Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Moving On

I put off going back to school because I knew my decision would be life-changing. I'm fairly change-averse in general, so making a quick decision to go bschool like I did was definitely abrupt. I knew it would affect my current relationships but that I would make new ones in their place. I was ready for a change, and a change I sure did experience. I gave up kickball and almost everything that came with it (read: Sunday afternoon beer pong tournaments, Monday morning hangovers and boys, boys, boys). I also gave up a ton of free time and a great deal of money. What I didn’t anticipate was giving up my house.

That sounds a little dramatic. I’m a renter and I have a roommate; this isn’t a tragic story about foreclosure fortunately. But it is a tragic story about two friends growing apart.

The roomie and I have been almost inseparable friends for over three years. She was one of my first real friends in LA, and I hers. We have experienced a lot of together, from boyfriends and one-night stands to job losses and family tragedy. We can finish each other sentences and even have coasters with our pictures on them.

When I got into Pepperdine, I was over the moon. My family was thrilled and I was not a little bit scared. I was sad to leave my relatively carefree life behind, but we’ve all gotta grow up sometime. I received (and still do receive) the most amazing support from everyone at work and even my little brothers think it’s great. But they don’t have to live with me.

From day one, the roomie wasn’t thrilled. I can’t put my finger on it, but her reaction was never what I had anticipated. While we remained good friends, our differences seemed to be exaggerated. Her work travel slowed down and I was either on campus, studying, exhausted or trying to catch up on my social life. Though I won’t get into detail on the interwebs, suffice it to say I need a place of my own.

I’m ready to make this change though too. I’m excited at the prospect of only having to stare at my own dirty dishes and clean my own bathroom. I’m excited to stay up late listening to music while I study or enjoy a blissful Sunday of homework, bagels and silence.

They say that going back to school and working full time is hard on relationships. I don’t have a significant other in my life so I thought I was exempt. Apparently not.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Home for the Holidays

The act of packing my bags, shipping out presents, and boarding that flight from LAX to DTW is always unnecessarily traumatic; usually, there are tears involved. When I was unemployed last year at this time, it was especially difficult. Part of the reason why I left Detroit – and haven’t moved closer since – was that I felt I needed to prove something. What, I don’t know exactly. But I wanted to make my own life and live the life I’d always imagined on my own terms.

And for the most part, I’m doing that. I have a job I like and that I’m good at, I am completely financially independent, I have a great group of friends, and have just completed my first semester of business school. Ninety percent of the time I think I live a pretty great life.

…and then I go home. There’s something about this particular trip this time of year that makes me feel inadequate. Like I should have made some sort of “transformation” while I was away, but have come back the same old Carolyn. I feel like my job isn’t good enough and that I’m not successful or pretty enough.

And the thing is that I have one of the most supportive families I could imagine. Perhaps it’s that they’re as thrilled for me when I don’t do anything as they are when I actually accomplish something. It’s been a truly amazing year. I got my real estate license, secured a new job, took my GMAT, went back to business school, ran a ½ marathon… we should all be pretty excited.

My parents want nothing more than for me to be happy, especially when I go to visit them. And honestly, I’m thrilled to be getting on that plane tonight. If nothing more than to escape the stresses that have seemed to recently crop up in LA, I’m getting out of dodge. I get to see old friends, build some sort of mid-century modern gingerbread house with my brother the architect, eat my weight in gourmet cheese and play with the little cousins. I know nobody’s judging me – they’re just excited to have me back for a few days. But I am. I can’t help but think of all the coulda, woulda, shouldas this time of year.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Long Run

I don't want to run tonight.  I REALLY don't want to bundle up and brave the elements.  Vanster and I are tackling our third 1/2 marathon in just over a month so a long run (or two) is definitely in order before we leave for the holidays, but it's so cold!  In the last four years I've totally turned into a big So Cal sisssy.  I cringe at 50 degree weather yet still refuse to wear a coat.  Given the choice, I'd rather run in the cold than in the heat any day.  But given another choice, I'd rather stuff my face with Chinese food in front of Friends reruns than exercise for two hours, but I suppose we all would. 

I once read that being an adult is about delaying gratification.  I seem to be doing a lot of that lately.  Delaying being in a relationship by waiting for the right guy, delaying financial security by signing my life away to the student loan gods, delaying relaxation by going back to school.... all in the name of being mature.

If I'm going to spend all this time and money working on making my brain stronger, I need to do the same with my body.  Especially in an industry where looking the part is as important as playing the part, I need to get on the ball.  Plus, I always feel better after a good run.  I feel worse after a bad run, but those are fewer and farther between the more I train.  I'm always happy I put in the time when I'm done, but I'm not always thrilled to be running.

I am thrilled, however, to run this holiday-themed 10K on Saturday.  It will be a crisp morning down by the beach with a very manageable distance followed by a warm and yummy brunch.  We even bought Christmas socks, headbands and color-coordinated tops to really rock out the festive-ness.  I wonder if being excited about my attire will improve my time.   I wonder if I can talk the Vanster into running just six or seven miles tonight instead of nine.  As Dolo would say, "woof". 

Monday, December 7, 2009

Coming Down

One of the reasons that I so easily fell back into the routine of school and work was that I thrive on overstimmulation.  I am at my best (and happiest) when I have a million things to do because I crave structure.  My perfect day would be fully scheduled from the moment I wake up until evening when I can finally unwind for a few minutes before hitting the hay. It's not that I have endless energy, but that I like to know what I'm going to be doing in two minutes, two hours, two days... Before bschool, I filled my calendar with routine, social activities, and running.

Now that I have a brief break, I should really enjoy my free time.  (Really... I mean, I complain about not having two minutes to myself and now I have hours!)  And part of me is.  I've been watching a ton of Christmas movies, meeting up with friends, and I even took a nice chilly (and overcast) morning walk along the beach in Playa before conquering Target with the Vanster for a few hours yesterday.  I've even been super productive on the homefront (ironing, scrubbing the sink, etc.), which is good because those things definitely get neglected the rest of the year. 

But now I'm on the verge on boredom.  My hands smell like Clorox, all my laundry is done and the house is dusted to within an inch of its life.  I've watched all my favorite holiday movies, and with the exception of one quick trip, all my Christmas shopping is done.  I'm even stressing over what to make for dinner because I haven't been grocery shopping in months and I pretty much forgot what a normal meal is. 

It's just all been fairly anticlimactic if you ask me.  From the day I got accepted to finishing my first semester, I haven't had this huge epiphany or really changed at all.  I've incurred more debt, learned a little about leadership and communication, and probably aged myself faster.  This post-school pre-Christmas/New Years madness melancholy has set in and I really wish there were a magic cure.  More Christmas movies?  Cooking?  Catching up on some TV?  More sleep?  Shopping?  

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Finals Week

So it's finally here - my first finals week of bschool. And what do you know.... it's kinda anti-climactic. My quant final was two weeks ago and I know I won't really have a problem writing 3 1/2 hours worth of organizational behavior essays if I put in a few hours of studying. But therein lies my problem - I'm either completely over or under-whelmed. Why can't I just be whelmed? I’m not a very even-keeled person by nature; I always have a ton on my plate and like it that way. I take on large projects because I’m bored easily – I’m an anxious busy-body. What on earth am I going to do with myself when I’m not crazy busy with school and work for a month? I mean, it is the holidays and there are definitely enough activities to keep me occupied, but I have like six weeks of down time.

Truth be told, part of me is really sad for this to be over with already. Like I’ve said before, I absolutely adore my classmates and not one part of me ever expected that. I thought Pepperdine was for old lame people. HA! We’ve definitely hung out outside of school and done our fair share of imbibing (I mean….celebrating) together. We’re diverse, yet we have so much in common. We’re forced to work together (as opposed to more competitive programs where the atmosphere is completely different) and I’ve come to realize I have some very interesting - and cool – classmates. Working forty hours plus school and group projects on top of a social life really takes it toll some weeks. And the days I really dread leaving the house at 7:30am and not getting home until at least 10:30pm, I know that I will at least have someone to roll my eyes at during class. I don’t know that this would have been such a smooth transition without this kind of support system. So the bigger question is what am I going to do without my new school friends for six weeks?