How Do You Know When You’re a Grown-Up?

A couple weeks before the wedding, I was having dinner with my uncle (who officiated our wedding). He mentioned that one of his daughters/my cousins had asked him about what kinds of moments or milestones make you realize you’ve grown up or are older than you used to be. My uncle passed this question onto me, wondering if I had any response for it myself. In all honesty, I had no idea what to say.

You know how you expect the world to look different or something after you have a “major” birthday or have some kind of big life achievement? And then… it doesn’t? Do you think there’s really an objective, universal milestone that makes everyone actually feel like an adult? I haven’t have kids yet, so I can’t speak for everything, but so far big birthdays, graduation, and marriage doesn’t make me feel any different. However, I’ve been contemplating my cousin’s question since this conversation, and there are a couple things that I do think mark some level of maturity, whether or not they actually make us adults or make us feel grown-up.

Personally, I have to say that one of those things is realizing the good things in my life situation. It’s definitely taken me some time to realize just how much I have to be thankful for in my life. Things like my parents still being together, having graduated from high school and college, and not being in any kind of debt. I’ve definitely taken all of these things for granted at some point or another, and just in the past year have I gained the perspective of just how blessed I am to have all of them.

The next thing that I think is an important aspect of maturity is pretty simple: appreciating your parents’ affection for each other. If you still roll your eyes or act grossed-out when your parents kiss in front of you, you should probably consider a reality check. Do you know how many people in the world would be straight-up shocked if their parents acted loving towards each other? Be super happy, super proud, and super thankful if you have loving and supportive parents that are on each other’s team.

Another important perspective to have, I think, is realizing that it’s really not all about you. It’s not healthy if you take other people (family, parents, friends) and your relationships for granted, and sooner or later you’ll probably find that they’ll stop putting up with your selfish behavior. Every relationship takes compromise and give-and-take. You’ll have to bite your tongue sometimes, and learn how to be vulnerable, and you’ll have to make sure others are okay and do things for them because you love them (romantically or otherwise) even if it’s not fun and you don’t seem to get anything out of it. Some people are fortunate enough to be raised by parents who are good about teaching them this, but it’s sure gotta be rough for kids who have to figure this one out on their own.

One of the biggest marks of maturity/growing up, to me, is learning that everyone’s lives, purposes, and values are so different and widely varying that there’s no way to be “the popular girl” or any way to be better than anyone else in the real world. There’s a couple quotes I love that talk about this. The first one goes something like, “The way you treat other people says more about you than it does about them.” Seriously, this isn’t high school anymore (thank God, am I right?). If you’re rude and condescending to someone else, there’s no one giggling about it with you – you’re just an awful person. And that’s all there is to it. The other favorite quote is, “In this life, people will love you and people will hate you, and none of that will have anything to do with you.

Along the same lines, I’m going to add the realization that the opinions of others do not affect who you are. This one was a hard one for me to learn, that I don’t have to live to please anyone else. In real life, you have to know who you want to be and how you want to live, and have the self-awareness to know when you are measuring up to being that person. Know that this is all that matters (within reason – basically, as long as you don’t, like, enjoy treating other people badly or other measures that actually do make you a bad person). If someone else thinks you’re shallow or unintelligent because you post selfies (which, let’s face it, is stupid – I basically don’t trust you if you don’t post selfies), or if someone thinks you’re a bad person because a skirt you totally dig is shorter than what they’d wear themselves, or they assume anything negative about you because of anything you like, the problem is them. You’re enough for yourself. Why even bother letting other people have any kind of power over how you feel about yourself? You rock.

And that leads me to another important aspect of being a grown-up: it’s time to stop thinking it’s important to try to make anyone else feel bad about something they like. And along the same lines, stop thinking that you’re better than anyone else because you don’t like something they do. I know people who make me feel like I can’t even open up about things I like in conversations with them because they immediately shoot down anything I say or act like they’re too cool for whatever it is. Being friends (or even friendly) with some one else doesn’t require agreeing that some band is the best thing to ever happen to planet Earth or agreeing that something (or someone) else is stupid. For example, I got a lot of crap on Facebook for mentioning in a discussion that I didn’t care for the music in Frozen (a couple people even told me they weren’t sure they could still be friends with me. They were ultimately joking, of course, but why try to make me feel like I have to defend my tastes or preferences to you? I don’t have to explain myself or the things I like to anyone else, and neither do you). It’s taken me a long time to come to a place where I can respond to someone telling me, “OMG you do/don’t like this or that?? I don’t even understand,” with a simple, “That’s fine.” And I’m proud that I can.

In all honesty, I wasn’t 100% sure what kinds of things I would end up talking about when I began this post, but ultimately it looks like I believe that being an adult/mature means being humble, grateful, considerate, and completely owning yourself. 

What kind of things make you know that you’re more grown-up than you used to be? Are any of those things bigger than “well, now I have to pay taxes,” or “now, I have an extra mouth to feed”?

so, sooo true.  and it may not even be YOU, it may be what they THINK is you

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Wedding Reflections (and photos!)

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     I’ve officially been married to the man of my dreams for 17 days now! It’s crazy to me to think that now my wedding day is a thing of the past and I’ve loved unfollowing every pinterest wedding board I’ve ever followed (except for my best friend’s, who got engaged the day after my wedding!). From the moment I walked into the rehearsal to see almost all of my extended family waiting in the church foyer for me and giving each one of them big hugs, I felt so much love and felt so very blessed all weekend. There’s been so much celebration and joy and anticipation in my life for months, and now it’s calm and quiet and peaceful (and oh so happy). 

     My wedding day was absolute perfection. There were like, maybe 2-3 bumps in the day but they’re so not even a big deal. Whenever people would ask me if I was going for any kind of theme, I’d simply say that my goal was for it to be one big celebration. And it was! I feel pure joy when I think about it (and when I re-watch my wedding’s highlight reel for the 1094235094094th time). Additionally, however, I just feel so incredibly grateful and humbled by the love and support which surrounds me. To see so many people come to my wedding to support our marriage and celebrate with us was so touching. Every moment was something sweet and every person was some one I was happy to have there. 

     It’s funny how everything works out. If you’ve been following my blog for some time at all, you probably know that there were a whole lot of obstacles on the way to planning everything. From my dad losing his job (and starting a new one), to me quitting a job I hated, to changing venues about 2 or 3 times… there were so many things that happened along the way that led us to have all of the details fall into place better than I could have imagined it. But everything worked out – a lot because it actually did, and a lot because I learned to let go of things and relax my controlling behavior. 

     I know, I know — pictures! Here comes the fun part! (I don’t have all of my photos in from my hired photogs, but I have some, and then also some great ones from family!)

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My bridesmaids! My best gals!

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Me, my parents, and my sister. We always look like this.

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The whole wedding party. This was right after I shouted “Everyone, pretend you’re a spy!”

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This is quite possibly my favorite picture from the whole day. It totally captures exactly how I felt the whole time.

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Us, pretending we knew what we were doing while cutting the cake (why are there no rehearsals of that??).

ImageAt the end of my first dance with my Daddy!

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Dancing with my Momma!

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This was at the very end of the night. Luke and I had changed into our getaway clothes, and ran onto the dance floor for onelast song (Journey, of course), where everyone just surrounded us dancing. Right after this, everyone went outside to the front of the church for our sparkler send-off! 

My Wedding’s Highlight Reel

There’s so much I need to be getting done now that the wedding and honeymoon are over. The wedding was perfect, the honeymoon was amazing, and my life is so full of joy and peace and I’m the happiest I’ve been in a very long time. I want to write so much about everything, but for now, I can really just share this video for you – my own stories and details to come soon!

Last Unmarried Blog Update!

All of me loves all of you

This will officially be my last post as an unmarried woman (what? ahhhhh!).  The wedding is on Sunday, in 2 days and this week has blown by.  I mean, I guess that’s obvious, but seriously. Fortunately, I am not a hectic whirlwind of a girl; I am doing super well and am really calm and chill. All of the big decisions have been made and all the little things to worry about have been delegated.  All I have to worry about is moving all my things to L’s apartment, which is still pretty inconvenient because of how far he lives from me. My room looks like a tornado ran through it due to my cleaning/sorting/packing, but it has to get worse before it gets better, I guess.

Currently, my sister and I are curled up on the couch in front of a lovely fire in the fire place, perfecting the details of the ceremony programs and talking about our feelings in regards to varying fonts and I’m really happy. Tomorrow is full of really boring errands and then picking up some of my favorite ladies at the airport. From that point on, I get my best friend that I never get to see with me 24/7 and it’s going to be heavenly. I’m so excited!

I know I’ve done Wednesday Things for the majority of this past semester, but this lovely lady does a variation of that for posting updates on her blog, which she titles “Currently” and describes her current feelings and thoughts, etc. I think it’s a great idea, and I’m going to start doing them myself. =]  So, here we go…

Currently…

Loving… moving! Namely, finally going through all my crap and paring down all my belongings. Seriously, I own way too much.

Thinking about all my last-minute little errands, phone calls, and things to finish up in the (zero) time I have left until the ceremony.

Reading… Ready Player One by Earnest Cline. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you probably know that I absolutely love audio books. 50% of my time is (unfortunately) spent driving in my car and thanks to audio books, I’ve gone through up to five or six books in one month! I anticipate that this will change after I get back from the wedding because I won’t have a school, job, or boyfriend’s house to drive to (hurray for working online!). I’m looking forward to this, because I think I’ll actually be able to get through the tons of physical books I own that I have yet to read. (Bonus: the audio version of Ready Player One is read by Whil Wheaton!)

Watching… youtube. Honestly, I’ve just been going through Rooster Teeth and Achievement Hunter videos because all of the shows I’m behind on are ones I watch with L, and we just haven’t seen enough of each other in, like, ever to actually stay up to date on all of them. So, when I’m at my place and/or just by myself, I just watch their episodes on YouTube.

Anticipating…  my wedding. Duh. AND seeing my lovely lady friends who are coming into town to stand up next to me for my big day! Also, I recently realized a wonderful thing that I am very excited for: on the day of, I have no time schedule to which I must conform. Aside from making sure that I’m happily hidden away once people actually start arriving, the entire day does not happen without me or my say-so. Literally. This is the ONE day in my life that I get when this happens. This has also been one of the most comforting things for me.

10 Things College Has Taught Me (Wednesday Things)

(Today’s Wednesday Things post comes to you in the form of actual blog content! Yay!)

Yesterday, I turned in my final exams for my entire undergrad education and then my Momma and I booked it on the road to Pennsylvania, where I get to hang with a best friend (and go shopping with her, naturally), see some family, and actually meet the lovely lady I’ve been writing for online in person! So far it’s been a wonderful getaway right before the wedding, and when I get home for this weekend, I walk in my graduation commencement ceremony on Saturday!

Appropriately, here is a list of things I’ve learned throughout college:

  1. I have learned just about every in and out there is to know about doing research, and I am really darn good at it, too.
  2. It’s not just something people say – it actually is all who you know.
  3. I’m a serial Rick Roller. It’s my favorite, and that’s about as crazy as I get. The worst it gets for anyone is that some one feels a little bit dumb. This year, a girl somehow got a hold of the list address through which to email every single undergrad student in the entire university, and when people “reply-all”-ed we learned that we could all communicate to each other like some big, university-wide forum. Some people got angry, the better people enjoyed the heck out of it. Some one even copy+pasted the entire text of War and Peace. I Rick Rolled the entire undergraduate class and also spammed everyone with some doge/shibe memes. I may be getting my bachelor’s degree, but my participation in this event is also an accomplishment I am uber proud of during my high school career. I even got recognized in the school paper’s list of the best emails of what I affectionately call “the OU email fiasco of 2014.” Good times.
  4. A very personal and important thing I learned is that I could have walked back into being a voice performance major when I transferred to Oakland if I wanted to. (Read this post to find out why this is a very big deal). My fear and anxiety distorted my perception so significantly, and I am back to owning myself and skills more than ever.
  5. I made the right choice by transferring back home. I originally started at Grove City College in Grove City, PA as a voice major but changed everything and came back home after one semester. I’ve always known that I don’t regret starting here (a list of what I learned in my time here is a whole post for it’s own day), but every time I come back and visit for a few days I’ve always felt like I’m in some alternate dimension where I stayed, and part of me has always wondered “what if.” Even though this trip out here has been wonderful, it’s been the first trip that has left me certain that I made the right choice by coming home.
  6. It’s okay to have friends that aren’t super close. My best friends have always some how ended up living very far from me, and that can really suck when, say, you’re engaged and can’t have a proper bachelorette party because all your girls are in separate states or when you just want some one to hang out with in sweatpants and each doing your own thing. But this is okay, because I’ve learned that I have a lot of great, not-super-close friends in my life and how to reach out to them to spend time together. It may sometimes mean leaving my comfort zone (omg: one-on-one conversations?!) but it almost always pays off, even if it’s just because it was something different than sitting around at home. College has definitely taught me how to utilize and enjoy this dimension of socialization.
  7. College is seriously so much harder than high school. I mean, duh, and we all already knew this going into it, but in high school the biggest single assignment I had was a 10-page paper that we spent all semester on and wrote in segments. In college, I’ve had to write multiple 20+-page assignments in a week or less, and especially in one night thanks to procrastination.
  8. Ask for things. There have been so many times that I or my mother have gotten something just because we’ve asked. Like, real things. Like jobs and discounts and opportunities. For example, I got my new favorite writing gig because I shot the website’s contact email asking if she could use any help. Especially in situations where asking for/about something involves have nothing to lose, I say ask.
  9. There are more important things than whichever test or school assignment you’re killing yourself to try and get a 4.0 through. Your GPA, especially in college, is not worth being bad to your body, mind, or spirit. Mistreating yourself by getting zero sleep, refusing every offer of socialization, chugging 5-hour energies (which are to high school students what Monster energy drinks were to high schoolers in my time), and never allowing yourself any down time is so not worth it.
  10. Being busy is not cool, nor is life a competition about who is busiest. Seriously – “busy” should not be a response to “How are you?” Have you noticed how people turn conversations into competitions about who’s busier than the other? Being super busy should not be a life goal. Enjoy your downtime – it’s good for you.

Wandering Israelites and Faltering Faith

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First of all, Happy Easter, everyone!

Secondly, I know you must all be shocked that I’m actually writing a post that isn’t a ho hum Wednesday Things article, but I just had some Easter-appropriate questions I’d love to discuss with others.

Last night, my mom and I watched the season finale of Parenthood while putting together centerpieces for the wedding. After that was over and we still had some work to do, she bounced around channels and saw that the Ten Commandments was playing. She sentimentally turned to that and let it play quietly while we talked and finished up. The scene played where Moses is up on the mountain getting the 10 Commandments and the Israelites down below just got discouraged and bored and made a cow statue out of gold and partied. And because of that they were then forced to wander in the dessert for 40 years until every person in that whole generation had died.

I feel like, in my experience, in every Sunday school lesson or sermon, etc., that I’ve heard about the multiple falterings of the Israelites’ faith, and it always feels hyperbolic and downplayed and really absurd. To me, people doubting the Lord is a very serious and real issue, and anytime I’ve heard these stories I’ve only ever been told “All of these people were struggling in their faith and had questions and doubts, so they made a gold cow to dance around.” And maybe it’s just me, but especially in the Ten Commandments, I thought that the enthusiasm and behavior depicted in this part felt really unrelatable and made everyone look like morons. They had to have had more logic and reason than that, right? Was it just that they had been so immersed in the culture and religion of the Egyptians and, once they started wondering what they had gotten themselves into, they turned back to that culture they were so comfortable with before for comfort? I don’t know.

I’d be very interested in some sort of bible study which talks about these instances of faltering faith with a perspective that these were real people with real doubts and real questions and real struggles with their faith. I grew up in a church that heavily criticized any questions regarding God or faith, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it were the case that other churches actually discussed my questions, and that the church I grew up in just tried to skim over that to make it sound just plain stupid or pointless to have any kinds of doubts or questions yourself.

Honestly, I think the healthiest thing you can do in general is let people ask questions, and especially when it comes to such personal topics as religion and spirituality. I also can’t help but wonder, from my limited knowledge about the Old Testament, who the heck wouldn’t have questions after things happening like, “oh, Moses got frustrated and hit a rock with his walking stick and now he’s not allowed to go into the Promise Land he had done so much to lead his people to;” or “Oh, because our parents made a gold cow statue and partied hard, they had to wander until every last one of them died and now we have to care about and find this ‘Promise Land?'” or “Uh, didn’t this God just kill immense numbers of the Egyptians’ and our babies and children like, a week ago?” Seriously, the Old Testament has some intense, heavy, and even bizarre things and I feel like so much meaning and truth and context behind a lot of it gets completely lost or skimmed over. I know there’s a significant amount of things we lose out on understanding due to translation issues and culture differences, but I feel like that shouldn’t be an excuse to not question things or try to understand instead of saying “God said so” or “Just accept it – that’s faith.”

I know too well that churches often avoid talking about doubtful questions and faltering faith, but they shouldn’t. I wish more of the Bible was taught in a way that made the stories and characters sound like actual people. I was shocked the first time I heard a message at a Bible camp about how Jesus sometimes got pissed off and had a sense of humor and cracked jokes and had his own struggles with his relationship with God. Until that point, I had always pictured him as a stoic, poetic, monotone dude who’s facial expressions probably didn’t change much and he probably never laughed or chilled out.

I don’t know. This is just what has been on my mind since watching Charleston Heston on the TV last night. And now, I get to go spend some quality family time with Luke’s side of the family! But I’d love to hear some discussion about what I just talked about by people who have more knowledge or perspective than I do — or even people with other/more questions.

 

Wednesday Things

Nelson Mandela

1. Tonight, I get to sing Carmina Burana with some amazing people at Orchestra Hall in Detroit. If you’re sitting there thinking you have no idea what Carmina Burana is, you actually do. It’s where this is from – it’s actually the first and last movement of Carmina Burana. You know that song. It’s not something I have to do, but I’ve been rehearsing with people all year and when am I ever going to get the chance to sing this like, ever again in my life?

2. Okay, okay, here’s the big news this week: I quit my job. I know, I know, I have three jobs, but the main source of my income has been from waitressing, which I absolutely hate. So I quit. The bottom line was that there is just too much wonderful in my life right now that I am being held back from enjoying or really immersing myself in because I had this dark cloud of work hanging over my head. Also, I wasn’t planning to work in April anyway, really; I knew I’d be crazy busy and basically unavailable for an actual work schedule anyway. This is only a good thing for me right now, and I’m really committed to making sure that my next job is a day job (so I can be on the same schedule as my soon-t0-be-husband), that’s not retail or waitressing and is somehow related to my degree (Wellness and Personal Development/Health and Wellness).  Besides, it’ll be so great to be able to come home to a fresh start after the honeymoon.

3. Don’t even make me get started on the dang snowfall in April. I don’t care if we did break our most-snow-ever winter record, I was not a happy girl about it. Get your stuff together, Mitten State.

4. Countdown update:  I walk for graduation is 10 days and the wedding is in 18! I’m officially in giddy freakout mode, which also consists of not caring one single bit about the remaining paper/exams I have for my classes.

5. Next week, I’m taking a road trip with my Momma to PA to spend a couple of my last single days with my best friend Sandra at my old school and also finally meet Liz from My Subscription Addiction, for whom I review/write. I’m really excited about both of those things, and it’ll be great to have some girl time before the wedding with a friend I never see, especially since I’m not able to really have a bachelorette party because all my girls are scattered in different states.

6. My new mantra is one that my new internet friend, Rachel, tweeted: “Life is too fabulous to be sad.” Seriously, I need that on a shirt or bracelet or something!

I know that’s short, but I now have to go get ready for the performance tonight/actually do my homework later!