Monday, June 27, 2011

Growing Up

So this is what it's like to be grown up, eh?  I'm completely and utterly exhausted and wish, with every fiber of my being, that I can actually go to bed on time tonight.  These are some pretty pathetic statements coming from a twenty-one year old...I know.  But what am I supposed to feel like after working eight hours, coming home to make dinner, taking my brother to the park, giving him a bath, making a blueberry pie, doing dishes, and helping my mom with her homework?  I barely had enough energy to make my own bed and put away my laundry, lest I start dressing out of the laundry basket again, and believe me: nobody likes a wrinkled shirt! 

I spend my time at work daydreaming about what we should have for dinner and trying to memorize grocery lists.  Keeping track of who likes what to eat and who needs certain things to drink tend to make things a little complicated.  Add to that, the fact that my dad basically only eats beef and has to have it every meal.  How many variations of meatloaf can you cook before throwing up?

Apparently growing up means that I now have bills to pay.  I know that I shouldn't complain because I do live at home and my bills are pretty small, but they still seem big to me.  I have a car payment, groceries, rent, cell phone, credit card payment, insurance, student loans, and medical insurance all taking a chunk out of my paycheck every week.  Welcome to the real world, right?!

And to top it all off, I've probably gained about fifteen pounds in the last three months.  Wonderful!  I find that I eat a lot, especially junk food, when I'm stressed out.  The future's not looking too bright on that size 10 goal!  Oh well.

My point isn't to complain, but just to say WOW!  Your hear about these things from your parents when growing up: groceries are expensive, expect the unexpected, save your money, "I wish I had your life/worries", etc.  My point is, they're right!  Growing up is stressful and hard, but it's also rewarding.  Like now, I'm sitting in my newly made-up bed and eating warm blueberry pie with ice cream, basking in the beautiful silence which cloaks the house.  I just have one last thing to say: Thank you mom and dad for all of your hard work, time, and effort you put into our lives.  I can now say that I truly appreciate all of it!

Monday, June 13, 2011


When I was a little girl, I assumed that I would just wake up one day and be completely grown up.  There were no adolescent years when I pictured my life.  I didn't even think about all the school I would go through.  There was one time when I had been sent to my room for being rude and I remembered thinking, my mom should be grateful for me because I'm going to wake up one day and be all grown up into an adult and then she won't have her baby anymore.  I think it's safe to say that I started assuming things at a very early age.

What exactly makes us assume?  Is it a lack of knowledge on our part about a particular situation that causes us to suddenly become experts?  Or maybe it's because we feel we have to have an answer to everything life throws at us.  The one thing I do know for sure is that life becomes dangerous when I start assuming.

I had always assumed that I would grow up to become a professional figure skater.  I would watch the skating shows on TV and score each performance like I was an actual judge.  But then things changed and I suddenly wanted to be an artist.  I was very sure that I would certainly become an artist and there was no changing professions this time.  Needless to say, thirteen years later I've changed my mind yet again.

At the end of my freshman year in high school, I was choosing my courses for the next year and decided to take physics.  The class description said that it was the most basic of the sciences and was a good foundation class to have for any science background.  I stupidly assumed that the class was going to be easy, or at least of a normal difficulty level.  Yup...I was wrong.  It was one of the hardest classes I've ever taken.

It was my senior year and things weren't going very well socially for me.  I had two best friends and I assumed that they would be able to come together for my birthday party, despite the fact that they hated each other.  I assumed that the bond of friendship was stronger than their dislike for each other.  Needless to say, I was wrong.  Although I ended up losing a friend, it taught me a good lesson about friendships/relationships and I now see how I could've acted differently in the situation.  I am happy to report that my friend and I have recently tried to patch things up and all is going pretty well again.  Wish me luck!

As I stepped into my first class of college, I assumed that I would breeze through the material.  High school chemistry was extremely easy and enjoyable, therefore college chemistry should be the same.  I also assumed that I would be fine by taking Calculus, Chemistry, College Writing, Spanish, and Western Civ. all in one semester, despite my mom's warnings.  And to top everything off, I (once again) assumed that starting college would be like starting over in my life and my problems would suddenly disappear.  I would become more social and outgoing, have tons of friends, ace my classes, and be living the dream life.  Instead, my world came crashing down around me.  Assumptions can hurt.

I started my first full time job a few months ago and was surprised to find that there were a lot of problems within the company.  I had assumed that because it was a well-standing corporation, problems wouldn't exist at all between coworkers, or between the company and its clients.  I quickly learned the hierarchy system which was unofficially set in place, and I discovered that just because a problem exists doesn't mean that someone is going to fix it...even if that's their job.  I also learned that a lot of grown ups are no more than really old children who whine when they don't get their way.

Assumptions have often lured me into false senses of security, and have been the cause of many a night's sorrows.  Personally, I think that I tend to assume because I either don't know something or don't want to know the truth about something.  It's very convenient for me to assume something that is comforting, or something that makes me feel like I know what I'm talking about.  Assumptions have also lead me into lazy thinking.  I'd like to think I'm going to spend the rest of my life trying my best not to assume anything, but I know that I'm only human.  I do know that I can do my best to actively think about situations that occur in my life and take an aggressive role in making my own decisions.  Assumptions can often times be painful, but the lessons they teach can bring beautiful rewards.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Summer Swimming

Every year my town puts on a Summer celebration.  There's a car show, hot rod night, arts and crafts in the park, a petting zoo, and a book sale.  The whole town comes alive during the two day event, crowding the downtown area with tons of people.  One of the celebrations included free swimming at the indoor/outdoor pool, which was where I was for two hours today.  I somehow got wrangled into taking my little brother swimming, but I decided to make the best of it despite my hesitations.

Public pools are not my favorite place to be in the world, especially if I have to be in a suit in front of everyone.  Thankfully I didn't have to swim today, just had to keep a careful eye on my little bro.  Arriving a little after one o'clock, we quickly made our way to the family changing rooms.  After answering about a hundred questions from my dear old sibling, we finally walked out to the pool area and deliberated about swimming inside or outside.  The decision was a tough one: if he swam inside, he would be able to go down the water slides, but if he swam outside, he could swim in the deeper water and play in the waterfall.  I eyed the inside pool apprehensively.  It would be difficult to watch him with so many munchkins running around.  It was hot and humid, with the smell of chlorine clinging to everything.  Being in street clothes was about the most uncomfortable thing in there.  Surprisingly, the little one decided to swim outside. 

He was eager to get into the water, but I was slightly nervous about his abilities to keep above water.  He and his classmates had been taking swimming lessons during the school year, but I didn't know exactly what skills he had learned and if he could even touch the bottom of the pool.  I reluctantly put his goggles on and sent him on his way in the 4' 6" end of the pool, hoping that it wouldn't be necessary for me to rescue him.  Once again I was surprised as he enthusiastically hopped in and began swimming all on his own.  I relaxed a bit at seeing that and made my way over to a plastic chair-my throne for the next two hours.

Periodically I would glance up at him over the top of my book, making sure he was okay and playing nicely with others.  I felt very much like a mom.  As I relaxed more, knowing he would be fine, I started to pay attention to the people around me.  There were so many kids, it was crazy.  Babies and toddlers "swam" in the upper pool with their moms, while the older ones were down below by the waterfall.  Watching the kids play and swim, I was struck with nostalgia for my own childhood.  When you're a kid, you're never afraid of what people are thinking about you.  You just do whatever feels right and whatever looks fun.  Nose picking and wedgie pulling seemed to be the most popular activities while running to the pool side.  No one cared about what their hair looked like or what kind of suit they were wearing.  All they cared about was if there was water in the pool and a snack waiting for them at snack time.  I wish I could say the same for the girls who were next to me.

As luck would have it, I ended up sitting next to a couple of teenage girls who were working on their tans.  Wonderful, I thought, I get to sit next to the bimbo barbies who're nice and skinny and, naturally, wearing bikinis.  Yup, I sure am lucky.  It wasn't that bad except for the fact that I also had to listen to their stupid conversations as well.  "Oh my God.  Did you hear that so and so broke up?"  "No way!  I thought they would be together for ever."  "I totally knew she was cheating on him."....blah blah blah.  There's first rate intelligence for you right there.  I glance over a little while later and to my horror, saw that three more barbies had joined the pack.  The best part was when one Barbie's Ken came over to lounge with them.  I tried to focus on my book, but it was pointless.  Thankfully, I only had another ten minutes before swimming was done.

When the lifeguards blew their whistles, I expected to have to argue with my brother about getting out of the pool, but he proved me wrong again.  He came right out with the other children and ran over to me saying, "Can I please have a snack?".  Needless to say, after getting dressed and ushering him to the car, we drove over to McDonald's and got a couple of well deserved ice cream cones.