Life

There’s Nothing Wrong with Wanting a Wedding

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There should be a second part to that title which should be: As Long as It’s for the Right Reasons. However, that was way too long of a title. But in actuality the blog post you’re about to read is titled: There’s Nothing Wrong with Wanting a Wedding as Long as It’s for the Right Reasons.

As you all know, I got engaged this year. After we got engaged, the fiance and I sat down to talk about what we want as far as a wedding goes. There was a big part of us that didn’t want to have a wedding at all. Weddings are insanely expensive. Even if you try to budget and DIY, it can still really add up. After much debate and discussion, we ultimately decided that a wedding was something we wanted to have. The thought of having all our family members and close friends together for a big party swayed us.

As soon as we came to an agreement that we were having a wedding, the planning began. Of course, I turned to the Internet cause where else would I start my journey? As I was reading article after article about wedding tips, tricks, trends, etc., I also read the comments because I am a glutton for punishment. (I have learned time and time again that Internet comments are filled with the most miserable human beings but I can never seem to avoid reading them.) Some of the comments were helpful – newlyweds talking about what they did to bring their wedding together. Then there were a bunch of comments from people who appear to hate weddings yet feel the need to not only read articles about weddings, but also comment on them.

So many of the comments went like this. “Why would you have a wedding?” “Weddings are a complete waste of money!” “Save your money and spend it on literally anything else.”

A part of me can get the sentiment. I do believe that some people go overboard with weddings. If you have to take out a loan for your wedding, then there’s seriously something wrong and you should scale back a bit. But the comments, and even some of the articles, read as though anyone who even considers having a wedding is an idiot. And I say, there’s nothing wrong with wanting a wedding. And I am not just saying that as someone who will be having a wedding next year.

Just make sure that you are having a wedding for the right reason. It’s fine to want a big poofy dress or a raw bar overflowing with shrimp and oysters. Get those frilly chair covers and splurge on a photo booth. But remember that the main point of the day is to marry your forever partner. It’s to make a commitment with someone in front of all your nearest and dearest. The party is only one day. After all the guests have gone home, the food has been eaten, and your dress has been put away, you’re left with a marriage. If that’s not the most important thing on the day of your wedding, then you’re doing it wrong and getting married for the wrong reasons.

Have a wedding. Have the kind of wedding you’ve dreamed about forever. Just remember the wedding is about you and your partner, and not just about your dream Pinterest board.

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When Did I Get So Old?

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A few months ago I went to a concert. This was a standing room only show, no assigned seats. The standing for a couple of hours at a time doesn’t bother me about these types of shows. What does bother me is the jostling around with a bunch of other people. I hate having too many people in my personal space at one time. This show stood out in particular due to one girl standing in front of me. She spent the majority of the show flailing around like a wacky waving inflatable tube man and turning around to make googly eyes at her friend who was standing behind me. I spent half of the show enjoying the act performing and the other half throwing elbows to defend my feet from being trampled by this 20-year-old dancing maniac.

While we never actually said anything to each other, we were aware of one another. I noticed her constant 2-stepping, she was well aware of my flagrant elbows. I’m sure she heard me proclaim to my fiance over 100 hundred times about personal space and rude people. And I certainly caught what she said to her friend, “I came here to have fun not sit stand around like this.” That’s when she crossed her arms and made a face that you would most likely make when imitating the line, “Get off my lawn!”

I like to think that even in my late teens and early 20s I was aware of personal space and wouldn’t have acted the way this girl did. However, I probably wouldn’t have been as annoyed with that behavior back in the day either. I would have most likely been drinking and dancing along to the music as well. Now, I just wanted to enjoy some music and get home with enough time to get my eight hours of sleep.

That concert made me realize that I am getting old. I understand that in the grand scheme of life I am not old. Statistically speaking, I have more than half of my life left to live. If I were to die, it would still be a tragedy and people would question how it happened. Old age and sleep wouldn’t be the culprit. But I do feel like I’ve said goodbye to my youth.

We all get older. We all know that one day we’re going to get older and older. But as a teen, it’s so far in the distance that it’s a fact that might as well be made up. When I was 17, turning 30 seemed like a lifetime away. But then I turned 30, and then all of a sudden I turned 33 and I was easing into my mid-thirties. It all happens so fast.

Every young person is going to one day look up and realize that the years are passing by a lot faster than they used to. We’re always told “time flies” but don’t realize it until we’re in the midst of it. It’s why Buzzfeed has at least one article a day marveling at things that came out 10, 15, 20 years ago. We can’t fathom that the shows we grew up with are turning two decades old. Sometimes a quarter of a century. (All That premiered in 1994!!!) We’re constantly left asking, “How did this happen? And how do I make it stop?”

I’m not sure how I got to be 33-years-old and I know that there’s no way to slow down this train as much as I want to. I am just going to have to accept that this is my new normal. The years are going to continue to fly by so I have to remember to savor each day.

Some of Us Have to Work for Happiness

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I am not a chill person. I am not laid back. I do not let inconveniences, whether big or small, simply slide away, easily forgotten. All my life, I have wanted to be this person. I wanted to be the cool chick. The one who didn’t stress about minor things. After 33-years, I have accepted the fact that I will never be the cool chick. I am too anxious for that to ever be me.

My anxiety and my inability to let things go tend to have a negative affect on my happiness. My default reaction is to ask, “Why is this happening to me?” When things are going bad or someone upsets me, I will immediately think about all the other things in my life that need improvement.

Happiness is something that I have to work on. I hate to admit this but it doesn’t come naturally to me. I’m not saying I’m always miserable. I have a lot of things in life to be happy about and a ton of things that bring me joy. I just need to spend more time reminding myself of these things than other people do.

While there are plenty of people out there who are genuinely upbeat and always look on the bright side of things, I doubt that I am alone in my battle for happiness. If you’re like me and have to work a little bit harder to be happy, I hope that the following tips can help when you need to remind yourself that things aren’t always so bad.

Remind yourself of all the good things in your life and all that you have to be grateful for. It’s so easy to dwell on the bad stuff. When your car didn’t start and you spilled coffee all over yourself and it’s Monday, it’s hard to think, “Well at least I’m breathing and have a roof over my head.” But you are breathing and do have a roof over your head.* Those are things to be really fucking thankful for. 

Remind yourself daily of the things that do make you happy. Make a list if you need to because I know how hard it is to think of those things when you all you want to do is have a breakdown. Read the list everyday. Read it multiple times a day if you need to.

Don’t ever forget that list of happiness but also allow yourself to feel sad. It’s a normal human emotion and you’re not less of a person for feeling blue from time to time. Just don’t dwell on it for too long and don’t let one bad thing spill over in to so many other aspects of your life.

Don’t beat yourself up if your default reaction to life isn’t calm coolness. That’s just another thing to stress about. Instead, focus your energy on happiness.

*I recognize wholeheartedly my privilege in writing this. I have the luxury of being sad and dwelling on trivial things because I don’y have to worry about the heavy stuff like where I’m going to sleep at night.

I Give Credit to People Who Move Away From Home

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I moved in the middle of March to start a new job as the Youth Services Librarian for a small library. Between moving, starting a new job, and getting engaged, I have not had much time for anything else. I will blame some of all that on why I haven’t posted regularly. Hopefully now that things are starting to settle down a bit, I can start writing in this little old blog more. Lord knows I have a lot of material to write about.

I want to start with writing about my disastrous move up North. I may be a bit dramatic with my use of the word disastrous but it has not been easy. I moved about 2 1/2 hours away from where I lived and grew up. Doesn’t sound like too far away but a lot can change when you drive 2+ hours. I moved to the Catskills so technically I am still a New Yorker. However, for anyone familiar with New York, you know that New York City and the rest of the state are two completely different species. I don’t even know why they are considered the same state. They have nothing in common. I could have moved to New Jersey (an actual different state) and it would have been less of a culture shock.

This move up was not a smooth one. For starters, I was the only one who moved up full time. My fiance is a professor so he had to finish up the semester before moving up full time. He officially moves up this week. But before this week, I would spend Sunday night to Friday afternoon by myself. I am OK with living on my own. I did it for many years before I met Jonathan. However, living on your own in a new place, where you don’t know anyone, is difficult. Once I got to my house after work, I felt trapped (I’ll elaborate on that a little later). I was in a complete rut. I would wake up, go to work, come home, watch TV, go to sleep, and then do it all over again. Jonathan would finally come on Friday and I’d have someone to hang out with only to have to say goodbye so quickly on Sunday.

Why did I feel trapped in my apartment? Why didn’t I step outside, take a walk, try to meet new people? Let me tell you why! Cause my apartment is in the middle of nowhere. I live on a route, not a street. I don’t have any sidewalks. There are woods behind me and across the street from me. If I want to go anywhere, even the supermarket, I have to get in my car. It’s also incredibly dark where I live, no street lights. Only bears (which have already attacked our garbage cans once so far!). I am not going out after work so I can come home after dark by myself. Am I a scaredy cat? Definitely. I have no shame in admitting this. When I get to my apartment after work, that is where I stay. I am not venturing outside to get attacked by a wild beast.

Speaking of my apartment in the boondocks, I am counting down the days until my lease is up. Jonathan and I worked with our landlord and she agreed to a 6-month lease instead of a year. I am so glad of it too because I am moving to a new apartment the second I can. A part of it is because I miss sidewalks and want to be able to leave my house without having to hop in my car. But the main reason I cannot wait to leave is because I have to hold my breath whenever I take a shower or do the dishes. My lovely apartment comes with sulfur water. If you’re not familiar with sulfur water, you’re incredibly lucky. Before March, neither was I so I didn’t think to run the water before renting an apartment. However, up here in the Catskills, many buildings get their water from wells which can result in sulfur water. What’s so horrible about sulfur water? It smells like rotten eggs! And I am not being dramatic with this one. I do not even brush my teeth with the water. My bathroom sink always has at least two jugs of store bought water next to it. (My mission for less plastic this year has not been as smooth since moving to a place where the water scares me.)

The only thing that I’ve been somewhat OK with is my job. Sure, I am still learning to get comfortable with the work and my coworkers, but I’ve only been here for two months so these things take time. Overall the new job has been the one bright spot with my move. However, it did not start that way. I started my job on a Monday and by Thursday I had to go home because I felt like I was dying. I got the flu my very first week of work and had to miss 7 days of my new job. Great first impression. Thankfully my boss was understanding and told me to take all the time I needed. However, I hated having to take an entire week off of work after only putting in 3 1/2 days. I also discovered that the flu fucking sucks. I know this is common knowledge but you never fully know how horrible it can be until you have it yourself. That was my first time getting the flu and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

With Jonathan moving up full time and our lease halfway over, I am sure that things will start to go a bit smoother. But I realized that I don’t think I ever would be able to move away from home on my own. I think if I didn’t have a fiance coming up with me, I would be back home as soon as my lease is over. (Sorry job, but you’re not that special.) I guess I am not as independent as I always thought I was. But moving away from home on your own is reallyyy hard. I give a lot of credit to all those people who have done it. Kudos to you!

New Year, New Me

I already let my feelings about New Year’s resolutions known last year. You’re not going to automatically change who you are as a person because we are entering a new year. People who talk nonsense about “New Year, New Me” are dumb. I know that may sound harsh but it’s true.

However, I am all for setting goals for yourself. Sort of like a New Year’s bucket list. Every year there are new things that I want to try/accomplish. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not so much. So this year I am going to hold myself accountable by putting it in writing. This means that you get to share this journey with me. (Aren’t you so lucky?)

This year I’ve decided to set several goals for myself. Some are things that I’ve started improving on this year and some are things that I’ve been thinking about for awhile. I am being realistic with these goals. That’s the problem with goals and resolutions. Many times people strive too high too fast. You’re not going to go from taking the elevator everywhere to running a mile. It just doesn’t work like that. I do not want to set myself up for failure. So you may scoff at some of these goals but they are big changes for me. (And if I happen to exceed any them then even better!)

  1. Hike at least 10 new trails.
  2. Go meatless at least 3 times a week.
  3. Walk 10,000 steps or more at least 4 times a week.
  4. Visit two places I’ve never been before.
  5. Successfully make a loaf of bread.
  6. Write at least 12 new blog posts.
  7. Try out 2 new recipes a month.
  8. Volunteer my time.
  9. Find a way to better manage my stress/anxiety.
  10. Unplug from my cellphone more often.

Now that this is written down and about to be broadcast to the world (AKA all five of you reading), I have to try my hardest to follow through. At the halfway mark, I’m going to follow up on the post and check on my progress. Wish me luck!

Happy New Year!

*Question: What are some goals you have for 2018?

If Your Year Isn’t Filled with Ups and Downs, Then You’re Not Really Living

This may be a little pretentious of me but I want to dedicate this post to someone. I know this isn’t a book. But it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want. I want to dedicate this post to my sister Keri who had one of the hardest Christmases ever. On Christmas Eve, we had to put down her chocolate lab. Elvis was a member of the family for almost 12 years so it was hard for all of us to say goodbye. But it hit my sister the hardest as Elvis was her dog. Her baby. She was a mommy to Elvis way before my nephews came along. So this post is for her and all the tears she shed this past week.

And there were a lot of tears. I cried a lot on Christmas Eve. It was probably the saddest I had been the whole year. Watching Elvis be put down was the hardest thing I had to do the entire year of 2017.

All the tears got me thinking about all the times I cried this year. I cried A LOT. I am a crier. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m angry. I cry at all those ridiculous car commercials that show the timeline of a baby turning into a teenager getting her parent’s car. (It’s capitalism and all marketing but they are tugging at my heartstrings!)

Elvis was the saddest moment of 2017. But while I was reflecting on the events of Christmas Eve, I started thinking about the best moments of 2017. My trip to Europe was the best part of my year, particularly the visit to Switzerland. This June, I went to Switzerland, Germany and England. Switzerland was by far the best part and the most beautiful place I’ve ever been to. I went to the Alps of Switzerland and went to the top of a glacier for viewing. I was nearly 13,000 feet above sea level. The highest I’ve ever been. It’s sounds corny but when I stepped out to see the view it literally took my breath away. I felt like I was on top of the world. The view and wonder of it brought tears to my eyes.

Life is filled with ups and downs. It’s always going to be. Your life has to be filled with ups and downs if you want to really experience life. I cried so much over the death of Elvis because I allowed myself to love and feel. I also took a chance this year and booked a two-week vacation to visit places I’ve never been before. Life is about experiences and relationships. Sometimes the experiences and relationships will hurt you. Sometimes they will make you cry happy tears and sometimes it will be sad tears. But whether those tears are from joy or pain, they’re important.

I cried a ton of tears in 2017 and I plan to continue the tears onto 2018. Cause a year without any ups and downs hasn’t really been lived.

Let’s end this by giving a proper farewell to the craziest yet most lovable dog to have ever lived.

Online Dating Is Not for the Weak

When I started dating my bf, first and foremost I was happy that I found someone that I genuinely liked and who actually liked me back. But right after that feeling was the relief that I was able to delete any and all online dating apps.

Dating in this day and age requires online dating. In my opinion, it’s a necessary evil. For some reason, online dating still has a stigma around it. Plenty of people are embarrassed to admit they met their SO by swiping right. But here’s the truth, plenty of relationships, plenty of marriages these days start with a match on an app.

I do not pretend to be an authority on anything. (I ate a pint of Halo Top ice cream for dinner last night so I would take anything I say with a grain of salt.) But I do know a few things about online dating. I spent a large portion of my twenties downloading apps, making profiles, swiping right, and doing all that other online dating nonsense. It’s tedious and can often feel like a second job, but sometimes it actually works. While I technically knew my bf in high school, we probably wouldn’t have found ourselves in each other’s lives again if it weren’t for the help of OK Cupid. I know of quite a few relationships that have started with both parties swiping right.

When you’re in the thick of the online dating scene, it can be exhausting and soul crushing. (I cannot even begin to count how many times I deleted an app just to redownload it a few days later.) I want to try to make things a little easier for you. Below are some tips that should help online dating go a little smoother.

Spend a little time on your profile. I know it’s tempting to put a fact or two and end it with, “If you want to know more, ask!” No one wants to spend a ton of time filling out their online profile but don’t leave it completely empty. Your profile is a chance to showcase your personality. You can use it as an outlet to let others know why you’re on the site and what you’re looking for. It doesn’t always work but doing this can help to weed out some of the people just looking for a hookup. Also, it’s always a good sign if a match messages you by referencing something you mentioned in your profile. This shows that they actually took the time to read what you have to say.

On the same end, take notice when someone puts effort in their profile. You’re not going to spend time filling out your profile if you’re not serious about online dating. Be weary of the profiles that have just a few sentences. This usually means the dude (or dudette) isn’t looking for anything too serious.

The block button is your friend. Coming across creeps on dating apps is inevitable. I hate to break it to you but it’s going to happen. You’re also going to come across people that will become hostile seemingly out of nowhere. The good news is that you do not have to deal with them. The block button is there for a reason. Do not waste your time responding to someone when they show signs of being a jerk. Block them and move on.

Don’t use an incredibly old photo. My motto when it comes to online pics is to use something where you look good but not TOO good. Your picture should look like you the way you look on a regular day. So don’t use a photo from your sister’s wedding when your hair and makeup were professionally done. Let your date be pleasantly surprised by how you look in person. And leave any photo that’s over two years out of the profile completely.

Don’t let it turn into a texting relationship. When you finally match with someone, I think there should be a time frame for when you actually meet in person. Of course, you don’t want to do it right away. You gotta give yourself some time to determine if the person’s a psycho. But don’t let it turn into a texting relationship. I had some guys who I’d speak to every day for months but we never actually met. Either they wouldn’t even initiate plans or plans would fall through at the last minute. If it’s been a month of talking but still no face-to-face meetups, drop it. Dating is time consuming as it is. Don’t waste your time with someone who doesn’t want to actually meet you.

Be cautious on where the first date is held. Do not get into a strangers car. Do not go somewhere unfamiliar with a stranger. NEVER go into a strangers house. I cannot stress this enough. The person you’re meeting online could potentially be the love of your life or they could be the next subject of America’s Most Wanted. Finding out which category they fit in will take some time. Until you’re convinced this person isn’t going to murder you, do not go anywhere with them alone. Even if they insist, travel to the date on your own. Make sure you’re meeting up at a place with other people and always let someone else know where you’re going. I may sound paranoid but as great as online dating can be, it can also be incredibly scary. You can never be too careful.

If you do not feel anything after the first date, move on. Dating is a numbers game. The more people who meet, the more likely you are to meet someone you have a connection with. This is why keeping someone around just for kicks or cause you sorta like them is a complete waste of your time and the other person’s.

Don’t take anything personally. People can be mean. They can especially be mean online. There is a lack of intimacy when you’re communicating through a screen. It’s hard for some people to remember that there’s an actual human being on the other end. I think that this is what makes some people meaner online than they would ever be in person. If someone is being mean to you, just block them and move on.

Do not get discouraged. Online dating can be exhausting. You will go on way more bad dates than good dates. Try not to let it get to you. Remember that you’re not alone and that the guy or girl for you is out there. It just may take a few more swipes to find them.

If you need a break, take one. If you’re a single person who wants to find someone, you have no choice but to put yourself out there. I know it’s tiring but you’re not going to meet the love of your life on the couch. However, with that being said, if you need a break, take it! I wasn’t kidding when I said online dating can be exhausting. If you feel that you’re getting burnt out, take some time to decompress.