Why I Write

I noticed I haven’t written on my blog in about a year. I don’t know if I’ve always known this but it became clear to me the other day: I write to help me move past something. I write when I’ve come out of a depression. Or a stressful situation. Or a long journey.

 

I don’t write when things are good. I write when I’ve come out on the other end of a learning experience.

Today, however, life is good. It has been good.

Last summer I married my best friend. Last summer we said our “I do”s on a cloudy, rainy, perfect Pacific Northwest day. Last summer moat of the “I”s became “We”s.

… and this summer, we’re having a baby.

Like I said. Life has been good. Not the kind of good that makes you look around the corner waiting for the other shoe to drop. Just the kind of good that when you step back for a minute, you smile. I like that. I like being able to share our joys with our friends and family and have them smile too.

But it wasn’t all sunshine. Nope. The clouds were real. We got pregnant in July and then we cried in August. I went off my meds in “preparation” for a successful pregnancy (but really it was more so stubbornness and impatience) and was probably the worst human being to be around (dramatic, but I’m pretty sure Brian is a Saint for putting up with my mood swings, my short temper, and my extra vulnerable feelings.)

I like talking about meds because I was and am one of those people who believes that a good disposition and the right attitude can bring you out of a funk… yet I know full well that sometimes your brain chemistry fights every ounce of energy you devote to that end.

So, I want you to know Zoloft is my friend. We are 20 weeks along and I’m the most happy and level headed I’ve ever been, despite the hormones that are raging internally.

This baby has been great. I joke to people that “I should do this more often” as this is the best I’ve felt, since I have no migraines, no period, and I’ve had no terribly negative pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness.

The jeans are not quite fitting; a few of my dresses are too tight in the chest; and maternity pants are amazing. That’s how I know my world is changing. In another 20 weeks (more or less) my world will definitely be changed.

While we’ve had it easy, we know it will be hard. We will probably fight about things like swaddling methods, diaper changing, and whose turn it is to get up. We will probably not sleep. We will probably be in over our heads.

We will probably love every minute of it. When I met Brian, I knew he could deal with my crazy. I knew he was in it for the long haul. And we’ve since grown to look together in the same direction.

We will probably need all the help we can get, but we are probably going to be okay. That will be our new happy: figuring out life with Owen.

And that’s why life is good.

 

 

 

 

Chasing Happiness

Many of you know that I identify as a happy person. I jump at chances to thank my parents for giving me a wonderful childhood, for taking me in after I graduated with a Master’s degree and no job, for continuing to supply me with support and love (both financially and emotionally) as I started to embark on the journey of REAL adulthood.

I wasn’t one of those kids who said “Well I’m an adult now, so blah blah blah.” I once told my dad to drop me off a block away from school on the first day at my preppy high school, but he quickly shut that shit down. When I was 18 and home from college during a break, I asked to “throw a party” and when my mom and dad said “sure!” I then tried to push the boundaries and responded “with alcohol?” and again, they shut that shit down.

They gave me the right amount of rules with the right dose of common sense. They let me fail, they let me succeed, and most of all, they made sure that I learned to think on my own. To go out on a limb and try new things. They showed me how to be happy with what life hands you and how to work with it when it’s not quite what you expected. They taught me to love learning and to love a good challenge.

And they taught me to enjoy reading. To this day, a go-to gift for my mom or dad (pending room on their HUGE bookshelf they co-opted from my sister) is a good book. Because of this, I have read SO. Many. Books. (Well, I’ve started reading more than I’ve finished) (and okay, I’ve listened to many more than that–audiobooks are my newest obsession)… (But I digress).

Reading has allowed me to experience other people’s definitions of happiness. It has allowed me to question the possessions in my life… the people in my life… the values I assign to things in my life.

It led me to Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. (A hard copy, might I add!)

Happiness project cover

Why did I pick it up? I wasn’t sad or depressed or lacking happiness in my life. But it called to me. Its happy blue cover with a bluebird flying called to me. I’ve always been a sucker for a good cover. But it was the idea of the book that got me most: that happiness is a project. It’s something you aspire towards and something on which you have to work day in and day out.

I believe we all have a certain amount of innate happiness. Some people are naturally irritable, some naturally entertained (e.g., me) and find joy in small things.

What I wanted from reading this book was to be able to actually recognize all of the things in my life that are good and all of the things that are keeping me from being truly happy. Like I said, I identify as a happy person, but that doesn’t mean that I am happy all of the time. I struggle with anxiety, both social and personal (more generalized), and I live my days in a haze of side effects of ADHD. (Side note: I recently started an ADHD med and I have to say that I can actually finish things by deadlines! And stay focused! It’s GREAT. Why didn’t I cry in a doctor’s office sooner?!?!)

Basically the book has reminded me that you have to fight right. You have to try new things. You have to have an empty shelf. I still don’t, because I just put wedding related mason jars on it… but prior to that moment IT WAS AMAZING (and dusty).

If you haven’t read the book yet, go do it. Pick it up. Listen to it. Get the Happiness Journal that goes along with it. I do week-long journaling episodes where I write down all of the good for one week then get distracted again… so if I ever finish my Journal, it will be hysterical: part angsty teen, part melodramatic grad student, part struggling young adult. It’s an entertaining mix.

Anywho. Sometimes I just feel the need to get these types of literary feelings out. And sometimes I think someone else might benefit from hearing about a “happy” person who still struggles with actually being happy. So there it is.

I’ve begun my own Happiness Project of sorts and might post about it. But for now, I’m going to return to cleaning my apartment… and chasing happiness.

One mess at a time…
Screen Shot 2016-06-17 at 8.48.15 AM

33 Days

That’s how many days (says TheKnot.com) until I get to join my guy as his legally wedded wife and call myself a Mrs. fo’ life. I’ve been crafting up a storm and so many ideas have been running through my head, but in the end, there are things that matter more than the small details… like how many people we get to bring together, celebrate with, and call family. I’ll still worry about the details, but I try to remind myself to focus on the big things. Like getting the marriage certificate, so this nuptial is legal, and filing for a name change (and having to change it in 2.7 million places). But that’ll be fun and worth it.

So, yes, I’m going to take his last name. No I don’t feel contra-feminist for that. It’s kind of like getting a nickname at camp… and since I never really went to camp (well I went to Bible camp, but I don’t think they gave out nicknames… just bibles) it’s my chance to get a new name.

Other ways I know I’m getting married and it’s not just a piece of paper:

  • A colleague made a powerpoint of a presentation we’re doing in August and put “Lindsay Stoddard” as my name
  • A friend asked when we’re going to have kids. (“Soon” isn’t soon enough for people sometimes! And for us, too, sometimes! But don’t worry, we’ll do what’s right for us.)
  • I talk a lot about the future and use cute sayings like always using “We” and referring to us as “best friends.”
  • Brian said we can’t have kids ’til I learn how to clean up after myself (so I’m gonna fake it and lure him into a false sense of security).
  • I read the book “The Magic Art of Tidying Up” (the pop-novel about a Japanese culture of tidying that ANYone can benefit from) and I will say, Brian is happier when I throw clutter out and plan to create space for more fun things to put in their place… I mean…

So, people are right: a lot will change, but a lot won’t.

  • We won’t wake up the next day and have marriage figured out–we’re going to have to work on it every day. Challenge accepted.
  • We will still live on-campus in our very adult apartment in the “dorm” I oversee.
  • We will still bicker over the messes I make and how I “literally don’t see” clutter.
  • We will still like and watch different shows, one of us on the phone with earbuds and one of us on the TV.
  • I will always be too cold in the bedroom and in the car and he will always die of heat in our apartment and mess with the car temperature controls
  • I probably won’t stop using the emergency brake when I park, despite never having lived in a hilly place.
  • He will still call it a documentary a “docu-men-TAREy” when it’s totally a “docu-mentaree.”
  • We will also have to continue to make decisions that benefit us and our future. We’ve always been pretty good on this one.

I’ll have to keep working on not taking my mistakes so seriously (because I’m not that fun to be around when that happens). He’ll have to continue to deal with car/electronic/cooking-related items and I will continue to make the bed, avoid using dishes so I can blame the dirty ones on him, and surprise him by separating whites and colors whenever I do the laundry.

The fun part about us is, he likes the home-y things (my weakness) I purchase for our apartment and I actually have grown used to watching sports and paying ludicrous amounts for MLS games and beers at the stadium, which is his weakness. We share in each other’s triumphs and support each other through our mishaps.

I can’t wait to say “I Do” to a life of challenge, a life of support, a life of adventure, and a life of love with this guy.

I guess this is the part of my blog where I am no longer truly my namesake, “Girl in Like,” but rather, “Girl in Love…” and while I didn’t believe it would happen to me at some points, somewhere deep down I knew it had to… and when I met him almost 3 years ago, he was doomed from the beginning, because I wasn’t letting go.

I’ll post again soon about what it’s actually been like to try and plan a wedding “on-a-budget” — that is a whole other topic that deserves some room.

Miles of smiles,

Girl in Love

p.s. Yes, I’m 12 years old and have already practiced signing my signature with his last name:

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On Patience: Advice from the conclusion of a a successful, albeit lengthy job-search

Screen Shot 2015-03-18 at 10.08.06 PMSo, it’s cliché, but patience really is the key.

Two months after *nothing* came from what I thought were AWEsome interviews at a national job interviewing fair (for student affairs jobs), someone told me that “people who get jobs right out of The Placement Exchange are more likely to leave sooner or be unhappy with their experience.” This has no basis in truth, but hearing something that resembled hope or optimism at a time when I felt most vulnerable (read: I can do this job, but I haven’t convinced myself of that yet) was extremely important.

It reminded me to be patient and not give up.

Here’s what patience looked like for me:

I started my actual searching in January of my second year of grad school.
I felt WAY behind, so naturally I freaked out.

I waited until the last minute to reach out to prospective employers.
But, I only interviewed with ones I actually could really see myself working with.

I measured myself against what I saw as “all of the amazing colleagues and classmates that were better than me and probably way ahead of me and just all around more qualified than I was.”
Hint: NOT PRODUCTIVE

I job searched in only one geographic area.
Then I opened it up to the whole US (minus the parts that get humid, minus the parts where I didn’t know anyone, minus the parts where I decided weren’t close enough to a major airport)… okay, so I didn’t open it up a whole lot, but if you know me, you know I can’t do humidity.

I focused on the (very cool) job that I really wanted: residence hall director. Me and about 2,000 other applicants apparently.
So then I opened it up to jobs that I could “deal with,” which just meant that I felt like I was ignoring my mission and my initial goal of being the coolest and most supportive RD ever…

I only cried when I was feeling really hopeless.
So about once a day was all I had time for 😉

I called home and asked if I could move back in with my parents.
They said if my brother didn’t beat me to it, it was all mine.

I made plans to job search from the Pacific Northwest, as that was where I wanted to be.
I left the guy I had really fallen for, but we stayed together because, as we both agreed, it would only be a month or two before I knew where I’d be working come September…

HAHAHAHAHA.

It was 6 months.

6 months of wondering why I didn’t yet have a job.

6 months of being able to spend precious time with my family.

6 months of agonizing over comparing myself to others.

6 months of hanging out with my dog.dog and lindsay

6 months of applying to jobs while hanging out with my dog.

6 months of worrying.

6 months of getting to again appreciate how hard my parents have worked and how much they care about their kids.

6 good months even though everything was up in the air.

However, during 4 of those months I was able to work for my alma mater while my amazing friend, mentor, and soul-sister became a mother. And that’s pretty neat.

The best part is that during those same 4 months I actually continued to strengthen some of the things I had been trying to learn in graduate school: how to work with people who think/work differently than me; how to address conflict; how to take criticism constructively; how to supervise individuals, not a team; and most importantly, how to trust in my self and my abilities.

I think I will always still be working on that.

Anyways, fast forward to a few months into my first “big-kid” gig and I’m happy, yet I struggle; I’m challenged, yet I feel supported; I’m comfortable, yet I push myself; and I’m learning… which is everything to me.

Oh, and Brian found his job within 10 minutes of meeting a “connection.”

How do I get one of those? 😉

So, patience, my friends, looks very different for every one of us. In my journey, I didn’t feel I had a choice (as in, I wasn’t getting job offers and turning them down in order to “wait for something better” type of patience), but I didn’t settle and I didn’t ever truly commit to something that wouldn’t fulfill me. I painstakingly waited until “the right thing came along.” And then I pounced on it, and they saw what they were looking for in me.

And that’s more awesome than getting a job right away. Sort of. That would have been cool, too. But then I’d be at some other school, with other coworkers, with a potentially annoying group of students to work with 😉 but I got mine. Patience really does pay off…

Over and out,
Employed Girl in Like

My Rear View Mirror

Rearview Mirror

Not going to lie… I totally had to google Mr. Marshall McLuhan and as with all things in my life on which I’ve I’ve spent time, I don’t regret it. McLuhan was a Canadian communication theorist. If you didn’t know, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and theory. 

So I love theory.

I love the way it sort of explains everything without predicting, without excusing, without generalizing. If it generalized, it would be called a fact, not a theory. A theory leaves room for much, much more creativity, e.g., the theory of evolution or the big bang theory. We’re constantly discovering more and more about our selves as a planet, a (human)race, and as an evolving system. We can look to our past to see what might be in store for our future.

This isn’t always that easy.

For me, this has meant realizing that all of my “big” life journeys came at the last minute.

I was the last person accepted into my high school, where there were only, like, twelve spots. I was easily the least naturally talented person to make the cut for my HS varsity basketball team. I somehow made the “first-chair” spot on the Los Angeles Youth Honors Orchestra that got to play at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood after having only played for a few years. 

I chalked all of these things up to luck. Or mistakes, at best.

I did this with my graduate school opportunity as well.

I was the last person, or so goes the story that I know, that was offered a spot in a program of fifteen graduate students. I was also the person who I saw as being “least qualified.” I thought to myself throughout most of my two years, did they make a mistake? Was I their last resort? Even when comforted by friends in the program who told me that I deserved to be there, I told myself, well, even if I am here by mistake, I’ll make the most of it.

Why? Maybe I can attribute it to the theories I’ve read and identified with: theories of the female psyche, low-confidence, impostor-syndrome, and why we as women typically don’t ask for raises or don’t boast about our attributes. Theoretically.

Theoretically I should have been telling myself during this job-search process that, historically speaking, I haven’t ever gotten things “on-time” or according to (my) plan. 

My plan has been to be really organized and have things come easily. (Insert privilege-recognition here).

I HAVE had it relatively easy, but that hasn’t taken the place of some good old fashioned work-ethic, a few thousand dollars worth of loans, and a family that has pushed me to pursue what makes me happy, even if that means a few tears here and there when it doesn’t seem to be working out.

This summer has been an emotional roller coaster of excitement, disappointment, patience, and persistence. 

I don’t think it’s been what any one would call easy, but I do remind myself every day that I am so lucky to be surrounded by a family that can and has been supporting my unemployed self. (Again, insert privilege-recognition here).

I have loved helping out with groceries, IMG_6030 taking care of/hanging out with my sister, IMG_5821 leisurely going on hikes with my parents, and attending all sorts of local entertainments that I didn’t make time to do while I was in college. IMG_6038

It’s a weird feeling to be perfectly happy with all of the above, yet feel discomfort at the fact that this was not my plan. I did not want to be a boomerang child. I did not want to move back home. I did not want to free-load off my parents (although they keep telling me that if I was being paid for my work with my sister, it more than covers the cost of me living here). I simply want my “plan” to work.

But as with all things in my rear view mirror, I should know that these things take time. 

I committed to looking for a job in Residential Education IN the Pacific Northwest to be able to be close to my sister, my brother, his wife, and my parents. I committed to that because of my goals for myself, for my career, and for my own mental happiness (for whatever reason, rainy weather totally is my happy place). So here’s to commitments and patience.

Oh, and apologies in advance to my dear boyfriend, Brian. I hope you will grow to love the rain as much as I do. ❤ I’ll buy you a good raincoat when I’ve officially stolen you from the northeast and gotten that full-time job.
Patiently excited, girl in like signature

The Art of Accepting Your Rejection Call

Prepwork: Drink a lot of coffee so you can stay up late applying for jobs.
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Step 1: Apply to a lot of great jobs in your dream field with your dream degree that you just earned.

Step 2: Keep your diploma in it’s frame in the box… ready for your first office wall.

Step 3: Know that you might be in a cubicle.

Step 4: The Phone interview
1. Be exactly what they’re looking for.
2. Be yourself. But not too much of it.
3. Play up your enthusiasm for the job:
“I know that this is exactly where I want to be right now.”
Oh…. wait… that’s not playing it up. That’s my life. Yep, I do actually want to live in a “dorm” with 18 year olds, guiding them through the metaphorical $hit storm that is life.
4. Show them that you DO have weaknesses, when they’re actually strengths.
“I work too hard” — Employer: GREAT You’ll fit right in!
“I enjoy long days and minimal sleep” — Employer: We have the perfect position for you!
5. End with amazing questions that they’ve never heard before:
….. Oh, wait… I don’t have any of those…
6. Wait for a call-back.

The Call-Back
Me: “Hello, this is Lindsay.”
Potential Employer: “Hi, Lindsay this is such-and-such university. We’re glad we reached you, are you free to chat?”
Me: (Totally have not been waiting by the phone jumping everytime it rings only to see on CallerID that it’s just my parents asking me to get milk or bread from the store) “Yeah, definitely.”
Potential Employer: “Just wanted to let you know that we’ve offered the job to someone else and they have accepted, so our search process has concluded.”
Me: “Yeah, oh that’s great. I’m so excited for you and your department. We’ll keep in touch. I loved getting to know you all.”
Potential Employer: “Oh you’re so great, Lindsay. You’re going to be awesome where ever you go.”

So, something like this played out for me a few days ago…

My mom woke up this morning and told me that she had a nightmare that I didn’t get a job.

I told her quickly that the nightmare wasn’t just a dream. That actually happened yesterday 😉

Being my ever optimistic self, I know that this is just one speed bump on the way to a beautiful road trip. So, here’s to new beginnings. Again. And many more amazing opportunities to come.

Good luck to all my friends in the midst of job searches.
We ARE amazing and we all are going to be great.

We just have to convince the employers of this small detail 😉

Right back where I started…

 

 

 

 

 

I guess the quote that just about sums up my life right now is 

Image (Credit: CurlyGirl Designs)

What I mean by this is that I am right back where I started life… without a job under the roof two of the most amazing people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Ladies and gentlemen, my parents:  Image

 

However, getting BACK here has meant that I have eaten, done, and seen a lot of things. Here are a few of the moments caught on film.. well, you know what I mean.

 

1) Cooking with Brian! (it was delicious) Chicken and Avocado Enchiladas from Pinterest Image

2) Made a berry cobbler (and won a prize in a cooking contest!)Image

3) Organized my crafting supplies before my big move back home Image

4) Kicked off the end of grad school with a lovely gathering around the fountain with candles and Martinelli’sImage

5) Had to say “see ya later” to one of my best friends… obviously we didn’t realize the gravity of the situation yet.. 😛Image

6) Hung out at the capital with my family Image

7) Got my M.Ed. from UVMImage

8) Got HOODED! Image

9) Got celebrated!ImageImage ImageImage

10) andddd packed up to leave for Washington.ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

 

And I was reminded by Oprah to…ImageImage

So I did.

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I’m in the midst of applying to jobs right now, but I am excited for where it might get me. Fingers crossed that I won’t be headed back across the country too soon… Although there is more than one person I would love to be closer to over there, I have to say that I’m not ready for another cross-country roadtrip, even though it was pretty incredible.

Until next time,
Photographic Image