July 12, 2013

An Accurate Portrayal

image by Violet May via Design Mom

I went on a walk with Caitlin Tuesday morning, and we caught up on life, school, her trip to NYC, etc. It was so great! In the course of our conversation, we talked a little about my blog. She commented on how fun my summer looks, how lovely the photos are, etc. etc. And I was like, gurrrl, please! (or, please, girl! as my roommate Whitney might say.)

*a brief sidenote*

I started writing this blog as an alternative to keeping a journal (and again, I don't blog publicly about my deepest, innermost private things, but I DO tend to share a lot of things here. (Which I still find strange, btw. But I've always felt surprisingly OK about leaving this space public, sooo I'm just gonna keep rolling with that feeling for now.). I've been reading a lot lately on LDS.org about Family History, and in the list of "things we can do" for our genealogy, they ask the question: "What are you doing now to preserve your personal history?" And I thought, hey! My blog = my personal history! (or at least a part of it.) I don't hard copy journal as much as I'd like to, and I often forget things if I don't take photos of them. My friend Jeffie G. mocks me because I take SO many photos, but that's honestly another reason I do it; if I don't photograph something, I'll probably forget it! It's sad, but true. Case in point: every Sunday night when I go to e-mail my brother, I have to scroll through my iPhone photos to remember what I did that week. But that's not what this post is about.

*end of sidenote *

So, yes, "Gurrrl, please!" And I thought of all the things that have filled up my summer. The things that aren't on this blog. The things that live in my heart and in my head, and the things that are maybe too boring/mundane or stressful/personal to photograph/share? But if I am to preserve my personal history or even to show my real self (is that what I'm trying to do? A saber...) via this blog, I suppose I should provide a more accurate portrayal.

With that in mind, let me share a little about my two biggest anxiety-inducers this summer:

A- Finding a job.

B- Finishing my graduate degree.

Don't get me wrong; I worry about plenty of other things, too (making time to exercise, how to balance my time in general, how to put myself "out there" with regards to dating, when I'm going to finally make time to paint the rest of my dining table/chairs (oh, and how to figure out what size screws the table needs? the top of my dining table is currently perched precariously on top of the base... but that hasn't stopped us from eating/playing games on it!), family stuff, how to find cheap couches and a new area rug because I really really hate the ones we currently have, thinking about selling some clothes/shoes I never wear because my room is too cluttered but WHEN the heck do I have time for that and WHERE would I sell them?, looking for ways to share the gospel on a daily basis, fretting about how the humidity will affect my hair, what I'm going to wear? (ha.), etc., etc.).

But my biggest priorities are the two mentioned above. Blogging about being jobless, about networking, about e-mailing resumes isn't very exciting. The process of looking for a job is often very overwhelming . I described it to my bishop's wife on Sunday as somewhat akin to dating (I also compared my search for the "perfect" pair of nude wedges to dating, but that's neither here nor there.) in that you have to put yourself "out there," make a good first impression, connect with the right people, keep an open mind, make yourself vulnerable to potential rejection, walk that fine line between expressing enough interest and acting desperate, etc. Both are no crazy sometimes, but I hear that both are worth it? In the meantime, they are both stressful. And time-consuming (at least the job searching is).

And graduate school... Ah, graduate school... I walked at the Commencement Ceremonies in May, but I'm wrapping up my last few classes. That includes two classes this summer, finishing a course from LAST summer, testing out of a class I don't really want to take, and a trip to Turkey in August (for which I've yet to buy a plane ticket on account of the whole not having a job thing...). And it's SOOOO much harder to focus on school when everyone around me is playing and having all sorts of summer fun! My case of #FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is perpetuated to the Nth degree when I'm in grad school during the summer. Add to that my very short attention span, and well... it's hard. The school part will be over in about six weeks, but it's daunting to think of all that needs to happen BEFORE that in order to GET to "the end."

But to tie everything together, let it be known that I feel very grateful for the opportunities I've had (currently have) in my life, and I'm grateful that my "problems" are such blessings. I mean, seriously. Do you know how many people in the world would LOVE to get an education and can't? My own parents didn't get to go to college, for crying out loud! Heck, my grandmother never even learned how to read, and here I get to go to graduate school at a world-class university, studying a field I love! Such a blessing! :) And as I'm job searching, I feel very grateful for the help of so many friends and colleagues who give me advice, critique my resume, share opportunities with me, and recommend me to others. I feel hopeful and grateful, and I know things could be much worse.

When I look back at this time of my life, at this summer, I want to feel that my time was well-spent, that my choices were well-made, and that my direction and my attitude were correct. Most of all, I want to make sure that I'm always (not just now) accomplishing good things. Maintaining this blog will provide me (and others, I suppose) a way to look back quite literally, and I want to remember that there was more happening beneath the surface of the parties, picnics, and playtime. Because it's during those "other" times -- the times that we often feel are too mundane or drab to blog about -- that real personal growth occurs. And boy, am I growing! :)

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