Monday, August 29, 2016

Uneasy

I have this uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach. Anxiety, I'm told it's called. I guess one thing is learning to live with this feeling. Just sitting with it, not doing anything.


Another thing is sticking up for myself. I'm a good person and I matter! What I think matters too. Rewind till I find the thing that bothered me in the first place and address that. Get angry if I need to.


The third thing is to pray. If I don't believe that I will receive what I pray for, what's the point? Prayer and belief go hand in hand. "Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?" I don't necessarily have a stone, though it may look like one.


Bonus thing: writing helps. I have my notebooks, my pens. In my room is a treasure chest full of writing implements, in fact.

Monday, April 18, 2016

4 Infallible Keys to a Perfect Relationship

In keeping with my time-honored tradition of valuable relationship advice, I bring you the secrets to a successful relationship. Everyone needs them, after all!

  1. Stop fighting. You know those knock-down, drag-out, emotionally exhausting fights you keep having every so often (i.e. weekly)? Stop doing that. Also, don't "fight," which is like a fight except for it has quotation marks; you know why.
  2. Eat meals together. Studies have shown that it's easier to be contented after a full meal, especially one that your significant other pays for--so don't be too hasty about reaching for that check!
  3. Physical contact. No, the usual hugging, kissing, unprintable, etc. doesn't cut it here. I suggest martial arts or dancing, preferably both. At the same time.
  4. Laugh with your partner! This is a good opportunity to set aside social norms and societal conventions: laugh inappropriately. The best kind of laughter is either at an inappropriate time, place, or level of volume. Use your best judgment but your entire relationship is basically on the line.
Any more suggestions from my readers? Include in the comments. If you have a burning question, ask your doctor.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

The Surprising Onslaught of Dishonorable Behavior with Regard to Dating

After a recent event, I was having a conversation with a friend about how I have a tendency to sprinkle the words "my boyfriend" into conversation with other men, in order to give them a correct impression of my availability.

"You know," she said, "Some men will hear that and think, 'Challenge accepted!'" Sure enough, the next day, I received an email from a man I had danced with once during the event, asking if we could go dancing again.

This kind of behavior leaves me completely puzzled.

Since this occurrence happened within my Catholic circles, I can't really excuse it by any apparent lack of clarity in the statement, "I'm dating someone." If there isn't, there really ought to be, a shared understanding of what that means--particularly in this day and age when the general culture is so reluctant to name any kind of relationship as a "thing."

Also, I just can't imagine actively seeking out someone who has made it known that she or he is in a relationship with somebody else! It's not the first time this has happened to me, but I've never understood it. Are you trying to test my loyalty? If so, do you want me to fail the test?

In a conversation with a different friend, we discussed the phenomenon of infidelity in marriage: in real life, as opposed to in Nicholas Sparks novels, it never leads to a happy ending. As my friend put it, if you make the choice to cheat, you're lowering your standards to the kind of person who wants you to be a cheater. You're basically saying, "I want someone who is willing to put morals aside for the sake of emotional satisfaction."

It's not particularly surprising in the broader culture, I suppose, but to me it is surprising to find that approach to fidelity among Catholic friends and acquaintances. We're meant to be set apart, to be an example for others, not to tempt others to flakiness and lack of resolution, not to mention sinful behavior.

Though dating is by no means the same thing as marriage, we should support our friends who are seeking to discern through their dating relationships, just as we should support our friends discerning religious life or priesthood: rather than seeking to tempt them away from the path they have chosen, we should seek to confirm them and shelter them so that they may be free to answer God's call in their lives.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Longs Peak

Yesterday, I and a couple of friends scaled Longs Peak. Since then, many people have asked me, "How was it?" I haven't figured out a good answer to this question.

There are many things I could say, but the best way to sum it up is this: I lost my sandwich.

When I woke up yesterday at the bright and early hour of 12:15 a.m., I made myself one of the most delicious sandwiches I've ever made for a 14er hike. It was sharp cheddar cheese, cream cheese, a little butter, and some spring greens all on some crusty asiago cheese bread. Yum.

Little did I know that when I got to the summit, I would not have the appetite to eat my most wonderful sandwich. That hasn't happened before. I ate a few bites, but that was all I could manage.

Later on, descending the trail/sheer rocky face of the mountain, I tried eating some more. I think I ate about half of it or maybe a little more in all. I thought I might be able to have some later.

After what seemed like an eternity (really only fourteen hours), we got back to the trailhead. I have never been so glad to see a parking lot in my life. I reached into my pack to find the large Ziploc bag with sandwich in it, but it was gone. I had left it behind somewhere on the trail.

I guess you could say that I had an unprecedented experience yesterday: I failed to pack out my trash and wasted almost half of a perfectly good sandwich. My lack of awareness that I was doing these things says it all.

To close, here's a picture of me on the summit of Longs:

all 14ers are taller than 14,000 ft, but not all of them are so difficult to summit

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Disingenuous Nature of Proclaiming How Happy You Are Being Single

If I read another article about how wonderful it is to dine alone, I think I'm going to puke my Chipotle burrito.

Basically, I have come to loathe any and all articles saying how great it is to be single, how you shouldn't wait to find a partner in order to have a good time, how you should buy your own fine china instead of imagining your wedding registry, how blessed you are to be unencumbered by babies, etc. The thing about these articles is that they all have important kernels of truth and are accompanied by generous helpings of self-satisfaction: live the life you have, not the one you wish you had! Seize the moment! Go buy things and take selfies!

On the other hand, they're all bullshit.

The reason this is so is because partial truth is more subtle than outright lies. In fact, there are lots of "perks" to being single. However, there is no perk so great that the ultimate unhappiness of being unmarried and without a family of your own is overcome. What I'm saying is: you're all unhappy, so just admit it.

I, for one, have given up thinking that there's something wrong with me just because at times I feel completely miserable about being single. I think this is normal, and its very normalcy is comforting. It's natural to want to have a family of your own, instead of live in a rented house, no matter how adorable, with a roommate who, though fabulous, will never substitute for a significant other.

It's completely understandable to come home from a beautiful experience of nature or an amazingly fun party with friends and feel SO VERY ALONE. It's understandable to feel alone, because you are alone.

And that's what I think our culture doesn't get anymore: objective truth is way more comforting than a bunch of touchy-feely nonsense designed to make you feel better for the moment. Sometimes, like in Inside Out, the truth is that you're sad. The truth is that it's okay to be sad.

So yeah, embrace the upsides of your single life. Don't mope. That much is obvious. But please, PLEASE don't tell me how wonderful it is to be single, how you're not waiting to get married, how you're not looking around seeing if there's anyone you can date who might even remotely work as a potential spouse.

I just don't believe you.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Repurpose Your Social Media

Having recently joined a fairly prominent dating website, I can't help but think what I usually think when I have buyer's remorse: "Why did I pay for something that I could get for free?"

In fact, what am I doing on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. (assuming I'm on any of these--except you all know I'm on the first one) if I'm not using them to my advantage, dating-wise?

After all, what is a dating site but a site where you make random connections with people, send them "smiles" or other basically affirming messages designed to give the other person the knowledge that, in fact, you think of them as a human being that you might actually spend time with, at least in theory?

Why not use social media for that? It's all there, at your fingertips: the ability to "like" someone's posts or pictures, send them public or private messages, comment on relevant details to their lives (at least their lives as displayed online), etc.

You could even ask someone out. It's a daring concept, I know.

Still, what do you have to lose? Absolutely nothing, because it's completely free! It's like going running, something you probably should be doing anyway, costs nothing, and basically you just need to go do it. (And some people hate running, so maybe the metaphor extends in ways that I haven't fully explored.)

I think that's all I've got for now. Carry on!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Are you being entertained?

Life is not boring. Anyone who says differently is selling something.

Actually, that's true. We are constantly bombarded with media that stimulate our senses and cause us to think that the normal, slow pace of life is "boring" rather than rich with possibility. Since we cannot wait for the next exciting or amusing thing, we rush to find something to entertain us.

Sometimes when I find myself antsy, dissatisfied, apathetic, etc., I ask myself this simple question: are you being entertained? This question helps me refocus and laugh at myself. What is the purpose of my life anyway? Are the people around me brought to me for entertainment's sake? Is the work I do meant to amuse me and help me while away the hours until I die?

No!

Life has a much greater purpose than the passive, ambition-killing notion of "being entertained." I need to remember it and focus on it, rather than letting acedia have free reign in me.

backpacking

backpacking
taking a break on the trail