Adventures in Downsizing

I have a lot of baggage.

I mean this emotionally, physically, and literally.

I have a lot of stuff.

Romances without closure. The evidence of too many indulgent weekends. Unread books.

This summer is the best time to start weeding out these things. I’ve talked a lot about the emotional journey, how I’m using this summer to focus on myself and friendships and adventures and goals. I’ve kept you all updated on CrossFit in a somewhat sane manner (I hope). Both of these things have been downsizing in certain ways–trying to tighten my connections and reconnecting with my values, and taking off physical inches on my size as I get into better health and fitness.

But what about the literal?

Funny you should ask. (Okay, maybe you didn’t ask.) I’ve been cleaning my closet out pretty extensively, bagging clothes and shoes and accessories. I sold a few things to Buffalo Exchange and gave a few more things to some friends. I plan on repeating these steps and throwing in the occasional donation run, as well, so that I can pare down my clothes to really great, essential items. This is tough because a lot of these things carry sentimental value. However, I’ve been moving towards a shift in my life philosophy to record things in words and in photos, rather than in material belongings.

Next come the household items. These feel like anchors, but you all know me–I’m not sure where I’ll be in the next couple of years. By the time I settle down, most of what I own will be worn out or broken, anyway, if I hang on to it for good, so I’m trying to be strategic in figuring out what can go for now.

Books are a problem, too, because I love my little library. I have books I want to read over and over again, books that are great conversation starters and great additions to any collection, and books that I look forward to reading.

Books also weigh a ton.

I finally figured out a good compromise, though. I’ve created a list called “My Virtual Library,” and on that list, I have the titles and authors for books I really enjoyed but don’t have the space to hold on to anymore. Those books will go on to good homes, and those titles will remain handy for me so when I decide to revisit those stories, I know where to look them up. Additionally, if I come into possession of a digital reader, I would be more than happy to add those books to my “real” virtual library.

Things are coming along slowly. We don’t really have much of a yard in which to hold a yard sale, so I am wondering if anyone has any ideas outside of eBay and craigslist to sell some of the items I’m currently piling up in a corner.

My hope is that I get into a place where I can, at the least, fit everything into one car trip to the storage unit. Granted, the dining set and my snowboard are throwing a wrench in the plan, but maybe I’ll just consider those outliers in this whole process…

In CrossFit happenings, I was assigned the Rx’d motion of single-arm dumbbell snatches yesterday. With the Rx’d weight. My time was slower than my teammates doing power snatches, but I got through it. I did have to modify the GHD sit-ups and toes-to-bar, as I have a fear of going backwards over myself still (GHDs), and I tend to fatigue after about three reps on toes-to-bar. However, I did “catch one!” during my toes-to-bar warm-ups yesterday. I know I can do them! Now I just need to do more than one to three really good reps each time.

Also, we did Fight Gone Bad last week, and I did the whole thing Rx’d; I wasn’t injured, nor was I sick! Broke 200 reps finally. 206, if I remember correctly.

In GoFundMe news, we just hit $300 tonight! Almost 1/3 of the way there. 🙂 Again, visit my page to learn more and chip in! Things are coming along, and I am incredibly thrilled with the support thus far.

Stay tuned for more Best Summer Ever updates!

All of This

I am almost a month into “Hashtag Best Summer Ever,” and I have stored enough Vitamin D to get me through the winter, I think. I spent another lovely weekend in Seattle, visiting friends, visiting familiar haunts, and trying new places out. (Might I recommend The Commons out in Woodinville to you all? Try the boozy milkshake.)

Currently, I am taking several days off from CrossFit to regroup and recoup. Not just physically, but to take some mental renewal. For instance, I am spending some time thinking about what I am striving for with my career and chosen industry. I want to be intentional in setting goals for myself so that I have measurable outcomes. The biggest goal currently is to raise the necessary funds to present at NACADA in October. Again, you can help out by chipping in as little as $5; follow the GoFundMe link to the right for more information.

But other than presenting at a national conference, what else am I looking for? What comes next for an academic advisor who has found the most enjoyable conversations have come out of academic dismissal meetings? These students are given one quarter where they cannot enroll in classes at the college, and the majority of them come to the meeting with articulated reasons for why they did not succeed in previous terms. We get to talk about their goals and aspirations, and then we whittle it down to why they think our college fits into their plans, and then finally the logistics of registering for a class. It is an opportunity for us to explore the bigger picture together, and then get into the details and tactics of how to complete that bigger picture.

I like facilitating intentional thinking for others because it’s been such an important part of my own life. I want to find myself in a role where I can inspire students to change the world around them, one tiny ripple at a time. I want to see those “ah-ha!” moments come into fruition. I do not have the answers to what comes next; it is a process that is just beginning.

Besides my career, I am also taking this summer to really reflect on what I want in a partner. I have had so many failures to launch and near-misses and train-wrecks, that it is time to step back. A few weeks ago I brought up the fact that this is my first summer unattached and single in a very, very long time. It has been quite interesting to do the activities that I always thought were better with another person and instead just have so much fun just focusing on myself and my friendships.

Here is what I am starting to consider, in terms of this hypothetical connection I want.

We (“We” being “future Mr. Partner Man” and myself) have to be so okay with the idea of discarding “normal plans.” We also have to be okay with the idea of reworking “normal plans” to fit who we are–not to fit any one idea of what a couple should be doing milestone-wise. He should be okay knowing that I might shift my idea of what my career will look like and pursue the Ph.D. track with the sole intention of becoming Communication faculty, but he should also be okay with the fact that I might strive for a Dean of Students position. Or I might back off and go part-time and pursue writing and the whiskey bar I’ve been secretly wanting to be a part of. I fully expect this partner to have the same kind of aspirations, but the idea remains the same: moving forward towards fulfillment, towards purpose, towards happiness, and towards the next greatest adventure.

Somewhere in there, a home of our own and a family of our own will organically come forward. Dogs, kids, a yard? Maybe. A rabbit, one kid way down the road, and an urban loft? That could very well be, too. Something that isn’t even a blip on the radar? More than likely. The thing about me is, I am in a constant state of evolving and becoming; that’s how a relationship should unfold with me. That’s why I am not forcing anything or pursuing anything. I am not waiting nor on pause. I am here. And I am trusting in the infinite goodness (and weirdness) of the universe. (Do you hear me, Universe?)

I want this summer to be a summer of healing for myself, too. For too long, summer has been a season that I love because of the weather and the way it lends itself to spontaneity and adventure, but it has also been a season of heartache, historically. I want to show myself that I can be happy in the summertime by being a little bit selfish and treating myself the best way possible.

I heard a great quote last night on my drive home, and it really resonates with me because of the way I feel and experience this journey called life:

“I don’t think you can appreciate the glory of life unless you also know the dark side of life.” – Bessel van der Kolk, On Being interview

How true. Some may think I have too many feelings, but I cannot imagine a life in which I do not appreciate the full spectrum of my human emotion. This summer, I commit to spontaneity and intentionality, socializing and reflecting, growing and knowing when to take a moment for myself because all of this matters.

It matters more than I even know.

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One Single Summer

I realized yesterday that I haven’t spent a single summer truly single since maybe 2006. Maybe even earlier than that. Either I was in a serious relationship, or I was dating and it turned pretty exclusive, or whatever was going on soured and then I spent the latter half of summer in a foul mood.

This summer, I’m just kind of free to do whatever I want.

Yeah, I find summertime activities fun with a partner, but it’s good to be authentically alone for a bit. I’m not saying I’m going to plant my foot and declare, “No dating this summer!” However, I’ve long since deleted my OKCupid profile, I’m not asking incessantly if people have nice men for me to date (although we often entertain the topic), and I’m focusing more on what I want out of myself, not what I want in a partner. I’m still fighting the urge to take someone under my wing and try to fix them up, so that’s where I’m planting my foot and saying, “No.” Enough with “potential.” Enough with creating an idealistic, imaginary version of my current infatuation. Enough. Those boys are free to make their own mistakes, and my hands are clean of it all.

And that leads me to here.

Here’s to the best single summer ever.

I’m going to play in the sun, and enjoy great drinks, and I’m going to hop in the car and drive wherever I want, whenever I want. And I’m going to get strong, and I’m going to go dancing, and maybe I’ll keep on writing. And I’ll keep on living the best possible way I can for myself.

Because one summer of carefree solitude in a sea of brokenhearted summers will never be the worst thing that can possibly happen to me.

If anything, I'm just going to live here and try one of each.

If anything, I’m just going to live here (The Old Gold in North PDX) and try one of each.

As an added bonus, go on and check out Thought Catalog’s 27 Perks of Being Single.

27. Forced independence that will benefit you in the future. Being solo, you don’t always have a person for emotional support and the only option is to be strong for yourself. It’s like lifting weights. A girlfriend/boyfriend serves as spotter, but when you’re by your lonesome, the pressures on you. Get stronger or drop the weight on your chest.

The Best Summer Ever

“Here’s to the best summer ever.”

That’s the mid-year theme I’ve come up with. And why not?

I spent the solstice and the following weekend with so many people, reminded that there is so much to be said for the magic in friendships. I got to see two of my closest friends whom I’ve known for nearly a decade now, as well as friends who are newer and full of surprises. I even got to make new friends. We confirmed this with a Facebook message reading, “We are friend [sic]?” “We are friends!”

I got to share my current city with my friends, as well, and it was the perfect combination of relaxation and chaos–something we seem to have perfected over the years. It’s always a treat to share something like Pine State Biscuits with your friends and watch their reaction. It’s also fun to share my CrossFit gym with my visiting friends, not just for our set-up and programming but also for the people.

This summer is dedicated to more moments like those found this weekend, whether those moments are in Portland, Seattle, Wenatchee, or any other city I might find myself. So, just get ready for a lot of bad jokes, good food, questionable dance moves, and real good music.

Here’s to the best summer. Ever.

Days of Summer

At the Speed of Light

A blog post in bullet points…

  • Internship approval forms have both come in for my UWI and WVC internships.
  • Putting the final touches on the big end-of-the-year BBQ for next Friday.
  • I was nominated for the Black Belt of Caring award; I didn’t win, but what an honor and a surprise.
  • One of my favorite people is coming to visit me this weekend, and we’re going to see one of my favorite bands on Friday.
  • Then it’s up to PDX to putter around and hopefully see a few more great people. One in particular.
  • The summer is also shaping up to be fun. Besides Trinidad, Chicago and Ocean Shores are on my plate, as well as a great chance of visiting a whole bunch of people in California.

This year is not really winding down–it’s blowing open a whole bunch of new doors.

End of the Year Banquet... just as things pick up

Thoughts as the Year Winds Down

The year may be winding down, but in all actuality, I’m in high-gear. I have research papers due, conference proposals due, trips to take, packing to do, paperwork to turn in, etc. etc. and so forth and so on. I’m slowly going crazy, as usual.

I am anxious for summer to get here. I am incredibly excited to spend a majority of my summer in places that are warm and sunny (usually). And at the same time, I’ll be doing relevant work towards my career and degree. Multitasking, for the win.

I don’t have any particular insight today, just that the two get-togethers my cohort has had in the past week were awesome: The Northwest vs. Midwest Throwdown and the #RaptureFail party.

Oh, and Justin Timberlake is my favorite repeat SNL host.

Made You Look

How many points is that worth?

It’s not the heat... no, wait, it’s totally the heat.

My mind cannot handle the uncomfortable temperature of my room right now, and as such, I think I’m experiencing heat-induced writer’s block.

I tried blogging about the bridal showers I’ve been to recently. I tried blogging about Seattle Pride. I even tried blogging about the notebooks I just found containing awful, awful writing from approximately 2000 until 2005. (I’ll probably get around to telling you all about those later. Along with my awful, awful Livejournal posts. Stay tuned!)

However, nothing seems interesting enough to write about tonight. Not that those topics weren’t all great things. I’m not even tired, but I feel like I should maybe go for a nearly-midnight drive, or make a milkshake, or just lie around and daydream some more. I’ll probably go back to reading and drink some lemonade, which doesn’t sound all bad.

I could tell you about how I’m considering picking up a part-time job for the summer, or how I’m anticipating Super Ninja’s return to the United States, or how I’m going to watch Star Wars Episode VI really soon and couldn’t be more excited. I could also tell you all how I’m anxiously awaiting my return to higher education this fall.

But I won’t tonight. Instead, I’ll leave you scratching your head, waiting for more, wondering, “What just happened? I feel cheated”.

I’ll get to those things I talked about earlier when I feel like digging deeper. I’ve got drafts started on most of them; don’t you worry your pretty little face off. For now, I’m off to poke around in the freezer and then return to being a bookworm.

Just a Bad Day

I woke up in the strangest mood yesterday. Nothing could have caused it consciously because I had a great day on Wednesday. I woke up on Thursday with only the energy to cry. I burst into tears three times over the course of the day. I almost started crying at the bar, during karaoke. What a hoot.

I blame it on the Seattle clouds; forget “Seasonal Affective Disorder,” I have “Seattle Affective Disorder.” Yet I can’t get enough of the PNW (and London).

Maybe it’s hormones. Hormones and clouds. (Is there an emo band called that yet? If not, there should be, but they have to be from Seattle.)

Then again, it’s probably a combination of everything I’ve already mentioned and personal stress. Life is a bit more difficult than normal right now– then again, what’s “normal” supposed to be? Deliriously happy? I don’t think so.

The difference between myself and some unhappy/angry persons out there is that I understand that life isn’t always going to be peachy-keen. Life will downright suck sometimes. Remember when I lived in a city I hated? Or that time I got dumped?

That’s life. (And it’s okay to cry.)

It’s okay to have days when I feel lonely and have to count every tiny blessing. Those are the days that, once I finally get through it all, I am that much stronger. This  year, I came to terms with being both vulnerable and strong. I am not just human, I am a beautiful human being, and I am someone capable of making a difference in others’ lives. Yes, my feelings will fluctuate from day to day, so be patient with my emotions– that’s meant for all of you and myself to heed– and understand that overall, I am happy.

I have a personal belief that maybe the reason bad things happen to good people is because those are the people who someone/thing out there believes strongly in– life is not perfect, and we are tested often, and I am one of those people who can withstand, endure, and ultimately learn.

But, like the song says, “I could really use a wish right now.”

Progress Report

Completion date: sometime in the next 30 years?

Under construction for over 100 years

How’s the 30 Before 30 list going? Slowly but surely, I am making progress. Hopefully it won’t be like La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona (pictured above), which is still under construction after over a century! Here we go…

1. Visit E in Spain Success! And what fun it was.

2. Visit the Italian town my ancestors are from I got close to Monastero di Lanzo– made it to Torino, Italy. Next time!

3. Visit Australia and meet a kangaroo – December 2012? Where else would I spend the end of the world? Ha, ha.

4. Visit Kauai and go surfing there Slash “Backpack the big island of Hawaii.” I’m thinking summer 2012 would be an amazing time for an “I finished my Master’s degree!” trip.

5. Learn to swim – It better happen this summer.

6. Learn to ride a bike – Ditto what I said above.

7. Learn to bartend – Same for this one. It may not be professional, but I have a great drink recipe book to work with.

8. Learn Spanish and Tagalog – Spanish is beginning to click along; a lot of work is ahead of me still.

9. Meet my cousins and family in the Philippines – Maybe this will happen in Dec. 2012, too.

10. Earn a master’s degree in student affairs administration – Admission confirmed at Oregon State University; I will move to Corvallis, OR in September.

11. Have one more Wenatchee summer I’m going to count this past week as sufficient; this item has been amended to “Have a Wenatchee and Seattle summer.”

12. Stay in a bed & breakfast somewhere on the Oregon coast – Planning on at least going to the coast again this summer.

Not much has been done on the following, nor do I have timelines:
13. Take an extensive brewery tour of the Northwest and West Coast
14. Hike the Enchantments
15. Hike part of the Pacific Crest trail (WA portion)
16. Road trip to Alaska
17. Write a memoir
18. Get a piece of poetry published
19. Write a book AND get it published
20. Perform improv or stand-up
21. Be an extra in a movie
22. Get professional-quality headshots/model shots just for fun
23. Try out for a semi-pro/professional dance/cheer team
24. Meet Neil Patrick Harris
25. Get an awesome 6-pack
26. Buy a car
27. Get a dog
28. Read more books
29. Take Amtrak down the west coast
30. Get married and have a wonderful, down-to-earth wedding

Not bad for creating the list in my 24th year of existence. This will definitely keep me motivated and looking forward to the next adventure.

One step at a time…

Adventures in Domesticity

“Adventures in Domesticity.” It has a nice ring to it. I think I’ll use this phrase in place of “unemployment” or “not working this summer because I just don’t want to.”

I also suppose writing a blog post while dinner cooks in the oven isn’t too terrible. Tonight, I’m trying oven-baked chicken with quinoa and probably a salad on the side. We’ll see how this goes.

I returned to Seattle last night after a sunny weekend in Wenatchee. Friday night, I was able to sneak away from the house long enough to go to Applebee’s happy hour with T. Applebee’s HH might be the best thing in Wenatchee after 9PM. We had some sangria (but it paled in comparison to the sangria in Madrid…), buffalo wings, and desserts– a fairly standard showing for two girls who needed a wind-down to the day.

On Saturday, I woke up somewhat early and got myself ready, simply so I could turn on ABC and watch the England vs. USA football (soccer) match. I always forget how much I love watching soccer until I tune into a game. Someone make note that I really need to make it out to a Sounders game in the near future.

After the match, it was time for quality hang-outs with T and Fiction & Sanity. We helped T organize and clean, which doesn’t sound fun at first, but with those ladies, pretty much anything is fun.

F&S and I got to T’s house, stared at the project ahead of us, tried on our bridesmaid shoes for T’s wedding, then decided there were errands that needed to be done before cleaning. I got myself a Blimpie sandwich (oh, heavens, I forgot how good those are), then we ran to Costco for storage boxes and frozen yogurt. After warding off the hangriness (hunger + angriness), we set about sorting through T’s wardrobe. That part of the project took the longest, but in the end, I came away with some new-to-me shoes and a dress.

That evening, we took our standard trip to Casa Tapatia, which is hands-down my favorite Mexican restaurant ever. After gorging ourselves on warm chips, cabbage salsa, and giant entrees, we drove out to Crescent Bar for a night of relaxation. F&S’s parents have a place out there, and we spent several hours hot-tubbing and watching movies– normal, girly things. The weather was phenomenal the entire day, so of course, it was beautiful out while we were hot-tubbing.

Note: It is next to impossible to create a “whirlpool” in an half-circle shaped hot-tub. Word to the wise. You will also fall a lot.

Sunday was definitely funday. Back in Wenatchee, there was a BBQ in honor of The Winner of Games’s recent college graduation (read: the day before). There was sunshine, lots of food, and bocce ball. Always a good time.

Now, here I am. I cleaned the apartment– to an extent– shopped for groceries, picked up cupcakes at Cupcake Royale, and am waiting for my dinner to cook.

In a way, I think that having to fill my time with chores, writing, reading, walking, and other activities will be a good sort of therapy for me this summer. Of course, I feel like a bum, but again, I need some time to just chill and have fun. I have to keep telling myself that; otherwise, I’ll probably try to pick up a full-time job that I loathe. And also, it will be a good opportunity to spend quality time with my friends (like this past weekend) and family (like the past week).

I’m okay with my biggest stresser of the day being whether or not the chicken tastes good.