Ch-Ch-Changes

 

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(Estelle Getty would like to thank Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue for their consideration.)

I don’t like change. Well, sort of.

“Let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up.”

Two weeks ago today I finished the last class of my Master’s. The second year kids went out after, and as I looked out on the basket of chips, I realized I don’t want to move on from this. I don’t want to move on from this place, these people, and those chips.

I’ve had a really wonderful last year of grad school. The first was dramatically less wonderful. The chips were always wonderful.

Why did it all go by so fast? What’s going to happen next? How do they make those chips?

I resist almost all forms of change. It’s a bit of a habit.

A week before I left for college my mom said, “You know, you could stay here and go to [local school] for a couple of years.” It wasn’t an unreasonable thing to say. I was following her around the house for weeks, as I claimed to be storing up “bonding time” before I left for a the great big world of college (45 minutes away).

My first year of college was an epic disaster. I made approximately two friends. The way I bonded with said friends was over a game of Scene It? Twilight Edition. (For real.) I also ate peanut butter straight from the jar and watched five seasons of Grey’s Anatomy. When summer came, I was left to see that I had fallen very far from the bright girl who graduated from high school a year earlier. (That’s very dramatic. Let me be clear, that I was still a lovable nerd, but I was hidden under acne and sweatpants.)

The next year I tried really hard to make friends and to eat peanut butter from the jar only on special occassions. I even forced myself to say hello to all the people in my dorm. (Technically, that was my job as a RA.)

Forcing social interactions allowed me to meet good friends. It allowed me to fall in love with college. It wasn’t love at first sight, but sometimes that slow friendship kind of love can be more powerful. And then, I had to leave.

The move to Cali went slightly better than college. No enormous weight gains were had. No severe Grey’s Anatomy stupors were entered. I watched Vampire Diaries instead. (Concerned about my TV choices? Me too.)

And then California got better. It turns out it’s pretty easy to fall in love with 27 miles of coastal beauty, constant sunshine, and friends who share nachos.

Now it’s almost over, and I have to start over again.

I love that opportunity. Starting over means possibility and personal growth. It means finding new favorite bookstores and their forgotten corners. It means new challenges and a new furniture arrangement. Maybe this time I’ll invest in accent pillows! Maybe I’ll have an oven! Maybe I’ll get to park my car at the apartment!

Starting over also means patches of loneliness. It means not knowing where the closest Costco is (for hotdog purposes, obviously).

It means limiting the number of phone calls I make to my family per day.

It means forcing myself to interact with strangers in the desperate hope that some of them could be friends.

I don’t like that plan. I like the people I talk to. I like having conversations that are little shortbread cookies of pleasure in my day. I like laughing without people commenting on how my nose scrunches. (Friends don’t care about nose scrunching.)

It’s funny how sometimes we don’t get what we like. (Though, I would really, really like the throw pillows.)

I talked about being an RA earlier in this post. I can’t say that I was overcome with happiness when I got the position, but I am now overcome with gratitude for that position. It made college for me. It was nothing like the experience I would have imagined for myself. It wasn’t anything I wanted, but it was what I needed.

It’s funny how sometimes we get just what we need. (Throw pillows and good chips are a need. Right?)

I’m counting on that. I’m trusting that I’m going to be led exactly where I need to be. Sure, this next step might not be a step into perfect land. There might be some straight-from-the-jar nights, but maybe this time I’ll upgrade to cookie spread. Maybe this time I’ll binge on Mad Men. Maybe this time I’ll “have fun storming the castle.” Okay, that didn’t make a lot of sense, but I had to bring The Princess Bride back in somehow.

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enJOY

“You’re supposed to enJOY it.  All of it.  For the rest of your life.”

I begin this post with a quote from Soul Surfer because I’m going to talk about JOY, swimming, and for unknown reasons, am set on including this picture from Oahu.  So…

Let me be clear, I usually try to enJOY life.  I enJOY the people I am around, even if they’re out of their minds.  I enJOY myself, even when I’m out of my mind.  I try to be intentionally JOYful.

However, JOY is also something that I often realize is missing from my days: the way I interacted with the cashier, the tone I had with my mom on the phone, or even just the way I let the day be less than mediocre for no reason at all.  It seems that as I get older, things that I enJOY are threatened by… grown-up bad attitudes, mostly.

Take swimming.  I LOVE to swim.  Always have.  Ask anyone (mainly my family) about my “dolphin show” I put on in the pool, and then maybe you’ll understand.  Let’s just say I’m pretty good at multiple dolphin-like noises and belly finishes. Moving on… When I joined the swim team in high school, something I loved slowly slipped away from me, from no one’s fault but my own.  I became stressed at practice and angry at my performance. And it was my bad attitude clouding my enJOYment of swimming, making me dread practice, and actually hindering me from getting better.  By the time I got to college, I couldn’t even experience how cool it was to be on an NCAA Div I Swim Team (although it was just for my gpa, so don’t get too impressed).  Instead, I was too embarrassed and disappointed in how slow my times were. What?!  I look back on that now (only three years ago), and I can’t believe I let that amazing opportunity go by.  An opportunity to get better at swimming, yes, but mostly an opportunity to enJOY the experience.  To relish swimming in an Olympic-grade pool with future professional swimmers and Olympians. Seriously, why could I not just chill out and enJOY?!

I say this now because I think that the experiences I’m currently going through that threaten my JOY are very much the same.  The world comes crashing down, trying to rain on my parade. Oh, how it tries.  But guess what, ugly part of the world?  You can’t stop this attitude (the good one)!  I still love swimming, but it took a while to get back together. We’re still working on things. And there are things I treasure, things I do, and ways I think that I refuse to handle with anything but JOY.  So cashier, I’ll make your day next time.  And Mom, feel free to call. I’ll be nice.  And day, you’re going to be spectacular, or at least full of laughter because laughter is my favorite way to live with JOY.

EnJOY your day, and I’m sorry for the annoying caps.  (But not sorry enough to change them.)