Things I’m trying to master at 25.

  1. Having Flaws.
    Our society demands very high expectations of people, in response we hide our real selves by directing attention to the things that make us look good. We approach life like our Facebook page, only letting the best photos and comments through so we are viewed in the best possible light. I have two theories about Facebook: 1. It makes us feel really good to look at our page because it is all the best things about us. 2. It makes us feel bad because all we see are the best things about everyone else. With friend lists soaring over 500 people, there is always someone on a better vacation, with more exciting news, better jokes and posting prettier pictures. Facebook is no longer sincere, and I fear our culture is headed that way too. Imperfections = sincerity.
  2. Balancing work with rest.
    I read an article once that dug deep into the mind of young females that work in communications but get burnt out by 30 {read it}. There was a quote that stood out to me – “These women worked like crazy in school, and in college, and then they get into the workforce and they are exhausted.” Sometimes I feel like young people work too much, but it’s also putting in our dues. You have to work hard to stand out above the other hundreds of grads in your field, especially living in a college town. That’s the country we live in – freedom to work as hard as we want. My top strength via the Gallup Strength Finder was Achievement. I like to be able pull off the impossible. I love feeling ownership. True effort and passion means exhaustion. This week is the epitome of work over rest. I need to remember to take a break… in a couple weeks. Maybe.
  3. Accepting help.
    “You want to do this alone, don’t you?’ My dad asked me as he gave me a check in a rather large sum. “We want you to be able to put this behind you so you can move on.” My parents have savings for each of their kids, probably for weddings, but in my case, bailing me out. I didn’t take everything, in fact I asked them to wait to give me the second half of what they offered. All I could feel was shame and failure. Failure to be prepared. Failure for my mistakes. Failure for getting into such big messes. As expected, I cut as many costly corners as I could and ended up not accepting the second half.
  4. Allowing friends to love me.
    I have a lot of insecurities with trusting females, as so many of them have turned on me throughout my life. This being the case, so much of my past has revolved around finding “the one” person to love me, as media has told me to do. Finally, I’ve found several friends that truly care about me. I can trust them with the same quality of honesty, respect, and sincerity as I have with men I have loved. Honestly, maybe even a little more.
  5. Admitting I’m not rich.
    Yes, I have a big-girl job and a house, but own a beater car most 16-year-olds would be embarrassed of. I occasionally buy designer clothes (and by designer I mean they have their own store at the mall), but still wear things I bought in high school. I have credit card bills that are boarder-line out of control, eat Raman noodles, and don’t have cable. But, I it forces me to set goals to get my physical surroundings the way I’d like them to be. I think so many people in my generation are leery of owning things. We like to barrow and give back. We don’t like to take care of our cars, clothes, or apartments (I can probably count on one hand the number of times I actually cleaned a shower in college). Does owning vs. “barrowing” pay off? I’m not sure, but it fulfills my need for accomplishment and ownership.
  6. Learning to say ‘no’.
    Life has so many pleasures, but being an adult means I need to know when to draw the line. No – I can’t go to the bars, I’m broke (see #5). No – I’d love to go, but I haven’t spent more than three waking hours at home and my house is a mess. No – I love Raising Cane’s, but between the latte and Brugger’s Bagels I’ve already eaten too many calories today.
  7. Confessing there some things I will always be bad at.
    Driving, remembershing history, taking shots, public speaking, knowing where I’m going before I leave, returning library books on time. How do I learn to compensate for them?
  8. Being Tall.
    It makes me uncomfortable when short guys give me compliments on my height. Listening is okay. Accepting them is best.
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‘Merca!

This is the first year that I have stayed in Lincoln for the fourth. The last couple years I have gone to small towns, and they know how to celebrate. Usually I am in Hooper, watching parades, eating cotton candy, enjoying family. A couple years ago I went to Creighton/Neligh/Norfolk – very similar, but add in pigs and mud.

My favorite thing about the 4th of July in years past has been going home for my neighborhood’s display, which is surprisingly impressive. They hire a band to play. They have a wall of fire. In the morning, there is a parade consisting of 1 month olds in strollers to 13 year olds, decked out in red, white and blue and riding their decorated bikes down the middle of the neighborhood.

This year, I did nothing.

Today was the first day since the beginning of June which I had 100% control over what I wanted to do. I had intentions of major house updates – either staining the fence, painting one of four rooms, or shampooing my carpet. While I didn’t do any of those, it felt great to upack the three suitcases on the floor, and do some general touch-ups and clean-ups.

In short: I slept in, and got things in order.

I later went to a movie with my roommate and his friend. What else would we see on the Fourth of July – Magic Mike. Haha, it was exactly what I expected it to be, but was entertaining. Immediately after I went to work, and have been working like a manic since.

The booms have started going off, which is probably why I suddenly can’t work any more. I’ve turned off the lights and am typing by monitor light as I catch an occasional firework go off over the skyline. Honestly, I’m able to see more from my office window than I could or would even try to at home.

I’ve come to realize that being single, more often than not, means no one cares. You are no longer anyone’s primary go-to person, and no one is obligated to go to you. I have lots of friends that I am constantly in touch with and am their first friend, but I’m always #2 for breaking news in their life.

It’s not bad. It’s freedom.

Happy Independence Day.

The last day of starting over


Some JJ in honor of girls weekend in KC!

To describe all the details of my life over the year would be lengthy. So much has occurred that it’s hard comprehend 2012 is over half over. I don’t even keep track of days anymore. I stay busy, make appointments, make lists.

I saw a quote last week – “you don’t know how much strength you have until that’s all you have.” Between everything that has happened the last six months and seeing what so many of my friends are going through (by the way, when did we all become so effed up?!), I see life a much more differently. Another relevant quote retold to me as said by a 92 year-old, “the older I get the less I know.” I feel like I just gained 40 years.

The best part is that i learned that when bad things happen, life goes on. Even when there is so much going against you, life keeps moving forward. The worst thing you can does not move with it. Life is an extremely positive experience – I truly believe that everyone has a good soul and naturally tries to help other people, and that God does have a plan for everyone in every situation. Just close your eyes and don’t stop moving.

I’ve been dealing with a lot especially in the last month. So much so I had to make a ‘life to-do’ list prioritized by importance and deadline. I set an alarm on my phone for 12:20 every weekday, and forced myself to tackle one thing at a time during my lunch breaks.

Just do one thing. Not everything.

It worked. Its not a coincidence on the timing of everything coming together either.

You know when those terrific Midwest thunderstorms come through? Sporadic, with charcoal clouds. The temperature drops, the winds kick in and huge raindrops fall. So big it sounds like hail. It pours for just a little while, catching so many helpless people trying to sprint to their cars without umbrellas. They are soaked. Gutters can’t keep up with the water, and entire parking lots are turned into pools. In the midst of the shower, the sun is out.

I have that feeling when it’s raining and the sun is shining.

My storm is finally breaking. Life has continued to move forward and I’m already helping friends with their storms. It’s an indescribable feeling, but it makes me so excited to embrace it. To run back out into the world barefoot with whatever clothes I have on, look up at the sun and laugh.

What happened?


No, I’m choosing not to spill my guts online. I had already typed through a very dumbed-down version of my life as a train wreck, but feel that thinking everything through took weight off my shoulders. Curious? Ask, but I can’t guarantee the deep-dive version. Scared? Then you don’t know me enough to get the details.

Here’s what you do get to know, broken into three easy stages:

1. Love. Ring. Lonely. Distance

2. Walls. Isolate. Homeless. Wild.

3. Faith. Rebuilding. Empowered. Present.

I’ve learned many things in the last eight months, the primary being that I have truly great friends. Not the quality that invites you to ‘girls night out’ or texts you to make sure you are going to the bridal shower, but the kind that give me their spare house key and garage code, and let me just sit while they go get us food. The kind that can cry in front of, and aren’t concerned that we’re in public, but ask me what I’m going to do about it. The ones who have/are going through things even worse than I am, but give me inspiration to keep on keeping on everyday.

I’ve also learned that laziness is the root that leads to a declining spiral. I found that even driving makes me to jump to a zone where I didn’t have to think or react to anyone. Red=stop. Green=go. Follow the person in front.

On the contrary, never underestimate the power and efficiency of routines.

I will say that I couldn’t have asked for my ex to react and treat me better than he did. Way better. Seriously, like 20 times. I gave up on myself as being a decent person a long time ago, but can’t think of a time where he gave up on the person I was burying inside. He knew I was still in there, and I finally made it back. We are still friends because he could deal with my dumbshit carelessness and apathy, when I had tuned out any sort of painful emotion or sympathy.

So what next? I’ve already been single longer than I ever have been, and don’t even know where to start figuring out the rules for dating at 25. I don’t even know if I want to date; I can barely even comprehend myself. I’m starting over, cutting the excess from my life, and focusing solely on being better.

A better friend, a better athlete, a better Christian, a better worker.

Focus and simplicity. My story of rebuilding a life with less starts here.