Unshakeable Goals

Let’s talk about how we’re all working at least 60 hours a week. The reasons vary person-to-person. For one brother, it’s debt reduction from having obtained a college degree he never used. Another brother took out money with his father-in-law to purchase his wife’s dream farm house and fix it up into a proper home, all while continuing to crush it at his day job in the city.

My mother has her own debts, between the three kids having gone through college, her own credit card debts, etc. My boyfriend and I are each struggling along for that good life one day, as well. The one we both witnessed in our own grandparents, the love they had for each other, as well as, the passion they had for hard work and progress.

We all talk about sixty hours of work a week as though it’s this new phenomenon, however, listening to our grandparents when growing up it seems this has always been the way. Granddaddy worked every day, never quit working until he passed in fact, and came home to be an incredible daddy for four children every night.

Grammie also worked hard every day, but it looked a little different from what we know now, so people may initially discount it. Working in the home and looking after four children, all while giving piano lessons for some extra take-home for the family. Her work was just as important as his work, and they looked after each other through it all.

Perhaps perspectives have changed drastically since then, because people somewhere along the way decided that the forty-hour work week was it. Our grandparents meanwhile, never stopped working even when they got home from work and will continue or continued to work until their last days.

In the last post I had briefly gone over the goals we, myself and my best friend (also known as, my boyfriend), have set for ourselves in the next few years. Now I will begin to discuss how we plan to get there, particularly financially.

Spain will be the most difficult goal to reach in the next three years, but we’ve set our minds to it, which is at least thirty-five percent of the battle, I think. Our first step towards this goal, is to open a CD together in order to start saving money at a faster rate.

We’ll likely go with a 6-month, that way we can add to it more frequently than some other longer terms. Essentially, we’ll treat this CD as our savings for the international move, adding to it what we can every six months, and preferably letting it continue to grow even after we take out what we need for the move and a few months abroad at our new jobs (to be determined).

June 1st is the goal we’ve set for opening our first CD together, that of our Spain fund. It’s quickly approaching and last night we finally put our airline tickets to Peru on his Southwest card. The idea there is that we currently have that money, but we’re going to put that toward a CD for our larger goal.

With that in mind, we intend to pay a few months interest on his card, while we save up to knock out that small debt. We leave for Peru at the end of September, so barring any emergencies, we will have our trip paid off before we leave. I have also set my own personal goals to have my college debt eradicated by the time we leave for this first trip.

Wish us luck. All those good vibes.

We’re out here doing it, and yes we could fail–the naysayers have and will continue to point that out–but until we do we intend to act as though we can’t and continue to prepare for these goals as well as any unexpected events that life may throw at us.

Globally Minded

Starting life with my best friend.

This is the first blog post I have written straight into the site, without working it out in Google Docs or Word/Pages first. My main objective in this post is to get some goals out there, into the void, to begin percolating. Here goes something quite real…

My best friend and I have been daydreaming of late, and last week I scribbled out a precise budget to get us to each of these goals in the next year or so. The first goal is to visit Machu Picchu in Peru, the second to become TEFL certified in Costa Rica (or another spot if it works out better), and the third/long goal is to move to Spain together.

There has been quite a lot of encouragement from various people in our lives, including my aunt and uncle, his father, and all of our bosses (we both work two jobs and at least 60 hours a week). The goal is language immersion and visiting bucket list sites, as well as not living and dying where we grew up.

One person in our lives has been quite a struggle to convince, but we believe that in time she will see that we are not just crazy dreamers here. The naysayer is my own mother, who we have deduced is simply terrified of losing her best friend (me) to the world. However, we have goals and plans and are going to reach out into the universe to make them happen.

Hopefully, in seeing us do all these things and make our own dreams come true, she will decide to do the same for herself. Now her goals are going to look a little different from ours, but they will be just as legitimate and important and we will encourage her once her own journey begins.

Her dreams took a hard detour when she became pregnant, then continued having children until I came around. I have always been the one to stick around so my moving around the world will be the most difficult change she will have to endure, but I believe that it is time for her to start her life and for her to let me start mine.

More to come.

Encounters

Having just come out of a relationship, she seemed on edge by the friendlier young men she worked alongside each day. It was as though, now that her relationship was over, these men seemed to sense her vulnerability and suddenly showed interest in going out with her. That’s why she always insisted on group outings whenever they asked.

When the guys asked her to play board games at the local board game pub, or showed interest in her passion for Swing or Salsa dancing, she would make certain that all in the room could hear and understand that it would be a group outing, an open invitation, and not a date.

That’s probably why she hated him at first, the new guy at work. Although, it could also have been that he reminded her of an ex who had ripped her apart verbally whenever he was frustrated and they were alone. Frankly though, that impression was probably a poor first one, or simply a misguided prejudgement, as the only thing those two had in common was long hair and band life. Nothing truly substantial, but he put her on edge much more often than the other men who had suddenly shown interest.

He was unbelievably nice though and everyone said so, specifically to her… Which deepened her suspicions of the man himself. Why was he always looking her way? Why did he grin at her in that way? Why was he continuously trying to talk with her at work? What did he want from her, and why? Whether it was an attempt on his part to get her to view him in a positive light or sheer happenstance, one day completely at random his good friend and bandmate spoke softly to her of his admiration for this man.

The things his friend said seemed so much like something she would like to hear, that she was convinced he had asked his friends to talk to her about him. To put a good word in for him, so to speak. Was she being paranoid or did he really want something from her…and if so, what could it possibly be? He didn’t know her at all and she rarely responded with more than a few words to his questions, whether they were work related or personal.

 

At the moment, she was struggling with this and other questions as well. Recently, she had broken up with the man that she wanted to marry. It was after a night out with his friends, when feelings once again crept in that she was kept at arm’s length, as an outsider looking in, and that she was just another body in a crowd at one of his parties.

Though after she did it, she lay in bed for days, depressed and wondering whether she had made a wrong choice under the influence of alcohol and suffering from the mood swings of her most recent attempt at a birth control. The mood swings always came about four months into taking the pill daily, and this was the fourth attempt on a new birth control, with no success as far as maintaining her emotions went. So after the split she was terrified that she had made the most important decision of her life not being fully in control of her emotional state.

 

After discovering that her daughter was suffering, her mother picked her up and took her out of the city to one if her brother’s farm houses. He and his wife were out of town, and her mother was taking care of their house and animals. Her mother was right that it was good to get away, out of the city and to be away from everyone, including her now-ex.

Upon arrival back into the city, she developed a new-found friendship with one of her ex’s friends who was struggling with his own breakup. He had been extremely attached to his former girlfriend, and was on the verge of hurting himself when his friend-family caught on and pulled him out of his own negativity and solitude.

They saved him and he began a new journey of self-love and self-help. The two were able to discuss the pain of the loss of a longed-for future without judgement from others who wouldn’t understand their experiences. This was another huge stepping-stone for her in the healing process. She wasn’t one given to flights of fancy and romance, so when she had felt love for her ex and dreamed of their future together she assumed that meant it was right.

However, after many discussions with her ex’s friend she came to realize that her ex, due to a prior marriage, was the one in this instance who had things to work on before he could open himself up fully to another. His friend helped her realize that if he could not love her for exactly the person she was in that moment and want to journey with her in her own growth as a person, then it just wasn’t right.

If she had continued to try to be the person he needed her to be in order to fit into his life, then the person she would become would never truly be her. If he chose to love her then, it would never work out in the end. Eventually, she would have had to break free of that fraud of a person that she would have become. In recognizing this, she was slowly able to come to terms with the loss of the future and the love that she had wanted.

 

The young men at work and at dance seemed to either recognize her vulnerability or her newfound confidence, she couldn’t be sure. Those at work asked after her dance and implied that they would be interested in joining. She told them that all were welcome, from beginner to expert, and that dances happened at a bar downtown on Friday and Saturday nights.

Two of them decided to come down one night and eventually a third man, older and recently divorced joined them as well with his best girl friend. They were all genuinely interested in learning to Swing dance, though one admittedly preferred the Salsa night, because of this she continued to invite them back from week-to-week.

She kept the groups fairly large, even including the new young man from work who made her feel watched, regarded. He seemed out of his element, to some degree, but he insisted on coming back as often as band practice would allow. The first week he showed up, her best friend found him by her description and dragged her across the room to greet him. Passing within ten feet of her ex, whose attention was clearly drawn, which embarrassed her to some degree.

Later that night she asked the man from work if he would like to dance, and he was eager to in spite of his inexperience. During their dance, her ex who had been watching her throughout the evening interrupted to hug her goodbye. As she felt his behaviour strange, her hug was obviously rigid in return. To his credit, though the young man could not possibly have missed the awkward encounter, he kindly acted normal and carried on with the dance as though there were no interruption at all. Near the end of the night, she felt the need to leave rather abruptly and he offered to take her friend home. The next time they saw each other at work he remarked on her sudden exit and implied that he had been impressed rather than offended.

Growing Up

Just friends. That’s what Miley and Trevor were to each other, nothing more, but nothing less either. One Autumn night they comforted each other in a much more intimate manner than that of friends and that was that, they did not forget each other, nor did they ignore each other, but they just kept on.

There was too much to contend with at the moment. No more room for a deeper kind of intimacy, that of a romantic relationship. He was taking care of his family’s affairs and seeing that his grandmother, eighty-six years old and suffering from dementia, was cared for properly. She was busy trying to go somewhere and be something, and not trying to get tied up in anything too serious.

They weren’t just friends, they were the best of friends, even if just for six of the longest months known to man, in their view. He confided in her and loved her deeply, and she opened up to him about her truths and experiences. The two of them could have made it, if they had truly wanted to and had tried, but there were always things to do and time was constantly slipping away from them.

In two short weeks, she was scheduled to board a plane and head to Spain for as long as she cared to work for her current company abroad. He could leave, and may have if she had asked him, but why would she do that? It was obvious that he felt a kind of familial debt owed to his grandmother for having brought him up when his mother had walked out on him and his father at three years of age.

There was no way she would even suggest the idea to him, when he clearly had something he already needed to do. So she did not tell him what was on her heart and mind, and he let her go in spite of his own hopes for their future. His dreams were pure and good, but he could not bring himself to put her first when his grandmother suffered so much and needed him to stay.

Eleven days before her departure, she noticed a change in her physical state and realized the truth of her situation. At twenty-six years old, full of promise and hope for the future she was embarking upon, she was pregnant, and all alone in life. Miley considered telling Trevor what she knew, but she could not do that to him at this time. Trevor had something that he had to do, an unspoken promise that had to be fulfilled and upheld. Perhaps one day, when the time was right, she would contact him and let him know all that had transpired, but for now she was moving alone to a foreign country with a little person growing inside of her.

Stay

People stay with you, throughout your life, if you let them. Over time we tend to take on specific characteristics of those around us. It begins with our families, then as we grow it becomes others as well, such as our friends, romantic attachments or personal role models.

That begs the question, whether anyone is truly authentic or unique in the world. If we all start out as an empty canvas, then pick up different characteristics and personality traits as we age, are we not simply a compilation of those whom we have met or encountered in life?

Perhaps this means that we should each take more care in selecting those we choose to be around, spend our time with, or allow to enter our lives. If our future selves truly will be comprised from those interactions in some small way, then that does give our present, our future past selves, some means of dictating the direction of our lives.

 

Just Write

Unexpected. This has proven to be more difficult for me than I initially anticipated. There is so much that I want to write and express via this blog, but that is also the issue isn’t it? It is overwhelming, in a sense, trying to focus on one topic or another to complete, edit, proof, and post.

When I started this blog, I had set a calendar reminder to encourage me to post something here every other day. At the time, I felt this was a reasonable expectation for myself, since it seems that the ideas are all there. However, now that I am actually putting my thoughts out here, in the great void which is the Internet, there is even more pressure to get it just right.

It feels more solid and permanent than it had before. Perhaps that is the perfectionist in me though, so I will strive to make myself post, even when I don’t feel that the work is just right or quite good enough. At present, it is unlikely that anyone even knows about it yet, as I have not even told my friends for fear of their judgment, so what is it I am actually afraid of?

Since I began, I have started three essay-style blogs and two short stories. The stories, however, keep growing and I feel that they will continue to do so. Maybe I should post them to this website in chunks, just to get my ideas out there, whether I come back to finish them or not. This may be where it has to start, otherwise I may just let my apprehension continue to prevent me from fulfilling this project I have taken on.

First Entry

From the time I was small, I have been fascinated with language and the written word. I am told that in Kindergarten I taught myself to read ahead of schedule, and I recall reading ahead in our textbook in the third grade. The teacher did not appear upset by this, however, she did give me my first novel to read. It was the first book in a children’s mystery series called The Boxcar Children. There are some moments that stick out in one’s mind, and that was my beginning, I think.

Throughout school, I was constantly distracted, particularly by daydreams. In fact, in the fourth grade I was called to the principal’s office, because evidently, at the time, I did not believe in doing my homework. That day, the principal could not get a hold of my mom, and tried to contact my grandparents instead. However, they were also not able to get to the phone in time. Later that evening they came to our door and inquired about what had happened in school to prompt the voicemail. I hid in the closet, ashamed. From that day on I completed all of my homework and any extra credit I could get my hands on.

Even still, nothing truly fascinated me, apart from the more risqué parts of the Christian romance novels I was permitted to read. Growing up, I was surrounded by Bible studies, as well as, Christian novels and ideas. In many ways, this hindered my growth as a human being. In others, it gave me a unique perspective. In the seventh grade, after having watched Amazing Grace, I began to write poetry, and even submitted a snippet of a short story called “Grace and Truth” to a state competition near the end of the eighth grade.

The name for my short story miraculously came to me when I played a game of open a book and point to some words with the Bible; until I discovered what I thought was a fitting title. As I learned and grew, I continued to struggle with finishing a story, goal, or idea. My eighth grade English teacher tried to turn me on to Journalism, but when I got to high school my teacher and fellow students there scared me and I felt small and incompetent in comparison. Who am I, thought I, to believe myself worthy of capturing the written word?

Today, of course, I recognize that my inability to complete these things was actually due to a severe lack of confidence, perseverance, and drive. What could possibly drive me to do more and to be more in this life? There is much to consider, about what one could possibly do or become, and I am continuously attracted to those in my life who seem to just know their own purpose and personal drive. Where can I discover my own source of internal strength?

“The right people don’t impose limits on your time, or your dreams, or your abilities. They want to conquer those moments with you, and they don’t care how much time it takes.” -Unknown