Open to Change

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. I know it is a silly movie but I just enjoy it! It has so many memorable lines such as:

I *love* Patricia. Patricia makes COFFEE nervous.

Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, not small, but valuable. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?

So much of what I see reminds me of something I read in a book, when shouldn’t it be the other way around?

People always say that change is a good thing, but what it really means is that something that you didn’t want to happen, has happened.

I love daisies. They’re so friendly. Don’t you think daisies are the friendliest flower?

Have you ever become the worst version of yourself. That a pandora’s box of all the hateful things, your spite, your arrogance, your condecension has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and walking away… you zing them.

A HOTDOG is singing. You need quiet while a hotdog is singing?

Perfect. Keep those West-Side liberal nuts, psudo-intellectuals…
Readers, Dad. They’re called readers.
Don’t do that, son. Don’t romanticize them.

It happened in Spain. People do really stupid things in foreign countries.
Absolutely. They buy leather jackets for much more than they’re worth. But they don’t fall in love with fascist dictators!

When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.

You get the idea. I have been thinking a lot about the movie because it is all about change- even one of the quotes I have listed refers to change. Kathleen Kelly has her whole world tipped over and she must change her career, lifestyle, companionship etc. I am aware that in movie world there has to be a happy ending but I think her journey is a realistic one. She ends up growing from her sacrifice and realizing a whole new part of herself- a potential she would have never understood by staying in the store. She even has a higher capacity to love by the end of her change.

Like Kathleen Kelly I am being forced out of my comfort zone. I currently do not know where I will be permanently living, what I will be doing for a job, or who I will be living with. It’s just a vast unknown. I am starting to get an inkling that maybe running my own company isn’t such a crazy idea. I have also been keeping busy working on my dad’s rental properties and planning some events. Plus, I have that little thing called boxing up and moving all of my stuff…

Getting back to the movie, I wouldn’t be surprised if my journey is somewhat similar to Kathleen’s. In the movie she says “who would ever thought that I would write? I mean, if I hadn’t had all this time…” I feel the same way. Who would have ever thought I’d be where I am right now, an MBA grad experiencing these changes. Certainly not me. It’s actually kind of exciting! I always wanted to be someone that was brave and bold. Like the kind of girl I read about in my books- Joe March, Anne Shirley, and even Nancy Drew. How did such a girl wind up as an accounting clerk? I know that I still have the desire to do great things and this time of change may be just what I need to push me into becoming what I wanted to be as a child.

I have already experienced some of that change. Quiting my job taught me to trust my inner voice in a whole new way and that self awareness is part of the reason I have been so happy these last few months. I have a confidence that is no longer hindered by the opinions and feelings of others like it used to be. Sure I have my moments of discouragement and frustration (just as Kathleen does in the movie) but there is still an underlying confidence in my decision and my life that has not and will not change. I hope that as I continue to make changes I will grow even stronger. In the meantime thank heavens for wonderful friends, family and even movies or books that make me smile at life.

You’ve Got Mail once again describes the last 6 months for me and the time to come-

Last 6 months

I just want to say that all this nothing has meant more to me than so many somethings.

At least the next 6 months

You are a lone reed, standing tall, waving boldly in the corrupt sands of commerce.

Who knows maybe I will even find my Tom Hanks at the end of the journey!


Married vs Singles?

So, I gave this blog a somewhat provocative title on purpose. I am hoping that some good discussion will develop from my thoughts on a TV snippet I saw this morning. The point of the discussion was why married and single people tend to have a difficult time maintaining relationships with each other. Of course, they put the argument in boxing terms which may be a bit strong, but they brought up the point that often people that are close when they are single find it difficult to remain friends after one of them gets married. I must say that I have noticed this on occasion. I have some great married friends that I am still close to but others have fallen off the face of the earth. To be fair, I have also lost contact with some of my single friends as well.

Do you guy’s see this as a phenomenon? If so, why do you think it happens? Do singles feel threatened by the marital bliss of their friends- or vice versa? Are schedules just so different? Are lifestyles different, so relating to one another becomes hard? Do married people not need friends for support and comfort the way single people do?

I hope nobody is offended by this line of questioning. I honestly am just curious for thoughts on the topic. One thing I have wondered is if the real barrier comes when children are brought into the picture. I have had a number of married friends without kids that mention the difficulty they have bonding with other married couples with kids. Most of the time such difficulties result from scheduling conflicts. Children require so much time particularly at night when those (married or single) without kids are off from work itching to hang out. It’s a lot of work for a parent to find a sitter and the few times they do go to such trouble they probably want to spend time as a couple instead of hanging out with their single friends.

Another problem that might create barriers is a change in conversation and interests between the two groups. For instance, two girlfriends may have had everything in common when they were single but now that one is married some of those primary interests have changed for the married friend. What is important to remember is that those points of connection are still there. Priorities have just changed. I would wager to say that singles can be every bit as flaky in discounting or forgetting their married friends- with singles just assuming they have nothing in common anymore. I am obviously not married but it has got to be hard to get married and get dropped by most of your single friends.

So what is the solution to this problem? I don’t know, but here are some thoughts I have on strengthening married/single relationships (sounds so diplomatic hah!). First of all, whether single or married everyone must try to be what I call a low maintenance friend. Be someone that doesn’t whimper and feel neglected if they aren’t contacted for a month or if an outing together doesn’t work out. I love friends like this. Friends that I can always count on, friends that I love to be with, but that are not going to cause me additional stress in maintaining the friendship. I understand that everyone has their high maintenance moments but in general friendships should uplift our lives and be a solace from the world. They certainly should not add extra stress to our already busy lives. My next suggestion is to try and be understanding of different schedules and lifestyles. I was talking to my sister Megan the other day and she mentioned that a friend of hers and had gotten together for breakfast. She said this was convenient for her because she got some female bonding time without interrupting naps, sleeping or other commitments with her children. It was also casual so she could bring the kids and did not need a sitter. Maybe next time a single girl wants to get together with her married friend she could suggest a Saturday breakfast? On the other side of the spectrum married people must work around and respect the schedule of their single friends. Finally, it is important to be sensitive in conversation to the lifestyle and decisions of both groups. Sometimes both groups can come off as condescending- as if they have made the better choices. Let’s just respect each other and remember that we are friends. That’s what’s important!

One last tip for my married friends. Don’t set up your single friends unless you honestly feel that the set up has potential. Most singles don’t mind set ups that are thoughtfully prepared but everyone I know hates the “Your single. He’s single” type of set up. There has to be some reason that the couple might work. Bad set ups are irritating and annoying on many levels and can give the impression that you can’t be friends unless you are part of a couple.

So, those are my thoughts on this topic. It will be interesting for your responses and again hopefully you all understand the spirit of the post. I love all my married and single friends!!!

Tears, Aches and a little Opera

I don’t want you’all to think that I am only going to write deep and contemplative entries on this blog. Some of them will just be reporting on the exciting or not so exciting events of my life. The last 2 days have been interesting. It’s actually been kind of a roller coaster. Starting on Thursday Camille and I began the process of packing up our apartment and getting everything ready for a big garage sale. We were going to do the garage sale next Saturday but heard there might be rain so we pushed it up to this morning. It was quite the event and I think all of us including my roommate Megan felt kind of melancholy as we packed our stuff. We’ve talked of the move coming up for months but haven’t really dealt with it. I am not exaggerating when I say that I feel like my family is breaking up. I feel nearly the same emotion that I felt when my sister moved to Stanford- except at least with Meg I knew for sure that I would remain close. With roommates you never know. Some I have remained quite close with and others I’ve lost track of. I take my friendships and relationships seriously and it is hard to see them change.

It is also hard to know that I don’t have roommates in my next place. I am going to be staying at one of my dad’s rentals for the summer so I can help him get them ready for use as a vacation rentals. If any of you have a family reunion in Utah coming up let me know! We’ve got a great deal! The prospect of leaving a set of roommates that feels like a family to a big house all by myself makes me feel kind of sad. Still, I know it is the right move for me and I will grow from the experience. Maybe it will make me even more independent- if that is possible!

Anyway, we worked for 2 days to get everything ready for the garage sale. Squeezed in between this packing I had 2 interviews that were interesting. The first was for an engineering company called Raser Technologies. They seemed like very nice people and I may get the job. I am not sure if I am going to accept it; however, because it was so much like my last job that I can’t picture myself happy in it. I didn’t make this big change to go right back to what I was doing before! The biggest shock for me about this interview is that the HR rep told me that she received 85 resumes for a simple admin job! I was so stunned by that. Whoever says we aren’t in a recession is crazy. We’ll see what I decide to do.

The other interview was the for the Nordstrom Rack which I probably would have gotten but I had to tell them about my foot condition which disqualified me! Can’t win hah!

I was disappointed yesterday that I didn’t get a position in Sandy I really thought I would get. There just doesn’t seem to be anyone willing to take a chance on me and the frustrating thing is I KNOW I could do a good job if given the opportunity.

As a result of the last several months, I think I might take a part time job for consistency and then with my remaining time I am going to market myself as an independent contractor for marketing, graphic design, web design and event planning. I am already doing some work for my dad on his rentals but a lot of company’s outsource for this type of work and if I do it for the right price I think it will be successful. I am very fortunate that I don’t have any debt and have very minimal expenses, so it is actually perfect timing to start up a new venture. It all feels too brave for me but I have never been scared by a challenge. Plus, if it doesn’t work I can always get a job doing something else and I’ll have my part time job for some income consistency. It should be good.

So after all of these events I was feeling kind of stressed and luckily my friend Miriam had called and invited me to see the Utah Opera’s production of Don Giovanni. I tell you it was exactly what I needed. I needed to do something different, fun and not think about all of these things weighing on my mind. It was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with Miriam and her mom. She’s been my friend since college and we’ve helped each other through a lot. She also just graduated from law school and is getting ready to take the bar. Life is changing for her. Life is changing for me. It was the perfect person for me to talk to at that moment. It’s amazing how the Lord provides those people in our lives when things are hard. It’s very reassuring to me that all of these changes I am making will turn out for the best.

So, I got back from the Opera last night at midnight and then took a long nap before setting up the garage sale, which started at 7 AM. It was a lot of work but very fun. We got to meet a ton of new people and make some money at the same time. I am super sore from moving boxes up and down from our apartment but that didn’t make it any less enjoyable. It was another roommate moment for the record books.

All of these experiences have made me excited about the experiences to come- a little sad too- but I am determined to look at them as moments to anticipate, moments that will teach me and that will be fun. Just as fun as spending time with friends, hearing opera and branching out into new and adventurous careers and houses! It will be exciting! I don’t know if this entry makes much sense but it’s been quite the jumble of experiences lately, and I think I’ve conveyed that well in this blog.

Great Responses

So my first 2 blogs were a big hit. I have already gotten a lot of feedback on them. A number of people were concerned about my health from a comment in my last one. No fears on that point. Iam actually doing pretty good. I have a membership at Curves and go whenever I can and am trying to eat in a healthy way. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned health and exercise as one of the shoulds. I was referring more to trying to meet an illusion of healthiness instead working with what you’ve got and progressing. My other point is that my job used to be something I would compare my life, my performance, my career with others and to an illusion of success. Now I am looking for a new job grounded in what I want, what I really care about. I do think it is interesting how busy I have kept myself and how generally happy I’ve felt without a job. I thought I would miss the routine of it more than I have.

Anyway, my life is continuing to progress. Sometimes progress is hard. My roommates and I are beginning the process of moving. This makes me feel sad. I’ve been in my current apartment for 2 years and I feel a bit like my family is being broken up. I honestly try to not think about it. I was watching the movie Shadowlands the other day (great movie by the way) and I was touched by something one of the characters says. She has cancer and her husband doesn’t want to talk about it. In response she says “The pain later makes the happiness now greater”. Meaning the lack of time they have makes every moment more precious and meaningful. By not acknowledging it some of that sweetness is lost. Obviously my roommates aren’t dying but the movie has reminded me to savor the moments we have together while I have the chance.

My other thought from the movie is that in the woman’s case she knew the pain was coming. Most of the time we don’t have such a luxury. We can be assured that they will come to us all, so we should take every opportunity we have to soak in the many moments of joy and peace the Lord gives us. It’s so easy to take things for granted until they are gone but I am trying to do better in that regard. I think we all can.

I certainly feel blessed right now. I have been giving a season of joy after a really hard year, last year. I have an amazing education, which I am grateful for on so many levels. I have my testimony of Jesus Christ and the Book of Mormon to uplift me each day. Most importantly I have the Love of the Lord and my friends, family and associates that lift me and mean so much to me. It’s very humbling to ponder upon all that I have been given. I am truly grateful.

Should or Want?

Lately I have been thinking a lot about my motivations in life. Being in between jobs means that most of the activities I participate in are by my own choice. What I mean by that is I don’t have a boss or authority figure telling me how I must use my time. It has caused me to wonder about the following question- how much of my life is dictated by what I want and how much by what I should want. For example, a woman may not want a family but feels that she should want a family; therefore, she forces herself to want a family.

I suppose there is another facet to this question- there are some choices that are based on needs and not wants. For instance, I will eventually have to get a job because I need money but what type of job I get could depend on what impulse I follow more- the wants or the “shoulds”.

There are so many things that I feel like I should want but in reality I have at best mixed emotions on. I should want a family. I’m 27 and Mormon, which means this should be my main desire. In reality, I am content either way. Singleness does not cause the hole in my heart that it does for some girls. I don’t know why. It’s just the way I am. I also should want to be married more than anything else, but in reality I am happy with my life. I am a fiercely independent creature and have yet to find a man that I feel is worthy of sacrificing pieces of that independence. Once I meet such a person I will get married and enjoy that part of life. In the meantime, I am happy.

It also seems like I should be unhappy not working. Shouldn’t I be at home watching soap operas and eating fudge? In reality my job was a great unhappiness in my life for years, and I am now just beginning to recover from the experience. Being unemployed has actually been quite liberating for me. For the first time in a long time I have done something different, something bold, something where I can tell the world that its standards are not going to apply to me and my life. I knew that quiting my job was the right thing to do and nobody will ever convince me otherwise. There is something empowering about that.

There are many other things I feel I should do or be but don’t really want to do or be such as dieting, budgeting, organizing, exercising, driving, dancing, mingling etc. It has made me think- how often do I participate in such activities because I want to do them, or do I feel I should be doing them? Do I feel I should have an organized room (one I clearly don’t follow as my room is super messy) or do I want to have an organized room? Do I feel I should be skinny or do I actually want to be so? Do I feel I should be a career woman or do I want a career? Do I feel I should enjoy dancing, camping, hiking, and running (to name a few) so I vainly try and participate in such activities? Why do I feel I should enjoy such things? I honestly have no idea because I sure don’t enjoy them.

It even comes into my reading. There are definitely books I have read because they are books “every reader should read…”. How stupid is it of me to read something because some person or list thinks I should when it isn’t even a book that I want to read. Granted occasionally such “shoulds” have introduced me to new books that I would not have wanted to read on my own, but still the fact that I am reading to please some imaginary ideal is kind of sad.

Now there are some “shoulds” that are dictated by the Lord such as “I should be morally clean, keep the word of wisdom, read my scriptures etc”. However, hopefully my testimony is strong enough that these choices are my wants as well as the Lord’s. In any case, my Savior is the only person I should be listening to and altering my wants around his directions. The world should not be dictating my choices.

I don’t know if this makes any sense but it has really got me thinking about my choices. As an independent thinker I want to live my life in a fashion dictated by my own thoughts and desires. I don’t want to finish things here on earth having only satisfied a bunch of “shoulds” that probably don’t exist any way. I want to live the life that I uniquely can live- not the life I should live or the one I am supposed to live. Such a life is destined for disappointment because there is no end to the “shoulds” a girl can create. Why we do that instead of just accepting ourselves and our individual choices I don’t know. For me, I am officially through with the “shoulds” and onto achieving the “Rachel’s true passions”. Only then will my life be my success, my journey and my choices.

The freedom of Joblessness

So, this is my first foray into the world of blogging. I have wanted to but have been content with the notes/postings on myspace and facebook. It is hard to describe my last 6 months but let me just say that I am in the job hunt and I couldn’t be happier. I honestly think I will be a bit sad when I have to go back into the work force. There is something wonderful about living my life the way I want to without regards to supervisors, bosses or routines. I have always been a big one for planning but after a bit of a breakdown last year I needed a change more than anything.

I recently saw a weekend movie where they made the statement. “I would rather be doing nothing than doing something I hate”. I have realized the truth of this remark in my life. The thing that is the most interesting is that I haven’t been doing nothing.  When did we get it in our head that the only viable thing for a person to do is work? I have actually been very busy.  In fact, I have been doing things that I actually love that I don’t have time for when I am working including doing some writing, making a cookbook for my mom, and exercising on a regular basis.

Nearly every day  I’ve had the interesting experience of applying for jobs all over the state of Utah.  I say interesting because you learn a lot about yourself as you answer questions from HR professionals.  My favorite one is “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”  Would I be interviewing for jobs if I knew where I was going in five years?  I guess they are looking for basic answers like “I see myself working for a great company like yours…”.  Usually I say something like “I would love to be a manager in a great organization that will allow me to develop all of my talents”.  I know it is pretty lame but it seems like they are asking for it with that question.

Whether the questions are lame or not it is always interesting.  I wish I could hear what my competition says because I feel like my answers are good but maybe they don’t stack up to  others.  I always feel like the interviews go well and then I don’t get the position.  I guess it just isn’t the position for me.

In the meantime I am enjoying my life and looking forward to the next adventure.