51 questions

Santa left Joe and I two books. The first was about mini golden doodles, which is perfect because if Joe and I get a dog, that is the kind we want to get. The second book was titled “51 Things to Know Before Getting Engaged.” It isn’t a book about getting engaged. Well, it is, but just because Santa left us a book about getting engaged doesn’t mean we are going to.

The structure of the book is 51 chapters, which each contain a question, to discuss with your significant other. It has some of those big questions that people sometimes ignore or think don’t apply to them. Clearly none of them apply to Joe and I either, because we aren’t getting engaged, but we just think of it as a thought exercise.

So, in order to painfully force ourselves through the book, for no other reason than because Santa left it for us, we read a chapter each Sunday night. The key here is that it really draws out the process so no one gets any silly ideas about actually getting engaged because really, unless we make it through every question, one shouldn’t even think of that.

Some of the questions are dull. The first was what’s one thing you find annoying about your partner? When Joe read it aloud a gave a little chuckle and began listing the things. I don’t remember them off the top of my head now, but I’m sure they were along the lines of A) him wearing tents B) not always being assertive enough and C) not being able to hold his liquor. Then he told me my things. If I remember correctly they were A) I’m just so perfect sometimes it hurts and B) I’m always right which gives him no opportunity to be so.

The question from this past weekend was different though. It resonated quite a bit with me, facing one of the issues I consider a barrier to me thinking of marriage. The chapter was about how people expect their relationship to be like those in the movies, magical and shit. My interpretation of the image Hollywood sets fourth is that marriage is dull and sexless. Couples get bogged down with life and begin ignoring each other or just not caring. They never seem truly in love and act as if they just put up with each other because of their legal commitment to each other. [Except for Lily and Marshall because they are awesome.]

Well, if that’s what marriage is, that’s not what I want. I want happiness and excitement and someone that treats me like a princess. I want a guy that doesn’t always forget the milk [laugh track!] or sit in front of the TV watching sports and playing video games. The sentiment of the chapter was that marriage isn’t like TV though. Just like it isn’t the fairytale some expect, it also doesn’t have to be a horror either.

So, I dunno, if someone held a gun to my head and was like “you have to get married!” I wouldn’t absolutely choose the bullet.

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Happy… even through the cold

Things have been really good for me lately, too good. So good that I think it’s probably one of the “high” phases in the great cycle of depression. Which to be fair, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It makes me not take it for granted one bit.

Joe and I were sitting on the couch the other Saturday night – I was nursing a cough and didn’t feel like going out after such a busy day. [Mark and my brothers came over to celebrate Christmas. I love all of them, but just having children around/in my apartment is a little stressful.] So, after having a nice dinner, complete with a slow-dance desert, we settled down to a lovely movie. Cuddled into his crook [the space between his arm and body] I felt so at peace. Happy with my job and happy with my relationship; happy to be sitting on my pink velvet couch wrapped up in the most comfy blanket in the world; proud of the progress I’ve made on my book and excited to make the next steps in applying for a writers grant; relaxed after a wonderful day with my family and just being.

Joe made it through draft 1 of my book. It made for a couple of silly moments – me waking up in the morning to him reading stories such as my birth or my first period. But overall, there is no one else that I would rather have the first read. It is no where near done. I left holes and mentioned random characters without any introductions. But, it has a beginning and an end and some stuff in the middle, so I consider it a draft. His “assignment” was to read through and tell me where he wanted more. I don’t always know how much detail to go into, either when explaining people or situations, so having an outsiders perspective is priceless. Just having someone read the draft though, makes me realize it is a real book. His ending comment, “As you’re aware, stories need fleshing out and more flow, and you need more of them – especially more stories from your Sam-and-older years. What you have is compelling and interesting, though. I think there’s definitely something here,” was all I needed to keep going. After a short break after NaNoWriMo, I’m back on the horse.

In other news, a friend and I went looking at wedding dresses the other day. Not because either of us are getting married, but because dresses are pretty and girls are allowed to day dream and stuff like that, and it is wedding dress season for some reason. But then some staff ladies (yes, multiple!) came in and were like “Can we help you?” and “what are you looking for?” and “oh you should try stuff on” and then I had a panic attack and needed to leave. Good thing I don’t need to wedding dress shop for realzies.

Come as you are

I have a mentor in my life that I very much look up to. She was my first manager after college, and even though we only worked together for a short time, we have remained in contact. It can be hard to describe what makes certain people just click, but with her, its her ease. She is so approachable and you know that she has your (well, my) best interest in mind. I can say or ask anything, and that’s always okay.

She is also extremely driven. I see a lot of me in her, in that even though she has a very successful career, she still pursues interests academically. She is working on getting her Ph.D while working full time, raising two children, and being involved in local organizations. I think she also has really good taste in cars.

Anyway, this mentorship relationship works because while I am so impressed with who she is, she see’s so much in me. This evening, she and I were wrapping up a board meeting and she nearly got teary eyed talking about how excited she is for my future. When I sometimes forget it myself, it is really nice and reassuring to know that other people believe in me too.

One lesson that really sticks out from her though, is that her philosophy is “come as you are.” Whether you are working on her team or with her on a board, she doesn’t want to shape anyone into being something they are not. When she first tapped me to be on this nonprofit advisory board I was all like “umm… okay… but, I don’t know anything about nonprofit boards and I don’t know anyone who can give a lot of money and I’m not really sure what I will bring to the table…” but she didn’t care. She knew that I had a lot to offer and even though it wasn’t in the form of money or to people with money, it was valuable to the organization.

Further, I get a sense that it is okay to be me. I came into this board not knowing what I would do, and even though it has taken a few months, I’m finally beginning to see my role. I love networking and meeting with people and collaborating any way possible. So, yes, I have a lot of random connections throughout the cities and yes, I will leverage them to help everyone out. And yes, I will just come as I am.

Complacency?

Does that word describe what I’m feeling right now? I don’t think so, because I just Googled it and it doesn’t mean what I thought it meant.

Stagnent is probably better. I just feel blah, like nothing has changed lately, for way too long. Remember back in college – the year was broken up into four parts. Fall semester, winter break, spring semester, and then summer. Everything had a start and an end. But now, I feel like I’ve been living the same stuff day in and day out since like, May. Which, now that I say it, isn’t even that long. But the “no end in sight” element makes it feel like an eternity.

I’m looking forward to things – like buying a condo and going to grad school. But everything I am looking forward to is happening on an unknown timeframe.

I started reading a book yesterday, Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin. I liked her Happiness Project when I read it two years ago, but now the ideas are started to fade away. Hopefully it reminds me to just be happy and stopping thinking about what’s next… because that will make for a long, sad life. Especially when I’m old and only think about death.