|March 1, 2015||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
Today has not been my most productive day for me, and yesterday wasn’t much better. I’d say my biggest accomplishments have included making food and not devouring it too quickly, and starting (and finishing) House of Cards season three. Yes, I know, I’m just on fire right now.
But weekends like this are so terribly necessary every now and then, especially in the winter when the weather is brutal and it might actually be a life-threatening adventure to go outside.
I turned 26 last week! It was a much lovelier affair than the quiet birthday I had last year. Big thanks to all my friends and family that I heard from, and those who celebrated with me to make me feel so loved.
It was only a short week after my 25th birthday last year that I had my quarter-life crisis breakdown. It was brutal. But now, a year later, it is really amazing to look back and really see how much can change in just one short year – and how far I’ve come in that time.
A year ago, I was living with my parents, commuting an hour each way and not loving it.
Now, I’m about to move into my third apartment in the city, and will be living without roommates for the first time ever! (And my commute will be a whole 3 minutes long.)
A year ago, I had no social life to speak of.
Now, I have a wonderful group of girlfriends that I can trust and rely on, and just go grab a quick beer with. It’s so good to feel close to people who are close to you.
A year ago, I was miserable at my job. I felt unappreciated, unfulfilled and under utilized.
Now, I work at an office that values and respects me, appreciates my skills and utilizes my talents as a writer and communicator. And every day it challenges me to learn something new.
And a year ago, I had never traveled outside of the country or continent, aside from a quick trip to Canada and Puerto Rico – but I knew I wanted more.
And just a few weeks ago I traveled to literally the other side of the world, to a country and culture vastly different from my own.
All of these changes in just one year. One year and I have changed nearly every facet of my life that I was unhappy with. Regardless of what I feel about my life right now, looking back to see how far I’ve come is a victory in itself and I am thrilled to see what amazing things I can do with the coming year.
Happy March Everyone!
|January 14, 2015||Filled under Living the Dream|
In less than two days, I’ll be on my very first flight overseas. My very first passport stamp. First to Japan, then to Singapore, and finally, Bali, Indonesia.
I wish I could leave right now, before the anxiety sets in. At this moment, I’m feeling excited and enchanted by the idea of seeing someplace new – some place so far away and different than my home. But soon, I know I’ll feel that pit in my stomach – that anxiety that comes with doing something new.
It’s not wrong to be nervous. I’m literally flying halfway around the world. That seems like a pretty reasonable thing to be nervous about.
But there have been times before this moment that I was so afraid of this trip actually happening that I was in tear. Literally – tears. I sobbed like a child agonizing over hitting the submit button when booking the $900+ flights. I wanted to pull my hair out trying to put together a packing list. Should I get the vaccinations? I just couldn’t seem to pull it all together in my head. I read advice online, but it was always conflicting, and just felt myself growing more and more anxious about the whole experience.
This is probably a bit less normal.
But I know why I’m scared. I know why I was having such a hard time. It’s because the unknown scares me, but not as much as doing it wrong. Cue the “fear of failure” concept. What if I packed the wrong things? What if I forgot to bring something I critically needed? What if I brought the wrong thing on the plane and was bored out of my mind? What if I actually just straight up lose my mind on the plane and they have to drug me up to get me through the first leg of the journey.
What if I do this whole “travel” thing wrong?
In all seriousness, this was the anxiety keeping me up at night. This was the thing scaring me. This is what worried me more than getting a disease or forgetting a pair of shoes.
I was worried about looking like an inexperienced chump.
But oh wait, I am inexperienced. I’m not stupid, but I’ve never done this before. How can you perfectly pack and prepare for something that you have never experienced? Well, frankly, you can’t.
And I think that’s why I’m feeling less stressed out now. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m probably going to forget something important – that I’m going to do something incredibly wrong. I’ll probably offend a local by accident. I’ll probably lose something. I’ll probably make a mistake in airport security. Who knows what kinds of stupid things I’ll do? I can’t possibly know because I haven’t done them yet!
And again, that’s okay. I’m a tourist. By definition, I have no idea what I’m doing.
I’ve been so embarrassed to let people know that I don’t know what I’m doing because they’ve all done this a million times and I didn’t want to look stupid. But they had a first trip once too, and they figured it out – they survived. They learned and now they seem like pros.
And on my next trip, I will too. I’ll understand customs and immigration. I’ll know what to do and what to bring, or at least, have a better idea of what I’ll need. I’ll have some experience under my belt and I’ll be more confident for it.
It’s okay to fail. I swear, ever year that phrase earns new meaning in my life.
Happy 2015, everyone! Here’s to another year of beautiful mistakes.
|December 8, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
A friend once told me that once you start making plans with people, it’s amazing how quickly your schedule fills up. I never quite knew what she meant until very recently when instead of saying “maybe” when people ask me to do things, I started saying “yes!” Now, m y next few weeks are crazy booked with activities. Even on nights when I don’t have anything to do, I’m being spontaneous and making same-day plans.
Now I’m realizing exactly how much I’ve been missing out over the past few months trying to keep my schedule open just in case one specific person wanted to hang out. I was turning down the opportunity to live an exciting, social lifestyle without even realizing it!
They say our 20s are for making mistakes and learning lessons, and that I did. Now I know that I have to say yes to new activities with new friends, that I should plan activities in advance and say yes to last-minute things when I don’t have anything else on my plate. Exhausting? Yes, but also very, very worth it.
What’s more, something another friend taught me was that so many things can be crammed into one day. You can almost always find time for a quick run, a shower, or whatever else you have to get done before a night out. Chores shouldn’t take up a whole day or night. Scatter then about and get them done – but don’t let them determine your schedule (unless you need a night off – then they make for a great excuse to hermit.)
Of course, I need more sleep that some people to be a sparkly human in the morning so I’m not about to make a habit of staying out past midnight during the week, but I’d like to think I’m still young enough to stay out past my usual 10pm bedtime. I’d choose a crazy fun night over a routine evening any way, even if the following day is a struggle. We regret the experiences we miss out on, not the ones we have.
That being said, still not psyched about an 8pm date on a Monday night. (And judging by the text responses I’m getting, I think the guy is regretting this scheduling choice too. hah!) At least it still leaves me time for the gym!
This is my life now. No complaints.
|December 5, 2014||Filled under Caffeine Roundup|
|December 4, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
I’ve been wracking my brain over why the idea of dating causes me so much anxiety. What is dating really? Meeting new people, having interesting discussions (hopefully) and trying out some new bars and activities around town…what’s not to like?
But still, just scheduling a date causes me anxiety. No, not the good kind where you get all fluttery and excited and can’t decide what to wear, the kind where I want to lock myself in my closet with a stuffed animal and a flashlight, and forget the outside world exists.
Why? Here are three things about dating that seriously freak me out:
- General logistics. How am I getting there? What time is it at? Will I have time after work or do I have to go straight there? Will there be a place to put my bike? Is it weird if I show up with my backpack and helmet? Will it mess up my hair? What cute outfit can I wear if I ride my bike? Is it too far to walk if it rains? How long does it take to transfer on the metro if I have to take that? Someone please get me out of my own head.
- The possibility of something dangerous happening. Roofies. Getting walked out on. Getting stood up. Roofies. Etc. I know this is statistically unlikely, but it still freaks me out. Luckily, this is the easiest one for me to silence in my head because as long as I’m aware, buy my own drinks and know what my options are for getting home, I can take of myself. And I have plenty of friends to call to meet me at the bar if I get stood up. Plus, fun story for the blog, right?
- More of my first dates have ended up as relationships than not. I know it’s silly, but I get really nervous about dating because with my track record, when I go out with a guy, chances are we’re going to be in an exclusive relationship within the month. It puts way too much pressure on things. I end up looking at dates not as a fun outing with a new person, but as the start to something long term. I’m asking myself if I want to get involved even before I’ve met the person. This doesn’t bode well for either of us.
If I could change anything about myself, it would be the pressure and stress I put on things that don’t need them. I recognize the ridiculousness of all of my worries above, and I’d actively like to change them! And I’m trying, I really am.
So if anyone who is breaking back into dating (or still getting used to the idea), I’m right there with you in terms of stupid concerns or worries. But I’m just trying to take a deep breath, trust my ability to take care of myself, and experience new things. Some might be duds. Some might be great. Some might like me when I don’t like them. And some might not like me when I’m heads over heels for them. (I’ve already mastered that last one.)
Regardless, it’s an experience everyone has to have at some point and I’m just as lost and confused about it as the rest of you (I hope).
|December 2, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
I’m starting to realize what an awful fuddy duddy I am. Here I was, about to write this whole long ranting post about how 8pm is just too late for a date to start, only to realize how ridiculous I was being.
I mean really, at my youthful age, 8pm should not be considered “late” or an unreasonable time for a date! Heck, it’s probably the most classic time for dates to begin in all of pop culture!
It’s ridiculous how one moment I’m talking about how I can be any kind of person I want to be and the next I’m feeling cranky that a social activity is interrupting my life schedule. Just because it isn’t a block away from my office where I can head over straight from work doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go. And just because I might have to go to my house, get ready and then leave again, doesn’t mean I shouldn’t go! These things should not be causing a bump in my happiness; they should be contributing to it.
This is probably another good example of how inflexibility leads to anxiety. I like things a certain way. When things don’t fit in my perfect little schedule or require any amount of extra effort on my end, I get cranky. And yet, for some people, I’ll bend over backwards to accommodate them and make it work. I guess that’s normal – we make time for the people we really want to see.
Maybe being frustrated about 8pm being too late says more about my enthusiasm than it does about my personality?
Either way, I think I need to go look in a mirror and tell myself some hard truths.
|December 1, 2014||Filled under City Living, Living the Dream|
I had a striking realization while reading the introduction to The Best American Travel Writing (2000) in that I realized that who I am and how I am now does not have to be who I am and how I will be for the rest of my life. We, as humans, are incredibly malleable in that we can change and grow with every event in our lives — if we choose to let it happen.
A friend once told me that they were shy going up and that upon returning from their very first international voyage in middle school as part of a class trip, they were completely changed. Once shy, they became vibrant and friendly. Granted, anyone at the age of 13 is impressionable and smack dab in their formattable years for change.
At 25, am I capable of similar change? Will pushing myself out of my comfort zone and into new experiences (like Bali) make me less anxious, more daring and possibly less shy? Or am I beyond my years of change?
I wondered this quite a bit the last month or so, but why do I have to stay the same? I want to be less anxious. I want to be more daring and interesting. I want to feel comfortable talking to people I don’t know and jumping into new experiences without the sobbing and heart palpitations I currently get (even before booking a ticket to see an amazing country with friends.)
I refuse to accept that, at 25, I’m already who I will be forever, or that I missed that crucial moment at age 13 when I should have taken a trip to Australia with my class so that I could come back a changed person.
I also refuse to accept that I need a trip around the world in order to change (but I’m sure it will help!)
I’m certain that changing and growing and improving oneself is a daily process and what we do each day is what will eventually make up our lives — so why can’t we choose exactly who we want to be?
Screw giving all the power to the people we think we are. Here’s to becoming the people we want to be!
|November 18, 2014||Filled under Uncategorized|
Today has been a day. Last night I finally called it quits on something I should have ended months ago, so of course I have been feeling less than human today. Thank goodness for amazing coworkers and friends who have been feeding me enough fancy coffee and ego-boosting compliments to make today bearable.
Also, the amount of hilarious Tindering my coworker and I have been doing in our down time today has been epic. It’s not even 3pm and my phone battery is at 33%. That’s the thing about Tinder: it’s a black hole of judgement and awful pickup lines. Somehow it makes me hate everyone in DC all at once. Yet, it’s so darn entertaining at the same time. Especially when I find my friends, because then that shit is hilarious.
But yeah, it has been a day. And honestly, I think the next few days will be days too. At least when it comes to emotional pain, we always grow. It may take time, but we always grow.
Now for some Rom Com movie watching, ice cream eating, book reading, nail painting, and wine drinking. So very, very much wine drinking.
I just want to drink fancy cocktails and make really catty comments about the other people at the bar. This is how I wish to grieve.
— Kristen (@KayEeeGee) November 18, 2014
|November 17, 2014||Filled under Uncategorized|
How do you update your blog when you have a million things to talk about and don’t know where to start?
It’s been quite an interesting past few weeks. Here’s a quick snapshot:
- I’m going to Bali, Indonesia in January! This is probably the biggest news. Something about spur of the moment trips in January – I guess it’s my thing now? Totally fine with that. I could not be more excited!
- Someone important to me left this month. It’s absolutely breaking my heart and I’m still trying to sort out all of my feelings. Been reading a lot of TinyBuddha articles in a feeble attempt to cope. It’s marginally helping.
- I joined a gym. It’s awesome so far and I love being able to take classes and work out. It’s also helping with the attempted coping that I mentioned above.
- Saw Interstellar last week. Seriously, go see it. It was AWESOME! Especially if you can see it in Imax at the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. Space on space on space!
- I’m traveling to Orlando for work this week, because I’m quite the fancy person now. It will probably be my last work trip until April, which is fine because it’s like 20 degrees here in DC this week so I don’t mind heading south for a few days to warm up.
- I’ve been meal planning like a mofo. Which means lots of savings $$ (that I’ve in turn been spending on happy hours instead) and food pictures to share.
So now that’s all out of the way, I’ll try to keep up with the exciting events in my life (ha!). Don’t worry, I’ll post some pictures from Orlando to make you all jealous on Wednesday
|October 20, 2014||Filled under Working|
I’ve had three “big girl” jobs since finishing grad school and each one has provided plenty of new and valuable learning experiences. Aside from learning my industry and specific job-related skills, my greatest takeaways from these positions have been less content-focused and more about growing as a person. There is something to be said for still being entry-level, even with 3-5 years of experience under your belt.
I look back at the employee I was a year or two ago and I’m not super pleased with myself. I was too fast, mistake-prone, easily offended and stubborn. I couldn’t understand why no one would listen to my ideas or if they did listen, why they would then take them and change them. And I couldn’t understand why people didn’t value what I had to say.
I recognize that as “the new guy,” my main job for the first few months at these jobs was to learn. But a year into both, I still felt undervalued (by some, not all). Maybe it was the environments at these jobs that I was working in or maybe it was my own lack of confidence. Or maybe it was the combination of the two feeding each other. Regardless, the change I see in myself now is incredible. This new job has either come at a time when I’ve finally figured myself out as an employee or finally provided the environment I need to grow into the employee I want to be. Honestly, it’s probably both.
The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that I’m not second guessing throwing my thoughts and opinions in the ring. I feel respected, or at least acknowledged, for my specialty and experience that I bring to the table. People expect me to chime in – and I actually do!
A year ago, I never would have felt comfortable sending an email out questioning the grammar on our materials. They were the higher-ups and if they didn’t see it, maybe I was wrong…so I just kept quiet. I wasn’t putting my ideas out there. I was just the behind-the-scenes hamster spinning the wheels and to do exactly as I was told–no more, no less. Now I realize how ridiculous I was being.
People hire you to a job not just for your skills, but for your ideas. You have to speak up in the workplace. And you have to work in a place where you feel comfortable doing so. In previous jobs, I kept quiet because I was too intimidated to join the conversation. Now I think I feel more comfortable and I’ve started to join in.
What I’m saying is this: don’t just be a worker bee getting things done quietly. Have ideas. Be creative. Bring something to the table. Otherwise, you’ll never get promoted to head worker bee, or eventually, queen.