Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Ten Years Later

I graduated from high school in 2000.  Because of this, I've spent 2010 thinking vague and fleeting but none the less stressed-out thoughts about my 10 year high school reunion.  In January, I thought, 'I've got months to upgrade my life, including loosing 20 pounds and finding a boyfriend and becoming rich and famous and successful.'  In May, I thought, 'I'm a runner now, surely I'll be beautiful and fit by the end of summer and everybody from high school will be amazed by how amazing I am.'  In July, I thought, 'Good Lord, the reunion is less than a month away! I haven't lost 20 pounds or found a boyfriend; I haven't become rich or famous; I'm not going!'  In August, I realized that all of my stress and panic was silly, and the only thing keeping me from a 90s-music-filled evening of adventure was my own insecurity.  I decided that I'm too womanly to let the small, ugly voice in the back of my head control me and decided to brave the reunion.

Me and my great friend, Al, the summer before our senior year. Based on this picture,
I'm pretty sure neither of us had a super cool reputation to maintain at the reunion.

Me and Al  now, significantly cooler, except maybe the bad lighting and hair in Al's face.

My adorable and steadfast friend, Al, and I decided that together we could relive high school for a night, as long as it was preceded by some massive retail therapy.  We dedicated a whole grueling day to shopping.  Even though Al found her dress right away, she stuck with me through Macy's and Nordstrom and the Gap and H & M and little boutique stores, until finally I found a dress that suited me perfectly!  Then, we repeated the whole process for shoes and accessories.  Despite being tired at the end of the day, I was stoked because I felt like I was going to be able to walk into my reunion with a ton of confidence.

It took a lot of patience, but I found the exact perfect dress that's grown up but still super fun.

I even found shoes and a headband that are so totally me! 
After shopping with me, Al defined my style as "Preschool Sock Hop,"
 which I thought was perfectly descriptive.

This burst of confidence melted into panic by the day of the reunion. As I got dolled up (with a serious amount of help from another friend), I felt like there were giant, steroidal butterflies in my tummy. As I drove to Al’s, I had to call another high school friend for a pep talk. I thought about telling Al I’d been in a terrible accident and wouldn’t be able to make it, but then I thought she’d probably want to come visit me in the hospital. There was really no way to get out of it, so I sucked it up and went.

The reunion turned out to be WAY less scary than I had anticipated! It was great to talk to people I haven’t seen since graduation. I loved that there were people who hadn’t aged a day, although many, like me and Al, have grown significantly more attractive in the last 10 years. My classmates are all at such different stages. Some people have kids or spouses, some have been much more career oriented, and many are still searching for their passion. It was so good for me because I’m not really where I thought I’d be 10 years ago, and seeing my peers shows me that I’m not “behind.”

Instead of focusing on how impressive my life is not, I spent the evening trying to really connect with people. I found out even the super cool and together people were nervous. Despite not thinking my life was a perfectly polished package to show off, I feel great about going to my reunion. It showed me that I’m happy with who I am, where I am, and the choices I’ve made to be here. It also reminded me of how glad I am not to be 18 anymore.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Grown Up?

I read blogs as a pleasant escape from the mundane, so I think blog-land should be mostly sunshine and rainbows and general frivolity. As such, I like to maintain a low-whine threshold here at the Woman in Training.  Today is going to be a bit of an exception.

This picture, from desiree cherisse's photostream is a great illustration of how I often feel:
like a little girl, playing dress up.

Every day I get a little more comfortable with the fact that I am a grown up.  I'm pretty proficient at going to work and paying the bills.  I'm much better than I used to be at getting regular oil changes and rotating my tires.  I'm even good at keeping my shower scrubbed and soap scum free, but every so often adult responsibilities are really lame!  Sometimes I catch my self feeling outraged or put upon because I have to do something that millions of adults do every day.
I especially dislike being a grown up with tasks that involve creepy crawlies.  Most of the time when I see a spider in our two-woman apartment, I ignore it and hope Roomy is the bigger person, who kills it.  If it's in my bedroom though, I suck it up and smoosh it, but you'd better believe that I'm grumbling to myself the whole time about how it should not be my job to kill spiders. 

A couple winters ago, when I lived by myself in the basement of a house with absentee landlords, I had a rodent problem.
Rodents have no place in my semi-adult life! 
It should DEFINITELY be someone else's job to deal with this!

First of all, it made me mad because I had a terrier at the time.  Terriers were specifically bred to kill rodents, so that stupid dog was NOT earning his keep!  Secondly, I felt like it was so not my job to deal with a rodent carcass after it got caught in the trap that was so not my job to buy or set!  I was so horrified about the whole situation that I actually called my dad crying.  He gave me advice about which traps to buy and how to set them, but he was very firm about the fact that it was most definitely very important that I, his adult daughter, deal with it myself.  I started with the no-touch/no-see traps, because they obviously have the lowest gross factor. When those didn't catch anything, I moved onto the old-fashioned snap traps, which also proved futile. Then, I tried glue traps, even though I almost passed out at the thought of a live mouse with its feet all stuck down, crazed and trying to bite my fingers off when I disposed of the gluey mess.  God must've stepped in there and protected me from myself because while I caught a lot of spiders and even a set of mousey footprints on the glue traps, I did not catch my rodent invader.  (My coworker says it must've been a Jesus-mouse because it walked on the glue like Jesus on water.)
Then, I thought maybe it was a rat (I still shudder even typing that!), so I bought some giant rat snap traps.  As I set them, I prayed hard that 1) I didn't accidentally trigger the trap and sever a finger and 2) the rat traps would not catch anything because I might actually die if faced with a dead rat, or a live one for that matter. 
Whatever this creature was, it was smart enough to avoid every trap known to man!  Finally, I was so desperate to get rid of it that I tried poison, even though my dad assured me that it meant I would probably find a dead, smelly, partially decayed rodent.  After spending approximately a billion dollars on rodent traps and countless hours obsessively bleaching every surface in my house, my little rodent genius quietly disappeared.  I'm not sure where it went, but I never again saw any evidence of rodent.  The whole situation left me feeling 1) grossed out beyond belief and 2) ready for a vacation from adulthood.  I did not sign up to deal with this kind of thing!
Sometimes general housework makes me want to stop being a grown up too.  You've all seen how hard it is for me to keep my bedroom clean, but it's also really hard to take out the trash.  In my head, I think up lots of reasons why it should be Roomy's turn to take it out, not mine, but I force myself to do it because that's the grown up thing to do.
When I was younger, I kept waiting for the magical moment when I would finally feel like a grown up.  Having a full time job and my own apartment didn't do the trick.  I still felt like a kid playing house.  I still held my own tiny pity party when I - instead of my dad - was stuck with dentist bills, or faced with a giant pile of laundry.  Now I realize that magical moment isn't coming.  I'm resigning myself to adulthood gradually. Every time I kill a spider or take out the trash, I grow up a little.  (I was super grown up the other day when I cleaned my oven!)  With any luck, by the time I'm ready for retirement, I'll have stopped looking around for whose job the yucky tasks really are.  Fingers crossed that by then I'll have a husband who kills spiders!