Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Reflections on Being a Quarter of a Century Old

It seems like so much has happened in a year.  It flew by very quickly but also seemed extraordinarily long. So it feels like my life was measured in dog years this year. I swear it has been five years all packed into one. For me this past year was really March to March, not January to January as it usually is, but I suppose this is fitting as I am a March baby. A year ago I found out I got this job, received the news that my mom had breast cancer, and was proposed to all within the same week. Now I have been engaged for a year with a wedding in less than three weeks, I've been working at my job long enough to have a white hard hat (not sure I have earned one but I resourcefully obtained one either way), and my mom has proved that a sense of humor is better than a pair of boobs anyway. So here's a little review and reflection of the past year of my life. Be prepared, it is a long post and I put the funny stuff at the end.

March went like this.
Got an interview at a daycare center in Fairbanks. Not five minutes later, got a call about an interview at an oil refinery. Then got the job at the daycare center in Fairbanks. Seconds after I hung up the phone, got a call about an interview for the mud engineering job. Decided the universe was sending me a message not to work at the daycare center and so I turned down the first job lead I'd had in three months. That was a difficult thing to do. Luckily, I got the mud engineering job very quickly after the initial contact. Adding to the job search stress, I was convinced my mother was hiding something from me. I had no real evidence or reason to be suspicious but I just knew. Travis and I went on vacation to see the Iditarod (the dog sled race, the last great race on earth if you don't know) the weekend I got the job. As a child I used to build mini dogsleds out of yarn, dollhouse shingles, and popsicle sticks and then have my toy dalmations pull them; so the Iditarod was kind of a big deal for me. The day before we went to see the start of the race, my mom called and told me that the doctors had found a tumor; she had breast cancer. Needless to say, it put a damper on our vacation. Travis told me later that it was at this point he nearly backed out of proposing that weekend. He waited until the next day right before we were leaving to head home after we saw the ceremonial start and watched many of the mushers start their race. But in the end he proposed next to Mitch Seavey's truck and managed to catch the whole thing in a series of pictures. And the engagement story had the perfect finishing touch when Mitch Seavey won the race, ten days later, on my birthday. Wedding planning gave us all something to think about and talk about besides breast cancer. And that's how March passed in a blur of stress, conflicting emotions, breast cancer research, wedding planning, and travel plans.

April went like....
Honestly I don't even remember April. I think April and May all bled together.

May, the month of travel.
There was a lot of travel to Colorado in May. I visited my mom after her mastectomy surgery and also spent time in Colorado and Wyoming for work training.  There were also freak "blizzards" in Colorado that made travel even more of a pain and stressed me out to no end.

June was all about transitions
I got a few brief weeks of "summer" in Alaska finally. Though this was just a brief week or two of mild weather that required only a sweatshirt. And there was still snow on the ground when I left for Houston for mud school where I spent the remainder of the month.

July was Houston
This was the month of hellishly hot Houston weather that shot up to 115 degrees. And it was a month of living in a hotel, away from Travis and my family, the first time I'd really been off on my own. I did have plenty of fun, regressing into a college schedule and staying up too late and having lots of evening drinks with friends but I also did just fine at real life and real jobs. This was the month I went to a rodeo, encountered a cockroach, decided to jump out of a plane, and ate so much sushi that I thought I would die from a stomach explosion.

August was when I ran away to Alaska...again.
I finished up mud school and moved back to Alaska having again accumulated a ton of crap to move in too few suitcases. I got a brief couple of weeks of Alaskan summer again. But I couldn't stay in one state, that would be too easy. I also made a trip to Michigan with Travis and met all the family. This was the month I finally went out to the rigs for the first time and saw a polar bear.

September was another April.
I don't think we went anywhere in September which can't possibly be right.

October was Washington.
This was when we took our home finding visit when I started to panic about how hectic moving would be and how much we still had left to plan for the wedding. I swear I was just constantly panicked in October.

November was hockey.
November was good, we had lots of hockey dates, movie dates, and dinner dates in November. November I recall as being a good month with extra time off. Which reminds me, a post soon to come of the last few Fairbanks adventures I forgot to mention.

December/January was when time sped up.
These two month were when time warped. This could not have possibly been two separate months, it was only one. We moved, celebrated all the holidays and Travis's birthday, spent ages both packing and unpacking, bought loads of furniture, and realized the wedding was almost here and frantically planned and spent money on wedding this and wedding that. My parents also came to visit us and made us feel weird about being adults and hosting parents in our space. But it was wonderful to see my mom and hear her jokes about how she didn't feel like bringing her new fake boobs through airport security.

February was wedding planning, puppies, and getting a new rig.
Weddding, wedding, wedding! Oh and then lets throw in some extra chaos and look for a puppy. Honestly it felt like deciding to adopt a child or have a baby.Where you think it will take much longer than it does and you are unprepared. I was prepared to have to wait until fall or summer before we'd have a puppy and then we had one within a couple weeks. We planned on a giant breed dog and that is indeed what we are getting. Not just a giant breed but the heaviest dog breed around. This puppy will weigh nearly half of what I currently weigh by the time we get to pick him up at 16 weeks old. Just process that for a second. And then on top of that was getting out on my own at at whole new rig.

March is a new beginning that is just beginning. I'll be 25, married, and raising 2 dogs and a husband. I'll be a Howard as well as a Gonzalez. We keep saying things will settle down for us but I'm thinking we will just see how the year plays out.

Well that's the year in review, probably with lots of big events forgotten but whatever, I probably already blogged about them. After a full quarter century of life and the past year's experience, I have learned a few things.

Stereotypes are made to be broken. You can bring a purse to an oil rig. Your nail polish doesn't have to match your coveralls. Conversely, you can swear like a rig hand and still be a lady.

 Everyone is a weirdo but people like you anyway. I really like cryptozoology. Roxi really likes feet (though does anyone else have a dog with an extreme foot fetish or is it just ours?). Yet Travis really likes both of us and our quirks.

Never say never because that's just asking for trouble and tempting fate.

Quality over quantity should be the general rule for furniture, friends, and drinks.

Read Harry Potter, skip Twilight.

Speaking of Harry Potter, the villains are never pure evil and the heroes are never perfect. Dumbledore and Snape are proof of this.

"Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." Always.

Ok I promise, that was the last Harry Potter reference.

Good books are better than good movies. But it's also ok to put down an awful book and turn on a movie.

Just because you haven't known someone very long doesn't mean they can't be one of your best friends.

The older you get, the younger high school students get. You become officially old when you look at a high school senior and realize there are still a child to you. This is also when you realize that teenagers do stupid crap. I don't even know what I was thinking for those ten years of my life. However, remember that just because someone is a teenager that doesn't mean they don't know anything.

Always tell the people you love that you love them at the end of conversations. Just in case you get that scary phone call.

You might get away with breaking a few laws. Except Murphy's law. Murphy's law is more strict than any of the laws of thermodynamics.

Family isn't always related by blood, or even marriage.

Sometimes the two year old you're babysitting will wipe his nose on someones sweater or your dog will wipe her poop on someone's lap. The people you want to keep in your life are the one's who will just sigh, wipe the bodily fluids off their clothes, then have a good laugh about it.

Drink tequila responsibly. You can sometimes get away with drinking wine or even vodka irresponsibly. But tequila is serious business.

Change is the most constant constant. This means you'll have acquaintances who morph into the best friends that get to make toasts at your wedding. This also means that whatever you are stressing about will eventually sort itself out and then something else stressful will take their place.

Nothing good happens after 2 am.

Your mother was actually right a lot. (But not always!!!)

Accept yourself, and really love yourself. And don't forget about accepting and loving other people too. But yourself first.

How I Met Your Mother has some great life lessons. How I Met Your Mother words of wisdom.

Do something crazy every once in a while.

Marry your best friend.

Last but not least, it's perfectly acceptable to only have 24 life lessons when you are 25.

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