Saturday, December 3, 2011

Radvent Day 3 - Fascinating

Today's post is another in the Radvent blogging challenge brought to us by the always fascinating Princess Lasertron.

Today we are challenged to reveal our most fascinating selves by writing the interview questions we would most like to be asked. I love this prompt because it gives me a chance to share things I wouldn't typically write here about! If you'd like to play along at home (and please feel free to share!) it's best to write you questions out, go work on that GAP-Tastic Cowl that should have been in the mail last week, and come back in an hour or two to answer them. I decided to go with the 5 W's to mold my mock interview, but you can ask any questions you'd like! Enjoy!

Who would you consider to be your role model?
For most of my life I actually could never answer this question. I looked up to olympic swimmers when I was a kid, but I knew I never wanted to be just a swimmer & I thought maybe I'm just meant to be the person I am and forget role models. Then earlier this year with the death of Steve Jobs, I realized that I did have a role model, I just never realized it. When I brought up my home screen (I never did change it from the apple default) and saw his picture and the words "RIP" it affected me a lot more than I could have ever expected. He really was an innovator and never said no to an idea he believed in. Not only is he the reason I don't have to carry a huge CD case around with my everywhere anymore, but he was the financial backer behind Pixar studios in its early days when no one else could see their vision. I want to be the kind of person who goes confidently in the direction of my passions, and thats why I consider Steve Jobs to be my role model.

What is your best advice for traveling abroad?
Pack half as many clothes as you think you'll need and twice as many books, and bring peanut butter. I guess this advice is best suited for those traveling to less... westernized areas, but I have yet to travel abroad anywhere that has working plumbing all the time (Bhutan had squat toilets and Puerto Rico typically didn't have showers) and I was always doing field research so I have a feeling my concept of traveling might be a bit skewed, but I think those two rules should be universal. No one else in the world understands the beauty of peanut butter, and if they food there isn't to your liking, it's something that's super filling and has decent nutritional value.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I think if I were to be honest with myself I could answer this one of at least 5 ways. The things I know for sure are that dear husband and I are hoping to have a good bit of the house paid off so we can upgrade into our having-babies house. Barring any major catastrophes between now and then I think that bit is totally achievable. I would also like to work towards not having to work a 9-5 anymore, and maybe even owning a multi-family income property. We're surrounded by both college towns & military bases so there are investment opportunities everywhere.

When did you know you were ready to marry your husband?
Everyone and their sister asks me this question, and I suppose I should expect it because I got married at 21, but I still find it annoying. The answer is complicated, but simple. I'm the kind of person who was super ready to get married at a young age, but my husband never really was and swore he wouldn't propose until we were together for at least 5 years. Neither of us really believe in divorce, and that was his solution to the problem. So after we'd been together for about a year I started getting annoying about why we needed to wait 5 years, and he wasn't terribly amused by it. Then one day, I woke up and realized I didn't care if I had to wait 5 years, I wanted to be with him forever anyway, so what did it matter? I wrote him a letter telling him just that (but hopefully much more eloquently) and not even 6 months later after dating for more than two years he proposed to me. So my advice to all those ladies who want to know if they're ready to get married yet, I guess the best way to know when it's time is when it stops being so important.

Why do you craft?
I love making things with my own two hands in a world of such mechanized consumerism. I know it sounds terribly hippie-like of me, but I'd rather have things made with love than made inexpensively. It's my little rebellion against the system, and I plan to keep knitting, canning, and making for the rest of my life.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Radvent Day 2 - Balance

Today's post is yet another installment of Princess Lasertron's Radvent blogging challenge.

I've always had an issue with finding balance in my life. I've often joked that I have the soul of an artist trapped in the brain of a scientist and that's a tough place to be. While it does tend to make a very well rounded person with a very rich life, I have yet to really master balancing my creative self with my logical self.

Yesterday I talked about the challenges of making the right decision for yourself, and I very recently took on the responsibilities of a second job in order to save for the future I want. While I can't tell you how amazing it is to put money into a savings account rather than taking it out for a change, it also doesn't leave a lot of room for my creativity. I only have one day off a week and I spend most of it sleeping, and two days a week I work well upwards of 12 hour days. Therefore up until it was time for holiday knitting I hadn't had anything seriously on my needles since I left school (hence why blogging has been so sparse as I would consider this first and foremost to be a knitting blog) and I was missing it. I've been making more time to knit every week, and now I'm officially in full on Christmas panic familiar to so many fellow knitters.

Blogging is another way I'm bringing back the creative balance. Writing has always been a big part of my life and I think blogging helps to bring me closer to where I'd like to be creatively. I love being a part of this amazing community I've discovered & I hope to one day inspire people the way my favorite bloggers inspire me every day.

Truth be told, I think the perfect balance for me will eventually having the safety net to try and make a career of making and creating rather than just working another job. However, for now I will settle for being able to finish my Christmas gifts before New Years!

I promise in the coming days I will feature what I currently have on the needles with more pictures than I've been able to include recently.


Radvent Day 1 - Challenging

What better excuse for a return to blogging than participating in the lovely Princess Lasertron's Radvent blogging challenge. And speaking of challenges, that's the topic of today's post.

This is a rather poignant return to the pen for me after the year I've had. I've faced challenge after challenge this year and I feel for the most part that I've come out on top.

Very early in the year I made the decision to leave college because I realized that I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life, and that I was only really in college because it's what I was supposed to do after high school. It didn't matter that I hadn't gotten into any school but my safety, or that as fickle 18-year-old I had no idea what I wanted to be, I was the smart, funny successful one and I had to go to college. I had been debating leaving for months, but I loved my school and the programs I was a part of... I couldn't imagine my life without Alternative Spring Break, or making sure my class had the most amazing senior year possible (I was class president for christ sake!) much less leaving my classes. Conservation biology was something I believe really deeply in, but in order to succeed as a scientist you have to accept that you need a Ph.D. first, and I wasn't ready to put my life on hold for that. So I drove home, told my parents I was leaving school, drove back up to school the following morning and basically packed up my room in the middle of the night without saying goodbye to anyone.

Was it the best way of doing things? Probably not, but I knew no one would really understand my reasoning. "Everyone needs a degree" they would insist, but to be quite frank I think that's a load of bullshit. Our education system is broken in ways far too complex to try to hash out in this post, but I think it's more important to figure out what you're good at and what gets you out of bed in the morning before spending thousands of dollars on a piece of paper.

So I withdrew from college and got married to my dear husband. This is probably the least challenging thing that happened this year. We'd already survived a lot of the fights & lived with his parents for nearly 2 months while waiting to buy a house so he has been my port in the storm that has been this year & for that I am eternally thankful.

Thus began my attempt to find a job to help pay my suddenly very grown up bills. I had always been interested in real estate, so it was my natural first choice and to my great surprise I heard from a brokerage the same day I applied for the job. That should have been my first warning sign that all was not as it seemed. 

I wasn't pulled into a scam, but we'll just say that no one was terribly forthcoming about how hard it is to get started and that it's insane to try and become a real estate agent so young when you have so few reliable connections. I lost a lot of money and it started to affect my marriage. I tried everything to succeed but nothing really worked, not the marketing, or the networking, or the mentoring classes. Even taking on a second job couldn't lift the burden that my supposed dream career was putting on our lives. So by the end of September I left my career to keep my life from crumbling around me & it tortured me.

I think as a 20-something I'm expected to think only in the here and now, and follow my zen, and do all that other new age crap that will turn you homeless unless you live in a sitcom-world where the bank of mom-and-dad never cuts you off. So leaving real estate was a much harder decision than it ever should have been. Of course you should leave this money pit of a job with no real prospects for the immediate future in order to save your marriage and pay the bills. That's the definition of the logical thing to do, but it took me realizing that I legitimately couldn't pay next month's bills to realize that something had to give.

So I guess the moral of this very long-winded post is that it's okay to make the decision that is better in the long run, even if it hurts now. Sure your friends won't understand, but they don't always have to. You're the only person who knows what is best for you in the end, and you're allowed to make the final call.