Things I’ve Learned as an adult

In honor of my 33rd birthday (which was yesterday!), I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned by …well, just living. So, without further adieu…here goes!

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  1. Sometimes snarky can come across as bitter. If you know me, you know I love a good snark session…but over the years, I’ve realized that not everything requires a dose of snark, and that constant negativity (even if intended as humor) can be draining. I don’t try to be Mary Sunshine, nor do I post inspirational quotes on my Instagram every morning (or ever), but I’ve put in an increasing effort over the years to have a lighter, more positive outlook on life, and it feels refreshing.
  2. You really can fake it ’til you make it (to some degree). I can’t even tell you the number of times I’ve started something (a job, a project, etc.) having NO CLUE what I’m doing…in fact, I feel this way when I start doing pretty much anything new. But I do my best to stay confident (and obviously ask for help when needed), and 9 times out of 10 I end up successful, or at the very least, competent. I guess the moral of the story here is: don’t be afraid to go for something that seems intimidating.
  3. You won’t necessarily lose touch with your friends if you don’t speak to them every day. In my late 20’s and even early 30’s, I had this thing where I’d panic that I wasn’t seeing my friends enough – I’d feel guilty that I wasn’t “maintaining” my friendships, and that all of my friends would move on without me. In reality, we had all just grown busy with our own lives – work, marriage, kids, etc. You know, adult stuff. And guess what? Almost all of those friends are still there – I may go months without contacting some of them (or vice-versa), but when we do speak, we’re able to catch up right where we left off.
  4. That said, it’s okay to grow out of some friendships. Not every friendship was meant to be, and it doesn’t have to be a big dramatic breakup…these types of friendships tend to fade out on their own. I used to try to hold on to every friendship with everything I had regardless of whether or not it brought me happiness, but I recognize now that it’s just not necessary (and the feeling is probably mutual on the other end). If a friendship is fading away, there’s probably a reason for it. It’s okay to let it go (and if it comes back later, that’s great)!
  5. Life can be about whatever you want it to be. When I was younger, I’d worry that I wasn’t invested enough in my career, or I’d feel like less of a feminist because I genuinely enjoy domestic things like cooking and keeping my home looking nice. But now I realize…it’s my life, and I can value whatever I want. Just because I love making dinner for my family doesn’t mean that I believe all women SHOULD be shackled to the kitchen. I’ve realized that I value family and home life more than I value having a high-powered career, and that’s okay – it doesn’t make me any better or worse than anyone else, it just makes me me. Maybe someday that will change, maybe it won’t – and as long as I feel fulfilled with my life, that’s totally fine.
  6. It’s important to have views and passion, but it’s also important to know when to pick your battles. I have pretty strong political views and I care deeply about the state of our country and social issues, but I’ve learned to choose when to speak up – and social media is rarely (if ever) the place. It’s one thing to genuinely want to inform and educate people, but I’ve learned to pause and ask myself if what I’m about to post is truly for the good of someone else, or if I’m just standing on a soapbox and trying to sound smarter than everyone else. 9.9 times out 10, nothing anyone says on Facebook is going to cause someone to change their opinion, and it usually just leads to a ton of drama and hate speech. I find the better thing to do is to actually BE involved locally, show up for elections, contact your representatives, and speak up when you see something wrong IN ACTION, in the real world.
  7. But also, it’s not cool to be indifferent. 
  8. Genuine is better than “cool,” 100% of the time. This is one thing I’m still working on – my first instinct is to ALWAYS hide my excitement about things, not come across as too eager, not seem too “into” anything, not laugh too hard – basically just be chill AF, all the time. The problem is – that is one million percent not who I am. I’m extremely excitable, I get very into things, and I tend to be the one with tears streaming uncontrollably down my face if something’s funny. I don’t know exactly when I decided I need to be “cool girl,” but I definitely don’t pull it off and just end up seeming cold and standoffish. The real me is absolutely more likeable than this “cool” persona I try to pull off, and I’m putting a concerted effort into just being myself.

 

Stuck in a (writing) rut

I want to start blogging again. So, I’m gonna.

Here’s the thing, though…I don’t know what to write about. It’s not so much that I think my life is boring – quite the opposite, actually; I love my little life. But I guess I think READING about my life would be boring. I very much enjoy the things I do, but my interests are literally, like, stuff I buy at Trader Joe’s and Target, going to the YMCA on Saturday afternoon, eating food, and taking the occasional trip here and there. With the exception of travel, I do basically the same thing every other non-child having woman my age does (and a lot of the same things women WITH children do, just minus the kiddo).

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This feeling is likely a symptom of a larger issue: I’m getting to the age where I feel a little defensive about not having children yet. It’s not so much that I feel like I’m being judged for not being a mother, but I do feel like people with children sometimes view my life as a little trivial. At the very least, I’m finding that Jeff and I have less and less in common with other people our age who do have children, and it’s kind of isolating.

To give a bit of background, I’m 32 and Jeff is 35. We got married last August, so we’ve been married for just under a year (but we’ve been together for 9). Over the 9 years we’ve been together, we’ve gone back and forth as to whether or not we’ve wanted children at all. I won’t speak for Jeff, but I’ve personally never been a person who gets particularly excited about kids or feels comfortable with them – I don’t usually have the desire to screech with excitement when I see a child, or hold other peoples’ babies. Playing with kids doesn’t come naturally to me. I don’t know what to say to them. Even when I was a kid, I was pretty much a tiny grownup – I was an only child until I was 12, and I always insisted on sitting at the grownups’ table at holiday meals (and was almost always obliged). I never really liked doing “kid” stuff (with a few exceptions, of course). I was never really into cartoons.

Don’t get me wrong – I love our friends’ kids. Especially our close friends’ kids. They’re cool little people. They say the funniest things. They’re smart as hell. But when it comes down to it, I still don’t really know how to talk to them, and I definitely don’t know how to assert myself with kids and usually end up being their slave (which sounds ridiculous, but I’m terrified of making kids cry). So I’ve always had doubts about parenting, although I’ve always realized that it’s different with your own kids. I went from not wanting kids AT ALL when I was much younger (my late teens and early 20’s), to not really wanting them, but not ruling it out in my mid-twenties.

Then a few years ago, something inside of me shifted – probably some combination of hormones and a change in lifestyle. I no longer had much interest in doing things that you can’t do when you have children (staying out until all hours of the night, sleeping in until noon, partying until I’m blacked out, moving around at will), and some things started feeling…not bad, but kind of empty. Things like holidays and trips to museums and parks felt like they’d be more meaningful and fun with a little one. When I thought about the future, I started picturing our little family with the addition of a couple kiddos. I started feeling a little bummed out thinking about Jeff and I growing old without any kids or grandchildren to come visit us. Not to say at all that anyone else SHOULD feel bummed about this – it’s just the way I started to feel on a personal level. Since Jeff and I both have pretty small families, the thought of growing our own little family started to feel more and more appealing, and like it would make things a whole lot less lonely.

All of this is to say that yes, we do want children. However, at the moment we’re perfectly happy the way things are – we love hanging out with each other, we love the freedom of being able to travel anywhere we want at the drop of a hat, we love our free time, we love having disposable income. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t still a tiny bit apprehensive about changing what’s already a really great thing. However, we’re (let’s be honest – I’M) getting to the age where timing is becoming a concern…I’m not panicked by any means, but I do know that I’d ideally like to have two children, and realistically speaking, the timeline in which to do so safely and practically (at least for us) is shrinking.

So we’re going to start trying soon, and as much as it probably sounds like I’m dreading it, I honestly couldn’t be more excited. Even though I do love the way things are now, I really do feel ready to be a mother – starting this new chapter in our lives just feels right. But we don’t know how long it’ll take to conceive – it could be a few months from now, it could be a year from now, it could be never. You never know. And while I feel prepared for the possibility of never having children, it does feel like a pretty isolating future – a lot of our friends already have children, and most of the ones who don’t currently have children plan to start families within the next few years. As accommodating as our parent-friends try to be (and as accommodating as we try to be with them), it’s just difficult, at least at this stage – most parents with young children just don’t have time to hang out without them very often, and they don’t typically want to deal with everything that comes with hanging out WITH them, at least not with people who don’t have children (which is completely understandable, although I do love spending time with the little dudes and dudettes). They tend to want to talk about parenting a lot, and we don’t have much to add to the discussion. It’s no one’s fault, but it can be frustrating and lonely.

As usual, I went off on a tangent – this was supposed to be about writing, ha! I know that this is a very personal subject and I don’t need to spill my thoughts on having children or not, but it feels good to share. Anyway, I guess I’m back (take that with a large grain of salt). Thanks for reading, and here’s to hoping for some miraculous stroke of creative inspiration (haha)!

Eeeeeek!

I don’t know why, but it just hit me today for some reason: I’m getting married in one week and four days. WHAAAAT! How did this happen?! For the past couple of months, I had hit kind of a numb point…I don’t know if “numb” is the right word, but I had hit a point with planning where I just felt like “it is what it is” about everything. Not to say anything was really going wrong, but I reached a point where I had been planning for so long that I just didn’t really care about the details as much anymore, and just wanted to get on with the fun. And then once I got to the point where it was getting too close to really change anything, I reached this weird point where I didn’t really feel anything…I was excited in THEORY, but I didn’t feel like it was as close as it actually was. Can I use the word “point” a few more times?

 Well, today it hit me like a ton of super happy bricks: I am SO FREAKING EXCITED! I’m excited for my best friend, who I haven’t seen in over 4 years, to arrive next Thursday. I’m excited to see my dress, completely finished. I’m excited for our rehearsal dinner (and to wear the ah-ma-zing dress I bought for it over a year ago). Hell, I’m even excited to finish putting together decorations. I’m excited to get pampered and beautified with my gals. I’m excited to see all of the people I love the most gathered in one place, and to see friends and family I haven’t seen in years. I’m excited to dance my butt off and drink all the champagne. I’m REALLY excited to spend 10 days in Spain. I’m even excited to PACK for Spain! And most of all, I’m excited to marry my very best friend in the whole entire world (not the one who’s arriving next Thursday – ha!) and to start the rest of our lives together. Let’s get this show on the road…I have zero chill.

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Love Is…

Love is…reading one of those sappy “Love Is” posts that say something like, “Love is not having fun and laughing every day. Love is fighting over the dishwasher and having a meltdown because you work late every day and he didn’t put the dishes away. Love is driving each other crazy and screaming at each other, but still being happy that they’re there at the end of the day…” etc. etc. etc., and thinking to yourself, “…Nope! Love IS having fun and laughing on a daily basis, and eating dinner together every night, and being a team, and laughing your heads off all the time because you’re each others’ best friends. Love is your man coming inside and literally singing a song about what a pretty lady you are and doing a silly dance. Love is being happy, every day.”

To quote Sex and the City:

Samantha: Relationships aren’t just about being happy. I mean, how often are you happy in your relationship? 
Charlotte: Every day. 
Samantha: Every day? 
Charlotte: Well, not all day every day; but yes, every day.

Love is whatever you make it. I’m not saying that you can’t fight in a healthy relationship (fighting is healthy!) or that you have to be happy every second, but your relationship should make you happy. Every day. At least a little. And reading those dumb posts make me realize just how lucky I am to have a guy that makes me laugh and feel comfortable and silly and loved and HAPPY, every day.

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It’s the small things.

Jeff and I have been together for a pretty long time. Romance is great and all, and sometimes I get a little envious when I see someone (usually in a newer relationship) posting all of the grand romantic gestures that their significant other seemingly comes up with every three days on social media. That said, there’s a reason Jeffrey and I have been going strong for over 7 years…I think the most successful relationships are the ones where small gestures that may seem meaningless to outside parties are appreciated just as much (if not more) than large, sweeping, dramatic gestures. Our new trash can (that we’ve desperately needed for well over a year, and kept forgetting to replace) arrived in the mail today, and I was reminded of the little things that Jeff does every day that make me realize what a lucky gal I am. Things such as:

  • Rinsing the dishes and loading the dishwasher every night after I’ve cooked dinner.
  • Putting the fitted sheet and duvet cover back on after I wash our bedding, because he knows how much I hate doing those things.
  • Buying huge quantities of the nice paper towels (Viva or bust!) and toilet paper – I hate lugging huge packages around, so I only buy the small packages.
  • Leaving me the last bite of whatever treat we have laying around (for example: a couple of weeks ago, Jeff bought some pumpkin donuts. I’m a nibbler, and rarely sit down and eat a full donut, unless they’re the REALLY GOOD ones – I just take little nibbles throughout the day. One morning, I woke up to discover that Jeff had left me about a quarter of the last donut, so I could have a little bite before leaving for work.)
  • Picking me up a Pellegrino each time he stops at Wawa on his way home.
  • Buying the practical things for our house that slip my mind – that garbage can, for example. By the way – garbage cans are SO EXPENSIVE! Who wants to drop $150 on something as boring as a garbage can?? Not cool. Thanks, Jeffrey!
  • Texting me each night before he leaves work to see if I need him to pick anything up on his way home.
  • Leaving 10 minutes before me each morning, and starting my car/turning my seat warmer on.
  • Thanking me for dinner every night. It seems small and kind of silly, but knowing that he appreciates what I do (even the things that I generally enjoy doing) makes all the difference.
  • Putting the new shower curtain liner on – another thing I hate to do.
  • Sometimes on rainy, gray days, he leaves the TV on for Grooby on Animal Planet, so that “he doesn’t get bummed out.” Adorable!
  • Fixing whatever technical mess my mom’s gotten herself into every time we visit her.

That’s just a small example of the ways my fella reminds me that I got one of the good ones on a daily basis, and I can’t wait to seal the deal in less than a year!

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