Dec 31, 2009

Christmas Rants w/ Guilt and Cookies

This week has been crazy, I wanted to sit down and BLOG right after Christmas but the hustle and bustle of the season swept me away. As I sit here and write the word “Christmas”... I pause...Is that okay to post? Is it politically correct to say Christmas? I hope I don't offend anyone!

Then I stop and think about how absurd it is that I'm actually thinking this! So here goes my Christmas rant...I'm not really sure exactly when it started but we are now being programmed to stop ourselves from saying “Merry Christmas” and now say “Happy Holiday’s.” The change is abrupt and we stop mid-sentence. I find that sometimes I end up in a awkward stutter as I try and redeem my comment. My desperate attempt to be politically correct comes out in a broken mess
“Merry Chris…ugh….Holidays” <---its completely embarrassing

I am Catholic and I celebrate Christmas. I believe in Santa, candy canes, baby Jesus and Christmas Tree’s (not necessarily in that order). Just because this is what I believe, do, and practice, does NOT meant that I think ill of any other religion, belief or holiday traditions. When I say “Merry Christmas” to the bank teller or post office clerk, I in no way intend to offend them and/or project my beliefs onto them.

Maybe because when I was in growing up and attended public school we freely said the "Pledge Of Allegiance" every morning and wished one another “Merry Christmas” before our schedule “Christmas Break.” I am only 20something– it was not that long ago, and as far as I can remember, no one dropped out of school because they felt morally offended by the word Christmas, the American Flag or Santa and his elves.

In just a short time our society has become extremists. We try to include all beliefs and exclude any particular aspect that is indicative of just one. I.E.

A friend of mine is a teacher in a public school. She informed me that the only acceptable decorations she could hang in her classroom were snowflakes and snow men. Candy canes were even marked as inappropriate, because, at one point in time they represented a shepherd’s staff, which, in some twisted way makes them a religious icon.

It’s all so bizarre– last time I checked they were just candy.

It has got to the point that it’s just easier to not acknowledge the season. Rather than feeling guilty about maybe offend the bank teller, I just smile and say “Have a nice day” completely and utterly ignoring the holiday season. Now this just defeats the whole purpose. How the hell are we supposed to spread the cheer if were too gun shy to even mention it. We set out to include all, but we end up just forgetting the whole thing.

The whole dynamic makes me sad I think that it is ridiculous. Everything is so watered down that the specialness is lost in the shuffle of shopping and it’s all becoming generic. In an attempt to achieve ultimate politically correctness we ignore that this country was founded by Christian’s and that our money has had “In God We Trust” inscribed on it since the countries birth. Yet now, we have to monitor ourselves so that we can carry on the joy of “the season” while pleasing everyone? It’s absurd and unattainable.

On the Holiday greeting scale and on a personal scale…it’s impossible to make everyone happy. I think this idea of inclusion and unity is wonderful. I would not want ANY one group of people to feel outcast. Yet I’m scared that this is yet another example of how quickly we are falling into the “You know what they say…” category. (If you have read my earlier posts you know how much I despise “you know what they say.”) The problem is that, we, society, have grown so preoccupied with not offending others that we have stifled ourselves.

Not only are we stifling our own beliefs and traditions (which is taking away any uniqueness and individuality) but we are stifling ourselves!

Christmas is a time when there are many extra things going on...

baking, shopping, wrapping, card writing/sending, visiting, and exchanging.

In addition to the seasonal extra’s there is the regular...

work, school, bills, relationships, responsibilities and prior obligations.

It is festive and fun, but can be exhausting. When the two are mixed together it can make for a very hectic time. A time where we tend to spread ourselves thin. We try and accomplish everything and be everything to everyone.

We want to go to both parties so we half our time. We want to have enough cookies so we double the recipe. We want to see both sides of the family so we over schedule. Ugh just the thought of all the running around is exhausting. In the midst of the craziness we lose sight of the good things. When we can’t please everyone (because there is just too much going on) we feel guilty. We hate to leave the party early, feeling guilty, even though we know we want to see the second group of friends and relatives.

We do, what we have to do, to “make it work”... but we carry the guilt, along with the cookies and presents throughout the whole process.

I think it would be nice if with all of the extra tasks during Christmas time that we could exclude the guilt from the equation. The feeling that we “have to do something” makes the whole thing very unpleasant. At the same time, sometimes I think that the guilt is a motivator. That feeling of “I have to” is what gets us off the couch and in the car onto our next destination.

It’s impossible to not feel torn in many directions and feel guilt about our inability to clone yourself and “do it all.” But maybe as long as we know this….its okay that there is no solution. Maybe we should just move for a post “Holiday” break. A few days where we are all forced to shout out our own greetings (whatever they may be), not attend any functions, bake any cookies, host any parties, or shop for any presents. We should get a break in the action, an opportunity to enjoy the true meaning of the season and not rush through it or water it down.

If we wanted to insult/offend different beliefs we could think of something much more direct and offensive than “Merry Christmas.” So, I think we should shout out whatever greeting we want during the holidays…we all have bigger fish to fry!

In an attempt to include the many, remember not to exclude the originals… like ourselves. If we approach the holidays like a list of things to accomplish we miss the whole point! So find a moment for yourself and enjoy it without any pangs of guilt or pressures to please everyone.


"Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself." - Michel de Montaigne.

Dec 23, 2009

Growing Up

Irony is a funny thing– I say this in contemplation of one specific reference:

Sometimes it’s the people that we’ve held onto the longest, that, when were ready; are the easiest to let go.

Whether its relationships or friendships. Maybe it’s because while we held tight to that person, what we were really holding, was our idea of them. I say “idea” because of the pesky irony…

The irony, that even though we may see good and beautiful qualities in another person, they may never see it in themselves. Just because you love someone, doesn’t mean that they love themselves.

This problem successfully masks itself while growing up. By the time your 20something, some people are mature, some immature. Some people have grow-up, some are on their way, and some are destined to be life-long Toys R’ Us kids. We are all on our own path, struggling to find our own way. What is difficult to understand, is that just because we start off at the same place, doesn’t mean we end up any where near the same place.

So while we struggle to accept this, we hold on to hope that a certain person (relationship or friendship) will end in the same place. We see characteristics in these people that show, with some faith, hope and hard work, they could end up at the same finish line. That hope overtime morphs into full-fledged belief. Belief that the person could and would hurry to…

Rise to the occasion
See the good in themselves that we see; AND
Realize all the wonderful things they deserved in life, because we realized it

We hold on to this IDEA, this hope, this belief– for weeks, months and in some cases of strong believers(like myself) years. We hold out, waiting for a person to see their own potential. But sometimes waiting is as far as the progress goes. Whether the situation is “we have been together for years” OR “we have been friends forever” the point is that TIME does NOT bind people. What bind us is that we have to continue to grow in the same direction. As much as I don’t want to admit it, some people never grow up, and if they do, it doesn’t that there growing alongside us.

So should we feel hopeless or defeated because we find ourselves to be one of the “believers”? Should we feel naïve because we are the hopeful few who holds on to an IDEA of person and see’s the great person they have the potential to be?

I don’t think so. I don’t think this seems fair. We shouldn’t feel bad for seeing the good in someone (even if they only reveal it to us and no one else). We shouldn’t feel bad for believing in someone. We are learning too, 20something is about trial and error. We just have to manage and gage how much hope and energy we invest.

So while we waiting in baited breath for our friends and relationships to move with the times, we must not forget about the irony of it all. If I’ve learned anything in my 20something years, it’s that you can't force people...

To do what you want them to do
See what you want them to see, OR
Act how you want them to act.

The only thing we can control is ourselves. This is frustrating and sometimes disappointing– but once we accept this–we can walk away from the people--the ones where we have been holding on to their IDEA. The people that we have been hoping will grow and evolve into something more.

Once we realize this irony…it’s much easier to let go. Once we see that our IDEA of a person is only an interpretation. Remembering that is may not be WHO they are or WANT to be. Recognizing this and accepting this is what makes letting go and stepping away much easier.

I think there is some truth that you have to let some things fall apart so others can fall into place. I want to avoid all cheesy “Hallmark-isms” but I think this is so true. By 20something most of people have already discovered and revealed their core person. Sure, they have more things to accomplish and add to their resume of life; but core characteristics are already laid out. So, we have to let go of our “IDEA of a person” and accept people just as they are. Once we do this, it is much clearer whether they has a good or bad influence/impact on our life; whether they add to our joys or our sorrows; whether they make life a little easier or a little more difficult.

This is something we have to examine for our own sake. This is something that we have to do if we want to keep growing up and moving forward. And like all “grown–up tasks” it is a complicated and tough...but most times when we are honest with ourselves it is difficult. The upside is that once we let our IDEA of a person fall apart, we open ourselves up to new people who may help our lives come together.

Good judgment comes from experience…but experience comes from bad judgment. So we must forgive ourselves for acquiring experience, by holding onto our IDEA of a person.

Once we can get past the hurt and disappointment that some people are not growing along side us, we can be objective. We can step back and be honest with ourselves. The truth is that no one wants to be pressured to be something they are not, and no one wants to constantly overcompensate for someone else’s shortcomings.

As we grow up we leave some people behind. Sometimes its people that we want to hold onto, but we have to let go and accept this. We have to, so new people, who are already growing in the same direction, can fit into our lives.


“Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder what's to come. But that night, I think we knew it was time to let go of what had been, and look ahead to what would be. Other days. New days. Days to come. The thing is, we didn't have to hate each other for getting older. We just had to forgive ourselves... for growing up.” – The Wonder Years

Dec 17, 2009


I sat on the train today commuting into the city and among all of the people rushing to work I noticed an elderly couple. They boarded the train, couldn’t find seats together and each sat on the end of the row; allowing the aisle to separate them. As the train moved away from the station, the man reached out over the aisle and grabbed the woman’s hand. They only held hands for about a minute, then he smiled at her and let her hand go. It wasn’t anything monumental, just a gesture, and it got me thinking….

  • If they were young, I would have thought about how naïve they were. Its puppy love…
  • If they were my age, I would have thought about how cheesy they were. Ugh it’s the morning commute for God’s sake...
  • But because they were in their 70’s, I thought about how damn cute they were.

It made me think that maybe all the Hallmark bullshit about “Love” may not be a marking ploy just to sell overprices greeting cards after all. I have wanted to blog about Love before but I just couldn’t get motivated. I even considered making a Blog entitled “Love is all you…HAHA” but I couldn’t whole heartedly mock love either. I was on the fence, in the middle.

Maybe its because…
When we talk about love we allow ourselves to be vulnerable OR
We don’t want to jinx it OR
We don’t want to get our hopes up OR
We are afraid to plan on it OR
We have been hurt and we just can’t find it within ourselves to believe at the moment

Whatever the reason... Love as a 20something is a touchy topic. But the people on the train inspired me today to write about it. So here goes…

At this point in our lives, each and every single one of us has been burned by what we thought was love. In some cases, maybe it was, in others we have to believe it wasn’t. Either way, by 20something, we all have our own battle wounds and we have all endured our own suffering on a count of love.

Some of us have been left jaded and some of us have moved forward. The problem is that by 20something were moving in all different directions. I have friends who are single, involved in something complicated, in a relationship, engaged or even married with children. After high school and college we disperse. There is no more set-track or timeline to follow. So those of us who are single (like myself) wonder if maybe we have fallen behind. Those of us who are in relationships wonder if we’re rushing or settling. It’s complication…actually it’s a mess.

Right now I’m single and on a “weak moment" I think…
Will I ever meet someone? Am I ever really going to be satisfied with one person? Am I going to be single the rest of my life?

When I was in a relationship and had a “weak moment" I thought…
Am I really happy with this person? Do we have Hollywood-Movie-Titanic-like chemistry? Is that chemistry even real? Am I cutting myself short? Is there someone else out there waiting for me?

Bottom Line…Whether we’re single or in a relationship, at 20something– we are cautious, unsure and questioning.

The sad truth is that dating only gets harder as we get older. No longer do we like someone solely on our ideas that they are “cute” or “fun” or “cool.” These things still matter, but only to a degree. They are no longer the make or break of a relationship. The characteristics become more complex. “Cute” becomes “chemistry” “fun” becomes “motivated/driven” and “cool” becomes “similar interests.” We have all new categories to define and examine.

I’m not sure if the idea of the ONE makes me hopeful and whimsical or straight up anxious. I’m leaning more toward anxious.

Sometimes I believe in the ONE and sometimes I think it is putting all of this pressure on us. While we wait for the ONE we concoct this idea of a fictitious person. This ridiculous idea of the ONE is what I think can be mocked---The idea of a check list of characteristics and attributes that we believe the ONE should have. It is all so silly because its forcing unrealistic expectations onto the next poor person we date.

So in my desperate attempt to mock Love, I can’t do it!

I can mock the check list theory of the ONE– that one person will meet and exceed our list expectations. This I can mock, and rightfully so, because somewhere along the way, the meaning got skewed. But then there is another theory of the ONE…the theory of the ONE where Love comes in.

When Love is involved the ONE is viewed differently. The person no longer has to be the perfect match to our paper checklist. We not longer see that The ONE as a superman waiting on a white horse. Instead, the ONE is just a regular person, faults and all, who we decide that we just don’t want to live without. This theory I can live with. This I can support. This is what I need to be reminded of.

So, as I looked at the couple on the train today, I thought that maybe they are the proof that love is out there. Maybe they weren’t high school sweethearts. Maybe they weren’t even married. But in that moment, to each other; they were the ONE person that they didn’t want to be without. Maybe that is enough…

Lets stop taking the phrase the ONE so literal. Maybe at different points in our lives there are different “ones” who we need and want along the way. Maybe for some people there is a single ONE, but for others, maybe not. I don’t really think anyone has the answer--Either way the subtly of holding hands across an aisle of a crowded train, serves as a small reminders that love is out there, for any age, at any time.


"Love is not singular except in syllable." ~Marvin Taylor
"The past is behind us, love is in front and all around us." ~Emme Woodhull-Bäche

Dec 8, 2009

You Know What THEY Say…

How to behave and act appropriate is to be, what is known as, “socially acceptable.” The question then is what defines social acceptance? Well that’s easy… because “You Know What THEY Say…”

“THEY”, the enigma, the anonymous group that sets the standards of what is socially acceptable in almost every facet of life. How much sleep you should get a night, what SPF to wear on the beach, what to recycle. THEY have governed almost every aspect of our lives.

You know what THEY say about… not eating after 7pm or even worse eating before bed. What THEY say about how often to exercise, how much water to drink while working out, what vitamins to take. What THEY say about what to eat before an exam (is brain food really a combination of peanut butter and eggs? Eww together?)

And you know what THEY say about… never wearing white to a wedding and only wearing black to a funeral. What THEY say about what gifts to buy for certain events, or that white shoes can only be worn between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

And you know what THEY say about…
kids who go to college, kids who don’t go to college, about getting into college, what to do and what not to do while in college. What THEY say about how to act at your first job interview, what to do at work, and even how to act at a work party (you don’t want to be THAT PERSON who drinks too much at the office Christmas party, especially in front of the boss)

And you know what THEY say about… getting married too young, and getting married too “late.” THEY say all brides and grooms must remain unseen from one another on the big day until vows are exchanged. And that brides should not even think about walking down that isle without something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue- (I think there may even be some nonsense about a penny in your shoe- but THEY didn’t emphasize the penny part too much so it didn’t stick.) If your not even thinking about getting married in the near future, then you know what THEY say about what to buy as a wedding gift (pay for your plate).

And you know what THEY say about…
what to do to avoid conceiving a child, and then what to do to conceive a child. What to do while pregnant, what to eat while pregnant, what to do in labor, and finally how to raise your child.

The list could go on and on. The truth is that somewhere along the line we have allowed “THEY” to control and define the standards of how we act and what we consider to be socially acceptable. “THEY” have created criteria for almost everything! It has become an epidemic. But even more importantly that this epidemic is the question- “Who are THEY?”

Now, in all of my years of school if I ever came across an unusual fact, my teacher would caution me to identify the source before accepting the information as truth. So I wonder who is the source? Where is the truth?

Was there ever a group of overly elite nobles know as the original “THEY” who sat in judgment over everyone? Was the man behind the curtain in The Wizard of Oz supposed to be an original “THEY”? Were there people who decided what was the “rule” and forced everyone else to follow suit?

Probably not…
So, until we can identify the source of the “THEY” we should stop pushing the “You know what THEY say” onto another poor generation.

Being socially acceptable can be a very positive thing. Sometimes it is good to act orderly and appropriate. But we must remember to keep boundaries on our ideas of socially acceptable. Sometimes orderly and appropriate is too structured and rigid, and the reasoning for acting in such a way is rooted in an unidentifiable source.

For every instance when we feel compelled to act socially acceptable, there are equally as many moments to be dangerous and forget “what THEY say.” I suggest we throw out the catch phrase “you know what THEY say” and follow the motto of “a time and a place.”

“A time and a place” allow us to have some wiggle room. We can find an excuse, a reason, a “time and a place” when its okay to stay up late, forget the “something old,” or the “something blue,” and eat after 7pm…hell have a midnight snack. I think its okay on your wedding day take a peak at your fiancé before you walk down the isle, or eat dessert before dinner, or even wear white shoes in the winter (well maybe I’m getting carried away with white shoes) ;)

Screw the elite “THEY”! Sometimes the politically correct notion is boring and ridiculous; so disregard it and live a little. Remember to savor the moments when we have the opportunity, the “time and a place”, to throw the politically-correct- socially-acceptable nonsense out the window!


“First THEY ignore you, then THEY ridicule you, then THEY fight you, then YOU win” – Gandhi

Nov 30, 2009

Follow Your Heart

The fountain of youth may be a myth but the secret to happiness is said to be found when you “follow your heart.” The problem however, is that your heart is an organ in your chest, it beats and pumps blood. This heart cannot be the one they are talking about.

The heart we should follow must be the theoretical heart. That’s the one that you draw on notebooks when your in elementary school referencing your first crush; The heart that accompanies your signature on the bottom of greeting cards on birthdays and holidays; The heart that as you get into your teenage years, your wanted NOT to wear on the sleeve! The same heart people are referencing when they advise you to think with your head before your heart.

A thinking heart? Now, this is where things get complicated… You see, the older we get the more we’re cautioned to handle our hearts with care. BUT WAIT...How are we supposed to use caution with our heart and simultaneously be thinking with it and following it?

There are just too may contradictions. Should our hearts be cautioned or should they be followed like a beacon pointing us toward happiness? No wonder everyone is confused!

There are two options…
1. We use caution with our heart, think first and think of others- doing what makes others happy because were happy when our loved ones are happy.
2. Forget caution and follow your heart- do what makes ourselves happy even though it may disappoint or hurt the people that we so dearly want to make happy.

Neither sounds like a happily ever after to me.

The crux is that not everyone is going to be happy, despite the simple formula to “follow your heart”. Therefore, we need to recognize that happiness is not something that spontaneously comes upon us. Although at times it may pop out of the blue, I think it’s safe to say that happiness falls in line with almost every other aspect of life–> in order to have it, you have to work at it. I know… definitely not something we wanted to hear.

We wanted happiness to follow a fairy tale story line…that it just happens. We’d like to think that happiness is supposed to be like winning the lottery without ever having to buy the ticket. It should just strike our lives and everything falls into place. Yet, this is as probable as finding a leprechaun and a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.

Come on...We’re all adults here, by now we know that fairy tale princesses, leprechauns and constant euphoria are not real. Unfortunately, like most good things, happiness does exist without sadness. In order to let in the good we have to let in the bad. There is no path of least resistance to finding happiness. To obtain happiness it must be earned.

Whether it be a goal, a career, a relationship with family, friends, or yourself…true happiness is only found when we consciously and consistently make choices to be happy.

“Follow your heart” reminds us that in we should do what's right for ourselves, keep our own best interest in mind and remember that happiness comes from within. It reminds us that trying to please everyone results in jumping through hoops and running in circles ultimately risking ending up back at square one.

So... to avoid all of the confusion of leading and following; hoops, circles, and squares- I guess it’s just easier to say “follow your heart”.

Although the age old advice to “follow your heart” may be vague, it may also be an effective expression that reminds us to be our own leader. To advocate for ourselves, follow our own way and our own heart.

With all of that being said… in my own pursuit to follow my heart, I think sometimes it would be nice to pull over and ask for directions. ;)


"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be." -Abraham Lincoln

Nov 19, 2009

And Now You Wait…

When I was a kid and I would act ornery and impatient my mother would tell me to wait. Then she would repeat this silly little phrase. “Patience is a virtue, and virtue is a grace and grace is a little girl with jelly on her face.” I would smile because it was so ridiculous and the thought of poor Grace without a napkin was a momentary distraction.

I wish I could Blog about the truth behind that phrase. Deconstruct it. Find the secret message behind it. But here I sit, 24 years old and I don't have the slightest idea how Grace and her jelly is supposed to help me understand patience.

The thing about your 20’s is that life is very transitory. Were figuring out...
Who we are
What we want
Where we want to go
Where we want to avoid
Who we want to go with us
Who we want to leave behind
Who we need to remember, and finally...
Who we need to forget.

It’s a whirl wind of questions and risks. It’s the unknown, taking the leap of faith and hoping it was the right leap for you.

It can all be very exciting, new leaps of faith are when big things can happen. When your quandary becomes an answer or a mission. When we figure out where we want go or who we want beside us. That is the fruits of the transition- Learning about ourselves and figuring the questions out.

The Journey on the other hand, is where things get mulled up. The journey is said to be the most important part. Its where we “stop and smell the roses” and where we “learn to appreciate the small stuff.” The journey is the learning experience. The long road that takes us to our answers. Unfortunately, that long road, that journey, is not always exciting.

Let me explain…
Have you ever watched a good movie, television show, or read a book that had the famous subscript “2 weeks later” or” 2 months later” or sometimes “2 years later.” Yea, you know what I’m talking about. Its that little italicized line that lets us know...
Hey, nothing monumental happened during this time frame, so were going to skip ahead and get to the good stuff.
Usually when we see that little italicized line were happy. Truth is, no one wants to read a book, see a movie, or watch a show when its dragging on and on right? Right.

The problem is that in life, you can’t just insert that italicized line and skip ahead to the glamorous good stuff. Nope. In real life, you have got to just stick it out and WAIT. Even worse you don’t know the length of the newest uneventful period of time.

So, while we trudge through our normal routine, this element of not-knowing when things will "break" makes waiting to hear from; admissions to a school, an answer to a job interview, the result of a test, or a response from a crush; down-right torturous.

Recently, I had a moment where I wished I could insert the convenient italicized “2 weeks later.” I was waiting on an answer from a job, after a second interview, I asked my grandfather what I should do while waiting.

Now, let me tell you something about my grandfather. He is 81 years old, lived through the depression, is a WWII veteran, currently works full-time, walks a mile everyday and accomplishes more before 9a.m. than most people do during their entire day. He is a force to be reckoned with and has a boat load of life experience. Thus, I thought that he would be the perfect person to shed some wisdom onto me. So I asked.

"Pop, I haven’t heard from this job yet, what should I do?”
He nonchalantly answered. “Lan, there is nothing you can do, now you wait.”

Well this was the most absurd thing I had every heard. Completely unorthodox! I cannot just sit around and WAIT. I don’t even know how to wait! I needed something more.

“Come on, Pop what kind of advice is that, give me something I can work with.”
He just smiled “Hey listen, I didn’t make the rules, this is just the way it goes.”

Unfortunately he’s right. This is the way it goes. But it doesn’t mean I have to like it! Maybe it’s because we are from a generation of people who can’t leave home without a cell phone, and yet use the phone to text more than we call out. Yes, I know texting is faster- I’m guilty of it too. And when you have something lengthy to say, forget text use email. In fact, in our generation, the norm is to have multiple emails; one for work, one for personal, one for school. We are able to DVR television shows so we can fast-forward the commercials. We can watch these shows and movies from our iPods and cell phones.

We are a generation that is productive and fast paced. We expect instant gratification in almost every realm of life. We are a generation of multi-taskers. We can’t relax because there is always something more for us to be doing; texting, messaging, posting, emailing, blogging, tweeting and updating.

So it’s easy to see why we have a major problem with patience and waiting. It’s really not our fault that we want to skip ahead, that we don’t want to wait, that we want instant gratification. We were programmed this way. I don’t intend to blame us 20something’s for not having an iota of a clue what is meant by “patience is a virtue.”

Patience for us… is lost in translation.

Waiting is hard, actually it's a pain in the ass. At some point, we all wish we could slap on a “2 weeks later” tag and get on to the good stuff. I just hope that with time I will begin to understand and find patience. However, I'm sad to report that my patience is may be offically MIA. :)

Just keep in mind, next time you sit in waiting, your not the only one who doesn’t understand the virtue of patience.


"The waiting is the hardest part" - Tom Petty

Nov 16, 2009

It Happens And Its Okay

Everyone knows…
If a bird craps on you at the beach–its good luck
If it rains on your wedding day–its good luck

But I never bought this idea of icky good luck. The reality is…this is NOT good luck. If a bird craps on you at the beach– its gross, slimy and down-right uncomfortable. If it rains on your wedding day– its gloomy, wet and inconvenient. That’s the reality. That’s the truth and the reason why we make up these little white lies that make us feel better.

So what about the saying “Failure is the mother of success” Is this just another socially acceptable white lie that we use to make ourselves feel better? I’m not sure…so I did what everyone in 2009 does…I “google-ed” it. :) Google lead me to calls this an expression an idiom– “a peculiar kind of speech that has a double meaning.” is correct, this is definitely peculiar. If failure is the mother of success, then this “family” is practicing tough love. This child (success) will undoubtedly and definitely be seeking counseling for Mommy issues.

But tough love is a reality. Tough love is not winning every game or always coming out on top. Tough love is the “real world.” (Insert depression music) Dun Dun Dun……

The REAL WORLD, not be confused with the ever popular MTV show. No, not that real world. I’m talking about the REAL “real world.” You know, that smug response, “welcome to the real world kid.” The one that people refer to when you’ve lucked out, lost or failed.

But wait you ask...what about that quote that says “Failure is not an option?” Well, the sad truth is, that quote left a part out. Although failure may not be an option… it is inevitable. People are imperfect and in the not-so-pleasant “real world,” at some point were going to fail. In order to be successful you have to fail…it’s the truth that is omitted when you are encouraged to “follow your dreams.”

Saying “follow your dreams” is much more inspirational than the truth. The truth is scary and unpleasant. Just coming out and saying,

“strap your seat belts on kids, the road ahead is littered with multiple disappointments, heartache, hard work, occasional self doubt and some well deserved pity parties...all on the quest to achieve your dreams.”

No one tells you that. Instead we cut out the middle, which makes for a much more optimistic approach- thus “Follow your dreams.”

And for those of us who have heard the less popular expression “Failure is the mother of success,” we know that this is true. This is not some silly saying about bird crap and soggy weddings. Instead it’s the truth.

But do not be alarmed…there is another truth, another secret that no one is sharing. That is that it’s okay to fail at some thing. (Take note of the word SOMETHING.) I want to reiterate that it is NOT okay to fail at everything. We have to be participating members of society. But failing at some things is okay. Failing at some things is natural. It’s how we discover our strengths and weakness’s. It’s how we discover what we like to do, what comes natural and what we have to work at.

Failure really is the mother of success. To be successful we have to weed out what were unsuccessful at. So let’s just leave the silly bull-shit one liners out of it, and accept the truth that failure really isn’t so scary. Were going to mess up, were going to fail at something at some point. It’s inevitable and its okay.

You cannot be good at everything, and you will not be good at everything. Everything will not be perfect because this is not a fairy tale...its life. This realization should not be scary but comforting. So lets just chill out and accept the inevitable. Shit happens and failure happens....and Its all okay. :)


"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail" -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nov 12, 2009

Grades, Ratings, and L.I.F.E

I know the BLOG is still new but I'm so happy with the people who started "following" and those who have been kind enough to leave comments. Its so liberating to know that people care about what I'm writing. I'm taking a class now and the theme is "Revolution". Here is a piece about something we need to look at in 2009 and consider revolting against! Let me know what you think.... :)

Making the Grade

It is the era of acronyms; PSSA, SAT, GRE, LSAT and MCAT. It is a time when a standardize test dictates your future and measures your I.Q. It is a time when people are categorized by a variety of letters - A thru F. When a “grade” is supposed to be indicative of a persons intelligence. These letters shape our self-esteem, life opportunities, career, and in essence, future economic and social standing.

We are lead to believe that when you’re an “A” you walk tall, you’re smart, you’re proud, you’re the best and things come easy. When you’re a “B” you almost made it, it was close, and you know with a little more of something (whatever the hell that may be) you could be better. “C” is viewed as average, generic, in the middle, not good not bad just there. “D” is viewed as just not getting it, maybe showing up, but too lazy to apply yourself. “F” is failure. It starts the word and implies that you’ve learned nothing. Personally, I think these are all “BS” and P.S. who’s the genius that thought up this grading - because they skipped “E”…I’m just saying…

If you’ve ever been to law school or heard about people in law school you know that coffee becomes your best friend and biggest supporter. It motivates you to stay awake. A little piece of warm comfort that keeps you alert, and in my opinion, is one of the few joys of the whole legal experience. So, on one of my million coffee runs to Starbucks I noticed I kept getting a cup with the same silly quote.

“Failure is hard but success is far more dangerous, if you’re successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise, money and opportunity can lock you in forever.”

The first time I read that quote I didn’t understand its meaning. Yet, as the miserable year marched on, the quote started to make much more sense.

No matter what end of the spectrum you sit, you run the risk of ultimate unhappiness. The problem is that we are all defining ourselves with grades and letters. It’s the effect that these letters have on a person that leads to false feelings of success and defeat. The crux of that quote is that when things are socially acceptable and society down right encourages them, it becomes much easier to travel down the wrong path.

I don’t like the idea of fitting into a box and stressing about maintaining, improving or praying to the high heavens that you don’t fall behind. People should not be rated, they should be taught and they should learn. Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t think we should all drop out of school and become free-loving hippies. I value education and believe strongly in it. I have always loved school and did exceptionally well. I was the proverbial “A” student, on honor societies and the recipient of various awards. The problem is that I went to law school with my hefty resume and transcript chock full of the coveted A’s to realize that everything wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Getting good grades doesn’t mean that you will be happy or that life choices will be an easier. All it means is that you run the risk of going down the wrong path and no one will notice.

So, after all of this jargon, I have two of my favorite letter combinations to add to the grading epidemic, F.U. I say this not to be harsh but to make clear that the only letters which make any difference are L.I.F.E. Contrary to popular belief, grades do not make you happy, fulfilled, refined, secure, or established. It’s how you deal with those other letters, L.I.F.E. that do. So, I suggest we start paying attention to the right letters and leave the other silly acronyms behind.

Life is hard enough without grading. We should learn to de-program and stop rating ourselves with grades and letters. Its all un-needed pressure. The irony is that we spend all of our academic years trying to fit into a certain category or "box" and the rest of our life trying to break the mold, break the box, and stand out. Its all so exhausting. We all need to be a little kinder to ourselves.


"Always be a first rate version of yourself instead of a second rate version of someone else" ~Judy Garland

Nov 10, 2009

Princesses, Twists and Growing Up

An old friend commented on my first Blog Entry and his comment jarred my memory. He made me think of a piece I wrote while I was frustrated in law school. I referenced writing as an avenue I exercised to vent my frustration last year, so it’s only fair I show an example of what I was talking about.

The piece I’ve posting below is about the haunting age-old question of “What do you want to be when we grow up?” I think that most people have struggled with the pressure of this question at some point in their lives- even if it is just in retrospect. My struggle with this question proved to be the catalyst for my self-exploration.

My first Blog was written in a “Straight Up” style. This blog entry is an example of what I call “With a Twist”- enjoy! :)

What do you want to be when you grow up?

“What do you want to be when you grow up”…it seems easy enough. Prima facie, it appears to be a very nonchalant question that falls in line with; “What’s your favorite color” or “Where is your favorite place to go on vacation”. But don’t be fooled, it’s really a loaded question…one that I thought I could answer at many times in my life.

When I was five I wanted to be a princess and as the years progressed on, so did my answer….sign language teacher, geologist, meteorologist, dancer (that one had sticking power), writer, journalist, lawyer, professional traveler (is that even a real job?)

But here I sit at 24years old. Having four years of college, a Bachelors degree, life experience studying in Rome Italy and Washington DC; Work experience interning and being trapped in a cubical; One year of law school under my belt and I am currently in graduate school! At this point you would think I would have some more direction- but ya know what….I have no solid idea about what I really want to be when I grow up.

In fact the thought of answering that question gives me a rush of unwelcome anxiety. I thought I knew what I wanted to be, but that was when life’s problems were getting a ride to an after school dance, or whether it was going to rain on Saturday because I had plans to be outside. The problems weren’t student loans, living expenses, relationships, credit cards, health issues, insurance, car payments and allocation of time spent at work.

So, I’ve decided that I hate that question. I wish with all the tests and quizzes I’ve taken over the years that I could just answer a few multiple choice questions (courtesy of a Scantron Sheet) and an instant result would tell me what I should “be.”

When your whole life is mapped out according to semesters of schooling, sports seasons and holiday schedules- its difficult to forget the planning and accept the mantra of “figure it out as you go.” The truth is that it’s much easier to work toward something when you know where you’re going. The unknown is the scary part. The unknown is what you are forced to face when you finally forgo the idea of remaining a “Toy’s R Us” kid. The unknown is stuff that leaves you uneasy.

This is what I do know……
I want to be happy, I want to travel, I want to make a lot of money (and if not a lot then ENOUGH) I want to fall in love (real love, across an ocean and everlasting love) I want to be a mother and have children and I want to be a good person. I want luck, success, comfort and security. I want to make a difference, I want people to be proud of me, and most I want to be proud of myself.

Looking over this list, I feel like I’ve covered all the major bases. Sadly however, this list is not a job description, a career, a plan, a mission or even a passion… As I sit and look over this list, I’ve realized that I’ve come full circle. This list may be most compatible with my five year old evaluation- so maybe it would be best if could just put an application out to be a Princess. Does anyone know if they are hiring?


Growing up is hard. Figuring out yourself, your purpose and your path is even harder. I think the secret to being happy and fulfilled is a balance. Maybe we are supposed to juggle the balance between holding onto our five-year old perceptions of what is important in life and balance it alongside our newly developed and mature ideas of passion, dreams, intellect and purpose.


"Nothing in life, that is worth anyhing, comes easy" -Unknown

FIRST BLOG- a little about me and a my quest to believe in the beauty...

This is my first post on my official blog- how exciting! do I give a shortened introduction of myself? Hmmm....Well I'm 24 (hence the 20Something in the title) and recently people have been asking me "Aren't you in law school?" So I think maybe I should start with answering that question...

Short Answer: No
Detailed Answer: Law School induced what felt like a mid-life crisis in August. (See Below)

You see, I was in my first year of law school last year. I should have been happy, I should have been confident, I should have been finding myself- unfortunately everything was the exact opposite for me. I was miserable, I was doubting everything I was doing, everything I have ever accomplished and I was losing myself.

I completed the awful first year (and yes its as dramatic exhausting and tedious as people claim it to be) I was overworked, overcaffeinated and overtired. I had the summer off where I worked for a Judge, spent almost every weekend at my beach house and went on a Euro-Vacation to Paris and Belgium! It was a great summer-until I remembered that in August I was due to go back to the hell that I call law school. (Wah Wah Wahhhhhhhh BOOM)

Then it hit me. Why the hell was I torturing myself? Why was i forcing myself to do something that I hated? I thought about this.... and came up with possible answers:
  1. "It would be worth it in the long run" -No that didn't see like it would pan out. If I hate it already, its not going to miraculously get better. Truth is, I'll probably still hate it in 10 years.
  2. "I'm supposed to like law school, I have been working toward this goal my whole life!" - Well that doesn't work, because, even though I was SUPPOSED to like it, I didn't- end of story.
  3. I got it... How about because "They say that if you like to read and write, then law school is the place for you." - This one I had to spend some time with. This one brought up a few questions. First of all....WHO the hell are the infamous "THEY" and second where the hell are "they" because I'd like to find them, smack them in the face, and inform them of how wrong they are.

So much for finding a reason to keep torturing myself...then I found a solution to my dilemma. Enter Solution:

I hate law school, but I DO like to read and write. In fact I love to read and write. Even more, through all of my frustration and misery of the past year I have been writing just for myself. I have been using writing as an avenue to vent my frustration. I have been writing as a desperate attempt to hold onto who I really am. I am passionate about writing because- I'm a writer-

I'm a writer? That sounds weird to say- REAL writers are people who get published and go to book signings at Borders and Barns & Nobles. REAL Writers work at magazines and newspapers. REAL writers create pieces that people read and respect. Wow how great would it be a REAL writer?! I want to be a REAL writer!

So in August I dumped Law School and decided to start believeing in the beauty of my own dreams and ditch the crap about what i'm "supposed" to do. So, I applied to a Master's Program at St. Joseph's University in "Writing Studies!" I've been applying to jobs in my new field, and I started this blog. I'm on the road to being a REAL writer.

Yes I know the economy sucks and this may be the worst time in history (with the exception of the great depression) to be making major life changes- but what are you gona do? All begginnings are scary so what better time than now? Hey....this is what people do when there 20something!

SHORT AND SWEET...AKA...MORAL OF THE BLOG (In law school they say "condense the nonsense!" I never really caught onto that concept but here is my best attempt.) --> This is a blog about a nobody from suburban Philadelphia who went to law school with a hefty resume, and a transcript chock full of coveted "A’s" all to realize that everything wasn’t all its cracked up to be. Sometimes what your supposed to do is overrated and what you dream of doing is "do-able."

Maybe you can identify with my situation, understand where I'm coming from, or are just plain interested (even if you think I'm full of shit and have made the biggest mistake of my life) follow my blog and come along for the ride!



"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams"
-Eleanor Roosevelt