Maybe If I Ignore It, It Will Go Away: Part 2 of the G-Word Saga

If you’ve been following my collegiate endeavors, you know how hard it was to pick a college and pick a major. For the longest time, I was convinced that I would NEVER find a major for my indecisive self. From the very beginning, I knew I was different. I didn’t want a career in which I felt trapped. I didn’t want to be consumed in the rat-race of life. Life is so much more than making money and moving up the ladder. Yes, money and upward mobility are an added bonus, but it shouldn’t be the motivating factor behind all actions.

So what does this mean for after the g-word? Instead of panicking about my future, I have decided to be full-blown cheesy and follow my heart. I am officially announcing that I have been accepted to work for The Walt Disney Company. I have no certainty in my role, the future, or the upward mobility….I just know that I am following my heart and pursuing what is really important in life: experience.

For those that are searching for a job, waiting for acceptance into grad school, pacing around the room hoping that an ounce of an epiphany will shine through the window…you can do it. This is just the next step in your life…not your whole life. You don’t always need immediate answers. Do what makes you happy and seek any and all experiences that make you feel full of life…and the rest will come with time.

 

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Maybe If I Ignore It, It will Go Away: A Saga About Confronting the G-Word & Finding Peace in the Future

Hello, it’s me. Four years later and it’s the same old routine. I’ve found comfort in my everyday activities, fallen in love with the relationships I’ve established, and found my home in everything I do. Back in 2013, I had a reputation as, “The-girl-that-didn’t-want-to-go-to-college.”

Now, let me tell you, it wasn’t because I didn’t desire higher education. It was the anxiety-provoking thought of leaving everything I’ve invested so much time and effort in over the last four years and potentially losing all of it that I dreaded. I also couldn’t fathom the idea of making the “right” decision. It’s no secret that my family had a very different plan for my collegiate experience than I had for myself. Over time, I realized there was no “right” decision. It was the decision that was best for me and my dreams and the answer would eventually follow. But, until I had that personal revelation, every family function became the exciting time of asking, “Does Tara know what she’s doing yet?” or “Is she finally ready to talk about it?” The summer before my senior year, my family took our very first big family vacation and I made a rule before we left that we couldn’t talk about college. Thankfully, most of them were able to abide by my policy, but it didn’t make college “go away.”

Now, here I am about to g-word from college. Where in the heck did the time go? I may not have an answer for that, but what I do have is confidence. Confidence in myself, my abilities, and that everything will work out in the end. Yes, I still resonate with senior-year-of-high-school-Tara by getting butterflies about the uncertain future and by discouraging discussion of things such as the g-word, future, and senior-oriented festivities. HOWEVER, after going to college and seeing that everything I was so worried about losing from high school has remained in tact, I’m solidifying my confidence in everything I’ve invested in during these last 4 years. I’m confident that the connections, friendships, and memories I’ve worked so hard to create will follow me wherever I go in whatever I do.

I’m not worried about the future and I don’t have a 5 year plan. I am however, cognizant of future endeavors, such as paying back loans and finding stability in a career, but that’s not what life is about. Life is about seeking experience and memories that will last you a lifetime.

Finding this confidence does not mean I’m by any means ready to move on or g-word by any means, but it does mean that I am ready to live life everyday with a positive attitude for both now and in the future. I hope that those of you also in the same g-word boat don’t wish this time away to move into the future too quickly, but take each day as a gift and encourage others to do the same. That, my friends is what we should be concerning ourselves with each day. Find your magic and what makes you happy…and the peace and confidence in what is to come shall follow.

 

reSOLUTIONS

New Year, new you, right? Well, at least what people used to say–I know I certainly have utilized it in my new year’s vernacular. However, I’ve noticed that this phrase has actually gained a negative connotation recently. People roll their eyes or look down on others that set these big expectations for the new year because they think they are wise enough to know that most people never actually reach their resolutions and fizzle out towards the end of January. That may be true for some, and I’m sure we are all guilty of setting resolutions we never follow up on, but for others, is the ever-so-easy eye roll or degrading Twitter meme stifling to those looking to make big changes or dream big dreams in the new year? Maybe it’s time we rethink the way we see resolutions because being on either end of this spectrum isn’t going to help anyone this new year.

I’m a huge advocate for setting goals and making lists, so planning new year’s resolutions is a field day for me. I’ve always been the type to make large goals and plans because it seems to give the tradition more meaning. I recently came across my 2011 list of resolutions (in which I had 11 to be exact). Now you’re probably wondering, did you actually achieve all 11? Of course not. That’s because I did it wrong. I listed all of the things I wanted to do, but in no way did I indicate how I was going to do them. They were all quality initiatives with great intentions; however, without a real plan of execution, there truly was no way to gauge the success of the goal.

Maybe that’s why it’s so easy to roll our eyes at those that say these big changes they want to make…because we are basing it solely on the words we hear and not actions we witness, which may be rightfully so. Also, it may be attributed to the fact that people that want change to come with the new year are seeing the previous year as bad and coming out of it with a salty perspective. Okay, who am I to dictate who had a good and bad year…clearly I can’t do that. But I can encourage those that feel that way to truly dig deep and find just one positive thing that happened in the previous year and use that as fuel to set fire to the new year. You’d be surprised…positivity is actually more flammable than negativity. So, if you are actually looking to enact the change you’ve been desiring, pour positivity in your tank and get going. That is what’s going to make your new year the year you need it to be.

Now, if resolutions aren’t your thing, that’s completely okay. You do you, my friend. I would never say that you have to have resolutions to have a meaningful year. However, let this thought simmer: if we all work together as a support system for each other (particularly for those that get in to the resolution business), imagine the increase in success rates for new year’s resolutions. If you use positivity to plan your resolutions, imagine the greater depths you can reach. If we set goals designed to improve instead of setting unrealistic ideas with no substance to back it up, imagine the growth you can achieve. You can make this year anything you want it to be.

So next time you hear someone talk about their resolutions, smile and hold their hand along the way. There’s nothing wrong with dreaming big–after all, maybe that can be the solution to our resolutions.

 

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A Letter to My Childhood Best Friends

Dear My Oldest-Yet-Dearest-Friends,

I can’t believe I’m doing this. Sitting in a café, writing this article, on the edge of youth and adulthood (more like hanging on for dear life as the g-word is drawing near, but you get the point) reflecting on our past (may or may not even have a few tears in my eyes…allergies, I swear). I kid you not, it seems like just yesterday we were playing kickball in the cul-de-sac, writing scripts to our own versions of Hannah Montana, and getting a thrill of going to the mall without adults and taking way too many photo booth pics. Do the youth even do that nowadays?

I might be biased, but I believe we grew up at the perfect time. We have an appreciation for VHS tapes and thrived during the days of calling our home phones to see if we could come out and play; however, we are also are well-acquainted with the technological boom of today. We had it made, guys. I miss those simple times, I really do. Our imaginations were impeccable and I envy our ambitions. I want to take this moment to thank you for all of it.

You were my first friends. The ones I associate my earliest memories with today. You were number one on my birthday invite lists (thank you for still coming even though I had almost every party at Miss Molly’s Tea Room). You were there through all of the early milestones. You were even still friends with me during my caveman-looking-days (God bless you for that).

When high school came, I was terrified of losing you. I remember freshmen orientation like it was yesterday…when we had to split up, and I was the only one at the beginning of the alphabet, I thought my life was over. I couldn’t imagine going through what was supposed to be the best (and fastest) 4 years without you. But here’s the beauty of it: even when we established ourselves in different friend groups, joined different clubs, and hung out with different people at dances, our bond never quivered.

Then of course, college came in the blink of an eye and that fear came back around. How the heck could I stay friends with people going to colleges in completely different directions? But thankfully yet again, I was wrong because here we are many years later, still best friends.

40325_1401311362083_193811_nYou know who you are and this letter speaks for itself. Thank you for sticking by my side all this time and I look forward to all of our future endeavors to come.  I love you from the bottom of my heart and I always will.

xoxo

The Magic of Disney

GREETINGS, EVERYONE! Or shall I say Season’s Greetings! It has certainly been a while since I’ve been able to sit down and blog. This semester has been nothing short of crazy and the most challenging semester to date. But no need to fear, I am here and ready to rumble!

As many of you may have seen, I just got back from a spontaneous trip to Disney World. Now, you’re probably asking yourself, “WHO THE HECK PICKS UP AND GOES TO DISNEY WITH MINIMAL PLANNING?” That, my friend, is a very reasonable question–Especially if you know me at all and know that I very rarely travel. But if you also know me, I’m nothing close to reasonable. Typically, trips to Disney are planned months in advance (especially if you want to do it right). So, how the heck was I able to make this dream come true? The answer is actually quite simple: MAGIC.

They say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I can attest to this because I have met some incredible people over the course of my life and especially this semester. All of the people I met both before and during my trip to Disney (particularly the ones that made it all possible…thanks Morgan & Kaitlyn), I’ll never be able to express my full gratitude. Thank you for showing me the ropes and for making this Disney experience one to never forget.

What is it about Disney that ignites this craving for adventure and the need to immerse myself in the craziness? Well, I can tell you what it’s not. It’s not the movies and shows that are to blame(although don’t get me wrong…I LOVE them to pieces. I mean, who doesn’t? But that’s just a bonus). I can’t rattle off random Disney movie facts and I certainly can’t say I’ve seen all the movies. It’s not the product-outcome that Disney creates that I’m head over heels in love with. It’s the way in which Disney puts people first, making them feel 5 years old again. It’s the thought that goes into ensuring every single thing in Disney World preserves the sacred magic. It’s the way you feel walking down Main Street USA in Magic Kingdom–it’s almost as though you feel limitless and can be confident in following your heart.

Disney reminds you that no dream is too big and no big idea is too crazy. It reminds you to value the friendships you have and to share that friendship with everyone you meet. It reminds us all that true love is out there and the adventure you go on to get there is one of the greatest treasures of life. It’s the perfect place to take that step back from the stress of school, work, and burdens because it takes you back in time–the time of child-like imagination and simple delights. Most of all, it reminds you to smile because life is short and we can’t afford to frown for long. Thank you, Disney for being all that you’re cracked up to be and more. May your magic and happiness radiate to every individual this holiday season and beyond.

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Never Too Early

GREETINGS, FRIENDS! (Or shall I say SEASONS GREETINGS!). It has certainly been a while since I’ve been able to blog anything. Sometimes life gets in the way, but no need to fear, I am here!

So let’s talk about CHRISTMAS! Obviously, if you know anything about me at all, you know that I am OBSESSED with CHRISTMAS! As I sit here writing this, I am basking in the glory of my 4ft Christmas tree, festively-decorated bedroom, and my record player quietly playing the Charlie Brown Christmas album. So what is it exactly that brings me so much joy? I find myself thinking about this a lot because quite frankly, I don’t have a concrete answer. It’s not as clear cut as a bright Christmas bow; however, I am going to take this opportunity to do my best to illustrate the extent to my obsession.

Growing up as an only child, I have found that I have developed a talent for entertaining myself and Christmas is the perfect time to surround yourself with active festivities: cookie baking, ice skating, Christmas shopping, and holiday partying, just to name a few. I also find inner joy for the things that continually exercise my childhood tendencies even now as a so-called “adult.” Thus, immersing myself into a celebratory holiday season in which I am able to be a big kid living life to the fullest for weeks on end seems like a dream come true, does it not?

It’s no secret that I start my Christmas music officially on November 1st, decorate BEFORE Thanksgiving, and throw a Christmas party in the summer because I just can’t wait for December. I know this incites frustration with some folks because they see this as skipping over Thanksgiving and giving in to the commercialization of the holiday. Now, yes…I do enjoy the commercialization to some degree; however, as long as you have the true meaning of Christmas in your heart, I believe that it’s never too early to start your holiday cheer. Living each day as if it were Christmas morning is the best way to live. Always spread joy, always be jolly, and make dreams come true!

So, even if “Little Drummer Boy” drives you up the wazoo and you cringe at the thought of battling the crowds on Black Friday, the Christmas season can be anything you want it to be. It has the power to conform to whatever your needs are that year. For some, it’s a season of peace and community. For others, it’s a time of non-stop action to wrap up your crazy year.  Make it whatever YOU need it to be and I promise, the Lord will not disappoint. After all, He knows how to have an awesome birthday bash!

I wish you and your families a truly blessed holiday season. MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT ( and yes, a happy turkey day as well!)

 

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What’s His Problem?

I’ve been mowing lawn for about 7 years now. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that I have lawn-mowing credentials, but I am quite proud of my craftsmanship. Would I ever go into the landscaping business…? Of course not, but it was certainly a good way to begin my working career back in the day and I sure-fire way to make a bit of extra cash nowadays.

As I come home from work only to find that I need to mow lawn, I naturally feel a bit of frustration within because working after work doesn’t exactly sound like a picnic in the park. Which quite frankly, as soon as I find some extra time, I would love to have a picnic in the park….okay, moving on. After convincing myself I can muster the energy to go mow, I make my way over to my client’s lawn.

I have my own way of doing things, especially when it comes to mowing. I like to outline the entire yard and I always begin with the backyard. To me, it’s a mind over matter game because ending with the front yard gives the illusion that you’re just beginning, but in reality, you’re almost done: you feel me? As I am starting the outline of the backyard, a man on a riding mower next door (looking as if he is in the professional landscaping business) begins mowing the bottom half of the backyard. Okay, so he went a little over the unspoken line between the yard I am mowing and his client’s. No biggie. As I continue mowing, we awkwardly beginning meeting towards the middle. Did he not see me? Is he mooching in on my profit? What’s his problem?

So, naturally I avoid confrontation and begin mowing the front yard. After all, you should always run away from your problems, right? KIDDING. DON’T DO THAT.

After completion of the front yard, I come to find that the back yard is completely done. OKAY SERIOUSLY, WHAT IS THIS GUY DOING? DOES HE NOT SEE HOW AWKWARD THIS IS? I proceed to ask my client what the heck is going on with this situation.

After approaching the man on the riding mower, I realize he was in no way mocking my push mower…he was not by any means out to get my profits…and if anything, his motive was to do a good deed. He said, “I saw you mowing and wanted to help you out.” WHAT? He even refused to be paid for it. Baffled as usual, I take time to reflect on the situation as I sweep up the clippings.

I’m embarrassed by how quick to judge I was with this man. My first instinct was to ask, “What is this guy’s deal?” assuming he had negative motives. In reality, he did an incredibly good deed and he will never truly know how grateful I was to have the help after the long day I had.

So the take-away from all of this? Imagine if instead of asking “What’s the problem?” We asked, “What’s the opportunity?” A problem indicates that something needs to be fixed…that someone needs to change. This man clearly did not have a problem and if everyone had as kind of a heart, the world would be a better place (and everyone’s lawns would be neatly cut, haha). Instead of jumping the conclusion that someone else is at fault, taking a step back and seeking the opportunity can yield completely different results….results that can completely make someone’s day.

You don’t have to mow lawn to have this same experience. Having an open mind as well as an open heart before we diagnose someone with a “problem” can make a world of a difference.