Thursday, December 8, 2011

Belated playlist.

A little late, okay very late, but this is what I was listening to at work in November. So, if you are procrastinating, needing something new, or just like to have pre-made playlists available, feel free to give it a listen. There are some gems on here, and some songs that are just easy to work to. I typically put it on shuffle in order to spice up my life, but hey, you do what you do, world.

11/11 by Janae Time on Grooveshark

Friday, December 2, 2011

Things I keep learning.

I do not like broccoli.

If broccoli happens to be in a creamy, cheesy, incredibly rich, warm delicious ooey-gooey soup, I still do not like broccoli.

Exhibit A: In which I eat around the broccoli in my broccoli-cheddar soup.
Thanks for letting me confess this, Internet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Here you go, Joe.

You know how, when you are still in your early twenties and there are times when you really think you have it figured out and you're pretty cool and then the next moment you have no idea what you're doing? Yeah, that feeling? It's kind of hard to explain/deal with/etc. and I have no idea if this is typical across generations or not, but sometimes we 20-somethings think we have it all figured out when really we are just faking it until we make it.

Recently everyone who I've ever known/met/friended on Facebook is all of a sudden getting engaged/getting married/having a baby/getting a new puppy. Really? All at the same time? You see, I'm a maverick. I don't roll with the crowd, I forge my own path.

I also don't currently have a boyfriend/fiance/husband.

And my apartment is pet-free, not that I'd be good at dealing with a pet and it's needs anyway. My roommate and I are really not pet people. But we enjoy that you are, friends on Facebook! Sure looks cute!

All this is to say that I'm in that wonderful age of being incredibly happy for my friends, all while eating ice cream straight out of the container on my fabulously large couch next to my equally jaded roommate. We recently splurged on "Mud Pie" ice cream, which is basically heaven. Eaten with a spoon, straight out of the container is not sad, my friends. It is wise. We do not have a dishwasher you see; water is a valuable resource and washing dishes is not fun. We're environmentalists.

All this to say I'm off to another fabulous friends wedding this weekend! The person who is getting married is someone I truly could not be happier for. She deserves all of the good things in life, and I feel really special that I get to partake in the day. So, even though this sarcastic lady will not be attending with that "plus 1" box checked, I will be looking good in some new heels. Watch out world. (And please, catch me when I stumble. The shoes are pretty high.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


Image from here

Many of my friends (and I'm sure others) have been expressing their thanks each day in November and will continue right on through to Thanksgiving. Some are doing this via Twitter or Facebook, others are writing it in their own journal or blog. I think this is a wonderful little tradition.

Yesterday, I was chatting with my roommate after she and her coworkers had a day together to continue strengthening their work relationships. One of their activities was writing down their top 10 moments/experiences from the past year. It's an interesting concept, and each individual takes it their own way. At one point in our conversation I was thinking, did I even have 10 big things that happened this year that I could put down on a list?

And that, of course, is when it hit me. It's not about those "big moments." It's about all of the little ones. The ones where you're driving along and suddenly realize "I'm really happy!" I'm smiling to myself, I'm content, I have good people in my life and a great home to go to. I have people I can count on all around the world. I have everything I truly need. Wants are an entirely separate thing and are saved for Christmas wish lists. Everything I need to be content has been granted.

Last night, I talked with a friend I've known since kindergarten on the phone. After only a few sentences she said, almost incredulously, "wow, you sound really happy." It was then that I realized that even though daily stressors may gnaw at us, it's great to keep a positive outlook. It's wonderful having a job I love and want to be at, it's fantastic to have a place full of shapes and stories and giggles and ice cream to come home to each night, and I'm truly blessed to have smiling faces to share all of these things with. 

So yes, there are definitely hard times, but overall it's been a good ride. I'm thankful for that, and hope to continue reminding myself what this season is all about.

Friday, November 4, 2011

In case you missed it...

This has been making me happy this week! Originally seen here.

My favorite parts? Push It and the Dougie. What are yours?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

'Tis the Season

I decided today was the perfect time for my first Starbucks red cup of 2011. The signature red cups signify the holiday season, and I can't remember the last time I got one of these without snow on the ground. I know that we do need the moisture, but I'm honestly loving not having to deal with snow yet. But I digress.

I was in the drive through at Starbucks, truly having a battle with myself as a casual, chai tea latte is not really in my spending budget throughout the holiday season. I ordered it anyways. Hey, I'm human. When I got up to the window to pay for my drink, the lovely woman in the red van ahead of me had already done so. What a fantastic way to start off the season of giving. Thank you, stranger, for your thoughtful random act of kindness. You made my day.

Now that Halloween is over and November has begun, let's all try to remember that this season is about more than long hours traveling, snow storms, and purchasing things. It's about being a good person and remembering that we can inspire happy moments in each other. It does not have to be through a financial act - it can simply be smiling at the person next to you in line or helping someone with their groceries. Be nice. We're all in this together.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Last night...

I made Pioneer Woman's corn & cheese chowder. I've been so busy lately that I forgot how nice and relaxing it is to be able to come home and cook a full meal from scratch! This soup is delicious - I left out the green onions and bacon (one because I didn't have them & the other because I don't really eat it) and it was still delicious. I also halved the recipe because I'm a single lady. I ate a heaping bowl hot off the stove last night and have lunch for the rest of the week. Success!

While cooking, I was listening to Florence + the Machine's new album that came out yesterday. I highly recommend it! I'm still not sure what my favorite songs are, but I've linked to one below. My friend Travis said that when he heard this song it reminded him of me, which I kind of love:

Monday, October 31, 2011

On Omaha.

"We have all a better guide in ourselves, if we would attend to it, than any other person can be."
-excerpt from Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

My venture to Omaha was one of those weekends that you really cling to. The laughter, the stories, the familiar discourse with a close friend who has only been a voice on a phone lately. The new places, the walking outside, the fall air, the cobblestone, the new faces and unique chat. The man from Georgia dressed up as Julius Caesar who told me that he "finally found someone he had a connection with" and that connection was with me, someone who had arrived just as quickly as she would leave.

It's truly a wonderful thing to be able to have someone (in my case, multiple someones) who will go with my bits. My stories. My make-believe lands. It's even easier for this to happen when you're together. I'm a person who communicates with my entire body - lots of arm and hand gestures and I get told that my eyes give me away almost instantly. Therefore, phone chat is not nearly as fulfilling as personal, real human interaction. Skype is a healthy alternative, but still only a snapshot.

I'm lucky because I have a lot of friends who have stayed around the cities post-college graduation, but there are still many friends who have challenged themselves to leave and are striving in their new worlds. There are also friends I knew from circumstances besides college who were never in Minneapolis. By catching up, in person, I've realized how much gets missed over the phone.

Life offline is different for my generation. Even when we are out experiencing things - pumpkin patches, new coffee shops, concerts - we are tweeting, updating our Facebook statuses, posting photos, letting others know who we are with. We are never truly disconnected. I'm going to go so far as to say that we don't necessarily know how to be disconnected anymore. It's natural for me to tweet what I'm doing. It's even more natural for me to take a photo of it and send it up to that 140-character land for others to see.

This weekend there were wonderful conversations that tended to circle around our lives post-graduation. Our futures. Our plans. Our ideal. It's hard to know exactly what that is and it's hard to know that sometimes our present isn't what we thought it would be. For the longest period of time, I had this expectation that graduating from college would set me up for life. Somewhere in between then and now I forgot to exactly qualify what that meant. We get caught up in our online and real worlds, our twitter conversations, celebrity gossip, acting cool, that we forget to take a deep look at what our next goal is.

Thankfully I also have friends in my life who let me reflect on this with them. I laughed a lot this weekend. I made many new friends, judged a costume contest, searched for Anna in a corn maze, walked on cobblestone paths like Roz Russell and Ava Gardner, had fun with a horse named Henrietta, and heard a cute little boy scolding his brother with the words "this ain't no joke talk!" It was refreshing and fantastic. Here's to more like it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Three months and many thoughts.

Tomorrow I'm taking one of my last big road trips of the season. After the long, exhausting but  thrilling and motivating camps I ran this summer, I got over 60 hours of comp time. (Lots of late nights, no sleep, and reminding myself to take deep breaths, but of course, it was all worth it.)

The comp time expires at the end of October, so in these past couple of months, I've been fortunate enough to travel home (SD), and to Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, Marcell, MN, Fargo, ND, and will be on my way to Omaha, NE at this time tomorrow!

I've stayed either with friends, family or at my friend's grandparents cabin in all of these instances. It's been so wonderful getting to reconnect with people. I typically travel to visit people in the summer. Now, with this job, my "new normal" will be late summer/early fall travel. It's honestly been wonderful and I know how fortunate I am to be able to do so. With the exception of Phoenix (where it was 114-120 degrees the whole time), it's been the perfect, warm but not-too-warm weather.

I've been able to soak up the vitamin D I had been lacking over the summer, eat delicious food, and explore new cities with really wonderful hosts. I have a lot of really great people in my life who have been opening their doors to take me in for an odd weekend and I hopefully have brought a little something to their lives as well.

My car and I have become very close. (I got a new car, did I tell you all that?) Anyways, with the subscription I had three free months of SiriusXM. My free subscription ended early August and I honestly did not know what to do with myself. I had gotten so used to having music at my fingertips no matter where I was - the middle of nowhere or in the city driving to work. I opted to get a 6-month subscription, knowing all of the travel and driving I would be doing this fall  (and full disclosure: the 4 times they called me; I'm a sucker for persistence.) It's been a lifesaver. In my previous car, I did not even have a CD player - now I have a CD player, USB hookup and SiriusXM. You're welcome to join me for a drive anytime.

I'm not sure if it's because I've never driven to Omaha from Minneapolis, or because I get to have a fun weekend in a new city, but I'm really looking forward to this drive. It will be a bit warmer, but still fall. I will get to take a big deep breath of fresh air and get away from the past few weeks (lots of events and conferences.) And most of all, I will get to hang out with a friend I haven't seen in a few months! I think it'll be invigorating.

As things are starting to slow down again for me, I'm hoping to be around here more often. Thanks for bearing with me during these past few crazy months and for all of the well wishes on camp! I'd never been in charge of 200 people at a time before - and I did it for two weeks straight! It's something I'm really looking forward to recreate again next year.

Have a happy day!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 3.

The campers came today and I have so, so much I want to share. However, I've been going strong since about 6am this morning and we are rounding up to around 12:30am. It's bed time. For those of you who are checking this for updates about camp from me, just know that this morning I woke up happy. I'm living a dream that I didn't even know I had when I graduated from college. It's the best feeling!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Day 1.

I am in a dorm room.

I just opened up my suitcase and took out my carefully rolled clothing. This is how I pack, rolling my clothes so I can jam as many of my possessions as possible into one bag. As if I would never see my favorite tank top again if I didn't get to bring it with me for this week away. I was able to shove not only clothes for a week, but also two blankets, a bed sheet, a pillow, a towel, full-sized blow dryer and five pairs of shoes in one bag. I was happy with that accomplishment.

I lined up my shoes underneath my bed. I made the bed, using my old college dorm room sheets. They are lined pink and green and gold and white and worn in from the many years of hauling them from my bed down to the basement washing machine once a week. Maybe once a month. It was enough to make them worn in, so the timing really doesn't matter much.

I put my clothes in unfamiliar, too-bulky drawers for my week's worth of clothing. Intimates in the top. Tank tops next. Then the thin, more fun t-shirts soon followed by the sporty t-shirts. Pants go on the bottom. Pants should always go on the bottom.

I'm in an unfamiliar room yet I'm in one of my most familiar states. I'm at a summer camp, and for most of my life this is what I did every single summer. I stayed in new dorm rooms. I carefully unrolled my clothing and put it in new drawers. I tried to look hip everyday. Whatever that meant. It definitely did not mean wearing Winnie the Pooh sweatshirts. Silly 7th grade. Silly camp kids.

This time is different, though. I didn't roll up in my parent's car with a sleeping bag stuffed in a garbage bag. I didn't shyly tell a stranger my name for my name tag, hoping my mom was nearby to make sure I was doing it right. I didn't walk into a funky smelling dorm room, afraid of who I was going to be spending a week scrunched between the same two walls with. I didn't carefully select my outfit weeks ahead of time. In fact I didn't 'select' my outfit at all, I just wore clothes today. Like every other day.

It's different because I am the one in charge. I've made the name tags. I've worked on the room assignments. I get the pleasure of a single room. I'm the face people are going to be looking towards if they are having a bad day, roommate problem, or crisis. I created the t-shirts. I got the internet code (which are hard to come by at camps.) I'm the adult.

I think this is going to be a whirlwind of a week. A whole new experience. A new era of my 'camp-going' days. The other volunteer 'staff' come tomorrow and the students arrive Sunday. I'll let you all know how it goes. :)

Foster the People.

I leave for my camp TODAY. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


 Let's forget for a moment that I still have the marker capabilities of a three-year-old child and tend to get a good swipe or two on my hand. Let's also forget that the red marker that's been nary an arm's length away from me for the past two weeks smells like cherries. Yes, a smelly marker. That's what I've been proofreading all of the materials I'm about to hand out to high schoolers with. Don't you wish you had my life? Or at least my marker?

I've been playing phone relay all night, where you make one phone call and leave a message to said person. Then a separate person calls you. While you are on the phone with the second person, the first calls back. While you are on the phone with the first person, a third chimes in. While you are on the phone with the third person, texts seem to come floating to the surface. I've finally put my phone to updating/resting heaven for a few hours so I can finish the work I brought home with me. (Work like making sure I have all of the rules to the games I'm going to play with said high schoolers next week typed out so everyone can understand them, as opposed to my hand-written, red marker, smelly blobs that are currently all over the piece of paper to my left.) It's going to be a good night.
Hope you all had a lovely Fourth of July! I fell asleep late last night listening to fireworks pop and sizzle and slip into the unknown all around the neighborhood.

Monday, July 4, 2011


Have you ever had characters in a book really take up a place in your life?

My friend Sammi introduced me to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants books one summer when I was around the age of sixteen. I loved summer reading, and when she found out I hadn't read the sisterhood books she promptly shuffled through her bookshelf and gave me the first one right then and there (it was one of a few weekends spent at her house in Minnesota instead of mine in South Dakota). I read and reread all four of them over the course of the summers following and have seen the first movie more times than I care to admit to the public.

Last January my friend Hanna asked me to buy a GroupOn to a small bookstore in Stillwater, about 30 minutes away from us. We traveled there this past week to use said discounted coupon and I found the book Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares. The premise? "Four friends, one sisterhood...ten years later."

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? How had I never heard of this book coming out? Albeit, it is still solely in hardcover so it couldn't have been out long, but I didn't know about it at all. My anger is so silly, because there is no actual connection that I have to Tibby or Carmen or Bridget or Lena. I've never met or even seen Ann Brashares, the author. I'm not signed up for her author newsletter nor have I ever been to her website (if she has either of those. Laziness is causing me not to care to look.) Yet, I felt like I was personally abandoned because more information about these characters lives, these friends I met and knew and stayed up far too late to read about so long ago, existed and I was unaware.

Obviously that is the book I bought and this weekend I started reading it. And continued reading it. All of it. To the end.

You know when you are so invested in a book that once you realize you are on one of the very last chapters you somehow try to will yourself to read slower? You get a sense of anxiety thinking that it will end soon and you try as hard as possible to savor the words and moments? That is such a horrible emotion.

When a book's characters intrude your life at such a vulnerable state (puberty, the first crushes on boys that lead to boyfriends, etc) and they seem to be going through the exact same things, you keep that with you, possibly without even knowing it. The four girls' stories became my anecdotes. Their actions taught me what I should or should not do. Their tribulations helped me work through my own. I have really open, encouraging friends in real life, but sometimes the people authors write about are easier to relate to because you put yourself in their situations. Find a piece of yourself in their makeup. What would I do in a situation like this? Am I guarded and cautious like Lena? Do I jump into the unknown chaotically and without a plan like Bridget? Do I have set views and strong convictions like Tibby? Do I let my emotions make my decisions and document my life a la Carmen?

What I think was most heavily revealed in reading this documentation of the girls' lives ten years later was seeing that so much can change in those years. I've been noticing this more and more lately as it has started becoming my reality. People move away. Change jobs. Find their significant other. People build houses and families and new groups of friends. I've recently been thrust in this "adult" world and I honestly have no idea what that means. An insightful new friend asked me this weekend "When will we actually feel like adults? When does that happen? I thought it would happen after I graduated from college, graduated with my masters, but it hasn't. When will it?" I had no answers for her. I have no answers for myself.

As I'm writing this I'm remembering a conversation I had with a boy who sees the world entirely different than I do. He was asking a similar question about six months ago, and I told him that we would feel like adults on "July 30th. I'm not sure in what year, but that's definitely the day." I'll let you all know how that works out for 2011.

I think the point of this post is to tell you that this book is absolutely nothing like I thought it would be and everything that I needed. I'll leave you with a small passage that I appreciate:

"You get older and you learn there is one sentence, just four words long, and if you can say it to yourself it offers more comfort than almost any other. It goes like this...Ready?"


"'At least I tried.'"

Monday, June 27, 2011


When one is a cranky lady, small things help.

For example, last week Thursday I just could not do it anymore. You ever feel like this? You're done. You're afraid to be around people any longer because you might end up saying something in your cranky, too-tired, stressed state that you actually don't mean at all. You might get too emotional and your boy roommate might think that you are actually sick and offer to make you soup...well that is if you have soup because he does not. You might cry later that night because you are so tired and just need some time to sleep and don't really have it. You might do all of these things. And then you'll pick yourself up because that's what we do.

We as people. We move on. We gather oxygen in our lungs and breathe out deeply and remember that little things add up, but we can deal with them. And when we deal with them, things are okay again. Maybe the only thing that you can do to deal with whatever else is on your mind is finishing a project you told yourself you would do last September. This is what I did. And I cannot even begin to talk about how much happier I am now that that silly project is completed. It's launched me into a state where I'm excited to continue on. It's the beginning. It's a perfect way to move on, by finishing something I told myself I would do.

It was a project that truly only benefits me. No one else. But I had a friend by my side, fantastic conversation, and just the right attitude to make things happen. I think for the next month, that will be my motto: Make Things Happen.

So watch out. Feel free to join. Make Things Happen. Today.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

The 10-year plan.

Last December I met a partner in a top law firm in Minneapolis. While I did not know her job status at that point, I was already intimidated by her matter-of-fact way of speaking and how she challenged everyone in the room. I was the new person. The fresh meat. The one who sat with her head down, just like in school when you hadn’t quite gotten all the reading done and hope that your teacher doesn’t call on you, when of course they are actually looking for the person with their head down. I was the meek one. She was the cobra.

A few weeks ago, I ended up grabbing a drink with this woman. She is someone who expects a lot out of you. She wanted to know what my goal is 10 years down the road, while also forcefully reinsuring me that I am young and shouldn’t have everything planned out. I was thinking about this today, about how hypocritical that is. The fact that she asked me what the big goal was in one breath and was I going back to school and if so where and would I still work or would I put all my time into school and how would I pay for that? And when I made up a plan that sounded like something I might think about doing one day, she told me in her very next breath not to have it all planned out yet because you never know where life will take you. That you should want to travel and be free enough to take a job in a new city. That you need to have connections everywhere and keep fostering them. Saying what every adult figure in my life has always told me but in her own unique, forceful way. Her east-coast way. Her direct, un-“Minnesota Nice” way.

I left that outing a bit worse for the wear. My heart was beating, skin prickling, mind whirring. What was my 10-year plan? I have a friend who is incredibly good at this. At planning things out, every month, to make sure that what needs to be done gets done with enough time measured in for happy hours and impromptu get-togethers. Who knows what is going on every weekend, because most of them are planned. (If they are not it is only a matter of time.)

I’m a planner, but when I’m planning too much, too often, I get incredibly stuck. I feel like I’m trapped. Suffocated. I’ve started telling my friends that I will be disappearing in July (which is semi-true) solely because I know I already have a few weeks of that month planned out and know I’ll need spontaneity in there. Planning for spontaneity? Yes. That sums up what I believe in best. I hope for adventure while living with my feet on the ground.

I think what impresses me most about the first woman is the fact that she is totally open with her love life. She is a lady in the middle of her life and she calls her boys, lovers. Right now, though, she has a boyfriend. This is big. They are both too busy to actually have what us Midwesterners would deem a “normal” relationship, one where you see your significant other at least every other day. But she has planned time with him, and that is what she wants. I want more. As much as I want to foster the relationship I have with her, I also want to know what she did or didn’t do that led her to this point in her life. I’m surrounded by young 20-somethings getting married every weekend. It’s fun, don’t get me wrong, but that is not what I want right now. Open bar and cute groomsmen, yes. Lifelong commitment and buying a house? No, thank you.

The independent streak in me is running rampant right now. Because of this, and because of my hectic, fantastic, work-filled July, I am planning out August to include a few plane rides and adventures. When I change my scenery I also typically figure out what my next move will be. Here’s to the unknown. Here’s to the next 10 years.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy thoughts.

*I got to hang out with so many fun people this weekend, many of whom came to me and my roommate's bbq!

*In about three weeks, I'll actually be at the camp I keep talking about.

*Today, one of my best friends called me and we talked for over an hour. We rarely get to talk or see one another, and it was really fantastic to catch up.

*I chatted with my dad and mom. Last night they saw the Beach Boys in concert and John Stamos made a special appearance!

*I got to go out to brunch with really good friends both Saturday AND Sunday this weekend. It's one of my favorite things to do in the cities!

*I picked the first strawberries from our garden!

*And last, but certainly not least, yesterday I was asked to be the Maid of Honor at my beautiful friend's wedding! I'm really excited for it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Sometimes I forget that people are not passionate about their jobs.

As in, I actually forget that people wake up every day and go into work, maybe interacting with a few coworkers, and then go home, leaving everything at the office. I've never had that. I'm not sure I'd ever want that.

Instead, I wake up at 2:00am thinking about the color of t-shirts I want to order for camp and what I have left to do regarding scheduling speakers for the 350+ students who I will be in charge of one day soon. I stay up at night going over a speech I'm giving to future volunteers and making sure I look mature enough for my age. (Many of our volunteers are my parents' ages. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that - in fact I find it awesome - but I've encountered a few situations where my age came up. For example, when I was presenting in classrooms I would chat with the students as I was waiting for the teacher. Multiple times I was mistaken for a high school student myself. They always would say things like "Well, you just fit right in!")

I find that many people in the blogging world are also very passionate about their work. From opening small businesses in the Etsy sense or in the brick and mortar sense, to being teachers, to graphic designers. They all find joy in what they are doing. It's really refreshing to see and to know how passionate people can be about what they do each day.

Do you have this? Are you someone who wakes up each morning, passionate about what is coming up at work? Or, do you focus that energy on hobbies and have a day job that maybe isn't exactly what you want to be doing? I think that in this economy it's difficult to have the job you might want, especially at the wage you might need it to be.

The writing exercise I've been taking part in has been bringing up a lot of questions in my mind, including the overarching theme of: What do you want to be doing? and What are you doing to get there? Right now I truly want to be putting on the most fantastic camp for high school students. It's exciting to me that I am actually getting paid to do this! What's been the most exciting thing for you professionally lately?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Alternative Paths.

When good is near you, when you have life in yourself, it is not by any known or accustomed way; you shall not discern the foot-prints of any other; you shall not see the face of man; you shall not hear any name; the way, the thought, the good, shall be wholly strange and new. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The world buzzes about goals and visions. Focus. Create a vivid picture of exactly where you want to go. Dream big, then don’t let anything or anyone stop you. The problem, as Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling Upon Happiness, is that we’re horrible at forecasting how we’ll really feel 10 or 20 years from now – once we’ve gotten what we dreamed of. Often, we get there only to say, “That’s not what I thought it would be,” and ask, “What now?” Ambition is good. Blind ambition is not. It blocks out not only distraction, but the many opportunities that might take you off course but that may also lead you in a new direction. Consistent daily action is only a virtue when bundled with a willingness to remain open to the unknown. In this exercise, look at your current quest and ask, “What alternative opportunities, interpretations and paths am I not seeing?” They’re always there, but you’ve got to choose to see them.
(Author: Jonathan Fields)

In the recent future, I feel that my ambition is not necessarily “blind” in order to get to one goal as quickly as possible, but “blind” in the fact that as much as I’ve been trying to plan things out, that is just not the way it will end up going.

I’ve had to do a lot of regrouping and reorganizing and pushing things back and rescheduling and saying no to a few friend outings because I simply needed to lay in my bed and do nothing for 20 minutes. Sorry friends.

I think that one of the best parts of working in a nonprofit is the fact that you never know what will come up or what you might be called upon to do the next day. This is also one of the worst parts. I mentioned awhile back that I went to a class called “Achieve Your Highest Priorities.” A very large chunk of this class was teaching us how to, very specifically, plan out our lives. Using a planner, setting big goals, understanding that email takes up a large chunk of time, etc. I honestly tried to use this system for 2-3 weeks. Every single day that I went back to it and was really excited about having planned out my day and “this was the day this is going to work!”, something went incredibly awry. Like people leaving because of a family emergency and me needing to step in awry. Like last minute calls for sponsorships that takes the entire morning awry. Like “hey I thought I sent you this email but actually I didn’t include you and a firm deadline for everyone’s extra information needs to be in the online system by tomorrow…system down right now but should be up in a couple hours” awry.

This is not due to me not planning. This is a larger power working against me. I’ve been trying to go with it, keep a positive attitude, etc. but it is starting to get incredibly hard. Like the state of Minnesota isthreatening to shut down causing for us to have no support on campus our first week of camp – hard. This is not a joke; this is a reality we are currently facing.

Don’t get me wrong, I expect little road bumps. I expect obstacles. But when do they stop?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Five Years.

There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

What would you say to the person you were five years ago? What will you say to the person you’ll be in five years?
(Author: Corbett Barr)

How fitting is this? I’m heading home at the end of June for my 5-year high school reunion!

Dear 18-year-old Janae,


Remember that time when you made a “List of things to do before I’m 22?” Do it. Okay, you don’t have to do that one. You know the one. But the rest: DO THEM. You will be forever changed and enlightened.

Take risks. It’s okay if you settle on a college based on the weather on the day you visited, but then remember, REMEMBER, that if that was your choice, it’s also okay to realize it was the wrong one and to change it for the better.

Be brave. You are about to embark on a new chapter of your life: college. There will be lonely nights. There will be crying. There will be drama. There will be new friends. There will be an epic prank war. There will be hope. There will be enlightenment. There will be inspiration. There will be stupid moments. There will be things you’ve never dreamed of. You will travel. You will find a purpose. You will start living in a way that makes you feel good; socially responsible, informed, connected.

Remember that you have to get through the bad stuff to get to the good stuff. This too shall pass.

And finally, start learning to say “no” to some things. It’s hard, I know. You want to be included and you are so excited about new clubs and being involved. You will burn out. You will not sleep. You will start scaring your friends with your crazy, too-tired antics. Sleep, water, exercise. Repeat this to yourself each day!

Good luck,
Janae at 23

Dear 28-year-old Janae,

GIRL, you look good.

I hope you figured out that whole turning-on-the-grill-and-getting-it-to-the-correct-temperature thing. That was embarrassing.

Where are you living these days? I cannot imagine you are living with two boys. Well, unless they are YOUR two boys. Hmm…that’s odd to think about.

Also, I hope you’ve started eating something other than sandwiches and lean cuisines for lunch. Probably not, though.

I truly do hope you’ve mastered the front crawl. Like, actually putting your face in the water and not just doing the arm movements, mastered. That’d be neat. Maybe you even invested in a pair of swim goggles! Man, what a star.

For real, though, I hope you are happy and loving life. I hope you’ve learned to choose a few things to do really well instead of trying to do it all. I hope you have continued baking and making new friendships and being open-minded. I hope you’ve never stopped learning or traveling. And I truly hope you’ve now been to Coachella. At least once.

I don’t know where these five years went, but I’m sure they were a ride!

Have fun and laugh always,
Janae at 23