Sunday, January 25, 2009

The Astronaut Dilemma

I'm a war of head vs. heart

Many moons ago I wrote a somewhat conflicted entry dubiously applauding the actions of Spiderman's Mary Jane for finding the courage to leave her reliable, loving astronaut in order to persue the whims of her heart. In that entry, I focused on the subject of selfish happiness. In essence: that it is admirable to be brave enough to look out for Number One's Heart even if it means sacrificing someone else's happiness.

What I failed to note was the other side of the story: Looking out for Number One's Head. While sure, perhaps MJ is passionately in love with Spiderman, it's clear she is not a list-maker or a consequence-weigher. For some, breif flashes of extreme happiness are enough to counter-balance a lifetime of anxiety and misery. I, however am not amoung those that value short-term rewards. My concept of happiness runs with the long-term, and on my sliding scale of values, a lifetime of worrying about a Spiderman, never knowing if he'll come home, always being left in the cold while he's out saving the world, and always having to be kept a secret for my own safety is no way to live a life.

This is why I make lists, because while 98% of the time my head is in the right place, occasionally my heart makes some grand gestures and out-shouts the head. Making lists is my way of rationalizing the irrationality of my emotions. This is why it is easy for me to disapprove of the BFF's current man-friend and to look down my nose at a co-worker's relationship choices.

Recent events in the Bolingbrook area have surrounded my life with annoying drama. And while I do my best to ignore the more vocal and irritating of the hooplah, it's terribly difficult to ignore the semi-silent heartbreak constantly eminating off one of my fellow bartenders. Ignoring every other mitigating factor within the drama-fueled circumstances, I keep coming back to the baffling question of "how do you do that to someone?!" How can you live with someone, tell him you love him, accept his love and outward expressions of affection and support, and then abruptly leave him one day, to move in with some other guy less than 24 hours later?

Obviously, there was no list-making involved, because long-term happiness and the bad karma that accumulates by burning a loved one so badly have major weight attached to them.

Here's to making the right choices,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

With Hope and Virtue, Let Us Brave Once More the Icy Currents

All this we can do. All this we will do.

My whirlwind trip to our nation's Capitol was marked with both highs and lows, bouts of energy and foot-numbing fatigue, overwhelming emotion and petty annoyance, but, Interested Parties, it was worth it.

The preparation for the long car rides combined with the anxiety of undertaking such a big adventure had clouded my vision for the first half of our journey. Miranda and I had long conversations about boys, we mainlined coffee and energy drinks, we stood in lines in freezing weather until our legs shook with the effort, and it distracted me from the reason we had driven almost 800 miles in the first place.

When our new Vice President finished the words to his oath, a woman standing near me cried out "No more Dick Cheney!" and my heart gave a little lurch. My life is not generally wrapped up in politics. I don't spend very much time contemplating how the actions of our nation's top leaders are affecting me, personally. Until the old administration was finally, officially no longer in power, I hadn't fully realized how anxious I had been feeling. My shoulders felt 10 pounds lighter and tears involuntarily sprang to my eyes because I don't have to be afraid of my government anymore.
It sounds rather drastic to proclaim it that way, but it's surprising how even the littlest emotions given time to fester and plant roots can so affect your life.

The Boy doesn't understand why I, and the millions of others who traveled to D.C. just to be there have such starry-eyed love and hope and respect for President Obama, and I've struggled in the past to rationalize what is, quite frankly, an irrational gut feeling. I think that anyone who listened to his speech would understand. The last 7 years have been ones filled with doubt, with fear, with uncertainty. We've been thrust into war, told that we are to fear The Other, had our freedoms taken away, been subject to cruel scrutiny, and been generally told that We Are Not Good Enough and everybody else hates us. President Obama gave us our dignity back. We are strong. We are resilient. We are still hard workers and we are still worthwhile. We are not a nation of quitters. We do not have to apologize for being who we are.

We don't have to feel sorry for ourselves anymore.

Our new President got to where he is not necessarily because we believe in him, but largely because he gave us the power to believe in ourselves again. Together, we shall overcome the shadow that was cast over the United States by the Bush administration. By helping each other, by working hard, and by never giving up, we will get through this.
That, my friends, is why I cried as I stood at the base of the Washington Monument, and why I, and millions of others, set out on ridiculous journeys these last couple days. So we could be there with him, to take part in the day where fear was replaced with hope, and we were told to carry on.

Catherine Elizabeth

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Two Thousand and Nine, Common Era

Everything, everything will be fine

I'm a little disappointed in myself for not managing to punch out a 2008 recap entry in December so as to up my entry quota by 100% for the month. So much for last year's promise to attempt to blog more.

This is my annual entry where I go through last years "Things I Hope To Pass", perhaps log some of the more important life events, and come up with a new TIHTP for this coming year. I think the reason I didn't delve into this sooner can be understood from the previous entry, since two of my hopes involved doing Grown Up Things that I haven't quite accomplished yet. However, for posterity's sake, I'll suck up my pride and get on with it.

2008 "Wish List" Recap
-Find a job that utilizes one of my degrees in some capacity
Depending upon how cheap I want to be, I could label this as either a Success or a Failure. On one hand, I'm still working at NextMedia and NCC hired me to assistant coach the speech team. On the other hand, neither job requires a BA...
-Avoid the Gen Y syndrome (ie: not live with my parents for more than 6 months)
Failure. September would have been the move-out month if I were to achieve this. I am, however, paying my mother rent, so I'm not exactly a Gen Y mooch.
-Keep the Boy
Success, and I'll be honest, this wishlist item was getting a little hard to maintain toward the end of the year, but things are back on track and better (emotionally, for me at least) than ever.
Success! I got to be consistantly warm and I discovered a magical nasal spray that knocked cats down from "deadly hairballs of doom" to "tolerable balls of cuteness".
-Vote for the "right" candidate so that I can balance out the karma from my last Presidential ballot.
While only time will tell whether America's choice of Senator Obama was the "right" one, I did vote for the winner, so as of this point in time, I'm going to label this a Success.

Here's a fun statistic: I wrote 27 entries in here last year, 18 of which were in the first half of the year. The frequency of writing dramatically declined once I didn't have school or speech things to procrastinate on. I will note that the most entries that I wrote in a single month was my very last month of school. Coincidence?

Despite any feelings to the contrary, 2008 was a significant year for me. I was extremely successful in speech (I took home at least one award at every single tournament, including both AFA and NFA nationals) and debate (100% undefeated in class, and also took home an award at every tournament I went to including the state title). I graduated college a term early with major concentrations in Communications and German. I went on a vacation with The Boy to our nation's capitol. I went on a vacation to Hawaii which was almost as interesting as visiting an entirely different country. I voted for Obama in the primary and general elections and attempted to see him in Grant Park on election night. The Boy and I had our first (couple) real fights. I won Friday's bartender championship at the store level. I started to pay off my student loans, and saved up enough to have them paid off 2 months from now.

2009 is actually scaring me more than 2008 did, and not only because I'm holding my breath, wincing in anticipation of my Golden Boy Obama's first screw-up that dashes my hopes and dreams. Since I put off Growing Up for about a year, this is the year that I actually have to figure out all of that scary stuff. I narrowed my playing field down enough to satisfy my need for direction, however, my playing field is engaged in a tumultuous, nail-biting search for his own Wrigley.

Things I Hope Come To Pass In '09
-Find a "real job" that will allow me to simply bartend as a supplement, not staple
-Get my own place
-Keep the boyfriend (a task far less whimsical and much, much scarier this year)
-Work on developing a healthier routine (improved diet, any exercise, better habits, etc...)
-Never carry a balance on my AmEx card
-Dress more adult-like
-Write almost every day, in some form
-Listen to newer, better music

If anyone wants to help me with my wishlist, feel free to contribute to my self-improvement. A little guidance and pushing never hurt anyone.

Happy new year, Interested Party. Good night, and good luck.

Oh, nine,
Catherine Elizabeth