B.A.E. of the Week: Amy H.

<<If you already know what B.A.E. of the Week is, you may skip this introduction and head straight to Amy H.’s profile.>>

WHAT IS B.A.E. OF THE WEEK?

B.A.E.= Bachelorettes are Everywhere. Single ladies, you are not alone.

Urban Dictionary definition: Bae- A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

For purposes on Generation grannY, “bae” means the second half of the above definition.

Each week, I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY. THE PURPOSE IS NOT TO PIMP OUT THESE WOMEN. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing.

The real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. Nay, you are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome girls who haven’t found the right guy yet.

B.A.E. of the Week: Amy H.

Amy H. BAE

Name: Amy H.

Nickname(s): Lamey, Bunky, Flutus

Age: 25

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Christopher Newport University

What is your current occupation?  I work for my dad’s small investment firm, so I do lots of random things around our office: asset allocation, portfolio rebalancing, mutual fund trading, lots of different administrative tasks, and chatting with clients on the phone.

What is your ultimate career goal?  I would really like to become a nutritionist someday. Nutrition is my passion, and I’d love to share that with other people who may be struggling with their health.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of? During my junior year of college I walked onto the varsity lacrosse team.  I knew that I’d never be a starter, but I really missed playing the best sport ever (I’m from Maryland, lax is life).  It was one of the most physically and mentally demanding things I’ve ever done, but it was worth it.  My coaches and teammates were so welcoming and wonderful, and at the end of the year, to my surprise, my coaches awarded me with the All-Conference Sportsmanship Team Award (I like to call it the Best Benchwarmer Ever Award).  But in all seriousness, being recognized for working hard and trying my best was one of the proudest moments of my life.  (Also, fun/embarrassing fact, my dad was so excited that I made the team, he used to arrive early to home games to video tape the warm-ups.)

What do you like to do outside of work?  I love to cook and bake (weird allergy friendly/paleo foods),  and I love hanging out with my friends. I am very close with my family, so I spend a lot of time with them.  I also love doing anything athletic, and I take tap dancing classes.  I take singing lessons as well, and I’m about to audition for a community theater musical.

Who was your elementary school crush? Haha I have to pick just one? I was a boy crazy little kid! My first crush was Brian Burke.

Did he like you back? I think so, he used to kiss me on the cheek at recess in second grade (that was quite scandalous for Catholic school).

Do you believe in love at first sight? Nope. I believe that true love takes time and patience.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one?  I think so.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week?  I got caught practicing some tap dancing steps in our office kitchen (this actually happens about once a week).  It’s really hard to brush that off and pretend like you were doing something other than dancing, so I just laughed it off. Life is too short to stand still while waiting for the microwave.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week?   I was hanging out at my parents’ house last weekend and the weather was really nice, so I decided to clean out my car.  It was extremely messy because I am a car slob, and I also had tons of junk in there from moving.  So I kept pulling out more and more stuff, and filling trash bag upon trash bag with crap.  I honestly could have hosted a yard sale from the things I found (a food processor, throw pillows, 12 umbrellas, cleaning supplies, boots, shampoo, etc.).  So the whole time I was cleaning, people kept walking by and commenting on the state of my car/ the pile of junk on the sidewalk.  One of our family friends even told me that she was proud of me.  Needless to say my car is now spotless, and I will never be a car hoarder again.

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I have started saying “yodel” instead of “hello” as a greeting to my friends and family. I really love making up words/ generally being silly. But a lot of my friends say it now too, so I don’t feel as weird as I should.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? I always hide! Despite my love of playing catch, grabbing the bouquet at weddings makes me feel squirmy.  I think it’s an outdated tradition that needs to end.

Are you Rapunzel or Snow White? Rapunzel all the way.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food?  Potato chips and chocolate.

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? Sprints.

Go-to drink: Water, green tea, or kombucha.

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? Jimmy Fallon

Robert Pattinson or Joseph Gordon-Levitt? JGL! He’s handsome, charming, and he can sing.

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I love my hair color! I love being blonde. I have never dyed my hair, and I never will! I have my Polish/German genes to thank for that.

One reason you love being single: I really enjoy the freedom that comes with being single.  I can do things on my terms and on my time.

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

(I actually texted two of Amy’s BFFs, so she gets two rounds of answers!)

How would you describe Amy in three words:

BFF #1: Genuine, selfless, flawless

BFF #2: Genuine, silly, vivacious

^^ Note: Amy is extra genuine. BFF #1 and BFF #2 did not copy each other or even know that they were both taking part in this.

Why do you think Amy shouldn’t be single:

BFF #1: Any boy would be lucky to have Amy! She makes me a better person and brings so much laughter and joy into my life. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

BFF #2: Amy shouldn’t be single because she has a lot of love to give and her boobs are too great to be wasted on being single.

^^Props to BFF #2 for calling it how it is.

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10 Ways to Avoid Accidentally Taking a Life

I almost died about 17 times today at the hands of my fellow humans. Most of them had no idea that they’d just put my life at stake, a few realized it a few seconds later and felt bad, and a couple were completely aware and gave zero flips. Rude. As I lay my head on my pillow, grateful to have made it safely into my bed for another night of dreams nightmares about Chris Soules being gay, I feel compelled to point out ways that all of you can help extend the lives of those around you my life.

1. Don’t speed in parking lots

On almost a daily basis, my life is threatened by the people who use a parking garage as their NASCAR training track. I am just a poor little pedestrian soul trying to make it to the stairway without being sideswiped by someone who is late to work! Just because you’re making constant left turns does not mean your name is Arie Luyendyk Jr. [Arie is the only race-car driver whose name I know, only because he was a contestant on The Bachelorette. Also, I don’t even think he races cars…I believe he races karts. As in, he is a professional go-kart driver. As in, he is my soulmate.]

2. Check your blind spot

While we’re on the subject of using your motor vehicle as a weapon, please use your mirrors, eyes, and other tools that provide you the ability to see that there is not room for you in my lane.

3. Don’t make me laugh while I’m eating

Laughing involves exhaling in a forceful manner. And what goes out must come in. That’s wrong. It’s “what goes up must come down.” But you get the picture. My forceful exhales are followed by powerful inhales, which means that a piece of rice from my Chipotle burrito bowl will go flying down into my throat and block my windpipe. I appreciate your humor, but more so, I appreciate my life.

4. Announce yourself

Sneaking up on me while I’m gchatting so that I only notice you when it’s too late to click into a different screen gives me heart palpitations. If you don’t want to say “Hey, Shannon!”, then at least jingle your keys or give me some sort of notice that I need to snap out of my little world. Otherwise, there’s a good chance I’m going to jump out of my skin and possibly end up in the E.R.

scared gif

5. Tell me the subject of impending conversations

Speaking of heart palpitations, don’t ever tell me that “we need to talk,” then not clue me in on the subject. I will assume that you hate me, which will give me the nervous sweats until the time comes for our conversation, and by that point I will have lost 70% of my body’s water content and the ability to breathe normally.

6. Pick up your crap

Do not leave your weights on the ground at the gym. Do not leave your cardboard boxes on the sidewalk. Do not leave your shoes all over the place. (I’m actually making a self-note with that one.) I will trip over them. I will nearly face plant. I will fall and possibly land the wrong way and no longer be alive.

7. Don’t blow your cigarette smoke in my face

I won’t tell you to stop smoking because you already know that it makes you smell gross and will give you cancer and makes you look 20 years older than you are. Have fun with those things. However, just because you are down with liver cancer does not mean that I am down with liver cancer. Stop waving your cig around like it’s a magic wand and suffocating me with cloud puffs that smell like an industrial wasteland. Even if the second hand smoke doesn’t kill me, the incessant coughing that I’m trying to suppress in order to accommodate your feelings just might.

8. Force me to save your number in my phone

I don’t know if dying of embarrassment is a real thing, but I’ve really tested that theory lately. On Sunday, I had two unsaved numbers in my phone: 1) My friend Jen, 2) The hot guy I met at a bar on Saturday night. Sunday night, after dinner with Jen and 3 other girls, I tried to group text all of them a picture of my leg. You see, I’d gone horseback riding for the first time in nine years earlier that day, and had welts on my calves as a result. I also had razor burn, am currently whiter than provolone cheese, and angled my leg in a way that looked like I weigh 345 lbs. Anyway, the girls knew my legs hurt, so when I got home, I took the unflattering picture and sent it to them just to be funny/prove that I wasn’t just being dramatic. Along with the picture, the text said “Please ignore my white, spikey, meaty legs. Also, correct, I’m not wearing any pants.” Yes, I used the word “meaty.” GUESS WHO I SENT IT TO. You guessed correctly. The group text included the hot guy from the bar instead of Jen. I might not have physically died, but something inside me definitely died in that moment. Make me save your number. Please.

no gif

9. Don’t walk with scissors

Safety 101. Just because you feel in control does not mean that I won’t round the corner in a spastic flurry and end up with a life-threatening puncture wound.

10. Share the sidewalk

About every other time I go on a run, a group of teenagers or tourists or some other annoying sect of the population decides they need to walk on the sidewalk in a kick line like they’re the freaking Rockettes. In order to get around them, I have to bound off the path and into the street. One of these days, it’s not going to end well.

rockettes

 

If you can please respect my life by doing these things, I might make it to my 27th (gulp) birthday in June.

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Bachelorettes Are Everywhere (B.A.E.)

As my friends and family wish they didn’t know, I’ve dated a lot since entering young adulthood. I like to say that my approach is to “cast a wide net.” Jury’s still out on if that tactic works. Anyway, that being the case, I’m pretty much a black belt in predicting behavior of someone I’m seeing. When I said earlier this week that my new boo, Spring, was going to ghost us all because I couldn’t help but overwhelm it with my love, boy was I right. Sorry to everyone who was affected by my lack of self-control in smothering Spring with my affection.

Proof that Spring wasn’t ready for a relationship: It’s snowing on the first official day of the season. This is the weather equivalent of being stood up at the altar. I feel unprepared, disappointed, and like wearing white lace looks really desperate. Somebody please go with me on a sympathy honeymoon to a tropical destination and buy me a piña colada, stat.

All of this talk about dating/ghosting/weather(?) got me thinking. I am pretty normal– besides the fact that I have a bizarre obsession with watching killer whale attacks on YouTube, actively window shop for cheese to avoid actually consuming the calories, and am somewhat attracted to Josh Groban. Those things aside, the only reason I’m single is because the right guy hasn’t come along. Or if he has, I was too busy brushing my ha…nope, nope. Definitely would’ve noticed. If that’s the case in my life, then I know it is the case in the lives of lots of single ladies out there.

So I’ve decided to implement a new series on Generation grannY: The “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series. Or the B.A.E. of the Week.

Urban Dictionary Definition: Bae- A Danish word for poop. Also used by people on the internet who think it means baby, sweetie etc.

LOLOLOL I fully expected to find only the second part of that definition, but the first part was way too good to omit. Wow. Laughing really hard. Aaaaannnd we continue…

The way this will work is that each week (maybe less if I’m lazy and/or no one wants to participate), I will profile a single lady who is a catch. This is not so that guys can come girlfriend shopping on Generation grannY…though if that does happen, and if any featured bachelorettes find their soulmate that way, I am automatically granted 2 bottles of wine of my choosing and the opportunity to make a speech at the wedding (probably after drinking aforementioned wine).

…As I was saying, the purpose is not to pimp out these women. They are not easy. They are not desperate. Odds are, they will not have even wanted to be featured as the B.A.E. of the Week, but I will have coerced them with promises of alcohol, chocolate, and 10% of any money I ever make with my writing. Whatever works. Truly, the real purpose of the “Bachelorettes are Everywhere” series is to help remind any single sisters reading my blog that you are not alone. You are normal, but in a good way. You are awesome, and I’ll prove it to you by showing you all of these other awesome girls who haven’t found the right guy yet. I hope the profiles make you laugh and give you lots of good feels.

I’m going to kick off the B.A.E. series with myself, since maybe I’m a narcissist..? No, it’s just because I haven’t had anyone fill out my questionnaire yet. Plus, if I’m going to subject my friends and friends of friends to exposing weird things about themselves, I think I’m required to do it first. Not that I don’t already do that on a regular basis on this blog.

B.A.E. of the Week: Shannon Oliver

tess me

I’m on the left, my best friend on the right (with the purple hair). She’s the one who I paid to say the nice things about me at the end of this post.

Full Name: Shannon Marie Oliver

Nickname(s): Shanny, Shanny the Granny, Sholiver, Shollie, Shannanigans

Age: 26

What institute of higher learning did/do you attend? Christopher Newport University, 2010

How do you make money to pay rent? Managing an office full of mostly alpha males.

What is your ultimate career goal? To make money writing– preferably enough to buy nice things.

What is something you’ve done in life thus far that you’re proud of? I’m proud of becoming a Diversity Awareness Educator and using the platform of Miss New York 2012 to talk to thousands of kids about breaking stereotypes and showing kindness to everyone, despite differences.

What do you like to do outside of work? Sing, hang out with my friends, write this blog, horseback ride.

Who was your elementary school crush? Myles Shipp

Did he like you back? For about a week, but then he moved on to someone else, if I remember correctly.

Do you believe in love at first sight? Nope.

Do you feel ready to get married if you found the right one? Yes.

What is the most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? The same USPS guy delivers mail to my office every day, so I sometimes feel like we were friends. On Monday, we were getting on the elevator at the same time and I thought he was giving me a high five, so I went in for the kill, but turned out he was just trying to hold the door for me. I didn’t recover well.

What is the second most embarrassing thing you’ve done in the last week? I wanted to pick up horseback riding again since I haven’t ridden regularly for about nine years, so I found a barn near me and signed up for lessons. The lady on the phone warned me that most of the girls in the class would be teenagers, plus one very talented 9-year-old. I told her that was fine. YOLO. The real issue was that when registering, they force you to create a “Kid Profile” and “Parent Profile.” So I had to sign up “Shannon Oliver” as the parent and as the child. It was pretty embarrassing/humbling, and I had to really evaluate if I’m too old for this sort of thing.

What’s one weird thing you do sometimes? I tend to put my underwear on inside out by accident and don’t realize it until the end of the day.

Do you try and catch the bouquet at weddings or usually hide from it? Hide in a big way.

Are you Anna or Elsa? Anna. Hands down.

What’s your favorite unhealthy food? Velveeta Shells & Cheese with hot dogs cut up and mixed in.

What’s your least favorite kind of workout? I’ve finally concluded that I don’t like classes. Working out is “me time.”

Go-to drink? Red wine or gin and tonic.

Jimmy Fallon or Jimmy Kimmel? Fallon.

Ryan Gosling or Chris Hemsworth? I’m good with either, but Hemsworth if I have to choose.

Favorite physical feature on yourself: I like my ears.

One reason you love being single: I really enjoy being single because it allows me to invest more in my friendships. I have a lot of super close friends, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!

B.A.E.s of the Week are required to give me their BFF’s phone number so that I can ask the following questions:

How would you describe Shannon in three words: Outgoing, intelligent, approachable.

Why do you think Shannon shouldn’t be single: [Shannon is] a smart, motivated, and loving individual. She’s easy to get along with and it doesn’t hurt that she’s a beaut with a bangin’ body. [I paid her to say these things.]

———-

Next week you’ll get a real B.A.E. of the Week, not me! Hurrah!

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3 Crucial Preparations for Spring

flowers

Attention, everyone! I believe Spring* has arrived! That’s right, the eagle has landed. I repeat, the eagle has landed.

[Knocks on wood.]

I’m not sure how long the sunny and 60s weather plans on staying, but if we play hard to get [see last week’s blog post], maybe it’ll stick around for a while. I’m not very good at playing it hard to get, though, so I’ll probably wear pastel chiffon every day and roll down my windows at every opportunity. You can blame me if Spring ends up running the other direction and ghosting us all because it’s too overwhelmed by my love. #life

Since the birth of Generation grannY last January, I’ve written about every season except for spring. (See Never/Always: Winter Edition, The 3 Stages of Summer for the Average White Girl, and Being Basic: 3 Realizations During Fall.) The time has come to give Spring the attention it deserves—but not too much, obviously. Although she (Spring is definitely a “she”) has seemingly touched down, she doesn’t formally arrive until 3/20/15, so let’s talk about how to prepare for her grand entrance.

1. Wash your black tights

I know most of you don’t wash your smelly, kind-of-damp black tights very often in the winter because you’re sticking them in boots anyway, so who cares? First of all, you’re gross. Second, once Spring arrives, it’s time to put those nasty black tights back into hibernation where they belong: the deepest, darkest corner of the bottom drawer of your dresser. You’ll want to wash them before doing so, though, or else you’ll really regret it come November. Trust me. Also trust me when I say that if you wear black tights post-March, you will be labeled a) depressing, b) dumpy, and c) dramatic. A Triple D. Nobody wants to be a Triple D. That just sounds painful. Wait, what am I talking about? Tights. Right.

smelly gif

 

2. Start weaning yourself off of Netflix

I know you and Netflix got real close during winter, but all good things must come to an end. Shhhh, it’ll be okay. There, there. I’m not saying to quit cold turkey, but try one or two episodes at a time. Pull a Nancy Reagan and Just Say No to binge-watching. As with saying goodbye to any unhealthy, addicting relationship, you’ll need to fill your time with other things. Suggestions: the gym, friends, and liquor drinks new hobbies. If you slow fade Netflix, you will be thanking me BIG time by the end of Spring when you’ve A) prepared yourself to wear shorts without scaring off potential suitors and small children; B) raised your social tolerance for when evening engagements pick up due to warm weather and rooftops; and C) participated in some new activity that gave you a personality again. Netflix has stolen your soul. Time to get it back. Spring into action! (See what I did there?)

couch gif

 

3. Get a pedicure

I don’t even want to know how low your grooming standards have fallen by this point, but sometime before 3/20/15, do yourself and the world a favor and get a pedicure, pick up some new razor blades, and apply Aveeno generously. You can’t hide beneath jeggings, Toms, and lightweight peasant blouses forever. Eventually, you’ll need to expose those stubby appendages attached to your feet in happy, spring sandals, paired with a maxi dress that potentially unveils your calf when you cross your legs on a bar stool– so go ahead and get everything taken care of while there’s still time.

prickly gif

 

Remember: Only five days until Spring reveals herself in an official capacity! Here’s to planning, people!

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*For you grammar freaks out there, I purposefully capitalized “Spring” due to a little thing called personification. I know it probably bothered some of you throughout the post since seasons are not supposed to be capitalized, but have a little faith, will you? I know how the English language works.

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Parallel Bible App: A Social, Visual Bible

A picture is worth a thousand words.

The Millennial generation seems to agree. With Instagram precariously close to overthrowing Twitter as the new king of social media, and Snapchat clawing at its heels, digital communication continues to evolve in the direction of simpler, more visual mediums. What started with a Facebook status turned 140-character Twitter post, is now a well-timed photo to creatively capture an emotion, thought or event.

In order for a message to reach the masses, it must be presented in a way the masses are willing to receive — and that way has certainly changed in the last decade. This proves a particularly difficult challenge in religious circles where tradition and sacred texts are honored despite cultural changes over time. If religiously historic ideals and teachings are to reach rising generations, however, the communication medium has to shift.

Though words remain necessary in preserving the accuracy of authors’ intentions, a visual component to ancient script would ensure continued interest and personalized investment from devout followers in an increasingly secular world. Additionally, a social component that would allow these followers to connect with strangers and friends at their fingertips is practically a modern requirement for drawing widespread attention. For Christianity, that’s where Parallel Bible comes in.

2015-03-06-1425680936-976741-parallelbible.jpg

Parallel Bible is the world’s first social, visual Bible, according to co-founders and brothers, Andrew and Chris Breitenberg. “Think Instagram meets scripture,” they say. In short, Parallel Bible is an app that lets people interpret scripture through a less structured lens by connecting personal photos with passages found in the Bible. Users can share photos they’ve already taken, and either tag a scripture that came to mind when taking the picture, or search for a scripture to match what they captured on camera. Over time, much of the Bible will have pictures attached in display of individual and artistic interpretations. Besides scrolling through photo feeds (as seen on Instagram), Parallel Bible also offers the option to read the written text with its Bible Reader function, which includes all tagged images below each corresponding verse.

“We want to change the paradigm from just reading to participating with the text in a way that makes it more real. When the words become more real to people, they become more powerful,” said Chris. “It took Andrew and I a long time to feel comfortable reading the Bible and feeling a sense of ownership of the words and what they hold for our personal lives. It was a journey, and we want to help make that road more exciting and beautiful for other people.”

During his graduate work in Amsterdam, Andrew felt compelled to tackle scriptural analysis from a new angle. “Why is it hard to open sometimes?” “Why is it still rice paper and gilt edges and bound with glue and leather?” “Why, in a visual age, are there no pictures?” “Does it have to stay this way?” Though Andrew’s questions challenged the very nature of the Bible’s historical traditionalism, he knew the scriptures would reach more people if presented in a more contemporary, stimulating, and dynamic fashion.

Led by the hope to create spiritual conversation through artistic measures, Andrew moved to South Africa and began a street art initiative called Selah. His movement addressed the visual poverty of the Bible in its modern day form by working in the streets and slums of South Africa, painting scripture in vivid colors on dilapidated walls and structures. Through collaboration with residents, the projects were such a success in the townships that Andrew knew the next step was to create a social media platform where anyone could contribute to the illumination of a new, digital Bible.

selah

Selah art in South Africa

“The Bible was once an oral tradition and then became a written tradition,” said Andrew. “Our vision is to create the new social, visual tradition of the Bible — an entirely unique way of conceiving and sharing Scripture, putting it into new hands, and ultimately of changing lives.”

Chris came on board shortly after the idea was formed, and the pair eventually took the plunge to develop the app full time, purely out of passion for its potential to positively alter spiritual perspective.

“[Parallel Bible] is to see things in a way that we haven’t seen them before. Through the help of strangers, we might understand something that a pastor, a parent or a close friend could never explain. Maybe a totally random person who posts a picture of her daughter could speak to me in a way that a million sermons never could,” he advocated.

As society shifts into an ever-growing digital age, personal networks, businesses, governments, and even religions must make adjustments to cater to minds that are trained to communicate and absorb information through social media. When it comes to Christianity, the Breitenberg brothers hope this is only the beginning for a new wave of Biblical interpretation and expression.

“It’s not just an old book that’s complicated and esoteric and strange, but something that is alive in our lives and we experience in actions and emotions and pictures,” Chris explained. “We want to give people a connection to the text that is experiential, meaningful, and ultimately transformational.”

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Wanting What You Can’t Have

What is it with humans and our weird obsession with things we can’t have? Tell me that I am not allowed to eat raw moose testicles dipped in fat free bleu cheese dressing, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to be on the next flight to Yellowstone National Park with a bottle of Wish-Bone in tow. Honestly, the second something is off limits or out of reach, it becomes 150% more appealing. Maybe someone should tell me I can’t eat lettuce. That’d be good.

The principle of wanting what you can’t have applies to just about everything. I’ve experienced it in two really big ways during the last few weeks: 1) wine, 2) relationships. To address #1, I decided not to drink any alcohol during the entire month of March since I failed miserably at No Drink January. I didn’t even try to stop drinking in January like I normally do, to be honest. Sometimes you’re just not ready to say goodbye. But by the end of February, I started sweating gin and bleeding wine, so I decided it was probably time to give my body a break. I was really excited to start my month-long cleanse, but we’re eight days in, and I’ve started eating grapes in bulk to ease the pain. There’s nothing I want more than that sweet, sweet taste of Cabernet on my lips. Wow, I sound like I have a real problem. Try not to worry. I’m good, I promise. In all seriousness, as much as I love wine or a casual mixed drink, I don’t usually spend all day at work thinking about what kind of alcohol to put in my system come 5:00. Now that it’s off limits now, however, I find myself daydreaming about a good drink like a pregnant woman craving pickle-stuffed oreos. Side note: Pregnancy is crazy. I know like, 40 people who are currently pregnant– I’m almost afraid I’m going to catch it. What is in the water? Am I just getting old? What’s happening??

Let’s get this train back on track, re: wanting what we can’t have. In the same way I find myself fantasizing about a 12 6 oz. glass of red, I can’t seem to keep my mind off of guys who are not available– not as in ones with a ball and chain, but ones who make no effort to be with me. It’s not completely conscious or rational, so part of the reason I want them must be because I have psychological issues I can’t have them. Even if I do get them, time spent together is of higher value because they’re like bottles of Flowers Pinot Noir– a special treat I only taste once in a while since they’re far too expensive just out of reach. The men who make themselves willingly available, however, I unfortunately view as Welch’s Grape Juice. Very sweet and a good thing to keep on the back shelf, but definitely not what gets me going. [How did the day when I compare relationships to wine not come sooner? Trust me, I’m just as surprised as you are.]

Let’s explore why we’re made this way. Maybe if we figure it out, we’ll stop wasting precious brain power daydreaming about the guacamole in Mexico, our 10th grade History teacher, and what walking with a thigh gap would feel like. Instead, we could focus our energy on fully appreciating the things we do have, like Chick-fil-A, opposable thumbs, and Ryan Gosling gifs.

ryan gosling gif

What’s that? You want more?

ryan gosling gif 8ryan gosling gif 6ryan gosling gif 7ryan gosling gif 2ryan gosling gif 9ryan gosling gif 10ryan gosling gif 5ryan gosling gif 3

You’re welcome.

I think the reason we want what we can’t have is because this principle sums up the entire definition of “want.” To want something implies that you don’t already have it. Things we can’t have are just spotlighted versions of things we don’t have. I don’t find myself wanting a really awesome family, because I already have it. I don’t find myself wanting blue eyes. Or the ability to sing. When I step back and think about those things, I’m really happy to have them, but gratefulness is different than desire. I find myself wanting romance, hips that don’t lie, and one million dollars. This is because I don’t already have any of those things in my life (to be clear).

I don’t think it’s bad to want things. After all, a lot of what we want is attainable if we put our minds to it. How would we ever further our careers if we didn’t want it bad enough to work hard? How would we learn discipline and dedication if we didn’t want to become good at something? How would we end up in satisfying relationships if we just settled for whoever gave us easy attention? Wanting more leads to good things. Though that may be the case, there are two tricks to wanting more without being a miserable crybaby. 1) Differentiate between things you want that are attainable and things you want that are completely out of your control. You can’t change your height or force someone to like you, so those are probably bad things to focus on. 2) Remember that once you get something, you won’t keep wanting it, so be mentally prepared to replace desire with gratefulness- and find excitement in that replacement. If you know you’ll want to leave a relationship once the chase is gone…you’re probably not ready to grow up for a significant other. Or if you know that once you earn one million dollars, you’ll just want a million more…then wanting money is pointless, because it will never lead to contentment.

Here’s to hoping we all wake up tomorrow to find our soulmate on our doorstep, along with a ticket for a lifetime supply of Silver Oak Cab and a pre-trained teacup toy poodle puppy! If not, hopefully we can apply the two rules of not being a crybaby, while wanting enough for our lives to attack each day with enriching intention.

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You Are the Company You Keep

Voluntary conformity disturbs me because our brains are unique for a reason, but I’ve come to realize that no matter how hard people try to assert their individuality, we can’t help but morph into Power Rangers the people with whom we surround ourselves. That’s why I’ve been trying to get in touch with Emma Stone, Candice Swanepoel, and Oprah. #callme

One of my best friends growing up was my beautiful partner-in-crime named Kira. Kira is three years older than me, so I loved riding her coattails of coolness in order to be accepted by the older athletic and well-dressed crowd, which worked about 40% of the time. No shame in my game. By the end of her senior year of high school (my freshman year), we were so inseparable that one or two people actually said we looked alike. Here is a picture of Kira and me circa early-mid 2000s:

kira

I don’t know about you, but I can barely tell us apart.

The power of spending so much time with someone that your appearance and mannerisms become identical while you finish each other’s sandwiches sentences is almost alarming. (If you didn’t get the Frozen reference, stop reading this and go fix yourself.) In the last 48 hours, my coworker Meghan and I have been mistaken for twins 2,834 times. Probably because between work and play, I see her more than anyone else in my daily life. Here we are with our favorite dog named Petunia (Petunia’s face always looks like that):

meghan office

Definitely a closer match than Kira, but still. She has the youthful glow of a 22-year-old that I lost two relationships and 100 bottles of wine ago.

I use these two friendships as examples because beyond looks, Kira and Meghan are both inherently very different from me. Kira is super laid back with a natural leadership gene that she kind of wishes she didn’t possess, but people follow anyway. I want to be as chill and influential as she is, but if we’re being honest, I’m slightly socially defective and the kind of person who has to have other people present my ideas for them to be taken seriously. Then there’s Meghan, who is a free spirit/businesswoman hybrid who knows the secretly-trendy places to eat, clothes to wear, and music to listen to, but she’ll hate me for saying that because it sounds too pretentious, which she’s not. And I’m over here wearing a sweater from Target, eating Chipotle, and listening to the Pitch Perfect soundtrack, only vaguely aware of my dull choices. I think I have underdeveloped senses.

I promise I’m getting to my point. Be patient.

Despite original differences, we grow into the people around us because Homo sapiens are naturally social and impressionable creatures. It’s just the way we’re made. We have to be cognizant enough of this fact to not get swept up in groupthink or lose the ability to distinguish our preferences from those of others, but also to make the best of our chameleon ways. Put some thought into who you’d be proud to be mistaken for, because those are the folks you should probably invite to Happy Hour.

I’m pleased to say that the crew I hang out with, though scattered and not necessarily interwoven, is comprised of individuals who have steady jobs, don’t do drugs, and can hold conversations about the complexities of life. Of course we are all noticeably different to an extent (there’s usually only one Kira/Meghan in your life at a time), but ultimately, we’re cut from similar fabric. I love meeting people from different backgrounds who are drawn to varying lifestyles and interests because they challenge my world and keep me from becoming mentally stagnant, but by this point in my life, I know what kind of person I want to be and the lifestyle I like to maintain. Therefore, I put greater effort into relationships that nurture those choices.

Some may think that being actively conscious of who you spend time with is judgmental or close-minded, but I believe that only becomes the case when you treat others poorly or don’t take the time to discover possible commonalities with everyone you meet. The fabric of your soul has nothing to do with fabric on your back. When I say that I am careful to surround myself with the “right” kind of people, I just mean that I don’t want to get pulled into gossipy, shallow, argumentative, haughty, or legally rebellious crowds. I connect with people due to complimentary thought processes, not appearances, so they can wear whatever the heck they want. Besides assless chaps.

As you grow through life- and growing never stops- keep in mind that no matter how strongly you’ve defined your morals, ethics, and demeanor, others can and will influence those ideals. We will never lose the tendency to slowly, unknowingly mold into reflections of our networks, so step back and evaluate the company you keep. If you don’t like what you see, it’s probably time to wipe off the mirror, too, and make a few adjustments.

 

taylor and karlie

I leave you with BFFs Taylor Swift and Karlie Kloss as scientific evidence.

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Never/Always: Winter Edition

When people say they don’t like warm weather, I usually disassociate myself. They probably don’t like furry animals or hugs or laughing either. But this morning, as I was held hostage in my home by snow, sending work emails and creating travel vouchers from the warmth of my bed, I began thinking that the angry winter gnomes out there might have a point. I will never turn my back on my #1 season- summer, duh- but consider this Never/Always list an internal battle with a pre-determined winner.

11 Reasons I NEVER Want it to be Winter

11 Reasons I ALWAYS Want it to be Winter

Despite the “Always” portion of this post, I still love furry animals and hugs and laughing, just FYI. Also, to my boss- if you’re reading, I wrote this on my lunch break.

NEVER:

1. Cold hurts. Warmth can be a little sticky, but it’s not like the cold, which feels like someone slapping your face and sitting on your heart at the same time.

2. Fashion is irrelevant. No matter how cute your high-waisted leather skirt and long sleeve Nasty Gal crop look together, you’re going to throw a coat on and cover the whole outfit anyway. Might as well wear mom jeans and a bubble shirt.

3. Waking up is hard(er). Because taking off the blankets feels like some sort of torture they might use on prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. (Too much?)

4. Dry skin. I spend so much money on lotion and ChapStick in the winter, it’s not even funny.

5. Socializing suffers. No one wants to pay for a coat check or flirt with someone who is deficient in vitamin D.

6. It’s dark by lunchtime. Nighttime really loses its special flare when it begins while you’re still at work.

7. Empty gyms. Motivation is low during winter, which makes everyone lethargic and flabby. Two words I never want in my bio.

8. The couch feels lonely. If you have a significant other, I’m super happy for you. If you don’t, the lack of a cuddle buddy in winter gets really depressing when you’re watching The Bachelor and eating a whole pizza by yourself lounging on the couch alone.

olaf gif

9. Icy roads. For both cars and clumsy people like myself, ice is no bueno.

10. Sickness. Runny noses, dry coughs, and stomach viruses are just as plentiful as Ugg boots. Gross.

11. Forgotten sunglasses. Winter can still be insanely bright, but I never ever remember to bring my sunglasses to outdoor events, leaving me squinty and miserable most of the time (also due to #1, re: cold hurts).

ALWAYS:

1. Snow days. Working from home once in a while brings me great joy.

2. Leggings. I’m pretty cool with the fact that wearing your PJs in public is socially acceptable. Note: Please wear sweaters that cover your butts, though, ladies. Leggings ≠ pants.

3. Beards. Facial hair [on men] is a beautiful thing.

NRT

Sign me up.

4. Grooming leniency. To piggyback off #3- if I’m running late for work and don’t have time to shave my legs…who’s the wiser?

5. Red wine. Warms you right up.

6. Boots. Although fashion is irrelevant (#2 on the Never list), boots look good on everyone.

7. Kids are in school. Fewer pesky teenagers running rampant and taking up space in the Chipotle line? Yes, please.

8. Less laundry. Since you don’t sweat through everything, sometimes you might just hang that cute little shirt right back up in the closet. It’s okay. We all do it.

9. Bosses are happy. I don’t know about you, but I tend to stay at work later in the winter to procrastinate the freezing walk to my car show my dedication.

10. Cabin activities. I’m not a big skier or ice climber (though I think I could get really into the latter), but people tend to plan activities that revolve around cabins and fireplaces in the winter, which I fully support.

11. Blankets. I really like the weight of blankets on me, which is much more practical in the winter. This does feed into #3 on the Never list, however, so maybe summer wins afterall..?

 

Who am I kidding. Summer definitely still wins.

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Valentine’s Day: A Vulnerable Look at Great Love

In a culture of esteemed independence, admitting that you want to love and be loved is somewhat embarrassing. Careers, personal growth, and friendships are revered, but not romantic love. No, no. If you openly desire such a thing, you must not be self-sufficient or confident.

Phony baloney. (If that phraseology throws you off, please keep in mind that you’re reading a blog called Generation grannY…key word: Granny. Also, I’m aware that’s not how you spell bologna.)

Humankind is meant to be communal, and even more so, intimate. Sure, developing assurance within yourself, so not to rely on others for approval, is healthy. But self-assurance and heartfelt satisfaction are not necessarily one and the same. When Skyping with my older brother (and sister-in-law) the other night, he said, “Shannon, don’t ever stop hoping to love someone and to be loved. You know what you want, and I think that’s great.” What a phenomenon, to be commended as a single woman for wanting to give and receive love! So often, singles- men and women alike- are made to feel inadequate for coveting deep intimacy, as though we’re weak for not being able to provide that for ourselves. But love, both romantic and otherwise, is not something we can do alone. Nor is it something to be ashamed of. Love is interactive and instinctive.

So, in the hope of exemplifying vulnerability in a world that applauds self-preservation, I’m going to express what I desire when it comes to love. After all, it is Valentine’s Day. I could write something cheeky or sarcastic about this “Hallmark holiday,” but I truly believe our culture has encouraged independence to a point where walls are too high. In breaking down a few of those walls through barefaced honesty, I hope that anyone reading will be comforted in knowing that it’s okay and natural to crave companionship or wine instead.

Holding-Hands

Here we go.

I want love. I want the kind of love Hunter Hayes would write a song about. Where every look is a spark and every touch is a lingering imprint. I want to communicate through silly grunts and animal noises when I’m drunk, or maybe even when I’m not. I want to dance really poorly because that’s the only way I know how, but him think it’s irresistibly sexy. I want to laugh until I cry without having to apologize for the fact that I cry-laugh far too easily. I want to be more interested in holding hands under the table than picking up my fork to eat. I want my best friend to sing karaoke with him and fall almost as much in love as I am, except without wanting to jump his bones. I want eye contact to outweigh a kiss, and a kiss to outweigh third base. I want him to grab my face when my hair is in a ponytail after the gym and tell me I’m the hottest girl he’s ever seen. I want us both to be a little sad when we have our girls nights or guys nights, even if it’s something we’ve been looking forward to for weeks. I want to pretend to bite his face when I’m hungry and make him laugh when I can’t figure out what’s wrong with my car. I want to fall asleep under the stars and have a secret “I love you” hand squeeze when we’re too tired to say it out loud.

I want to have all of the excitement, paired with practical compatibility. When the spark and lingering imprints become less electrifying, I want to go hiking or get swept away in a brilliant musical score. I want to pray together and scratch his arm and listen to him tell me about his crazy boss at work. I want to keep his scotch glass full and go into the other room when I sense he needs to be alone. And then I want him to come find me a few hours later. I want to drink wine on the porch and talk about how we can better fulfill our lives’ purposes. I want to make him a delicious dinner that he doesn’t expect and book him a random professional massage just because I know it’d feel good. I want him to ask me every now and then about my mom, to learn more about who she was and how I dealt/deal with her death. I want him to hold my hand in the car and know my Starbucks order. I want to play cards with our friends and be regulars at at least one bar. I want to be partners in life, and in cornhole. I want us to be the best of friends, so that our deep affection and appreciation matches- if not exceeds- the level of attraction.

Ultimately, I want it all. To be madly in love, and to love for the sake of honoring commitment. To feel shaken to the core, but also to just get along and help one another manage life. That about sums it up.

Spelling out and admitting all of these desires is humbling, and certainly nerve-wracking, but like I said earlier- I hope with my small amount of vulnerability comes a great amount of relief for those of you who might feel alone in your hope for “great love” (the kind in How to Lose a Date with Tad Hamilton). And for those of you who have already found it, I hope you’re reminded of what you have! Happy Valentine’s Day, everybody!

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Dream Interpreting: How Much Do We Control?

A. To regular readers (I’m incredibly honored to now have some regulars that I don’t call “Dad”), I apologize for not writing for a while. It’s been a funky few weeks, leaving my creative juice box a bit dry.

B. How is it already February 9th, 2015? Just let that sink in for a second.

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They say that how you really feel reveals itself in dreams and/or five shots of Jameson. I don’t think either is true. First of all, the only thing that reveals itself after five shots of Jameson is the amount of steel in the lining of one’s stomach. Not that I’d know. Second, if dreams are to be interpreted, then I am an absolute insane person, which I refuse to believe is true. Which, scarily, is the sign of an insane person. But let’s not harp on that possibility.

I have weird dreams. And although most of my friends laugh in a half judgey/half concerned way when I tell them my dreams, I really don’t think I am alone in experiencing strange things while asleep. I’d like to review with you two of the most recent scenarios my brain came up with when snoozing. Please keep in mind that I have no control over these things. Both happened last night:

  • Two great white sharks attacked me in the ocean. They weren’t chomping down on my limbs, rather they head-butted me until Rufus Humphry (from Gossip Girl) came and saved my life. He put me into a Houdini box that magically transported me back to the beach, but both my legs were severely damaged from the knee down. Apparently the sharks had really intense head-butting techniques. While I was in the Houdini box, I switched from being the victim to being a witness, so it was actually my coworker Meghan (hey, girl, I know you’re reading this right now) who had the torn-up legs. Everyone thought she was not going to make it because she was losing so much blood, but I wasn’t worried because I somehow already knew she would survive. Then I woke up. [Let it be known that I’m not proud of what my mind does without my permission.]
  • A guy I was seeing in real life recently, plus a few of his friends and I, went to Paul’s Deli- the bar in Williamsburg, VA where I spent nearly every night of summer 2009. When we walked in, the guy I was dating- let’s call him Pete- spotted a huge cockroach on the fireplace. (Note: there is no fireplace in the real Paul’s Deli.) He proceeded to kill it, then made sure it was dead by putting it in his mouth. STOP JUDGING ME RIGHT NOW. Pete spit it out (it was still moving a little bit), but then we reasoned, “Well, we have to stay at this bar even though it’s dirty, because it’s raining outside.” Seemed valid in my dream. That’s when things took a turn for the worse. From behind the lamp (again, not one lamp exists in the real Paul’s Deli) came an army of cockroaches. They were all about two inches long and had tan-colored wings. Not weird enough yet? Read on. Do you remember that scene in The Lion King when all of Scar’s hyenas did the Hitler walk? Well, these cockroaches started doing that. They were Hitler cockroaches. In a disgusting, perfectly uniform march, they swarmed the room while I tried to tell everyone else what was happening. Sadly, no one seemed to notice, even though I was having a mild to medium panic attack. [Have I mentioned that I am not proud of what my mind does without my permission??] lion king hitler hyenas

These sort of dreams are not something most people would share on the interwebs for fear of possibly being torn away from their families and enrolled in a psychiatric center. I’m banking on this not happening because it’s a Monday morning and hopefully most of you are too busy catching up on work or recovering from the weekend to bother picking up the phone on my behalf. In all seriousness, though, these dreams can’t possibly reveal much. I think I can break them down, if we must:

  • Sharks and cockroaches are my two biggest fears
  • The guy I used to see (in dream 2) was in an accident a few years back that left his legs in the same condition the sharks left mine/Meghan’s (dream 1)
  • I’ve been binge-watching Gossip Girl

I honestly don’t think the dreams meant anything more than I’m still scared of sharks and cockroaches, that the guy I used to see was on my mind because we had an intense talk recently, and that I need to find better things to do with my time than watch a show about rich high schoolers in Manhattan. I’m 26. That’s no longer cool.

Although I don’t believe dreams about losing teeth reflect unstable finances, or that dreams about a recent significant other mean you’re obsessed with that person, I do think dreams are wildly interesting. Not telling, but interesting. How do our minds come up with such intricate scenarios? If we can’t control what our minds do when we are asleep, then really- how much of our minds do we control when we’re awake?

I’ve said and written time and again that happiness is a choice. That we control our own thoughts and attitudes. I believe this- I do. But even as someone who actively tries to monitor the path of my feelings, I’m often left somewhere completely different than I’d intended. No matter how hard I try at times, my mind and heart do their own thing. This doesn’t mean that we should stop trying to choose healthy perspectives and courses of action, but it does reveal the paradox that is human existence: We are in control of our lives, while still having almost no say in anything that happens. We can work extremely hard to behave certain ways and train our minds to think certain things, but ultimately, nature will have its say. The conscientious decision to make good choices and to see the positive in tough times should never be underrated, for it definitely helps make life a whole lot better, but dreams are a good reminder of just how little of this world we control. Even our own brains get the better of us at times. Challenging ourselves to be our best selves, while not getting too frustrated when we can’t manage to consistently reside in the ideal mental or emotional state, is no easy balance. I’ve found that life is a never-ending push and pull, where we have to be simultaneously invested in our decisions and surroundings, while maintaining an overarching sense of surrender to outside forces.

So when you have dreams about great white sharks or exes or flying or long hikes with a pack of wolves, rather than continuing to try and find control through interpretation that can never be proven, instead let those sometimes funny, sometimes scary, sometimes depressing made-up mental scenarios remind you that all you can do is do your best. All you can do is control what you can (in a positive, not manic way), and chalk the rest up to being an odd little human in this blip of a life on this tiny little planet within this one galaxy in a giant universe. Each of us is important, yes (and I say this because I believe in God), but really- if a shark is going to head butt you to the ground while you sleep, aren’t we taking ourselves a wee bit too seriously?

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