01 May 2012

Confessions of a 20-Something Woman Living on Her Own... For the First Time

First confession: writing "woman" in the title was a conscience decision... "girl" seems to be more applicable to me, especially since I still see myself as the 18 year-old braced faced version of Sarah. "Woman" is a term I'm slowly coming to terms with.
Living alone has been a long time coming. Almost 2 years out of college, it's time. I had lived with two different friends for 2 years, in different apartments, moving on from both because they were ditching me to get married. So I guess 3rd time is a charm, right? ;-)

I've only lived in my new apartment by myself for about a month, but I already love it. It doesn't really come as a surprise to me though, because I've always known myself to be okay with being alone. Often I've wondered if something is wrong with me because I prefer many times to be alone than with people. I'm the person who typically prefers 2 or 3 close friends for dinner rather than 10 for a party. Quality, not quantity.

However, I've found living alone to be one of the best experiences of my adult life thus far.

Confession #2: Sometimes (ehem, tonight), I eat ice cream... out of the carton. Less dishes!

Confession #3: I dance in my kitchen a lot. Like, full-on, shake yer booty, dance. 

Confession #4: The first time I truly realized I lived alone, and could consequently do whatever I wanted to do, was when I left a sweatshirt out on the couch. Getting ready to go to bed, my internal dialogue was "I need to take that to my room and put it away." Suddenly, I stopped myself, and said (aloud, mind you) "This is my apartment. I'm leaving it there." Rebellious? Probably not. Gratifying? You betcha!

Confession #5: I hate dusting. Actually, it's more like loathe.

Confession #6: I'm terrible at decorating...but I don't really care. I had to have a friend help me organize my furniture to make it look suitable (aka, big furniture, little living room). Currently, there are 3 things hanging on my wall: a key holder so I don't lose my keys, my dry-erase calendar to keep me organized and a collage of my time in Granada, Spain, to help me remember where I've been. I figure I'll have someone else help me when it comes time to actually decorate a house.

Confession #7: Walking around in one's underwear is as freeing as they make it out to be. Whoever "they" are.

Confession #8: There have been plenty of nights I have lied in bed, covers up to my neck, heart beating fast, sweat dripping down my temples, sure the boogy man was about to get me. Usually, it's just my loud neighbor above me, who likes to stomp around.

Confession #9: TV is not an essential to me. I am perfectly content watching "New Girl" and "Glee" a week late. 

Confession #10: While I love living alone, I admit, I do miss people sometimes. That's why I'm lucky I have friends whose apartment I can walk to, and who love me enough to let me hang out whenever I need people time. I'm sure I'll enjoy this time alone, but I'm also grateful it's only for a season.

In the end, I'm really just damn proud of myself for being a big girl. (See..there it is again: "girl".) Being able to support myself was my #1 goal right out of college. I know I'm blessed to have reached that goal so quickly, and I'm really thankful for this time in my life, especially since I know it's only for a little while. In the meantime, I'll be dancing in my kitchen, only to realize I'm not alone when I get a weird glance from a neighbor walking by outside. What, you don't dance like a manic in your kitchen too?!

26 February 2012

Everyday Happy

The other day while milling around the Plaza with my boyfriend's family, we wandered into a little boutique. It had all sorts of cute clothes and jewelry, but the one thing that struck me was the wall art (or words?) which couldn't be missed. What did it read?

"Happiness is not a destination. It's a way of life."

While this line isn't something that I haven't heard before or a concept with which I'm unfamiliar, I've never heard it put quite so simply. So often we have a tendency to see the greener grass on the other side, wondering if those other things would make us happier. I, too, am guilty of this. In all my planning and hoping and wishing for the future, I tend to lose sight of those things around me that make me happy on a daily basis, and all those things for which I am thankful: sunrises, the warm sun on my face, puppy kisses (thanks to a friend letting me dog sit!), Skyping with my brother, baking for other people, snuggling, making new friends at work, getting complimented on a job well done, laughing about nothing, crying at a sappy movie, reconnecting with old friends, to name just a few.

This quote, or thought, that happiness isn't somewhere we arrive, but the moments that make up every day life really got to me. I'm in a time of transition in my life in many different ways (or maybe I'm learning that life, especially after college, is ever-changing), and sometimes it can be very daunting and unsettling. I find myself thinking "When I live there" or "When I get this job" or "When I get that degree" then that is when I'll be happy.

But why can't I be happy right now?

In a society where we're always looking for the next best thing, I am choosing to be happy, right here, right now. I have a job, an apartment, a family and boyfriend and friends who love me and take care of me and are always there for me when I need them, and when I don't know that I need them. I am choosing to look at the little things that make up the days and be thankful. That's not to say sometimes I don't wish I were out traveling the world or living in a different state (ehem, Colorado), but I can't live my life focusing on the "greener" side. I have what I've been given, the cards have been dealt, and, while they're not yet all played, I must play the hand I've been given to the best of my ability. And sometimes, that means simply choosing to be happy, right where you are, and enjoying the ride. Because really when you look at it, it's the little, everyday things, and not the destination, that lead to the big, everyday kind of happy.

26 January 2012

Buena Gente

I've been working at my job at Ford for nearly a year. In fact, I think it'll be a year in just a few short days...which also means the anniversary of the snowacolypse in Kansas City (God help us all!). I remember this time a year ago: I was so excited for something new, challenging and exciting, somewhere I could better excel, grow myself and really use my skills and, better yet, my degree. The world was my oyster.

A year a later, I've learned a lot. I remember feeling so lost, uncomfortable, nervous and really insecure at times as I entered the manufacturing world. I went to college about 15 minutes from the plant for 4 years, yet I can honestly say I never knew it existed. I'm not really sure whether that shows how much of a bubble I lived in at school or if Kansas City just isn't a big Ford city, but that's besides the point.

In my year of learning, one of my favorite things to learn has been about all the different people who work at the plant. These people are so hard working, it can put anyone to shame. They work crazy long hours, run on little sleep and wear bright yellow reflective vests as their fashion statement. But despite their matching attire, I've had the privilege to learn about the individuality of many individuals at the plant.

I've met people who have culinary degrees, run rodeos on their farm, drive an hour one way to work because they love their job, run marathons for the thrill of it (and get up at 4am to train), speak Spanish even though they're from Malaysia, have worked and traveled all over the world and even ones who have grown up in Kansas City and been here all their lives. Many, upon having a real conversation with them, are absolutely brilliant. It just amazes me how much I can learn from them. They are really, really interesting people, many of whom have become some very good friends of mine. They've enriched my life in so many ways, and I'm happy to call them my friends. 

These people, they're buena gente. In Spanish, this means "good people." To me, it has a rather profound meaning, because you don't hear it often in the English language. In Spanish, it's used as a strong compliment, more than just "he's cool," or "she's neat," but it's meant to really get to the core of a person, who they are deep down. Or at least, that's how I interpret it. 

I feel fortunate to have met these people, to have been impacted by them in ways I'm sure I don't yet even know, to be challenged and stretched and grown by their influence in my life. I only hope that I could give as much back to them as they've given to me.