My Last Post – Goodbye!

Sometimes, we grow out of things. We can spend weeks, months, and years doing something we are passionate about and then suddenly, we find our interest waning. Perhaps there is something bigger and better that we would like to pursue or maybe we are just tired of doing the same thing.

That’s how I feel about this blog.

Whatever I do in life – I do well. I do not know “half-way” – you either get all my energy or none of it. But, for the past few months, I have been dwelling in a half-way zone with this blog. I won’t apologize or make excuses because well…it’s my blog and, I can cry if I want to.

The truth is, I don’t want to share myself with the internet anymore.

I am a very private person – never been a big sharer or attention seeker – so it has always been a little out of my comfort zone to publish my thoughts online for everyone to read. I did it for a while, a year and seven months to be exact, but now I am done with it.

That is why this will be my last blog post.

This shouldn’t be a shocker for any of you. I’ve been sporadic for most of the summer, and I haven’t been passionate about my content for some time, and it stresses me out. Like I said, I don’t do “half-way.”

So, I am waving the white flag of surrender. I am saying goodbye to any and all of you who stumble across this blog. It was fun while it lasted but, at this point in my life, I have grown out of blogging.

I have a lot of life to live and, I am living it, changing and growing, and I want to continue to do that outside of the internet.

So, my friends, this is Sam signing off. It’s been a fun ride for this past year and a half, and I hope no one is too bent out of shape that they can no longer read about my recent lip gloss purchase. Something tells me, you’ll be just fine.

I am So Glad I Don’t Have to Go Back to School

I have always loved school in a nerdy, overachiever, going-to-destroy-you-all-with-my-grade-point-average kind of way. Since I was a child, back-to-school supply shopping has literally been second best to Christmas for me and, I would eagerly wait each August for the Target back-to-school section to pop up like a traveling circus of glue sticks, mechanical pencils, and white boards.

That’s why I am a little disoriented by being so excited NOT to go back to school this semester (or ever again if I choose it).

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When I graduated college in May, I pretty much crawled across the graduation stage. In my usual overachiever way, I had completed my English degree requirements when I finished my junior year so, my last year of college was more of a formality than anything else.

Deciding to use the time to the fullest, I studied abroad in England in the fall of 2013, which turned out to be a tough yet worthwhile, fantastic, and life-changing experience.

However, when I came back to finish my last semester at my home university, I ended up feeling kind of bitter about it.

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It seemed like I was being forced to waste time, energy, and money by fulfilling an arbitrary minimum 120 credit graduation requirement even though I had already fulfilled my general requirements and my degree requirements. At the same time, my university seemed to be trying to make my last semester my worst, with various offices on campus making my life a living hell.

I spent so much time and energy battling with so many different departments on campus during my last semester that by the time that I finally said my goodbyes in May, I was half tempted to flip the bird as I drove down the road.

After such a tumultuous last semester, it’s not such a surprise that I feel sour towards the education system that used to be my bread and butter.

I wrote a few weeks back that post-grad life is better, and I am still standing by that statement. Knowing that I am not returning to college next week is a big sigh of relief for me. I have always thrived on permanency and routine, and college is the exact opposite of that – it is always changing, pushing, and disappearing.

College never felt like a good fit for me, something that didn’t quite click until I realized how much happier I am outside of university system, and that’s not to worry the freshman and upperclassman who will be returning to school come fall but rather to serve as a reminder that whether college is your salvation or your own personal hell, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel waiting for you to find it.

I Forgot My Phone

I have never felt overly attached to whatever hunk of plastic that is my current cellphone however, whenever I forget my phone at home, I begin to feel twinges of anxiety. What if I get a flat tire? What if there is an emergency? What if Cara breaks up with her boyfriend and, I miss her text message? What if Bobby says hi and, he thinks I am blowing him off because I didn’t answer?

It is without my phone beside me that, I realize how much I unconsciously reach for it. I don’t really use my phone much except for email and texts but when I don’t have my phone with me, I realize the ridiculous amount of times per day that I click the unlock button just to check whether something needs to be responded to.

Five minutes. Click. Twenty minutes. Click. Five minutes. Click.

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It’s like clicking the unlock button has become entwined in every part of my life. First thing when I wake up. Click. Leaving for work. Click. Sit down at my desk. Click. Come back from a meeting. Click. Click. Click. Click.

I have always been very conscious of avoiding the “phone security blanket” phenomenon and because of that, I always try to keep my phone away even in the most awkward social situations when scrolling through a screen seems easier than making eye contact or striking up a conversation.

However, despite this, I still feel anxiety when I leave my phone at home as if, despite being surrounded by other people, a landline, and a computer, I am stranded on a deserted island. It’s like when I unconsciously forget my phone (versus making a conscious decision to leave it), I feel like I am missing something important like an earring or a shoe.

Why is it that I feel such an attachment to this hunk of plastic? What causes us as humans to tie our emotions to such an easily replaceable piece of technology? Is it the idea that we are never really alone with this piece of plastic in our hands or does it point to something deeper about our growing hunger for instantaneous information?

Either way, a day without a phone can feel both anxious and liberating, reminding me how much power I unconsciously assign a hunk of plastic.

Meeting My Nephew!

Yesterday, I journeyed to Towson and back to meet the new bundle of joy that is my nephew, Greyson. At 8 pounds 12 ounces, he’s on his way to being a linebacker, but even though he weighs more than a gallon of milk, everything about him still seems so tiny.

Greyson is now one of three nephews and one niece that I reign supreme aunthood over and having been in the aunt game since I was eight years old, I have long gone pro status.

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Greyson is the first niece or nephew that has been born in my adult life, and I can’t help but marvel how much different it is to meet a new child now that I am no longer a child. When my oldest sister had my niece, I was still in elementary school and, I remember holding this tiny baby in my arms and thinking – I am an aunt! Oh snaps, I am going to be the coolest person in the third grade. I wonder if Digimon is on tonight.

However, as an adult, it was a much different experience to hold my nephew in my arms.

For the first time in my life, I saw the briefest glimpse of what it means to be a parent as I felt an unmistakable spark of fear when realizing that this tiny human in my arms will soon grow and grow, only to eventually walk into the world on his own.

I also felt the biggest sense of elation for my sister and her husband. There are some people and couples that you know will make great parents, and from the moment my sister told me she was pregnant, I knew she and my brother-in-law were going to raise an amazing son.

I really can’t wait to watch Greyson grow up. But, if there is one thing that has made me realize that I too am growing older, it is watching the infants that I once held in my arms growing along with me.

I Don’t Know What to Write About

I have been wondering if I want to continue blogging anymore. It used to be that I was filled with all these ideas and things to write about but lately, I have just been watching the cursor blink in empty Word documents. My life has changed a lot over these past few weeks.

Suddenly, I am a “real” person. The idea that I do not have to return to college next month is so liberating that I want to do the electric slide in my PJs. I use coupons. I iron my pants. I go to work. I climb rocks. I use reusable bags.

This is the real deal, people.

writer's block

I also have had some not great times these past few months.

I was in a pretty awful car accident and, I was so petrified of other cars afterwards that I broke down in tears on three separate occasions while driving different places. Honestly, I didn’t even start consistently holding the minimum speed limit again until last month. Yep. #needforspeed

Then, I got a flat tire in my two-week old, brand new car and had to perform an emergency stop on the side of the interstate. Luckily, the amazing and fabulous public service that is the Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) Emergency Patrol found me and changed my tire for me (tire changing is not a skill of mine).

I also almost didn’t graduate from college because a professor in England gave me a F as my final grade and, I spent weeks fighting it only to end up with a very, very low C (but, I graduated with a 3.73 GPA anyway (so suck it Professor Jerk Face)).

Then, I made the pretty rough decision to let go of a long-term friendship that wasn’t working anymore and was reminded how much it sucks to lose one of your best friends.

Some bad shit has gone down this year but, I’m still here.

I survived. And, if in a two month period I can survive: a car accident, a flat tire on the highway, a failing grade, and letting go of my best friend, than I can do this.

And maybe after all, I do still have something to say.

I want to talk to you about what a roller coaster life can be and how even when you think you can’t make it, you do and you will. I want to tell you about how surprisingly fun it can be to eat pizza in a parking lot at 10 o’clock on a weeknight using your friend’s trunk as the table.  I want to talk to you about life, beauty, feminism, rock climbing, and half marathon training.

So, after three months of wishy-washy posting, a bout of wondering what-the-hell-am-I-doing-with-my-life?, and the new car smell in my ride slowly but distinctly fading, I remember what I want to write about.

tl;dr – I’m back.

Post-Grad Life is Better

Post-grad life is a bit of a roller coaster. Half of the time, I am thinking, heck yes – no more homework, Netflix marathon! and the other half of the time I am thinking, ughghsugh – what am I doing with my life? And despite the never ending merry-go-round of emotion, post-grad life feels a lot more stable than college ever did.

In college, I always felt like I was building my life out of cards. Between the Russian roulette of roommates and a never ending cycle of classmates, professors, and jobs  – my life felt totally unstable during my four years as a college student.

I actually feel relieved not return to college in the fall and, in light of my post-grad existence, I am starting to feel like I am finding the stability that makes me a very happy old person trapped in a young person body.

For one, I have a six month lease. Do you realize that the last time I lived somewhere for six months in a row was four years ago before I moved out of my parent’s house? It’s been bizarre to settle into a place and realize that I won’t be packing things into boxes ten seconds later. Six months isn’t forever but, half a year seems a little more permanent than a semester. The idea that I will still be in the same apartment when there are Christmas lights up is mind boggling to me.

apartment

Secondly, I am not so afraid that the people in my life are going to disappear at any second. In college, I always felt like people were slipping through my fingers because with 85 percent of the campus leaving on the weekends and, students transferring in and out every week, “friends” came in as quickly as they disappeared. However, in this post-grad world I am finding more and more friends who intend to or already have set roots here, and for the first time in a long time, I am not so afraid that if I blink the people in my life will evaporate.

friends

Lastly, I finally have time. I loved all the learning in college but, by the end, I was ready to be done with all the filler assignments, quizzes, and readings that sucked up so much of my time. Now, I actually have time and freedom to go places and hang out with people because even though I have work – work ends pretty much when I step out of the door at the end of the day. I remember in the beginning of July, I went climbing with my friends in West Virginia (see above), and there was a moment when I just laid down on a towel, stared up at the trees, and realized how happy I was to be free of the huge weight that was college stress.

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I won’t say that post-grad life doesn’t have any downsides. I can’t take a nap at 1 p.m. on weekdays anymore and, I am still trying to figure out how to turn two part-time jobs into one full-time one. However, every so often in post-grad life, I find myself feeling happier than I ever did in college. Instead of feeling like I am living in a house of cards, finally it feels like I am starting to lay brick, and feeling the stability of a permanent existence is one of the most comforting feelings in the world.

First Impressions

My first impression of someone is almost always wrong. I would think that by 21, I would be better at figuring people out but, it seems that for me, the complexities of human beings will never be cut and dry.

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However, because I am so terrible at pinning people down when I first meet them, I like to play a game of first impressions. It goes like this – shortly after I first meet someone, I write all about them in my journal. Then, months later, if I actually get to know the person, I revisit my initial assessment of them. Most of the time, the original description is so far from the truth that I can’t even imagine what possessed me to write it.

The reason that I make a habit of playing this game is because it reminds me not to write people off when I first meet them. It is so incredibly easy for me to meet someone, make snap judgments, and then give up on even trying to get to know them based on the imaginary narrative that I have assigned to them based on five minutes of conversation.

For example, recently I was talking to one of my friends about when we first met. We met before I left for England, at which point I completely blew him off, and then were reintroduced through a mutual friend when I came back from England and slowly we became friends and now, he is my go-to climbing partner.

I see this example as a recurring phenomenon throughout my life. Time and time again my first impression has proven me wrong. It is so strange for me to look through my journal and go back through my past thoughts and realize that if I had gone with my first impression, I would be lacking some of my favorite people in my life.

That’s not to say that you should ignore your gut instinct. There is a difference between thinking someone is bad and knowing it – feeling your entire body telling you – get the heck away!

Nonetheless, the moral of the story is this – every person on this planet comes with a unique set of circumstances, personality traits, and history that makes them who they are. This human cocktail cannot be communicated in ten minutes of meeting someone or even after a week of knowing them. Getting to know someone takes time, an open mind, and an ability to put aside what you think you know versus what is actually true.

First impressions are dangerous things. They can draw us towards the wrong people and push us away from the right ones. And maybe the most important lesson I have learned from first impressions is that sometimes the most interesting, fun, and loving people are the ones that you never expect when first meeting them who, like episodes of Gilmore Girls, only get better with time..

Are your first impressions usually right?