Sleepless Nights

Isn’t it funny how the nights seem so much longer than the days when you can’t fall asleep? It seems almost counterproductive to stay awake in my bed for hours on end, and yet I can’t bring myself to do anything in these wee hours of the morning. Thus, I lay here pondering life. As I think about everything from peanut butter to marriage, I’m finding that I can’t help but return to the idea of death over and over.

Recently, one of my college housemates passed away, and a few days ago, I attended her wake. Now I’ve personally never suffered a loss of someone close to me, let alone one of this magnitude, so naturally I’m finding this entire situation rather difficult to grasp. Death is never an easy thing, especially when it comes so prematurely and unexpectedly. As someone who struggles to express even the most basic emotions, I feel like it’s infinitely more frustrating because I can’t even begin to put into words how I feel or what I’m supposed to feel. It baffles me how one day you can be having a casual conversation with someone and the next day you’re standing at the foot of their coffin debating whether or not you can stomach taking a glimpse at their done up corpse.

For me, attending my friend’s wake was the point that her entire death began to settle in; slowly but surely, I registered that I’d never share another laugh with her or I’d never get to hug her again. Even worse than these realizations was the feeling of helplessness that enveloped me as I stood before her corpse. I don’t even know if I believe in a God, but all I could do was pray for her to find the insurmountable joy she had found in life wherever she is now. Surprisingly though, staring at her body didn’t bring me to tears. If anything, I was inexplicably frustrated with the fact that the foundation on her corpse was so poorly matched to her actual skin color. I don’t even know why that’s something that would be of concern because in the grand scheme of things, it’s so unbelievably irrelevant. Maybe that’s my twisted way of avoiding having to actually accept the loss.

Another thing attending her wake made me realize was just how fragile and insignificant life can be. I’m such a cynic and often it’s enough to disgust even myself, but as I sat there watching people trickle past her coffin, I realized that at the end of the day that’s all any of us will really amount to. No matter how powerful or wealthy we are, death renders all of that insignificant. At the end of it all, all we are is a dead body surrounded by flowers and candles in a room full of people who cared about us at some point in time. People cry and grieve and perhaps we won’t be forgotten, but I find the latter hard to believe in a time where fingers can type faster than mouths can move and technology expands more exponentially than our booming population. I know that my thought process is so cynical that it can be deemed incorrect, but at the same time it makes sense. Obviously, it completely negates the idea of any of us having a purpose in life, although who’s to say we do? I guess that’s just another uncertain thing that we’re meant to figure out on our own, but isn’t that what all these sleepless nights are for?

Second Chances

It’s been almost a year and a half since I’ve written anything and boy has a lot changed since then. The past year has been nothing short of the cliche roller coaster, filled with its fair share of ups and downs. The first half of 2014 was a steady, flat line of what seemed to be nothingness. I can’t say it was a low, because in the grand scheme of things, nothing was truly bad. Nonetheless, there wasn’t much to celebrate, few emotions were felt, and overall it was a sad period where the hours turned into days and all of the months just seemed to blend into one another. With the onset of spring began new relationships and new experiences, many of which I hope to elaborate on in future posts (fingers crossed). I suppose we can relate that to the steady incline of a rollercoaster: slow and anxiety inducing, but nevertheless exciting. As the cart of the roller coaster continued to inch upward, the impending drop lay ahead and the past few months have proven to be akin to the initial steep, rapid drop of a roller coaster. Filled with sleepless nights, anxiety, anger, frustration, and depression, the past few months have indubitably proved themselves to be some of the most trying in my life. In addition to battling several personal issues and family problems, I’ve very recently experienced the death of a close friend; it’s proving a lot more difficult than I had expected, but in an effort to ring in the new year on a brighter note, I hope that I can take all of these negatives and develop them into learning experiences that I can reference should I encounter similar issues in the future. Overall, this has been one of the most emotionally draining years of my life and maybe some self reflection is necessary in order to figure out just how and where I went wrong. Here’s to hoping that I can do a lot more of that in 2015 in an attempt to figure out who I am and who I hope to become (who am I kidding here).

Honestly, I can’t place with certainty what brought me back to this blog today or why I’m even entertaining the idea of restarting it, but hey, everyone deserves a second chance, right? I can’t say I agree with that statement at all, and yet here I am, giving this whole writing thing another go. Who knows, maybe this is just what I need, a second chance for myself (and if not, at least I’ll have a written account my thoughts and experiences).

My Latest Obsession

Let’s take a moment to appreciate Starbucks and all of the heavenly concoctions it is famous for. It offers so many unique drinks, which contributes to its status as a cult favorite. I am a self proclaimed Starbucks junkie; I’ve tried nearly everything on their regular menu. Recently, I decided to give some of the items on their secret menu a try. After spending some time researching the secret menu online, I stumbled upon something called the Thin Mint Frappuccino. My favorite Girl Scout cookie combined with my favorite drink? There was no chance of me NOT ordering it. This was probably the best decision I could’ve made because this frap was absolutely scrumptious. Broken down, it’s a green tea frappuccino with chocolate chips, mocha syrup, and a pump of peppermint (your barista may not know what a thin mint frap is). The mocha and peppermint elements give a normal green tea frappuccino a refreshing twist while the chocolate chips are just another little indulgence. Top it off with whipped cream, and you’ll be left with heaven in a cup. If this hasn’t been enough to convince you to go out and get one right now, I’d just like to add that you’ll sound like a pro ordering one of these babies. Why not spoil yourself a little? You deserve it!

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The Culture of Going Out

I spent the past weekend hanging out with my older cousins. They’ve all graduated college and grad school and established their careers, so I don’t see them more than a few times a year. As we were discussing what we’d been up to in the past few months, the conversation turned to our social lives. Of all my older cousins, I’m closest to two, one of whom is a lawyer in Washington DC and the other who is completing his residency in New York City. They both delved into the details of their nightly adventures, and listening to them made me realize just how much the culture of going out changes as we age.

As a sophomore in college, my going out experiences have been limited to frat parties in dirt covered basements that reek of Everclear. After the initial few times of going out and being violated by drunk, grimy college boys, I decided that basement parties weren’t really my scene. This is not to say that I’ll never go to one again, but I definitely associate them with my freshman exploration phase. It’s mildly amusing to see just how much my outlook on going out has changed over the course of the past year. I cannot even begin to imagine what social outings will consist of in ten years time when I’m approximately my cousins’ age.

As for my cousins, they’ve both advanced to becoming the epitome of the terms “food junkie” and “bar regular”. An average evening for either of them consists of visiting one of the city’s newest eateries with their colleagues or dropping by their favorite bar where they’re recognized on a first name basis. They’ve both confessed that more often than not, their nightly restaurant experiments end up being misses. Ever so often, however, they end up striking gold and finding a place they know they’ll return to time and time again. I find their lifestyles fascinating, probably because I love the idea of being a “foodie”.

Being that I am the stereotypical broke college student, I’ve found that my idea of going out has been limited to spending my nights in frat house basements (which cost me nothing, I might add). Maybe this year I can begin my cultural evolution by exploring the restaurants in my area and finding a new social scene. Until then, I’m grateful that I can live vicariously through my cousins’ nightly social adventures.

Perfectly Imperfect

As of late, it seems that my life is constantly undergoing major changes. I’m newly single, I’ve moved into my own apartment, and I’ve gotten a research position with a well respected doctor. I hadn’t expected any of these events to dramatically impact my life, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

For starters, I never would have imagined a breakup to affect me as significantly as this one has. Personally, I don’t believe in emotional attachment. I know, I know, it sounds absurd that I’d be in a relationship when I’m so emotionally closed off, but therein lies the contradiction (a reference to the title of this blog). With this particular relationship, I invested a lot of time and energy trying to ensure that things would go in the direction that I wanted them to and the exact opposite wound up happening. I felt very restricted reporting every one of my actions to this guy, so I eventually ended up breaking things off after a year and a half. I’m not going to get into the details of it, but there ended up being a lack of trust, which I’ve learned is one of the key elements of a solid relationship. In the months since we’ve broken up, I think that the hostility between us has begun to subside and we’re slowly beginning to talk and hang out again. However, the latter is another issue I’ve been having mixed feelings about. On one hand, I love hanging out with this guy; on the other hand, it’s difficult to imagine hanging out without rekindling the feelings we used to have for one another. Surprisingly, I don’t have a plan of action on how I want to approach this so I suppose we’ll just see how it goes. Currently, I feel liberated, so I have no complaints thus far.

In addition to my recent breakup, I’ve moved into my own apartment. In short, I absolutely LOVE living on my own, which I hadn’t expected at all. It’s safe to say that I’ve had a privileged childhood. My parents have taken care of my expenses, and more importantly, my meals. As an 18 year old college sophomore, it’s slightly embarrassing to admit that my mother still cooks for me, but I’ll shamelessly confess that I wouldn’t have it any other way. Living on my own has most definitely served as a reality check. I hate preparing food, but there is nothing I love more than eating. I’ve invested in two cookbooks, neither of which has been opened more than a handful of times. At the moment, I’ve been relying on my ability to cook pasta and make sandwiches to get me through the days. Eventually, I plan on putting my cookbooks to use again…or finding a personal chef that’ll work for free. Every other aspect of living on my own (e.g. cleaning, paying the bills, and coming home to an empty apartment) has proven to be oddly refreshing. This may be because it’s all a new experience, but I hope my attitude towards living on my own doesn’t change any time soon.

Living alone has really stressed just how quickly adulthood is setting in. Along with that, I’ve gotten my very first ‘big girl’ internship with a doctor. I hadn’t expected to be presented with such a wonderful yet challenging opportunity so soon in my academic career, but I couldn’t be more grateful to get knee deep into research that I truly enjoy. Over the course of the past few weeks, I’ve been assigned various projects which have included data analysis, writings scientific papers, and writing grant proposals. While these tasks are relatively foreign to me, it’s been a very rewarding experience figuring out what my boss expects of me. Then again, it’s absolutely terrifying knowing that he trusts me to work on the research that both his career and his life revolve around.

I think I can attribute much of my self reflection and realization to the occurrence of these three events one after another. While each has its pros and  cons, I can say with certainty that all of these events have caused me to reassess my priorities, value myself more, and realize just how quickly adulthood is approaching. Despite the fact that I appreciate them, these realizations can be overwhelming and they’ve been nothing but for me. Among other things, they’ve made me come to the conclusion that I’m oh so far from being perfect, which I’ve yearned to be for years. The plot twist in this situation, however, is that I’ve begun to see myself as a perfectly imperfect individual. I’m far from what I aspire to be, but every situation I encounter, whether it be negative or positive, is a baby step towards discovering more about myself. I may not be everything I want to be yet, but I come closer each day. I am the ultimate work in progress. I have flaws. I mess up. I get broken and put back together again. I am imperfect, but that is the one thing I always do perfectly.

Messy Beginnings

I’ve been exploring the idea of writing a blog for a while now, but I’ve been hesitant because I’ve never considered myself much of a writer. Don’t get me wrong, writing is something I enjoy very much. I’ve gone through several journal writing phases, but my desire to write has always been transient. It has typically served as an outlet of sorts; I tend to write when I’m overwhelmed or stressed. Recently, however, I’ve been finding inspiration in so many ordinary places and situations that it seems impossible to not write about them. Hence, the birth of this blog. I wish I could say I had a plan from what will come of this from here on out, but instead of over thinking it, I’m going to let this whole writing experiment take it’s course.

Beginnings can be messy, but who’s to say messy isn’t beautiful?

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