Archives for category: quarter-life crisis

I’ve been waiting to write this post for over a year it feels. Despite the fact that I do enjoy living in Dallas – I have an awesome job and have made some great friendships that will last a lifetime – I’ve always had an overwhelming itch to move back to Minneapolis. This shouldn’t be news to you if you’ve been a reader of my sporadically (and as of late, rarely) updated blog. For the past few months I’ve been casually doing some job searching and networking with various agencies and people in the Twin Cities. I’m a firm believer in the power of networking and despite the fact that it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, it pays off in the end. And it did.

I’m happy to finally be able to share with you that the time has finally come for me to move home. With an awesome new job at an advertising agency. The past week has been very bittersweet for me in terms of being overwhelmingly excited to move home and start a new job combined with sadness and goodbyes to people who have helped make Dallas home for me over the past 2 years.

I can’t believe it will almost be exactly 2 years ago that I arrived in Dallas. Those 2 years flew by. Despite the fact that there were some rough patches during the past 2 years I think the highs outweigh the lows. I really am sad to be leaving Dallas (and believe me, no one is more shocked to hear that then me). I guess that makes sense since it was my first independent, adult home out of college. This city helped me grow and shaped who I am today.

But I know the next best thing lies ahead for me in Minneapolis.

First, some housekeeping. As you may or may not notice – the blog is sporting a new look. It’s been like this for a while now; I just haven’t blogged since the makeover. And it slipped my mind to mention it earlier this week when I wrote about my new obsession with Ellie Goulding until Sherrie mentioned it in her comment. So, thanks Sherrie, for reminding me that Schönes Leben is looking a little different these days.

Also, I’m feeling pressure to keep the blogging going after receiving comments from what I estimate to be around 99% of my blog readers about the new post. Shocker, eh?  But I guess I sort of put myself in the predicament after mentioning I wasn’t able to stop my sleepless brain from thinking of future blog topics the other night.

And this topic was one of them.

There are two things the Academy of Holy Angels (where I went to high school) taught me well. The first is the 5 paragraph essay.

Seriously, thank you Academy and English teachers for being Nazis about our introductions, three paragraphs and the conclusion. And thank you for forcing me to write an outline for every paper. Although I may not have appreciated it at the time, I can 100% tell you that I sure did appreciate it in college and still appreciate it to this day. Despite the fact that I’m no longer writing 5 paragraph essays on the books I’m reading, I still do occasionally work on outlines when I have a large writing project at work.

And, secondly, the idea of service. Specifically, volunteering. This is one of the things I believe the Academy does right – instilling the importance of giving back to your community by volunteering.  For four years I was taught the importance of taking care of others around us. To me that meant it didn’t matter what color their skin was, what religion they practiced (if any at all) or what their sexual orientation was. (Although, I’m not sure all Catholics would take the same stance.) If someone was in need and you had a hand to lend… why wouldn’t you? Even though I despised waking up at 7 am on a Saturday morning to make it downtown in time to serve breakfast to the homeless, as soon as I got there I knew that the sleep I was giving up was well worth serving those in need.

In college I tried to continue to share my time with others in need. It was a little more difficult but I was able to get involved with the YWCA on campus. I may not have been serving breakfast to the homeless of Ames but I was still volunteering as a mentor to young girls who needed someone in their life they could look up to. I was fortunate enough to spend a few years with the YWCA; to watch the mentoring program and the organization go through changes and grow. It’s nice to see your work and dedication pay off. And I truly believe that to this day the girls I mentored loved the program and the time we spent together. And that touches my heart.

To me, that’s what volunteering is all about. I love knowing that the simple act of giving up a few hours of my week can make such an impact on someone else.

I was reflecting on where I am with my life and sort of taking “inventory” of what I felt was missing. One of them was volunteering. Since I’ve moved to Dallas I have not been volunteering as much as I would like. I haven’t found an organization to donate my time to. That’s laziness on my part because I know they’re out there – I just need to start looking.

Having the volunteer void feels really weird for me after spending the past 8 years of my life committed to an organization. You really cannot replace the happiness you feel from knowing you’ve made a difference. It’s a fulfilling and gratifying experience that cannot be replaced by material things. As I reflect on this and tell myself to kick my butt in gear and find an organization in the community I believe in – I have to credit this passion to the Academy and the religion classes that taught me that it’s about more than just me.

I know I already mentioned in my previous post that one of the drawbacks of having guests in Dallas is that all fun must eventually come to an end. But I would like to take the time to write about how much it really, truly sucks to live hundreds of miles away from family and friends.

This whole “goodbye” thing is getting old real fast and I’m not sure how many more goodbyes I can take before I throw everything in my car and drive North. I’m almost positive after the next 2 weekends – my BFF  and sister are coming to visit back-to-back – that the likelihood of that happening isn’t too far fetched.

After dropping my baby sister off at the airport and enduring another depressed valediction I immediately called my dear mom and told her this time it’s for real – I’m moving home. I’m determined to make it happen this time.

The next chapter of my life has been on my mind a lot recently. Seeing as most of my friends in Dallas are also foreigners to the city – a few have also started talking about the next chapter of their lives, most of which don’t include Dallas. They’re also considering moving home in their next chapter. At least it’s comforting to know I’m not the only baby who’s homesick.

So that’s it, friends. I’m ready to return to the North. Where when I say “pop” waitresses don’t stare at me as if I’m from another planet. Anyone wanna hook a girl up with a job?

I’ve been debating for the past few days whether to share this story with y’all. But last night as I crawled into bed I realized that despite the fact that I might embarrass myself tremendously by sharing such private details with my few blog readers – the hilarity of this story and how this proves I am far from adulthood was too much not to share.

One of my secrets – or non-secret depending on who you are – is that I am a 24 year old who still sleeps with a blankie and stuffed animals. Yes, this is the truth. And obviously I’m not superbly ashamed by this. I just told you about it. I’ve had blankie since I was born. It goes everywhere with me. When I was a freshman in college and met my roomie – now BFF – for the first time I was so embarrassed for her to find out that I still slept with a blankie. Much to my dismay, she also had a little secret. Her version of blankie was a blue bear named Bluey.

Back to my story. Like I said – blankie goes everywhere with me. But I draw the line with my stuffed animals. There are 2 of them – Tigger and Puppy. And yes, I cuddle with them when I crawl in bed every night. They help me fall asleep. And if I wake up in the middle of the night and discover that through my restless shifting one of them has fallen out of bed I hastily pick them up and put them back under the covers.  But they don’t get to travel with me. They stay at home and guard the bed.

This past week I was in Philadelphia for work. Blankie was the only one who was packed at the bottom of my suitcase to make the trip with me. (I usually try to pack blankie in a discrete way so if security opens my suitcase blankie isn’t the first thing they see.)

Monday night – after we had a day full of fun meetings and training (sarcasm) – my co-worker and I ventured to an awesome local brewery in the city we were staying in. Great beer and great food. We each had 2 beers before totally being babies and calling it a night. Needless to say, since we were at a brewery the beers we had were a little stronger than the normal Bud Light. We were back at the hotel by 9 and both ready to pass out.

I’m not sure if it’s the alcohol from the beer or just my extreme level of exhaustion, but that night I had some WEIRD dreams. One stuck out more than the rest because I woke up in the middle of the night in a confused panic. For some reason unbeknownst to me, I was convinced from my dream that the housekeeper at the hotel had stolen Tigger and Puppy. They were missing and weren’t in bed with me. Naturally, it was the housekeeper who took them. I vividly remember sitting up in bed in terror. It took a few minutes for my sleepiness to wear off and realize that I was losing my mind and embarrassingly pathetic. I was able to confirm that blankie was indeed with me and that the housekeeper had not stolen Tigger or Puppy.

I have no idea where this came from. All I know is that I still laugh every time I think about the state of panic I felt thinking my little loved ones had been stolen from me. By the hotel housekeeper – who must have been envious of them to bring her to steal them.

I’m 24. Not only do I still SLEEP with a blankie and stuff animals. I apparently also have an inapt fear that people would stoop so low as to steal them. I need some excitement in my life. Or something.

As a side note, I couldn’t put my recently gifted Kindle down throughout the trip. Love that thing. And this is what I’ve been reading on it: American Wife. Seriously, so good.

And… one last thing before I sign off for the weekend for a ski trip to New Mexico – have you heard about this new iPhone app that some priests in the Catholic church developed for the sacrament of Confession? I think it’s pathetic and a joke. If you haven’t heard about it, this is a pretty good article about it.

Warning: you are about to read a little venting on the blog.

You know one of my biggest pet peeves? When people use their lack of money, or budgets, as excuses and their justification to hibernate at home and do nothing. I think there has to be some sort of balance between putting a limit on your spending but still putting in an effort to go out and do things with friends. There are plenty of things to do that are hella cheap – or heck, even FREE. Who doesn’t love free? But to just sit at home and pout about your low bank account gets old real fast. And when your pouting and isolation gets in the way of your friendships you’re digging yourself into a deep, deep hole.

Putting a limit on the amount of discretionary money you spend is very important. But at times it’s nice to do something for yourself – as a treat.

I’m celebrating my 24th birthday this weekend. A friend and I are having a joint birthday bash since our days of birth occur during the same week. One of OUR close friends – a mutual friend of both birthday kids – is passing up our birthday party to sit at home because he’s tight on cash. Understandable – after the Holidays I think most people are. But for pete’s sake – come have a water. Heck, I’ll buy you a beer. He’s my friend – OUR friend  – I would enjoy his company to celebrate.

Money can be such a fun sucker when you let it. For example, my long overdue trip to Valvoline Instant Oil change today ended up being over $150 when I was anticipating only spending around $50 for a simple oil change. I swear those boys have something in their system that alerts them when gullible Sara is there. This time it was my battery. 89 CCP when it should be closer to 250 CCP? Gibberish to you too? Sounds bad – that’s a pretty big difference. Ok, change it.

Fine, I’ll spend the money I was going to use to purchase a new dress for my birthday bash on a new car battery. Sounds so much more fun.

Car batteries are such fun suckers.

I feel as if that’s been a title for a post in the past. Perhaps I’ve been making a lot of them lately…

So, my most recent irrational decision was a dog. As you may or may not know, I’ve been wanting a dog for a super long time. I’ve been keeping tabs on adoption sites, mostly because I feel strongly about helping dogs who are in shelters or foster homes. So, when I was doing some Christmas shopping a few weekends ago and cam across an adoption event in the parking lot of Crate & Barrel I tried to tell myself going to look was going to be a bad idea. But I couldn’t resist. And I met this little lady there.

Who could say no? But I was smart about it and told myself to think about it – since dogs are huge responsibilities and it would be a huge lifestyle change for myself. So I went home to MPLS for the Holidays and thought long and hard about it.

Coincidentally, I was also going through a breakup and preparing for my 24th birthday celebration. And I somehow convinced myself that a dog was exactly what I needed to help me move past the break up and would serve as an excellent birthday present to myself.

So yesterday I adopted Tempest – or as I like to call her, Laila (after Laila Ali since she’s a boxer/beagle mix). Was it on a whim? Yes. Did I seriously think about my decision before making it? Yes.

But, that does’t mean I made the right decision. In the past 24 hours I’ve realized that I just may not be ready for a dog – as hard as that may be for me to admit. I may be selfish, but I’m not ready to give up my freedom and ability to do what I want, when I want. And maybe I rushed into adopting her for the wrong reasons. I can’t use Laila as a blanket to mask the hurt from the breakup. It isn’t fair to Laila.

So, she’s going back to her foster mom today. Sure, I feel like a complete failure and it breaks my heart to know that I couldn’t give her the home she deserves. She truly is a sweet little girl. But after crying on the phone with my mom this morning (I realize that I probably sound like a complete cry baby admitting that I cried about this to my mom, and I cry every other week to my mom) she helped me realize that if I’m not comfortable with Laila, Laila will probably never be completely comfortable with me.

I guess I’ve just been spoiled by the one dog who has my whole heart.

In a way, I felt like I was betraying him when I brought Laila home. Maybe when I decide that I’m truly ready for a dog, for all the right reasons, I’ll stay in my comfort zone and adopt a little Westie. But for now, I’m probably not at the right point in my life. I tried, I may have failed, but now I know.

Day 5 Prompt: What (or whom) did you let go of this year? Why?

This year I let go of trying to continue being a friend to a large handful of friends from high school and college. This year I stopped putting 100% of the responsibility of “maintaining” a friendship on my shoulders. This year I came to accept the fact that as time progresses, I may lose touch with friends from the past, and that’s okay. I may not know everything that’s going on in their lives. It’s part of growing up and going our own separate ways. This year I stopped being the one to let guilt get the best of me — to a point where I was always the one picking up the phone to call North.

It’s hard – friendships mean so much to me and I hate losing good friends. But I can’t continue to be a friend to everybody from my past when I’m going all the way and some aren’t even meeting me half-way. Is that real friendship?

This year I also let go of the pressure I was putting on myself to have my life totally figured out. I’m only 23 – so what if I prefer to spend more of my money then I want to save (this is something I am working on, however). So what if I don’t have a Roth IRA in my name. So what if I still have no idea what the stock markets are doing on a daily basis and I don’t own any stocks. So what if I don’t have a ring on my left ring finger. I was expecting too much out of myself. I think I felt that moving to a new city and starting a real adult job would thrust me into living the adult dream. But it didn’t – and I’m still struggling to get the whole “adult” thing under my belt. All this pressure lead to my quarter-life crisis. Common for most young 20’ers. I went through it, and I went through it hard.

But, I’m letting go of that. I’m moving on. I’m going to enjoy being 23 and not worry about how I’m going to pay for a mortgage until that time comes.

Well, I’m back for day 4. Not fully void of sickness but whatever.

Day 4 Prompt: Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year?

I have this preconceived notion that wonder means something magical. So, I decided to quickly see what Webster has to say about wonder.

wonder: a cause of astonishment or admiration

I often find myself falling into a routine – everyday the same thing. I think once we reach adulthood and land 9-5 jobs routines are hard to avoid. Work, work, work – the same song Monday thru Friday. When days become a blur it’s hard to find wonder in them. This makes me think of a quote:

If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.

When you get what you’ve always had… that equals no wonder, no astonishment. No excitement in life. So how did I fight to keep that astonishment, excitement or wonder in my life this year? I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. Not being ashamed to go to a movie or  play by myself. Joining a yoga class (FYI, I’m one of the least flexible persons ever) – and not being intimated by those freakishly flexible women. Spur of the moment weekend road-trips with new friends. Weeknight outings to a movie or a basketball game and throwing my “bedtime” to the wind.

For me, wonder comes when I experience something new and break free from my mundane everyday routine. Honestly, that could even mean stopping at the wine boutique on my way home from work  (strategically placed directly between work and home – someone planned this well) and grabbing a bottle of red. Sure, it’s a little thing, but it allows me to have something new to look forward to when I get home. And who said wine can’t create wonder?

As I prepare mentally & physically to move into a new apartment this weekend (which is causing high levels of stress), I’ve been spending hours upon hours reading decorating blogs in my Google Reader. Fortunately or unfortunately for me, I have TONS of starred items & pictures of decorated homes I can only dream of someday matching.

However, with a new apartment comes new ambitions. I have a new drive to turn some of these decorating ideas into reality at my new place. Here are some of the things I’ve been lusting over for the past few months.

(Source: Apartment Therapy)

(Source: Nuestra Vida Dulce. She has SUCH a sophisticated yet laid-back style and  some awesome DIY projects. Highly recommend if you’re into these types of things.)

(Source: Young House Love)

Basically, I can’t wait to get my hands dirty and start some decorating projects. I think it’s hard making an apartment truly feel like home, but seeing projects & ideas like these give me hope.  It’s probably time to retire some college posters and take on a more adult, young professional woman decorating style.

First on the list – the uber cute wall of picture frames. I’m determined to make it happen.

I’m alive! I know it’s been awhile since I last blogged and I made false promises of a post a lot sooner than this, but things have been a little on the crazy side for me the past few weeks. Between heading to Ames for a weekend with college friends and a weekend trip to Missouri for my cousin’s wedding, I feel like I’ve had little to no time to catch up on anything: my blog, Google reader and Twitter. I’m not complaining – I love being busy and traveling to see friends & family. But after awhile it does catch up to you.

Now that I’m finally able to catch my breath and we begin to welcome a new season in Dallas (finally weather below 80*), I’ve also been welcoming some changes into my own life.  Shiny new things. Good things.

1. New apartment.

This was a tough decision for me to make, and had me stressed to the max quiet honestly. I was torn between moving into a place with a friend (see previous roommate post) and moving into my dream apartment (hardwood floors, cathedral vaulted ceilings, fireplace…umm…. hello!) but continuing to foot the bills alone. Obviously sharing bills with a roommate is a huge plus and would allow me to continue my most recent expense – a personal trainer. Post for another day. But I couldn’t get the cute little apartment out of my head. It was everything I wanted. So, for about a week and a half I struggled with figuring out what I really wanted. To live alone or to live with a friend. Doesn’t seem like a big decision to make – but when you’ve discussed how fun living together would be with a friend and throw into the equation the fact that you aren’t even sure you want to stay in Dallas, the decision can get a tad stressful. See point #2.

2. New attitude.

I’m going to be honest – I was a hairline away from picking up and moving back to Minneapolis at the end of the summer. I’ve been extremely homesick lately and have been missing my friends from home. Doesn’t help that I had an extreme emotional breakdown when I was visiting for the weekend and almost didn’t get on my flight back to Dallas. Wouldn’t that have been interesting. To say the least, after much consideration and many sleepless nights, I’ve decided to give Dallas another go. With the mentality that Minneapolis will always be there, waiting to welcome me home. I don’t think I gave Dallas a fair chance last year. So, I’m going into this year with a new attitude, ready to refer to Dallas as home. Yes, the city is growing on me. Yes, I now want a pair of Cowboy boots. Don’t get me wrong, Minneapolis is still numero uno in my heart. But Dallas is my home for now.

3. New relationships.

Living in Texas has helped me grow closer to old friends and rely more on new friends. Being so far away from family & old friends has forced me to really cherish every short weekend we get to spend together. The past 2 weekends have been full of shot gunning beers with college friends (for old time’s sake) and bickering with my sisters. In a loving way, straight from the heart way. And I love that nothing has changed between any of them – we continue to grow together.

I’ve also grown to enjoy my new Dallas friends a lot more over the past few months. I actually found myself dreading the fact that I was going to miss a weekend out with them when I was going to be MIA for my cousins wedding. This is a good sign. We’re slowly developing a little group – which drastically increases my level of comfort. A sign that the upcoming year will be better than the last. Fingers crossed. I hope that doesn’t make me sound cliquey.

So, that’s what’s been going on in my life lately. Put in words it doesn’t sound that crazy. But trust me, it has been. I think I’m most relieved by my decision to stay in Dallas. That lifts a lot of not-so-fun decisions off my shoulders and doesn’t force me to move back in with mom & dad.

And I’ve decided to put all traveling until Thanksgiving on hold so I can catch up on life. Well, minus the fact that I’ll be trekking down to Austin in a few weekends to watch the Cyclones get their butts kicked by the Longhorns. But that doesn’t matter to me because Austin is such an awesome city it can make all losses seem as if they never occurred. Which means I should possibly consider a trip to drown my sorrows over the Twins and Vikings.