Friday, March 22, 2013

Thinking like a grown-up

The other day I watched Peter Pan. It's been years since I've watched this movie all the way through. Once I accepted that gravity was more powerful than my faith that I could fly (good thing couches are soft landing pads), this movie lost its appeal. I stopped watching it long before I stopped watching a lot of the princess movies like Snow White and Sleeping Beauty.

So, naturally, when I watched Peter Pan last weekend, it was almost like I was watching it for the first time. Readers of this blog know how my Disney-movie watching changes as I get older. (See this post. And this one.) There was one thing about Peter Pan that stuck out to me above everything else: Wendy's distress at being kicked out of the nursery.

Seriously? That was Wendy's "punishment" for corrupting her little brothers' minds with tales of pirates and sword fighting? Why wouldn't Wendy want to have her own space? And why did Wendy, John, and Michael act like this punishment was the end of the world? Seriously, guys, as far as horrible punishments go, this one doesn't even count.

I was about to dismiss this scene to Disney cheesiness when a small window of understanding opened up. I suddenly remembered very clearly how I reacted to this scene when I was a little girl: exactly the same. It brought me real, physical pain to think of Wendy leaving her blocks and toys, her canopy bed, and--most importantly--the safety of the nursery to move into a big, scary room all by herself. I thought of my stuffed animals that took up more space in my bed than I did and wondered if I might ever have to give all that up. I thought of my siblings and wondered if there would ever be a time that we wouldn't get to play with each other anymore. If growing up meant saying good-bye to all of this, then it really was the end of the world.

I had another, similar realization as I was reading Matched, by Ally Condie. I have always loved young adult novels. My top five favorite books of all time (if you count Harry Potter as one book) are all in the YA category. But despite the fact that I've been wanting to read this book for a few years, I just haven't been able to get into it. At one point I think I would have been able to root for Cassia's forbidden love, but now it's clear to me that she's risking the lives of everyone she loves for feelings that are real in the moment, but may not last forever.

And then it hit me. I think like an adult now, not a teenager or a child. Sure, I still act like a child all the time, especially when I'm around my siblings, but I've forgotten how to think like one. I'm not sure when that happened, but it makes me a little sad that I've crossed another milestone into adulthood.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A perfect, gloomy day

Can you jam "perfect" and "gloomy" into the same sentence without the words contradicting each other? Why yes, yes you can.

I opted to work at home this week while a majority of the marketing/sales staff is in Chicago for our biggest tradeshow of the year, and man was that a smart decision. I've been able to get my rocky sleep schedule back on track, I don't dread the mornings like I have for the past month, and--most importantly--I got my awesome back. I've gotten more done today than I did during the latter half of last week, and I'm still rolling.

The icing on top of this perfect day (aside from the fact that I get to wear my p.j. bottoms) is that I have two windows offering me a splendid view of the slightly-rainy-but-not-freezing-cold, gloomy-but-cozy day outside. Like I said: perfection.

Friday, March 15, 2013

When you lack the energy to dance through life

Some days, it's more tolerable to sit and stare than it is to drudge up the energy to smile as you cross off item after item on your to-do list. Working through burnout has got to be one of the least productive and satisfying activities ever devised.

There's always the hope of a weekend, another non-deceiving sunshiney day, emergency stashes of chocolate, and/or a new book to help combat the stupor of de-motivation, but sometimes a hope isn't enough to help you do what you need to do in the moment. Sometimes there are just one too many days in the week, too many responsibilities clamoring for your attention.

However, I've learned to accept that I can't be awesome 100% of the time. Even being awesome 50% of the time is a high order. This philosophy helps me get back on the track of awesomeness more quickly for one simple reason: it prevents me from taking a hit to my self-esteem. Losing motivation is frustrating enough, but berating yourself for losing your motivation escalates the problem exponentially.

I'm not necessarily giving up on this week, but I am letting it go. Ceasing to try so hard to care is often what allows the caring to come back naturally, which, in my experience, is what brings the awesome back.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

My pre-30s bucket list

I've never been much of a dreamer. A planner, yes, but not a dreamer.

I am happy to report that that's starting to change. Grad school has broadened my horizon and opened up whole new worlds of opportunities and possibilities, and suddenly the 100 years of life I expect to have don't seem like nearly enough time to do all the things I want to do.

That's why I've decided to create a bucket list. Listing everything I want to do over the next 70 years is a bit overwhelming--perhaps that's why I've never done this before--so I am focusing on the things I want to do before I'm 30. The clock is ticking: only 4 1/2 years + 1 week to cross all these things off my list.

  • Create my own homemade Ranch recipe that is as good as Brick Oven or BYU Ranch. I've been working on this one for a few years and I'm starting to get mad that I haven't discovered the secret yet.
  • Give snow skiing a try. Or snowboarding.
  • Learn and master Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue on the piano. All 27 pages of it.
  • Do at least one uncharacteristicly spontaneous thing, like skydiving or swimming with dolphins
  • Travel outside the U.S. (yes, Canada counts)
  • Visit at least two places in the U.S. I've never been to before
  • Buy a house
  • Buy a grand piano
  • Get married
  • Start a family
  • Go to Harry Potter world 
  • Become a more ambitious chef and create my own cookbook
  • Publish an essay/article in a prestigious magazine
  • Pay off student loans
  • Create my own library and/or music room
  • Get my master's degree
  • Stay physically fit, i.e., be able to play basketball or ultimate Frisbee for longer than five minutes without wheezing
  • Finish reading the entire Bible
Anything else I should add to my list?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Happy "The Worst Is Over" Day!

I think March 1 should be a holiday. Every year I mark it on my calendar with stars, smiley faces, and squiggly lings--the best I can muster with my two-year-old artistic abilities. The only other days that get this much decoration are paid holidays, Harry Potter releases, and days that I've been looking forward to for so long that I had to make a chain to help pass the time.

Today I felt like Mother Nature gave us all a gift. It was like she said, "I'm sorry January and February sucked more than usual this year; let me give you a warm, sunny day as a preview of things to come." Well, Mother Nature, January and February were unusually bad this year, but I suppose I can forgive you--but only because the suckiness wasn't entirely your fault.

My first acknowledged "The Worst Is Over" Day, so far, has gone down like this:
  • Today was a happy Friday, not a mad Friday.
  • I slept in until 7:08.
  • I wore a short-sleeved T-shirt for the first time in who knows how long. And not just any T-shirt--my Jimmer shirt. This pretty much guarantees a good day.
  • It was almost 40 degrees when I drove to work this morning. That's 20 degrees warmer than it's been since . . . November?
  • When I stepped outside at noon I didn't want to cower back inside. I felt the warmth from the sun and my sturdy leather jacket felt a bit out of season.
  • I went to Cafe Rio for lunch with the girls.
  • As we were pulling out of the parking lot stuffed to our ears with Mexican food, I spotted a bee on the driver's side window. The driver jumped into my lap and frantically tried to roll down the window with her boot. I know that bee stings are lethal for a lot of people, but I get some insane pleasure out of watching people's inner girls come out every time a half-inch-long insect comes buzzing innocently by.
  • I've been reminded once again that I have awesome co-workers.
  • I got two really good pieces of news. That shoulder massage I've been wanting for weeks? Yeah, totally don't need it anymore. Not that I would turn down any offers, though.
  • I have an awesome hermit night to look forward to--nothing but laundry, a good book, and my new favorite TV show, Parenthood, waiting for me at home.
  • I also have my first post high school spring break waiting for me just around the corner.
The only downside to this day is that I finished the last of my Cadbury mini eggs yesterday. I must go buy more.