7 things
August 19, 2010, 7:50 am
Filed under: daily

My academic advisor told me that it’s important to update your CV every year, not just because the department requires it, but it’s good for your sanity to look over the last year and see what you’ve accomplished.

I think that applies to the rest of our lives, as well. I made it a point to write a post about all we’ve done to the house in the past year or so because sometimes it feels like I haven’t done anything. This lady had a great idea: remind yourself of what you’re good at. We’re all good at something, hopefully lots of things. When you feel like a failure over something else, it can be good for your sanity to remind yourself that you aren’t a waste of space. I know this is something I ought to do more often.

1. I’m good at knitting and crocheting. I have a blanket over my knees that I made to prove it. I taught myself, no less. Using The Internets. (Sidenote: How did people learn how to do ANYTHING without the Internet and you-tube DIY videos?)

2. I’m smart. I’m good at school, which is why I’m about to embark on my third degree in 6 years. I enjoy classes, learning, projects. I almost always get good grades. Nobody will hire me, but damnit, people will pay me to be a student. That has to count for something.

3. I’m a good writer. I double-majored in English literature in college for the heck of it. It was a good balance against my science classes, and I got A’s without exerting any effort. I can write papers quickly and easily that are damn good and need minimal editing.

4. I can play the piano. Not very well, but I took lessons for 11 years so I like to think my parents got something for their money.

5. I can cook, and I taught myself because my mother is a type-A cook. I only rarely screw things up, and I’m good at winging it. I’ve stopped measuring when I cook and merely eye-ball it. I do not eye-ball it when baking though, because that’s screwing with a chemical reaction and will doom you to failure.

6. I am a good public speaker. I gave the same talk repeatedly over a few months, including at a national conference. I won an award for it (and $275!) and was repeatedly complimented on my public speaking skills. Apparently, I am poised, clear, and interesting.

7. I’m the frugalista. I can find great deals very easily, I resist spending money altogether, and I run a very tight ship without giving up on the things we enjoy in life (like cheese). We’re living on Kevin’s salary alone at this point, most months. We have no debt other than the mortgage and student loans. We have a healthy emergency fund. The next challenge is figuring out what we’re saving for and how to spend our money after the wedding is over.

So. Your turn. What are YOU good at?

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In Which I Admit To My Nutso
August 10, 2010, 9:37 pm
Filed under: daily, Pittsburgh

Over the past few years, I’ve gradually cut back on my socialization in person time, and increased my socialization on the internets time. This is a good thing in some ways: it has enabled me to keep in touch with friends who live out of the area. We chat online. In some cases, almost every day. I swear I talk to my Asian friend more than I talk to Kevin, but I never, ever see her. In other ways, it’s not so good. I do not see real people most of the time. I get most of my socialization digitally, and it leaves something to be desired.

Speaking of my Asian friend. She is doing something totally awesome. She is completely burnt out from her PhD program after two years, and is taking a leave of absence to spend a few months traveling around central and south america with her boyfriend, working at organic farms. While this is something you could not pay me a bazillion dollars to do, because hard manual labor and I do not get along, I am totally jealous of what she’s doing. Freakishly jealous. The tips of my fingers are turning green with jealousy. I’m leaving green fingerprints on my computer as I type this.

Why am I jealous of something I would never do? Because she’s grabbing her life by the horns. She’s finally recognized how unhappy she is with her life right now (something I’ve known about her life for a long time!) and is taking steps to fix it. She’s doing something I generally mock: she’s leaving the country to go into the wilderness and find herself. Hopefully she comes back refreshed with a new look on life and a clearer head to decide what to do next.

I don’t need to do hard manual labor to find myself. I don’t even need to find myself: I’m in Pittsburgh, exactly where I want to be. I’m thrilled with what’s next for me: starting the PhD officially at the end of August, doing something that really, really sets my pants on fire, with people I really, really like. I’m also really good at it, which is a total bonus.

However. However! I have to get myself out of this rut. I only socialize online, unless it’s with Kevin’s friends. I guess they’re technically my friends now, but really. They’re more his than mine. When Kevin has the whole weekend sucked up by drumline practice, I am on my own. My best friend works all weekend, so I can’t play with her. The vast majority of my other friends are elsewhere. I don’t have family (that I like) in the area. I spent almost all weekend by myself this past weekend, except for a few hours late on Saturday when I went into Oakland to hang out with drumline people after practice was over.

I was so miserable.

The funny thing is this: I am an introvert. I don’t like being around people for extended periods of time. At the end of social gatherings, I am exhausted and need to recoup. I have cried after really stressful gatherings, even if I looked like I had a good time. When I’m with my close friends, the ones who I really mesh with, it’s not a problem. Interacting with them isn’t nearly as exhausting, although I do sleep well afterward. And yet, I hate being entirely alone for extended periods of time. You just can’t win with me, can you?

And so, I’ve been inspired in the past few weeks by Asian Jen. She’s taking her bull by the horns and going to South America to harvest coffee or something insane like that. I can do something to change how I’ve been feeling about being by myself and only interacting with people via Google Chat or the Twitter. That’s why I went out on a limb and accepted Emily’s invitation on Friday to go to the pool with her and her kids. And then accepted another yesterday to go with even more people from Twitter. I was afraid it would be weird, me with no babies, hanging out with women who do have them, at a pool. People I’ve never met before! People who I’ll have to CONVERSE with!

WHAT IF I HAVE NOTHING TO SAY OMG WHAT IF THEY DON’T LIKE ME HOLY CRAP WHY AM I DOING THIS I SHOULD GO HOME.

Is exactly what I was thinking as I pulled into the parking lot on Friday afternoon. It was like starting 9th grade at a brand new public school all over again. My knees sweated exactly the same way.

And yet. And yet! It was so nice. It was nice to be out, it was nice to have people to talk to. It was nice to make real friends. Not that my friends I talk to via Google Chat aren’t real, but they can only do so much when Kevin is busy all weekend. It was nice to feel like I was making my own friends, not just tagging along with Kevin. It was nice to feel included, even though I technically don’t have the credentials to join a mom group.

In my own, less dramatic way, I am stepping out my comfort zone and trying to figure myself out, just like Asian Jen. And I don’t have to pick mangos to do it.

If you want to be my real, in person friend, and you aren’t a crazy, rapist stalker person, let me know. I’m going to start going to TweetUps locally, and I’m going to be there with bells on, even if it means I have to curl up with a glass of milk in bed later to recover. I’d rather cry at the end of a social gathering because I’m exhausted than cry because I don’t have anyone to hang out with.

This is me stepping out. Will you join me?