February, 2012

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Needing each other

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

One night last week, I called Julie on my way home from work. Julie is one of my best friends, knows me very well, and doesn’t mind when I leave long, rambling voicemails – which is what I did that night. Among various and sundry details, at the end of the message, I voiced a fear I have about my relationships: “I hope I’m not disappearing.”

In this disconnected world, as friendships change with time and distance, it’s easy for any of us to fear being unknown – if I went away, would anyone notice? Everyone is so busy, so involved in their own lives – if I disappeared, would it even matter?

The next morning, I woke to find an email from my next door neighbor. He was leaving town that day, and his dog-sitter had fallen through. Could I take care of his 140 lb. St. Bernard, Bo?

Over the years, as my income has slowly increased, I’ve found that so has my autonomy. A ride to the airport? No thanks, I’ll just pay for parking. Borrow a dress for a wedding? It’s okay, I’ll buy my own. Need help moving? I’m alright, I’ll just hire movers.

Post-college, increasingly more so year after year, I’ve found that we seem to need each other less and less. Independence is all well and good – but at what point does our self-sufficiency actually do us a disservice? At what point does our maverick mindset lead to a lonely detachment?

And when does our relational disconnect actually deprive someone else of being seen, being noticed, being needed?

I said yes to taking care of Bo. It was the smallest thing – feeding him, letting him out a couple of times, taking him on a walk which I would have gone on anyway. Arriving at the front door and having him shove his massive head into my hands for some love was the highlight of that day and a half – and for those 36 hours, I felt needed. I felt connected. I felt seen.

The next time I need help, I’m going to ask for it. Who knows – someone might need me more than I need them.

Lately

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Contrary to popular belief, the world has not opened up and swallowed me whole.  Despite my silence in this space, I’ve been out and about, alive and kicking, moving and shaking, grabbing life by the horns (or whatever).

I’m not so delusional to think that my absence from the internet has ruined anyone’s life.  But my mom said that she misses my blog.  So I’m saying hello.

A few weeks ago, I completely paid off my credit card – and promptly cut it up into little pieces.  For me, a credit card has been a crutch to help me live beyond my means, and I just grew tired of having my money already spoken for whenever I would get a paycheck.  I can’t tell you how freeing it was when I got paid the other day to be able to choose where to put my money – which, for now, means throwing cash at paying off my car.  I’m not completely out of debt yet, but after years of feeling like I just couldn’t make any progress, in the last few months I’ve started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Now, of course, not having a credit card has some downfalls.  I can’t purchase anything that I don’t have the money for RIGHT NOW.  This means that I’ve had to say no to several travel opportunities, which is tough for me.  For the past two years, I’ve rarely stayed in the same place for more than 10 days at a time, and spent a lot of money flying to see the people who are important to me.  But for now, those days are over – and the only tickets I can buy are more of a “sacrifice” than a “given.”

But as you may recall, commitment means freedom, and in the past few months of generally staying put, I have been growing some friendships here in Denver.  I’ve been social – maybe even too social (for this introvert) – and am learning a new work/life balance.

When walking outside to my car this morning, it was 55 degrees and smelled like spring.  Supposedly, March is Denver’s snowiest month, so we’re not out of the woods yet, but… I can’t tell you how hopeful that scent of dry dirt was.

Dry dirt = hope.  Someday I will write poetry.

I’ve embraced a “sort of vegan” diet as an experiment for a month.  So far, I feel like hell and would wring a cow’s neck for a slice of cheese.  Initially, I gave up meat, dairy, and eggs, but have reclaimed eggs with a vengeance, so I am definitely not living a full-on vegan lifestyle.  I feel very scatterbrained and willy-nilly about this whole thing, and while I recognize that our food system is scarily screwed up, I think that there are a lot of ways to “vote with your dollar” and make better nutritional choices.  I’m not sure that I’ll stick with the whole “no meat, no dairy” thing – but I’m giving it a few more weeks to see how I feel.

I’m late to the party on this, but Whitney Houston died.  What a tragic, senseless ending to a life of a woman who, at one point, had everything stacked in her favor.  Didn’t we almost have it all, Whitney?  Ugh.  It’s just so cliché, and so sad.  I ran across this isolated track of her vocals on “How Will I Know.”  She was incredible.

If you’re wondering about how Toad is doing, you should know that she fearlessly and ferociously chased a raccoon off our front yard the other night. She is a champion.

For those of you who I’ve been out of touch with, I’m sorry. I probably owe 80% of my friends some kind of personal communication. Life is different these days, and I’m just trying to find my stride. In the meantime, know that I’m thinking of you (even if I’m not buying a plane ticket to see you), and wishing that everyone that I loved could live in the same place.

Why commitment equals freedom

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

Something really remarkable has happened: I’ve stopped thinking about moving.

I know that this is probably foreign to some people, but I have entertained the idea of moving – no matter where I’ve lived – for at least the past 5 years.  When I was living in Seattle, I was thinking about moving to Nashville.  When I was living in Nashville, I was thinking about moving back to Seattle.  Then, in December of 2009, family circumstances took me to Denver – and every day, I was thinking about moving back to Nashville, or back to Seattle, or maybe to Portland, or there’s always Boston…

But I have not thought about moving since November.   For over two months, it hasn’t crossed my mind.  I live in Denver, and I’m not looking to leave anytime soon.

My new job commits me to this city.  And for as backward as it sounds, commitment equals freedom.  I am free from the questions, from the what ifs, from the grass-is-greener thoughts that accompanied having options.  Having options creates the illusion that one can do anything – which, while attractive in theory, can be alarmingly paralyzing.

There is something really good about having fewer options.  Having fewer options simplifies my thought life, and allows me to be present exactly where I am.  Having fewer options makes me say “yes” to all that’s right in front of me.  Having fewer options frees up my calendar, my bank account, and my heart.

Having fewer options actually gains us access to a wealth of experiences, relationships, and resources that are far from pipe dreams – no, in fact, they’re close enough to touch.

If you find yourself having your options whittled down, don’t freak out.  It might be the greatest thing that could happen.

Hooker House #2

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Waaaaay back in July, I gave you a glimpse of our home with Hooker House #1.  Then I never showed you anything else.

We have less than three months left in our lease, and due to several less-than-ideal situations, April 30 cannot come soon enough.  We will move to a place with a fenced-in yard, and zero skunk dens, and no one living/stomping/screaming above us.

But just because, here’s one angle of my bedroom.  I opened the curtains for the picture, but you should know that I generally live in darkness – a Fortress of Solitude.

Runaway train/bus/thoughts

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

These days, life is like a runaway train.  It’s like that movie “Unstoppable,” except – spoiler alert! – that train actually stopped.  It’s not still barreling out of control through Pennsylvania.  Not that I’m barreling out of control through Pennsylvania, either, but…

Okay.  Analogy over.

All I’m saying is that life has been busy and full, and it doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.  So maybe it’s less like “Unstoppable,” and more like the bus in “Speed.”  And I’m Sandra Bullock, somehow, so far, successfully navigating my way through a complicated network of roads, and thinking that I ran over a baby, but it wound up just being a baby carriage full of pop cans, and for the moment, we’re all just catching our breath.

First of all, I have news.  The Hooker House has a new addition: Becca and I have a new roommate.  She has moved into the room that used to be my home office, and if you’ve known the Parsons for any length of time, then there’s a chance you know her, too.

Her name is Hannah, and here she is as a child.

I know.  Things are about to get really good.

In other news, I’ve barely been sleeping in my own bed.  After six days at Sundance in Utah, I spent the first half of this week in Minneapolis for work.  This morning, I was supposed to fly to Seattle for a dear friend’s wedding, but Denver’s heavy blanket of snow canceled the flight.  I was rescheduled for an afternoon flight, but just got the call that they canceled that, too.

I’m not going to Seattle.  Frowny face.

My bedroom looks like a dirty bomb exploded.

I’ve switched to cash envelopes.  Dave Ramsey is really proud of me right now.  (Sidenote: I talk about Dave Ramsey like he’s a real person.  Yes, I KNOW that he’s a real person – but he doesn’t know who I am.  I talk about him like we have a personal relationship, and I imagine his reaction to all of my financial choices, sort of like when I was a kid and I imagined the various reactions to everything that I did by all seven members of the Baby-Sitters Club.  Mark my words: one day, when I’m debt free, Dave Ramsey will know who I am.  Oh yes.  He will know.)

I’m sure you’ve seen this video.  But I just have to make a point of saying that I have watched it over and over, and think it’s the greatest ever.  Dang, I miss “Veronica Mars.”

Tomorrow is my half-birthday, which means, yes, I have 6 months and 1 day left in my 20s.  I can’t wait to be in my 30s.  I’ve waited my whole life for my 30s.  People in your 30s, it’s the greatest, isn’t it?  Tell me that it’s the greatest.

And now, it’s time to figure out what my Friday is going to look like.  If it’s not going to include a trip to Seattle, then I’m sure it will consist of exciting things like “going to the gym” and “cleaning the kitchen” and “swinging by the dry cleaners.”  A little bit of snow has never scared Subaruthless.