I was looking around the internet for a little inspiration today, internet, and I came across a list of questions from Operation Meditation that I thought were mildly interesting. I particularly liked No. 1. – Is it worse to fail at something or never attempt it in the first place?
When I was younger – say, high school freshman – I used to think life was a series of planned out, easy-to-follow steps that if followed correctly, would eventually led to riches and stardom. You go to high school, then college, then grad school, then you choose a job from the hordes of people falling over themselves to give you a job and then suddenly you’re a Victoria’s Secret model (my grip on reality when I was younger was loose at best). Shitty stuff like diabetes and divorce and identity theft happened to people who didn’t follow the steps. Life is like a baking recipe – you skip the baking soda and those cookies are going to suck.
But then my guidance counselor failed to send out my transcripts on time, so I missed the deadlines on a bunch of schools. My best friend was diagnosed with leukemia and, after a three year battle with it, passed away. I was (wrongly) diagnosed with diabetes. I failed my sculpture midterm and my art history midterm and my astronomy midterm right in a row (sorry, parents). I was cheated on by my boyfriend with a close friend of mine (it was complicated). I got declined from six different grad schools (six? Seven? Many).
At some point over the last six months or so, I finally realized that life is not a recipe at all. Life is playing darts, drunk and possibly blindfolded, and you think that you’re playing one game, but halfway through the other people playing decide to switch the rules around and no one bothers to tell you. Or maybe life is like being a mouse in a maze, but all the lights are off and you keep bashing your head into walls because you are a mouse and you are kind of stupid.
At any rate, you fail a lot in life.
Some of those failures are huge failures, or at least they seem huge at that moment. When I failed those midterms, I felt like the world was dropping out from under me. Now? Meh. Didn’t come up in the job interview, strangely enough.
Some of those failures are your fault, and some of them aren’t. Sometimes it seems like life fails you, or that life’s not fair. When your best friend dies when you’re 20, that’s not fucking fair. That’s life failing.
At any rate, you can’t predict failure, most of the time. Sure, if you’re entering a salsa competition without ever dancing before, that’s predictable, hilarious failure ready to happen. That’s one thing. But most of the time you can’t predict when something in your life is going to blow up and go horribly, horribly wrong.
So what, then? You sit down and have a cry and some chocolate, and then you keep pushing. No, I didn’t get into grad school, but I ended up with a fantastic job. Yes, my ex-boyfriend cheated on me in a horrific, dramatic manner, but I learned from it and waited and ended up with someone way better.
Yeah, life is hard. Life is mean, and you keep bumping into obstacles and reaching and trying and losing. But it’s also brilliant and beautiful, and reaching for that next rung on the monkey bars is always worth it, fall or not.
Now that the psycho-craziness of November is over and Mi Madre’s home from Africa, I’m sort of feeling… I don’t know. Lazy? Like I have too much free time? Empty?
Which is crazypants, because my life is damn busy enough without doing both my job and my mother’s.
However, I’m feeling like I need a new project of sorts. Or a hobby. Or maybe a pet (not a pet).
Do you ever get that feeling, internet? You run yourself into the ground doing a huge project or favor or life, and then when the stress lets up you don’t really know what to do? Like Inigo Montoya after he gets revenge on his father’s killer?
Or, you know, not like that.
Any ideas, internet?
If you’re wondering, no, I didn’t have a reason for not posting a Yoga Tuesday blog yesterday, other than the fact that I thought it was still Monday.
Don’t judge me.
1. Don’t forget your own damn blog schedule.
2. If you put flowers in your house, people will think you’ve got your shit together. Until those flowers die, and they’re still in your house. Then not so much.
3. Make not wearing makeup to work a habit. That way, if you show up to work looking a rachet mess with no makeup on, you can just pretend you’re sick, and no one will suspect a thing.
4. Memorize one smart sounding thing about politics or the economy or culture every day to slip casually into conversation. For example:
Coworker: Man, I hate how the bank is closed on Sunday. It’s so inconvenient.
You: Just like the government, huh?
5. Occasionally leave parties early and tell people you’re going home so you can get up early the next morning and hit the gym, because you’re training for a 5k / a marathon / the Olympics / NASA.
6. Quote people no one has ever heard of. Actually, no, don’t. That’s just annoying.
7. Keep your car really clean.
8. Tuck your shirt in. Preferable wear shirts that are ironed. Or at least clean, with few / no holes.
9. Stop getting drunk in public. No one wants to see that. Also, if you’re out of college, what are you doing getting drunk anyways? In fact, if you’re in college, you shouldn’t be getting drunk either. Everyone stop getting drunk.
10. Have a definitive answer to the question where do you see yourself in five years? Then do that thing.
Hey internet. It is a beautimous day here in where-I-live and the tourists are flowing regularly through the visitor’s centre. It’s move-in weekend for both of the colleges up here, so we’ve had a regular flow of people moving their kids in and wanting to know how to get to Bed Bath and Beyond and Tarjay and Weggies to buy bed sheets and computer cords and stuff.
If I may wax poetic for a moment (and I may, because it’s my blog and I do what I want) I feel weird about student move-in this year. Not like, I-really-miss-being-in-college-and-wish-I-was-moving-in-myself weird, but more of a I-feel-very-disconnected-from-this-entire-process weird. Which is in itself weird, because last year when the students came back, I was so upset that I moped around for a week and had long conversations with anyone who would listen that I hated everything and wanted to move back to my college town.
Weird weird weird.
You know when you write a word too many times and it just starts to look like it’s not a real word anymore?
Yet I digress.
Life is like that. One day you’re pretty sure you are going to be a princess when you grow up, or that you’re meant to be with the person you’re dating for the rest of forever, or that you can’t graduate from college and become a real person being the idea makes you physically ill. In the moment, your emotions are too big and spiky and powerful to disconnect from them.
So you ride it out. And you deal with the fallout, and take the day moment by minute by millisecond.
The next day, or week, or year, miraculously, things change. You’re pretty sure that you actually want to be a doctor, not a princess, and yeah, thinking back on it, your last boyfriend was a total ass, and weirdly enough, you are really glad you don’t go to college anymore.
If you’re going through that right now, it won’t last, I promise.
Ride it out, my friends.
This isn’t a yoga related blog per say (or at least, what it ended up as isn’t, even though the concept totally was), but I am writing it in half-pidgeon, so I’m going to count it.
So I pitched this awesome idea today to the Director at my job, and the core idea isn’t exactly super important to this blog post, really, but basically it would involve talking to the local high-school about how awesome the city we live in is. It’s an idea I’ve actually had floating around in my head for a little while now. It’s also an idea that no one else understands my excitement about.
Anyways, the Director and I chitchatted about it, and he said he’d like to see me flesh it out a little more and come back, and then he said something along the lines of is this one of your life goals? and I honestly answered, yes.
I’d like to explain that answer a little.
Like most 20-somethings, the questions what do you what to do with your life? Where do you see yourself in five years? and especially what are you going to do with that Art degree? fill me with an emotion somewhere between the urge to cry and the urge to run away. As a coping method, I came up with a list in college of things I would like to accomplish in my life that I felt would contribute to my eventual career. The career part I envisioned less as a concrete job, but more of a sort of vague and misty shape made out of projects that I accomplished over a long period of time.
See? There’s my Art degree in action. My life is a series of projects. Kind of like a career oriented bucket list. Or a to-do list. Or something.
Some of these projects were a little… less well thought out that others. Some of these projects aren’t actually projects.
Nevertheless, here’s the list. I starred the ones I’ve already completed.
-Give a lecture as a guest speaker at both of my alma maters.
-Record a CD or DVD.
-Publish a thesis or dissertation.*
-Publish a creative novel or compilation of works.
-Host a gallery show.*
-Lead a special project.*
-Organize and host a big workshop of some kind.
-Have to travel a long distance for an important business meeting.
-Attend a conference as a pivotal speaker.
-Be invited to an interview for a news source.*
-Attend jury duty.
Hilariously, this list was written when I was still pretty convinced I could make it as an intellectual writer slash artist who was mostly a recluse and also a millionaire and also possibly a rockstar slash supermodel.
The question of what or who I want to be is still terrifying to me, because half the time I have too many options, and half the time I just want to be me, doing what I’m doing. However, silly as it is, the list keeps me going. It gives me direction, vague as it is.
It’s open enough to allow for experimentation, and ambitious enough to keep pushing me forward.
I’ve already crossed off four of the things on this list, and hopefully with the next three months, I’ll be able to cross off two more (no, I’m not telling you which two. You have to guess.)
I guess my moral is that you don’t always have to have an end goal to keep moving forward.
Blessed are the flexible, for they never get bent out of shape.
There. I knew I’d bring it back around to yoga.
P.S. – Am I the only one who thinks the concept of jury duty is really exciting??
Hey internet. Sorry if the last few posts have been a little… bizarre. Life’s been hectic recently.
Actually, on that note, a brief, real-life-real-time update. As of Thursday, I am no longer living in my parent’s house! Varenka and I have our own adorable (okay, adorable is a strong word) apartment centrally located in Where-I-Live, USA, about 6 blocks and a neighbourhood away from mes parents. Moving is apparently terrible. More on that soon.
Second update, the same week that I moved into the new digs, I got a new job! (promotion? Semi-promotion?) at the Visitor’s Centre! I’ll be doing some very cool social marketing, public relations and website-based copy writing stuff, which is as swanky-sounding as it is super exciting. However, I’m now essentially working full time there, which means that with my yoga job on top of that, I’ll probably be pushing 50-55 hours a week working my two favorite things.
Somebody pinch me.
Anywho, what with the move, the new job, and the fact that I don’t have internet yet in the new apartment (Gallifrey), the blog postings for the next week or so may continue to be… odd.
I guess we’ll see what happens.
I might officially have the two stupidest dogs on the planet.
Let me explain.
I’m still in Canada visiting my grandparents, whose house is right on the lake. Not lake close. Not lake side. Lake on.
My two golden retriever puppies, Patty Mayonnaise and Dr. Pepper, are H2o enthusiasts. They swim like otters who have spend the entire morning unattended in a candy shop. Patty, in particular, is aqua obsessive. She will figuratively swim until she dies. Pepper enjoys BEING in water, but less so the physical aspect.
Let’s omit the part where it took them 15 minutes to even figure out that the house was near a body of water. Namely, the 15 minutes it took for me to put a swimsuit on and take them down to the beach. Come on, dogs.
No, the part that had me in stitches was the part where my dear dogs could not see the massive schools of spawning carp that were literally underneath their noses.
Side note – did you see what I did up there with the correct usage of figuratively and literally? That’s how it’s done, internet.
Yet I digress.
Each spring, the lakefront right outside my grandparent’s house is home to multiple healthy populations of fish… uh… doin’ it. As only fish can do. Meaning by laying eggs and – you know what, you get the idea.
I distinctly remember one day when I was a kid, about 7 years old. I was swimming in the shallows and I caught, with my bare hands, a pike who was clearly sedated by his (her?) post-coital bliss. I grabbed hold of the struggling serpentine shape and high-tailed to the house, where mi familia was enjoying some late afternoon apéritifs.
I proudly walked into the middle of this pleasant gathering, and said (true story), “Look! I caught dinner!”
It took some time for then to convince me to put the fish back in the lake. Apparently people don’t eat pike (reasons why I’m single #4 – I’m wicked good at catching spawning pike).
Long story summarized – lots of fish up in this lake. Massive fish. I saw at least five 10-pounders.
What catches my dog’s attention, pray tell? What makes them raise their hackles and growl and clash their teeth?
This inanimate, non-threatening rock. Keep in mind there are huge fish swimming INTO my dog’s legs (fish are dumb).
But no, apparently the rock was a bigger security issue than the fish.
Because of reasons?
I’m a little pressed for time today, internet. Mamma Mia and I took the dogs on a glorious walk around town this morning in the sunshine and now I’m off to work in about half an hour. Whoops.
It’s okay though, as its been a bit of a slow news day here on hnw cassandra. I started an awesome new job this past week at the local Visitor’s Bureau, and while I’m not going to go into detail for obvious reasons including and not limited to losing said awesome job, I will go so far as to tell you that I’m cautiously optimistic about my future there. The staff has so far been overwhelmingly welcoming and supportive, and while I’m still working on the actually-helping-visitors part, I am rapidly learning skills such as reading a map and putting brochures into the correct slot. Perhaps next week I’ll even give the phone a go.
Now I’m off to catering. If you’ve been following along at all, you’ll know I’m actually working four part time jobs at the moment, so my schedule is a little crazy. If this blog seems a bit distracted and hectic and random for the next few weeks, that’s why, but stay tuned, because I’ll hoping be unveiling a project I’ve been thinking about for a few weeks now (!!!). I know, I’m really living on the edge.
Side note- I used to think living on the edge meant going on crazy spur-of-the-moment trips and getting a little too crazy on weekends. My new definition of living on the edge is apparently can-I-get-to-the-bank-and-still-make-it-to-work-on-time.
(Answer – yes, yes I can. YOLO.)
Anyways, stay tuned for exciting things. Tomorrow’s post will be on how I chose the name for this blog so I can FINALLY get people to stop calling it morbid. Monday’s is the big, exciting new manuscript. I’m aiming for Wednesday as Exciting New Project Day. Get ready.
I’m sick again, internet. I sound like a young Owen Wilson in scuba gear. It’s not cute. Yesterday’s complete lack of effort is probably a testament to how awful I feel, since after 43 blog posts I can crank out 500 words on cat poop and Justin Bieber without breaking a sweat. Yet I made a commitment to writing a blog post everyday, rain or shine or sickness, so here goes nothing.
Let’s talk about panic. Tis the season for taxes, internet, and I was going through stuff yesterday and I was absolutely shocked at how little I made between September and December in 2012. It was honestly pathetic. Granted, since then, I’ve started this blog, gotten promoted, started working more shifts and applied for another job, but I really haven’t changed my living situation dramatically since May 2012. I feel like I’m living in stasis in a weird way, whereas I want to keep pushing forward and moving and progressing. The weird thing is, once you’re out of school, “forward” motion changes from “do the same thing you’re doing till you graduate” to “you could literally do anything, but don’t fuck it up, you ignorant ponce”.
Enter panic mode. I was good at school. Not like, valedictorian of Harvard good, but pretty good. I like learning things. I like studying. I rewrote the introduction of my thesis for fun the other day. FUN.
I am not good at not being in school- or at least, not yet. I’m not a person who does well adjusting to change, especially if I have to change. I will grit my teeth and fight against change just out of principle. Usually the things I decide I don’t want in my life I end up loving. I really disliked yoga for a long time – now I teach it. I hated my alma mater when I first looked at schools – but I loved going there. Brussel sprouts? Now my favorite vegetable.
However, I don’t have anything to fight against now. I feel like I’m facing this void that I have to fill myself. Before I had limited options. I could take Art History at 12:15 on Tuesday or 3pm on Wednesday. Ta-da. Done. Now, it’s just starting to hit me that I could literally get in the car and drive to California and never come back, if I wanted. I could fly to Peru right now. I could take a crappy job at McDonalds or set myself on fire or rob a bank, and there is very little holding me back (save my bank account and my own limited sense of morality).
My cat and I play this game where I let him outside and he immediately wants to come back in.
I kind of feel like that. All my life I thought I was the kind of person who hated schedules. Now I crave structure. When I was in school, I wanted to be on break. Now I hang out in the local library reading about Pablo Neruda just for giggles.
I feel like every time I figure out my current situation, something changes. And I hate it.
I applied to grad school last year for graphic design, and I didn’t get in. This year, I applied to six different places for creative writing, and since the applications went in, I’ve been living in panic that I won’t get in anywhere. I feel like I’m not justified applying three years in a row. Getting denied two years in a row? That’s the world’s way of telling you you’re being a stupid git and to figure out Plan B.
Guess what, internet? I DON’T HAVE A PLAN B. I have nothing, nada, zip. I’ve been trying to figure out Plan B since last year when Grad School Take 1 backfired.
There are several things I do know. I can’t remain in stasis working two part-time jobs forever, no matter how much I love working them, and certainly not if I’m not raking in enough to support myself. I don’t think I could stay in my parent’s house for another year – if the shame wouldn’t kill me, the cat would (he’s plotting something, I swear).
I think I might be having a mid-life crisis. At 23. How sad.
If you have any sincere advice, internet, let me know.
This is what I consider to be a fairly compelling story prompting you to send future you a letter right now.
As you may have gathered from the fact that I started a blog to force myself to write more, I consider myself to be somewhat of a fair hand with a story. I’m now a college graduate with a dual degree in Art and English (and a French minor, thank you very much). I’m actually in limbo right now waiting to hear back from the few creative writing grad school programs I applied to.
I received a letter from my thirteen-year-old self one afternoon while I was filling out the basic information on a graduate school application. It was part of a school project I had done in middle school and completely forgotten about. In the envelope was a page of writing from a story I had started, along with the letter, which urged me in bold letters to KEEP ON WRITING, no matter what else I was doing.
I can say with complete honesty that it was one of the most self-satisfying moments of my life thus far. How many other people can say that they are still pursuing the dreams they had when they were children? Instead of wanting to be a princess or an astronaut, I wanted to be an author. I wanted to be an author so badly that I once broke down crying in the bookstore because I didn’t want my books to be out of reach on the top shelf.
The funny thing is, though, is for a while in the middle, I completely forgot that I was devoted to writing as a kid. Well, not forgot, exactly, but I sort of put it on the back burner and tried to be an artist for a while. Gallery shows, creative thesis involving crayons and female sexuality (yikes), graphic design, video game art, you name it.
I changed my mind and decided to pursue writing before I got that letter from myself, but what if I hadn’t? Would it have changed my mind? Inspired me? At least given me a chuckle in the middle of an otherwise un-noteworthy day?
Since receiving that letter, however, my confidence in my career goals has skyrocketed. If for no other reason, it was totally worth it.
That could be you, internet. Go here right now and write yourself a note. It’ll take five minutes. Youtube can wait.
You could change your future right now. Will you?