Monday, March 28, 2016

The Beach is Best for the Soul

Weekends away from home are so vital to my sanity. Even more, weekends on the Oregon Coast are even more essential. Something about being in a small beach town, where the weather is either amazingly beautiful or amazingly awful, where I can relax or explore, be lazy or adventurous. The beach is just my favorite place. 

I drove to Pacific City this Friday and before I even hit the freeway, I was thrilled by the sunshine and warm weather. It has been years since I drove all the way to the coast with the windows down, a warm breeze blustering outside. It's funny the way that something as simple as rolling down the window of my truck can thrill me, change my mood for the better. 

My plan for the weekend was to do a lot of reading (I brought three new books), a lot of lounging on the porch with a good white wine (I took three bottles), and some scenic driving between a few beach walks. I pulled into town and hit my favorite local store before heading right to the beach for a quick barefoot walk in the warm sand. I don't even remember the last time it was warm enough on the coast to leave shoes and a sweatshirt in the car, and walk the coastline in my tee shirt. 

After my walk and shop, I headed to my aunt's beach house, which in itself is bursting at the seams with my favorite memories of my teen and young adult years. Intending to curl up with a blanket and a chilled glass of wine on the porch, I instead found myself texting my cousin to please bring her son and join me - apparently quiet and well-rested was not my actual plan for the weekend. I did snuggle up on the couch with a new book, where I devoured chapters of my new book while I waited for them to make the drive after dinner. 

I've written before about the fact that my cousin Stacey is my best friend, and there is something about spending a beach weekend together that reminds me so much of our beach trips together in high school and college. And I love that we get to include her rugrat in our adventures. Stace and I together have climbed the dune at Cape Kiwanda about a thousand times, and hearing Blake encourage himself up the hill in the sunshine all afternoon, just makes me happy. When we climbed to the top, just as Stace and I have done a million times, he took in the view, wandered around, excitedly pointed things out. 

Where Blake differed from Stace and I was on the descent. Blake was not on board with running and jumping down the dune, despite us telling him that we used to somersault down the whole hill.

The rest of the weekend was just as fun. Pizza at Doryland, an Easter egg hunt in the beach house, some reading, a warm fire for the cat to curl up in front of, and a hunt for little bunnies in the courtyard of the RV park near the cape. While my intention was a quiet weekend by myself, Stace and Blake were welcome changes to the plan. 

I always feel refreshed after a long weekend (or even a short one) at the beach, but especially in Pacific City. I love it there. I love the way every nook and cranny of the cabin reminds me of my grandparents, the way everything in town takes me back to a walk with my grandma, a drive with my grandpa, or a weekend of fun with my cousins. The drive there, music turned up loud, heat blowing on my flip-flopped feet, is therapeutic, like leaving my troubles behind. The drive home, while I dread that back-to-reality feeling as I pull back into Hillsboro, is equally good for my soul. 

This weekend was nothing short of excellent. Quiet, loud, peaceful, adventurous, fun, exhausting...fantastic. I love sharing my favorite part of being a kid, with the kids in my life now. I love spending the time with my family, love the solo drive, love watching my cat explore the beach house and spend hours baking her belly in front of the fireplace. Everything about Pacific City relaxes and inspires me, and I am grateful for every moment spent there. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

When I'm 42

Day two: Where you'd like to be in ten years.

Ten years?! I don't even know where I want to be in ten minutes!!

I was recently talking to someone about where we were ten years ago, versus where we are now. And I look forward to that moment ten more years from now. Looking back at 2016 from 2026 - that seems exciting and crazy.

But thinking about where I want to be in 2026, is somewhat daunting.

Ten years ago, 2006 had just started. I was in college at Portland State and hating every moment of it. I was working at Old Chicago and loving most moments of it. I was out late, drinking, hooking up with boys I probably shouldn't have been hooking up with. I was definitely, for lack of any better description, being 22 years old.

I had no responsibilities, nothing I had to do other than drink enough Pepsi at 10pm to make it through a closing shift and run home to finish my homework. Nothing pressing that would keep me from a nap when I wanted, a beer when I wanted, a bang when I wanted.

Ten years later, in 2016, I am very much being 32. I'm single, living with a roommate. I am smarter with money, grateful for my college education, and still carefree enough to take vacations, spend my extra bonuses on tattoos and plane tickets, and take naps whenever I want to (on the weekends). I am in no way where I thought I would be in ten years, ten years ago - which makes me less inclined to decide now where I want to be in ten more.

Things I'd like to accomplish in the next 10 minutes:

Things I'd like to accomplish in the next 10 days:
Beach weekend in Pacific City
Bills paid for April
Make my bed and clean the bathroom

In reality, of course it is good to have goals. But ten years is a really, really long time. I am definitely more in the short term - get promoted, sell my truck before I have to start commuting to work, sell everything that is in my storage unit that I clearly don't need, get in a good gym routine, take a vacation, enjoy my time in Phoenix next month.

Write tomorrow's blog post. Let's start there.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Better Alone Than With Bad Company

After an embarrassingly long hiatus from my blog, I'm ready to recommit to it - the past year at work was incredibly demanding of my time, and I didn't have a lot of free time...and when I did, the last thing on my mind was sitting back down at the computer to type more things.

In any case, I am beginning a new writing challenge - technically it calls for 30 days. But you never know, I may get sick of it or think some of the topics are stupid...I'm finicky like that.

30 Day Challenge...Here We Go.

Day One: Your current relationship. Or, if you're single, discuss how single life is.

Wait a minute...didn't I already write this blog post in 2013??  (I did, for the record...and you can click that link to read my thoughts on being single a year and a half ago).

The "single life," by the way is just fine and dandy. I don't feel this nagging pressure to get married or anything...though, as a woman there is always pressure to hurry up and settle down and make a baby. But I don't mean the societal pressure that always exists; I mean pressure I put onto myself. I just don't really care that much.

There are moments where I want to be in a relationship. If I spend a bunch of time with my friends and their boyfriends/husbands, or if I am going to a wedding or a fancy party or something, sometimes I wish I had that automatic date. If I'm on a trip for the weekend or need someone to take me on an adventure, there are times where I'd prefer it be with a fella. Because sometimes, I get myself all convinced that being in a couple is where it's at. Or I spend time with someone and think, banging you exclusively might not be all that bad.

That is, of course, until I actually go on a date. At which point I generally stop and think, nope, I would rather be single. That is when I find myself thinking I'd rather casually bang a friend on a long weekend, take my "flavor of the week" to a wedding, or snuggle without pants with someone in a mutually agreed-upon friend zone, than have to suffer through nights with this parade of douche bags.

As most of my friends are aware, I spent a good portion of last year in a relationship with someone who also works for my company. I don't tend to throw the word relationship around that often, because I like to keep things casual and pretend I have no feelings. However, this was a relationship. He was at my place almost every morning; we had lunch together every day. We drove together to company things, I had briefly met his son in a carpool situation, just so we could go on a drive together. He spent his birthday with me, and was with me on Christmas Eve; this person and I were together for seven months. It was very quiet and on the down low, which I believed was strictly due to the fact that we worked together.

Or it was because he had a girlfriend he was 100% lying to me about. A girlfriend he assured me he had broken up with before anything physical (or emotional) ever happened.

Which came to a head on New Years Eve, when I texted him at midnight (he was at home, sick) and received a text back from his girlfriend asking that I stop texting "her man" in the middle of the night.

What. The. Actual. Fuck.

But hey, whatever. I need not go into too many details about it, other than to say that this is the bull shit I am faced with as a single woman...guys who lie and cheat, and then turn other people on you in an effort to protect themselves. Even after it all blew up, they're together, and she hates my face because he convinced her that I was basically stalking him. In reality, he lived a full double life for more than half a year. In reality he played us both for a really long time. And in reality, she and I are equal victims of an egocentric, self-centered ass hole - the difference is, I know about it, while she knows only what he feeds her. I feel shitty about the part I played in it. I feel bad for her. I feel like throat punching him (though I do know that karma will do that dirty work for me). And I also feel bad for myself. He tricked me, and it hurt and was ugly and sad and so not okay on any level.

And people wonder why I am like, nah, I'll pass on the boyfriend thing. Thanks anyway though.

I am, by no means, bitter about relationships. I do actually believe - despite all of the garbage I have dealt with in the past - that someone will eventually treat me the way I want, the way I deserve. However for now, I'm not on a journey to look for that person. When he shows up, I'll be open, ready, and not guarded, because that is no longer how I operate. I don't let the things someone did to me in the past dictate how I approach people in the present. I don't wait for the shoe to drop. I don't wait for someone to lie to me, cheat on me, call me disgusting names, or hit me with things. That isn't the path I'm taking.

So, long story short...the "single life" is just fine. The better question, really, would have been to ask how's my life? Single or not, isn't it more important to really think about how your life is, than what your relationship status may be?