Turning 24: A Year Older and a Year Wiser?


 

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Crap.

When did this happen? When did I turn 24? Well —  technically it happened on April 26, 2013 — but I’m still having trouble accepting that I am living in a Cyberspace age like 2013, let alone that I’m 24. I’m the baby — how could I actually be this old and remember my past as recent history? Sometimes I feel like I should be sitting in a rocker telling tales of the “golden days” to the “kids” of today. But that doesn’t seem right either because I feel like these birthdays are just creeping on me without so much as a notice, and I must be actually much younger!

That’s what it is.

I thought that I’d get some sort of prepped notice every year reminding me of all the events that took place in the last year, so that when the time came to turn another year older, I would actually feel like I had lived an entire year. Somehow time isn’t that forgiving, and there is no friendly reminder — just birthdays that make you wonder where the time is really going.

So, now I’m 24. Don’t ask me how it happened, but little ol’ me, the baby of the family, reached her “mid 20s.” And taking a few minutes to actually reflect, I’m relieved to say that time didn’t just speed me through 365 days without teaching me at least a little something in return. I had 10 life lessons to share last year, but this past year has taught me some things that I’m hoping I can say have made me a year wiser. Here are a few:

  1. You have to know when it’s time to stick up for yourself without letting your ego get in the way. When I find someone trying to take advantage of me or my time, my ego tends to want to speak for me (because how dare you treat me like this, right?), but that’s never a good idea. There’s a way to put your foot down without being flippant, and finding the balance is always the key.
  2. Some people will never change, and you just have to change your expectations that they will. I’d banked on the hope that certain people or certain relationships would change, so that I could be happier. But in the end, all that investment only made me more unhappy and disappointed when things didn’t work out how I hoped. Some people have surprised me in the last year for the better, and that was a great feeling. For the rest, I’ve realized that I need to let what will be just be.
  3. Irrational anger will just eat you up and feed that pesky ego again. Blowing up about being stuck in traffic? Complaining that someone bumped into you at a crowded place? Just idiotic and pointless. What’s even the point of being angry about something so small, when it means nothing at the end of the day? I’m no one special; it happens; get over it, and move on.
  4. Most of my problems are maintained by me. Ever notice how easy it is to blame others for “making” you feel one way or another? Other people definitely contribute to trust issues, insecurities and hurt feelings, but no one can actually make you feel any other way than you want to feel. I can make everything worse if I want to, but I can also make them at least a bit better by just letting it roll off and moving on.
  5. At some point, leaving the party early or turning down plans just to stay in and enjoy alone time is really, totally okay. I used to be afraid I’d be missing out on something if I said no, and sometimes I still feel like I need to do as much as possible because otherwise I’m denying myself some great memories — but sometimes it really is just best to stay in or be alone. Now, I try to do what feels right in the moment — without fear of regret — and then accept my decision, whatever it is.

Do you feel like you can say you learn a lot year by year? Share some of your learned wisdom with me!

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Collect Photo App: Your Must-Have Photo Journal


Collect Photo App

Collect: Photo a Day

I’m a blogger. Obviously.  So, it goes without saying that I enjoy the art of chronicling something — my thoughts, the happenings of the world around me, ideas and other things that collect in my head My blog is more of the public side of me that I’m willing to share, but I also keep a private journal that goes deeper into my thoughts and feelings. Both kind of have the same idea behind them though, and it’s always a trip down memory lane when I pull up/out a blog post or a journal entry and go back in time. What was going on then? What were the things I was into? What was happening in the world? It’s a surreal feeling, and it’s [almost] always pretty fun.

So, when I got word of a photo-journal app that was on sale (for free) yesterday, my interest unsurprisingly piqued. Collect is a super cool photo app that that doubles as a beautiful photo journal of your entire year — with one memory from every day. Take a picture, write a caption and chronicle it in the calendar. Simple as that.

What makes the app extra special is the ability to create multiple albums, or multiple calendars. Make an album for your meals everyday or your outfits. Get creative and make an album for one interesting or new thing you see everyday. Have kids? Start a separate album for each one, and have a keepsake that will take you zooming back through those days “that went by so fast.”  The surprise extra-bonus? Collect is an awesome way for snap-happy people to find a reason to take pictures of their beautiful shoes or awesome weight-loss progress without having to share every little thing with the world. Win-win! Search for it as “Collect: Photo a Day” in the iTunes store and start snapping!

Growing Up Sucks: 7 Reasons Why I Miss College Like Crazy


Ladder stile in SnowdoniaIn my head I’ve always pictured school as this tentative ladder we were all climbing — it started from Pre-k and went up to college (for the general population). Some people’s ladders broke before the end, and some people’s got more rungs added as time went on, but for the most part — this was the time line that you grew up expecting to follow.

So, what came after we reached the top of the ladders? My mental picture showed an open, weightless space into which we all took a giant leap and gracefully floated off to our separate ways to take our places in the “Real World.”  (I guess I was a pretty visual kid)

Well, I reached the top of my ladder last year, and I took the big leap into the weightless space. I hate to say that I was right all these years about what the metaphor of school and life would be like: I floated off into my separate way just like my friends did, and honestly — it sucks. But truthfully, it wasn’t that literal;  it’s not that I lost touch with everyone that makes me miss college like crazy.

It’s more like these 7 reasons here:

  1. I actually miss learning. Don’t get me wrong — I  will never miss studying or taking another test again, but when you’ve been mentally stimulated for 17 years of your life, you miss learning something and running home to your parents/roommates/friends and telling them, “Did you know…?” or “Guess what I learned today…”
  2. Going out needs an expense account, and partying will never be the same again. There’s no more conglomeration of 300 people in one huge house party or bar district, and forget about “college town prices.” Everything requires a cab, DD, and/or  triple the amount of money as it did in college.
  3. Everyone is getting married and having kids left and right — or is it just my friends? People still think I’m 15, and yet 90% of my high school friends (and I’m sure soon to be followed by college friends)  are domesticated. I just want to be in college again, when people were too busy hooking up and recovering from hangovers to care about wedding dresses and diapers.
  4. There’s no sense of intense camaraderie or pride anymore. Being in NYC is an exception, I guess, because New Yorkers are hardcore about their city, but even so — I just miss the football games, pep rallies, parades and college events that brought the entire university together. This is when I really feel like I’m floating off in my own space.
  5. The “future” is the present, now. I used to talk about “what I wanted to do when I grow up” and “what kind of guy I hope to marry ” and blah, blah, blah, but all of that is staring me in the face now, and sometimes it’s just too much! The transition between college graduate and adulthood is a nanosecond, and I really think we should send around a petition to make it longer.
  6. The weekends got shorter — by an entire day… They don’t start at noon on Friday when classes are out; they start at 7 or 8pm when you’re finished with work, and even then  — you’re tired as hell and barely want to do anything. By the time you make plans and follow through with them, it’s Saturday — which is the only day working people get to call a “day off” because Sunday means laundry, groceries and chores galore. Apparently, Fridays get cut with the rest of your paycheck…
  7. My friends were my family. There’s just nothing like walking down the hall of your dorm or the street and seeing anyone you want, and once you’re out of college, you realize how much you miss the accessibility of seeing your friends — who literally become family for that very reason. No matter how close you are, the Real World means you have to try that much harder to see each other — and floating around in your own space doesn’t make it that easy to do so…

Honestly, I would never trade in my college years for anything. I had some of the best and worst times, and they were absolutely, ridiculously, phenomenally the BEST 4 years of my life.

If you’re about to start college, take my advice: enjoy every. single. moment. of. it. Even if you’re not the party girl/guy, find your niche and do something that makes your college years some of the most memorable times of  your life because after these times, you’ll be like me — just floating in open space and missing it like crazy.

Tell me, do you miss your college years?

9/11: Let Us Always Remember and Stand United


September 11, 2001 attacks in New York City: V...

When you look back 10 years you wonder, “How could time have passed by so quickly?” When you look forward 10 years you wonder, “How will time go by at all?”
Both questions resonate with me today: the memory of a fateful day so long ago feels like it just happened a few days ago, the memory of being the child who thought 10 years would pass as slowly as 100. I am still wondering the same thing — how did 10 years go by so quickly, and how will the next 10 ever come?

Everyday is the 10th anniversary of another day, but none quite like September 11; this day is a permanent etch into Americans’ souls who saw that day, whether it was from Ground Zero, a TV screen or the face of someone who came bearing the tragic news. It’s on this day that Americans everywhere take at least a moment to remember where they were, how they felt and what that day means for them on each anniversary.

Ten years ago, my life was that of a 12-year-old who wondered what we’d be doing that day in Language Arts class at Marlin Middle School. This memory and snippets of the day are so vivid — when the details of my past birthdays, vacations, and more personally monumental events are lost. This memory is frozen in time like a snapshot, as if my mind and heart had entered into a silent mutual agreement to begin immediate preservation when the news came.

The first indication that something bad had happened was from Ms. Goodrum’s furrowed brow and stoic expression as she listened intently to her radio with her chin resting in one hand. My classmates and I had come in laughing about something trivial, and we stopped when we saw her.

“A plane crashed into one of the towers in New York City,” I remember her vaguely saying.

My immediate instinct was to mirror her concern and internally have a moment of sadness for any lives lost. That was about it.

We went on laughing and talking quietly as we copied definitions out of the dictionary. Stuff like this happened everyday. It wasn’t until we heard about a second plane, and a third plane, and words like “terrorists” and “attacks” that I began to be truly concerned — wondering, panicking, feeling scared….

At this time in my life, I had lived through the Oklahoma City bombing, O.J. Simpson’s notorious trial and Jon Benet Ramsey’s kidnapping and murder. I had been exposed to hearing the news of tragic deaths and murder from a TV screen, and to me — that’s what this was.

Initially I thought a pilot had had engine troubles and the plane had crashed due to technical problems. Then when I realized it was intentional — it still only resonated to me as another crime: something I should take a moment to be silent for; something I should be sad for because it was the right thing to do. What was terrorism? What did it feel like to have an outsider wage war against your country? These questions only had answers in history books from the historians and anecdotal stories of world wars and revolutions.

It wasn’t until later that afternoon that the situation became a little clearer. My Algebra class regularly watched Channel One News, and it wasn’t until we watched the film of the planes crashing in the Twin Towers over and over, and they crumbling like Leggo blocks that the truth began to unfold. This wasn’t a freak accident, or a hate crime from a psycho murderer living in our own country. This was a wage of war on America, and war it would soon be…Could this be real?

Days and weeks went by with nothing but round-the-clock coverage of Sept. 11: the heroes of Flight 93, the last calls made, those who saved lives, those who lost lives. My heart ached for those who had experienced such immense loss, but it hurt because the attack was on my country; America was my land, too.

Sadly, when I thought we would band together – all of us: the Chinese, Mexicans, Blacks, Whites, Indians, Arabs — it wasn’t the case. Lines were drawn and all of a sudden the rank of how “American” you were depended on your color, faith and even your accents.

Whites and Blacks were the only “true” Americans, and the rest of us? Outsiders, intruders — terrorists, ourselves. Understandable of course, when the attack had been made from a group calling themselves “Muslims” and there were so many of “those people” living next door — people felt threatened and angered. But this hate spread like wildfire. I remember being discriminated against by ignorant and angry people telling my family and me to “go back where we came from.” India? The attackers were Afghanis — and radical Muslims, for that matter. My family was neither…why was this happening, I questioned over and over.

So many years passed before this anger died, and while many people stopped lashing out at anyone who resembled the “look” of a Muslim, many of my Islamic friends still deal with hatred today. People forget that being White or Black isn’t an ethnicity and “their people” were once fleeing persecution and seeking better lives. America was the place they found that liberty and the right to pursue happiness; people forget that being an American means opening your arms and banding together, not the other way around.

Ten years later, I’m still haunted by the images from that day and of the war that ensued within our land. The day will always be one that humbles me because I lived and didn’t experience immediate loss, like so many others did. It will also be a day, however, that I remember turned Americans against Americans and I pray that we can learn from, so that is never the case again.

The attack was from the outside, not within. Let us always be one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. And let us remember September 11, 2001 this — as a day when our country and people’s unity was tested for its strength and resilience, not as a day when we were knocked down. We are here strong as ever 10 years later;  it’s more than obvious we passed with flying colors. Let us always stand united, and remember September 11 for that lesson.

God bless America.

My First Love


Young love is probably the most pure of all love because it is driven completely by instinct and an earnest desire for someone and their love. There is no analysis of the other person’s career plans, family background, or even whether he/she would parent robust (and hopefully beautiful) children. No, young love erupts from the heart, without warning and without regard. Perhaps this is really the definition of true love?

My first love came at tender the age of 4, in the merry days of preschool in Georgetown, Kentucky. (Yes, I have roots here.) Fresh from India, and born into a conservative family who may have spanked me for my wandering eyes — my love story is that much more passionate.

The boy: a beautiful fair-skinned, blue-eyed, blonde boy with angelically rosy cheeks by the name of Jeremiah –er…don’t know his last name so we’ll say it was Whiteboy. Yes, Jeremiah Whiteboy was the original prince who captured my heart. He was the John Smith to my Pocahontas and from the moment little Indian Foram laid eyes on her Caucasian prince, she knew what love was about.

I have two vivid memories with Jeremiah and both are rather sweet and indicative of how innocent and pure our affection was. (Yes you see, I like to believe that unlike the games boys play today that leave girls unsure of the depth of their love that Jeremiah was different. I like to believe that our love was mutual.) If someone had filmed our relationship, it would’ve been the stuff of romantic legend.

The first memory was a day when Mr. Whiteboy showed me that he was a man willing to bend on one knee for me, and so he did — to tie my shoes! [Insert swoon] When tying laces was a skill missing from my set, and I was on the cusp of harm from a potentially dangerous fall, my prince was there to save his damsel in distress. So graciously and lovingly, he bent on one knee and tied them for me at school. What an act of devotion! I went home that day bursting to tell my parents what had happened. Somehow (and thankfully so), they found amusement in their 4-year-old daughter having already fallen in love with a little, White boy after just moving relocating our entire family across the world  — which was very lucky, indeed, because I was able to continue pining away without being scared that I would be deported back to India with my flirtatious ways!

The second memory is captured on camera, and I can still remember it like it was yesterday. (As is typical with memories that are bound in love) It was picture day, and Ms. Girten’s class was being seated for their turn. Alas, I was on one end of the bottom row, and Jeremiah on the other end. Star-crossed lovers, we truly were! But no matter — it didn’t keep me from dreamily gazing away at that beautiful cherub face — even when it was too late…

Click.

The photographer snapped the picture and the memory was captured forever: the little, Indian girl in her white dress and red vest with a matching hair bow and tights was the only onenot looking at the camera. Instead, there she is…distracted and…not listening to directions? What looks like an attention deficit issue is really a child’s infatuation with her love! She was admiring her heartthrob with his kind heart (and gorgeous face, of course).

Ah, these are the memories of love I will always have — not only because they’re pretty stinkin’ sweet, but it’s the only relationship I’ve had that didn’t involve some sort of complication and grown-up people mess. Yes, this was my first and true love: Jeremiah Whiteboy of Georgetown, Kentucky.

Who were your first loves? Leave me a comment and tell me about them!

 

Hello, Good-bye


The wise often advise: life is too short to have regrets or to dwell over the past. But when it comes to people in the past, with whom your relationship have simply withered away over time – is it really a waste of time to wish things hadn’t changed so much?

I’ve always been one to hold onto a slippery hope that I’d stay in touch with people I was really close to. Considering I was the one who has always moved away after a few years, I thought I would have no problem staying in touch if I made sure to put in effort. It’s always strange to me the attitude I’ve seen so many people adhere to: out of sight, out of mind. Really? Is that all friendships are worth in the end – the time you spent together and no more? Some people tell me, “You live in the past – move on. If people don’t care to stay in touch with you, don’t care to stay in touch with them.”

But honestly, it has never been a situation to be bitter about. These were never bad people or flaky people, whom I needed to feel bitter towards. These were close friends who promised to stay in touch, but just never made the effort. But in today’s age of texting, Facebook, e-mail – how hard can it really be if you really want to catch up with an old friend? Not very. And this sad reality only proves that maintaining relationships over time requires effort from both parties. Of course some relationships have an inevitable expiration date, but I’m talking about the ones you’d think would withstand separation and change.

So maybe it’s just my mentality and inability to lose hope. At this cusp of college and the real world, I realize why it’s so particularly bittersweet for me. It’s not that I don’t know how to look forward. It’s not even that I’m endlessly looking back to the past. It’s just that I hope when I take those glances back to remember the last 4 amazing years, I’ll see people who have grown with me. I hope the memories and friendships don’t wither away in time, so every now and then we can relive the simpler days of undergrad, and I’m not just reminiscing  over a snapshot of what life was like with those friends ‘back in the day’.

So, here’s to the most ridiculous, stressful, exhausting, hilarious, enriching, awe-inspring, and hopefully everlasting 4 years of our lives. And another toast to keeping those memories alive through friendships that won’t fall victim to the harsh effects of time – because when is ‘bye’ ever ‘good’?

Senior Book Memories


I cracked open my Senior book today from high school today, and I have to say I was pretty close to shedding a tear or two. It made me incredibly sad and nostalgic. It makes me think of a line in one of Sarah McLachlan’s songs, “Weep not for the memories…” Still, I can’t help but BE sad for those memories because things completely changed after high school. And here I am on the eve of my senior year all over again and I can’t help but wonder if I even want some sort of memory book like this one to hold on to. Yes, it’s the remembrance of happy times that’s supposed to bring you joy from memory books like that, and to that I agree. My feelings are bittersweet, though. Happy because I remembered those times, but sad, not because THEY ended , but because my relationships with all those people ended.

So many people wrote about how much they cherished our friendship and how they wished to keep in touch. I’m not sure what that means to most people, but when I say that, I mean it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the case for about 98% of the people who wrote in my book. Why is that? Why do we write these ambitious statements about staying in touch and staying friends forever, but never make any sort of effort towards making that happen? It’s as if those things are supposed to be said only by default because they’re the stereotypical things you write in yearbooks, “Take care, I’ll miss you, I love you, best of luck, keep in touch!” Why do people say they want to keep in touch, when they don’t really mean it? It’s something I’ve noticed with people everywhere. It’s as if we, as people, are programmed just to say things because we’re supposed to. But it’s a shame. And the “keep in touch” line is something I’ve never understood. Most people say it, but they don’t mean it. Why is that? What happens between the minute you SAY the words and the minute when you decide that you actually don’t care to stay in touch? It’s just a strange phenomenon I’ve never understood.

For any of my high school friends out there, I miss you guys – really. And I’d love to get back in touch – REALLY.