blushing bride. I do not have kids. I went to college three times (gotta do something, right?). As far as I know, there is not another woman in the history of my family who has been in the same situation (and considering five generations were living when I was a child, I have a pretty decent grip on who's who). If there was a woman who shared my experiences, she is long-gone and forgotten. No one remembers her fondly, and no amazing stories keep her spirit alive - not even as the fun aunt!

I know it is not fair or healthy to compare my experiences to those of my brother, parents, grandparents, or anyone else for that matter. We are all unique snowflakes, and variety is the spice of life! Things are not how I planned, but that doesn't mean I am not doing well in this life. I have friends (even if they are mostly in another time zone), I am relatively healthy, and I have almost-constant access to 80's and 90's pop music.

Sometimes I just wish I could visit my past self and gently advise her that she might not want to put so much stock in things happening the way they did for others, because that would have really helped (and changed) a lot. Instead of being a teacher and librarian (because working in a school was a wise choice for having a family), I might have gone into radio or become a flight attendant. I wouldn't have looked at guys I met in high school and college as potential husbands/fathers of my children, and could have dated like a normal young adult.

At least I know I have kept some therapists fed along the way, so something good came from all of this!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Make new friends, but keep the old?

One of the bits and pieces of life that I've been thinking about quite a bit since moving away is the concept of friendship.

What makes someone a "friend"? I imagine that question doesn't come with a standard, across-the-board answer, and the lines between friends and mere acquaintances can be blurry. Throw in our love affair with technology, and it muddies it up even more. As of this moment, I have 526 friends on Facebook. I imagine that is significantly less than some, and much more than others. Of those 526 folks, who would I actually consider a real friend? Additionally, which ones think of me as a real friend, and not just a source of pictures, songs, and random thoughts?

I can't speak for others and  how they define friendship. Quite honestly, I am not even sure how I would define it myself these days. Leaving my hometown has left me taking a good look at those people I consider my friends, and I wonder if we were as good of friends as I thought. For the most of it, there seems to be a lot more "out of sight, out of mind" than "absence makes the heart grow fonder". Airfare ain't cheap (and I certainly don't expect to be playing hostess with the mostest on a regular basis), but I had hoped that by now, someone would have made their way to visit for a weekend. If it weren't for the internet, I imagine I would have lost contact with most people by now. Perhaps that is just how modern life is, and to be blunt, I don't like it one bit.

My goal is to be a good friend. The catch? You have to tell me what that means to you, which yes, might involve introspection and communication. For me, you can be a good friend by remembering/recognizing that I exist outside of the internet (to those of you who send physical mail and remember how to carry on phone conversations, thank you). Life is short, relatively speaking, and the little things do matter. I challenge you to be a good (or better) friend to someone today, while you still have the chance to do so.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

... and the pursuit of happiness

What makes you happy?

Does what make you happy keep you happy?

My other half gave me a great gift for Valentine's Day. I've been wanting to learn how to do something with my sewing machine for a while, so he purchased me a gift card for an intro sewing class. This kills two birds with one stone, in that maybe, just maybe, there will be some potential friends there (and I'll come home with a drawstring bag and pillow that a child could have done better with). When I think of the things I probably should be doing with my time, they all include some sort of hobby.

As a kid, I had LOTS of hobbies. I loved to draw, read, do latch-hook kits, write stories, you name it. As an adult, I get frustrated that my drawing is not that great, reading (even a really great book) lulls me into a slumber, and this blog is a testament to my writing prowess. I wonder at what point did that part of me who could while away hours with something other than Investigation Discovery and naps disappear. Even more importantly, I wonder how I can get that part of me back.

Maybe it's time to buy some new latch-hook kits...

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Where did you come from, where did you go?

I've heard it said before that it isn't where you're from, but where you're going.

I am from the South (just outside of Atlanta, Georgia, to be exact). My family has lived in the same area for a long time, mostly contained within a 50-mile radius. No one ever leaves it seems. Except me. I suppose you could say that I possess some black sheep tendencies. Coming from a pretty traditionally Southern family, the fact that I am well into my 30's and have never been married or had a child is a bit... different? Add that to the fact that I thought it would be fun to earn three different degrees, and you have a gal who has never really fit in the family mold (and we won't even dig into religious/political views right now).

Living somewhere outside of Atlanta was something that had been on my radar since, well, since forever. I toyed with (threatened?) moving for years, but things always dissolved. After a particularly turbulent 2011 (starting a job that I loved, selling my house, moving in with my love interest only to be dumped very shortly after, finding out I might lose the job that I loved), I decided to bite the bullet and do what I had thought about doing for years.

So, here I am. Austin has been "home" since July, and I can honestly say I am still going through the adjustment phase. I have found restaurants I enjoy, activities I like doing, a super-supportive dude, and have even learned my way around town without having to rely on the navigation system in my car. Making new friends is difficult, even though I adamantly told myself (and others) that it couldn't be that hard, and I wouldn't be one of those people who had a hard time forming new relationships.

Boy, is my face red...

In a perfect world, I could somehow combine the great things about both Austin and Atlanta, and we would all live happily ever after. Austin would have more trees and cooler weather. Atlanta would have more of Austin's vibe. I could go see my nephew play tee-ball without spending 10% of my monthly income  to pay for a plane ticket (Austin would also adopt Atlanta's higher educator salaries). The last thing I want to do is fall prey to the "grass is always greener" syndrome, but I know this much; I miss certain people, places, and things about Atlanta more than I ever thought I would (or could).

Could I get a side of fries with that crow, please?

Sunday, February 3, 2013

You know that thing...

When you start a blog, and you realize you have no clue where to start? That.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Off we go...

I think a lot. And I mean A LOT. 

I think I have always been a thinker. It's one of those things that's a blessing and a curse. More often than not, it just fills my head with lots of minutiae, and instead of trying to convey feelings through the posting of songs/videos on Facebook, I've decided to "use my words", if you will.

Will you? Great! Let's go!