Friday, April 17, 2009

The rest is yet to come

Why is it that it takes until you're 22-years-old to finally admit that you're growing up? I suppose it's part of the growing-up process, yes?

My job is teaching me a lot. I have days when I think I'm on top of the world and I have days when I can barely keep up. Sometimes I love the running around like a crazy person, yet some days I just want to sit in my office and hide. No matter what is happening, I'm learning more and more about myself and the world every day. And this is what I was looking forward to when I graduated.

I have to say the favorite part of my job is the people I'm meeting. Not just every month, but literally every WEEK. Sometimes for days in a row. I consider myself extremely lucky because the people I meet are much like me. As mentioned in my previous post, I'm meeting people who are motivated and positive thinkers. These are people with which I want to surround myself. Knowing some of these people gives me hope that one of my biggest fears will never come true: getting too comfortable to take a risk.

A lady I trained yesterday told me "if you're smart, you'll move where your job takes you." She had just finished telling me about the journey she and her husband had taken through life. They lived in multiple cities, made great friends in every one, and retired to Florida where they still do so much traveling, they're not even home most of the month. Immediately after chatting with her, I got a chance to chat with someone else I met before and learned about her exciting career path that is long from over. Both of these women are likely older than my mother (who is NOT old, for the record) and are far from leading sedentary lives. In fact, as an intern in college, I met another woman exactly like this. I remember thinking to myself, "Wow. I want to be JUST like her!" And these people inspire me over and over again.

My latest inspiration is my writing. Well, not MY writing, just writing in general. I'm realizing that I LOVE it. I can't get enough of it. Even though I'm completely swamped at work, I'm constantly telling the newspaper to send me more assignments. And this week it hit me: maybe I should be working toward becoming a writer full-time.

Now, no rash decisions have been made yet. I do enjoy my full-time job and see the obvious benefits of being able to pay bills with that income. However, in my free-time, I'm taking the steps to become a freelance writer. I'm starting small with my first client right now, but I'm researching ways to grow my portfolio. There are tons of jobs out there for freelance writers, it's just a matter of me being brave enough to say "here I am, World!"

And that's what I mean about my biggest fear. I don't ever want to be comfortable enough to not put myself out there. I want to keep challenging myself and make some mistakes along the way. I want to be able to tell my story one day with the phrase "I had no idea X would lead to Z later on, but I'm glad I took the chance." I suppose I've done that already, with buying a plane ticket on a whim and moving 1,000 miles away. Honestly though, that's not enough for this girl. I want to keep moving and keep seeing things. I want to keep meeting people and making connections. I want to live my life to the fullest, and for me, seriously pursuing a profession in writing might be the key.

So what's next? Building up my portfolio with more freelancing opportunities and researching what grad school could do for my career. And at some point, maybe a new place to blog about.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Health Update

This week was an interesting week.

I went for a blood test last week to check my cholesterol. It came back. It's not good.

In fact, it's bad. My overall cholesterol is 246. My bad cholesterol is 20 points higher than it should be and my triglycerides are 80 points higher than they should be. This is really bad. After my doctor appointment, it was time to figure out what I'm doing wrong.

I eat out at least a few times a week. It's usually dinners out, or lunches for work. I order whatever I want depending on how I feel and it usually includes fries, a burger if I'm in the mood, cheesy goodness, and a beer or other spirited beverage (except for work things, of course). I drink wine fairly often, usually with my dinner at home or after dinner. I have quite a sweet tooth, so even though I try to stick to frozen yogurt at home, that doesn't happen when I'm out because "I can splurge". Well, these are weekly splurges, which isn't a splurge, it's a habit.

I go back for another blood test in August. I have four months to prove to myself that I am in control. Everything I eat is my choice. Exercising is my choice. So I'm going to limit (not eliminate, for fear of later binging) anything fried, extra sweetened, not whole wheat, and alcoholic. Including my beloved wine that is currently on my wine rack. The good news is that right now, everything I look at that's bad to eat just reminds me of the goo in my arteries. The good news is I like working out. The bad news (well, good in a sense) is that it took my body screaming at me in the form of big red letters reading "ABNORMAL-SEE DOCTOR" for me to open my eyes and realize I'm literally slowly killing myself.

People tell me I'm so young to have this "issue". I'm really trying to not think of it as an issue. At the end of 4 months, if my numbers are all on their way back to normal, that doesn't mean I can "go easy" on myself and eat whatever whenever. This just means that my body reacts to what I do in this way. And I'm ok with that. Do I need the crappy food? No. Do I need the wine all the time? No. I do need to eat and exercise so I can function on a day-to-day basis. I need to take care of myself so I can keep doing the things I love to do.

That was my wake-up call this week. And I've worked out every day and felt good about what I ate all week. It's at least a start.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Crazy/Beautiful: Life as I know it

I typically feel grateful and lucky each day about my life. Not necessarily all day every day, but at least once a day I think to myself "Wow. My life is pretty awesome."

I pretty much felt this way all week until my Purdue memories came creeping back. One of my best friends came down for a visit. She was at one time the roommate of another best friend who lives in Tampa, so the three of us made sure to spend plenty of time together. And let me tell you: I don't laugh as hard as I did this week except with my sister.

These two phenomenal women came to my apartment last weekend and we shopped, ate key lime pie, watched The Hills, and just hung out. The crazy things we talked about had us keeled over in laughter. Then our visitor and I went to Tampa to have dinner with the third musketeer on Thursday. Between my shoe getting caught on the deck at Bahama Breeze and our crazy waiter who lingered too long in silence before saying anything, we were in tears of laughter on the drive home. Then, the visitor and I said goodbye. It was almost tearful and I couldn't figure out why. Brief background on this visitor: she became my rock after a difficult break-up and we've basically been BFF ever since. We even traveled Europe together. So, as I was driving home from dropping her off and wishing her well on her travels back to Indiana, all these memories came rushing back. I realized I missed the convenience of having my best friends a few blocks away. This turned into missing my family who is normally 20 minutes away. Then it was missing the comfort of all things familiar in Lafayette, IN: something I thought I would NEVER say. So what could I do to get myself out of this sadness? Move closer to my family? Make all my friends move back to Purdue?

Nope. As much as I've known my life has changed (just by 1,000 miles or so), it took having two best friends within a 60-mile radius for me to realize that ALL our lives are changing. Every day. There's not a whole lot we can do about it and things will never be as they were. This isn't a bad thing, of course. We're growing up; things evolve because that's what life does whether or not you want it to. We're not college students, but working adults who are trying to figure out how to live the best way we can. And when I think about all the cool things I get to do on a daily basis, that's when I can pull myself out of the sadness and say "aren't I lucky to have friends and family who, no matter what, love and support me?"

This week at work I met some incredible people. They were truly inspiring to talk to. We shared values and ideas that made me feel so excited to be meeting people with such similar mindsets as my own. These were people who want to change the world like I do. These are the characters I should be adding to my life story: people who will encourage me and join me in making a difference. Whether it's big or small, I think I'm forming a core group of people who want the best for others and will do everything in their power to help.

When I remind myself of the work I do, the goals I have, and the people I'm meeting, I remember that I'm ok. I miss my family. I miss my close friends. But at the same time, if I got up tomorrow and moved home to Indiana, nothing would be the same. I wouldn't be in the place I am now in this community that I'm starting to love. Being a part of my community here gets more important to me every day. For me, that's what life is all about: finding your niche where you see yourself growing and contributing. I have friends here. One of my BFFs is an hour away. I have family here, too. Is it the same as my college life? Of course not, but if it was, I wouldn't be doing half the things I'm doing now. But because of my family and friends, I'm doing things I couldn't do without their support.

Speaking of which, I was offered my first paid writing position. I'll be an independent contractor for a women's news magazine. My first article hasn't been published yet, but was loved by the article's subject. I'm looking forward to what's coming with this opportunity!

So I'm meeting people. Opportunities are around every corner. And I was able to spend nearly a whole week with two people who know me so well, they wouldn't let me get away with whining about my shoe getting stuck in front of a deck full of people.

I think it's safe to say I'm getting used to being a grown-up. And I think I like it.