My One Year Anniversary

This past weekend was my one year anniversary — with my “little sister.”

For a year now, I’ve been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Indiana, and I can hardly believe it’s been that long. I first looked into the program about six months after moving to Indy, trying to find a way to productively spend some of my free time with community service. I get sneezy around most animals, and Habitat for Humanity doesn’t build much in the snow; so BBBS sparked my interest.

If you aren’t familiar, Big Brothers Big Sisters is a mentoring program that pairs at-risk youth with adults who can be positive role models. Studies have shown that children who participate in this type of intensive mentor program are less likely to use drugs and alcohol, skip class, and exhibit violent behavior; and they experience increased self-esteem and improved personal relationships.

After reading a bit about the mission of the program, I skimmed the requirements but focused most of my research on testimonials from “Bigs.”  It seemed that this program was a good way to build a significant, lasting relationship and truly improve the life of a child who hasn’t been blessed with a healthy family life or has struggles of other sorts. I had supportive parents, grew up in a generally positive environment, went to good schools and had a fairly typical childhood. Some kids, however, are not nearly so lucky.

I took a leap and applied for the program. The screening and matching process is fairly extensive and takes a couple of months to complete. I filled out forms, gathered character references and went through interviews; and in early February of 2012, I was matched with my Little. (The rules of the program prohibit me from naming my Little online, posting pictures of her or even being her friend or “follower” on social media; so you’ll just have to trust that she really exists.)

The first year of any Big-Little relationship involves a lot of learning. Not only did I learn about my Little’s family, school life, character traits and feelings, but I also had to learn how to relate to her, communicate with her and earn her trust.  This year has helped me come to better understand my Little and why our relationship has been and will continue to be so important for her. It can sometimes be hard to relate to someone who has had such different experiences than you have, so I still have a lot to learn!

While she has had been through things that most adults would struggle to cope with, she is also a 14-year-old girl who likes 14-year-old girl things. And let’s face it, I still have some 14-year-old-girl tendencies. We watch movies together (yes, we went to see the fourth Twilight), go to the mall, cook and talk about music and boys. Her favorite activities so far have been a summer trip to Holiday World and an enlightening laser tag session. (She really loves laser tag. Like a lot.) As our relationship continues to grow, I hope that I can have some positive effect on my Little and bring her a sense of confidence, stability, future and friendship.

I also hope that as I help her, she can help me. I’ve already learned from her and from our relationship, and I have begun to gain the sense of fulfillment that comes from creating a substantial human connection with someone who deeply needs it. She teaches me about compassion, understanding and trying hard to look past someone’s outward projection to who they really are and how they really feel.

While this has turned out to be a positive experience for me, this program is not for everyone. I have eased into the role I am playing, but at first, I struggled a bit with the idea that this little girl might actually need me, and I may not know how to provide what she needed. That’s a new feeling for someone who hasn’t been a parent or even owned a dog. I am happy that I took this opportunity and see the incredible value in it, but it’s also a great personal challenge. It requires time and patience that someone as independent and impatient as I am has had to learn to give.

If you’re at all interested in becoming a Big, I’d love to talk to you about it! While it is a commitment and a decision that should be made carefully, it provides a very special opportunity to make an impact on a young person and to learn about yourself in the process.

There are many children in your area (no matter where you live — trust me), especially little boys, who are waiting to be matched with a Big. You might just be the person to change their life.

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Running Away

Kourtney Kardashian running

This is me….pfshahahahah, no it’s not. (But guess who it really is. Click through to see.)

I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with running. I don’t think I was really built to be a runner, but I’ve always wanted to be one.

I envied the female runner: powerful legs, concrete posture, a flat stomach and the strength to propel herself forward for miles, hair bouncing in the wind. Plus, saying “I’m going for a run” just always sounds cool.

I’ve run on and off throughout my life, but I’ve never been great at it. I was on the middle school track team, a sprinter. But I never won first place, and I didn’t really have an impressive mile. I’ve dabbled in jogging for exercise since high school, and I’ve struggled with shin splints, weak knees and low endurance. I had come to terms with the fact that I just wasn’t cut out for it. This year, I decided to give running one last go. And I ran my first 5k.

Running a 5k has always been a goal of mine. I used to think that I wasn’t destined to run much more than a mile at a time until I ran my first 5k this summer. And it was a lot easier than I anticipated. It took a few practice runs of pushing pretty hard, but it was much more doable than I expected. It turns out that I had not tracked my runs very accurately before (thank you Nike Running App!), so I was running more at a time than I had thought and only needed to work on pacing and getting out of my head a little to push myself to the 3-mile mark.

After getting fitted for a new pair of shoes (Brooks Ravenna 3s) and coming to the realization that my body can do more than I’ve allowed it to do, I’m confident that I can build up to a distance I can truly be proud of.

I still don’t run much more than 3 miles at a time, but I’m making strides (yeah, I said that); and my next goal is an 8k, just a little under 5 miles. It probably won’t happen until the spring because my throat tends to close up when it’s much below 40 outside, but we’ll see.

To get to my goal, I have a few challenges to overcome to help boost my endurance:

  • Side cramps – I’ve read that it can be due to lack of hydration, too much hydration, improper breathing or something else. Trying to figure out why it’s happening to me.
  • Trap/delt cramps – Not really sure what this is, but I sometimes get cramps between my shoulders and neck. I think it’s because I run with my shoulders slightly raised, which I’m finding it difficult to correct.
  • A bit of knee/shin pain – It’s much better than it used to be, I think in large part because I finally am wearing the right shoe. I used to think I was flat footed and severely over pronated (thanks mom ;)), which I was recently told is not actually the case. Some bone in my foot (forget what it’s called and am not about to look it up right now) is dropped, which makes it look like I have flat feet. Until now, I was over-correcting it with very thick motion control arches, when I really only need a stability shoe. I think the pain I am having now is because my muscles are weak since I don’t run too frequently. I’ve tried to keep my running days to a minimum to avoid shin splints from the high impact of running, but I’m going to have to build up if I want my legs to be able to handle the task.
  • A less-than-mid-foot strike – From what I can tell, I tend to be a bit of a heel striker, but it depends on how much I am paying attention to my hit. Sometimes I think I am hitting pretty mid-foot, and sometimes I’m not. This may be contributing to my tendency to get shin splints. I recently read that you shouldn’t focus on this too much, though, and just run however is natural for you.

I have a 3-to-4-day-a-week fitness schedule I’m trying to stick to, but I currently only run about once a week (although I ran two or three times the week of Thanksgiving – necessary), taking a spin class, a yoga class and working on strength training to round out the week. I can’t pretend that I stick to this all the time, because I’ve already missed a workout this week. I’d really like to build up my miles per week, but it will probably be a slow climb.

So my running is a work in progress. I have already met some goals and have a few more set, but I look forward to the rest of my jogging journey — until I pound my knees to death, my shins are riddled with stress fractures and I am forced to stop. Hopefully, that won’t be for a while!

If you have any stories, advice or other comments for me on running, I’d love to hear them!

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Falling in Love

Pun intended. I’ve always loved fall; it’s my favorite season by far. The air is crisp but not frigid, scarves are a staple accessory, the leaves make life so much more beautiful and the foods are sweet and comforting.

This past weekend was my most fall-festive weekend yet — complete with a misty trip to Hannah Haunted Acres with my little; a chilly but fun night downtown with new friends; a leisurely afternoon walk on the Monon, bordered by the burning colors of autumn; a savory meal at my new favorite eatery, Zest on 54th; a stop at the chicest farm stand you didn’t know existed; a necessary viewing of ‘Hocus Pocus’; and a Sunday night pumpkin carving.

This weekend I also discovered that my new iPhone takes surprisingly good pictures. Here are a few of my favorites:

fall scene

Bright hues on the way to brunch

Broad Ripple farm stand

Adorable, nameless farm stand — there was no sign!

Orange, white, red, gray pumpkins in Indiana

Pumpkins in every color

Indiana sugar cream pie

Indiana sugar cream pie — only the second slice I’ve ever tried, but the best!

pumpkin carving pattern

I think he likes you.

butternut squash, kale, goat cheese pizza

My newest fall creation – butternut squash, kale and goat cheese pizza on a whole wheat crust with a splash of balsamic. Yummmm

That last photo was actually from last night’s dinner (loosely adapted from this recipe). If you do one thing this fall, try something with butternut squash. You’ll be glad you did!

Until next time —

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Falling Into My Next Playlist

Summer is coming to an end; and as evidenced by my blogging hiatus, I’ve been quite occupied. After a few months of Midwestern travels and sun-soaked experiences, it’s going to be hard to say goodbye to pool days, big sunnies and fresh summer produce. Although, the 100+ degree weather I can live without.

Fall is my favorite season; and after a taste of cool autumn weather here in Indy, I’m in the mood for the chunky sweaters, cinnamon apple candles and sweet brown ales that September 22 will ring in. What better way to get back into the coziness of fall and to kick off a new blogging season than with some funky tunes? Check out what I have been listening to recently, and let me know what you think!

1. Warrior – Foxes

2. Take a Walk – Passion Pit

3. Timekeeper – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals

4. Moving in the Dark – Neon Trees

5. 99 Problems – Hugo

6. Seventeen Years – Ratatat

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“Back Home in Indiana”

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500 2012

To me, the Indy 500 has always seemed like a less-than-classy affair, filled with obnoxious, booze-soaked characters, watching mindlessly as a bunch of space-ship-looking cars drive in a circle for hours on end — not exactly my idea of a riveting event. But this past weekend totally changed my mind about this Hoosier (and global) tradition.

When it comes to racing, or sporting events in general, I’m usually quite out of the loop (I only knew the Stanley Cup finals were last night because a friend of mine tweeted about it). But considering I am coming up on my one year anniversary as an Indianapolis resident, I figured the 500 was something I had to do while living in the Nap Town. Bonus: I scored some pretty sweet free tix. (I’ve been so lucky with free stuff this year.)

Before I was so generously offered these tickets, I had planned to liquor up and jump in the Snake Pit at the infield of the track, where the actual race is of little concern and where hot body contests and blaring music are the hazy focal points. But when I came upon the opportunity to sit in the stands, I called up my dad, made a trip to Sun King and sought out heavy-duty sunscreen in preparation to experience the race the traditional way.

The morning of the 500, I was covered in SPF and pumped up for a day at the track with my dad. While I still wasn’t convinced I would totally enjoy the race for what it was, I had been given a few pep talks from various persons about how amazing this day would be and was ready for a high-energy experience.

Dad arrived right on schedule, and we left my apartment for the track just before 9:30 am. With traffic and a hellofa walk from our parking spot in some guy’s backyard to the Northwest Vista of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway — plus a beer break — we didn’t get to our seats until after 11. With a forecast in the low 90s, the sun was beating down on us as we popped open another beer and prepared to be wowed at turn four.

I was immediately excited when I saw gleaming Camaros (drooooool) lapping the track in a pre-race procession, which included a tribute to military personel as a nod to the Memorial Day holiday and a sweet tribute to Dan Wheldon, complete with Taps and a 21 gun salute. And Florence Henderson (that’s the Florence of the Brady’s, not the Machine), Martina McBride and a taped version of Jim Nabors lent their voices to the race kickoff.

The drivers were introduced, a whopping three of which I had heard of; and before I knew it, the engines were roaring. I’ve been told that the cars were much quieter this year due to a change in engine standards, but the noise I heard coming from these tiny, one-person contraptions that are considered to be actual cars was hardly your typical v6. (Don’t roll your eyes; I had no idea what to expect. I’d never even seen the race on TV!) Dad likened the drone of the lot, circling the 2.5 mile loop, to a hoard of bees; and he was spot on. But these bees were brightly colored (was totes rooting for the neon green Go Daddy car just because, even though I still don’t know who was in it — heard it used to be Danica) and traveling near 220 mph.

Indianpolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500 2012

If you’ve never been to the 500 or any other Indy car race, you have no idea what 220 miles per hour looks like. Sure, the number tells you that these things are going damn fast, but until you catch a glimpse of the blurs that should be car-shaped from ground level, after heading back to your seat from a trip to the bathroom (they’re easier to make out from the stands above), you have no conception of the speed at which the men in these vehicles are being carried. Props to them; I would die.

While I was initially enthralled with the race, my beer ran dry, I had my fill of snacks and the noise was giving me a headache, forcing me to resort to the $2 foam earplugs I got from a guy on the street. I thoroughly enjoyed the race, don’t get me wrong, but let’s just say I would be happy if we decided to call this the Indianapolis 400, instead. Two hundred laps is a lot, even at 200+ mph.

But, just as I was promised, the last few laps of the race were worth the wait. I’ll save you a play-by-play (if you actually cared, I’m sure you’d have watched the race yourself), but each of the last few laps had a new leader, and I honestly got so lost in the whirl-wind and the final yellow flag that I didn’t even realize who crossed the finish line first. Clearly, it was Dario Franchitti, but had you asked me that before everyone started saying his name, I’d have had no idea.

After more than four hours in the blistering heat, three pints of Cream Ale and Wee Mac, and two bottles of water, we had a winner. Ashley Judd (who knew?) came out to congratulate her fast-racin’ hubby, and the milk was drunk and poured.

And thus my first Indy 500 experience was complete. While the high speeds, loud noises and celebrities were a fun and unexpected addition to my extended Memorial Day weekend, I have to say my favorite part was sharing this new experience with my dad. 🙂

Indy 500

Me and Dad!

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indy 500 2012


Sun King beer


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On Repeat: Spring Mix

Before my last post, it had been forever since I scribbled on this blog. That means it has also been forever since I shared some of my new favorite music with you. So now’s the time. These are the songs I’ve been feeding my ears this spring. What will you be jamming to in May? Don’t forget to take my poll at the end!

Center Stage – Capital Cities

Radioactive – Imagine Dragons

Black & Blue – Miike Snow

Come Away to the Water – Maroon 5 and Rozzie Crane

Water Will Find a Way – The Black Ghosts

Settle Down – Kimbra

Some Nights – Fun.

When the Night Falls – Chromeo (this vid is hilarious)

She Always Gets What She Wants – Florrie

Crush on You – Nero

Holidays – Miami Horror ft. Alan Palomo

Barton Hollow – The Civil Wars

Too Close – Alex Clare (yes, this is from the Internet Explorer commercial…)

You made it all the way through! Now, which song was your favorite?

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My New Monthly Treat

Yes, it’s been almost forever since I last posted. I’ve been busy and sick on and off, but other than that, I have no excuse. Since my last post, almost too much has happened to even recap. So I won’t bother in this first post, but I might venture back into some of these things in the future.

Something I do want to talk about is my new monthly treat: Birchbox.

April Birchbox beauty samples

Unless you’re a beauty buff (or you know me), you may not have heard of Birchbox. I learned about it from my cousin, who gifted her mother with a subscription for Christmas, and started scouring the Internet for reviews and blog posts about this sweet concept until I decided that I would try it out myself. Basically, you pay $10 a month (6 or 12 months at a time, or month-to-month) to receive a cute little box filled with 4-5 “deluxe,” high-end beauty samples. These samples range from nail polishes (full sized bottles of Essie — that alone is almost worth the $10 a month) to skin care and hair products to makeup and fragrance samples. Each month is different, some have themes and they are all supposed to cater to your specific beauty profile.

I gifted my bestie with a subscription to Birchbox, and she received her first box before I received my own. So I was super anxious when my little brown and pink package finally arrived in April. Here’s what I got:

April Birchbox with Befine products

April Birchbox Goodies

Befine exfoliating face cleanser

Befine daily moisturizer with SPF

Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy perfume

Shu Uemura Essence Absolue Nourishing Protective Oil

stila smoky eye card sampler

Hollywood Fashion Secrets fashion tape

The Befine single-serve cleansers and moisturizers were a pretty hefty sample, so the rest of the box seemed a little skimpy. Other people received Zoya nail polish samples (I am OBSESSED with Zoya, so this saddened me), cuticle creams and other goodies that I would have liked to get, but overall, I think it was a good start.

I LOVE the Befine face scrub. Befine (“food skincare”) creates natural products primarily using edible ingredients. The face scrub was a mix of brown sugar, almond extract and oats. With a sweet, oatmealy scent, the gentle exfoliating sugar granules dissolved as I washed my face, ending up in a light foamy finish. While it took a while to rinse off the soapy feeling, the cleanser left my skin super soft. Plus, knowing it’s an all-natural, ecofriendly product made my face feel fresher and healthier. Probably a placebo effect, but still.

My other favorite product was the Shu Uemura hair oil. I wasn’t sure whether to apply the oil before or after my blow dry, so I did a quick Google search to find out how to use the product. The first article I pulled up was one from Jennifer Aniston’s stylist, who called the oil some sort of “miracle” oil — seemed like a good sign. I applied a pea-sized amount of the oil onto my damp tresses before blow drying straight and ended up with smooth ends (which I typically need some Frizz Ease to tame) and a luscious, shiny look. I probably could have used a bit more of the product since I have so much hair, but I was pleased with the initial result. I would recommend picking up a full-sized bottle of the stuff, except it’s $68 a pop; so I won’t.

I haven’t used the stila eyeshadows yet, but they are similar to colors I already use, so I’m in no hurry. I’m no stranger to fashion tape, and I wasn’t a huge fan of the Juicy scent. So the rest of the box wasn’t much use to me.

I read on the Birchbox blog that the May box is inspired by “Gossip Girl.” While I’ve never seen an episode of the show, the prospect of “glamorous” samples from the likes of Dior has me extremely excited for my next monthly treat box!

Until next time (which I promise will be soon!) ❤

P.S. If you want to sign up to receive your own Birchbox each month, click here.



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Super Bowl XLVI Indy

Super Bowl XLVI, Monument Circle (See all of my Super Bowl pics below!)

It’s been more than a week since the Super Bowl hub-bub in Indy, and things are back to normal — or should I say, back to boring.

It was a miracle that Indy won the bid for this year’s Super Bowl in the first place. I don’t know that anyone really expected it. When Indy won the bid, I was not a resident. And I have to admit that I have never been particularly impressed with this city. Don’t get me wrong, now that I live here, I have discovered that it has plenty to keep me busy and has been a great place to start out as a twenty-something, but let’s just say it’s no Chicago.

Super Bowl week totally changed my perspective of the the so-called Nap-Town. Maybe it’s because it was suddenly infiltrated with Hollywood visitors (yes, I was on Ryan Gosling watch), or maybe it was how flawlessly the city was able to adapt to such a major event, the likes of which it has never seen before. But something changed with this city last week, and the nation saw it. I didn’t hear one negative comment or read one bad review of our humble Indianapolis, with celebrities, athletes and culture critics all impressed by the convenience downtown offered and what a surprisingly enjoyable (and unseasonably warm) backdrop the capital and people of Indiana provided for this American tradition.

Before SB XLVI arrived, I had made absolutely no plans for the week. I wasn’t even sure I would make it downtown to see the Village (Georgia St. and the Circle were transformed for the various SB festivities; and they dubbed it “Super Bowl Village”). But somehow, my Super Bowl week turned out to be more eventful and exciting than I would have ever expected. Things just kept falling into my lap, and the week turned out to be a great experience thanks to my totally hooked-up friends.

THE PLAY-BY-PLAY — pics are at the bottom of this post

Friday January 29  was the first day of the official Super Bowl week. A co-worker of mine’s boyfriend had opened up a temporary club in the old Nordstrom building downtown called The Huddle, so I went to check it out. I was impressed with what they did with the place; it was chic and very clubby, with blue mood lighting and white couches, tables and curtains. The drinks were more than I would have liked to pay, but it was a cool place. I bet it got pretty crazy there later in the week.

Saturday, I ventured downtown during the day to check out Super Bowl Village. It was pretty nippy, but with beer in hand, Steven and I walked Georgia street end to end, stopping to warm up in the heated enclosed beer garden, down to the zip line and back around to the Circle, complete with ginormous XLVI (which have a screen projected on them when lit up at night). I was really impressed with how they had revamped Georgia, which was completely pedestrian friendly, decked out with heat lamps and speckled with outdoor bars (all serving varieties of Budweiser, the ubiquitous sponsor of everything Super Bowl).

I wasn’t planning on heading back downtown until the next Saturday when I would be hitting up the Pitbull and 50 Cent concert, but Wednesday unexpectedly proved to be one of the best days of my Super Bowl week. One of my co-workers scored tickets to the first of Jimmy Fallon‘s Indy SB tapings of Late Nite and asked me to go along. As a celeb-stalker, this was a dream come true. To my dismay, the night we had tickets to the show, Tim Tebow and Tracy Morgan were guests. Snooze. And imagine my frustration when I found out that Adam Levine (swoon) and Taylor Lautner would be on the following day. Although I was bummed at this predicament, it didn’t diminish my excitement to see Jimmy. And he was everything I expected: adorable, genuine and a riot. And since I had band tickets (All American Rejects), I got to go on stage at the end of the show. So, naturally, I decided to chat up Jimmy, who was chillin’ in the corner of the stage. I was sort of at a loss for words, so our conversation consisted of me asking what he liked most about Indy. His answer was sort of bland and typical, with him citing the welcoming people of Indy and their numerous dining suggestions as his favorite thing. I also may have almost spit on him, but it was totally worth it! Too bad I couldn’t get a picture of him :/

When I was just getting over my lucky Wendesday, my Thursday continued with surprises. While in line buying dinner at Walmart, I got a call from Alyssa telling me to be ready ASAP to go with her to the Pepsi Fan Jam at the Pepsi Colosseum at the Fairgrounds. And who would be there? Yep, Adam Levine. I didn’t miss my chance after all! What would have been a regular night watching Vampire Diaries at home ended up being a big party with B.o.B., Gym Class Heroes, Adam, and All American Rejects (again). Not too shabby.

Friday, I passed on trying to fight the mob (literally – police were calling the Village a “human gridlock”) to see LMFAO; but I got my fill waiting more than two hours in the cold and rain outside the Bud Light Hotel tent on Saturday to see 50 Cent, Lil Jon, Pitbull (so awesome!) and a surprise performance by Far East Movement. We also caught a glimpse of Nelly, who decided to pay a visit to Lil Jon on stage. Thanks to Alyssa for hooking us all up with the tix from Hot 96.3!

After a hectic week I hardly expected, watching the actual game on the couch with frozen pizza was more than welcome. But who cares about the Super Bowl anyway? Not me 😉

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Pace Yourself

Pace yourself. I’ve heard this phrase applied in numerous situations: when running a race, when stuffing your face, when navigating a major blowout sale. But probably one of the most critical situations to pace yourself in is life. You can’t do everything at once, and you can’t do everything when everyone else does it.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you should sit on your ass and let opportunities pass you by, but life isn’t a race. No one is going to beat you; you are in it for you. In the past year or so, it’s become incredibly clear to me that everyone’s pace of life is different. While I graduated from school less than a year ago, am about to move in with two other twenty-something girls in the city (well, if you consider Indy much of a city) and still get excited for $2 schooner night at Chumley’s, Facebook statuses are quickly flipping to “engaged” and baby bumps are growing around me.

To me, this is such a foreign concept, something I don’t see for myself for several years at the very least. So it’s incredibly weird to see people my age or younger settling down and popping out kids.  I don’t want a baby or a husband or a mortgage right now. Heck, I don’t want those things next year. I love the fact that I am still figuring out my life and have the freedom to be young. But everyone’s pace of life is different. I’m happy for the people who are creating new life or paying property taxes. I’m just glad it’s not me. While it’s not perfect, I’m happy with my pace of life.

Even so, like everyone tells me, you can’t plan when certain things happen. You just have to go with the flow; and if you fall in love tomorrow, well, then you fall in love tomorrow. And if you get pregnant tomorrow, well, then you’re fucked.

Speaking of a different pace of life (and having a baby), my beautiful cousin had her baby shower last weekend. She’s due on Valentine’s Day!! ❤

I will buy your baby hippy clothes, and it will love them!

Her pace of life is obviously a little more advanced than mine, but it works for her — and mine works for me. So pace yourself, folks. What’s the rush?

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I’m Not Sorry

“I’m sorry.” I’ve noticed how much I’ve been saying those words lately – either speaking them aloud to someone or simply feeling their sentiment myself.

I’m sorry things worked out this way.  I’m sorry I said that. I’m sorry I did A or didn’t do B. 

The words are beginning to lose meaning. So, as my one and only new year’s resolution, I’m going to try to delete those words from my vocabulary. Well, not so much stop saying them, but stop feeling them. This isn’t just to force myself to come up with a more intelligent way of expressing myself (something I think our entire generation should work on), but it’s to help me live without regret.

I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. Every action has a reaction that teaches us something, alters our character and brings us to a place where another pivotal event will occur. This past year, I’ve tried to make sense of things that have happened to me with this frame of mind. And in retrospect, in which all things are clearer, I’ve realized how true this philosophy is. Call it fate or destiny or God’s plan — however you choose to refer to it. But I realize that every person I lose is making room for a new one I will meet. Every mistake I make helps me avoid an even bigger one. Every step I take is leading me in the direction of the rest of my life. Maybe this is just some cliche mumbo jumbo to you; but as I grow up, I realize that cliches exist for a reason — a lot of them are true.

So in the spirit of fate, I am going to live my life the way I want to live it. I’m not going to pass things up. I’m not going to whine or wish that things were different (ok, I might still whine, just not as much). But I’m not just going to sit back and let life happen to me, either, hoping that fate will take over. I won’t regret anything, but I will make changes to avoid repeating mistakes. (If I think making a certain decision will lead to an “I’m sorry,” maybe I should reconsider it.) I’m going to relish in the humanity of not knowing. I’m going to have experiences and make wrong turns and cry and laugh and make a fool of myself with the intention of living life until I get it right. Which may be never. What is getting it right, anyway? I have a feeling it’s not possible.

My mother told me recently, “Tell God your plans, and he will laugh at them.” Have a good chuckle, God. I’ll join you.

So cheers to 2012, to everything you are, everything you love and everything you want to change. No regrets.

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