Seriously. She is wise beyond her years. I’ve been following her blog for two, maybe three months now, and she always has the most profound, yet entertaining, posts.
This Monday’s post (which I just read today) was all about finding happiness in the little things in life. I know that this isn’t a new concept, but it was something I really needed to see in print. She listed all the little things in life that make her happy and since my birthday has really gotten me down, I think it’s something I should do, too.
So here you go, little things that make me happy. I’m going to try and conclude every post with one from now on, but here’s a list to get me started:
1. The first sip of an ice-cold sunkist, straight from the bottle.
2. Geico commercials
3. Christmas traditions with my family
4. Writing my name and the date on the title page of a recently read novel
5. Seeing my freshly painted nails flying across the keyboard of my laptop
6. A perfect stranger asking me where I got my laptop because they’ve never seen a purple laptop before
7. Anyone telling me they’ve enjoyed something I’ve written
8. The minister announcing “I now pronounce you man and wife…” regardless of who’s getting married
9. Dancing with the Stars
10. Quoting lines from Friends
And to conclude this post properly, a little thing that made me happy today: A kid from the ortho’s office brought the whole staff churros from Costco because I had never had one. And they are delicious!
I’m not fishing for “Happy Birthdays,” I promise, but I just can’t seem to get over the fact that I’m a year older. I’m on the wrong side of twenty-five. The side that leads to thirty. And I swear to God if one person leaves a comment saying how young I am and how I have my whole life ahead of me and how good things come to those who wait, blah blah blah, I’ll go ape-shit on their ass.
I know people out there GET IT. I know I’m not the only person who feels like a complete and utter failure; like my life has gone a thousand miles in the wrong direction. I totally know that. I just don’t feel it most of the time.
You know what I mean? I feel so all alone. Yesterday I had a crappy day. I woke up late so I didn’t have time to wash my hair. Let’s just say when I don’t wash my hair I look like I dipped my head in a big tub of melted butter. It was Monday and even though the schedule at the ortho office didn’t appear busy, I did not stop all day. I was busy. Crazy busy. And I had wedding stuff to worry about on my lunch hour and when I got off of work. And I was just tired and in a foul mood all day. It sucked. And I didn’t know who to call. I wanted to call someone so badly and vent, but I didn’t know who to call.
Not knowing who to call wasn’t the worst thing though. The worst thing was thinking about what I would say and realizing I couldn’t even really express HOW I was feeling or WHY I was feeling that way. I’m a freaking “writer” and I can’t express myself! And thinking about it made me realize that all of my complaints were bull shit and stupid and no one would want to hear about them. And that made me think how I really needed a therapist. Of course, that would just bring up the issue of not being able to express myself again.
I don’t know if this has anything to do with turning twenty-six, in fact, I’m sure it doesn’t because I’ve always been crazy like this, but I was thinking about being twenty-six yesterday as I walked out to my car and how I’ll never again WISH to be a year older. Remember how when you were younger, you’d start saying you were 10 when you were only 9 and a half, because you wanted to be mature, adult, grown up? You didn’t want to be seen as a kid anymore? So you looked forward to each and every birthday. You counted down the days and you made sure everyone knew how old you were. It makes me incredibly sad that I won’t ever have that again.
Okay, maybe I will, when I’m like 99. Cause it would be pretty freaking cool to tell people you were turning 100.
But anyways. I’m twenty-six now. Twenty-six. I’m trying to wrap my head around that. I’m trying to be happy about that. I’m trying not to see it as just another year flying by without me making anything of myself. Without anyone else seeing anything in me.
I don’t want responses, really. I don’t want to be patted on the back and told that everything is going to be okay and that I’m awesome. Because I know that. I really do. But, like I said before, knowing and feeling are two different things. Two very different things.
I haven’t had any time recently to post anything new, obviously, since I haven’t posted anything new. And I probably won’t this week either, so here’s a short story/poem I wrote based on events that happened on my birthday. I say short story/poem because I can’t decide which it is.
Observations in Thirty Minutes
My brain feels wiped clean
And I have an hour to kill
My fingers close around
The steel handle
I wonder how it stays cool
In this June heat
The door yields easily
And the delicious aroma of coffee
Greets me as I step inside
A quick survey reveals
Four open leather armchairs
Exactly what I need
I drop my bag
Let my body fall into the cushion
And close my eyes
But I can’t sleep in such a public place
So I open my eyes
Tuck my bag between the chair and my legs
And I look around
Not many customers for a Saturday
The only people
Who really catch my eye
Are the barristas
One guy, one girl
He has blonde hair
A clean and pressed white button-down shirt
Khakis and a dark green visor
Matching his spotless apron
She has a long, dark ponytail
Messy strands stick out
Beneath her visor
A bottle-green polo shirt clashes
With her apron
She loudly tells her co-worker
A story about her mother’s cat
I watch them for a minute
She gestures widely
To emphasize the important parts of the tale
He stands still
Hands behind his back
Slowly scouring the small crowd
But I can tell he’s paying attention
To her uninteresting narrative
He looks in my direction
I turn my head
Embarrassed to be caught staring
But she really shouldn’t speak so loudly
I check my phone for the time
Only ten minutes have passed
I groan, but internally
Not wanting to draw any more attention to myself
When I look up
I’m conscious to keep my sight
Away from the barristas
Instead it lands on a young guy
Probably around my age
He’s wearing those old school headphones
Black, the kind with a rounded arm
That fits over your head
And large, circular, ear muff- like sound receivers
But he’s wearing a baseball hat, too
Tan, with no team name or logo
So the black band is sitting
On top of the hat
His face is scruffy
Three or four days worth of growth
It suits him
Makes him seem warm
Like the kind of guy
Who gives really great hugs
He’s writing, like me
I wonder what he’s working on
He has a laptop open
And a thick book beside him
Is he studying? Taking notes?
Every now and then
He raises his pen to his lips
It’s silver and looks expensive
I compare it to the cheap Bic
In my hand
Mine writes well enough
But probably doesn’t look as good
Pressed to my lips
The slender cylinder smushes his pout
He rolls it side to side
He’s completely in his own head
No self-conscious embarrassment
He’s not aware that I’m watching him
But the guy barrista is
I happen to glance to the counter
And see him looking at me
I turn away again
And the pen has been lowered
By headphones guy
Did he look at me
When I looked away?
Did he look at me
When I looked down to write?
I’m drawn to him
I want to stand and approach him
Sit down at his table
Smile, introduce myself
But I don’t
The headphones are removed
And placed on the table
He pushes his chair out
Stands, leaves his laptop and book
And walks out the door
Where is he going?
Why’d he leave his stuff?
I check my phone again
Twenty more minutes have passed
Only thirty to go
It’s June. I can’t believe it’s June. It’s JUNE 13TH!!!!
June used to be the month I looked forward to. As soon as the calendar hit June 1st, I’d start the countdown to my birthday (6 days counting today and the actual Birth Day, in case you were wondering).
I loved my birthday growing up. I loved having a day that was all about me- where I got to pick the restaurant and sit in the front seat and the cake had MY name on it. Who doesn’t like that?
Birthdays are a lot less magical as you get older. And I’m not saying I’m old. In fact, I still FEEL very young. But I can’t deny the fact that I am getting older every day. We all are.
It’s going to be very difficult to say goodbye to my Twenty-fifth year. As you’ve probably learned by now, I’ve built it up in my mind as the year things were supposed to change- where I was finally supposed to become something, someone.
I can’t say exactly why the age Twenty-five has such a powerful hold on me, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t. I actually wrote my novel when I was twenty-four, but I’ve spent my entire twenty-fifth year revising it and trying to see if I have what it takes to be a real writer and I’ll always think of my twenty-fifth year as the year I created my first book.
And it’s almost gone.
And I’m no closer to being someone special than I was a year ago.
Or am I?
I’ve grown this year. Taller, no. Wider, possibly. But mostly in taking control of my life. I write my blog- I share myself with the world. I quit my job and found one that pays better and doesn’t make me want to kill myself at the end of the day. It still isn’t my dream career, but it enables me to work towards my dream career a little more. I actually went out on a couple of dates this year! None of them led to anything, but they were still more than anything else in the past six years or so.
I can’t truthfully say that I’m happy with where I’m at in life. But. I can say that I’m happier than I was a year ago.
And that has to count for something, right?
I really love to write. And I don’t mean the process of telling a story through words recorded on paper (although I do love that), but I mean the actual ACT of writing itself. I love the feel of a pen in my hand, love moving it across a piece of paper to form letters, words, sentences, paragraphs. I love seeing my handwriting fill up a page, making something that was once pure and clean messy and complicated, but so much more valuable.
Sometimes, before I began writing fiction and poetry, I would feel this urge to pick up a pen and just write, though often I didn’t have any purpose, so I didn’t write anything at all. I still get those impulses now. I’ll be sitting at work and will have a few slow moments and in my head, suddenly, the desire will strike. I’ll wish desperately in the moment that I could pull out my notebook and form words across the page, even if I don’t say anything.
There’s something so immensely satisfying about flipping through my full notebooks, seeing my familiar writing. No one in the world writes exactly like me. When I write lowercase “g”s I’m often going so fast that I don’t form a complete loop at the top. And my uppercase “I”s are often written in such a hurry they could be mistaken for “N”s if the page was turned 180 degrees. And there are a million other things about my handwriting that when combined mean I’m the only person in the world to write like I do.
I think that is amazing.
I wonder now if my love of the Act of writing led me to write fiction. Was that a direction I was always headed in and I didn’t know it? Were my diligent note-taking skills in high school and college just precursors to the notebooks that would one day carry my heart and soul on their pages? Were the urges to pick up a pen I felt for twenty-four and a half years before writing Twenty-Five trying to tell me my destiny?
That I really should be a writer?
Lua posted an interesting exercise on her blog a few days or weeks ago, I can’t be sure exactly which. It goes along really well with these thoughts, so here it is:
Write down the following, snap a picture (or scan the document), post it, and tag others.
2. Right handed, left handed or both?
3. Favorite letters to write?
4. Least favorite letters to write?
5. Write: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.
6. Write in caps:
7. Favorite song lyrics?
8. Tag 7 people.
9. Any special note or drawing?
I wrote this down in the actual notebook I’m carrying around at the moment, where I write whenever I get a chance. It has random chapters and short stories and pieces of poetry along with driving directions and notes from classes and seminars and meetings about weddings. I love my notebook.
Note: I didn’t do #8- tagging people. I’m not really sure how that works on a blog. I mean, I know how to add tags to each post, but does it mean I should link to these people’s blogs? And disclaimer on #7- favorite song lyrics- I actually just wrote down the lyrics playing at the moment I got to that step! Sorry, I guess I don’t have one song or set of lyrics that sticks out enough for me to call it a favorite.
Sunday morning, bright and early, we drove once again through the Disney gates.
We went to Guest Services and told them it was our birthdays. They gave us these badges with our names and “Happy Birthday” on them and every where we went all day long Disney employees (and some other guests) told us Happy Birthday. I recommend getting one of these badges whenever you go, whether it’s your birthday or not. Being told “Happy Birthday” every five minutes is incredibly magical!
There weren’t a ton of rides at Hollywood Studios and the ones there had long lines and no fast passes for a while, so we didn’t ride anything, just walked around and admired the general splendor until it was time for the Beauty and the Beast show. Have I mentioned that Beauty and the Beast is my ALL TIME FAVORITE Disney movie? The show was really good– basically the movie condensed into thirty minutes of musical numbers. I loved it, of course, and sang along with each and every song. I’m sure Brooke was annoyed as hell, but she smiled and didn’t complain at all. I took about 30 pictures of the show, but here’s my favorite. Any guess why? haha
The first thing we did was head straight for Space Mountain and get fast passes. Unfortunately the fast passes weren’t good until after 8:15 PM, but luckily, we were planning on staying all day!
After obtaining the fast passes we got lunch, then enjoyed the 3:00 parade. It started raining just as the parade started, but the rain was actually a welcome addition- it cooled the day down a bit.
When the parade ended, it really started to pour, so we went to the Hall of Presidents and enjoyed the show there. It was quite moving. It begins with George Washington and goes all the way through to Barack Obama. When pictures from 9/11 scrolled across the screen with George W. Bush’s voice speaking over it with words of encouragement for the nation, I got a little teary! And I am NOT a fan of George W. Bush! But anyways…
We spent the next couple of hours riding all of the MUST RIDE rides: It’s a Small World After All, Pirates of the Caribbean, Jungle Cruise. I wanted to ride the Teacups and Splash Mountain, but Brooke didn’t want to, so NEXT TIME! And unfortunately Thunder Mountain was closed. NEXT TIME!
At 6:00 we left the Magic Kingdom and met Danny in Epcot for a backstage tour of The Seas. I wasn’t allowed to take any pictures backstage because that’s “where the magic ends.” Plus, Danny could have gotten into big trouble! He took us to the room that overlooks the aquarium and I stood approximately three feet away from two dolphins who stuck their heads above the water and looked straight at me! They knew I was there to see them. I couldn’t say anything to them or make any big hand gestures because it would derail their training, but still, I was only three feet away. NEXT TIME Danny might try and arrange it so I can go snorkeling in the tank and then I might be able to touch one of them (maybe- I’m not sure, he wasn’t clear on that)!
After our backstage tour, we walked through the World Showcase. Of course I had to take a picture in the famous London phone booths! Danny ate at the Moroccan restaurant, but Brooke and I didn’t want to eat anything for dinner yet because we still had Space Mountain ahead!
We went through the entire World Showcase and of course I took a ton of pictures, but I’ve already bored you enough, so I’ll just get to the end of the day.
We went back to The Magic Kingdom after the World Showcase because we wanted to see the fireworks. They were beautiful but Danny told me how much they cost each night and almost gave me a heart attack. Let’s just put it this way- it was almost more than I made last year- for the entire year- with both jobs.
Still breathtaking, though.
And of course, after the fireworks: SPACE MOUNTAIN! The best most awesome roller coaster EVER. I know there will be some cynical and pessimistic people out there who don’t believe in the magic of Disney who will say, “Space Mountain? Really? The best roller coaster ever?” And I will say “HECK YES!” And they will say, “But it doesn’t even go upside down!” And I will say, “But you can’t see what’s coming next! The thrill is much bigger!”
After Space Mountain, , we left Disney World. I said goodbye to the happiest place on earth (though, as we were informed when we got our birthday badges, Disney Land is actually the Happiest Place on Earth, while Disney World is Where Dreams Come True). And then I had to come home. Back to reality. But I brought some happiness back with me. A little magic.
And I plan on holding onto it for as long as possible.
Thank you Disney World- I will be back.
I really had no idea describing my vacation would take this many posts- sorry! feel free to skip if you don’t love Disney as much as I do– which btw is crazy talk. Who doesn’t love Disney?
The first thing we did at Disney was explore a few of the resorts. We went to The Wilderness Lodge
I got a little camera happy! I took even more at the Wilderness Lodge, but I won’t bore you with too many pictures. I was just so excited to be there. It was like stepping into a dream. I’d been wanting to go to Disney World for as long as I can remember. And here I was. Standing there, seeing the beauty and the creativity and the wonder of it all. It makes you realize how important passion is in life. You have to have passion to have fun, to enjoy the little things. I had a lot of passion at Disney.
The next place we visited was the Contemporary Resort. It was not nearly as exciting as the Wilderness Lodge because it was all modern architecture and furniture. It didn’t have the magical atmosphere that the other resorts did, but it did have the monorail running through it!
We hopped on the monorail and headed to the Polynesian Resort. The Polynesian was BEAUTIFUL. Gorgeous. And it smelled delicious! There’s a restaurant there called Ohona (if you remember from Lilo & Stitch, “Ohona” means family) where they serve the customers family style. Waiters walk around with huge trays full of kabobs and according to Brooke, the bread is delicious. I think you have to have a reservation to eat there, so we didn’t, but I told Brooke that next time (and yes- there will most definitely be a next time) I visit, we are eating there.
We did eat at the Polynesian Resort, though, just not at Ohona. We ate Pineapple Dole Whip at the cafe on the bottom floor. It was actually a little bit taller than this picture, but we all took a bite before I thought to pull out the camera. And yes, we ate it all:
After the Polynesian resort, we went to The Grand Floridian Resort. It was spectacular. I want to live in this hotel. That’s all I’m going to say. I’ll let the pictures do the talking.
After seeing the beauty at the resorts, we went to Downtown Disney so that I could get all my souvenirs. We decided it would be best to get them the night before so that I didn’t have to carry them around all day on Sunday at the parks.
Saturday was eventful. Sunday was magical. There’s just no other word for it. Look for the final installment tomorrow night!
Brooke had to work on Friday during the day, so I got to sleep in! And when I did finally get up, I immediately put on my brand new bathing suit (P.S. I haven’t worn a bathing suit in over 4 years. Luckily, it was not as traumatic as I expected because no one saw me in it except for Brooke and her roommate later in the day) and went out to the pool.
In Florida, everyone has a pool in their backyard. Literally.
I got in the pool and swam around for about five minutes. It was nice, but swimming alone really isn’t that much fun, so I got out and dried off by laying in the sun for a little bit. Then the main event. I spent the next three or four hours at my laptop, just typing and editing and not worrying at all about work life. I was completely immersed in The Death Effect and the world of my imagination. It was so peaceful, so nice, so incredibly relaxing. I really needed it.
On Friday night Brooke, her boyfriend Danny, and I went to their stem church for Bible study of sorts. I had a good time. Their friends were welcoming, we had Papa John’s pizza (mmm… delicious. I used to dislike it, but it has grown on me), and then discussed the idea of God’s plan and the goal of accepting God’s plan and living in the moment rather than living for the future.
I completely live for the future. I wish I didn’t. And I’m trying harder not to. That’s partly what this blog is for. It’s why I switched jobs in January. And it’s why I write for me and haven’t really been freaking out about the fact that I haven’t had time to search for an agent. But the truth is, I’ve always waited for that future moment when my life “will start.” You know what I mean. That time when I’m in the career I want, in love with the man I want, happy with the family I want, out of the debt I have now. It’s always ahead of me. I’m always stretching my hand out trying to grasp it, inevitably falling short.
But my trip to Orlando was living in the moment. Not caring how it would affect my bank account, only caring how it would affect my happiness NOW. And I’m so happy I went.
Saturday, I repeated Friday morning/afternoon- working a lot on The Death Effect, but not really working on it. I read through everything I have written so far, edited a few things, and made sure it was up-to-date on TNBW. Again, a completely relaxing, no-obligations day. I loved it.
Saturday night- we went to Disney…
So let me tell you a little about my trip to Orlando.
This was the first real vacation I’ve had in years. YEARS. I can’t even remember the last vacation I took. My family went to Buffalo to visit my Dad’s parents last summer, but I’m not sure I really count that as a vacation because it was all family time. The point is, I don’t take a lot of vacations because I can’t really afford it for one thing and because I don’t have the time for it for another. This was a pretty big step for me. I’m still not entirely sure I could afford this vacation, but it’s over now, so…
I had a four-day weekend thanks to Memorial Day and the new job at the ortho’s office (if I can still call it new, I’ve been there almost 5 months), so I just took the plunge. I’m not really a risk taker, never have been. The day I purchased the plane tickets- I felt so amazing! And I’ve been in such a GOOD MOOD ever since.
I got off work at 5:00 on Thursday and headed straight for the airport. It was the first time I’ve flown by myself! I’ve flown a few times, when I was in college for trips with the Honors Program I was involved in, but I’ve never flown for a personal trip and never by myself. I’m used to being alone, so it wasn’t a big deal, but it did make me feel GROWN UP. You know? I’ve been an adult forever it seems like, but this was just another one of those things that every adult has to do- Fly on a plane by themselves.
I had a short layover in Nashville and I almost freaked out when we landed because I thought I missed my connecting flight to Orlando! ALMOST freaked out. But I kept my head cool. I almost freaked out because when we landed my phone said 8:26 and my flight to Orlando was scheduled to leave at 8:20. I was stuck on the plane so there wasn’t anything I could do until we got off the plane and I found my gate to see if my flight had left. I texted my friend to let her know and then I saw the guy’s cell phone beside me said 7:28. I was like, “Is there a time difference between Raleigh and Nashville?” Brooke said she’d look it up and let me know and sure enough, yes, there is an hour time difference! North Carolina and Tennessee are so close, I never knew they were in different time zones!
Needless to say, I didn’t miss my connection! I got to Orlando Thursday night a little after 11:00 and Brooke picked me up at the airport. My vacation REALLY started the next day! More to come…