Life Is

Short. Sweet. Tough, so get a helmet. Unfair. Unjust. Sucky. Wonderful. Weird. Hard. Easy.

life tattoo quote

We have all heard those first two words connected with many other words over the years. Sometimes the sentence ends positively before the period, and other times it is depressing and the least motivating thing you read all week. Either way, everyone has an opinion on life, and most likely, an ever changing opinion depending on what is going on in their lives at the moment.

For example, two weeks ago I was thinking “life is too short to settle down,” and last week I reversed my thought to”life is too short to be single.” At the moment my thought is “Life is just short so I should savor it in whatever form it comes in, whatever direction it goes.”

Life just is.

game of life

We are all going to die. The little, mocking, silvery threads that keep magically appearing among my correctly pigmented locks are a reminder of that. Losing loved ones is a reminder of that. We are all going to die, and our earthly mortality on this planet will end.

So…why the hell do we spend so much time worrying about how our life turns out?!

The end result is the same for everyone, and while we should definitely care about ourselves, our fellow man, our fellow earthly neighbors that are cute and fuzzy, and the like, why do we honestly spend so much time worrying about the temporaries of this life, and instead focus on the few and precious constants that we do know and that we do have?

I am 22 years old. I have no idea what direction my life is headed! I hope it is a good direction, and I have a few ideas of where I would like to go and what I would like to see, but I’m not entirely in charge of my so called destiny. So why do I expend so much energy and time worrying about things that in five years, ten years, fifty years will not matter at all or will be completely forgotten?

I don’t need a six digit yearly salary to be happy and enjoy my friends and family’s company. I don’t need (as much as I sometimes think I do) to travel the globe, collecting stamps in my passport. I don’t need a piece of paper from the government to prove I am and would be committed to my boyfriend and I don’t need a big princess dress and tons of beautiful (yet brief) floral arrangements to share with the world that I love him. I don’t need a big dream house (as much as mine would be awesome), I don’t need 2.5 kids (even though I love children and do hope for some at some point) I don’t need even an in unit washer and dryer in my future apartment (as much as a slight part of me disagrees with that statement)….

All I need is love. Food for bodily nourishment so I can stay alive until it is my time to go, and maybe some clothes so I don’t freeze (or shock people with what is underneath all of…this), and a place to call home (for now) during snow storms and thunder storms. Some people don’t even have that.

life is beautiful

I want to spend more time being grateful about what I do have, and less time worrying about what I lack.

Because life is.

And I plan on enjoying it while I can.

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The Empowerment of No: An Experiment, Part One*

*As told through Tom Hanks and his many unique facial expressions, with special guest stars Meg Ryan and Judd Nelson.

Many years ago, I was in a theatre course. A theatre course where my theatre professor wanted us bright yet naive students to practice using different tactics when it came to conveying our subtext (translation for non theatre speaking readers: she wanted us to say our dialogue in different ways, using different methods, conveying different things so our scene partner and audience would believe we wanted something from them, didn’t want something from them, etc)

Not an actual theatre course. Merely a symbolic representation of how I remember my theater courses.

Not an actual theatre course. Merely a symbolic representation of how I remember my theater courses.

As I have shared before, those theatre courses taught me more about life than I think it ever intended to. Somewhere between Meisner and tongue twisters, a philosophy of life penetrated and made it’s way to a very important part of my cranium where it will hopefully stay safe for years to come.

That said, let me go back to the subject of tactics.

Specifically, tactics and the job search.

tom hanks troubled

Anyone else tired of filling out online application after online application, whoring out their resume via attachment like no tomorrow, and getting automated emails thanking us for our interest?

Yes that is Meg Ryan. yes this is from the movies Joe Vs. The Volacno. And yes this is how I feel with online applying.

Yes that is Meg Ryan. Yes, this is from the movie Joe Vs. The Volcano  And yes, this is how I feel with online applying.

Please virtually raise your hand if you are. Also audible “heck yeahs”that I hear in spirit would be nice.

This has nothing to do with Tom Hanks. But I caught the end of it tonight and it inspired me. Plus, one does that fist quite like Bender.

This has nothing to do with Tom Hanks. But I caught the end of it tonight and it inspired me. Plus, no one does that fist quite like Bender.

The process is tiring and exhausting. You want to apply to one job with one particular company, and what winds up happening is you have to set up an account on their particular job website, fill out all the information (unless you can Google Chrome Auto Fill In the answers ), write a cover letter, attach a resume, and all of your time is then returned with a friendly yet automatic response in your inbox. Then you sit, and wait, and after a few weeks you receive another friendly yet automatic email kindly explaining the position went to someone else. You go back to look for other job openings with that particular company, but since you have filled out so many applications with different companies, you forget your log in and password for that particular site, so instead you say screw it…and go watch Once Upon a Time instead.

tom hanks fun expression one

In this day and age, technology is a wonderful thing, and at the same time, a hindrance.

Which is why I’m changing my tactics.

When I was in high school, I wanted a part time job. So I drove around my little town, went into several businesses, got paper applications, and filled them out.

Today, I revisited my roots. Ironic, since last week I was all, like, trying to distance myself from teenage Amanda.

Today, I drove around in the Wisconsin special of a rainy snow concoction, and here is what I learned:

a) There is a graphic design joint in our industrial park. Who knew?

b) There is an event planning place in the same industrial park.

c) A local florist is hiring part time. I’m dropping off a resume tomorrow.

d) Everyone for the most part, kindly rejected me. But it was in person.

The first “no” was at the library, in a firm yet hushed, whispery tone. And it stung a smidge. I walked back out into the identity crisis precipitation, and asked ” But why? Why not? What’s wrong with me?” I had put on nice clothes, put make up on and done my hair nicely, and had brushed my teeth. So appearance and scent couldn’t be the offender.

"What's wrong with me?" Tom Hanks asks himself in the wonderful movie Joe Vs. the Volcano. Seriously, check it out

“What’s wrong with me?” Tom Hanks asks himself in the wonderful movie Joe Vs. the Volcano. Seriously, check it out

It was while I drove around where sense finally knocked itself into me. Nothing is wrong with you, Amanda.

This thought lingered as I continued.

At the florist, the owner seemed hesitant and leery of me.

“Do you have any experience?”

meg ryan and joe flowers

“Honestly, no.”

He did wind up asking for a copy of my resume though. Which I’m dropping off tomorrow, first thing while I conduct what I am now calling The Experiment, Part 2.

From there I went to the competition down the street.

“No we aren’t hiring, but we are always accepting applications.” She kindly gave me one with a smile.

My voice was growing stronger, my posture straighter, my gait more confident.

“It’s slow season, and I may need people in the summer, but I’m good right now.”

I smiled at the photographer, and walked out. Feeling determined.

There’s empowerment in the word “no.”

tom hanks gif

For with every no, I become more determined to receive a “yes.”

I’ve already landed a job as a very part time freelance correspondent with the local paper, and the first check arrived today. Seeing my work in print and being paid to tell stories is already fueling me in a way I didn’t see this time last year. I want to keep that going.

So tomorrow, The Experiment, Part Two will commence.

a) I will arise. Early.

b) I will review and revise my resume. Then I will print off many copies.

c) I will dress for success. I will straighten my hair. I will wear contacts. I will apply make up.

Perhaps, not quite to this caliber. But I am most certainly bringing it. The style, not the caviar.

Perhaps, not quite to this caliber. But I am most certainly bringing it. The style, not the caviar.

d) I will grab my map, which I made two nights ago, with places I want to go to in the most convenient way possible, travel wise.

e) I will grab coffee from my favorite local coffee shop to help me last the whole day.

f) Then, I will drive. I will drive to various selected destinations, I will go into various selected destinations and inquire about employment, paper applications or simply hand off a crisp resume and carry on.

g) I will be confident. I will stand firm in the face of countless rejections.

determined tom hanks

and then, finally

h) I will come back home. I’m not sure how I will come home. Successful? Feeling like that was a very bad idea? A combination of both? Numerous applications in hand to fill out? An interview or two in my planner? A new job even?

I don’t know. And honestly, this idea scares the bear scat out of me.

While I despise the online way of applying, it gives me a virtual wall to hide behind. Instead, doing what I am planning to do tomorrow will force me to get up close and personal, and force me to face rejection head on.

I think it’s what I need to shake things up a bit.

Here’s to tomorrow, and the unknown.

tom hanks in big at end

The Ups and Downs of Living in My Childhood Bedroom

Four years ago, if someone would have asked me what my life would look like today, in the year 2013, I would have probably shrugged, yet confidently guessed I’d be working full time, living on my own with three other guys (much like New Girl, which is oddly an idea I had sophomore year for a movie and even more oddly a possible version of my life), and embracing 22 years of age with travel, career and eventual true love.

Fast forward to today, March 4th, 2013, roughly around 5 p.m. at night, and I type this ponderously in my childhood bedroom, located in the house I have lived in all of my life.

There is something about this room, and I don’t think it is the pink carpeting…or pink speckled paint walls with floral trim. It’s a slight mess, a wonderful small box of a room where sketch pads, notebooks, cameras, clothes, and various odds and ends are scattered about. Nancy Drew, Lemony Snicket, American Girl, Laura Ingalls, and C.S. Lewis young adult fiction decorates my bookshelves, making friends with high school yearbooks and photo frames in bright colors. Movie posters decorate my walls, memories of my days at the first place I worked, a video rental store. Comic strips I collected from Sunday papers past are taped to the back of my door around my mirror, giving me things to laugh at and subjects to ponder while doing my make up and brushing my hair. Because I’m young and clearly am not considering my poor back, the floor in front of the closet is matted down flat, from years of doing algebraic equations on my stomach, because a desk felt too rigid (and the desk had become another shelf for miscellaneous goodies).

It is my sanctuary after a long day’s work, a place for quiet on a day off, a location for writing and thinking, a place for escaping everyone, a room for a 22 year old who hasn’t quite got everything figured out just yet.

In all honesty, it has been kind of nice living at home post graduation. I have been reconnecting with my parents and brother, people I didn’t get to see much during my college years. I am saving money, and putting my hard earned sales involving veils, tiaras, and fabric swatches towards my loans instead. At bare minimum, I have a roof over my head and kitchen with food hidden within its cabinets and pantry.

The downside to living at home is I think I’m slightly regressing.

My mom is very particular about how one does the laundry, so she just does that chore all by herself to make life easy for everyone. My dad is retired, and takes up all the cleaning, normally when my mom and I are at work, and my brother is at school. I am proud to say I am attempting to help more when it comes to dinner, but working retail I sadly can’t even do that consistently. That leaves my room, which tends to get messy because it is a small space for a lot of crap (not crap, but crap nicely sums up better than a detailed list of why my room is so crowded).

Which means, aside from the lovely degree on proud display (between my Weird Wisconsin book and Nancy Drews) a gray hair that appeared last year proving I am indeed aging, and 15 extra hours of part time a week…I am basically the equivalent to Amanda: The Teen Years.

Which doesn’t really make me all entirely…thrilled.

So I apply to full time jobs with dreams of paying off loans and moving out, and actually growing up…but then this odd little funny feeling creeps up my spine…and before you know it I’m playing Angry Birds or watching HIMYM and not doing anything productive.

The feeling I have come to realize is fear. Plain and simple. I feel safe in my pink paradise, and the thought of emptying it of its posters, books, furniture and owner, painting over the walls with white paint and creating an open space of nothingness…hurts. A weird, but-this-is-a-part-of-me, kind of hurt.

This is probably due to the fact I have never moved. I’ve lived in the same house in the same town for over 20 years, so my attachment is somewhat understandable. Healthy, no. Understandable, yes.

Even moving out for college was no big deal. I still had a room to come home to on weekends, holidays, and breaks, and it was still pink and bright and cheerful and welcoming. Facing the thought of that being gone, and the idea of coming home from a different house or apartment to a room that has been converted to my mom’s craft room or scrap booking office (hers is currently located in the basement, and somewhat cold, and my room is the warmest in the house)…well that idea is weird and scary to me.

This is not me. This is also not my room. Merely a representation of how I feel. Plus, Sandra Bullock is awesome.

This is not me. This is also not my room. Merely a representation of how I feel. Plus, Sandra Bullock is awesome.

Ideally, I would love to pick up my little pink bedroom and take it with me to wherever I move to once I land that job that allows me to get out on my own. Which, lately, getting my own place has become more and more desirable. I miss doing laundry, and not worrying about my parents’ schedule conflicting with my bizarre hours of operation. But I miss the independent feel of being in my own place, and how sub consciously I believe I am a better person when forced to survive on my own outside of the nest.

But my little pink bedroom can’t come with me. It has to stay here, at my parent’s house, and become something else. Because as much as I love it, in reality it is just a room. A room that cannot follow me as I tread further into the waters of adulthood. It just can’t happen. I don’t want to live at home for the rest of my life. Meaning I have to suck it up and say good bye.

Saying good bye though always sucks. For some it is easy, but for me I hate it. I always am awkward with good byes. I never know when to say it, or walk away, so the good bye normally gets dragged out in an uncomfortably long sort of way.  Or I ruin a good good bye moment with a random kiss that missed the mark or hug that went on a second too long, or a nervous giggle and weird conversation subject change. Saying good bye to my room is like one long awkward hug.

Fortunately though, someday it will happen. The final good bye. And yes, I will miss this room. I’ve spent hours in this room writing in diaries, drawing images from my world of imagination, have gotten sick in this room, have scratched, picked my nose, and puked my guts out in this room, spent hours into the night reading in here and attempting to clean this room, played make believe with my Barbies and Beanie Babies and most recently applied to full time jobs, have written articles for my blog and the paper, and tweaked my resume-all within this room. I will leave a part of me here, but it is the part of me that will let me go on to do great things. Great grown up things. Not to say my inner child will disappear, because she won’t. But the scared little girl not wanting to part with a material possession? She will always be apart of this room, because her older self realized you can’t take it with you. Any of it.

So, as I type this away (on my stomach, naturally….and most likely wrecking my back keystroke by keystroke), I smile at the holes in the walls left from calendars of years gone by, laugh at Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan who are dancing like goofs above my desk, and lovingly remember the minutes and hours spent in here dreaming, deciding, and wondering about life.

Fortunately, those are all things that can be shared elsewhere.

pink bedroom