Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dream Guy, Dream Life

I know they say "the grass is always greener on the other side", but for the first time ever, I feel like I'm on the greenest patch of grass ever to exist on earth. I've been on both sides of the fence before... single and dying to be in love, and in love and dying to be single. In fact, I can hardly remember a time when I was fully happy in either situation. Actually, I wonder if I ever was or if you really ever can be? But this time, I am completely satisfied just being here, happy and free! Sometimes all you need is a little independence, a lot of fun, and significant time spent with your best friends to remember how great life can be when tackled alone. 

Now now, I know you're supposed to avoid making lists like these as reminders of what you're really looking for, as they potentially close you off from good men who don't fit into your crazy ideallic mold of a person. BUT, if that person doesn't possess the majority of qualities you consider necessary for your life partner, wouldn't that be considered settling? And didn't we all agree that this girl doesn't like to settle? So bare with me, and keep in mind that I'm not really as shallow as I'm portraying myself, but is it asking too much to have someone fix things for me from time to time?! 

Dream Guy: 
  • Fixes things: cars, broken bones, electronics... anything. help a girl out!
  • Doesn't snore (this one's a deal breaker)
  • Sarcastic, witty and undoubtedly charming
  • Able to keep up with me 
  • Creatively romantic (no, valentine's day flowers will NOT win me over)
  • Spontaneous
  • A little rough around the edges
  • Sees and values helping others
  • Shares my personal and political beliefs (as far as personal liberties are concerned anyway)
  • Intelligent
  • Confident
  • Independent 
  • Passionate in love and life
  • Selfless
  • Motivated
  • Football lover
  • Beer drinker
  • Wing eater
  • Adventurous
  • Traveler
  • Articulate
  • Musically talented (big hope here)
  • Tall, dark and handsome (blondes have forever failed me.. buhbye!)...
  • ... with an accent or sexy voice that makes me swoon
  • Someone who changes my mind in believing that love at first sight is a bunch of crap

Until that happens, I'll be busy making way on my extensive bucket list. And it appears that I still have A LOT of work to do. I won't die happy until I accomplish every single one. So here's to happy bucketing!

Dream Life :
  • Travel through Europe 
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Go skydiving
  • See all 50 states
  • Go ziplining
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Have another broken heart
  • Get a meaningful tattoo 
  • Get my picture on chive
  • Win BIG at a casino
  • Visit the Great Barrier Reef/Rainforest
  • Visit Auschwitz
  • Watch the ball drop in New York on my birthday
  • Skinny dip in the ocean 
  • Go to the Ellen Degeneres show
  • Work and live abroad
  • Volunteer abroad
  • Go on an African safari
  • Ride on an elephant
  • Be a foster parent
  • Adopt a child internationally 
  • Have my own children
  • Buy a house
  • Volunteer at a homeless shelter
  • Travel somewhere new every single year
  • Swim with dolphins in the wild 
  • Try surfing
  • Wake up thankful every single day
3 weeks to go until my crazy new life begins. Cheers!!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I need a therapist

The hardest thing about having days that really make you feel alive again, is having days like that end.  Why is it that every time I meet new people, I end up with a million new hilarious stories and am left wondering if this is how fun life should always be. Even worse than great days ending though, is going home sick, hungover, bruised, sunburned, severely underwhelmed by real life, and with literally a thousand things to do.

So what exactly should I be doing instead of blogging? PACKING. But here I am doing what I always do when things bother me or make me sad. AVOID. AVOID. AVOID. As if putting it off any longer will delay the inevitable. Suck it up, Jerrica. Get rid of your things. They're just THINGS. Say goodbye to your people. They're just people. You'll be back. But apparently...

Caring too much is definitely one of my biggest flaws as a human being, which really makes this week especially difficult. You would think after years of being let down that I would eventually learn to stay emotionally unattached from everything... people, places and possessions. And up until this week, I really thought I was. Turns out though that I was wrong.  That's right.  I'll say it once, and never again. I WAS WRONG. You were right friends. I DO CARE. And I apparently care a lot. It doesn't help that every little thing I own reminds me of something better though. Everything I own has some sort of sentimental value. And to go from having a million things to practically nothing is a little overwhelming. My car, a couple suitcases, and my money is all I have left to my name after this week. YIKES.  But in the same respect, you never realize just how little you need to survive, and that's a wake up call that I'll never forget.

A little shout out to all of those who have said such kind things to me about my blog after last weeks entry. I've heard words thrown around about me that I typically don't associate with myself: brave, inspirational, and crazy. Brave and inspirational are the two I'd really like to address. While I'm super flattered by the use of such strong words, I really don't like the idea of them being used to describe me, because I don't feel like I'm quite deserving of them.  So please be easy on using such nice words on just a slightly adventurous girl like me. Perhaps these are coming from people in unhappy situations giving a credit to me where it isn’t necessarily due. Anyone, even you, can change the unhappiness in your life. Don’t like your job? Quit. Unhappy relationship? Leave. It really is as simple as that. Of course actually following through with what I’m saying is a little more difficult. But it really is as simple as eliminating the things that make you unhappy. YOU. CAN. DO. IT. TOO! 

Crazy? Now that's a word I'll happily accept.  I pride myself on being a little weird, obnoxious, sassy, spunky, wild, and a yes, even a little bit crazy (in a good way mostly). Here's an example: Normal people picture their wedding day as walking down the aisle in an overpriced white dress (that probably shouldn't be white) in front of 200 of their closest family members and friends. Crazy people picture their wedding day as eloping in Vegas with a stranger who just happens to be their soulmate. Guess which one I am? You've been warned Mom :). THANK you all so much for your kind words. I've been in tears for days over all of the replies from everybody. 

Thanks for reading! PS if anyone has tips on packing for a year, good books to read, apps to download, or how to sleep on a plane, I'd greatly appreciate it. xoxo!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lessons in Life, Love, and La Crosse

I never would have imagined that leaving this place would be so hard. I’ve always loved La Crosse, but I didn’t realize I had such a deep-rooted attachment to it. Maybe I’m a tad over-sentimental, but I guess that’s what happens when you have 7 crazy, wild, beautifully wonderful years invested in this place.

I feel the same way about leaving La Crosse as I did about leaving my hometown all those years ago. Sad, scared, excited, and with absolutely no clue about what an amazing life I was about to have. Little did I know I’d be embarking on the best 7 years of my existence.  In fact, little of the life I had before college would even compare to what I was about to experience. AND I learned some very valuable lessons too! Essentially here is how my life progressed... READY?

I learned that:

  •      There are no coincidences in life. Like meeting a random stranger at orientation, bonding over Wyoming and stupidity, and realizing that without a doubt you are soulmates (seriously though, it’s scary). Love you Amy!
  •        Beer actually tastes GOOD, and your keg stand abilities can become flawless with lots of practice!
  •       $10 bottles of vodka are not good for your liver, but are good for your wallet. AND you can even make lifelong friends because of it… Kevin!
  •       Boys in pink robes are cute.
  •       When a party gets busted the night before, DON'T go back the next day. You and hundreds of your friends will get ticketed :).  
  •       OKTOBERFEST is the single greatest weekend of every single year and you can celebrate big time with very little judgment from others.
  •       Buzzard Billy’s major success in the last few years is mostly attributed to me.
  •            APA citations will NEVER go away, so just get good at it.
  •       Psychology IS without a doubt the best major ever.
  •       A simple life is the best life and money isn’t everything.
  •       Living with boys was SO EASY. AND they were wayyyy cleaner than us girls (610 crew).
  •      Juggling good grades, two jobs, and a heavy social life ($5 wristbands) was way exhausting, but looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
  •       It’s easy to fall in love with dragons AND I’m also obnoxiously creative after too many free shots. love you ladies!!
  •       Coworkers and happy hours really help in getting through the tough days.
  •       Rioting with Lax’s finest for the 2011 Packers Superbowl win was one of the best days of my life.
  •       It’s never too late to mend broken friendships.
  •       Bachelor nights with Lindsey, Parker and wine makes Mondays so much more bearable!
  •       I LOVE kids. ALL kids. bratty, sweet, obnoxious, autistic, babies, toddlers, twins. I LOVE them all.
  •       My sister coming to school here wasn't the end of the world, but instead was the greatest blessing. We've become infinitely closer in the last few years because of it.
  •       Some friendships just can't be destroyed by distance and in some cases you can go without talking for months and pick right back up where you left off (Sara and Kristen). Thank you for the unconditional support always. 
  •       Family is, and always will be, the most important part of my life.
  •       And most importantly, I've learned that I have met HUNDREDS of amazing people who have no idea how much they’ve impacted my one little life. I can’t thank you all enough for helping mold me into someone I am so proud to be.

The only problem is… I never intended on this being my life forever. I had always wanted to live somewhere else and do something different, and only because I fell in love did I ever consider staying. La Crosse really didn’t have exactly what I was looking for as far as culture, open-mindedness, and adventure goes, but it is strikingly beautiful and has the most bars per capita, so was staying really that big of an issue?

For me it wasn’t what it had, it was what it didn’t have that I longed for. I like to look at where I’m living in the same way I look at relationships. Am I really crazy in love, or is it this just easy? Am I excited to wake up everyday and be here or am I just going through the day-to-day motions like a zombie? Since the answer wasn’t yes, it was time to do some serious rethinking. Sure it’s beautiful, fun, and without a doubt the most convenient choice. And yes, I had a pretty good life here, overall. So was it really worth uprooting the life I’ve come to know and (mostly) love?

Then, surprisingly, all it really took was a virtual stranger uttering the words, “You’re too young to be this unhappy”. And I wondered, am I really THAT transparent?  Turns out I was, and turns out he was RIGHT. And that was when I realized… I AM SETTLING. In fact, I was settling in pretty much every facet of my life here.  These words would probably be pretty meaningless to most ordinary people, and most ordinary people would brush it off and stick to what they already know. Here’s the kicker though: I’m not most ordinary people. I was, in a weird way, jolted back to life. It was the sickest I have ever felt (without actually being sick), and at the same time the most awakened I had felt in years. So, it was simple. I needed to leave. And not surprisingly, I picked pretty much for furthest place on earth to go. But it’s true, there’s a major difference between being content and being happy.

Let me start on the love part by saying that NOTHING can prepare you for losing your best friend and boyfriend of 5 years. How do you really say goodbye to someone so significant in your life despite all of your hardships? But at the same time, at what point do you let go of the only thing that’s really holding you back from leaving when you both know you’re not meant to be together anyway? And furthermore, can you really happily be with someone who has drastically different ideas about what your foreseeable future looks like? I don’t really think so. It’s true that happy relationships revolve around compromise. BUT should you compromise your dreams and hope for the future for somebody else? Never. Not for ANYBODY, in my opinion. Fortunately, I realized this at a time that still allowed for me to do everything I had always hoped for. If you don’t like my ambitious, adventurous, motivated and save-the-world kind of attitude, there’s not a chance in hell that we should be together.

Believe me, I understand if you don't want to adopt 17 starving babies from other countries. I understand if you think traveling is a waste of money. I understand if you prefer an over abundance of things to experiences. I understand that 40 plus hour work weeks and one mildly boring vacation a year is your dream life. I also understand that my envisioned life is not easy to handle. But all that really means is you’re probably not the person for me. AND that’s okay. I’m embracing the freedom and independence whole-heartedly. 

Yes, it’s INCREDIBLY hard to accept that you’re just not right for the person you’ve just spent over 5 years of your life with. Yes, it sucks that you’ve only been in love with 2 people, but that it’s consumed over 10 years of your not-so-long life. BUT, I did learn some very important things and that makes all of the pain worth it for me. I just have to believe in the three most cliché and overused phrases: “everything happens for a reason”, “when you know, you know”, and “third times a charm”. Aside from that, I guess the key to moving on is leaving and never looking back. That, combined with spending an adventurous year abroad should hopefully ease the pain of saying goodbye to the person and the life that I’ve loved for so long.

The sadness and unsure feelings I have about leaving is quickly being overshadowed with excitement though. If my future is anything similar to the amazing surprise the last 7 years have been, I certainly have nothing to worry about. I have no doubt that there are only good things ahead of me, but I won’t know unless I go for it. So that’s what I have to do.

A special shout out to the lifelong friends I’ve made here. I would list you all, but I’d be here forever. In a weird way, even if I was a pretty insignificant person in your life, you were probably, in some way, a significant person in mine. You all exist in my life for a reason, and I love you each and every one of you for that.  Thank you all for giving me nothing but the fondest of memories to carry with me for the rest of my life.