Friday, September 19, 2008

It's not that I don't love you anymore...

It's just that I have nothing much to say.

Sorry for the long pause between posts. But the last truly interesting thing I did was visit my friends two weeks ago in Michigan (and that was only marginally interesting to anyone outside the five of us). Since then I've been sitting on my couch. And that's pretty much it.

My trip to Michigan was the end of what I am pretty sure was the busiest summer of my life. I was either out of town or busy every weekend from June-August. While it felt fairly awesome to tell people I was "booked through mid-September" the reality of those words was far from glamorous.

I'm tired, people.

And so I sit. And I will continue sitting until I have fully recovered from the trips, the daytime excursions, the bbq's, the nights out with friends, the concerts, the invitation making, the shower throwing and the bachelorette partying. I will sit, and watch all the episodes of Psych stored on my DVR, and drink lemonade and pat my dog. Occasionally I may turn off the TV and get up to make a snack or find something to read. But then I will immediately go back to sitting.

Glorious, glorious sitting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The girl has good taste.

I had the latest flight home this weekend, so April, Heidi and I spent a little extra time together at Heidi's house Monday night.

Ava liked my purse. Way more than she liked sitting still for pictures with us.

If home is where your heart is...

Then I have homes in Michigan, Texas and Ohio.

Somehow, after seven years, 15 moves, eight home purchases, three babies (and two more on the way), two master's degrees, at least 15 new jobs and an average of 500 miles in between us at all times, we are still friends.

In fact, I think we're closer after all those life changes than we ever were in college. We act more like sisters than friends — and yes, that includes borrowing each other's stuff and driving each other crazy. But despite our many quirks (and oh, do we have them), we love each other dearly. Which is why we make it a priority to see each other for a weekend at least once a year.

This year we ended up at a lake cottage in Michigan. For three days we hung out in our pjs, ate loads of terrible-for-you food, went shopping, and talked about life.

In that respect, not much has changed since we graduated.

Except now I love them even more.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Work to live? Or live to work?

I have this cute little box of macaroons on my desk, courtesy of my friend/colleague David, and his wife, Becca. Becca is something of a domestic goddess...she fell in love with cooking while house sitting for friends with an awesome kitchen, and she hasn't looked back. Now she's launching a business called KitchenNut (she has a blog, too). David told me she's starting slow with one product (the macaroons) and is hoping to build from there.

Her baked goods are to die for, and they are packaged and labeled sweetly, thanks to David's stellar design. Becca is destined for success.

So, now I'm sitting at work after an eight hour day, staring at this darling little box of treats (willing myself not to eat them, but that won't last), and wondering how I got here.

I work for a design firm. A good one. We do great work, our clients love us, and we like and respect each other. My job is manageable. I have flexible hours. I get to work on a Mac. I'm surrounded by beautiful design, which I truly appreciate in any form. The company pays for me to attend fun events, like Magazine Day.

There are many, many good things about my workplace (Free Diet Coke, I've heard, is not available everywhere. This saddens me.).

And yet.

Growing up, I thought I'd be a teacher. During college, I planned to become a newspaper reporter. By the end of college, I wanted to be a magazine editor. In fact, I was certain I would become a high-profile editor at a fashion magazine, live in New York City, and be all kinds of glamorous. And I thought that was likely to happen pretty quickly. Maybe not right out of school, but definitely by 25.

I started out as a Bloomingdale's sales girl at the Mall of America. In Bloomington, Minnesota. (Also known as the glamour capitol of the world.) The clothes were awesome, but I got myself in loads of debt and therefore needed to make more money. Onward, upward.

I moved on to a receptionist position at a hair salon (that was boring and lasted less than 6 months), and then to an interactive agency in NE Minneapolis, where I answered phones, ran errands, stocked the fridge and wrote copious amounts of copy for next to no pay. I made more than I had at Bloomingdale's, but not much. So I supplemented by continuing to pick up shifts at Bloomingdale's and working an additional 3-4 nights a week at cute little housewares/gift shop.

(Yep, that's right. I worked three jobs. I can't wait to use the old "Well, when I was your age..." line on my kids.)

Much to my sadness, the cute shop closed. Bloomingdale's stopped calling me (though I think I might still be on staff there, I get employee mailings all the time), and I quit the interactive agency for a much better opportunity — a marketing position at my current place of employment.

Four years and two promotions later, I am still here. I live and work in Minnesota. I am not a high-profile anything. Age 25 has come and gone, and the word glamorous does not describe any part of my existence.

And truthfully, I'm okay with that.

There are days I long for the life I thought I'd have. I wouldn't want to move to NYC now — that was the dream of my 22-year old self, not the person I am today — but it's something I wish I'd experienced. And I would love to work for a fashion magazine, though I fear that environment would only cultivate my jealousy and materialism (things I struggle with now that would surely get worse if I was constantly surrounded by beautiful, skinny women in designer clothes). That is not the path I've chosen (or perhaps the path God chose for me), and that's fine. However, it would be a lot easier to accept the life I have if I felt more inspired by what I'm doing with it.

Unlike many of my friends, I have never wanted to stay home with children (I may change my mind about that once I have children, but it has never been the desire of my heart). My career has always been a defining part of my life. Other than my relationships with God and my husband, it's probably THE defining part of my life. When I am happy and excited at work, everything in my life seems happy and exciting. And when the opposite is true, well....just ask Nate. It's not pleasant. And there have been far too many unpleasant days lately.

I wish I had some answers. Is it better to be responsible — to stay in a career that is somewhat unfulfilling (but good in other ways) just to pay the bills and support the family I hope to have? Or should I try to figure out what really makes me happy, whether it's going back to school or attempting to open a cute little shop of my own? Is it even possible to have a career that makes you really, really happy? Or am I discounting all the good in my life — my family, my faith, my friends — and placing my career on a much-too-high pedestal?

I really don't know.

I'm going to go ahead and eat this macaroon while I mull it over.
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