Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Door Opens and Another Shuts

  That good news came through! Apartment settled! Move in countdown: 5 days. Next time I post, I may be bitching about moving in. On the bright side, 80 percent of my stuff is still in boxes from moving out at the end of June, so that's all right. I am super excited. I've told pretty much everyone I know, and now the rest of the world, that I found an apartment. It's a pretty nice place, actually. Somewhere I could actually imagine staying for longer than one lease. The only thing that isn't as nice is the price. (As usual, I've found something to complain about. Bear with me.) The actual apartment is a decent price for the area I live in, but I have to pay all the utilities, for the first time ever (look how grown up that is!). Needless to say, I will be following all of the low-energy, efficiency rules to the letter, and then some. But, it has the primary requisites I had in mind--dishwasher, price range appropriate, and they'll let me have my cat, with additional rent (lame, but the majority of places around here are that way--fortunately, the pet fee/deposit on the place was already paid by a previous tenant, and because it's a sublet, it rolled over).
    I am so glad to be going back on my own. I am grateful to my mom for allowing me to live in the basement, again, while I looked for a place, but it's going to be really nice to have my own space and my own stuff, all in one place. The plan is to move the majority of my stuff to my new place, meaning a lot of the stuff that is still at my dad's place is going to come to the new apartment in addition to all the crap I have at my mom's now plus what's in storage. Reunification of everything.
    I never really minded having half my stuff in one place and half my stuff in another place, carrying bits of my life around with me as I traveled back and forth between the two. That was part of not wanting to grow up, I think. Keeping all my stuff in one place means I'm really responsible for all of it. It's my job to lock the doors, my job to pay all the bills, my job not to set the place on fire, and my job not to let the cat get outside.
    Minor subject shift: fall semester starts next week up here! I actually had a dream about being back in school last week. This is the first semester start in five years that I've not been fully aware of. I was in school for three and a half years, out for one year, and back in for half a year. Even during the year I was out of school, I was fully aware of going back to school later. Now, the prospect of school is gone for the near and foreseeable future, and while it's a little strange, it's good. I get to really try to do things my way, and maybe I'll fail, but maybe I won't. I'll do my best. Now I just have to get my budget back on track having to pay rent again.
Budgeting sucks. Especially after four hours of it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I'm Trying

  "I'm trying" is one of the weakest phrases in the English language. I feel pathetic for even repeating it here. Twice. And yet it seems so fitting for so many situations. Falling behind in your work--hey, I'm trying. Can't quite make dinner and go to the gym in the same night--I'm trying. Keeping a straight face (or worse, a smiling face) when everything around you seems to be crumbling--I'm trying. Trying is useless. Either you do something, or you don't. You succeed, or you fail. You win, or you lose. Don't mistake this for making things black and white. They're not. They never are, even though things would be so much easier if they were. But when it comes to doing things, either you catch up with your work, or you don't. You find time to go to the gym and get dinner for the family, or you don't. You smile through the pain, or you make a sour face and grumble every time anyone speaks to you.
    I suck at hiding things, so on the last one, depending on who I have to smile for, I will fail more often than not. I also suck at multi-tasking. We are all much more efficient when our minds only have to focus on one thing. Right now, I'm writing. My writing would not be coming out quite so coherently were I also trying to check my social media, read other people's blogs, and eat dinner at the same time. With that, I fail quite a bit. And generally, I'm ok with it. We all fail from time to time. I prefer failing when no one's looking, and the only one to judge my failure is me, but it's not a perfect world. I also succeed a fair amount of the time. I get something done sooner than I anticipated. I managed to keep everyone ignorant of the fact that I'm totally full of shit. I finished a blog post. There are plenty of things I succeed at every day.
    But these little successes are almost never enough to carry you through the failures. When we fail, we fail big. Or at least, it always seems a lot bigger when it happens. The guilt comes up and the criticism starts, and the derogation sets in, and then someone else says something about it. One small criticism from someone else, even if they said it in good faith or to be constructive, can hurt and shock our confidence a lot worse than any of the horrible, self-deprecating things we can come up with to chastise ourselves. We are our own worst enemy when it comes to failure, because sometimes, a lot of times, it turns out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, but all the hurtful things we say to ourselves when we catch a mistake or when we fail to do something are flesh wounds compared to the hemorrhaging killshots other people can fire at us. "I'm such an idiot, you say to to yourself, how could I forget to do that?" pales in comparison to "You didn't do that? All right, who wants to do that instead?"
    The best we can do is not let other people get to us. Easier said than done, I know. Boy, do I know it. But if we're going to end up in therapy, it should be because we're crazy, we're complicated, we're off our rockers; not because someone else drove us crazy, complicated us, or snatched the rockers out from under us (no idea if that is the correct contextual use of rocker here, but, moving on). Everything always seems like a big deal when it first happens. But the part that we control is how quickly it shrinks into something forgettable. We just need to learn to accelerate the forgetting process so we get over stuff quicker. The impact of the incident will increase the time it takes to forget it, but self-analysis and self-awareness are always helpful.
    PS: I MAYBE finally found an apartment. I agreed to sublet it, but I still have to sign papers and write checks and what-not. But agreeing and setting a move-in date seems reasonable to start honestly hoping. Thanks, Universe. I needed that one today. :)
Do, or do not. There is no try.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

These Vagabond Shoes

  I was torn as to whether I should write about the quandary of an apartment search I'm still having, or whether to write about a piece of nostalgia I experienced recently. Since I think I will probably manage to wax a little more poetic with the latter, that's where we're headed.
    The little piece of nostalgia I experienced happened at the movie theater last weekend, where I saw 4, count 'em 4, movies. One of which was Friends with Benefits, which takes place in New York City. I had no idea of this as I entered the theater, considering they played up the Hollywood sign scene in the previews so much, but I was elated when I discovered it took place in Old New York. While it doesn't evince the "New York State of Mind" quality that some movies do, When Harry Met Sally or pretty much any Ed Burns directed movie, it prickled at my nostalgia nonetheless. A few years ago, though now it seems much more distant than that, I was going to move to new york. I was going to move there after I finished high school, go to college there, become a big-city girl, find my dream job, fall in love, and publish one of my damn novels if it was the last thing I did.
    Obviously, things didn't quite pan out that way. I stayed in state for college. I have a good job, but not the job I imagined having once I was college-graduated and big-dream bound--publishing, advertising, law office, basically somewhere where you wear a suit and high heels and carry a briefcase and drink martinis after work at happy hour. I live in what I would classify as a large town, as opposed to a world-renowned metropolitan city. I fell in love when I was seventeen (it was a very good year), and I am still unpublished, except for the musings and ramblings I post here at Insistent and Persistent.
    The world sure looks different now compared to when I was 15. I can't imagine having such a competitive job and wearing high heels every day. But I still imagine what my life would be like if I had done what the 15-year-old version of myself wanted me to do. I would probably be living in a crappy apartment, making more money than I am now--but because of the housing costs in Manhattan, it wouldn't really feel like I was making more money. I would probably be reading and watching a lot of movies, which is much of what I do in my spare time here. I would be alone, because I'm afraid of going out by myself to meet people. I wouldn't be friends with my neighbors, or hanging out and getting to know the bartenders and the regulars at a local watering hole. I'm way too shy for that. And considering the types of neighbors I might have, not getting to know them might be for the best.
    It's interesting to think about where you thought you'd be and where you ended up by that age. Things definitely don't work out the way you expected them to. Ever. But I always wonder if that's because life gets screwed up and derailed from time to time, throwing a wrench in your perfect, if not perfectly thought out, plans, or if it's really because you never had the balls to try something terrifying like moving to a city where you don't know anyone and trying, not just to survive, but to succeed.
    I think it's probably a little bit of both--we all know how indecisive i can be, and this is no exception. I think if I put the effort into looking for a job there, I could get one. It might take me a while, but I think I could do it. The apartment might be tougher, but I'd figure something out, even if it meant, god forbid, living in Jersey for a few months. But, we come to the "if it ain't broke" adage in which we reason that: I already have a job, I have a place to stay even if it isn't ideal, I have a relationship, and I'm making it on my own, for the most part. Why would I give all this up for a shot at some pipe-dream nostalgic fancy that's lingered on for eight years? (Eight--god that makes me feel old.)
    The fact is, I wouldn't. Not now. If one of those things seriously fell into disarray, I might revisit the idea. But my life, despite all the complaining I do, is actually going pretty well. The "grass is greener" ideology only applies when the grass on this side of the fence is no longer green, as opposed to when it's green, but not as lush and deliciously deep green as the grass on the other side of the fence.
    So, New York, you'll have to wait. Maybe someday I will meet you again and take you by storm, dazzling you and all your big-wig, pompous, New-Yorker-reading, nicotine-saturated echelon with my brilliance. But for now, I will daydream and write and imagine that you are still as beautiful and chaotic and interesting as you were the last time I saw you all those years ago.
If I can make it there, I'll make it anywhere.

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm Modern, But I'm Not THAT Modern

  We 90s kids (meaning children who grew up in the nineties, not kids who were born in the nineties) have some interesting perspectives on relationships.
    Some informal statistics: 3 out 4 guys between the ages of 20 and 30 never, or probably never, want to have kids. 2 out of 4 guys in the same age group never want to get married. However, 4 out of 4 guys want to be in a monogamous relationship if they were in a relationship (note: this is more due to fear of STDs than desire to commit). No, I didn't completely make these stats up, but I did take them from a VERY small sample of people in my age group. Things have sure changed over the years. Even 30 years ago, 3 out of 4 guys probably wanted kids; wanted to get married, someday, at least, if not right that second; and I don't know about the monogamy thing, but the concern for STDs was not nearly as high then as it is now. Plus, now we have to worry about AIDS.
    Girls, however, seem as traditional as ever. Girls in this age bracket still plan on getting married, many, it seems, because they watch too much reality TV and want the big, expensive, overblown wedding that's going to put papa in the poorhouse. Girls still want children, though not in as high of numbers as they did previously. Girls, for the most part, want monogamy, partly for fear of STDs, but more for desire for commitment.
    I won't tell how I fall into these statistics, because I have a feeling I'm the exception rather than the rule here, but it amazes me how girls remain so traditional when the men in our age group seem to rush toward a modernity that clashes seriously with those traditional values.
    It doesn't surprise me at all that the divorce rate is so high, because men and women seem to be on two different wavelengths when it comes to relationships and how to be in one. We are a spoiled group (though I have no doubt that the youngsters who are in the age group immediately after ours are even more spoiled), and we seem to forget that relationships are, in the end and inevitably so, about compromise. Guys seem to want to rebel against the Oprah-indoctrinated women who want to change them, and therefore, refuse to change at all. Women, on the other hand, seem to want to do everything they can to create the fairy tale romance, the perfect man, the ideal soulmate (never mind that they picked him up at a Burger King) that they've so often seen and swooned after in movies and television programs.
    I may be very accommodating in a relationship--too forgiving, perhaps, in some cases--but there are some things I just won't do, no matter how cool and easy-going I wish to appear. I will not participate in "an open relationship" (for anyone not up to speed with that term: a relationship in which both partners are permitted to see other people but remain connected--though not necessarily committed--to each other in a romantic way). Open relationships seem to defeat the purpose. If you're going to date or screw other people, do it, but don't pretend you still want the person you're in an open relationship with after you do it. You're kidding yourself and each other. Take separate bedrooms. Have your own boys' nights and girls' nights, but don't sit there and pretend like dating other people makes your relationship stronger.
    I hope I haven't offended anyone, but if so, feel free to tell me off in the comments. I will moderate generously.
Meatloaf anyone? (Hint: I'm thinking of a song lyric, 
and no, I don't expect your thought path to be the same as mine.)

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