I’m alive, I promise. I’ve been M.I.A. (Missing-In-Action, not the Indian pop star) the past month due to the death of my Unicorn. I’m kidding. She’s still alive and I actually don’t have a good excuse as to why I haven’t blogged in a month. I’ve acutally been feeling like my life is unblogworthy again, but as I said before, everyone’s life deserves to be documented. Even Justin Beiber and my dog Niki.
Here are the life lessons I’ve learned over the past month. Some are profound and significant, while others are obviously absurd (and thus hilarious). Enjoy, avid reader (mom)…
1. White Girl Problem jokes are usually not funny or enlightening to someone that is not caucasian. Yes, I made a slip up while in group discussion about the 3G vs. 4G iPhone network. Yes, there was a person of African-American decent in the group. And yes, I was oblivious to the rapid level of increase in awkwardness among my group members. You could literally cut the tension with a butter knife, apparently. Lesson learned: use First World Problems rather than ______ (insert race here) Problems. We don’t need to get exclusive or racist in any manner.
2. “Family” can include anyone you are close with, and any “family” time is a good thing. My parents had a dinner party when I was home for Fall break (and I was invited this time!). We went around and said what we were thankful for, and my mom’s German friend said she was thankful for the evening as she finally felt “at home”. This was a light bulb moment for me, as the traditional idea of family is your blood-related relatives and such. But I feel that times are a changin’ and so many people live away from their actualy relatives, that “family” now encompasses those who are most important to you. Regardless if they are blood-related, the people you love around you comprise your family. While we were sitting there at the dinner table, I looked around and realized that every person was away from their physical family, and it was occasions like this that made them feel like they were “home”.
3. Great things happen when you leave the comfort of your room/house/bubble/cave. I am always the one to bow out of plans and events to preserve my evenings in fuzzy socks and a snuggie, but I’ve recently realized that my days and weeks are forgettable and uneventful. I am starting to force myself to go out even when I don’t want to (#whitegirlproblem), and the results are undoubtedly more fulfilling. Now, please don’t assume I am out doing community service and saving the world when I say I am stepping out of my comfort zone. I’m talking about hitting the town freshman-college-girl style and reeking as much havoc as possible. I’m allowed to, I’m still in college remember? OK, so maybe my liver is taking the brunt of my revived social life, but at least I have the memories and new friends in exchange, right? Right. Moral of this story is that no one ever met the love of their life watching Workaholic re-runs in a snuggie. Sometimes your have to man/woman up and go out in the world. You can revive your liver later.
4. As much as I would like to, I can’t save the world. I completed my application for the PeaceCorps a few weeks ago, and it got me thinking about a lot of things (obviously). Peace Corps vets often claim it was the best 27 months of their lives but that they left feeling like they didn’t help anyone. I think the expectation in joining an organization like the Peace Corps is that you will be part of the movement that saves the world. Like, when you are done serving, things will be significantly better than before. But this is usually not the case. You are part of the bigger picture in any effort, and the effects will probably only receive acknowledgment years or decades down the road. I am one of those people that watches a documentary on slave trafficking or child slavery and instantly wants to go out and start an organization to fight against it. Ok, so I haven’t started a non-profit (or even been close), but the desire is there. I’ve began to realize that in order to make a difference in the world, you have to start small. It’s helping someone in need that you see on the street (via a meal, not money for crack). It’s volunteering with a local organization rather than giving money to an international group. It’s watching someone’s kids for free when they’re in a bind. For me, I think my contribution to the world right now is doing one random act of kindness a day. Making one person’s day better makes the world a little happier in my eyes. One down, seven billion to go?
5. Ziploc bags are perfectly acceptable carrying devices for potato vodka at the bar. That’s right. I call it the poor-celiac-girl’s flask. Just make sure you double-bag it, bring a funnel or straw, and DON’T show it to the bartender. He won’t think it’s as funny as it actually is. It is super funny though. This is how I win friends and influence people. Get used to it.
6. World Peace can sometimes be made on the back patio of a sketchy club. Contrary to #4, I did certainly make my mark on world peace this week. I was outside of the
skanky super chic club, and an Arab man started talking to me and my friend. He was a Saudi prince (or whatever), super rude and pretentious. Obviously I had to call him out on it. He went on to tell me that he hated Denver and thus Americans because everyone was ill-mannered and unkind to him. I lectured him on the fact that it takes two to tango and he had to be nice to be treated nicely. I told him that if he was going to stereotype American’s as such, then it would be right for us to do the same to Muslims, and this thinking was what starts wars. He agreed, full heartedly. He promised to try and be nicer. And then he started hitting on me. And then I left on my world peace high horse. But seriously, lesson learned: peace has to start somewhere, and maybe that somewhere is in a Denver nightclub that plays house techno and charges $10 for a terrible vodka soda.
7. Keeping in touch with people gets harder as you get older. I’m not even old and I’ve already begun to experience losing touch with friends. I know that it’s human nature to let things and people go by the way side as life continues to happen, but it is really unfortunate in the big picture. One of my favorite quotes/statements is the Holstee Manifesto (see below), that ends “Life is about the people you meet and the things you create with them”. So why do we feel it’s ok to lose contact with someone we were once close with just because we are busy? I am not following what I am preaching right now, as I can think of about 25 people whom I’ve lost touch with for no apparent reason. So I guess the lesson here is keep in touch with those who are or once were important to you. You can never have too many friends or loved ones, so keep them as close as possible, because it only gets harder from here.
8. Not everyone agrees with you/me. It’s hard to believe, I know. People have different opinions that you, and there is a time and place for certain discussions. I’ve come to realize over the past month that a lot of people (me) do not have a filter or block on the appropriate time or place for specific behavior. Religious blasphemy is a little rough to take from the barista at 7:30 am on a Thursday. People don’t like that. Not everyone thinks abortion and baby jokes are funny from the girl standing behind you in line at the bar. It’s not as funny as you’d think. This realization comes in part with the idea that my view is clearly not the only nor the most accepted view, and respecting other’s opinions is vital. This ties in with the TPM etiquette of White Girl Problem statements. All play a role in opening social communication and public discourse, but should not come at the cost of getting slapped or beat up. Yes, those situations above happened to me personally. No, I haven’t gotten beat up. Yet? Lesson learned: we might live in America, but that does not mean we can destroy people with our diction.
9. Having a “type” is a complete waste of time. Everyone has that perfect someone in mind that is used as the basis for judging a potential significant other. Any flaw or difference in the real person is a total strike against them because they are not what you had in mind. This “type” may have been formed by former lovers or maybe even a celebrity, and is the only acceptable dating option. But guess what? Having a type is like chasing a unicorn. It’s not going to happen. Now, I’m not saying you should settle for the next bro that lands a pick up line on you at the bar. I am simply recommending to be more open-minded and less controlling of potential lovers. I am so guilty of having a unicorn-esque type that is a cross between Ryan Gosling and Anderson Cooper, but I am slowly learning to let it go. Lesson: Find someone that makes you happy, and go with it. Say yes more than no. Try and fail. Forget your expectations and let fate take over. You’ll thank me later.
10. Public nudity is not socially acceptable. I’m kidding. I didn’t learn this lesson this month. I already know it’s frowned upon in the lower 48 states. I just couldn’t think of a 10th lesson. I am seriously considering becoming a nudist though. It sounds so free and unbinding.
I hope you enjoyed my life lessons of this month. I certainly enjoyed living and learning them. K bai i love you.