Ambiverting

I often find myself wondering if I’m too independent. Too opinionated. Too… much. Not enough like everyone else. I think all those things go together. I find myself debating with my own inner dialogue, but sometimes with those I care about as well. When other people weigh in, it usually goes along the lines of them telling me I have stronger opinions on somethings that I probably shouldn’t even really care about, but I should still just go with it. You be you kind of thing. Internally, it depends on the day.

There’s moments I truly think I have split personalities. Not in the legit I have a medical problem, just depending on the day. There’s the ‘I want to be social and go hang out with everyone I know and I can’t sit still and just want to do all the things’ days and then there’s the ‘I don’t want anything to do with people and binge watching Netflix or reading a book in my hammock for 8 hours sounds like the highlight of life and even answering a text seems too social for me’ kind of days. So on my more introverted days, I tend to think maybe I need to conform to what most of society deems “normal.” But on extroverted days… HA! Society can go… well, this is a family friendly blog. So choose your own adventure to fill in that blank.

It’s a conundrum, nevertheless. It’s not easy to be an extrovert AND an introvert. It’s especially difficult when you think you’re feeling extroverted and you meet up with humans and BAM! You really just want to be by yourself. I know I’m not the only one that struggles with this! So do you frantically look for excuses to leave? What if they came to your house?! Now you’re stuck! The horrors. This is a real thing, people. Nightmarish.

Anyway. This timeshare has been calling me for the past 2 weeks and never leaves a message. And it’s not that I don’t want to talk to them – talking usually results in some decent perks – I just am never around my phone when they call. But on the rare occasions I am, I might be in that introverted, dealing with humans is way too overwhelming mode, even via phone calls. In case you were wondering, I finally touched based with them and have a new vacation to plan in the next year or so! Vacation planning is difficult for me, though. My schedule with work is in such a constant flux that it’s difficult to plan more than a few weeks in advance for many things. Which can be great for last minute deals. But flights pretty much never have such discounts and availability can become an issue too. And my people who have more normal scheduled jobs find it difficult to get time off with that short of a notice.

In most instances, that just means I’ll go by myself. Adventuring alone is a pretty sweet gig. I do what I want, only what I want, and don’t have to worry about someone else not getting their way. It sounds pretty selfish and it is. But it’s awesome in it’s own right to have that freedom to literally seize the day I any which way you see fit. Sharing those experiences is great too. You get a different perspective and all that goes along with spending quality time with someone else. And this is where I find myself getting in my own head.

Would I rather go through life having that freedom or those shared moments? Am I too independent to truly share my adventures with someone else all the time? I’m not speaking just to romantically inclined relationships, either. Ski trips with my fencing team from high school or dive trips with my college friends fall into this question too (ok, diving is a bad example since I wouldn’t go diving alone, but it conveys the point that platonic relationships count as well). And I don’t know if I have an answer to that yet. So I go back and forth with the pros and cons of such. And maybe it doesn’t need an answer. Trips I’ve ventured on solo or with people have been epic. Would they have been enhanced if I wasn’t by myself or had I gone on my own? Probably in some aspects. It can be lonely dining alone. But it can also be refreshing. First world problems, I’m telling you. The struggle is real!

At any rate, you gotta do what makes you happy! Hakuna Matata!

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Thankfulness

Whelp.  It’s almost the end of November.  I’ve been writing this post in my head since the 1st.  But here we are.  Time freaking flies.  It’s amazing.  Here I am sitting on a plane on my way home for the holiday and no update to mention.  Yeah, I know.  I’m a terrible blogger.  2016 has been a pretty crazy year.  There are quite a few of my facebook friends who insist we don’t even acknowledge this year in the future.  But I have to admit, it’s been a pretty memorable one for me.  I’ve moved from Hawaii to San Diego to South Carolina.  I’ve explored Iceland and Denmark and Estonia and the outer skirts of Germany, and visited Russia and Sweden and Finland.  I’ve driven across the United States on an epic road trip and visited famous landmarks and national parks.  I’ve crossed the Pacific Ocean and I’ve gotten to visit friends and family across the country.  So can I really complain?  These are the things that matter.  I am so blessed to have the people I do in my life. Regardless of how they got there.  I’ve revisited our nation’s Capitol and returned to the greatest city in the world twice (yes, I’m referring to New York).  And I still have this weekend and Christmas to enjoy before the year is out.

I’ve been fortunate enough to join my dive family in Florida for an annual Thanksgiving celebration, not to mention surprise my family for my dad and uncle’s birthdays.  I’ve reunited with my college roommate and made new friends at my latest job.  Of course there has also been failure and total feeling of loss and despair.  But mostly joy.  At least the stuff I choose to dwell on.  And that’s what I think is the key.  Why focus on the bad?  There’s so much good.  Moving for the third time this year was a struggle. Leaving the people I grew to care for and accept was challenging.  Returning to academia was a lot harder than I imagined it would be.  But there have been a multitude of people who have helped me get where I am.  And I am more than grateful for their input.  From the 5:30AM wake up calls to wish me well on an exam or just to say hi, to the random texts and messages just that say people are thinking of me and are hoping I am well.  Those mean the world to me.  Even if I’m not the greatest at conveying that in the moment.

I’m thankful for more than I can ever write about in a blog post.  My family plays a huge part in that.  As crazy as they drive me at times, they are the best.  I don’t care who you are.  You don’t beat the genuineness and love that is experienced in my family.  I have the best friends.  We can not talk for months.  And when I pick up the phone in a moment of despair or boredom, they are there for me.  I’m a pretty crappy friend.  My job takes up a lot of my time.  And when I’m not working, I’m kind of burnt out.  And a loner.  Not in the creepy or bad way.  I just like me time.  So I screen my calls and texts and eventually, I will get back to you.  But aside from the fact that I’m usually asleep before 9PM and I talk to about 2 people on a regular basis (and yes, one of those humans is my mom), my people are still there for me in spite of that.  I don’t get invites to go to the opera 500 miles away.  But I get videos of my friends being awesome and killing it in their chosen profession.  And updates on so and so and what I’ve missed.  Like nothing has changed since I left New York.  And I’d like to think that as anti-social as I can be, my people do know that I would be there for them in a heartbeat if they truly needed me.  It’s funny how that works.  But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Happy Thanksgiving, Blog World.  Always remember.  Even when things don’t seem to be going right, there’s always SOMETHING to be thankful for. Hakuna Matata!

Exploring Home

I’m incredibly spoiled.  I grew up in the greatest city in the world.  Whether you agree with this fact or not is entirely up to you.  Everyone is entitled to my opinion on my blog! 😀  But seriously, New York City is an amazing, wonderful place.  It will always be home.  So why don’t I live there?  Well, for starters, there’s not a whole lot in the field of rocket science in the most populated city in the United States.  And I couldn’t do my current job there.  And there are too many people.  SO. MANY. PEOPLE.  And noise!  It’s what makes it home and I’m not complaining about it.  You don’t even notice the noise after a while and most people are so absorbed in their own lives that you don’t really notice them either.  The last time I was there, I asked a cashier how her day was going and she looked at me like I had 12 heads.  That’s my city that I love.

New Yorkers get this rap that we’re rude and fast and don’t care about anyone.  We’re not that rude.  We just don’t take part in a lot of the pleasantries that the rest of the country does.  It’s just different.  When I lived in Germany, one of my friends asked me if it was true that English speakers ask how you are doing without really wanting to know.  I was confused by the question.  She elaborated, saying her English teacher told them that English speakers always ask “How are you?” but don’t wait for a response.  It’s true.  We use it more of a greeting as you would hello.  In that regard, though, non-native English speakers think we’re the ones being rude.  It’s the same thing in New York for the most part.  Not always.  But could you imagine if we stopped to talk to EVERYONE we ran into.  You would never get anywhere.

Fast is debatable.  My father is one of the slowest people I know.  And he’s been there a hell of a lot longer than I have.  He CAN be quick with some things.  But he’s pretty slow by most standards.  No offense, Dad – love you!  Anyway, I’m digressing.  I started this post because a friend of mine is thinking of moving to another city.  I’m probably a terrible person to talk to about moving: I’ve had 12 different addresses in the past 8 years.  But she made a comment about being bored in a new city.  It made me think.  Most of my friends from NY are still living there.  Actually, I’m struggling to think of any of them that aren’t at the moment.  A lot of them stayed for school and then found a job there or are still studying or whatever.

So the prospect of moving is daunting because it’s all you know if you haven’t ventured out.  And to most of us city kids, EVERYWHERE else is boring. Because what is there to do in suburbia when you’ve lived in the non-stop, world famous New York for your entire life?  But having been to the middle of nowhere and back again, there’s SO much more than what’s enclosed in the 305 square miles that is NYC.  I’ve found something in every city I’ve been to, from the sheer beauty of nature or history of a region or the food or even the people!  I know that’s shocking to hear from me.

As I think about settling down in my newest home (it’s been like a month and a half now), I am frustrated and excited about it.  Moving all the time has kept me from getting bored in one place.  Quite the contrary, I find I’m there for long enough to find the things I want to do and check out and not long enough to do everything I want.  Like vacation.  There’s ALWAYS more to see.  If you’re doing it right, at least.  At the same time, finding new people and new places is fun and awesome, but you can miss your old routines and people and the environment you created for yourself.  For me, it keeps me engaged.  It’s not for everyone, that’s for sure.  Some days I’m not even sure it IS for me.  But then I find out I’m moving.  Again.  And the excitement rushed back in.  Explore.  Find the hole in the wall place and the random, crazy person that makes the day that much better, and the secluded spot that you can go and relax and think about life.  And then when you go back to visit, you have all the benefits of being a local and a tourist.  And that is wonderful.

 

Life Paths

As more and more of my friends get engaged and married and have children or get pets, I find myself wondering how my life may have been different if I didn’t follow the paths I did.  There are days when I think it would be the coolest thing in the world to have a mini human.  They are few and far between, but they are there.  And there are days when I miss my little monster (I use this term affectionately) so damn freaking much that I can’t imagine how anyone could possibly ever want to not experience the joy a puppy could bring.  But then I think of how heartbroken I was having to leave him every morning to go to school and work and life.

I am a nomad.  I literally just moved less than three months ago and I’m jonesing to go somewhere else.  It’s really hard to travel when you’ve got a dog who can’t go with you.  Or kids, I’d imagine.  But it’s hard to travel with adults too.  I started this blog shortly after I got to New Zealand.  After spending 6 months on my own in Germany.  I’ve posted about the challenges of living in a foreign country, not knowing the language or people and being 6 hours and 5,000 miles off from your people.  I stand by those sentiments still.  Before I did the study abroad in Italy, I couldn’t even go to a fast food place by myself, even just to pick up food to go let alone live in a different country by myself.  I would rather starve than be by myself.  Not because I wanted to be around other people, but because I hated appearing lonely in front of other people.  I don’t know why that distinction was important, but it was.

Europe made me change that mindset.  I wanted to see what was out there.  And I didn’t know anyone so I had to go by myself if I wanted to have that adventure.  And in traveling solo, I discovered something incredible.  I met people I would have never given the time of day to ordinarily.  I spent time on the things I thought were fascinating and skipped the boring stuff.  To me.  That’s the beauty of people, though.  We all are enchanted by different things.  Finding someone who will like and dislike the exact same things as you is nearly impossible.  Sure, there will be some similarities, but we all do appreciate different things.  Having that opportunity to experience things at your own pace is something everyone should be afforded.  It made me stronger.  And more independent.

Traveling alone, however, can also lose some of the magic.  It is nice to share certain moments with other people, especially those you love (platonic or otherwise!).  I’m planning my next adventure – it shall be epic.  There’s driving across the country, and gallivanting through different bodies of water, and cruising to countries I’ve only read about.  And I don’t want to go alone.  But I do.  Because planning this adventure is proving to be more stressful than I anticipated.  Mostly because I’ve become so accustomed to doing what I want, when I want, I don’t know how to compromise.  Well.  I don’t want to.  And because visas are involved.  And consulates.  And no email addresses and I have to call people and speak to them.  On the phone: I hate the phone.  This is 2016 for goodness sake!  I should be able to text someone to get a visa!

But when adventuring with other people, you have to take into consideration their stuff.  Well, at least you should. So back to seeing my friends committing to other people and all.  I can’t even commit to where to go for dinner!  And I wonder.  If I never went to Italy, if I never moved to Germany, or studied in New Zealand, or worked for Continental: Where would I be?  Would I want to travel?  Would I still be with my college boyfriend? Would I have the career path I found myself in?  Would I have more education?  Maybe I would be living back in New York. Maybe I’d have my dog.  Who knows?  I think things happen for a reason.  What those reasons are?  No idea.  But we end up where we do to affect someone or something.  In my opinion.  Good or bad – we have purpose.

It’s crazy how many variables there are out there.  But ultimately, mine has been pretty freaking awesome.  It’s been a roller coaster, but I’m ready for the next turn.

Ecclesiastes

I have been AWOL for the past month or so.  I know.  I apologize, readers.  I have not posted something in one of my longer stints since I restarted this blog.  It was not for lack of topics or writing time.  In fact, I wrote several posts since my last published one.  But as I was proof reading them or going over what I had written, I could not hit that wonderful “Publish” button that you all seem to crave.  Some because I wrote the posts in such a frenzy that I didn’t even know what I was trying to say.  Others because the topics were all too personal and I wasn’t quite ready to share them with you, even behind the curtain of the internet (not to mention that half of my readers probably actually know who I actually am).  And then even more that just seemed too whiny and childish and blah to post.

I am at a very interesting point in my life right now.  I am graduating with a masters in aerospace engineering from one of the top universities in the world (in this field at least) in less than two weeks.  I am very proud of this accomplishment, but those sentiments are for another post (don’t worry, I’ve written most of it already, I’m just waiting until I have official grades to truly say that I’m done!!!).  This accomplishment has led to some other truths, however.  With graduation comes leaving the city I have called home for the past five and a half years (or close to it).  Leaving my job that I’ve held for the past five years along with my coworkers, some new, some  who hired me, and have been the second moms to me while mine was 1000 miles away.  Leaving the hour commute to get to Disney.  Leaving the three hour drives to get to a worthwhile dive site where the water isn’t absolutely freezing regardless of the time of year.

Leaving the people I’ve come to know.  The bonds I have made have varied.  Some people I will probably never talk to again and that’s fine.  Others have become family.  Some of these people have insisted that we spend all possible free time together before I go.  Others have started to cut off communication because somehow that choice becomes easier than being forced to stop hanging out everyday due to geographical differences.  It’s interesting to see how people react.  I will keep those observations for myself, but I will admit these people in the latter category have been frustrating, if not downright upsetting, at times.  Then there’s the things I will be going to, the places I will go and the people I will be meeting.  It’s an exciting time.

I wouldn’t classify myself as an overly religious zealot, but I am religious.  I may have expressed some views to that degree in previous posts, but if you weren’t sure, there you have it.  I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting lately, though because of all these variables and in the back of my head, these verses kept popping up (not quite this exact, but I figured Google is my friend here!!):

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace. (Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8)

Even if you’re not religious, there’s something quite profound about what this is saying.  At any rate, it’s helped.  Surprisingly, what’s also helped has been the words the priest said at my grandmother’s funeral.  Again, it’s not necessarily a religious thing.  His point was that everyone has a mission and once it is completed, that is when they can be taken.    I have to believe that the people who no longer will be in my life or who may no longer be as prominent came to me to teach me something or simply to be there for some reason and now they are done.  Their missions complete.

 

The Real World

I am graduating in 75 days, 19 hours, 45 minutes and 17 seconds from this moment in time.  I’ve been here for way too long.  I’m ready to turn the page to the next chapter of my life.  I’m excited for this change.  It will be a drastic one, I know, but I am prepared for it.  I’ve been preparing for it and I’m looking forward to the unknown.  As I continue to express this excitement, however, I am getting many comments from the peanut gallery. 

“Enjoy life while you can.”

“You’re so young, don’t wish this away.”

“Once you start working, you don’t get to go back to how things are now.” 

I understand the demands of a job, especially the job I am going into.  I understand that I will not get to make the spur of the moment decisions that I can make right now.   I get that if I don’t show up to work one day, I’m not getting paid and I’m probably going to hear it from my boss.  There’s no questions about this.  But I keep getting told that going out into the real world isn’t as glorious as it seems.  In the back of my head, “Part of Your World” is playing.  People always want what they don’t have, right?  But I don’t see going into the real world as a drawback.  In fact, I see it as a benefit. 

My job isn’t your typical 9-5 job.  But for the majority of people (and ALL of the people who keep telling me to stop wishing my university days away), 9-5, Monday through Friday is your standard work day.  HOW, just HOW, can you possibly say that life does not get easier once you’re done with school?  The “real” world has bills and rent and obligations.  So I’m living in a fake world now?  I pay rent.  I pay bills.  I have obligations. NOW.  I’ve had them. 

Not only do I go to school, but I work over 40 hours per week on top of my classes.  And I do well in my classes.  Yes, my jobs right now are flexible.  Yes, my bosses allow me to miss a day here and skip a few hours there and take time to fnish an assignment, but I’m still working.  When I don’t work, I don’t get paid.  I already deal with this concept now.  Yes, the jobs I hold do not involve rocket science.  But my classes do.  So on top of classes and work, I have a life.  I go diving almost every weekend, I try to travel somewhere else once a month, and I go to Disney.  I attempt to be social and enjoy my life while doing these things. 

So how can you tell me the real world is worse?  In the “real” world, I don’t have homework that I have to pay to do every night.  I think I have a decent basis for gauging life in the “real” world.  When I worked with Continental, I was treated as a full time employee.  Spending time with the people who had worked there for decades, I learned quite a bit about their lifestyles.  They would work mostly from 8-5.  Sometimes there were late nights and early mornings.  Other times there were 18 hour days for 12 days straight. 

And then it would go back to working 8-5.  Fridays people would leave an hour early.  They would go home and have dinner with friends or family or head somewhere fun for the weekend.  There was no consistant homework.  At the end of the work day, you’re done.  School doesn’t work that way.  Not even close.  I leave my house before 9AM every week day.  If I get home before 8PM, it’s a really good day.  That’s my SHORT day.  And that’s standard working and class.  No exciting life moments thrown in there. 

In no way am I complaining when I get home later because I hung out with a friend or grabbed a bite to eat somewhere.  I just would like to point out that when I do get home, I still have homework and studying to do.  Yes, it’s my choice to keep my sanity with some social aspect.  I’m just saying.  In the “real” world, you get home and throw on the TV or fall asleep or whatever else.  Just a thought.  Graduation is now in 75 days, 19 hours, 21 minutes, and 22 seconds. 🙂

That awkward moment when…

So the other day I’m walking to class when this guy says hello to me. Cool. Random guy being nice.  Life is good. Until he then goes on asking about my life story. Which is fine if he didn’t already know so much about it. I’d never seen this guy in my life!  But apparently he knows everything about me. It’s creepy. And then I think more about it and maybe I do know him. But I have no clue. I don’t think I do.  I tell myself every time this happens that I’m going to be more aware of people in my classes but yeah, that never happens. So awkward moments will probably live on.

Another thing?  When people hold open doors for you when you’re miles and miles away.  What is that?!  It’s one thing to be polite and hold open a door if I’m standing right there, but when I’m literally on the other side of the room?  That’s insane!  I’m all for people being nice and helpful and all that, but how is it that when my hands are completely full and I’m trying to get through a door there’s no one around willing to help, but as soon as my hands are free and I have every capability of opening a door, I’m spotted from miles away and have people waiting for five minutes as I get to the door?  The world works in interesting ways.

Which brings me to my final point: Murphy’s Law.  Murphy freaking hates me.  I’m serious.  This guy has got it out for me like nothing else.  It’s become a personal vendetta against me.  I know this for a fact.Murphy sees that I have something to get done and, well, there goes my chances of succeeding in life! Murphy’s a tool. I’m not really sure how I segued into that, but there you have it. Happy Friday, humans!