Monday, April 27, 2009

Terms of Use Agreement

I have often thought that I should give a terms of use agreement to boys that I date before things get very serious. This way they know all about my crazy female characteristics of which I can do nothing about. They will know what they are getting themselves into. Then, if at any point in the relationship I frustrate, confuse, annoy, or hurt them, I will just wave the terms of use agreement in their face... as a subtle reminder of the fact that they knew what they were getting themselves into before the show began. It would probably go something like this:

I, the undersigned, do hereby agree to relinquish any and all decision-making capabilities to Megan, the girl I choose to date. By doing so, I understand that Megan will be making any crucial decisions, as determined to be crucial by her, throughout the course of our courtship. I recognize that dating a girl who is moderately attractive, smart, and funny is a rare find. I will make every effort possible to assure her that I am giving this relationship my very best efforts. Anything short of my best efforts will result in in termination of said relationship. I do understand that Megan, though typically super awesome and delightful to date, will sometimes have a momentary lapse of rational thought— she is, after all, female. I will not judge, think less of Megan for, or complain of any of the following actions:

Sitting with her arms tightly folded at the movie theater after I comment on the attractiveness of the lead actress
Not returning my phone calls or other attempts at communication for nearly a week to prove a point
Listening to what I'm saying and then later pretending not to remember what I said because I didn't say what she wanted to hear
Getting her feelings hurt and waiting months to tell me after a completely unrelated event or discussion
Saying that she doesn't expect me to plan anything for her birthday and then being sad and disappointed when I don't
Being mad when I don't pick up on all the hints she has given
Faking sick so she doesn't have to hang out with my family, again

I understand that the above list is not conclusive and may be added to at anytime according to the desire of the author. I also understand that I am one lucky sucker.

Signed, ____________________________

Friday, April 24, 2009


I graduated from college with a Bachelor's degree four years ago. The same number of years that I spent in college. Four years ago... really? My life plan was to go straight into a graduate degree after a Bachelor's. But I got a degree in education instead of the subject listed in my life plan, so I thought I should put my degree to use for a year. One turned into two, then three. Then I was offered an amazing opportunity to work in publishing. Grad school was put on hold, yet again, while I checked this route out. I am really glad that I took the job I have now, I LOVE it. I loved teaching, too. But it sucked the life out of me. I miss it everyday, still. Well, I miss the kids. But I really, really, really enjoy what I do now. I consider that a huge blessing, because I know that isn't the case for many working adults.
So why can't I just be normal and keep enjoying doing just what I'm doing, like a normal person?! I'm starting to feel restless lately, and guilty for neglecting my goal of furthering my education. I have friends who are beginning and ending various graduate programs and I am green with envy as they tell me about all the exciting things they get to study. I'm not generally a jealous person, but it's BAD lately. Does that make me a huge nerd?!
I'm been looking into graduate programs at the U. Most programs I'm interesting in don't have spring semester start dates, only fall. That means I could potentially be getting excited for a program I won't begin for a year and a half. And who knows where I'll be in life at that point. The other two problems I'm running into are 1) What do I want to study? And 2) Do they offer classes at night? I do not want to leave my job; I'm really happy there. Can I do both? Can I have the best of both worlds, like Hannah Montana? I don't really have a choice because I need the income and the health insurance. Blah. And what on earth do I study?!
I have interests in everything from law to creative writing. The problem is, I don't have any strong traits/talents that would turn me toward a particular path. I have mostly been considering American History and Creative Writing. Those seem like things that could apply to my current profession, and they're both things that I really, really enjoy. I'm already starting to worry ... Can I remember all the names and dates in the history courses? Will I be able to come up with enough good ideas to complete a novel for the writing program? I'm not even in the programs and I'm already stressing!
BLAH! I don't even know what to do! I just want to have a goal, to be working toward something else. Had I known 4 years ago that I'd be basically in the same position today as I was then, I would have started a law degree. I'd be about done by now. Talk about kicking yourself. So I NEED to start... something... soon... hopefully before the fall of 2010. I need to do something with my life, take advantage of the "blessing of being single. I have no idea what I'm going to do, but I'm going to do something. I miss school!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Now I realize that emotions are heightened when you're sick and sleep-deprived, but that's not going to stop me.
I have never been one who minds being single. I believe that you'll never be happy when you're with someone if you're not happy being alone first. I would, however, like to graduate from this single state that I'm in someday, but I'm going to enjoy this phase of my life while it lasts. What a great opportunity to take advantage of this time to further education, get financially stable, travel, and just have as much fun as humanly possible. But like I've said and written time and time again... being single would be even better if you didn't have to date!! If you could take dating and feelings out of the equation, and just simply live and enjoy this single state until you magically met someone you love and want to marry, I'd say, "Where do I sign?!" It's pretty hard to enjoy this stage of life whole-heartedly when there are always feelings and thoughts of dating floating around in your head.
Over the past few  years as I've moved further and further from my college years, I have noticed a gradual, and then somewhat drastic decline in the number of dating opportunities I have. I used to think this was because I'm not encircled in the college social circuit anymore, or most of my best friends are married, or I'm just so busy with work and other things. But it's none of those reasons. There are still as many people in the world as there were a few years ago... probably more, I don't know for sure. I still go out into the world as often as I did years ago. But how is it that at this point in my life, where I could actually be a great girlfriend, I am more interesting, more confident, more intelligent than I was in college, yet I have so fewer dating opportunities? Anyone who thought they might want to date me all that time ago has no idea what they were missing out on, compared to where I am now in life. But that fact about growing up and evolving is just the problem. As singles grow up, come into their own, and become greater people, they alienate themselves in the dating scene. The older we get, the more "specialized" our dating becomes. 
I look back at past boyfriends I've had and boys I've dated. They cover a very broad spectrum of personalities, attractiveness, and intelligence. I used to like a boy if he liked me! If he was a mostly decent guy, and was willing to go out on a limb to show interest in me, I liked him back. HOW PATHETIC! I was the classic case of "Girl with lack of self esteem, wanting attention from any guy who would give it to her." How sad to think that I valued myself most when a boy was interested in me.
Well, fear no more. After many, many humbling experiences with rejection, one is really forced to sit back and think about dating patterns. I'm glad for dating experiences gone awry (well, not all of them if I'm being honest- but most.) But mostly I'm glad for life and growing up. I'm glad that I know who I am today. I don't like country music, I never have. But I'm not going to pretend like I do, or suffer through it to impress a guy like I have in the past. And conversely, I know what I want. No, I don't know what it looks like, sounds like, or acts like. But I know what it feels like.
Herein lies the problem today. I have been around the block a time or two or three or four... with dating. People don't believe me when I tell them I can tell on the first date whether or not things with a boy will go anywhere, but I can. I am a seasoned veteran, as are most singles my age. So why go out with every boy that asks me? So I can say that I'm always open-minded and trying. I still give chances to different types of boys, I just don't let them develop into full-blown relationships now that I know what I want and need. One or two dates will do the job of confirming what I already knew- It's not going to work out. 
As you can imagine, when I finally find a boy that I can feel like things would go well with, it's a rare and exciting find. But the frustrating part is that when you find them, they aren't ready to find you... or they found someone else... or they're just plain stupid! And it hurts really, really bad because you know in the deepest part of your heart that you're supposed to be with someone like that. And as you sit back to evaluate to make sure you're not just telling yourself what you want to hear, you're honest with yourself. More honest than you've ever been. And you just keep coming to the same conclusion: Nothing else makes more sense than being with that person. There are few other people in the world who know your soul like that person does. They understand your reasoning behind decisions in your life without you having to explain. They appreciate you for the attributes you value most. They think you're funny, even if you're not actually trying to be. They care, and you can feel it. They appreciate you more than any of the other people with whom you associate. But they just don't want to be with you. And you're finally mature enough to know that those two things don't always go hand in hand: loving someone and wanting to be with them. There are a million things that could effect this, but I have to just accept that I'll never understand why. It makes zero sense and it hurts worse than the time I crashed wake boarding and got a concussion, but it just is. There is power in accepting this fact.... and moving on. But it hurts, still. And every time you relive the experience, even with a better perspective, it hurts. And even though you have faith to know that this will all make sense someday, it hurts. 
And when you feel your eyes welling up with tears as you think about it- you give yourself a little slap across the face, tell yourself to stop feeling sorry, and decide that there are much bigger problems in life. Fortunately, the problem you're facing right now isn't the biggest problem in the world- not even close. So you walk yourself into your kitchen to get some food, and remind yourself that you've never had to worry where your next meal will come from. And on your way to the kitchen you pass your coat closet with a surplus of coats to keep you warm. You chat with a family member or two who loves you as you eat your food. You think of the things you need to do for work tomorrow and you remember how lucky you are to have a job, an income, and health insurance. Then you think about your faith and what you can do to strengthen it- and that's why you're going to be okay. Because come what may, you have your faith and no person can ever replace that blessing.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Don't Judge Me

For weeks now, I have been talking to my oldest niece about our date night. I had taken her older brother and cousins out on movie "dates" when they finished reading books that were made into movies. She was feeling a little left out because she hasn't learned to read yet. So I told her that she and I could go on a date of our own. She decided that she wanted to see a movie too. But not just any movie, the Hannah Montana movie. I begged, pleaded, and bartered with her to try to get her to choose something else... anything else! But she would not budge.

So a few nights ago, I picked my niece up for our date and we went to see this movie. She made her mom do her hair again so that it looked cute. She giggled and chatted the whole way to the movie theater. I did my best to act excited while thinking to myself, "When she's an adult I'm going to use this night as leverage to get a favor out of her." We parked the car and she grabbed my hand and started skipping into the theater, grinning from ear to ear. Our conversation about how super cool Hannah Montana is was cut short as the previews began rolling. She giggled, grabbed my arm and looked at me with an expression that made me think she might actually explode. 

From the second Hannah Montana appeared on the screen, my niece was like a statue who no longer cared about her Sprite or the popcorn, and who forgot about her candy I had stowed away in my purse. It was pretty darn cute.

The movie ended. Later that night and the next day at work, many people asked me how the movie was. And I'm just going to put it out there... I liked it. Don't judge me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hits & Help

So I put a counter on my blog almost two weeks ago. And the last time I checked I had 415 views... no, hits. I like hits better. I had 415 hits. That either means a) I need to rack my brain to come up with some entertaining banter to post on here or b) 415 people have too much time on their hands. At any rate, I'm really writing this post to enlist your help.

In just a few short weeks (or long weeks, I guess) I will be embarking on an international adventure. And although I'm somewhat excited to leave the country for the first time in my life, I'm mostly freaking out. I'd say I'm about 21% excited and 79% freaking out. Aside from the fact that I'm a complete germ-a-phobe, I have to pack almost a month's worth of living supplies into a small-ish backpack that can weigh no more than 40 pounds. I need to prepare for all types of weather, activity, and terrain. If you have any suggestions from lessons you've learned while traveling, please comment here! Maybe there's something you'd wished you would have known, wished you would have taken, wished you wouldn't have taken, etc. Please let me know! I am notorious for over-packing. This will be a truly humbling experience for me. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dating Advice from the Non-Expert Dater

I often wonder why anyone would come to me for dating advice. Hello, I'm single and I've been that way for some time. I wonder why these friends don't go to married people, they're the ones who have mastered the art of dating. But then I remember the strange phenomenon of dating memory loss that married people experience not long after they've been married. I think they must be so happy they've finally found someone they love and can stand to spend their time with, that they block all of the horribly painful dating memories from their mind. I can't say I blame them. So that must be why single people don't often go to married friends for advice. That said, I'm still not the best option of someone to talk to. I subscribe to the "prepare for the worst and hope for the best" school of thought in dating. This means that I tell my friends worst-case scenario when they come to me with their dating woes. I also call this "telling it like it is," because more often than not, the worst case is what comes to pass in dating. Otherwise you wouldn't be dating- you'd be married. 
So here is some of the dating advice that I have given recently and some of the advice I give most frequently (both to myself and others.)

  • If he's not asking you on dates, he's not interested in being more than friends. 
  • If you're interested in him, and he's not asking you out, don't let him waste anymore of your time. We all need friends—so choose friends you're not having a one-sided crush on.
  • She can't really be "busy" every time you try to take her out. She's avoiding going out with you.
  • Actions speak louder than words. If she's keeps saying yes to going out with you, but acts distant, disinterested, or hard to read, she likes dates and not you.
  • Someone who is really interested in you doesn't forget to call you or text you back. They will also initiate communication, not just respond to yours.
  • Someone who is interested in you can always make time for you, no matter how busy they are.
  • It's okay to give indicators that you're interested. Help the boy out. Bait the hook and walk away—let him do the initial legwork.
  • Stop dating girls who don't have brains. I'm sick of hearing you complain. 
  • Just ask her out. I don't care how scared you are or what other extraneous factors get in the way. Just ask her out, see how she reacts, and then you won't have to wonder.
  • Date the type of people you want to marry. If you keep dating people who are emotional wrecks, you're going to end up marrying one.
  • Make a personal connection with someone you're interested in during a conversation. Do more than laugh and joke with them. Everyone wants to feel like they can open up to people they're dating.
  • Maybe don't ask girls out that you meet at your high school sister's ball games. Chances are they're in high school.
  • Just do it—grow up and date. There are no excuses.
It's not always what we want to hear, but sometimes it's what we need to hear. Emotions can really get in the way of rational thinking (see previous post).

Friday, April 3, 2009

Argument #1 for the Insanity of Females

What is it about emotions that make you turn into goo when your brain and your heart decide to work together to create a crush on someone? I consider myself a sane person, generally. I am a sane person who has plenty to say and usually has no problem expressing exactly what is on my mind. That is, until I have a crush on a boy. My IQ drops at least 30 points as soon as I make eye contact with a boy I have a crush on. And instead of being my usual self who says just what I'm thinking, I begin double, triple, and quadruple guessing everything I want to say. Words are mulled around so many times in my head before they actually come out that they sound robotic and void of any flavor by the time I'm finally able to spit a coherent sentence at him. Poor fella is just getting gobs and gobs of abrupt, disconnected, meaningless sentences spewed into his face and there is nothing he can do about it! Part of me wants to tell him to run. Run far away and save yourself from exposure to my lack of intellect. But mostly, run before I have a chance to ruin any any positive conceptions you may have of me.

Not only do I have a ridiculously difficult time carrying a conversation with the boy, but my tongue swells... seriously. Yes, just like Buddy the elf!! I feel my cheeks turn red, my speech slurs because of the swollen tongue phenomenon, my eyes are shifty and dart from one corner of the room to the other, and I can never seem to find a comfortable place to put my hands. I have never felt/ looked so awkward with my hands on my hips as when I'm talking to a crush. So, for some reason I end up with my arms folded so tight I begin to lose circulation. But this prevents me from going for that itch on the inside of my nose or fidgeting with the zipper on my hoodie while I talk to the crush. 

The things that I say are not only clumsy, but they lack any humor, intonation, and consideration for his responses. I just want to get the words out, throw them out there so that my mind feels like I'm having a conversation with the crush... and that equates to crush productivity, in my mind.

If talking and acting like an idiot isn't enough, I start to have irrational thoughts and feelings. I exaggerate the situation in my mind a hundred fold. It might be a boy that I met just recently and have interacted with only few times. But each time he talks to me, you'd better believe that we are getting together, having a relationship, and sometimes breaking up in my head. It's at moments like these that I am reassured of the presence of female emotions that I'm often afraid I lack. I am normal- for a girl. I call up my single bff after each interaction with the crush and relate the insignificant interaction in such great detail that one would think he and I had spent the entire day together, when it was really a five-minute conversation. And during the course of my conversation with my friend I have expressed concern for him not liking me, me not liking him, what type of boyfriend he may or may not be, and what it will be like when we raise children together. 

A good friend listens and doesn't try to rationalize with you when you're like this, because you CAN'T be rationalized with. In a state like this, your mind has been void of all rationale capabilities for the past 24+ hours. Your friend waits it out and tries her best not to say anything at all, for fear that you might take her advice a little too literally and do something drastic and potentially embarrassing. Plus she remembers a time, not long ago, when she heard herself saying some of the same things you're saying about a boy she hardly knew that she ultimately knew she wouldn't end up with. 

The patterns described above repeat themselves over the following days and weeks until something snaps and sanity kicks in. I never know just what it takes for this to happen, but it does... thank heavens! And I am left to look back over my irrational trail of destruction. And then I just want to crawl in a hole and die, or at least sleep for a very, very long period of time. Just long enough for everyone to forget any interaction they had with me during my course of craziness. 

And then, just a few months later, it starts all over again... just when you were starting to fix the damage caused from the previous wake of irrational destruction.

Sometimes being a girl just sucks.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Things I Don't Do Often Enough

1. Wear plum purple shoes
2. Go to bed before 12:30 am
3. Floss my teeth
4. Drive exactly 65 mph on the freeway
5.  Take time to literally stop and smell the roses
6. Go to a public place without a stitch of makeup on just to show the world I don't care
7. Fly a kite
8. Hike Adam's Canyon- It's right there!
9. Call my sisters for no particular reason
10. Have sleepovers with the nieces and nephews
11. Wear a dress on Casual Friday
12. Play Go Fish
13. Write in my journal
14. Tell people how much I appreciate them
15. Drive in the car with the radio off and possibly with the windows down
16. Stay home on a Saturday night just to read a book
17. Strike up a conversation with a complete stranger in a public place
18. Visit the public library
20. Go into work early just to feel like I'm trying extra hard that day
21. Tell someone when they've hurt my feelings (Yeah, I'm ten years old.)
22. Stand up for people being trash-talked when they're not around to stand up for themselves
23. Listen to fm100.3
24. Surprise loved ones with little treats
25. Think about what I'm going to say before I actually say it
26. Sing in the shower
27. Quietly ponder
28. Send letters in the mail
29. Turn down a treat (It's surprisingly a very empowering feeling)
30. Just get down when I hear an old school hip hop song 
31. Cry when I feel the need to
32. Admit when I'm wrong (This is totally Norm's fault!)
33. Bake cookies for no particular reason
34. Walk to work
35. Ask my mom what she needs help with
36. Try something new and and potentially risky
37. Watch Saturday morning cartoons (Do they still have those?)