Monday, June 13, 2011

...On Happiness.

Me last summer - child-like happiness right here.

"We tend to forget that happiness doesn't come as a result of getting something we don't have, but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have. ~Frederick Keonig"

Today was an ordinary day. Monday's tend to become that way somehow. None the less, the sun was shining, and I was able to fill my lungs with air and be alive.

I got to thinking today after I couldn't figure out why exactly I was in such a stand-out, sunshiney, skippity-do-da mood on such an ordinary Monday. Legit, I was whistling, dancing, laughing, all day long. It wasn't until this evening when I caught myself in a full out dance off...WITH NO MUSIC ON...that I said..."Hold the freaking phone, why the HELL AM I SO HAPPY?" I mean, I am by no means a miserable person. I am as optimistic as the next blonde; usually swirling a cotton candy finish over most situations, all while rockin out my rose-colored glasses. On the same token, I can be moody, emotional, and sensitive and some days just go through the motions with little vigor or passion.

Whenever my mood teters toward an extreme...i.e. in an un-usually happy mood, or an un-usually bitchy mood, etc...I tend to dissect WHY it is that I am in that mood (and people tell me that I think too much or over-think things...ha.) So this evening after I slapped myself across the face for dancing like an animal to no music, I decided on a few core reasons:

1. Excelling at Work Rocks.
Almost 7 months in to the first "real" job of my life, I feel like a wheeling-dealing bad ass. Now, I don't make a ton of money and am really doing nothing glamourous; but I am devoting my sanity, time, and perfection-honing OCD tendencies to this position. And I think I am getting the hang of it. There is something to be said about the satisfaction the comes from fully emerging yourself into something, and seeing results...even if there as mundane as someone complimenting something you did. Sometimes I even surprise myself! How fantastic is it that women can be successful and don't have to marry super young, just because they can't financially support themselves without a husband!? 2011 rocks. Women rock. I am really loving the word "rock" lately. (Have you noticed?)

2. Sunshine/Summer
Might as well give me a pitcher of margaritas or a cereal bowl of Xanax, because that is what the sun and summertime does for me. The smells in the air, the warm breeze, lush greenery everywhere you turn, street fairs, beer gardens, bonfires...I mean what's not to love about summer? I sometimes feel like I get the most remarkable natural highs just from being outside when it's nice out in Chicago. Have us northerners been depleted so much by Old Man Winter and Cold Shitty Spring (for lack of a funnier name) that we feel like we're on DRUGS from the weather? I believe this to be sad, but true. Regardless, doesn't change the fact that nothing...nothing beats a Chicago summer. Don't believe me? Go to a Cubs game during the day, hit North Avenue Beach for happy hour, drive down Lake Shore drive with the windows down, have dinner outside in a beer garden, and end the evening on a rooftop overlooking the skyline with a glass of wine. I promise you, you will come to agree the same.

3. Endless Possibilities.
People who aren't engaged or married at my age are slowly becoming a dying breed. It seems like one after another, the chips are falling for everyone. This is all good and well, for everyone is on their own path. However, for the remaining single-tons have something pretty bad ass going for them. When it's just YOU that you're responsible husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend...your life might as well be some Nickolodeon Gak. You can mold it, twist it, stretch it, can even make it into wildly inappropriate shapes if you want. Point being, the possibilities...they are endless for you. You and you alone are in charge of your destiny. That's a pretty badass thing the wrap your head around. The realization of those endless possibilities have been a huge slice of my happy pie. It is such an exhilarating, frightening, and intoxicating idea of the different roads you could travel down. This is all until the very next day you realize this, you meet your soulmate on a street corner at 2am, and then it isn't before long that you are crossing over to "the other side."

I could honestly go on and list a thousand other things that are making me happy these days. But how annoying is it to hear someone go on and on about how happy they are? The point of this post is to encourage you to think of things that make you happy in your life. Everyone has their own criterion for what makes them happy; and no two people's will be the same. And that is AWESOME. It's like happiness diversity! Put on your rose colored glasses and remind yourself why your life is actually pretty stinkin' awesome. Because every now and then, we just need to do that.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Libby Lu

When I was 19, I got my very own car. I technically had means of transportation before this; however, it was a shared vehicle and it did not come without battles with my older brother. On the last day of school my Freshman year in college, my parents showed up to pick me up. In one of my typical bratty tirades, I refused to come down to the front of the dorms to meet them. “CAN’T YOU JUST BRING THE BOXES UP WITHOUT MY HELP!?” I was up to my elbows in clothes, Tupperware containers, stilettos, papers, and just SHIT. I was completely un-prepared for their arrival due to my horrific hangover. I eventually stomped off down the 4th floor hallway of Burge, tore down the four flights of stairs, and burst out into the May sunshine complete with my best bitch glare. There, before me was a cherry red Jeep Liberty with a giant white bow on top of it. My mom was standing there with the biggest smile on her face, tears in her eyes, and a set of keys jiggling in her hands (which ironically had a ‘princess’ keychain on it). That day, I met the love of my life – The Lib.
Words cannot express the role that this car has played in my adult life. Sounds silly, doesn’t it? But this Jeep has been there for me through a whole lot of shit. It’s been my escape vehicle; my escape from people, places, bad experiences, the whole gambit. I’ve driven the Lib just about everywhere…including a 17-hour (each way) solo road trip to Canada to visit my boyfriend, one of the Lib’s proudest quests, but not mine. She has been my flee machine from angry late night fights with friends and ex’s. The steering wheel has met my forehead countless moments, when life has gotten so overwhelming, that my neck just crumbles and my face falls into the wheel. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have jumped in the Lib and had no destination whatsoever. I just had to go. She’s driven me to job interviews and provided a private space for me to burst into tears when I didn’t get it. Since I have been living at home post-college, she has truly become an escape vehicle when I need to get away from my parents. She has also been witnessed all sorts of jovial moments in my life too; when I landed a job, when I was driving to Colorado for Spring Break, when I found out that one of my best friends was engaged, on sleepy summer nights when I just needed to clear my head and get a firm grip on my life. There have been funny memories in the Lib as well – like the time I got pulled over by a bike cop at Kinnick Stadium for having 11 drunks jammed in. Or the time that the Lib was detained by the valet at Diamond’s Strip Club because I felt the need to mouth off to the owner. Or the time…wait, I can’t tell you about that time.
There is something about being on the open road that is downright therapeutic. In my car, nobody can judge me. I have come to accept that people will stare when I am jamming out, but I will never see them again. The sound system in the Lib is just about par. It’s nothing great, but it’s not awful and most importantly, it works. The sound system has played songs that have inspired me, even lead me to take a new path in life, been a catalyst for life-altering decisions. The Lib has been my sanity.
I like to look at the simple things in life, things that we take for granted every day, and dissect them, inspect them, think about every facet of them. Your car is one of those simple things that you never really think about, but really plays a huge role in your life. The Lib has 148,698 miles on it as of today. I know that she has precious time left, and when she goes…tears will be shed. I’ll get a new car and make new memories in that car, but as the saying goes, “You’ll never forget your first.”

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hiding and Hermit-ing.

My last post was on December 10, 2010. Now, if you have been following this blog at all, you will know that this is my per usual routine. I make up excuses for my absence and vow to write regularly.

Now, I am not going to blame this absence on anything. But, I will throw a few catalysts on the table.

Let's start with winter. If you know me at all, you would know that I am raging anti-winter anything. I've gotten to the point where even the idea of a "White Christmas" sends me into a frenzied rage of anti-winter slurs. Some people say, "Oh, I hate winter, but I don't mind it when it's Christmas-time." I.MIND.IT. The cold, the snow, the winds, and the endless days of gray skies make for one very un-happy Lindsay. I know a lot of northerners complain about seasonal depression, but I genuinely suffer from it (dibilitated, if you will) Just about the only thing that usually gets me through the winter is drinking and socializing. In particular, I consume mass quantities of red wine (which I recently found out I am allergic to, but that's another sob story for another day). Not this year. Around Thanksgiving, I had the hangover to end all hangovers. As I was face down, praying to the porcelain Gods, shaking, crying, and wanting to die...I had an epiphany. WHY do I drink? A hangover is almost always the end result. And my hangovers aren't just hangovers - they carry into the evening hours and I usually average about 27.7 vomits. And when you're getting dropped off at your car the next morning, and you puke all over your brand new boots, the epiphany solidifies. From Thanksgiving until February 5, 2011 (the eve of my 25th birthday celebration), I...wait for it...spare your gasps...DIDN'T DRINK. This made for one incredibly long winter. So instead of going out on the weekends and partying my face off, I stayed in. I watched too much reality TV, gained about 15 pounds, and enjoyed every minute of it. Now, one would think this was a perfect time to write and blog, but without my social bouncings, I had little material. Not only did I have little material, the lack of sunshine delved me into an angry depressed state. I didn't care about much of anything except escaping into the newest episode of Kim & Kourtney Take New York. My weeks consisted of work, home, sleep, work, home, sleep and so forth.

Another catalyst for my absence was my new job. For anyone that has gone from a completely erratic and free-spirited schedule, to a regimented 40 hour work week, you understand. Almost 5 months into this job and I feel like I am finally getting the hang of the hours. Most nights, I feel so drained that I debate going to bed the minute I get home. My brain has been so fried that writing is the last thing on my mind.

Hermit-ing: (verb): the act of shutting out the world and finding solace in television and shunning social interactions.

I hermit-ed for a long time this winter. Longer than usual. (Never again, by the way). None the less, I was a lazy piece of shit.

But here I am. It's Spring. It's Easter Sunday and the sun is shining. The flowers are starting to peek through the mud and the grass gets greener everyday. I am reminded that life is alive and well, and I feel inspired again. There's more to come - this time - I promise ;)

Friday, December 10, 2010

Thank God It's F... Friday!

TGIF has a whole new meaning to me.

I would like to add a punch of intensity in the form of an expletive and say TGIFF. Figure it out.

I have officially made it through my first five day work week. How do I feel? Like
I am ready for a big long nap, a glass of wine the size of a turkey, and a two week tropical vacation.

Please contain your laughter. I know I have roughly 40 some odd years of work left in my lifetime.

These Times, They Are A Changin'

Baby's got blue skies up ahead.

As previously promised, I offer no excuses for my absence. Because let’s face it – I have a select handful of readers, mostly friends and family, and they already are well aware of my raging case of “Starting-something-and-not-finishing-it.” However, I have been vigorously battling this curse for years and I will continue to do so. The way I see it, my absence over the last four months has done nothing but create new ammunition and material for me to fire in your face. Put your helmets on.

Where to begin? I guess I suppose I owe you somewhat of an update. I have previously blogged about my plight as a server and bartender, an occupation that I have held for the last two years. There are so many things about this job that I absolutely hate. I hate the song and dance I have to perform for each and every customer - the fake smiles, the fake laughs, the stories I listened to (without any choice whatsoever), the personal information they would dig out of me – I hate every moment of it. I like to consider myself a “real” girl who tells it bluntly like it is, and has the “I’m sorry I’m not sorry” kind of attitude. I have had to check that attitude at the employee entrance. My livelihood depended on tips, which meant ass-kissing and tap-dancing for the customers. Might as well have given me a top hat and a sparkly jacket! I hate that a few select management and upper-management individuals were not only raging a-holes, but at most times, not the brightest bulbs in the joint. I can say with conviction that I am not the first employee to think they are smarter than their bosses, and I certainly won’t be the last. It is an unfortunate fact of life, and better to learn it sooner than later (thanks for the advice Dad). I have hated the mounting frustration in my heart that I was indeed better than this. I have felt like I deserved more. I deserved a bright, shiny career that gave me a sense of fulfillment that serving and bartending could never give me. Now, don’t slap me for being a brat. I can’t control the way I felt while slinging drinks and fetching more mayo for the portly guests. However, it was what it was; 2009/10 had been brutal years for the newly graduated, and I was no exception. I had to do what it took to bring in the cash flow.

An eternal optimist, I did (had to) find things that I loved about that job to pull me through. It was a matter of preserving my sanity. I genuinely enjoyed my fellow servers and bartenders. Like any job, it’s usually what keeps you going, or makes you want to blow your brains out. In my case, most of my peers are twenty-somethings who were in the same life position as I was. I actually worked with some extremely educated people. 95% of them all at least had college degrees. One server, Mike, has two degrees as well as a master’s degree from Northwestern. And this kid was out of a job! The old saying “misery loves company” permeated through all of us; we were struggling to make big strides but gripping onto each other tightly for some kind, any kind of support. I have had a love/hate relationship with the hours I kept. Far from “normal,” my schedule varies from week to week, but has always included weekend shifts. While all my friends were frolicking at happy hour on Friday’s, with wide open Saturday’s, and Sunday Funday’s, I was stuck at the restaurant. Making plans of any sort were always out of the question, and my social life took a serious turn towards non-existence. However, I relished the fact that my earliest start was 10:00am, with most days starting at 4:00pm. This left ample time for sleeping in (I am NOT a morning person), staying out late, and relaxing/running errands during the day. Although I worked close to 40 hours per week, my position was technically part-time, leaving a lot of flexibility for travel. A few scribbles in the request-off book, and I was on my way to week long vacations anywhere I deemed necessary.

Now, why I am going on and on about this stupid restaurant job again? Well…wait for it…wait for it…

I got a job. A “real” one. With “normal” hours. A desk. Paper clips. Benefits. A salary!

A few months ago, I was introduced to a man who I will call John. John is an extremely successful businessman who owns multiple companies in the Chicagoland area. I had the pleasure of meeting John via a good girlfriend of mine. Upon learning of his success in the business world, I was on a mission of jihad intensity to impress him with my quick wit, extreme desire to begin a career, (Somewhere! Anywhere!) ridiculously awesome work ethic, and the brains to boot. A month or so went by when I received a call from him informing me that he had a position opening up at one of his companies. Within 24 hours, I had met with the hiring manager and had a job. Just.Like.That. After two years of frustration, tears, internal degradation (“You are not good enough! That is why no one will hire you!”), and cursing the college system to the high heavens (“F college! What a conspiracy! $100,000 and I can’t get hired!”), I finally had what I had been looking for. This also leads me to my theory on the cliche saying, "It's all in who you know." The 150+ jobs that I had applied for over two years had resulted in squat. One refferalfrom the president of a company, and I was in. As simple as that! I was as baffled as I was angry (at the system, not my newfound hired-ness).

My start date was December 1st. In typical scared new hire form, I arrived ten minutes early because everyone knows fifteen minutes just looks desperate. I wore my best “I’m Corporate Now” outfit only to walk in and find the fellow employees in jeans. I was officially over dressed, overwhelmed, and over stimulated by all these new faces, names, and job duties. However, I was more than welcomed by every single person in the building. Within two hours of being there, I already had felt comfortable. The girl who was training me, as well as my department/office mate, Michelle, is one of those girls you feel like you just know. She is easy going and bubbly, full of good energy that bursts from her tiny frame. I kept thinking to myself how lucky I have been as far as co-workers go. I will have to spend 40 hours of my week with this woman, so needless to say, I better freaking like her. At the very least, be able to tolerate the woman. Much to my delight, I don’t just like her, I LOVE her.

Now eight days into my big girl job, I am slowly adjusting. Coming from six years of erratic sleeping schedules, late nights, and many a mornings tucked in til noon, waking up every day at 6:45am is quite a slap in the face. I get home after 5 in the evenings and all I want to do is sit on the couch and delve into hours of mindless entrancement from the boob tube. Evening dinner and drinks with girlfriends have been non-existent. It’s me, my couch, and a big glass of wine and nobody can compete with that at this point. I am sure as time passes, my body will become more accustomed to the early mornings. But in the mean time, I am just trying to keep my head above these newly uncharted waters.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

There is more to come...

Obviously, I have been really bad about writing this blog. Really, really bad. And the thing is, I LOVE writing for this blog.

No excuses this time.

More entries to come.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What Am I Doin'? What Am I Doin'? Oh Yeah, That's Right - I'm Doin' Me

I feel that comparing yourself to others is as natural as body odor. It begins when you are a small child and so-and-so has a toy or gadget that you want. For me, it was a trampoline. My parents always thought they were too dangerous, and even more dangerous when you have a ridiculously accident prone child (me). Then it evolved from being jealous of the people that had trampolines, to swimming pools. I remember saying "Ugh, if I had a pool, I'd swim in it EVERYDAY." When you get to middle school, you start comparing yourself to others in terms of bodies and boyfriends. The girls that had boobs didn't want them, and the girls that were still flat-chested longed to be able to fill out a bra. The girls that were having their first kisses versus the girls that could barely conjure up the strength to tap a boy on the shoulder to ask him to borrow a pencil. Girls were also starting to compare themselves in terms of fashion for the first time. Financial class came into our lives like a storm and we understood that Doc Martens were expensive shoes, and to wear them was a status symbol. High school comes around and kids are comparing themselves to others in terms of what classes they're taking, niching out our goals and passions, who was excelling in sports, and of course, who had the coolest boyfriend. Comparisons were rampant, whether publicly admitted or not. In our own minds, we were constantly sizing up others. And the tale as old as time, putting others down (either out loud or in our mind), somehow made ourselves feel better.

I started college in the fall of 2004, ironically enough when TheFacebook (as it was called at the time) was introduced to the world. I joined in December after all my friends coaxed me to do it. "It's so cool!" The fact is, it WAS cool. It was this whole new technology that was available for "only" college students and the social explosion began. Now comparing ourselves was easier than ever. We suddenly had access into the private lives of our friends and peers. People say that they are on Facebook for a number of reasons. But let's face it, people are interested, intrigued by how others are living their lives. From this, a term that we have all known to grow and love/hate was spawned - Facebook stalking. I would bet that 97% of users spend their time on the book "stalking."

About a year ago when I was down and out - an unemployed college grad, slinging burgers at the local golf course, living at my parents house - I found myself engaged in a heavy dose of constant comparison. As I was scrolling through my news feed, I encountered status after status that made me jealous. They made me wonder why I wasn't in the south of France, or on business in New York City, or living in Malibu, or climbing the Great Wall of China, or moving into a swanky new downtown apartment with my three best friends. Then, I started noticing photo albums - picture after picture, album after album of exotic vacations, concerts, new apartments/homes, weddings, babies, etc. I kept asking myself, "How the hell does this person have the money to go there?!" and "How did they get a job and I still haven't!?" and "How the HELL does this person pay their rent on their fabulous place if they're on vacation all the damn time?" I felt for many months a deep jealousy. Everyone seemed to have their shit together - everyone seemed to be rich - everyone seemed to be going places and doing things I wanted to do. I was comparing myself to others more than ever, and it was subconsciously eating my soul. I have visions of myself pouting at the computer saying out loud, "Ugh. This isn't fair!" I was more worried about what others were doing, than what I was going to do.

I can thank my dad for snapping me out of my compare-hungry funk. He caught me in conversation comparing myself to someone. He looked straight into my eyes, with pure sincerity and concern and told me, "You can't do that to yourself. You can't worry about what everyone else is doing. Worry about what YOU'RE doing. Worry about YOUR goals and how you are going to achieve what is happiness to YOU. Sometimes you just gotta say, 'Screw them.'" His words were ordinary. They were nothing that moved mountains or started revolutions. But for some reason, his words stuck to my mind like a suction cup. That suction cup still sits on my brain to this day, tugging on it and holding strong, reminding me to not compare my life to anyone else's.

We all are on different paths. Some of us are going about it a much less glamorous way, but we're on our own trail. I was raised never to be a follower, but a leader. I can't follow other people's choices and dreams. I have to follow my own. I can't let someone else's life to make mine feel lesser. My life is great the way it is, and getting better everyday. I challenge you to try your best not to compare yourself to others today. I promise, it feels liberating.

In the wise words of Drake, I say often, "What am I doin'? What am I doin'? Oh yeah, that's right - I'm doin' ME."