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2013: It was the best of times, It was the worst of times

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This week, my posts will be taking a look back at 2013 and looking forward to 2014. Monday’s post was about all my firsts for 2013 while Friday’s post will be about how geeky 2013 was for me.

I made my New Year’s Resolutions for 2013 in a ski mountain resort in western Maryland where 5 of my closest friends and I had spent the past few days enjoying winter activities (or for me falling continuously down a mountain). My New Years Resolutions for 2013 were:

  1. Go out of my comfort zone more
  2. Read at least 200 books this year
  3. Be more awesome

It’s safe to say I did all three of them. I’ve briefly talked about #1 on Monday. We’ll talk more about #2 on Friday.

2012 had been a really good year for me. It’s one of the few times in my life when I can honestly say I was happy for almost the entire year. 2011 had been such a crap-shoot year that 2012 was such a wonderful blessing in how awesome it ended up being. Sure, there was that one month that sucked really bad but other than that, it was one of the best years of my life. (Although when I look back at that crappy month, there may have been something good that came out of it, but only time will tell.) And I had hoped that 2013 would be the same way.

But to be honest, 2013 didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to. There were so many ups and downs this past year that I’m surprised I didn’t throw up from having motion sickness. Then again, how many times can one really say they got everything they wanted? Still, overall I would have to say it was a rather good year. A solid B+.

I’m not going to go over EVERYTHING that happened this year. This is already a long entry as it is and doing that would make it a LONG LONG LONG blog post which you don’t want to read and honestly I don’t want to write.

I turned 30. It wasn’t so bad. I celebrated twice with my best friends. It was quite awesome.

I started paper journaling for the first time in many years. I talked about it in an earlier post but since I started writing in actual journals this year, I’ve filled up seven journals. Writing in them has been very therapeutic as it helps to keep the initial emotional outburst from not being put on social media. Which that eventually led to the creation of this blog. For which I’m really enjoying writing and I hope you’ve been enjoying reading.

And in case you wanted to know, these are the top most-read posts of this year (and basically since this blog started):

  1. The Girl Who Waited
  2. Trusting God When Things Seem Impossible
  3. The Elephant in the Room
  4. Silence is Golden…or Is It?
  5. It Comes in Pints?!

I lost my job in March and was unemployed for almost seven months. That was a very rough time for me. A deer hit my car during those months causing the car to be totaled and forcing me to buy a new car. It was absolutely rotten timing. But even through all the frustration and disappointments of job searching, interviews, and lack of funds coming in, I knew that God was going to provide and protect me throughout the entire process. And I KNEW he was going to give me a new job before the end of the year. Even though there were other parts of my life I was freaking out over, I always remained confident and at peace about my job situation.

Like I said on Monday, I had a lot of firsts. And I’m really proud at how many of them there were. I’ll just state this again, I’m a completely different person now than I was just a few years ago. And I’m really happy at how far along I progressed in 2013.

2013 was the first year of being completely single in almost a decade. Well, maybe not emotionally single for part of the year.  But God has finally closed doors on where they needed to be closed and in His timing, new ones will open.

When 2013 started there was something I wanted to happen this year. It was something I prayed about constantly, not that God would MAKE it happen but for Him to just guide me throughout the entire year to either prepare me for it or prepare me to not have it. I was told by a friend “Make sure you don’t put God in a box. Make sure you’re not telling him that he has to do things a certain way before you proceed.” Good advice.

My faith has increasingly grown throughout this year. Through all the ups and downs, through my frustrations and struggles, through the good times and the bad, I’ve kept turning to God through it all. And He’s never left me or forsaken me. He’s brought people in my life to help me get through the not so fun times. He protected me from any bodily injury when a deer hit me and totaled my car. He’s given me clarity and wisdom to get through all these times. And even when I still don’t understand why things happened the way they do, I’m trusting that He knows why.

As I stated above, my most read post this year is “The Girl Who Waited”. And that’s how I’ve seen myself this year. Last year I was “The Girl on Fire”, this year I was the girl who waited. I feel right now that’s what God wants me to continue being. Instead of rushing to make things happen immediately, I waited on a lot of things this year. Everything I waited on didn’t always happen the way I wanted it to but God has shown me wisdom throughout the waiting. I’m not saying I’ve mastered patience (far from it!) but I know God’s been walking with me throughout all this wait. And I feel that at this very moment, he wants me to wait just a little bit more.

Then the Lord replied: “Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2:2-3)

I don’t know what 2014 is going bring into my life. There is a lot of uncertainty but there’s also a clean, fresh slate. I learned a lot of lessons in 2013. The goal for 2014 is to learn from those lessons. I approach this new year with hope. Yes, it could be awful. Yes, the world could end this year. Yes, there is a chance I will look at a bow and arrow and still wonder how to make it work. But there is also the chance that things could be really good for me this year. And Lord willing, I’ll be ready for whatever happens and that He will be with me throughout every step of the way.

So, 2014? BRING. IT. ON. Challenge accepted.

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In Time….This is The End

Oh brother I can’t, I can’t get through
I’ve been trying hard to reach you, cause I don’t know what to do
Oh brother I can’t believe it’s true
I’m so scared about the future and I wanna talk to you
Oh I wanna talk to you

– “Talk” by Coldplay

As I’ve grown older, my relationships with my friends have become one of the most important thing in my life. I didn’t have very many close friends growing up. I had a few but they didn’t last long or I was in part of a bigger group but never had a best friend like others did. Now as I’ve reached 30, I’ve found that I’d rather have a smaller group of very close friends that I can grow with in life as we all share experiences together. And one of the hardest thing about this is when one of those friends decides that they want the friendship to be over, and you aren’t ready for it.

It’s extremely tough and painful to accept the fact of when a friendship is over. It can be akin to a breakup but I think that losing a friendship is even worse. Boyfriends/girlfriends come and go, heck husbands and wives sometimes even. But losing a good and very close friend is harder because when you’ve built up that relationship, they can be very difficult to replace. And you may not even want to replace them…we’re not back in middle school anymore trading friends in cliques.

The worst feeling I think is that it can feel like all the years of your friendship now feel like a waste. Sure, you have good memories. Yes there were happy times. But when the friendship just dies, it feels like all the time, energy, effort…everything you put into the relationship feels like it was a waste. Especially when you can’t figure out what you did wrong.  If you had closure then you could put it behind you and walk away. But when you don’t know, it hurts. Instead of answers, you’re just left with silence. And sometimes you didn’t do anything wrong at all.There are some people who just aren’t good with closing things out. They don’t want to deal with messy so they just disappear and hope that you will eventually get the hint. It sucks like hell when that happens in a breakup, but when it happens in a friendship, it can be even worse. When your repeated attempts to figure out what happened don’t get reciprocated, you’re left with the feeling that the other person didn’t care as much as you did.

Sometimes you won’t ever get that closure. And you have to deal with it and move on. For me, lots of prayer has been and will continue to take place. I feel like there’s an empty spot in my life/heart right now. Not to sound all “Christian-y” but I know that God will fill it back soon. Whether that’s with other things, other people, or even God himself, I know that the gap in my heart won’t stay open and vulnerable forever. I wonder sometimes why God brings people into our lives only to take them away because it seems like it was a waste of time on everyone’s part. But ultimately God has his reasons and even though I don’t know why all this happened this way, someday I know I will understand.

I love how God directs me to what he wants me to know are his words that I need to read. I found this passage in Psalms one day during a particularly rough day. I have probably read it many times before and just glanced over it. But on that day, God knew that I needed to read it and all of a sudden it described exactly how I felt. I cannot tell you how perfectly this passage fit me at the time. I remember crying when I read it because it was as if David had written the passage about me. However, it was also comforting in the fact that I knew God had led me to read this. And then it gave me hope as well as to what to place my faith and trust in.

Psalm 55: 1-2, 4-8, 12-17, 20-22; 23b

Listen to my prayer, O God,
do not ignore my plea;
hear me and answer me.
My thoughts trouble me
and I am distraught

My heart is in anguish within me;
the terrors of death have fallen on me.
Fear and trembling have beset me;
horror has overwhelmed me.
I said, “Oh, that I had the wings of a dove!
I would fly away and be at rest.
I would flee far away
and stay in the desert
I would hurry to my place of shelter,
far from the tempest and storm.”

If an enemy were insulting me,
I could endure it;
if a foe were rising against me,
I could hide.
But it is you, a man like myself,
my companion, my close friend,
with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship
at the house of God,
as we walked about
among the worshipers.

As for me, I call to God,
and the Lord saves me.
Evening, morning and noon
I cry out in distress,
and he hears my voice.

My companion attacks his friends;
he violates his covenant.
His talk is smooth as butter,
yet war is in his heart;
his words are more soothing than oil,
yet they are drawn swords.

Cast your cares on the Lord
and he will sustain you;
he will never let
the righteous be shaken.

But as for me, I trust in you.

Truth be told, I don’t know what will happen next. Perhaps God has closed the door on this friendship for good. Or maybe it’s just for a season now where we’re not going to be friends. I don’t know. There’s a lot of letting go, waiting, and trusting in God that’s going to have to be done here. Sound familiar? I think that’s been the main theme of this blog…and my rebooted life.

Slightly topical, here’s another excellent article from Relevant, this time about when a friendship is draining and what are signs that you should be looking for to see if you need to end it.

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How to Get Likes on Facebook When You’re Single

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So I’ve reached that age in life when the majority of my friends are engaged, married, and/or having kids. I’m sure many of you can relate to how you go on your Facebook feed and every day there are statuses of people starting to date, getting engaged, wedding photos, pregnancy announcements, and then the onslaught of baby photos.

And then because birds of a feather flock together, when you see the first initial post of a relationship status change or the baby announcement, everyone and their mother and tech-savvy grandmother likes and comments on those posts.  And it keeps building.

Again not that it’s a competition and may I be the first to say that any time any of my friends have a major life event happen to them I am thrilled beyond belief.  I AM NOT BITTER!

But to quote Carrie Bradshaw: “Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn’t one occasion where people celebrate you. … Hallmark doesn’t make a “congratulations, you didn’t marry the wrong guy” card. And where’s the flatware for going on vacation alone?”  It’s true.  If one does not get married or have a baby, whether by personal choice or beyond their control, but has friends who do both, the single friend is always celebrating for them, yet does not really get the same treatment in return.

So I have been conducting an informal tally of my Facebook statuses and it’s been determined that if you’re single, things that get the most votes (at least for me) are getting a new job (which happened to me this Friday!) and buying a car after you get into accident caused by a deer. Seriously, people come out of the woodwork for those things.  These are people from high school you never talk to, college friends you thought forgot about you, people you can’t remember friending, etc.  I mean these folks don’t even tell you happy birthday. I guess it’s easier to like a post vs. write a comment.  I can assume that if I bought a house or graduated with a major degree, these two events might fall into this category as well.

I will be curious though if/when I do change a relationship status, if that would generate more likes/congratulatory comments.  Are people happier when they know you are with someone or still happy for you when they see that you can handle things on your own?  Also is it different when you do these things as a single woman vs a single man?

Not that any of this matters. I do not need social media to give me validation on what is important in life or how important I am. I just find it interesting what kinds of life events that people will approve of and be happy for…..as I like the status of news of a friend’s engagement.

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Legen….wait for it…….

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I’ve mentioned that I’ve been binge watching shows lately in hopes to catch up with current episodes on air now.  The first show that I ever did this to was How I Met Your Mother.  I have several friends who are heavily into the show and they kept telling me I needed to watch it.  “It’s exactly what we as late 20-somethings are going through!” is what they kept telling me.  I had been hesitant because the ads for the show never really got to me and plus I wasn’t really a big comedy watcher.

Then last fall, I was going through a rough time emotionally and I wanted to distract myself from all that emotional angst and I gave in and started watching. HOLY FUDGE. I loved the show.  I loved the show so much (and apparently I needed a LOT of distracting) that I watched all six seasons that were available on Netflix in a month.  And then through a lot of pleading, begging, and bartering with friends, I was finally able to catch up on season 7 and 8 through their downloads in time to watch this season live with the rest of the world.

Warning: I am going to bank on the fact that you have already seen this show.  Therefore there will be a lot of spoilers. You’ve been warned.

I could SO relate to the show. I feel like I have friends who are just like Marshall and Lily (even down to having a baby and the guy being super tall! If you know who are you are….).  A lot of the things the group goes through (new jobs! finishing grad school! losing job! dating! breaking up! turning 30! getting engaged! people having babies!) is exactly what my friends and I are going through right now.

The girls, I can give or take on the show.  I do love the boots that they wear and I LOVE Lily’s hair in season 2.  But they drive me insane sometimes. I want to throttle Robin. I hope I don’t act like that in real life.  But I really enjoy how the show has portrayed the men.  I adore Marshall. Seriously, he is a favorite.  THAT is the type of guy I want.  Also it’s really interesting for me to see Jason Segel in this light, because I had only previously seen him in all those R-rated comedy films.  Had no idea he was such a sweetheart.  And Barney.  Oh Barney.  You are hilarious and bring the best comic relief to the show but stay away from me in real life.

And Teddy Boy.  Yes he has his moments (really, those red boots are super ugly) and there are times when I want to strangle him. He’s definitely not the perfect guy and it takes him a few seasons to realize that he wants to make his intentions serious. But you know what?  In a world where so many 20-something year old guys DON’T want to even pursue a girl let alone settle down, I want a Ted.  (Actually I would rather have a Rory, but that’s another show)  I would love to meet a guy who is attractive as Ted, has a steady job, and knows he wants to find a woman to be serious about with the intention to at least consider settling down and getting married.

I just wish he could get over Robin.  And I know that it’s going to happen.  It’s just…he’s in a bad situation where he’s not going to get over her very easily, as we’ve seen over the past 8 seasons.  You can’t fall in love with your best friend, break up, stay friends, try to keep those feelings reigned in only to have them date/marry your other best friend, and not be emotionally affected unless you are a Dalek. Ted compared every girl he dated to Robin and therefore was unable to move on.  It also didn’t help that she was RIGHT THERE all the time.  Actually this kind of frustrated me.  Why did Robin choose Barney over Ted?  Ted LOVES her and from their interactions they would make a great couple.  Barney loves her too, but I feel like Barney loves Robin best when she acts like a bro.  When she acts like a girl, he’s not there.  Unfortunately Ted is.  And yet Robin doesn’t see this.   And so Ted is stuck.  Because her friends are his friends.  And he can’t really escape it if he stays.  And so he has to face his hurt every time they all hang out, which seems to be all the time. And so even though I feel it’s been dragged out for a loooooong time and I throw my head in my hands every time it happens, I think it’s actually quite realistic to see Ted’s struggle with this. Because it does take a long time for the feelings to go away and it’s hard and it sucks. The joy and pain of falling in love with someone you are very close to and then realizing they don’t feel the same way. I get you, Ted. (But that’s another post for another day).

There are way too many funny instances in the show for me to highlight any (though I do love when Future Ted, played by Bob Saget, says that he was a fan of Dave Coulier). So as we are into the final season of the show, I’m looking forward to seeing how everything turns out. I’m hoping for a good send off and that they properly end all story lines (more slaps! and I just saw Bryan Cranston is coming back for an episode!). I think I tuned into the show at just the right time in my life.  Any earlier or later, and it wouldn’t have the same impact that it does now on me. It would be totally awesome if one day I can tell a similar story to my kids on how I met their father (granted, it won’t be this long and I wouldn’t tell them as much as Ted has).

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Sidewalks are not big enough for three people

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As a single 30 year old, I have a lot of friends that are dating, engaged, or married.  I find myself a lot of times being the odd numbered person in the group or at the very least the third wheel.  Now as long as THEY don’t have a problem with it, I have no qualms at all with hanging out with couples.  While I know that it can be fun to hang out with other couples, it can also be quite fun to hang out with just a single friend as well.  With almost all the couples I hang out with, I’m good friends with both the guy and the girl so it’s not like I’m favoring one over the other.  And I’ve found that I can learn a lot from them.  I’ve seen what a good marriage/relationship looks like, I’ve learned that just because you have a significant other doesn’t mean all your problems are solved, and also that it is possible (for me at least) to know that there ARE good guys out there and what traits I should look for.

However there are times when I worry “Oh gosh, have I become the token single friend?” I was reading a book the other day and the main character was the younger sister of the guy in a couple and she had been invited over for dinner.  It was after the meal and they were hanging out when this thought came to her mind: “The problem with being a guest of a couple is you never know just how long you’re supposed to stay.”  And I was like, that is so true!

I’m fine throughout the main part of the night.  It’s always after the fact, when there’s a lull in the conversation when I start thinking, should I leave? Should I ask them to ask me to leave? Do they want me to stay? Are they waiting for me to leave? Are they regretting asking me over in the first place? Before you ask, yes I worry about things like this and with almost every situation I go through billions of questions run through my head.

Then as my trusty friend (who is also the husband in their relationship) pointed out, it could be worse.

If the day ever comes when this has to happen to me, I have failed.  To all my dear couple friends, don’t let me fail.

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Officially now a member of the 3-0 club.

I swear this blog is not going to constantly me talking about being thirty.  Otherwise this blog would have been named “A Girl Who Is 30”. And since it is not, I will not be doing this on a normal basis.  However as last week WAS my birthday and since this was a milestone birthday, I will indulge myself one more time talking about it.

I’ve entered the 3-0 club, Like I’ve been telling everyone who’s asked me “How does it feel to be 30?”, I still feel the same, though that might change when I hit 31.  Anywho, since it was the big 3-0, I had two birthday celebrations with my friends.  On my actual birthday, my closest friends and I went to an Italian restaurant where we had delish Italian food and a very entertaining birthday song thanks to our waiter.

Then last night we had the big party and celebrated with an 80s theme.  That meant folks came decked out in fluorescent colors, leg warmers, fingerless gloves, bangles, and slap bracelets.  We had the preppy look, Magnum PI, Marty McFly, Miami Vice, The Karate Kid, and Top Gun going…and that was just the guys! It was a blast.  We played Twister, socialized, danced to 80s music, sat around the fire pit while wearing our “Sunglasses at Night”.  My friends also clearly know I’m a geek based on the presents I got (Star Wars, Hawkeye, Doctor Who, Batman, Breaking Bad). I wonder where they got that idea from.

I think the best part for me the past week is that I realized how much my friends care about me.  There are times when I feel completely alone and it’s the most awful feeling in the world, but I know it’s not true; I know that it’s all a deception.  I clearly saw how much people wanted to be there for me.  From where I was a few years ago, this is a complete turnaround.  And realizing THAT was the best birthday present I could ever have.

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The day after

30

First off, I will promise you, readers, that I will not spend this entire blog lamenting on the fact that I have turned 30.  You can be assured of that. As I said yesterday, I see it as a new adventure. But seeing as how yesterday was my 30th birthday, I think I am granted a little leeway just for today.  Deals?

When I was a youngling, 30 was old.  My mom had me when she was 29.  I specifically remember the episode of Full House when Danny turns 30 and how he felt old.  (First off, DJ is at least 11 years old in that episode, so did Danny and Pam get married and have kids while they were still in college? How was Danny still involved in a frat at that point? *FULL HOUSE NERD*) People at 30 had their lives already in place because they were adults.  They had their jobs lined up, were married and had kids, and knew what was going to happen in their life.

Then as I got older, I thought I knew where I was going to be in my life at 30.  I figured I’ll be married, have at least one kid, and I’ll have my job all squared away, and I’ll have my house.  It wasn’t going to be perfect but I thought I would have accomplished those goals.

Well here I am, and unfortunately none of those goals have planned out the way I wanted to.  Now mind you, I’m not horribly depressed by that.  Sure, I feel kinda sad that I’m not there.  And truth be told, it’s possible that I may never get there.  But I hope to.  Just my timing is not where I planned it right now.  I’m kinda a late bloomer anyways.

TRUTH:  It can be tough to see my friends get married, buy houses, have awesome careers, and having kids.

HARDER TRUTH:  It’s harder when people younger than me achieve all these things multiple times (well not the married part).

HARDEST TRUTH:  There’s a huge fear that none of that will never happen to me.

Now that we have gotten that out of the way…..

I have been learning not to compare myself with others.  When I find out any of the above things happen to people I care about, I am so thrilled for them.  I do not want to be a Debbie Downer and want the rest of the world to suffer because things aren’t going my way.  Not at all.  It’s all about a learning curve with me.  People who know me may never understand how I struggle with these things.  And that’s ok.

Because I’m going to make the best out of this situation because that’s all I can do.  There may be nights when I cry and feel frustrated because of where I am.  But while “there may be pain in the night, joy comes in the morning.” And that’s what I’m going to live for.  And I’m going to make this upcoming year be awesome and live my life to the fullest.  I know that God’s put me in this situation for a reason.  And I’m not going to sit around all the time bemoaning it.  I’m happy and I’m going to be happy.

Last year, I had an informal list of “Things I Want to Do Before Turning 30”.  I think this year (and for the rest of my life) I will just have a list called “Things I Want to Do”.