Thursday, June 13, 2013

You learn something new every day!

Well, the summer schedule is finally here! This means I'm down to working a measly 35 hours a week and have time to breathe and enjoy my beautiful life again. I haven't had it this easy since 2007... and guess what? It feels real damn good. And the best part is... I'll be continuing this lifestyle for the next (at least) 14 months. YAHOO! 

With extra time on my hands comes forced time at the gym (and believe me it IS 100% forced). It's forced to the point of me whining the whole way there, sitting in the parking lot for ten minutes debating whether or not I should go home, and then bitching in my head for the first 45 minutes until I finally find my groove. Trust me, I'd rather be on the couch watching the bachelorette and eating ice cream too. Actually... who am I kidding? I still do that. Unfortunately for me (and maybe you), gym time allows me to totally disconnect from the world and get stuck in my crazy head for awhile. This leads to way too much thinking and thus more blogs. Sorry :)! 

Today I had a few mini revelations. They are much less drastic than the many others I've had lately, but definitely important to note. Ready?!?!

1. Today I learned that it's impossible to be in a bad mood so long as you have one of these things around: children, puppies, and/or good friends. Good beer NEVER hurts either, of course. Some people don't believe in universal truths, but this is THE exception. This year hasn't been the easiest, which isn't saying much considering I've had such a wonderful and blessed life. But if I had to rank the best years of my life, this wouldn't be near the top. I'm not giving up hope yet though... I am moving to a beautiful house in Australia, after all. Never once though, have I ever been depressed while in the presence of the aforementioned things. So what am I saying exactly? If you're sad, get your ass to the humane society and pet some puppies. You'll feel infinitely better in seconds :). 

Another thing I learned today was to never EVER pass up a good opportunity, especially if you only stray away because it scares the living hell out of you. Today, I met an elderly man who told me all about his chance to move to Australia for work after graduate school. He turned it down only because it was too far out of his comfort zone. He also said that he's regretted it every day since. I felt so much sadness for him just knowing that he'll probably never get the chance to make it there now. What did I learn though? That I never want this same feeling for myself someday.  After all, what's the absolute worst thing that could happen to me? I hate the beautiful men with accents and living 5 minutes from the ocean? So what. Then I book a ticket home and do everything I originally planned on doing this year. At least I know I'll never have the chance to regret not going. 

Most importantly, I realized that the best plan is really to have no plan at all. Find the courage to burn the 5 year plan that is consuming your life and learn to "roll with the punches"! (This is coming from the person who spent her lunch date with a friend pencilling in every plan for the summer, by the way). But just hear me out. First of all, you're not guaranteed to even be around in 5 years. I hope you are, but it's not a given. Second of all, I've had 5 year plans, and guess what? I'm not doing many of the things I said I'd be doing! At 18, my 5 year plan was to be graduated from college, married, and starting a family. Say WHAT? who the hell was I? At 22, after becoming a little more realistic and grounded, my 5 year plan was to graduate college, get my masters, land a great paying job, buy a house and get married (ok, still doesn't sound much like me anymore). After realizing that getting my intended masters degree would not be financially beneficial, and only instead put me an EXTRA $40,000 in debt, I decided that would be a no go. Buying a house and getting married requires an awful lot of commitment and I am far from being ready to put my roots down anywhere (or with anyone). So again, the 5 year plan was shot. 

So, what's my 5 year plan now? I DON'T HAVE ONE! And that's the way I like it. Essentially, few of the plans I made have worked out the way I expected, and that's OK. I think things have worked out infinitely better than expected, in fact. And this similar scenario is true for the majority of people I know. So what to do you say? STOP FRICKEN PLANNING. It's not good for you, and it's certainly not necessary. Yes, you should have goals. But don't let them define your life for the next 60 months. A few months ago, I NEVER would have guessed I'd be moving to practically the furthest place on this earth. And that's what's so incredibly amazing about not predicting what you'll want your life to be like in 5 years. Because truthfully, you could be potentially closing yourself off from so many other amazing opportunities. The single best thing about this experience is not knowing what I'll be doing a year from now. In my mind I picture moving to Minneapolis and starting a life closer to my sister and friends. Will it happen? Who knows. And actually, it's one of the most liberating feelings in the world. 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Inevitable Travel Bug

I was warned about this little phenomenon and it's TRUE... once you travel, you'll never quite be the same. In my particular case, it's a sick, twisted, and magical addiction slightly less enslaving than heroin (not that I know anything about heroin). I can only imagine that it's pretty comparable though. I can't get enough, I'm always looking for my next high, and I'll long for it until the day I die. In this case though, my addiction will enhance my life instead of destroy it, so I'm mostly okay with it. 

I've been asked a lot of questions about how I got myself into this dream situation... and the truth is... it was pretty damn EASY. I came up with the idea, did some research and had a job within weeks. All you have to do is WANT IT. In my case, lots of experience working with kids helped too. I'm readily available if you'd like more information on this process :). 

The question I get the most is: Will you be making a lot of MONEY? and the answer is NO!  BUT... will I be rich? If you define richness in terms of money... ehhhh.. try again. If you define richness by experiences and sheer happiness then YES, RICH I'LL BE! Not many people get to live and work abroad, and the experience for me is better than any amount of money. In fact, thinking back to the best times of my life... I was broke. And not just broke. Broke as shit. I was living off of a dwindling savings account in college, and had a few low paying jobs after that to scrape by until I graduated. Did I live in a fancy condo with a brand new car sporting a new overpriced coach bag? absolutely not. Did I live for 10 cent chicken wings, cheap beer, fleischmanns, and some of the best memories of my life? you betcha. And I had the best 4 years with the best people in the world: La Crossians (*shout out... I love all of you!! green monster parties and 5 dollar wristbands were the best). So no, I will not be buying a private Island anytime soon, but I will be having lots of fun with people with accents. So... it's still a major win in my eyes. Plus, the last time I had NO bills and I mean NO bills... I was 15... before I bought my first car. The last time I had no bills and was making enough money to survive, shop, AND travel was never. So I'll live :). 

People have been mostly supportive and I love each and every one of you for that. But I have had a select few who utter the phrases "Well, aren't you scared?" "What about finding a job here?" "What about getting married... aren't you like 25 now?" I cringe even thinking about it. 

  • Of course I am scared. I'm leaving my family, friends, work, country, and gasp.. chicken wings and fat tire :(. Yes, I'm leaving my entire life. AND I'm living with strangers in a completely foreign place. DUH. It's terrifying. It's also one of the most liberating feelings I've ever had. No real personal growth comes from living a normal life where you never try anything different. I don't want to ever be content with doing the same thing over and over again for the rest of my life. I want to be free, independent and truly HAPPY
  • Maybe, just maybe, I don't want to find a job here. I can find any 9 to 5 boring ass job here for the rest of my working life. Give me some freedom and I'll be back in no time to be a traditional, overworked, and sad American. jeesh. just let me be!
  • married?! HUSBAND?! whoa. slow down. Am I 35 or 25? Should I feel like my life is over because I'm not married in my mid twenties? what year is it again? Truth is... I have a million things to do before I would ever consider committing my life to one person forever. I have severe chest pains just picturing the whole idea. Me? in a white dress? walking down the aisle? ew. stop the pain. I'm pretty non-traditional in this sense though and I'm not trying to offend anyone who still believes in marriage and all of it's "greatness". I'm sure there's something to it.. I just don't want it yet. I'd rather roll over in my grave then give up part of my identity and have to bicker over whose turn it is to clean the toilet. Sorry if I find marriage about as pleasurable as getting my teeth jabbed at the dentist. But that's what all of you married people who make me feel bad about being free get. Independence is what I need right now, and don't make me feel bad for accepting it. *NOTE: happily married couples and friends of mine... this is NOT referring to you. and I envy your ability to be that happy with another human being around 24/7 :).
I've always been realistic, maybe even pessimistic, but always a big dreamer. I've had a million things I've always wanted to do, and many yet to accomplish. But if you know me at all, I'll make every last one of them come true. Thanks for reading! Until next time...