Stand By Me

Several years ago, I watched the film Stand By Me  with my dad one lazy Sunday afternoon. In case you aren’t familiar with the movie, it’s about four boys who are the best of friends that go on an adventure to try and find a dead body in the mountains. It’s a great movie with a great story, but there is one part of the movie that has stuck with me to this day.

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Richard Dreyfuss, the narrator of the tale, states at one point that “I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?” He goes on to state that  “It happens sometimes. Friends come in and out of our lives, like busboys in a restaurant…”

When I watched that movie at age 17, that quote struck me for some reason. I tried to think back to twelve, and who my friends were at that point in my life. I was in sixth grade, and going through the first (of many) ugly duckling and awkward turtle phases. Honestly, I don’t feel like I had any “true” friends at that precious age of twelve (at least not in the traditional sense-my grandmother and imaginary counterparts don’t count I’m afraid), so that part of the movie was lost on me.

Then I pondered the other statement, the statement regarding friends being like busboys in a restaurant, coming and going in and out of our lives. At 17, I didn’t comprehend. I had a great group of friends that made it feel like they had always been a part of my life and always would be.

Then, college happened. And subsequently, life happened after that.

If I were to make my own Stand By Me film, I probably would feature events from freshman and sophomore year of college. Cavorting about on missions to find ghostly nuns in the haunted administration building, angsty conversations about true love, boys, finals, and the future in the student union until breakfast time the next day, extremely long rehearsals with fantastically rewarding productions (and plenty of inside show jokes and pranks back stage)-college was a time in my life where friends would drop that heavy text book they were studying and rush over to your dorm to lend an ear. It was the time we spent a lot of our time dreaming about the future and the great big ambiguous “after college” moment. It was the time where I was kid and adult simultaneously, and it was a time that I shall never forget.

It’s funny, because once you graduate college, you don’t realize how precious that time was until it’s months or even years later. You spent all your time impatiently wishing for time to hurry up so you could go out into the world, get married, buy a house, make a couple babies, climb the corporate ladder, and be real grown ups.

Once you get there though, you miss having friends a few doors down, the late nights of adventures and mischief, the library and other numerous resources you took for granted, the opportunities to travel that always seemed to frivolous or pricey for you, the sensible student. You miss only working weekends, Fridays off of class, and most importantly, you miss the simplicity that was life in college.

I know, I know, back when I was in college I thought I’d never be as stressed as I was then. And in that moment, there really isn’t anything like cramming for five finals, working on several final projects, and being involved in every campus organization and working an internship because it will make you more marketable to the future work world.

But now I’m there.  I’m working my first “big person” job (which I am very much enjoying, more on that next week), making those plans to move out (for good this time), paying off student debt and personal debt and maintaining a budget and improving organization habits and eating habits and considering the future in terms of marriage and children and…something has happened.

Dynamics have shifted.

Several friends got married right after college, and shortly after started having kids. Than there is the handful of single friends in a long term relationship or that are newly dating. There are friends that are teaching English abroad and being the epitome of a traveling vagabond (in the best way possible!) and friends that are excelling in their career of choice. There are friends that are getting their masters, and friends that are leasing their first apartments to purchasing their first home.

All excellent and wonderful adventures to embark on, but all different paths that everyone travels at different speeds and paces. And that’s where things change.

The people I was closest to five years ago are different than who I was closest to ten years ago. The group I am currently close to will probably alter and differ in the next five years, and in the next ten years. Some friends and I have grown closer, while with others we have grown apart or more distant due to time, space, and differences.

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This makes me sound like a bad friend, and maybe I am, but I want all my friends to know that even if we haven’t talked in years or seen each other in awhile, it doesn’t mean we aren’t friends and I don’t care about you! However, what I am getting at is that we tend to choose the company of those that are similar to us. In high school, you clung to the group where you felt the most loved and safest and most confident to be yourself. In college, your friends were your study support group and the people you spent the most time together with-the people you lived with and the people that were involved in the same organizations. And, once again, the dynamic shifts post college. The engaged couples can share wedding concerns and ideas together, the married with children couples can swap parenting tips, the single friends stick together and reminisce about the old days-everyone befriends the friend that most resembles who they are NOW.

Is that cynical? Slightly. Is it true? Quite possibly.

I’m not saying that I have written off every friend that has since married or that has a kid the same way my married with children friends haven’t been ignoring me for the past few months. It comes down to we have different priorities at the moment, our personalities are adapting to the current environment, and we are seeking out people who understand and get what we are going through.

schmidt personality good thing

When I first realized that this is what happens after college, I was fervently depressed. Now? I realize it’s a part of life, and that instead of worrying about how close one friend will be to me in ten years, I am enjoying NOW and the moments and memories we get to make at this very moment in our lives. Last weekend several friends of mine and I went sledding, and it was a beautiful memory I will remember always. It was a perfect day for sledding-lightly falling snow, quiet except for the shrills of excitement, and much laughter and joy and stories were had on top of that hill. We won’t always be able to do that, nor will we always be in the same state or even country to do those sort of things, but I just want every one of those friends to know that I truly treasured that day and January 18, 2014 will forever live on as a happy memory.

Another thing I’ve realized is you will make time and go out of your way to make it count for the friends you want to keep close no matter what. A good example of this is my one friend and his wife. This friend and I have been through a lot, from being very close to not talking to each other, from distant acquaintances to mirroring sibling behavior. He is married, a father of two. I am single but in a very serious committed relationship with one of his closest friends, and not a parent yet. Yet the second he found out I got my first full time job, he excitedly congratulated me and asked me all about it. He even offered to help me move when the time comes. In response, I recognize that being his friend means also being friend to his wife and his children, for they are now a part of him. Meaning, hanging out means there will be wonderful children to play with and sometimes showing that friendship is letting him and his wife go and have a night out to themselves while we babysit their kids. We might not always be in the same part of the state, but we’ve made the effort to show we care so far, and sometimes when you have two willing parties willing to go the distance, those are the friendships that stand the test of time.

Friends do come and go in and out of our lives, but sometimes you are gifted with a few rare ones that always stay a part of your life. I smile as I write this, and thinking fondly of sledding and nun runs and late night talks and crying on shoulders and shouts of joy in celebration and holding hands for encouragement I realize that in my case at age twelve, I never had the friends that I have had, have now, and will have.

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For that I am beyond grateful.

rachel4

 

 

25 Things To Do Before You Get Married or Get Married Before You Turn 25…

marty mcfly girl and engagement

Lately, I have seen some blogs going around that fall into one of two camps: A list of several things one should do before they get married or engaged, and the other, almost in retaliation and defense, stating the positives and perks to getting married young. Both are getting hundreds and thousands of likes and shares, and at the same time, very negative and in some cases, down-right rude comments and responses.

Okay. Enough is enough. I worked in a bridal shop for way too long, have a closet of way too many bridesmaid dresses, have read way too many of these blogs and their consequential comments- I have to say something.

(Warning: As much as I will try to be objective and fair, I know I will wind up offending someone. Just know that going in. These are my personal opinions, so take that with a grain of salt.)

Okay, *deep breath*, here it goes…

Sherlock breath

Who Actually Is Right?

My honest response? Both sides are. Both sides aren’t. They are both right and wrong, simultaneously. Both sides make compelling arguments, and at the same time both sides make compelling rebuttals to said arguments. Both sides also have various individuals that aren’t being respectful or nice about this debate, and both sides have individuals not listening to what the other side is saying. That’s where it starts to unravel into one hot mess of things sensible people try to avoid (and weirdos like me like to analyze and dissect and write blog posts five people in the whole world read regarding the subject).

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Why the ‘Getting Married Young Camp’ Is Right…

I will say this flat out: I am not married. Yet. And I honestly want to hold off for a little while still. That’s for me. That is a decision for my personal self and my significant other only, a decision that changed over the years like many thoughts and feelings we possess can change over the years. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a teacher, and be married by age 22 and start having kids soon after.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting that.

No really, there isn’t.

Here’s why: Some people meet the love of their life in high school and stay married (and happily at that!) for over 50 years, and have three kids and the wife fulfills the traditional role of housewife and stay-at-home-mom and the husband fulfills the traditional role of financial provider for the family. For some individuals, that is their ultimate dream/goal in life: to find love and have a family of their own to love and grow with. And it’s not a bad dream. If we can encourage young girls (and boys too) to be astronauts, ballerinas, doctors, actors, artists, lawyers, construction workers, police officers, marine biologists-than we can certainly encourage young girls (and boys too) to want to strive for a lifelong partner/friend/lover/confidant and having kids with them. Some moms (and dads too)-being the stay-at-home parent or “soccer mom/dad” is there calling-they are crafty to a level no Pinterest or Etsy stalker can ever master, they just have a way with their kids, and they enjoy their job (because in essence, what they do is a job of sorts, and hard work at times) in a world where a lot of grown ups don’t.

And that is pretty awesome, if I do say so.

phoebe friends business suit

…and Why the ‘Getting Married Young Camp’ is Wrong.

As stated above, when I was younger, I thought I wanted to be a teacher, get married at age 22 right after college and start having kids. And, like a lot of people, I grew and changed with the seasons. My hatred for onions went away one day, and I found myself ordering them on my pizza. My adamant statement about never shaving my legs disappeared when I had to wear a dress in the school play and realized my hairy legs were sort of distracting in the short skirted costume. And, like both of those instances, my ideal job changed after the first year in college and my aspirations regarding marriage changed when I actually fell in love.

Some people know what they want at a very young age and stick to it like glue their whole life. Others, like me, went through wishy-washy phases and changed their mind.

best friend's wedding but they don't

And that’s why sometimes (note: sometimes) getting married young can be…dangerous…or risky. At the wise age of ten, my simple definition of marriage had been fabricated by Disney movies (the concept of true love) and “that’s what grown ups do-they fall in love and get married and have babies”. When you break it down, that is what happens-but I didn’t full comprehend all of what goes into a marriage.

Definitions regarding marriage vary with everyone, which is part of the problem with this “feud” that is going on. In my opinion (that I view as fact), marriage is a lifelong commitment to one person, that no matter what, for better or worse, you will stand by them and choose them repeatedly time and time again to be the one you share and go through life with. Even that run on sentence doesn’t seem to do justice to the definition of marriage. In short, marriage is a big deal.

A big deal not everyone gets, at say, the age of 20.

A big deal that some people get confused with the word “wedding.”

A big deal that results in an even bigger deal: divorce.

I have many friends that got married at a younger age (before age 25), and they are happy. They love their life and they love their kids. I can honestly say they knew what they were getting into, and marriage made them a better people individually and collectively. On the flip side, I have had quite a few friends rush into marriage/engagement, regret their decision, and ultimately break up or break it off.  Now, I won’t claim to be an expert at why said marriages/engagements ended, because very situation is different, but some of them might have ended for a few different reasons.

1) They didn’t think of what their definition of marriage was.

2) Their definition of what a marriage was changed.

3) They both changed, or both started to see the real person they married.

4) Other (meaning every situation is different, and I will not claim to know every reason why a marriage ends, because I don’t)

Sometimes (not all) when people get married young, they haven’t come to the conclusion of what their definition of marriage is. Some (not all) are not emotionally ready or mature enough to handle what can come with marriage (whether it be at 18, 28, 38, or 78!) Some (not all) did a great job of concealing all their crazy and true personality from their spouse until after the marriage…or some (not all) ignored all the signs while they were dating.

crazy cameron diaz

Some (not all) proclaimed they could change their spouse and that love was more than enough. Some (not all) have other reasons why it didn’t work out after they married young.

So, in conclusion the “getting married young camp” is right. And wrong.

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Why the ‘Do Really Cool Things And Get Married Later Camp’ Is Right…

Recently, I just started a new job (which saying I really am enjoying it is quite the understatement ;), have taken the first steps to moving out of my childhood bedroom and into my first non-campus apartment, and making more time for my writing. I am really happy with where I am right now and really excited for future adventures…

Future adventures that will hopefully someday include marriage…but not just yet. There are a few other places I would ideally like to visit before getting married, a few more dreams and goals I would like to achieve (or at least attempt) before settling down, and preferably I would like to be in a better place financially (mainly getting rid of some debt I have accrued) before taking on the additional responsibility (and expense) children could bring to the equation. Because, for me (and my boyfriend), we want to be able to 100% focus on each other and our children when it’s time to get married. We both don’t want to look back wistfully at these years and regret not taking a chance on our dreams.

And that’s where the get married later camp is right. They encourage knowing yourself before you commit to someone for life, they encourage traveling and additional school, because while not impossible once married or once a parent, it can be harder to schedule in with everything else and financially not as feasible. Not everyone needs to go on adventures before they settle down, and some people know who they are at a younger age than others. But some don’t, and need that extra time. And I honestly think it is wise to take their time than rush into something they might regret or will negatively affect another person or persons in ten years.

In a way, taking the time to be selfish now is better than deciding to be selfish later, once you should (at least in my opinion) be putting your spouse and children before yourself.

So there is nothing wrong with waiting, and putting career, education, and travel before marriage for awhile.

No, really, there is nothing wrong with it.

meryl streep life worth living

…and Why the ‘Do Really Cool Things And Get Married Later Camp’ Is Wrong.

As stated above, some people want to get married young, and understand what marriage is and isn’t. Some are financially set sooner, some want to have kids younger as opposed to older, and some meet the right person at the right time ten years sooner than others.

Sometimes this camp doesn’t factor in things like the changes a woman’s body goes through in her twenties and early thirties, and that the biological clock is a real thing, despite the advancements made in modern medicine. Not everyone wants kids, but some people do, and even if you want to have a career and have a family (which, it is possible to do both), you have to keep these things in mind. Others view getting married and being a stay-at-home-parent as weakness, which isn’t right either-the same way some women from the other camp might view being a successful career leader “not as rewarding” as being a parent.

And sometimes the people in this camp are just bitter single unmarried women that haven’t met the right person yet, and are just trying to make themselves better. A spade is a spade. (I say this as an unmarried woman that has gone through a phase..or two of this).

jess cat single

In conclusion, the get married later camp is right. And wrong.

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What Bugs Me the Most About This Debate

Honestly, what bugs me the most about these two different camps feuding, is how downright rude and disrespectful some women can be to other women on the other side. One woman claims to not be judgmental, but starts name-calling and border line bullying a women who commented with a different opinion. Other women went out of their way to say “Well, I MARRIED YOUNG AND MY MARRIAGE IS PERFECT” only to be greeted with other women exclaiming “YOU ARE COVERING UP AND LYING AND PROBABLY ARE MISERABLE AND FAT”. (Alternative: “WELL I’M SINGLE AND TRAVELING AND LOVING IT SO THERE!” and in response to that “YOU ARE LONELY AND PROBABLY UGLY AND THAT’S WHY YOU CAN’T LAND A MAN)

Knock. It. Off.

use your brain

Come on, people. Life is hard enough. Do we really need to break someone down so we can build ourselves up? Do we really need to throw it in people’s faces that we are happy, or are we doing it to make ourselves feel better, as someone claimed? Why do we feel the need to judge? Why are we insecure about the paths we choose? Why can’t we just be happy for each other? Why do we have to pick a side? Why are we “stupid and naive” for wanting to marry young? Why are we “unhappy and immature” for choosing a career? Why, why, why…

Why Does This Debate Matter In the First Place?

Because really, when a person gets married (or doesn’t get married) is their business. It’s between them and God as far as I’m concerned. Heck, honestly someone could look at this extremely long blog post and wonder why I wasted the time even writing this thing (and if someone calls me out on that-go right ahead. Because you’re right-I shouldn’t feel the need to have to address this and spend my Sunday afternoon writing about this) People marry young. People marry old. Some people are happy in their marriages. Some aren’t. Some are happy single. Some aren’t. But that is their business, and name calling and just being downright awful to each other isn’t helping.

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Finally, Life Is…

Last year, I wrote a post about why people waste so much of their time worrying about things, from the petty to the past and the future-why do we worry? Because if you remember that life will eventually end…because we will all die…it makes all these petty internet squabbles (and even these ranty, drawn out, blog posts)…kind of pointless. So, really, we should just stop and be nice to each other, you know? 🙂

On that note, end note.

Shoe out!

schmidt out

Blank Pages and New Year Resolutions, Part Two

About a year ago, a very conflicted young woman came up with the brilliant idea of starting a blog. She settled on the idea that the blog would channel her frustrations regarding life at that point, in the present, as a part-time working post college grad struggling to find herself. She hoped to include humor as well as serious insights, and had the goal to update it on a weekly basis, so that at the end of the year there would be exactly 52 blog posts.

I was short by about 35.

nick and jess unexpected

But that’s okay. Yes, I would have loved to have kept up with this blog a little better, but the fact that I did succeed in 17 posts is a small victory in of itself.

Sometimes we forget the little victories we happen to make, whether during our day, during a year, or during a lifetime. Maybe some of you are disappointed that you didn’t succeed in losing the 50 pounds you wanted to in 2013…

little bit fat

but maybe you managed to change your diet and are maintaining a healthier lifestyle…

romy diet tricks

Maybe you didn’t find the love of your life…

zero boyfriends

but maybe you got better at loving yourself this past year…

i love you myself

These small victories could be any number of things, and they should be celebrated…

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instead of ignored in the shadow of resolution and goal “failures”…

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In all seriousness…

My year, as stated about this time last year, started out as a blank canvas-and it was honestly one of the best ways I had started a year. It was the first year I had no prior engagements, such as standing up in a wedding. Aside from working my part-time job, what I would do with my spare time was a mystery to me.

It’s amazing how fast and full a year can fill up. As I write this and reflect upon this past year, it went from a blank canvas to a colorful collage very quickly. The year started with a gray hair, and ended with two more. But in between those silvery strands, a trip out east to Washington, D.C. was planned, I attended the wedding of a dear friend or two, and I landed my first full-time job, finally, after almost a year and a half post graduation. The hours of perfecting cover letters, tweaking my resume, and nervously answering questions during first and second interviews ultimately paid off.

I can’t quite explain it, but it’s a weird feeling. An odd, weird sort of calm has come over me since I was faced with that job offer letter. Life, like any new year, is still very much a mystery to me. However, I am starting to see through the fog that is my life at what various things could await me. I say could because as much as I plan to head towards a certain object or person or goal or ideal, something could happen at the last second and change my course like a freak storm on the high seas.

But knowing that and being okay with that oddly makes me feel at peace. I’m trying to not plan too much, but at the same time, using my head with a side of common sense and figuring out what I do want for whatever path I wind up going down. It’s like not planning out every aspect of a trip, but preparing one’s self for anything. Sometimes the best preparation is an enthusiastic attitude, a willingness to try, and an open mind.

So, with that said, I’m going to greet 2014 with open arms, and try to view it like yet another blank canvas. Preparing for nothing other than being surprised.

Here’s to 2014 and the many surprises that come with it.

lea michele new years eve