Light Bulb Moments

Greetings.

I really need to get better at this blog-updating-on-a-weekly-basis thing.

In my defense, I did have the flu. But I digress.

January is coming to an end about as quickly as it started. For a woman (girl, lady, female, she thing…) that had a vast canvass of open calendar dates and no tentative plans past Groundhog’s Day when I last wrote, the pace has certainly picked up. Since my last post, I have had three job interviews, am now planning a possible trip in April, and am about 99% sure I am kidnapping half of you to see Star Trek: Into Darkness with me in May…so I have some pretty paint splotches decorating my spring of 2013!

Speaking of the job interviews, I am pleased to announce that I am now a freelance writer and photographer for the local paper. I have my first assignment this week, and am pumped (stoked? ecstatic? jubilant?). Getting paid to write and take photos as an additional part time job seems too good to be true. Plus, I will be able to put this on my resume as additional real world experience. Which is always good, as we recent graduates and young professionals well know.

Now time for actual, thought provoking content :p

This past week as I mentioned, I finally caught what everyone else in the state of Wisconsin and parts of Illinois had earlier this year. I felt the warning sign Thursday night after work: a dull, grating sore throat trying to peer pressure my tonsils into turning bright red. Friday morning came, and I had a fever, chills, sore throat, cough-the works. I was so sick that I didn’t even want to read or watch television. None of the past times that soothe us as sick children seemed appetizing, so instead I slept or sat on the couch and stared at the wall in misery. It may sound like a waste of time, but as those of you who know me, whenever I am staring at a blank wall, it just means I have bought a one way ticket to the inner workings of my mind, a magical land where the weird things my dreams are made of are manufactured, my unanswered questions come back to haunt me, random movie trivia A-F is stored, and sudden light bulb moments of brilliance occur.

My last post regarded the many different directions new years can bring and not sacrificing one’s dreams or one’s self. Piggy backing off that concept, I made some interesting observations and revelations while under the influence of a fever and too much sleep. Since I am better with analogies, especially analogies with movies, I shall pair this piece with a little film I call The Graduate.

The Graduate was a memorable film from 1967 centering on the life of Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman), a recent college graduate, and the affair he starts with family friend, Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft, also known as “Mel Brooks’ s late hot wife”). The entire film has become most recognized by the below image:

dustin hoffoman and leg

(There were other “memorable” scenes from this movie, this is the most…appropriate for the sake of said blog. Moving on)

I attempted to watch this movie my first year of college while home for the summer. Granted, considering the content, it wasn’t a flick I was going to readily invite the whole family to watch with me, and since the day I decided to give it a go I kept getting interrupted my patience waned so I wound up fast forwarding through most of the movie and important plot points and only stopping to listen to the incredible Simon and Garfunkel score.

Four years later, I decided to give the movie another try. And lo and behold, I found some meaning among the tussled bed sheets and cigarette butts.

At the very beginning of the movie, Benjamin is a stranger at his own graduation party. His parents, proud of his accomplishment of finishing college, throw him a big bash in his honor…and invite not his, but their closest neighbors, friends, and golf buddies from the country club. Every guest is eager to pat the young grad on his back, greet him with an open smile, and ask the worst question you can ever ask any recent graduate. Ever.

“So, what are your plans now?”

dustin hoffman face

(Okay…he made this face at a different point in the movie, but will serve my purpose for the time being)

However, later on in the movie (after Ben has started a rebellious and risky affair with Mrs. Robinson), Ben’s parents start to ask out of concern and worry what exactly their son’s plans for after college really are. He seems perfectly content disappearing for long hours at night, staying in his room all day, or in the pool in the backyard.

This is an observation I have made in my own life, the difference between current college students and recent graduates, at church and family gatherings alike. The scholar, or the current college student, is greeted with firm handshakes, smiles, pats on the back, and sideways glances that size up their potential. The recent graduate, on the other hand, is given nods of attempted understanding, a loss for the right thing to say, and not so subtle looks of concern, wondering when they will actually start their life.

Some of my friends have started their life. They have either found their calling, or accepted a temporary calling, are traveling the world, or getting married to their college sweetheart. In an essence, starting a new chapter in their lives in ways that make them happy or will pay the student loans. Those of us who haven’t done any of the above find community and brotherhood in our joint venture in Limbo. Wondering when that next step happens. Wondering when love will find us. Wondering where all the good jobs are.

The problem is, we (and by we, I really mean me) let one thing get in the way of starting our life: fear.

I made a realization this past week ( a light bulb moment if you will), that explains why I think I’m having so much trouble finding a full time job. I’m going after the wrong jobs. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been going after jobs in my field that I have a degree in (four years of college was not long enough of a time to find one’s self), but not jobs that fall in line with my dream job,, my calling, the thing that would actually make me work hard and use my gifts and talents to the best of my being-which scares the crap out of me.

And I don’t think I am the only one. Benjamin surely was scared. He lets his fear and insecurity control him the majority of the movie, until he runs away with Elaine after he breaks up her wedding, both of them finally taking initiative in their own lives, despite how freaked out they are about it:

dustin hoffman bus

(I think they might also be thinking finally about the fact that her mom is kind of his ex girlfriend…)

So, in line with going after my dreams and not settling for less, I am also not going to let myself get in the way, or let others either for that matter. I may have student loans, I may still be at home, I may only have part time jobs right now, and I may not be married yet, but I am okay with that, for now. Does that mean I don’t apply to any jobs and hold out in hopes for “the one”? No. But it means that I’m going to be better with greeting rejection emails and lack of job offers with a smile and know that there is a greater plan in the works. That I’m going to work hard and stay focused. That I’m going to enjoy the little things and appreciate and celebrate the big things.

“Hello darkness my old friend….”  the haunting melody cries.

Bring it on, I challenge playfully. I accept.

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Blank Pages and New Year Resolutions

Two weeks ago, we started a new year. Two weeks ago we most likely made several resolutions of how we were going to make 2013 our year, a better year, full of increased trips to the gym and decreasing trips for seconds on desserts.

And then…we stopped pretending and resumed our normal lives.

Speaking from experience, I always make a goal to do better on the healthy front, and then 52 weeks later, haven’t made any improvement. One year I did go a whole 365 days without soda. That to date has been so far my only kept new year resolution. I will admit, I have hit the elliptical machine once so far, have been slacking on tracking my caloric in take on my Lose It! app, and had a goal to start this blog two weeks ago. As of now, I have only 50 attempts at bare all honesty for the remaining year, that is with the ideal thinking I will update this at least once a week for the next fifty weeks.

But…I don’t want to not follow through with my resolutions. I’ve been thinking about what I really do want to change this year on a daily basis. 2012 was a big year-I graduated from college, went abroad for the first time, and applied to several places in hopes to land my first “big kid” job-the kind of job a bachelor degree is supposed to help you obtain. I finished out the year still graduated, looking back at photographs from my trip to New Zealand, repaying loans, and still working part time.

It was a rather bittersweet way to end the year.

On the upside, I am surrounded by several friends and family who love me and are supporting me through this “transitional” period more and more college students are experiencing after graduation. And life could be so much worse, and I’m grateful and blessed for what I have been given.

It was funny, because shortly after the new year had commenced, my boyfriend and I were watching The Devil Wears Prada (you know, the movie where Meryl Streep plays a fabulous cold and edgy fashion magazine editor and features a younger Anne Hathaway pre- Cat Woman and Les Mis?)

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Maybe this will help your memory…remember that icy stare?

Anyway, the movie struck a new chord with me this time around. The first time I watched the movie, I was in high school, with dreamy aspirations of my first boyfriend, college, life and little sense of reality. This time, however, I have the first boyfriend, have finished college, a better grip on reality (at times), and my dreamy aspirations are bombarded by obstacles the real world throws at you. In a lot of ways, I really connected with Andi (Anne Hathaway) at the beginning of the movie, when she shows up for her interview:

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Pretty sure I make that face on a regular basis.

Andi at the beginning of the movie is naive, a dreamy journalism major who is going after any job now just to pay her rent. She is seen as young and “with no sense of style” (which, let us be honest, all though I have gotten better over the years with color coordination, stylish is not a word any of you would use to describe me), and Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the editor of Runway magazine, sees something in her despite it.

Through the course of the movie, Andi grows in a lot of different ways, and eventually realizes that selling your soul to an industry or company that you really don’t believe in is not worth sacrificing your personal relationships or your dreams. But she does become a more confident and secure woman because of everything she has experienced, which helps her in the long run when she lands her dream job.

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She also got a great make over from fairy godmother Nigel (Stanley Tucci). If only we could all have insulting, sarcastic, fashion savvy fairy godmothers.

One of the biggest take away messages I got from this film was that you always have a choice. Andi kept saying she had “no choice,” when friends and family questioned why she stayed on and kept working for the horrible Miranda Priestly. And in a way, she didn’t-loans needed to be paid off, rent needed to be made, she needed to build up experience-and these are all reasons why a lot of us think we don’t have a choice sometimes.

However, Andi finally does realize she has a choice, and walks away from Miranda, the fashion world, and ultimately losing herself in the end, making the choice to be happy and herself, even if it meant struggling for awhile and going back to square one.

That very message inspired me.

Up until that point, I had been applying to job after job, throwing my resume around like dollar bills at…certain entertainment venues, spending a lot of time on job posting sites and not enough time figuring out what I actually wanted to do. I was thinking so short term and not long term. I was settling for a good paying job to pay bills and not dwelling on my dreams and aspirations and figuring out what I want to do as a career or, in life for that matter. A certain friend of mine (you know who you are) is always pushing me to find my passions and go after my dreams, and I just want to say to him, thanks for that. Because I’ve decided you are right…with a little nudge from a movie involving Gucci and Tucci.

So, 2013, I have no idea what is going to happen during your reign. You are like a big blank page in my sketch pad, ready for scribbles and doodles and paintings. Alongside my attempts at  eating healthier, exercising, and overall being better, I am attempting to find myself. Attempting to make choices, and realize there are several choices to be made. They say college was supposed to help you figure out what you want in life. So, I’m a year late.

At the least the year has just begun.