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Are you cycling, too?

29 Jul

This is a cross-post (edited) from a private blog I keep with my boyfriend. Majority of our relationship is long distance so I write to him via blog posts, he writes back via comments, and it’s much more immediate and convenient for us than letters. Sign of the times, eh. Regardless, please excuse me crossing the professional/personal lines… but I digress…

I think that internships are bad for relationships.

Let me explain.

My generation is growing up in a world that is CONSISTENTLY ending and beginning in a vicious cycle labeled, ironically, ‘growing’. Each year, we start a new grade level, and then it ends. We get to college, and we start new classes: those too end. Finally, when we reach a point where professional learning begins to take place, our internships begin, and just like everything else up to that point in our lives, they end. Therefore, when our first real job comes along, we keep waiting for that moment for the shoe to drop. The one where everyone thanks you for your wonderful work and wishes you the best. But really, that never comes. So our generation is growing up with a mentality of infinite cycles. When the honeymoon phase of a job ends, WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO WITH OURSELVES.

About a year and a half ago, I started my first job out of college. I was overjoyed with this step in my career but then slowly I found myself wanting something more. A new way to grow, a new cycle to start, a new huge, different, project to fall into my lap. But it never came. So I grew complacent, then eventually annoyed, and finally indifferent.

To circle (cycle) back to how this works into our personal relationships, growing up my generation learned that life will always spark some new adventure. A new learning phase. A new flame deep inside of us. Because of that, we never LEARN how to be content. We’re always searching for the NEXT, the NEW, the FUTURE. And that plays out in our relationships. Always looking to keep that spark alive by consistently creating the NEW. Whether that be a new adventure, or a new fight, we honestly do not know how to just BE.

I don’t know if this makes any sense but it’s a mindset that I’ve found myself stuck in. Recognizing it however, I plan to take this nugget of truth with me to my next career step and hopefully learn to just live in the moment I’m given and not actively search for the next best things. I’ll be beginning at the Michigan Department of Community Health in just a few short weeks and I’m, once again, eager to grow. Hopefully this time however, I’ll know how to grow and maintain.

Lastly, and on a more personal note, I also want to apply this to my relationships. From romantic, to friends, coworkers, and family, I want to make more of an effort to reconnect and appreciate the wonderful people I have in my life rather than focusing on making only NEW connections. Of course, I’ll always welcome the opportunity, but it’s time I start focusing on what I already have in front of me.

Or maybe, I’m just getting old.

 

How Personal is Personal?

4 Jun

One question that constantly needs addressing in the social media world is the question of personal versus professional interaction.

Especially lately with all the uproar over Facebook’s privacy policies, I’ve always been one to blend my personal and professional lives on my social media accounts. Even now with my current position, when commissioners request to friend me on Facebook, usually I tell them that I don’t have anything to hide and I don’t mind accepting their requests. Because in all honesty, I really don’t. I don’t party hard, I don’t engage in embarrassing activities after work hours, and I have found that my friends are all people I really am proud to say I know.

However.

Last Friday, something happened in my life that I could not bring myself to share with everyone. I wanted to tell close friends, but I could not do so without alerting everyone in my social networks. I chose my words carefully, and I posted very little to my Twitter and Facebook accounts. All I wanted to do though, was break down and tell a few close friends and family what was really going on and how much I genuinely needed support.

My 20 year old cousin very unexpectedly passed away and my entire life was put on hold. I don’t exaggerate when I say my family is my rock and when something such as death breaks our strength, my whole world came to a stop even as life went on.

So.

This past weekend has propelled me to question just how ‘personal’ I am on these social networks. Yes, I accept both professional and personal friend requests and yes, I do post content that relates to my job as well as my life as a recent college grad, but really… I’m not sure if I’m genuinely close with 90% these people.

In a time where I needed love and support from just a few select close contacts, I found that my networks were TOO big and TOO impersonal. In other words, while I use social media for personal as well as professional interactions, these networks are not my real personal connection to people.

* Thanks to those who gave their love and support over this past week. I truly appreciate it.

2010 So Far… Part 2

11 Mar
Gee, thanks, Facebook.

Gee... thanks, Facebook.

@beckyjohns: I think Disney movies have given me unrealistic expectations about love. And hair styling.

Amen, Becky. Amen.

But really ladies, does that make you love romance any less? Not me. If anything, it makes it worse for the men in my life because they will never be able live up to the ideals that Eric from the Little Mermaid or Prince Charming in Cinderella, have set. The bar is too high; no man will ever have to swim through an ocean to save me from an evil sea-witch. And I don’t own glass slippers for the safety of my feet.

Obviously, this post is about love/relationships/dating, or the lack thereof in my life. Since 2010 began a short three months ago, I find that a number of my good friends have become engaged and a much smaller portion of my friends are enjoying the single life nowadays.

It’s weird to say the least, to be the only single PERSON, not Bridesmaid, but Person, out of an entire bridal party. It’s also strange to see my friends wearing gorgeous rings that, yes, I’ll say it, I’m quite jealous of. Now don’t get me wrong… I love my friends and I honestly couldn’t be happier for them. Those who have gotten engaged, I completely agree that they should marry their significant other, but we’re still young, and while I’m happy they’re truly, madly, deeply in love, it still feels plain weird.

So what’s a girl to do when going out means you’re always the third, fifth, or seventh wheel; or when people are grasping at straws to set you up on blind dates; oh, and all those Facebook ads trying to get me to sign up and ‘Date the Millionaire’; or how about lastly, when my favorite Disney characters that have stuck by my side since I was toddler, are able to reduce me to tears.

Well, I’ll tell you what I’m not about to do: I’m not about to feel sorry for myself and neither should anyone else who is not in a relationship. It’s difficult to be surrounded by so much love but not be in love, and speaking from experience, the older you get, the harder it becomes. Family get-togethers or reunions, running into old friends: those are the worst. That’s when you get the ‘so have you met someone yet?’ question.

Well, no, but I have graduated from college, started forming a career, and got a perm. So I’m doing great.

Going back to Becky’s original statement- Disney movies make me feel really alone sometimes but I just need to keep reminding myself that despite not being in a relationship, or content with my hairstyle, there still are great things in my life and even better things headed my way. And yes, this is an ode to my single girlfriends who have contributed to many aspects of this post 🙂

2010 So far… Part 1

19 Feb

There have been a few heavy things on my mind since 2010 began. I have a strange obsession with numbers; specifically even numbers and 2 and 5. So 2010 looked as if it had all the potential to be a great year for me. I graduated in December and it seemed like every relationship and path in my life was going in the right direction. Well, people disappoint, and life throws you curve-balls so it’s time for me to spend a series of posts explaining myself not only for my sanity, but to possibly help you through a few tough times if and when they present themselves.

The first topic I want to address is health. My personal health is in great shape, thankfully *knock on wood*. But I’ve found that the health of others, especially those close to you, weighs heavily on your emotional well-being.

My mom’s best friend is her closest friend since middle school. Needless to say, our families have grown up together and developed a close bond. When 2010 began, my mom’s best friend’s son went to the hospital to see if he had a sinus infection. A sinus infection diagnosis lead to a chest pneumonia diagnosis lead to a chest ‘cloudy spot’ diagnosis lead to a Hodgkin’s Lymphoma… attached to his heart, lungs, and spread throughout most of his chest… diagnosis. He’s a senior in high school. It’s not good.

I don’t think I need to spell out how devastating a cancer diagnosis is. I also think you can imagine how painful it is to see someone so young and otherwise relatively healthy, go through cancer treatment. What I wish I could spell out however, there are no words for.

I cannot for the life of me express how heart wrenching it is to call just to say hello to someone and hear physical, excruciating pain in their voice. Its world shattering, and I hope you never have to experience it.

Reality is though, you probably will. Everyone knows someone with cancer and its devastating effects can be seen worldwide. People cannot hide from it, and as of right now, we cannot stop it. While I hope my blog posts inspire you to think about something, today I am going to ask you to do something. Michigan State University’s Relay For Life is coming up in April and I’m on the committee as the public relations chair. More importantly however, I am attending the event in honor of some very dear people in my life. If you can, I ask that you please donate to the American Cancer Society and join in the fight against cancer. You can do so by becoming involved in a local Relay For Life, or by simply donating to my team on my Relay For Life fundraising page. No matter what you chose to do, thank you.

To sum, health is often taken for granted. Sometimes, we beat up our bodies and are shocked and disappointed when they get hurt. Other times, out of the clear blue, a fluke trip to the doctor can shatter your world. Never take something or someone for granted and value your interactions with everyone because when the day comes that health has an adverse affect on yours or a loved one’s life, you will feel it. Both physically and emotionally.

MSU Relay For Life 2009

Pep Talks & Picker-Uppers

14 Dec

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, December 12, 2009, my undergraduate college career came to an end. I graduated from Michigan State University and at my commencements, the senior class speaker gave a speech about what it means to commence; to begin.

Another chapter of my life is about to begin and to be frank, I have no idea where it’s going to take me. I do not have a job lined up yet and a lot of wonderful things and people in my life are leaving soon. I have a very unstable footing right now in life and I find myself getting extremely down quite often. My roommate and best friend does all that she can to say the right things and find ways to make me smile and last night, she gave me a small graduation gift that means the world to me.

I don’t know where she found it, but she gave me a book called “Pep Talks & Picker-Uppers” that is full of one liners and short stories for almost every upsetting occasion in life. The book covers the issues of Life Dreams, The Daily Grind, Financial Straits, Romantic Woes, Family Matters and Self-Esteem. It has lines in it that will make you smile or laugh, and others that will really make you think. If you know someone who needs a ‘pep talk’ or you yourself need one every once in a while, I strongly recommend this book.

Here’s a little something from page 29: “As Drew Carey says, ‘Oh, you hate your job? Why didn’t you say so? There’s a support group for that. It’s called everybody, and they meet at the bar.'”

Silly, but I know you at least just cracked a smile. Life is scary and uncertain right now for me but this book just saved me from a few more self-pity episodes.

On the topic of graduation, I want to thank everyone for all of their well wishes and congratulations. I have made the most amazing friends during my time at Michigan State and I cannot wait to see what they will do with their lives. My graduation weekend was one of the best times of my life and I want to thank everyone who has been a part of my life up to this point. I would not be here without you. And on that note, I will leave you with one more line from my new favorite book.

It could be worse.

Dreams are Possible

6 Dec

With graduation only days away, I’ve been spending most of time thinking about my future. However, I know that my future rests solely on my past and there is so much that has attributed to where I am today. Looking back on how scared I was to come to Michigan State University, there are a few things I would like to point out.

Obviously, my family played the most important role in my going away. My parents agreed to let me live at a home away from home and help me out the best that they could. Without their support, I know I would have had a much tougher time not only dealing with the transition of life in East Lansing, but also affording it.

Next, my academic success has granted me many opportunities to excel and experience things that not every student has the chance to. I’ve been an undergraduate teaching assistant, a research assistant, been on the Executive Board for an amazing organization, and held two wonderful internships. The experiences have all been entirely worth it, but it hasn’t always been easy.

Going away to college is not cheap, and for students who think that they cannot afford to do so, I am proof that there are ways. Yes, I am graduating with a scary number of loans, and yes, my parents did help me, but because of my academic success, I was able to receive a few scholarships from MSU that have helped keep me from going further into debt.

For students who don’t know, the College of Communication Arts and Sciences has a ton of scholarships that students can apply for each year. Since my sophomore year at MSU, I have applied and received a scholarship from CCAS. I was thankful enough to receive the John and Martha Aldinger Award, the Communication Arts and Sciences Endowed Scholarship, and the David Ralph Scholarship. So for those who wonder how they can afford to go to a Big Ten University, I know it is possible.

Through a combination of loans, my parents, scholarships, and thrifty living, going away to college is not only possible, it’s the best decision that I have ever made. MSU has opened so many doors for me, and while my future is still uncertain, I can look back confidently at my years here and be thankful for all that I have achieved.

Saturday when I walk across the stage at Breslin in my bright green gown, I know my life is going to be different from that moment forward. And while I am terrified, I couldn’t be more excited to see where life takes me. So thank you to all of my family, my friends, and Michigan State University for all the love and support I have received. I know I would not be where I am today without you.

Love Love

14 Oct

I maintain a few different email addresses between my jobs, my school and my friends and family at home. Family tends to send me chain emails and those go to my Hotmail account. Recently, I received an email that I actually felt compelled to forward on. And with the impending Hallmark Holiday this weekend, despite my current status, I feel that there is something to be said about love.

We throw the word around a lot and it holds many meanings for each and every person. So here’s the email I received, with my favorites in bold…

What Love Means to a 4-8 Year Old

Slow down for three minutes to read this. It is so worth it, touching words from the mouth of babes. A group of professional people posed this question to a group of 4 to 8 year-olds, ‘What does love mean?’ The answers they got were broader and deeper than anyone could have imagined. See what you think:

‘When my grandmother got arthritis, she couldn’t bend over and paint her toenails anymore… So my grandfather does it for her all the time, even when his hands got arthritis too. That’s love.’
Rebecca- age 8

‘When someone loves you, the way they say your name is different. You just know that your name is safe in their mouth.’
Billy – age 4

‘Love is when a girl puts on perfume and a boy puts on shaving cologne and they go out and smell each other.’
Karl – age 5

‘Love is when you go out to eat and give somebody most of your French fries without making them give you any of theirs.’
Chrissy – age 6

‘Love is what makes you smile when you’re tired.’
Terri – age 4

‘Love is when my mommy makes coffee for my daddy and she takes a sip before giving it to him, to make sure the taste is OK.’
Danny – age 7

‘Love is when you kiss all the time. Then when you get tired of kissing, you still want to be together and you talk more. My Mommy and Daddy are like that. They look gross when they kiss.’
Emily – age 8

‘Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.’
Bobby – age 7

‘If you want to learn to love better, you should start with a friend who you hate,’
Nikka – age 6

‘Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt, then he wears it everyday.’
Noelle – age 7

‘Love is like a little old woman and a little old man who are still friends even after they know each other so well.’
Tommy – age 6

‘During my piano recital, I was on a stage and I was scared. I looked at all the people watching me and saw my daddy waving and smiling. He was the only one doing that. I wasn’t scared anymore.’
Cindy – age 8

‘My mommy loves me more than anybody. You don’t see anyone else kissing me to sleep at night.’
Clare – age 6

‘Love is when Mommy gives Daddy the best piece of chicken.’
Elaine – age 5

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford.’
Chris – age 7

‘Love is when your puppy licks your face even after you left him alone all day.’
Mary Ann – age 4

‘I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones.’
Lauren – age 4

‘When you love somebody, your eyelashes go up and down and little stars come out of you.’
Karen – age 7

‘Love is when Mommy sees Daddy on the toilet and she doesn’t think it’s gross.’
Mark – age 6

‘You really shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ unless you mean it. But if you mean it, you should say it a lot… People forget.
Jessica – age 8

And the final one… The winner was a four year old child whose next door neighbor was an elderly gentleman who had recently lost his wife. Upon seeing the man cry, the little boy went into the old gentleman’s yard, climbed onto his lap, and just sat there. When his Mother asked what he had said to the neighbor, the little boy said, ‘Nothing, I just helped him cry.’

Feeling sentimental yet? I know that Sweetest Day for me will not involve a significant other, but that won’t stop me from loving. I have my puppy, who does love me despite me being away at work and class all day, and my entire family. Despite the “Hallmark Holiday”-ness of the whole day, I think it serves a very important role.

Too often we forget to tell those we cherish just how much we love them. So no matter who you’re with, what you do, or how you chose to spend October 17, try to make it a point to tell those you love that you care about them. I don’t think we need a holiday to remind us to do that.

Kisses

Kisses