Friday, March 25, 2016

The Worst.

Before Dallas I lived in Utah and California. Two places known for “bad” drivers. And while that’s not without good reason, I must say, Texas takes the cake.

That’s right. I’m declaring it right now. Texas has THE WORST drivers I’ve ever seen.

I think they get away with it a little bit because of the ONE good thing I’ve noticed about Texas drivers – they are generally really good about letting people over/in when you put your blinker on. But seriously, that’s it. In order to validate my claim I will list out the various offenses I’ve noticed multiple times. So without further ado, and in no particular order (other than understanding they all are terrible) here I go…

·         Blind lane changes
o   I live in the “burbs” but drive to downtown Dallas all the time. On MANY occasions driving to downtown I’ve almost gotten into an accident because people will switch lanes, even in tight traffic, without looking. And hello, I’m right here. Coming at you at up to 60+ mph sometimes. Stop doing that!

·         Complete disregarding for lines
o   I know this isn’t a big one, but it drives me NUTS. Solid white lines…. You’re not supposed to cross them! Of course we’d all love to move out of the merging lane early, but if it’s a solid white line you’re supposed to wait until it because dashed.
§  Ok I just looked this one up, and at least in Texas it’s not necessarily against the law to cross it, but it’s “strongly discouraged”. Either way, I still find it super annoying. But now that I know it’s not illegal I’ll probably start doing it. #hypocrite

·         Stopping on a freeway onramp
o   Yes, I have literally had this happen to me. As I was leaving work a week or so ago I went to get on the freeway, which already has a pretty short ramp length, when the car in front of me literally stopped on the ramp. WAS SHE TRYING TO GET US ALL KILLED?! I was so annoyed. And to really drive this point home (that’s somewhat confusing wording to use when actually talking about driving, but oh well), let me share a story that I heard when I attended the YSA ward I should technically be in. A very young (18 or 19 year old) girl started talking about how she wanted to go to an art museum in downtown Dallas. Now, like I said before, I live in a suburb about 35 minutes from downtown. To get there from my house I end up using about 3 or 4 different freeways. Well, apparently this girl had NEVER driven on a freeway. (How is that possible you ask? I will explain in the next bullet point.) So, once she decided to go to the museum in downtown she mapped out how to get there using just side streets. But then her GPS, which was supposed to be programed to avoid freeways completely, told her to go a certain way that resulted in her having to go on a freeway. Apparently it did not go well. The gist of the story was that she got off the freeway as soon as she could, pulled into a parking lot where she cried and spazzed out for like 15 minutes. And then she just drove home because she couldn’t handle trying to drive to downtown after that “horrible” ordeal. THAT IS A TRUE STORY. By a legal adult. America, we should be worried for our future.

·         No formal driver’s ed
o   Absurd right? I guess Texas isn’t unique in not having driver’s ed done through the school system. And I know that in Utah you can take it separately from the school offered class, but I’m pretty sure most people do the school program. Anyways, what that means is that here in Texas parents teach their kids how to drive. So every little driving quirk/issue the parents have the young driver now inherits. Did you know that all growing up I thought you had to constantly be moving the steering wheel to keep the car going straight? You want to know why I thought that? Because when my dad drove, he constantly shook the steering wheel. Once I starting driving however, guess what I discovered? For the most part, cars go straight all on their own. MIND BLOWN. A uniform training program, in my oh so wise opinion, is the best way to teach a large group to follow set rules and guidelines. Not individuals with different issues and knowledge bases. And that’s how you end up with people who have driven for years and have NEVER driven on a freeway. So Absurd.

·         Use of the left lane
o   Ugh, this one irritates me multiple times a week. People, the left lane is for cars that want to go fast. If you are going the speed limit, move over. The left lane is not for you.

Well, I think that sums up my main complaints. I love Texas, but man, the drivers here put the Utah and California drivers to shame with the dumb crap they do.

One final thought, and this isn’t a complaint, but rather an observation. When did everyone learn how to back into parking spots? I can parallel park like a boss (thank you LA), but backing into a spot… no way. Not something I can do. How did I miss this training that apparently everyone else took? The girl who can’t drive on a freeway can probably even back into a spot. And that’s just embarrassing… for me.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Not a club you want to join

I dealt with death numerous times growing up - including the loss of family members.

My maternal grandmother died right after my parents starting dating. My maternal grandfather died the month after I was born. My paternal grandfather died when I was 4. And my paternal grandmother died when I was 15. I’d experienced death.  

But losing my dad in 2014 was something else entirely.

It wasn’t just losing someone I had sporadic interaction with. It was losing a key player in my life. Someone who was supposed to be an integral part of events still to come. And it’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with.

Back in college, when my dad was first diagnosed with cancer, I had a few friends who had lost their fathers by that point. I relied on those friends so much during that time. Whenever I had questions or fears I talked to them. I pulled from their strength.

And then I became a member of that awful club. The dead dad club.

I learned very quickly that one thing you gain by becoming a member of this club is a level of empathy that you can’t gain any other way. And while everyone experiences and deals with death and grief differently, there is a level of commonality I’ve noted between those affected with the death of a key player. Whether it’s similarities between things that happened in those final days, how you’ve felt immediately after versus once a few months have passed, or how it still continues to impact you as the years pass by. We know. We’ve lived and continue to live it.

Last night I learned that a friend I’ve known since high school passed away yesterday. I am just stunned by this news. And I am having a really hard time understanding why. I know life isn’t fair, but this situation seems extra unfair. She was the nicest person. And that’s not an in memoriam blanket statement. She was genuinely one of the nicest people you could meet. In high school she was actually a friend of one of my close friends, but when I moved back to St. George in 2012 we lived in the same complex and because of that mutual friend, her and I developed a friendship that I will always be grateful for. I was worried about being back in St. George and not having friends, and here came Mallory and squashed all those worries. She recently celebrated her one year wedding anniversary with a guy that, although I never met him I knew, she loved more than anything. She was so happy with him. And just within the last 3 weeks she gave birth to their first child – a beautiful little girl. So why her? Why this girl who waited so long to find love, had finally found it, was just starting her family? It’s just so upsetting. And having a slight idea of what her family is dealing with right now my heart breaks for them. Her poor husband, left to raise their little girl without her mom. Her family, including a twin brother, left to try and pick up the pieces.

It’s at times like this my faith is truly tested. I do believe in a loving God, but I struggle when things like this happen. I try to understand that one day we will look back on the struggles of this life and think they weren’t that big of a deal (similar to how as adults we laugh at the “struggles” of childhood). But for now, my heart is sadden by the loss of this amazing person and for the loved ones left behind.


Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Clearly I need this...

Can we talk about my latest obsession for a moment? Of course we can, it's my blog. So here it is....

I mean, how cute is this little pedestal washing machine?! I know, I'm just one single person doing laundry for literally one person (who quite honestly doesn't even wash certain items of clothing until they have been worn a few times - judge away if you must). But I totally feel like I need one of these.

And here's my reasoning.

I have certain items that I wash separately - either because the color still bleeds or it attracts lint really bad or because I'm weird and love doing a million mini loads. So imagine how nice it would be to wash all these small/separate loads at the same time I'm washing my regular loads? Kind of amazing right?

And now you probably want one too. And I don't blame you. :)

*Also, can I get some kudos for not posting something so serious like I've been doing?! It was about time. :P

Monday, March 21, 2016

Scaredy Cat

*Warning: this post got unexpectedly deep. #TWSS J

As I’ve gotten older (and remained perpetually single) I’ve developed quite a fear of commitment. And not just when it comes to relationships. I don’t like to commit to plans to hang out, attend certain events, or otherwise obligate my time. There’s also a range to my commitment phobia. I can make plans to hang out with a particular person on a particular day and can even decide on a specific activity, but I’d rather not nail down a time if I can avoid it. Also if it’s too far in advance (more than a week or two), I’d rather not fully commit even though I have every intention of going and participating.

I know, it doesn’t make any sense. But what can I say, I guess I’m a classic Millennial in this way.

But, what if I’ve been lying to myself about this fear of commitment. What if it’s something else masking itself as commitment issues. A guy I knew in college is now attending the same ward as me here in Dallas. He has a blog called Zack’s Bowl of Oates. While I was perusing his blog I came across a post he did about his recent wedding dayand an emotion he had anticipated, but never ended up feeling – fear.

As a self-proclaimed commitment phobe, this post was pretty interesting to me. I knew Zack back in the days of living in Canterwood in Provo. He was in my singles ward. He seemed to date a lot and gave off the impression that he was a classic non-committal kind of guy. (No offense Zack. I also remember him as being nice and fun so there’s good stuff too.) But as I read his wedding day post I was shocked that he didn’t feel any fear.

Of course I’ve heard people say the whole “when you know you know” line. And honestly I still don’t know how much I believe that. There have been plenty of things I thought I “knew” only to realize years later that I had no clue what I was talking about. And especially in a culture where physical desires (for lack of a more graphic term) are being denied I wonder how much I’ll truly be able to trust my thoughts and feelings when that time comes. I worry that I won’t know if it’s real/right or if I’m just sick of being a virgin. Because trust me, I’M EXTREMELY SICK OF IT. And I don’t want to hear any of that “sex isn’t that great” B.S. You know why you say that…. because you’ve had it. Even if it’s not great, it’s still got to be more fulfilling that not doing it.

Anyways, back to Zack’s blog. He wrote something that really stood out to me. While talking about people who feel fear in relationships and dating he said,

“So don’t fear if you feel fear-it might not be you, it might just be that you haven’t found them. (And a simple way to tell if it is you…pray to fall in love and see if you mean it.)

Praying about relationships, marriage, and a future family. Check. Check. Check. I’ve done it all. But praying to fall in love. Now that’s an interesting way to look at it. And not something I’ve tried yet. Plus, like Zack said, it would be an interesting way to see if I actually mean it….

If I’m being honest, I do go back and forth about whether or not I want to get married. And I think it’s mostly out of fear. I’m terrified that I will fall in love with one person and then once we’re married realize it was all a sham. They are nothing like the person they “pretended” to be while we were dating. And I love babies and little kids, but maybe I’d be okay not having any. The thought of trying to raise good kids in today’s world is terrifying. How can I teach them to make good choices, develop strong beliefs, and avoid all the crap that’s out there? Maybe it’s not worth the potential pain of watching them make terrible choices. I think about that sometimes. And I consider the alternative. If I don’t get married in this life I do believe that I will get that opportunity in the next. Think about that. Getting married once you’re already on the other side. That’s got to be easier right?

I don’t know. Sometimes it’s like I attempt to talk myself into this way of thinking so I have a buffer for my true feelings. Another one of Zack’s posts that I like talked about fear again, but this time the fear of letting someone see the real you.

I have a fun enough personality to make friends, but sometimes I wonder how many people truly see/know the real me. I tend to come off as a transparent person, and in some ways I am, but people only see what we allow them to see. People often seem surprised when I make comments like “Oh yeah, I cried yesterday.” Just because I prefer joking and making light of situations doesn’t change the fact that, like everyone else, I have struggles. I have fears. I have doubts. And sometimes those thoughts get the better of me. I don’t like to dwell in those kinds of thoughts for very long, but sometimes they come up.

I’ve especially noticed that since my dad died feeling love has been an issue for me. My dad was always a huge source of unconditional love. No matter what argument or frustrations had happened (which weren’t many with him), he was always so good at showing his love by actions, words, and touch (which just so happen to be the ways I feel love. i.e. The 5 Love Languages). If I was about to leave after visiting for the weekend he’d walk me out to my car, always helping with my suitcases. If I didn’t go to give him a hug and kiss before leaving he’d come to give me one. And after two instances of him rescuing me after I’d broken down on the side of the road (once between St. George and Provo and once between LA and St. George) he would always send me little texts or voicemails saying how I still “owed him” whenever he was traveling past those spots. Knowing that that was a special memory we shared.

I honestly think that’s been one of the hardest factors in trying to deal with my dad’s death – losing that feeling and showing of unconditional love. It does create fear that maybe I’m not lovable enough. Don’t get me wrong, I still think I’m awesome and fun. But that’s different. I can be the awesome and fun friend that people want to hang out with. But am I truly loveable? Will someone be able to look past my flaws and truly love me? Will they really want to know everything about me? Will someone care enough to make the effort? 

It was another one of Zack’s posts that made me reflect on this today. It was a post called, “The REAL Reason You Fear Commitment” in which he said,
“But a commitment-phobia isn’t just founded on the fear of being hurt by someone or even the fear of hurting someone–it is founded on the fear of self reflection. You see, the more you commit to someone, the more you open up to them, the less your walls are put up, and hence, the more “you” you become around them.  And all this amount[s] to one scary fact: This means coming face to face with the person you’ve been trying to avoid. That person is the real, honest, genuine you. Not the “you” you wish you were or think you can become or hope others perceive you as…but you just as you are. Not that you aren’t great, but there are part of us we all want to…hide. The selfishness, the anger, the pride–the natural man.”
That sounds about right to me. But what this also showed me is that I’m not the only one thinking/feeling/worrying about this. And, in a sense, that’s comforting.
So, what am I taking away from this long and painfully honest at times post? I guess it’s to not get caught up in the fear. Like every emotion, fear is a temporary one. I shouldn’t let the moments of fear and doubt overshadowing the moments of peace and clarity. And maybe one day I will understand the "you know when you know" phenomenon. Until then, I think it's just about moving forward, working on the things I can improve upon personally, and knowing that the struggle is just part of the journey.


Friday, March 18, 2016

Funny Finds

Time for a laugh break....

Here are a few of the things I've found on Instagram that have made me laugh recently. Some of these include some very professional looking edits created by yours truly, but you should still get the gist. Enjoy!




Well that’s different….

My blog has suddenly become a report of my 30 day scripture reading challenge. But I will get back to other things soon enough. I just have to do one more post because of what happened last night during my reading.

The first few nights of reading I started getting answers and direction of where to turn next pretty much within the first minute or so that I started reading. And there seemed to be a good flow as I read.

Last night was the complete opposite.

I really struggled to know where to read. I had prayed and asked my question, and I asked to have the spirit direct my reading, but then it almost felt like radio silence.

Hello… anyone there?

After a while of not feeling like I was turning to the right spot and not getting anything out of what I was reading I wondered if maybe I had asked the wrong question. I had felt like it was a sincere question and that I could really use an answer to it, but when I wasn’t feeling anything I started to doubt. I even said a quick second prayer asking for more (any) direction and I even asked if I had asked the wrong question. But then I thought back to the challenge. The challenge said to “tell Him the one question you most need to have answered that day”. And I felt like the question I had asked fit that description. So I pressed on. I kept trying to get and feel something – anything. I was prompted to read my Patriarchal Blessing, which provided a bit of what I felt was an answer. And after that I got a little bit more. But definitely not what I had received the first few days of the challenge.

As I sat there wondering what had changed from the other nights I couldn’t pinpoint anything. But I did have one thought. Maybe part of my answer was the struggle. Almost like it was a test to see if I would keep going, keep trying, keep trusting. And to be honest, that’s the most fitting answer to the question I had asked.
Be patient. Keep moving forward. Keep trusting. Don’t give up. And don’t lose faith.  

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Two Decisions

I’m the kind of person who once I have a thought swirling around in my head I cannot move on until I’ve come to a decision. It’s all I can think about until there is some sort of resolution. I think it’s a good and super annoying trait of mine. A trait that has been in full swing here of late.

It’s no secret that for the past little bit I have been questioning whether I should go back to school and get a Ph.D. I’ve thought about it A LOT over the past week or so. I reached out to a friend who is just finishing up her Ph.D. and asked her a million questions about it. I looked up a bunch of different schools and found an Accounting Ph.D. program at the University of Texas – Austin and learned that applications are due Dec. 15th to be considered for entrance the following fall semester. I looked up details on the GMAT. And I prayed about it.

So yeah, I’ve been thinking about it just a bit. J

And for the majority of the day yesterday I felt like I had made a decision on what to do. I decided I would just apply to the UT-Austin program and see what happens. If I get in – great, I’ll get a Ph.D. If I don’t – oh well, I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. The application fees weren’t that much and the GMAT has to be easier than the CPA exam. So I really wasn’t going to lose much either way. And for most of the day that was where my thoughts “felt” settled.

It wasn’t until the last 5 minutes of my drive home from work last night that I came to my second and final decision. To be fair, this new resolution came to me during those final minutes of my drive home but weren’t cemented until I received the answers I got as part of my Day 3 scripture reading challenge (see earlier post). And that conclusion was this – trust God. Trust in the plan He has for my life. Trust in where He’s led me so far. Stop trying to change everything all the time. Take a minute and appreciate the life I’ve been given and have been able to create.

I have been very blessed in a number of ways. And when I sit back and think about it I realize that I’m in a really great position in my life. There is no need to make drastic changes. There are plenty of smaller projects I can work on to better myself and find more joy and happiness in my life.

So that’s where I am now. Although the thought of getting a Ph.D. is intense and kind of exciting, it is not the path I see for myself at this time. And that’s ok.

Let me end with one of the answers I received last night from my scripture reading. It’s from Jeremiah 17:7.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is.”

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Challenge Update & Other Thoughts

First I want to give a quick update on how the first two days of my 30 day challenge (see earlier post) have gone.

Honestly it’s been great so far. I was kind of scared the first night. I mean, I “knew” it would work, but I wondered how long it might take me to feel like I got an answer. And I think maybe Heavenly Father knew that and decided to help me out a bit, because my first night I got my answer basically right away. And it was interesting because I kept reading after I felt like I got my answer (because it had happened so quickly) but the more I read the less I felt like I was feeling the spirit. And I didn’t really feel like I was being directed in my reading any more. When I texted my friend about this she responded that this will also be an interesting learning experience to help us better understand how the spirit speaks to us. And I think she is very right. 

Now, last night was quite opposite. For a few different reasons. First off I didn’t want to go “too hard” with my question on day 2 – maybe day 29 and 30, but not day 2. So even though I had had one thing on the brain for the last few days, I asked a more watered down version of my question. And guess what… I got my answer to that question. And again it came quicker than I anticipated. But, unlike day 1, I didn’t feel done. So I kept reading. And what came next made me instantly start crying as the Holy Ghost directed me to answers for the question I was too nervous to ask. It was a very special experience. And although I’m still not positive about the action I should or should not take, I do feel like my mind was able to clear. The thoughts swirling around in my head have settled down a bit. I feel a renewed/greater sense of trust in my Father in Heaven and His plan for me and my life as well as the trust He puts in me to make good decisions.

So, it’s safe to say that after 2 days of this challenge it is already shaping up to be a great boost in my life.

Now on to some other thoughts…

In an order to procrastinate getting out of bed in the morning, I (like most people I presume) tend to grab my phone and open Facebook and Instagram to see all the exciting things I missed since I last checked it 6-7 hours earlier right before I went to sleep. Well this morning when I did that I stumbled across an article that I felt resonated with me. The article is called “Why Millennial Women Are Burning Out”. Interesting right? I don’t necessarily feel like I’m “burning out”, but I do feel like I don’t know if I want to do what I’m currently doing for the rest of my career/life. So I definitely felt like this article applies to me. And one thing the article said really stood out it me. In speaking of these millennial women that burn out it said,

“They don’t know what they are striving for, which makes it really hard to move forward."

Yep, that sounds about right. I mean, I’m still moving forward (I think. Ok, I hope.), but I don’t really know what for. Do I see myself doing what I’m doing for the rest of my life and being “happy enough” with it? That’s the million dollar question at the moment. Anyways I thought it was an interesting read.
Another interesting thing I stumbled across yesterday was from an article called “3 qualities of successful Ph.D. students: Perseverance,tenacity and cogency”. As I was going along reading this article I chuckled a little when I came across this suggestion,

“I recommend that new students start a blog. Even if no one else reads it, start one. You don't even have to write about your research. Practicing the act of writing is all that matters.”

Interesting timing right? J I thought so at least. 
Who knows what the future will bring. Hopefully I will get even more clarity on what to do – either to make a change or to keep on the current path. Until that happens there are plenty of the normal daily challenges to fill my time and thoughts. And if I run out of that, there’s always Netflix. J


Monday, March 14, 2016

A Confession & A Challenge

Not that I believe in public confessions, but I found the timing of things to be interesting and worth showing the connection. So, let me begin with a confession.

Last night, after attending church in the morning and a mid-single’s FHE activity in the evening, a friend and I stopped and picked up a pizza and sodas from a gas station and went back to her place and chowed down. 

I have typically taken a very staunch stance on keeping the Sabbath day holy. I have not always been great about filling the day with spiritually uplifting activities, but I have been good about not shopping/eating out/going to the grocery store on Sunday (with the except of when I’m traveling). But last night, after resisting the urge to break the Sabbath for a minute, I quickly decided it wasn’t that big of a deal. I didn't do this because of any sort of peer pressure, but rather it was a conscious decision I was fine making. And in the moment I didn’t feel bad about it. 

Later on in the night though I did start to feel bad about what I had done. Not because I think I did the worst thing ever by grabbing food on Sunday, but because I felt like it’s a sign that maybe I’m starting to slack a bit in my spiritual strength/growth. It’s a concern I’ve been having for a while now and I felt like this was a blatant sign of that. And it's something I told myself I do not want to do again.

And now the challenge...

I have been very blessed in my life with good friends. Heavenly Father has put amazing people in my path that truly help me to be a better person. One of those people reached out to me this morning and asked if I wanted to do a 30 day challenge with her. 

Of course I asked for more information before I could say yes to anything (#commitmentphobe).

My friend shared with me a link to a Worldwide Devotional for Young Adults that was given earlier this year. About 21 minutes into the broadcast Sister Wendy W. Nelson, the wife of Elder Russell M. Nelson, gave the following challenge.

“Would you be willing to try an experiment for 30 days? 

Daily kneel and thank your Heavenly Father for the scriptures. Tell Him the one question you most need to have answered that day. Plead to have the Holy Ghost with you as you read. Then open your scriptures anywhere, and read until you find the answer. Try it for 30 days and see what happens.” 

I’m not going to lie, this challenge scares me a lot. Not because I don’t believe it will work, but because I’m scared to have to try and live the answers I will receive. But I also feel like this challenge, and the specific timing it was brought to my attention, is a direct answer from my Father in Heaven about the concern I’ve had about where I am spiritually. And it’s His way of helping me with this concern. 
So tonight will be night one of the challenge. I don’t know what I’m going to ask about yet, but I have decided I will keep a journal of my questions as well as the answers I receive. 
Click here for the link to the broadcast details. Both the talk by Sister Nelson and the one President Nelson gave were amazing. Read/listen to them both! And if you feel like you could benefit from this challenge, I encourage you to give it a shot. My friend and I we will be sending each other a daily text – either saying something like “I got my answer” or giving more details if we feel it’s appropriate to share. I find it super helpful to be accountable to someone for challenges like this. So, if you want to do this and be accountable to someone I can be that person for you. 
Let me end with a quote from President Nelson’s talk that I love, 

“Prophets see ahead. They see the harrowing dangers the adversary has placed or will yet place in our path. Prophets also foresee the grand possibilities and privileges awaiting those who listen with the intent to obey.“

I hope that over the next 30 days I will be able to “listen with the intent to obey” the direction I receive and become closer to the person I am meant to be.

Friday, March 11, 2016

I can see it

Well I could see it before I started googling this morning.

Last night I was imagining what it would be like to be a professor. I thought back to my college days and some of my favorite professors. I thought about what I would teach. It was nice.

But then this morning came. I started googling. And reality hit. So now I feel like I’m back at square one and have no clue what to do with my life. Can someone please just tell me what to do?!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

I ain’t no good at this

I will never be a “good” writer. For many reasons.

First off, I write like I talk. If I use filler words when I’m saying something (either aloud or in my head) then I typically write those filler words down. I want whoever reads my writing to feel like they are hearing me say it. Not a polished version of myself, but the real, imperfect, honest me. So that’s one (and probably the biggest) reason.

Issue number two is that I’m just not good at writing. I never have been. I was going through some old papers when I came across my teacher’s comments on a rough draft story I had written for my English class in high school. My teacher kept noting all the times I’d switch between different tenses during the story. And frankly that is something I still struggle with a lot today.

Another issue is that my writing, like my real life conversations, can sometimes jump all over the place. One second I’m writing about this idea or story and then instantly I switch and am somewhere completely different. That’s just how my brain works. I make random connections between things and I follow them.

And I guess the last major problem is that my fingers don’t type as quickly as my mind thinks and therefore sometimes things come out a little screwy. I do proofread. I typically reread my writings over and over again. But sometimes I think the eyes see and the brain connects what they want to and sometimes the issues, even though very clear, are missed.

But even with all these flaws, I have actually really enjoyed writing on my blog again. It helps me sort through my thoughts. It allows me to say things I wouldn’t typically say. And well, why not. So, sorry I’m not a better writer, but this what I’ve got.

I’m gonna need a do-over

Is it too late to realize I don’t know what I want to do with my life?

Eleven years ago I thought it would be a good idea to let 18 year old me decide what my future would hold. I was still in high school and had just been accepted BYU. One night, while riding in my best friend’s car, I was flipping through BYU’s catalog of majors and I picked accounting. That was it. That was the entire thought process I gave to my future career/academic path. 

And the rest is pretty much history.

But seriously, what did I know?! I was 18 years old, still living at home, and had no clue what real life would be like. I don’t know why I gave myself so much credit that I could make such an important, life-directing decision in one fail swoop.

Even during my 5 years at BYU I never questioned the choice I made that night. 

And things went well. The first 2 years there I did fine with my general classes. (Well I had a mini freak-out the first time I didn’t get an “A” in a class. But then I learned a saying that would serve me well throughout my remaining time in college – B’s get degrees.) Then after my first two years I got into the accounting undergrad program. That insanely hard year fed right into me applying to the Master’s program in tax. Got in there too. So everything was working out exactly as 18 year old me had lined it up to. Except one thing…. 

I never really thought about life after college. 

I mean, sure I had had an internship with PwC in LA the summer before my last year of college which led to a job offer once I graduated the following April, but I never thought long term about my career. And I realize now that I never did that for one BIG reason.

I never expected to have a long career. 

Sure I’d work for a few years. Use the education I worked moderately hard to get and then I was going to be a stay-at-home mom. Duh. How else would life turn out? Young, easy-going, fun-seeking me never considered the fact that I may be in the work force for a VERY long time. As in… until I retire at 65…. or later. 

I can honestly say that concept NEVER crossed my mind. In all of the years of me not dating and never being in real relationships the thought NEVER crossed my mind that that pattern of being the always single girl would continue as I got older. 

And now, here I am. 6 years into my career just as single as I was the day I sat in my friend’s car with that catalog of majors. 

I find myself second guessing my choice a lot and wondering if there’s still time for me to make a change. Well I guess I’m not wondering IF I can make a change, but rather WHAT that change would be. 

For a long time now, every time I go through a mini life-crisis, I’ve told myself I really want to go to hair school. While a part of me is nerdy and math/excel loving there is also a part of me that is creative and a bit artsy. That side barely gets to come through anymore. But I’ve thought that hair would allow me to do both. I’d have to understand the chemicals and reactions that could come from doing different color mixtures and whatnot and I could be more creative with cuts/colors (although obvious the client would tell me what they want). As you can tell I’ve thought into this. And in the past couple of weeks I’ve been considering it even more. But this time I’ve done what I failed to do at 18. I’ve spent time thinking about the reality of this profession and I think I’ve talked myself out it. I realized that whenever I thought about doing hair, I was thinking more about how useful I think it would be if I did ever have a family that I could cut their hair. And it would be fun to work from home. But that’s not the reality. The reality is standing on my feet all day. Dealing with clients with unrealistic expectations. Wondering if I’ll have enough bookings to make enough money that week/month. Washing people’s hair and scrubbing their scalp, even if it’s nasty. And the more I thought about the realistic day to day life of a stylist the more I realized I don’t know if that’s the right fit for me either.

The funny thing is that while I was sitting here writing this another thought popped into my head and it’s something I’ve actually considered a few times before as well. What about becoming a professor? I’ve said for years now that my favorite calling in church has been teaching. So what if I did make a career out of something I already enjoy? Well, this would mean I’d need to get a PhD in order to teach at most decent universities which is where I’d want to teach anyways. At this is what has stopped me in the past when I’ve had these thoughts. 

BUT…. what if I did an online PhD program? I would need to do some research on if I could find a decent online school/program that would result in a PhD that would actually help me get a job at a respectable university at the end of the process. But it’s not a terrible idea. I could do classes on my own time and at my own pace while still continuing to work my normal job. And nothing says I’d have to be a professor at the end of the process. It just gives me that opportunity. Obviously I need to give this idea some more serious thought, but I don’t hate it. In fact I’m kind of really excited about the idea. But we’ll see how I feel after some more time and more research.

I just feel like I’m kind of at a unique crossroads in my life. I’m far enough into my career to better understand what the future will/can look like if I continue doing what I’m doing. But I’m still early enough in my career that I don’t feel like it’s too late to make a change.

I had a really interesting conversation with a friend the other day where we talk about this idea of being an imposter. And worrying that one day our boss will discover we’re not actually that good at our jobs. Our skill level isn’t really where they think it is. We’re not understanding concepts like we are supposed to at this stage in the game. And they will realize we are a total imposter. I had never really thought about this concept until our conversation, but it does reflect how I feel most of the time about my job/career. It’s like somewhere along the line I picked up this identifier as the nerdy tax accountant girl. And when I realized this title seemed fitting I ran with it and used it whenever it seemed applicable. 

But guess what, I find tax pretty dang boring. Sure sometimes my brain will automatically jump to tax stuff in normal conversations but I think that has more to do with the fact I’ve been doing/talking about tax for basically the last decade. It’s been on the brain. But I don’t love it. And I don’t know that I ever will. 

So before it’s too late, maybe it’s time to find something I do love….

Monday, March 7, 2016

So What If They Die

I feel like I always hear of women that hate getting flowers from their (fill in relationship status here) because they die and it’s a waste of money. While everyone is entitled to their own opinion, here is why I think flowers are a worthwhile use of excess money (if you have it). 
I’ll share the first analogy that popped in my head when I thought of the “flowers die so don’t waste money on them” concept. Food turns into poop, but you still spend money on that. So what I’ve determined is that the fact they die isn’t the issue, it’s that they aren’t a necessity. And if you don’t have excess funds then of course I can understand not wanting someone to constantly be spending money you don’t have on something you don’t really need. 
But here is the super simple reason for why I love getting flowers. They are pretty. And they make me happy. Not like eternally happy or anything intense like that. But it’s really hard to look at beautiful flowers and not feel a little happy inside. They look great. They smell nice. And they add a little pop of color to their surroundings. 

Here is a beautiful arrangement that I found sitting on my desk this morning when I came into work.
My boss’s daughter, who owns a flower shop here in DFW, had a bridal expo this weekend that she was a part of. Instead of throwing away the flowers after the show my boss decided to bring them into work and leave them on different people’s desks. Such a simple and thoughtful act, but it has totally brightened up my Monday. 

Moral of the story, if I’m ever in a relationship I hope my guy will surprise me with pretty flowers from time to time.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Why So Serious

For someone who jokes constantly in real life, I've noticed my posts on here tend to be pretty serious. I'm going to try to mix that up going forward and add some humor into my blog. So in that spirit, enjoy some funny memes I just found on Google.

*Mostly just "What I really do" is accurate. The others I would probably rearrange a bit.

What's in the mix

Last night I went to get my hair done by a new hairstylist I’d found on Instagram. Not only did she do a great job on my hair, but we also had some really interesting conversations. In particular we talked about race. And if you think that’s a bold topic to discuss the first time you meet someone don’t worry, we spent a good chunk of time talking about religion too. It was a very open and honest conversation. I really enjoyed it. Anyways, back to race. 

There were actually 3 of us there in this conversation – the stylist, myself, and another girl who was getting her hair done too. (She and I would alternate in the chair. That was kind of a new experience having someone else at the same time as my appointment essentially, but I actually liked it.) And the great thing was we all had different background/experiences with race. 

I am clearly a white girl. Made even whiter with my bleach blonde hair. But my mom is half Italian and definitely looks more Italian than white. Simply put, she’s brown. And after a few hours in the summer sun she gets super dark. So although I think my mom would mark white/Caucasian in any ethnicity box (I only thought about this recently and haven’t asked her about it), we typically consider and called her brown. There’s even a long standing joke that when my dad (who grew up in a predominately Mexican neighborhood) first saw/bumped into her he thought she was “a little Mexican girl”. The point being, that although I’m white I don’t think I’ve ever considered myself white-white. If that makes sense. There’s some color mixed in there. It just happens to hide deep under the surface of my skin. 

The other girl getting her hair done is what I would consider “white-white”. All white heritage (or as far as she knew). But she had two kids from her first husband who was Puerto Rican and her current husband that she also has two kids with is black. She also has 3 black siblings that her mom adopted when she was in her teenage years. So although she’s “white-white” she has had some unique race experiences because of her family make up. 

The stylist is one of those people that at first glance you don’t really know what her ethnicity is. From the few pictures I’d seen of her on Instagram I assumed she was Hispanic. Possibly Puerto Rican or something similar. And she said she’s gotten that a lot. And while she does have a very small amount of Puerto Rican blood in there, she is half black/half white. Her father’s black and her mother’s white. And she is married to a man that is half Mexican/half white.  

So needless to say we all come from different and unique backgrounds. 

We talked about a lot of different items last night. And like most things that deal with race there are of course a million exceptions to everything. And although we talked in generalities we all knew and noted that our comments and experiences were not reflective of the entire population we were discussing. But here are some of the main topics: 
  • The reaction the “white-white” girl gets when she’s out with her black husband and mixed kids including stares and little comments that are made
  • The reaction the “white-white” girl gets when she’s out with her mom and adopted siblings
  • How people don’t realize the stylist is part black and will make derogatory comments about black people in front of and to her
  • The hostility that is felt from black women towards white women with black men, including from the man’s family
  • The difference between “African American” black men and “African” black men
  • If there are black Mormons (Shocker… yes! Just not as many as I would like in the wards I’ve been in)
  • How my family would react if I brought home a black guy (which is my life goal #nojoke)
  • The hostility towards light skinned black people from dark skin black people
  • What it meant to be a “House Slave”
  • Having “good hair” and the negative reactions from some black women
  • The stereotype of the angry black women and the true examples we’ve seen of that stereotype
  • How some black women will require men they date to start paying their bills right from the start
  • How dark black women are not seen (or very sadly don’t feel like they are seen) as beautiful as lighter skinned black women
  • BeyoncĂ© - that she is light skinned so she is more accepted by the mainstream population, how the Super Bowl was a different side to her than the mainstream typically sees, and the hilarious SNL skit
  • And a number of other topics
It was interesting talking about so many of the issues from different angles. I personally think race is something we should talk about more. But for educational purposes. Not to degrade or condemn based on race. I will never understand what it’s like to be black. But how else will I learn about it than by speaking opening about race with people who are. And vice versa. There are things I will deal with as a white person that someone of a different race will not. And the same can be said for every other race – Asian, Hispanic, Middle-Eastern, Indian, etc. Until we all start openly talking about real issues and experiences I don’t see any future where race isn’t a hot button issue.

Even while I was writing this I thought about the possibility that I may offend someone by using the term “black” instead of “African American”. I did this for a couple reasons. First off, there are plenty of people that are black but are not African Americans, and there is no reason to exclude them from this conversation. And same goes for the term white. Not all white people come from the same place. Technically I am not “white” I am English-Italian, but when you look at me you see a white person. And I am okay with that. Another reason I used these broader terms is that I don’t believe these words are inherently offensive. It’s not the words black and white that are offensive it’s the words we use around them that set the tone.

For me the issue is when color determines how you will treat a person. How you value someone and their worth. That’s what it all comes down to. It’s not about race, it’s about how we treat each other. How we speak about and to others. Doing what we can to understand the other person and help each other become better.

It’s not about becoming colorblind, it’s about become color-aware. Understanding peoples backgrounds and perspectives. Understanding and openly discussing our differences. And learning to embrace the unique heritage we all have.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

One on One

Disclaimer: This post is kinda lame. I felt that way as I was writing it and even now as I'm about to post this, but it's been on my mind the last little bit so here it is....

As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed I tend to spend more time one on one with friends versus getting big groups together. On a typical weekend I’ll make plans with 1 friend or another, but rarely do I try getting multiple people together. Recently I’ve been thinking about it because I sometimes wonder if I hurt people’s feelings by not inviting them to do stuff with me and other people. Which is never my intention.  

I am all about true friendships. If I only had one friend, as long as they were a real/true friend, that would be enough for me. And typically throughout the different phases of my life I have a few REALLY good friends and then a handful of more causal friends. That’s not to say I don’t value and enjoy spending time with my more casual friends. I definitely do. But I feel like I get (and therefore tend to give) more to my really close friendships. We have deeper/more honest conversations. I trust them with the good and bad aspects of my life and personality. I can be myself around them. And what I have noticed is that these true/deep conversations seem to happen more on a one to one basis. And I think it’s for that reason that I tend to like to hang out one on one with people.

Don’t get me wrong, big groups can be fun too. It’s nice not having to be such an integral part of the conversation sometimes. And you can get different opinions/thoughts at the same time (i.e. when my friends and I get together to watch The Bachelor). So there definitely are nice aspects to getting groups together – obviously.

I guess the point of this post is that if we’re friends and you hear me talk about going to dinner or hanging out with someone and not inviting you, don’t be upset. It’s not because I don’t like you or want to hang out with you. And if you want to hang out in a bigger group, you can organize it and invite me. :P

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

35 Seconds

Last night I went to dinner with a good friend and in the course of our conversation the topic of dating came up. While I have not had great luck in dating (or even much experience with it) I try to maintain a positive outlook. I try to remind myself that all it takes is one time of working out. It doesn’t matter how many times it doesn’t work or go the way I had hoped, it just needs to work out once.

But what if that “once” opportunity doesn’t come around?

My friend said something that really stuck out to me. Her experiences have led her to believe and feel like this scenario has to be true. It’s the 35 second rule. Which can most simply be described as it takes a guy 35 seconds from the time they meet a girl to decide whether or not they will be interested in her. And once that 35 seconds is up, their opinion does not change. They may become best friends with the girl, but they will not pursue or want a romantic relationship with her. My friend has had multiple conversation with different guys in her life that have confirmed this “fact” for her.

I have to choose not to believe this though.
And maybe I’m being delusion to make myself feel better that one day someone will look past my physical shortcomings and see the great person I truly am. But in all honesty I don’t feel like it’s a delusion at all. To be fair, I do think the 35 second rule may apply to a larger number of men than I would like to believe, BUT I do not believe it applies to all of them. I had a guy friend in college who was not into a girl who had a huge crush on him. However, after months of friendship, they briefly dated. They didn’t date for very long before breaking up and I was even told he had made some pretty harsh statements about not being into her physically (which I do not condone in any way, but it ties back to this 35 second concept). For a period of time it seemed like the 35 second rule applied here even when they tried to force their way around it. But, flash forward to today and these two are happily married (to each other) and have a cute, happy, and loving little family. And I feel like it is worth noting that her physical appearance did not change much over the years. So although it may have slowed things down for this couple, the 35 second rule did not win out in this case.

Now I can’t condemn anyone for making an initial judgment on someone based on their looks. I am just as guilty of doing this as the next person. However I think the real detriment is not taking the time to get to know that person better and allowing ourselves the opportunity to change that initial decision. Some of my best friends throughout the years have been people I did not initially think I would get along with very well. And some of my favorite guy friends (that I kick myself for not trying harder to date) are guys I did not find attractive initially.

As I sit here trying to think of how to wrap up this post, the Missy Elliot song “One Minute Man” just popped into my head and on repeat is….
Break me off, show me what you got
Cause I don't want, no one minute man

And although the reference is pretty different, the sentiment is similar….

Take some time, find out who I am
Cause I don’t want, no 35 second man