A New Kind of Different

My friends and I spend way more time than I’d like to admit dreaming about the future. We constantly fanaticize about our lives in terms of careers, boys, families, etc. It always seems like there are more exciting things right around the corner. The real challenge is appreciating where we are now, and looking back on truly how amazing the last few years have been: going to college, moving away from home, travelling, falling in love, graduating. I’ve come to realize that no life stage is better than any of the others. They all bring different amounts of excitement and hardships, uncertainty and surprises.

Last week, my best friend and I packed our bags and moved out of my Mom’s house in Orange County. After collectively sending about 60 emails, we finally stumbled upon a steal of a one-bedroom apartment. Once we found it, all the details seemed to fall into place: the location, the timing, everything. And all of a sudden, we were moving out.

I’m sad to be leaving my mom’s house. Not the same kind of sad I was when I moved away to college, because I knew I would still have place to come home to. But now, that home is no longer my permanent address. This new part of my life has a Los Angeles zip code, and that’s both extremely terrifying and terribly exciting to me.

I am 22-year-old college graduate looking for work in Los Angeles. I live with my best friend, and my boyfriend lives across town. I don’t know what I want to do with my life yet, but I’m working on it.

In reality, what’s more exciting than that?

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Life Update: Best Friend Edition

So my best friend got a job today, and I couldn’t be happier for her.

The way it came about was a little unconventional—let’s just say reality television might have been involved. The actual interview process was as grueling as anything, if not more so, since literally every step of the way she had to deal with a camera crew following her every move. She took the long and emotional days in stride with more poise and positivity than I could have ever mustered, that’s for sure.

Her and I have been best friends for three years now, ever since we randomly roomed together in our sorority house. She is the sister I never had, and after graduation she came to California to live with my mom and me so she could better pursue her dream of working in the fashion industry. We had about a month of blissful bonding time, during which we explored Orange County (where I live) and Los Angeles (where we both aspired to move after we got jobs there). The plan was always for us to do our best to make the move together, after all finding a two-bedroom place anywhere in LA on a starting salary is more reasonable than finding an affordable studio apartment. We were both aware that this goal might be unrealistic: what were the odds that we would both get jobs close enough together to allow a smooth transition? The truth is, slim to none.

At this point, she is so beyond excited about being employed that there’s no room for realistic talk of logistics, but that’s all I can think about at the moment. As if I didn’t already feel completely behind not having a job upon graduation, now both my boyfriend and my best friend—both of whom are from Texas—are successfully employed in California.

And of course I am absolutely over-the-moon thrilled to have two of the most important people in my life now living out their dreams so close by. I just can’t help but feel massively disappointed in myself at the same time. And the killer part is that both of them, along with my parents, are actively invested in offering advice/support/help in my job search. But every time they do, no matter how good their intentions, all I feel is discouraged for not living up to the their expectations, and even more so, my own.

As an only child, there is no one else around to make my parents proud or exceed their expectations. It kills me every day that I wake up not knowing what I’m going to do with my life. It’s ridiculously hard to have such conflicting emotions: I’m obviously so ecstatically proud of my best friend for taking this huge leap toward living out her dreams, but at the same time I’m throwing a massive internal pity party. I feel like it’s necessary to add that there’s totally still a chance that I could wind up finding a job in the next couple weeks (I’m definitely not sitting around at home twiddling my thumbs), it just seems a tad unrealistic at this point.

Tomorrow she flies back out here from her hometown, and I am going to be the most supportive friend in the whole world. But for today, I’m thinking about myself, and about the two-bedroom apartment that may never happen.

A Sappy Post

In high school, two of my best friends were in serious relationships (one of which lasted 4ish years and the other is still going strong). It was strange having friends who were always with their significant others, and I really couldn’t understand liking someone that much, simply because I never had. This mindset pretty much stayed with me through my junior year of college. I was never a long-term-relationship kind of girl—my romantic flings usually made it to the three-month mark before I became disinterested and proceeded to awkwardly distance myself from the respective assortment of (mostly) nice boys that just weren’t quite right.

Somewhere at the beginning of sophomore year, my roommate introduced me to a new friend of hers. He was cute—tall and blonde, with light green eyes that were to die for. He was also outgoing, charismatic, and crazy smart. Naturally he had tons of friends, with a seemingly constant posse of pretty girls vying for his attention. It’s safe to say I was definitely not the only one with a crush on the kid.

Throughout sophomore year and into junior year, we became close friends. My feelings for him continued to grow as I learned what a truly genuine and driven person he was, not to mention the fact we shared many similar interests and aspirations. Just before summer break that year, I finally caved and told him I liked him as more than a friend (as if it wasn’t obvious to him and everyone else at this point). His response was frustratingly rational: he valued my friendship too much to risk messing things up, and besides, I was heading off for a month-long summer study abroad program in London, not to mention that I was from California and he was from Texas. He had a fair point, one that I might have been able to accept had we not talked to each other every single day that summer, in one form or another: even when we went from a 2 hour time difference to an 8 hour one, even when we could only talk when I had wifi in my London dorm, and even when my phone got stolen in Dublin. Every. Single. Day.

Let me stop here and say that I did genuinely make an effort to stop liking this boy, on multiple occasions in fact. I’m a Taurus—we’re notoriously stubborn—so when I make my mind up to do something it typically comes to fruition. However, in this case my efforts were to no avail, so I took it as a sign. You know that scene in Sleepless in Seattle, when Meg Ryan is trying on her mom’s wedding dress? She had just finished saying that she doesn’t believe in signs, when the dress serendipitously rips, after which she exclaims, “It’s a sign!”. Well that’s how I feel looking back on the way our relationship started. Like there was some cosmic reason that I couldn’t get over this boy even though he had made it clear that he did not want to date me. Until one day he did.

Our friendship had once again blurred the line between flirty and romantic over the course of that summer, so when we got back to school, I again (this time tearfully) confronted him and told him that I couldn’t continue to be friends with him while being fair to myself. It hurt too much knowing that he didn’t reciprocate my feelings, so for my own sake I needed to take a step back. This was not an easy conversation to have. In fact, it absolutely sucked knowing that chances were high that I would end up loosing one of my best friends. I had already shed more tears over him than any other boy I had ever dated, and we weren’t even in a relationship.

As it turns out, something about my charmingly mumbled sentences or the alluring way snot was running down my face must have struck a chord that night, because after taking some time to think it over, he decided to give the more-than-friends thing a try. That was a year ago today.

It hasn’t all been fun or easy or pretty like relationships are often romanticized to be. It’s been hard and messy at times, and the tears still flow on occasion. But there really is something to be said for starting a relationship on the solid foundation of friendship. Because this boy, who started out as my best friend, became my love as well, and I am in constant awe of that fact. And whether this relationship lasts a year and a day or the rest of my life, I will always be thankful that I just couldn’t get over my crush on the cute boy with the green eyes. He has already shown me so much of what love really means: to be adventurers and partners, playmates and friends. He is my first love, and I will be damn lucky if he ends up being my last.

 

Daydreaming My Life Away

Do you ever have those days where you rethink everything about yourself? Maybe it’s because so much of my life is unsettled right now, but I find myself thinking those things that only theatrically overdramatic characters in movies would ever actually say out loud. “Who am I, what am i doing with my life, what do I want to be when i grow up” etc. That last one is probably the most pressing these days, considering that now’s the time to get it together and seriously pick a career path. Never in my life have cliches been more relevant; see every Taylor Swift song, ever.

So, as I put off being responsible yet again, here are a few of the directions I could see my life going today:

Wilderness guide. I love the outdoors way to much to resign myself to a life of cubicle-sitting. I think I’ll move to Yosemite and become a park ranger/ wildflower expert. I’ll be put in charge of a long forgotten trail in the middle of nowhere, and my only friends will Smoky the Bear and the occasional lost hiker. Foolproof plan.

Stay at home mom. I can do this! So many people get married and settle down at my age. Granted, in my opinion they’re mostly oblivious and don’t have a clue…but I could totally wear cute aprons and learn to how to cook (is my recent obsession with Young and Hungry going to my head?). I’d make a kick ass mom, and even though I probably wouldn’t have food on the table every night when the husband came home, I would definitely look the part of a modernized fifties housewife. Heels and high wasted skirts? Done.

Move to Paris. I speak enough French to get by selling flowers on the side of the street until I meet an elderly writer that wants to sponsor me as I traipse around Europe collecting stories for him to compile (as he is now blind and therefore cannot adventure for himself). I see how this lifestyle might be frowned upon in some circles, but since I’d be in France it would be classy, right?

Move to Portland. In this case I would be the writer, living out of some happily married couple’s guesthouse. I’d spend my time drinking coffee and skulking around hipster places in flannel while enjoying the year round rainfall and constant greenery. Must start wearing horn-rimmed glasses…curse my 20/20 vision.

So the moral of this story is (as I waste yet another afternoon on daydreams instead of real-world job applications), that as of tomorrow, you’ll be able to find me in pumps and flannel, sipping coffee and conversing en français about wild flowers while sitting on the steps of Montmartre. Sounds très bon, does it not?

Get Excited

Since my minor (major) freak out last week, I have come to a few conclusions. I have decided that I am officially tired of stressing out and allowing the future to terrify me.

My roommate can’t stop talking about how excited she is to graduate, and she’s got a point. I have spent the majority of my life in the world of academia, and for the first time, I have absolutely no school on the horizon. No summer reading, no new classes and teachers to wonder about over summer vacation. I think the root of all my fears stem from this lack of anything concrete or certain in my future. For a brief time, I considered going to grad school in New York or some far-off place—until I remembered that I am seriously burned out on school for the moment, and no longer have any particular desire to take classes or write papers or have busywork and projects forever looming over my head. This does not mean that I am done learning or that I’ll stop writing or reading, it’s just that for once, the hours I devoted to writing research papers and attempting to understand academic trade articles can be mine to spend however I please. I can again read the cheesy fictional books I used to love, and I can write and sketch and not feel guilty for putting off homework to do these things that make me l happy instead of my teachers.

Therefore, I am hereby determined to confront my unknown future not with trepidation, but with excitement and anticipation, armed with the knowledge that the course of my life is ultimately not up to me. In the meantime, I want to live fully present in every moment, and enjoy this home in this state that has been mine for the past four years: the places that I have come to love and make regular haunts, this little house in which I have taken refuge after every wonderful and awful day, and these people who I will always love and never forget. I want to live with the hope that I can gather all the beautiful memories of my college experience and blend them into whatever future places I will call home. I know the essence of these years will be with me always, because Texas has given friends and sisters and soul mates, and it is here that I met people that I would do anything for, and who taught me more about myself than I ever thought I could learn. It is here as well that I found out I could love more fiercely than I ever thought possible.

This took a turn for the sappy, and I’m sure there’s much more of that to come, but for now here’s to learning and loving and striving to never take a moment for granted in these last few weeks of my collegiate experience.

Impending Doom aka The Real World

After a glorious week of sunburned perfection in Florida for my Last Ever Spring Break with just about the best friends I could ask for, the realization that I will be a college graduate in less than 2 months has come as a bit of a blow. Not only to I feel that the last 4 years have left me entirely unprepared and ill-equipped to face The Real Word, but there are so many things that no one tells you when they send you off to this magical place of edumacation with some loans and a kiss goodbye! A lot of things are on a continuous loop in my mind, so here are a few that are on the forefront of my brain on this particular Sunday night.

There are the usual fears:

1. Facing the aforementioned loans (while not fully understanding them in the first place)

2. Dealing with all the finances that inevitably come with entering the Real World. This is a more blanket monetary concern revolving around my general inability to comprehend finding my own dentist or leaving the security of my parent’s phone plan.

3. Saying goodbye to the best of friends I only just found in the last few years. Really though. Four years ago, leaving for college tore me away from the fools that somehow loved me throughout all the awkwardness that was the first 18 years of my life. I came to a new state and somehow* managed to find a whole new set of ride or die fools to add to the collection. And now I’m once again being torn away from the people that I have lived the equivalent of an entire lifetime with in the past four years. Who thought up this nuanced form of torture…?
*I actually already know the secret to finding a best friend. All you have to do is cry a lot and eventually quote The Princess Diaries. Piece o’ cake.

4. Not having a job. What was I doing when I was in class the last four years? I know I learned some stuff and wrote a lot of papers and took a bunch of tests, but did I accumulate enough knowledge to attain any sort of employment other than “would you like fries with that”? The jury’s out at this point.

And then there are the semi-irrational-but-probably-totally-rational Tess fears:

5. Why did I pick a Fake Major*? I couldn’t have picked Business or Nursing or at least stuck with Journalism like I originally intended. I just had to switch to something I actually liked, so I spent 2.5 years being completely fascinated by the film and television industries, while not actually honing in on something I really want to do with my life. Stupid stupid stupid Tess. Oh wait, can’t forget about the 7 years of French that lead up to a minor. Thank goodness for that, the day is saved! Now I can just move to France.
*In the past, my major has been jokingly referred to as “fake” by my so-called friends, and I’ve never quite gotten over it.

6. How am I possibly gonna get all the random crap I’ve accumulated (that currently fills one third of a house) halfway across the country?

7. What’s going to happen with the whole boyfriend thing? He’s not exactly a master communicator, which leaves all the Hard Hitting Question Asking to me…which means we’re screwed. It’ll come out like: “Hey, so how ‘bout this whole graduation thing?” Translation: “I love you and quite enjoy seeing your face everyday and don’t really want that to stop, so how’s that going to work when you get a job on the other side of the country?” I know we’re both kinda sorta leaning toward ending up in the same place, but I kinda sorta don’t think that’s gonna cut it.

So basically my mind has been going about a mile a minute since we made the 12 hour drive back to the great state of Texas yesterday. Two months is going to fly by in the blink of an eye (oh good, my back up career as a poet/rapper is still good to go). So if anyone has a copy of the Master Plan I could sneak a peak at, please holler at me ASAP. Cause I’m working under a deadline, and it’s crunch time ladies and gents.

I’ll at least take solace in the fact that I’ve somehow convinced my best friend to come to California and move into my mom’s with me after we graduate, and then embark on Tess and Lauren’s Grand Adventure, also known as Tess and Lauren’s Lives as Beach Bums Who Don’t Even Live at the Beach.

For now, all I have are the wise words of Eminem to guide me through this tumultuous time of unknowns and what ifs.

You better lose yourself in the music, the moment
You own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime yo
The soul’s escaping, through this hole that is gaping
This world is mine for the taking
 

Okay maybe this doesn’t even pertain to my current situation, but it’s been stuck in my head for days now so it seems relevant.

For the Record

I realize that my commitment to regularly updating a blog is turning out a lot like when I tried to keep a diary throughout my entire childhood, each post starting out along the lines of  “Dear Diary, sorry it’s been so long...” And I’ve come to the conclusion that this is due to the fact (or fear) that my life is generally uninteresting, and would be considered so by the majority of the blog-reading population. (Unless of course I am jet setting to some far off and highly fabulous place, as was the case last summer. But that was an aberration from the course of my typically monotonous life.)

However, yet another conclusion I’ve come to as of late is that since I’m not writing for anyone in particular, who honestly cares if what I have to say is interesting? I happen to find my soon-to-be-graduated, golden-retriever-and-beach-obsessed-but-living-in-the-middle-of-texas, and trying-to-fit-a-boyfriend-into-my-existing-love-affair-with-my-roommate life quite enjoyable, even hilarious at times. So I’m not going to apologize, Dear Blogosphere, because I will continue to post whenever I so choose!

See you in another 8 months.