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Choices, lessons and grace.

November 25, 2010 1 comment

I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving again. WhenI think about the year since last Thanksgiving…whoa. Really?

Last Thanksgiving I was on the verge of a major move across the country. I was breathless with new possibilities and ready to take on the world.

Oh, that Katie. That sweet, naive, ambitious, optimistic, dreamy Katie.

And how things have changed since then. Last year I was thankful for family. For choices. For making known what I wanted (thought I wanted, I suppose. I don’t know anymore.) and having the courage to go after it.

It was a truly interesting year — a life-changing, dream-transforming year.

So here’s what I’m thankful for this year.

I’m thankful, as always for my incredible set of parents. I’ve thrown quite a few little curve balls at them in the last year, and most recently in the last two weeks, and they’ve never let me down. Even when I thought they would laugh, they never did. They never scoffed at my grandiose and far-reaching dreams. No matter how far into the various corners of the world they reached. They accepted what I have wanted to do thus far and have gone with it quite nicely.

I’m thankful I have a sister who tells me what I need to hear, even when it hurts like hell.

I’m more than thankful I have friends who listen to me bitch and moan and whine. I don’t deserve their listening ears, but they’re always there for me nonetheless.

I’m thankful for new experiences — good and bad. This year was completely and utterly transformative, and I can’t believe I am where I am today. It’s not where I expected to be, but it’s not entirely bad.

And I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: I’m so thankful I moved to Boston. That city, it changed me, as trite as it sounds. It’s a part of me now, and I’m terrified I’ll forget those four months.

I’m thankful for all the little things: learning the T and memorizing the stops I needed to get to my little apartment on Shepherd Ave. I’m thankful for my flower job and for working for sweet Betsy. I’m thankful Steve became my friend and taught me how important it is to give–even when I think I have nothing. Because until I’m in Steve’s position I always have something. I’m thankful for all the wonderful people I was able to meet — people who taught me how to look at the world in different colors, to find the beauty in the mundane.

I’m thankful I found a home in a new part of the country other than West Texas.

But this year I’m most thankful for learning lessons. It’s been one of the hardest years of my life, but boy, have I had to grow the hell up. And I love that. I love that I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve finally realized that coming back to Lubbock wasn’t a failure.

Not going to Boston would have been the failure. Simply taking the leap and making it in the city for a few months was the success. And it taught me I can take big chances and dream big dreams and come out the other side partly unscathed.

So this year, I guess instead of “Peace, faith, courage and possibility,” my words are these: “Lessons, choices, opportunities. Grace.”

And still peace. Always peace.

And this year is so different from last year. Last year I had a clear idea of where I was going and where I wanted to be. Last year I was a dreamer and bit more innocent. Now my ideas are foggy and unsure. But I think that’s ok. I’m looking forward to figuring it all out and finding a new place to land.

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Life gave me a kick in the pants this week.

October 29, 2010 Leave a comment

This week I had not one, but two, people tell me something that bothered me horribly.

“Katie, you’re never happy. What’s going on?”

“Katie, you weren’t happy in Lubbock so you moved to Boston. Then you moved back to Lubbock after Boston, and you’re unhappy again. When are you ever going to be happy?”

Um…

Ok.

Apparently, it’s time for a little self-reflection.

And here’s what I came up with.

I’m not unhappy — in any way, shape or form. I’m frustrated, and that feels like a huge difference to me.

I’m frustrated and deeply disappointed in myself. When I moved to Boston, I had all the optimism in the world. I was going to go up there, kick some Yankee butt and ingrain myself in that life. I was going to find an awesome job in the publishing industry, and basically, start over.

So I did that. In January 2010 I hopped on a plane with my cat and a suitcase and a hell of a lot of dreams and left the hometown I was born and raised in. 

Four months later, I was back. Granted, I am back for a great job, a real job, (and that’s more than some people can say) but still. I’m back.

No matter what anyone says to me, no matter how many people tell me I “made it in Boston,” I don’t feel like I did. I feel like I gave up. Like I threw away my dreams of the last few years because things got a little hard. It feels like I turned my back on the girl I was in January and ignored her pleas to stay. To power through and keep trying and pushing and hoping and wishing.

I’m so disappointed in myself, it’s hard to explain. I hate living with this much regret. I hate that, as my sister phrased it, “I’m drowning in self-pity.” It’s true and when she said that to me it was like the universe slapped me in the face and told me to get the hell over it.

But. And here’s the part where everyone reading this realizes that I’m really not a total downer. My mindset is turning around.

I am where I am, and regardless of how I wish it were different, it’s not going to change for a while. And you know what? I’m thinking that may be OK for now.

I’m realizing more and more how where I am right now is not bad. It’s finally hit me that living with such a sh*tload of regret and disappointment backlogged in my brain and my heart is essentially crippling my life. It’s not healthy, and even more than that, it’s not going to get me back to where I want to be. The only thing that will get me back on track is more of that optimism I talked about earlier. And sheer will. And you know I have that.

But the way I see it, I had two choices back in May/June when I was offered this job. Both choices would have given me different experiences, new people to meet and various life lessons to learn.

Neither choice was bad. Neither choice was clearly the better choice.

Because I chose to take this job, I’m going to end up somewhere different than if I had stayed in Boston. While that’s a hard truth to swallow, I have to believe it. And I’m not going to end up somewhere bad. It’s just going to be much different than I originally thought it would be.

But isn’t that sort of the beauty of life and the power of making your own choices? You never know what’s around the next corner, and I love that.

So long story short, I’m sorry everyone. I’m sorry for imposing my frustration on all of you, as I know it hasn’t made me a fun person to be around. Know that I’m trying; know that I’m attempting to turn all this negativity into peace — into optimisim and hope and dreams for my future. It’ll happen. I’m not going to be drowning anymore.

So thank you, Universe. And thanks to my friends and sister who aren’t afraid to be honest and call it like it is.

I just hate that I have to wait for my next adventure, haha.

The dreamer’s disease.

October 21, 2010 2 comments

It’s time to write a kick ass post, because it’s been far, far too long since I wrote a good one. You know what I’m talking about? I need a post that almost brings me to tears when I re-read it. One that fills me up heart and soul and leaves me spent and nearly empty because I poured my whole self into these words I’m letting you all read.

One of those.

So hopefully, here I go.

I’ve been on “vacation” the last couple of days. When I say vacation I mean I’ve got five mandatory days off work and I’m in Midland at my parent’s house. Which is nice. Ish. I definitely needed the days off work. I’m beyond exhausted.

Needless to say however, I’ve had a bit of time on my hands. Today was spent in my pajamas, laying on the couch and watching freakin’ Jersey Shore reruns. Ew. I feel like I need a shower after watching their antics.

But I’ve also spent much of the day reading blogs. Travel blogs, specifically. I follow a few, but today I took the time to look at who they follow.

And whoa.

It was a goldmine, an absolute gold mine of goodness. Here, look. And here. And just for good measure, go look here too.

I’m not jealous of these people. I’m admiring of the way they faced into the wind and the unknown and took that terrifying leap.

Earl’s Syria post resonated with me the most.

He talks about how there were some moments in Syria where he felt nothing but “unrestricted happiness.” It’s a beautiful post. It filled me with longing because I’ve felt that before.

I’ve felt that beautiful feeling of absolute rightness. That feeling of peace, of love for anyone and everyone in your path. It’s a beautiful thing. I felt it when I breathlessly hopped on the trains in Boston with just seconds to spare before it left the station. Or when my regular customers recongnized me and I them. I felt it when I trotted up and down the streets of New York City, letting the energy revitalize me and remind me just how very alive I am.

I almost think it’s that feeling those bloggers have that I’m searching for. Their posts have embedded in my mind the idea of going to these countries that I’d never before considered.

Albania. Syria. Turkey. Morocco. Egypt. South Africa. Czech Republic. Cambodia. India. Peru. Argentina. Thailand. China. Tibet. (I HAVE to see Everest — whether it’s from the Tibet or Nepal side; I don’t really care.)  So many more places. The far-flung corners of the globe.

I say this all the time, that I can’t wait to travel and see the world, but maybe it’s time to start thinking more seriously about it. At the very least maybe I should start making a list of where I want to go and what all I want to see and experience.

Maybe it’s time to start dreaming again.

After all, isn’s that the momentum that got me all the way to Boston? Aren’t the wild and crazy dreams and ideas and the belief it can happen what makes me me?

I feel like it’s the part of me that’s been missing for six months now. And I feel like it’s the part of me that I need to get back. Right now. ( I almost typed right meow.)

Glory days.

August 29, 2010 1 comment

Last night I needed a night out more than anything. I needed to nurse a cold beer; I needed loud music to drown out my ever-thinking mind; I needed to be around good friends.

But an hour into being at the bar, I was disgusted. Not by my friends by any means, but by the crowds in the place. The town I live in, like I’ve said before, is filled with people who are essentially cut from the same cloth. It’s a college town; there’s sorority girls and frat daddies all over the place. And I cannot stand it.

I left last night because I got sick of having to deal with this.

Lately I’ve been reading travelogues, which are amazing books. One of my favorite things about these books is the chance to see the world through someone else’s eyes. I love learning about new types of people, new cultures, new traditions.

It makes me hunger for something different.

I want real people in my life. I need to, at some point, get away from the college lifestyle and move in a path that will bring me toward interacting with people who have had actual life experiences.

I know in a lot of ways I’m categorizing everyone I saw at the bar last night, and that’s not fair. But in some ways what I’m saying is true, so I’m not going to feel too bad.

Last night also made me miss Boston. (Whoa, what? Like I never say that.) What I loved most about that place (Let’s say, in the top 5 of things I loved.), was the fact that new people were around every single corner. Whether it was a quick conversation on the subway with a med student, or stopping to listen to a street performer, or an artist who became my closest friend, I was always hungering for that next encounter.  I love different perspectives and opinions and lifestyles.

Some people want to eat their way around the world. Others want to participate in adrenaline-filled activities or see how far they can travel by land rather than by air. I, on the other hand, when I travel, want to glean as much as I can from whichever culture I choose.

One of my favorite books I read this summer was “Tales of a Female Nomad,” by Rita Gelman Goldman. After a divorce, and in her mid-40s (I think), she moved to Mexico where she lived in a Zapotec village for a number of months. From there she’s spent the last 10 years or so moving around the world, and making sure that she connects with the people she lives with in every part of the world she visits. She lived with a royal family in Bali, and hiked in the highlands of Indonesia where she lived in a teeny-tiny village. Rather than getting the quick, “postcard view” of the places she visits, she stays long enough to get an idea of how they live: what activities their days are made up of, or how they grieve, how they celebrate, how they play.

It’s a beautiful thing, and I loved her book. And although I don’t really want to take it as far as she did and be a “present-day nomad,” I do want to learn from people the way she did. That’s why I want to travel.

Boston let me get a taste of that feeling. The city gave me the chance to, like I said earlier, meet tons of different types of people. I miss that.

And that, right there, brings me to my next thought: The glory days.

Since I started my new job, I’ve had lots and lots of time to read gazillions (OK, slight exaggeration) of travel blogs. There are people out there my age traveling around and around the world, and I love reading their blogs.

One blogger–I can’t remember who it is, but I’ll link it as soon as I find it again–wrote a post about the glory days. He likened this to that old man who always talked about “that one football game, back in 1950 where he made the winning touchdown.” And this man never moves past this point: He spends the rest of forever telling this story, and that’s essentially the highlight of his life.

What I loved about this post was that it made me realize how moving to Boston was my glory moment, and it made me sick because I am so much like that old man. In my life right now that move to Boston is the biggest thing I’ve done.

I miss it. You all know this. And I insert it into every conversation with new people: I make sure they know I moved there, that I was scared, but that I did it. Those days I spent living in Boston were my glory days.

The blogger also touched on the importance of not letting that one experience become the only moment worth being glorious in your life.

And I get it. It infused me with determination. Determination to move past a situation, a decision I made I’m unhappy with. It’s made me start planning and thinking about concrete steps I can take to ensure I have more moments and experiences I can classify as my glory days–instead of just one four-month block.

I want enough experiences to fill a book. You all know that when I get in a new place I can write and write and write. My blog took off in Boston, and I’m searching for the next place I can let my words explode. It’ll be wonderful.

So, here’s to the glory days. And here’s to real people. I’m coming for those times.

Thanks for reading. I haven’t written this long of a post since I moved, and I have to tell you, it feels amazing.

The times, they are a changin’.

Just remember.

June 17, 2010 2 comments

So, as I suspected it might be, my time away from my blog was short-lived.

I thought that by ending my blog I could just live my life, instead of narrating it for those I love. Which, if you think about it, is a little pointless considering I talk to most of my friends quite frequently.

My reason for deciding to begin writing on this thing is simple: I had a jolt. I saw something that moved me earlier, and my fingers ached to be at my computer, typing madly enough to get my thoughts down before they left my brain.

I had to wait an hour or so, but here I am. Back.

And that’s my problem these days. I’m back. Back in the place I used to hate, and striving to make it better than last time. I’m enjoying my job and I’m spending time with friends I missed so dearly the last two months.

Do you remember this day? The day where I saw a bumper sticker that made me smile and made me list stupid things about myself? It made me re-evaluate why I wanted to move to Boston and made me…not question…but think very hard about what I wanted to do come January 2010.

Well today, I saw that same damn bumper sticker. I was stopped at a light, listening to music, looked up and at the car in front of me. And what do you think I saw? It was the same car. The same bumper sticker with the same message that always makes me tear up a little.

It made me smile because it was another one of those small little signs that I needed. I needed to see that and read it and remind myself what makes me me.

One of my favorite bloggers, Her, wrote a post recently that makes me cry. I go back and read it frequently, because she and her husband seem to feel the same way that I do about our 20s: We all feel a little lost sometimes and unsure of what the next move is. What the correct move should be. It’s never easy, and we’re all finding that there’s never a clear-cut yes or no answer. I think we’re figuring out that sometimes it’s better to take a leap of faith and jump–and then figure out things once you land.

That’s what I’ve done in my life. I moved to Boston. I moved back to take a great job.

Now? Now I’m making plans to leap again. Not anytime soon; not for another year. But it’s going to happen again. I like being the adventurous girl; the one with the spirit and the guts and the passion and the drive.

And I’m going to continue reminding myself one thing:

It’s OK to feel lost in life. I just have to keep in mind I’m the girl with the damn wanderlust.

Realization. Appreciation. Happy-ation.

November 18, 2009 1 comment

So this past weekend I went to Midland for my mom’s birthday. She did not know I was coming, or that she would be thrown a huge surprise party Friday night.

It was phenomenal. Although my sister could not be there (7 hours is a long drive), Mom was thrilled I was able to make it. The look on her face when she saw me at the party (and the subsequent tears) was priceless. Absolutely priceless. It meant so much to me to make it in town for the party, and I know it meant so much to her.

The party was a blast. My mom’s friends are great, and this was the first time most of them had heard I’m moving to Boston in January. I got a lot of praise for it, but one woman’s reaction stood out to me. She heard about it, and then looked straight at me and said: “I’m curious to see how long you make it up there.” Uh, thanks. Appreciate that. I’ll show you, I guess.

Anyway, the point of this blog is to talk about my mom. For a long time, I saw her as a sweet, timid woman. I love her to death, but sometimes I just worried about her, I guess. My opinion of her has changed after this weekend home. I was sitting on the couch listening to everyone talk, and my mom was telling a story. I was half-listening, half-observing everyone at the party, and I realized, my mom had EVERYONE in the room laughing hysterically. She was telling a story and had every single person engaged and enjoying themselves. It made me smile to see my “timid” mother carrying the conversation this way. (The lemon-drop martinis may have helped a little. Hello, vodka. Geez.) Anyway, when I realized this, the woman to my left leaned over and says: “You know, your mother is a very forceful woman.”

I kind of started for a second, and then I thought, “you know what? She’s totally right.” And she was. My mom is amazing. She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to go after it, regardless of what she has to do to get it. She’s not afraid to call and ask questions of people in power. She single-handedly revamped the Midland Reporter-Telegram’s food section. She substitute teaches those snotty kids in the public school system. She put up with me in junior high. (Haha, guys. Joke.)

I’ve always been told that when I’m older I would appreciate my mom, and I feel like I am getting closer to that point. In the last few months she and I have become very close. I value her input and I want her advice. I never appreciated that before, but now that I’ve realized my mom is stronger than I ever believed, there’s no one I would rather be like. I hope that I can be like that when I get to Boston. I hope that I won’t be afraid to ask questions and figure out what I need and how to get it. I hope I won’t be so intimidated as I am now. I need my mother’s strength.

Now for the Boston update. 🙂 I sent in my deposit and last month’s rent check today. So the space in the apartment is officially mine. (!!!!!) Can you all just take a moment and appreciate this, please? It never fails to amaze me. I know whoever (if anyone) reads this probably gets sick of me waxing poetic (heh heh) about Boston and moving, but seriously? This is a beautiful time for me. I want to document every single thing I can. (Remember? Alzheimer’s runs in my fam. It’s half the reason I keep this thing. To remember.)

Anyway, back to the beauty of this whole thing. I have been waiting to move for the last three years. That may not seem like too long to some people, but seeing as I’ve been so eager to get out of school for that long, it’s a lifetime. I do regret wishing away so much of college, however. What’s especially ironic is that now that I’m one month away from graduating college, I’m not entirely ready to leave. I’ve found my bubble, my place, my group–and I’m scared to leave.

But I’m more scared not to. And that’s why I’m doing this. That’s why I have to do this. Don’t get me wrong; I’m more excited than you could imagine. But the fear (read: sheer, blinding terror.) is always there. In my chest, in a knot.

I do have one question though, just to send out into the universe. Because, in the words of You’ve Got Mail, I just want to send this question out into the cosmic void, and maybe someone out there will answer for me.

Why does something amazing have to come along when I’m leaving? It blows.

Back to Boston. I’m gonna live in Beantown. I will be packing up my books, clothes, and my cat and taking off for the big city. I have to say, I am so excited that I found a place to live where they want a pet. Truth be told, I could not imagine leaving and having to get rid of little Copper. He’s a little shithead at times, but he’s that one living thing that will be physically with me in all of this. Haha. Dramatic me.

I’m still trying to figure out a departure date. Sometime in January, obviously.

WHAT if I can’t find a job? That’s another one of those cosmic questions for the void.

Another big thing happened today: I ordered graduation announcements. I really cannot believe that I will be graduating from COLLEGE in a month. It’s amazing. And scary, exciting, wonderful, terrifying, etc. It’s complicated.

School and work are crazy at the moment. I don’t even know where to begin. I’m exhausted. And yet, it’s 2 a.m. and I’m awake and writing this when I have to be up at 7. There’s a great decision there. Go me.

Thanksgiving is next week, and I’m a little worried about it. It’s the first holiday since my Mimi passed away, and I feel like it will be weird. Papa is going to New York City, which he totally deserves, and my cousins are not coming. It all makes sense, but it will be odd not having the entire family in Midland.

I miss Mimi so much still. I think of her every day, and hope that if she can see me, she’s proud. That’s a random thought, there. Sorry.

I just want to say. I really like this blog. I like writing it; I like talking about my life. I feel like my written words give more insight into me and my head than my spoken words could ever hope to. I’m not very good at talking sometimes. It’s from reading all those damn books. They got me lost in my head; in my thoughts. Ugh, random/weird thought. Don’t judge. That’s all I ask.

“I wish I could tell you / Everything I feel right now / But if I did it might / Change how you see me / And who would want that?”

“Sometimes when I’m sad / I think of you and me / and how you used to hold me / And always take care of me / So I look to the sky / And I pray to God / You can see me now”

It’s a happy day.

November 3, 2009 Leave a comment

So…I found the best way to wake up…EVER.

 

Set alarm. Lay in bed after alarm goes off and think about how great life is. And how everything is coming together. It’s beautiful. Jump out of bed. Go to iTunes, and randomly click on a song. And if it happens to be “Boston” by Augustana? It’s all the more beautiful. Dance around for the duration of the song.

 

Instant great mood.

 

I’m moving to Boston. Hell yeah.

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