A Long Overdue Good-Bye

Sometimes growing up means saying good-bye to the ones you loved. It means walking out on them, maybe when they feel like they need you most. Sometimes it means shutting a door and trying with all your might to never look back.

It doesn’t come easy, this part of growing up. It’s a knock-down, drag-out, full-on war within yourself. Are you doing the right thing? Will it all pay off in the end, or are you just burning bridges for the hell of it? Why are you turning away from someone that you can’t stop thinking about?

When you have to let someone go, really let them out of your life, never to return, sometimes they don’t get the closure they were looking for. It may feel selfish. It may feel as though your whole world is crashing down. It probably feels exactly like that.

You’re going to feel like the worst person in the world, because you know that this is your fault. You’re the one ending it, even if your friendship has been begging to be put down for years.

Saying good-bye to someone doesn’t mean you don’t wish them well. That you don’t remember the good times, because you do. You remember them, long for them, even though sometimes you wish you didn’t.

Because if you didn’t remember the good times, then this would all be easy. If you forgot all the times they held you while you cried, laughed with you, sat in your bed at 3am after everyone else had walked out—then it wouldn’t matter that they weren’t there for you anymore. It wouldn’t matter that you had to let them go, push them away, and say good-bye when all you wanted to say was “come over.”

Because if you didn’t have those, all you would remember were the bad times. The fights. The yelling. The anger that lasted for days on end. The backstabbing and the selfishness and overwhelming desire to one-up each other. The constant need to be right, to win, to come out on top. Then you’d just remember throwing things at the wall and slamming doors in your last ditch attempt to make some kind of radical point.

If that was all you had, then none of this would really matter. But you do. You know how good things can be, but you realize, finally, that the bad outweighs the good.

Letting them go is the kindest way to let them have the last word. A final way to say “Alright, you win. You’re the better person, and your prize? Not having to deal with me in your life anymore.”

They’ll deny it. Say that you’re actually wrong, just to say it one more time. They’ll fight you on it, begging without actually begging to let things go back to how they were. They’ll push you, but all they’re doing is successfully proving your point. That your lives are better off spent apart. That future you’d planned together, the places you were going to go—it’s really just full of empty promises and late-night shouting matches.

Friendships aren’t meant to be that hard. They aren’t supposed to tire you out and leave you weary. The hardest part is admitting to yourself that it isn’t all their fault. Every little thing they’ve done to you, you’ve paid back tenfold. You’re more to blame here than they are, but sometimes people aren’t meant to stay in your life, no matter how hard that reality is to accept.

Instead, you just have to let go.

Maybe you’d kill to make sure they were happy. To know that things are going to be ok for them, because you still want what’s best for them. After all, that’s all you’ve ever really wanted. Maybe you want to call. Check in. Send a quick text message just to see how life’s been lately. Make sure they know that you’re thinking about them, always. Tell them you should catch up, how you have so many things you’ve needed to say to them. Ask if you can have one more chance to lay it all out before you go your separate ways.

But you know you can’t do that. It would never work. Someone would roll their eyes, get annoyed, talk over the other with points about how wrong they actually were. It would end with someone storming out, even more hurt than they were before. Deep down, you know—how things are now? That’s really what’s best.

So maybe you just write about it. Publish it somewhere on the internet that you’re not even sure they remember exists. Maybe then they’ll see it and know how you feel—that you’re sorry, but you aren’t ever coming back.

Tagged , , , , ,

Reflections on a Resolution

In true New Year’s fashion, the Internet is exploding right now with posts about resolutions, new beginnings, and fresh starts. People are swearing up and down that 2013? It’s going to be their year. This is the time it’s finally going to stick.

Sorry kids, but from most of you, I’m just not buying it.

Sure, maybe this is the year some people will actually carry through on what they promised themselves on January 1. Maybe they really will lose those last few pounds or be kinder to strangers or actually commit to having less stress in their lives. But my money’s on March rolling around and people having forgotten all about their resolutions.

Not to say that those who resolve to better themselves in the new year don’t have the best intentions at heart. Obviously they want to make significant changes in their lives, for themselves and for others. They want to make a difference, and the very first day of a brand new year is the perfect time to proclaim to the world exactly how they’re going to make that happen.

But instead of playing that game, I’ll doing myself one better. On top of that set of resolutions, I’m making myself a list of goals.

I know. Sounds like kind of a cop-out, huh? “Goals and resolutions–kind of the same thing, dummy.” No way. Not in my book. Goals are measurable. Goals have an end date where you look back and decide if you pass or if you fail. A point where something should have been accomplished, and if it wasn’t, you have to stop and think hard about why.

Why didn’t I follow through on what I said I was going to achieve? Why did I fall short? What happened that made me decide my goal was no longer important enough to deserve my time? Is it important enough to try again?

The goals I’m setting for myself are big and major and life-changing. I have a lot of work to do. I”m going to make it happen ASAP. Thankfully, I’m a crazy A-type that loves checking things off a list.

So where is that list, you may ask? If I can talk such a big game, why not throw it up here for everyone to see? Why not let the world wide web judge me when the time comes?

Because public shaming isn’t the way I have to get my own attention. (Plus, the fact that maybe four people read these posts doesn’t exactly equal the massive peer pressure I’d need to make a real difference.) No, my motivation has to come from within. That list is getting written on a piece of paper in giant font. It’s getting posted on the bathroom mirror, on my dresser drawer, on the front door of my apartment. Anywhere it is going to stare me in the face, everyday, asking me why I haven’t made a change. Why I haven’t done the things I promised myself I would do.

The goals may be off the table, but the resolutions? Here you go. The list of things I actively resolve to do in the next 365 days. Intangible, but still very very real, and all about making me into a better person:

In 2013, I resolve to not rely on others to do my dirty work for me. I resolve to not be so hard on myself. I resolve to stop being ruled by technology. I resolve to not be so resistant to change. I resolve to stop letting my fears dictate how I live my life. I resolve to never not do something important just because it may be hard.

In 2013, I resolve to live my life with intention. I resolve to respect the life and the love that is given to me. I resolve to be honest and open with the way I feel. I resolve to never take no for an answer when it comes to what I truly believe. I resolve to never take people for granted. I resolve to stop hiding behind what has happened in the past and face up to the future I’ve envisioned (and the hard work it’s going to take to get there). I resolve to never stop fighting for the ones that I love.

This year, I want to dance more. Love more. Kiss more. Cry less. Give more of myself without asking for more in return. Write more letters. Take more pictures. Bake more cookies. Pet more puppies.

But most importantly, I’m going to do the things I know will make me happy.

Tagged , , , ,

Daily Prompt: Time Capsule

So I know I’m a little late getting to this one, as this prompt was from a few weeks ago, but it feels so relevant today that I still had to write it.

Looking back and reflecting on the year is something that I’m not really a huge fan of. Just because the numbers on the calendar are changing, I shouldn’t be any more or less grateful or pensive about what I do or don’t have. But this daily prompt from WordPress really struck me, because I knew I would be very hard-pressed to find things to include.

Not because 2012 was uneventful or unhappy. God no. But, more than any year I’ve had, 2012 has been a year not of things but of experiences.

A lot of years I could have rattled off any number of physical items that would be perfect to fill a time capsule–ticket stubs, souvenirs from trips with family, pictures of my friends. And while 2012 contained its fair share of those things too, the intangible ones are what stick out in my mind as the most meaningful and wonderful about the last 365 days.

But since the oh so kind people at WordPress have tasked me with actually choosing, here’s my list. In no particular order and far from inclusive.

My KitchenAid mixer. Or at least a picture of it–I’m definitely not about to part with it for good. But since I got it for my birthday this summer, it would be a perfect representation of how wonderful it was to turn 24 this year. Not a particularly special or memorable number, but I felt so amazingly loved on my day.

A volleyball. 2012 has brought me so many amazing opportunities in both coaching and playing the sport that I love so much. There is an incredible feeling of family at the gym where I coach, and I really feel accepted and welcomed there. My girls from that first season will always hold a special place in my heart, because through them I was able to discover that maybe I do have the patience to teach someone this game. Those 10 girls–while they drove me absolutely insane probably half the time–were sweet and understanding and full of potential. I owe them a lot, especially as I’m learning to transition into my second team.

A cookbook. Please don’t make me choose just one, though. I’ve pushed myself this year to cook and bake and create things outside my comfort zone. Three of my very favorite bloggers published cookbooks in the last year (Joy the Baker, Smitten Kitchen, and Macheesmo), and I’ve loved being able to cook alongside them. Through them, this year has been a time for me to expand my tastes both in my own kitchen and out in the world. While I still wouldn’t be considered an adventurous eater by anyone’s standards, hopefully someday I’ll come close.

My car keys. For the better part of the year, I was in a long distance relationship–probably not the smartest choice, knowing my personality. It meant I spent a ton of time on the road, traveling to and from the northern Chicago suburbs. The time I spent “with someone” but not actually with him has completely changed me. I’ve had to grow in ways I never thought I could, and I learned things about myself that were, at times, kind of hard to take. It was a huge learning experience for me, but I am beyond grateful to have the new man in my life only a short drive across town.

So bring it on 2013. The last year may have been real and heartbreaking and fabulous and intangibly fulfilling, but I know what comes next will be even better.

Tagged , , , , ,

Homemade Dinosaur Ornaments

If you know me very well at all, you know I’ve kinda got a thing for dinosaurs. I know. Kind of a 5-year-old boyish obsession to have, but it’s not my fault! They’re super awesome. Ferocious while still being amazingly cute. Stars of such movies as Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time. What’s not to love, really?

121212_0009

Now that I’ve actually got a Christmas tree for my apartment (albeit a pretty darn tiny one), I knew I needed to get myself some ornaments that are unique and more modernly me. I’ve got a ton of things from when I was younger, both ones that I’d received as gifts and ones I’d made myself, but let’s be honest. The tree was severely lacking in the dinosaur department.

Enter these guys.

inspiration

Since he’s all kinds of fabulous, my boyfriend sent me the link to them nearly a month ago, and I haven’t been able to get those glittery, wreath-necklace-wearing dinosaurs off my mind since.

Tonight I finally decided to do something about it. The originals are something like $16 each, which is absurd. I had to make them myself, obvs.

I knew I wouldn’t be able to pull off the wreaths–I’m crafty, but I’m not that good–so I settled for just completely plastering the things with glitter. Yep. That would be just fine by me.

Glitter, Mod Podge, and a hot glue gun–my crafting trifecta. Hallelujah!

Here’s what you need.

materials

Toy dinosaurs of your chosen size and breed–mine are from the Dollar Store. Mod Podge (I buy the off brand because I’m cheap). Glitter. A paint brush. Hot glue gun. Strings for hanging from the tree branches.

Confession time you guys. I had every intention of making this a step by step tutorial. But literally as soon as I got started, I was pretty much up to my elbows in glue and glitter. Not exactly a good recipe for snapping a ton of shots with my super fancy camera phone. Let’s be real though. If you need me to show you how to paint Mod Podge onto a toy dinosaur before pouring glitter over it, then you may be in more trouble than we realized.

So here is my first dino, covered in glitter and awaiting his string:

glitter

Seriously, I’m in love. Like, a giddy, giggling alone in my apartment, clapping my hands at his adorableness, sort of in love. Triceratops are kind of my favorites. I’m not sorry. T-rexes are dumb. Brontosaurus are cool, but Cera all the way, baby.

Once your glittery creations are completely dry (Don’t rush it! You’ll just end up with glitter and Mod Podge all over yourself and NOT on your dino anymore. Not that I speak from experience…), hot glue that string on and freak out about how seriously adorable they are.

group

It was way hard to stop myself at only five. I think I see more glitter dinosaurs in my future…

Tagged , , , , , ,

“I think … if it is true that there are as many minds as there are heads, then there are as many kinds of love as there are hearts.”
–Leo Tolstoy

I completely adore the way classic literature will forever be relevant.

Until the end of time, there will be new lovers, both young and old, discovering their own brand of love–figuring out how their hearts will, in time, create a love that is uniquely theirs.

No matter how strongly you felt about an old flame, no matter how perfect or how broken your relationship may have been, you will never repeat that experience. For better or worse, every relationship is a clean slate.

So stop trying to recreate what you had with someone else. You aren’t with that person for a reason (usually a multitude of reasons), so now’s the time to make new memories, have new adventures, and forge a new path. A new relationship is an incredible opportunity to create something that you will forever share with another person. Whether it works out, whether you’re with them forever or not, no one can take away what the two of you are creating.

Tolstoy said it best. No two minds will ever be the same. They cannot think the same thoughts or feel the same emotions. So why, then, should two people ever experience the same kind of love?

If only we were all more accepting of the way everyone loves differently. If only everyone realized that we’re all doing our best. Just because she doesn’t love you the way the others did doesn’t mean she isn’t loving you with everything she has. Just because he doesn’t express himself the way you’re used to doesn’t mean he isn’t trying his hardest.

Your life, your experiences, your perspectives can never be replicated, same as your head and mind and thoughts are distinctively yours. Love one another, with all the love you have. It’s your own special kind of love, because your heart will never be like anyone else’s.

(You guys. I’m a nerd. Like, big time. I miss being an English major and writing about other people’s writing and digging in to decide what it all means. I’ve been reading some awesome stuff lately, so I’ll probably do more of these. Soon.)

Your Own Kind of Love

Tagged , , , , , , , ,