My MS or Ms. Degree?

Life has been busy, complicated and crazy as I guess it’s supposed to be, so I apologize for not writing more often, and I wish you all a belated Happy New Year. Unfortunately, free time to write hasn’t been at the top of my priority list these days. But today I had a thought and figured I could use some self-therapy. So here we go…

I was talking to a friend about my progress on my MS (Masters of Science) degree and thought about that thing people say about girls going to college to get their M-R-S degrees (In case you don’t get it, people say girls go to college to meet their husbands, especially here in the South.). As I said “my MS degree” out loud, I wondered if the choices I’ve made in my life were not only helping me in my advanced education, but also if I was cursing myself to a life as a single Miss.

Of course I don’t want to be single forever (who does?), but looking back there are times where I definitely pushed people away. My life experiences (family issues, past dating situations, etc.) have lead me to believe that men will always hurt women, but I know that’s not the case. For one, I know there are plenty of crappy women out there, and for two, I know there are tons of amazing guys out there. So why does my mind assume all men are bad? And when it does make that assumption, why does my mind create problems that don’t actually exist?

Let me explain. Recently, I was talking to a guy who treated me like a princess – he told me I was beautiful daily, texted me every morning, opened doors for me… you know, the exact things girls want their men to do. And even though things were going great, my emotionally scarred brain decided to turn everything upside down. I think it’s because as soon as I start having real feelings for someone, I immediately put a wall up and turn on the crazy so I (without realizing it or wanting to) can sabotage the relationship and avoid getting seriously hurt in the long run.

For any guys or girls out there who can relate, I sure as hell hope that we can soon learn to risk a little heartbreak, or else we may be looking at a long, windy and lonely path. Even in my short years, I’ve learned that love doesn’t come around often, and when it does you have to be prepared to put your heart on the line. Sure, there will always be the chance that you could get hurt. But then there’s the other chance that you won’t. And if we don’t take that risk, that initial jump into free-fall, we will never allow ourselves to feel anything – good or bad, pain or love.  Are you ready to take the leap of faith?


A Happy Medium and A Happy Birthday

I’ve recently gotten on the Long Island Medium kick (a show on TLC about a lady named Theresa Caputo who speaks to the dead), and I can’t help but wonder about this “speaking to the dead” thing. I’m typically a pretty gullible person, so I’m not surprised that a show like this caught my attention, but I think it’s more than that. Theresa Caputo is a typical Northern woman, and she reminds me a lot of my family, which is probably a big reason why I connected to the show immediately. She speaks her mind, is sometimes inappropriate, but can laugh at herself and seems to be a genuine and loving person. The other reason that hooked me to the show was the concept – communicating with out loved ones who have passed.

Eventually, and unfortunately, almost everyone goes through a major loss at some point in his or her life. My first big experience with death was losing my grandmother, Grandy, when I was 16. Grandy was my mom’s mom, and I spent much of my childhood with her and my grandpa, Papa. She was always happy and either singing or whistling; she was my musical inspiration. Grandy was also one of the best people I ever knew, if not THE best. She could brighten a stranger’s day just by smiling at them. She truly was special.

Grandy died at age 64 – way too early if you ask me. She was supposed to see my graduate from high school and college. She was supposed to be at my wedding, and she was supposed to meet her grandchildren one day. Although I’ve been through different forms of loss, death is by far the worst. There’s no closure, no guarantee that you’ll get to say goodbye, and no way to resolve all your feelings of things left unsaid. If I ever had the chance to talk to a medium like Theresa Caputo, I’d have many questions. Did Grandy know we were by her side at the end? Was there anything that could have been done to keep her here longer? Is she experiencing things with us as we go through life? I don’t know if knowing the answers to these questions would make it any easier to deal with, even after 6 years. All I’d really want to know is if she knew how much we love her and how much she is missed each and every day. And whether or not mediums are real, I think hearing this would make me feel better.

After three episodes of this show, I just realized why I’m missing her so much… it’s Grandy’s birthday today. She would have been 70 today. Happy Birthday Grandy, I love and miss you always.

Big Families – Normal or Not?

Yesterday was my stepdad’s birthday so in typical family fashion, we had a large family dinner. As if eating three Thanksgivings plus leftovers wasn’t enough, we had to finish the holiday week with another big meal. I spent my entire week enjoying time with my many family members, but it wasn’t until I was sitting at the dining room table yesterday evening listening to the fifteen different conversations that were happening that I realized something – I wouldn’t trade my family for the world. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve thought about this, I love my family very much. But after talking to my friends about their Thanksgiving dinners, I realized how different my family is. Most of my friends had dinner with their parents and siblings, averaging 3-5 people at the table. Mine were a little different… Thanksgiving #1 had 12 people attending, Thanksgiving #2 had 3 (okay, that one was more “normal”) and Thanksgiving #3 had 30. Oh, and we had leftovers on Friday and at least 10 people showed up. If we are counting my stepdad’s birthday dinner yesterday, we had another 12 people… If you can imagine, our table is never dull. People are constantly talking over other people, interruptions are normal in our family and so is yelling. Maybe we don’t get to have quality time with one or two people in our family very often, and maybe we don’t hear everyone speak. But that’s just how we are – we laugh big, we party big, we love big and we trust big. And like I said, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Thanksgiving 2012

I’m sitting here in bed at my mom’s house, and I’m thinking about how much I have to be thankful for. Tonight I was able to sit with our extended family and enjoy a fabulous meal in the comfort of our home. I enjoyed good conversation with good people. I got to play cards with my Mom, brother and 72-year-old Papa who I adore. I’ve got a Bachelors degree and I’m halfway done with my Masters, I own a home, I’ve got a great job that I love in a city that I love, I have an amazing family and friends… what more could I ask more? So on this Thanksgiving those are the things I want to concentrate on. This is one of my favorite holidays for what it represents to me – a day to enjoy good food surrounded by the ones you love and those who love you, and it’s a time to truly be thankful for what we have. So much of the time is spent focusing on trying to get the things we don’t have (money, more time, happiness, love, whatever it may be), but it’s not often that we are simply grateful for what we do have. It’s the one day of the year set aside to show our appreciation and gratitude, because we all know that sometimes we get caught up in life and we forget to look at the bright side.

So today, and every day, I am thankful. I’m thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and the choices I’ve made to get me to where I am today; I’ve worked very hard to create the life I have now and will continue to do so moving forward. I’m thankful for my friends – though we may be separated by hundreds of miles at times, we are always there for each other when we need it most. I’m thankful for my family, especially my parents and grandparents who raised me and made me who I am today.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, I hope your day was as good as mine!

First & Last Date or Last First Date?

First dates – some of you are in relationships and haven’t been on a first day in a while, some of you are married and hopefully won’t ever go on a first date again, but for those of us who are single, first dates are typically a frequent event. If you haven’t been on one recently, let me remind you… you’ve either met this person in a bar or through a mutual friend or maybe you met them online (as many people do these days).  You make plans to grab drinks, have dinner or something else. There are the pre-meeting nerves, the “do I look okay?” doubts, the “will he/she be as I remembered/expect?” thoughts, it’s really the anticipation that kills. But once you’re on the date and have survived the initial awkwardness, things usually get better. Usually.

So first dates can go in a variety of directions. If you’re lucky, you have a night of good conversations, laughs and a few drinks. And if you’re really lucky, you’ll have that mutual attraction, maybe get a kiss goodnight, and hopefully hear from the person within a few days. If you’re not so lucky you might not feel the attraction, conversation might be awkward, or it may be so bad that you have to sneak out the back door somehow (not proud, but yes, I’ve done this). Each first date is a new opportunity to make a good impression and either come away with a friend, a potential relationship or worst-case scenario, just another first date under your belt.

So my question is, how many first dates can a person take in their lifetime? Are we meant to be able to endure an infinite number of first dates, awkward or not? Because after each failed attempt, I feel my tolerance slowly disintegrating along with my faith in the honesty of people. If you’re not feeling the date, why don’t we just say so? Why do we just leave the person wondering at the end of the date whether the other person is going to call? I’m guilty of this too, so I’m including myself in this rant, but why can’t we just say what we are thinking and feeling and be done with it? Maybe it comes down to not wanting to hurt peoples’ feelings, but I think never calling them again or ignoring their text messages probably does more damage. Anyways, the first dates have to end somewhere. These days my first dates tend to be last dates, but hopefully one day I’ll have a last first date instead.  Until then, I’m going to enjoy each first date as much as I can… I’m in no rush.

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Presidential Election 2012: Confusion

In light of today’s election, I thought it would be appropriate to write something political. And as many of you probably know, I’m not a very political person. In fact, all I will say in regards to the two candidates is that there were things I liked and things I disliked about each person. The way I look at it, Americans were forced to choose the lesser of two evils – ideally people should vote for the candidate that they think will have our best interest at heart as citizens of the country, and I’m not sure if that happened today. So it seems the incumbent President Barack Obama will remain for another four years, but what does that mean for us?

I don’t know, and we can’t really know the future. All we can do is hope that our country doesn’t fall into a bigger economic recession (dare I say, depression) because that would mean serious problems for all of us. Of course, I’ve recently been surrounded by the political views of my friends and family, and their fear in Obama’s leadership has passed along to me. But as I said, there were a lot of characteristics and social stances that I didn’t like about Romney. Let’s just hope that the economy surprises us and turns around.

But my real question has to do with voting… maybe it’s just a lack of political understanding (or the fact that I didn’t pay much attention in my high school government class), but it looks like Romney had the popular vote over Obama ever so slightly (last time I looked at Google it was 49.5% versus 49.1%, respectively) so why is the difference in electoral votes so drastic? In theory, the members of the electoral college have a moral obligation to represent the people in their communities accurately, so shouldn’t the electoral votes have been a lot closer? Maybe I’m missing something, but I feel like the way the PEOPLE in this country vote should have more influence.

At the risk of getting spammed with tons of political comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I can’t promise I’ll share your viewpoints and I refuse to hold heated debates over blog comments with you, but I would love to hear some hopeful words moving into the next four years of our lives – quite frankly, the negativity gives me anxiety and it’s draining. Life is about moving forward, so let’s do just that with our heads and hopes high. What other option do we have?

And it begins again…

The answer to life, the universe and everything is… 42! Okay, so not really. Personally, I don’t think the “answer” to life can be summed up in a simple numerical value as Douglas Adams so eloquently calculated. But it’s something we have all thought about before – what’s the purpose to life? What are we living for, exactly? What are the reasons for anything that we do? If we had the answers to the questions, what would be the purpose of having a life at all? Maybe that’s the point. We go through life living and experiencing things to learn lessons, to figure things out, and to find happiness, but it’s all part of the experience. Not knowing the answers is what pushes us to try and find them. It’s all part of life.

I’ve decided to start writing again, partially because I really missed writing about whatever was in my head and partially because writing helps me understand those thoughts in my head. Something about putting them down on (virtual) paper makes things more clear – it’s like my own personal therapy! The thing is, I know I’m not the only. I’m not the only one who loves writing, and I’m definitely not the only one with questions about love and life. Maybe my words will help some of you understand something more clearly, and maybe it won’t. But at least you’ll know that you’re not alone in wondering what it’s all about.