Alternate titles for this post:
- “Eating alone at Panera while suburban moms judge me”
- “Yeah, I already checked out the Space Needle, now I’m just watching Netflix”
- “I think my mom is getting annoyed with my phone calls”
For my entire life, I’ve been told I’m independent. My parents, my friends, and most people I meet have said that to me at one point or another. But more importantly, I’ve always felt independent. And I think that’s why I decided to jump in a car and head West for the summer, after all, I thought, it would be easy.
In the great tradition of me thinking I know things that I don’t: I was wrong.
It’s really easy to be independent when you’re surrounded by people who care about you. And now, two thousand miles away from everything I’ve known, it can kind of suck sometimes.
I realized I had been struggling with this when I was on the phone with my brother Greg earlier today. What started out as a pleasant phone call turned into me ranting about things that aren’t going well.
“Wowza, that came out of nowhere,” I said.
Whoops. Sorry Greg.
On top of that everyone keeps asking me how awesome it all is. And a lot of it is really awesome. But the thing is, I only try and put the good out when people contact me. And I’m even worse on social media.
I feel like I’m on a great adventure, and some days are great, but some aren’t, and you would have no idea about any of that based on my instagram account.
But I don’t think I’m alone there. It’s part of the curse of our generation. We all want everyone to think we are just having the coolest time doing the coolest thing. We have to prove that whatever we are doing, however we are spending our time, is just the awesomest, filtered, cool thing ever.
But it gets to the point where showing off for our followers sets this weird standard where we think everyone is having more fun than us only because we see the tiny carefully-chosen glimpses they choose to show us. So can we all just collectively agree that sometimes even when you’re supposed to be having the time of your life, it’s okay to not enjoy every single second of it?
So I’m going to be the first to say it: Sometimes, even when I’m not having fun, I want you to think I’m having fun.
For full disclosure, here’s some quick hits of things that are great and also not great.
Not great (but should be great): Free Time
Why am I so bad at free time? Good lord I have no idea what’s wrong with me but the fact that I’m a) getting *more* than my recommended amount of sleep b) cooking for myself (more on that later) and c) finding time to exercise is just plain weird to me. I need to get a grip. I’ve also burned through more West Wing and Gilmore Girls than I will ever care to admit. Entertaining yourself is exhausting.
Great: My internship
It just feels good to write. I love that moment when you’re interviewing someone and they say something that is just so perfect, and you start writing the lead inside your head. It’s the best feeling. And the Sun is letting me do a little blogging while I explore the area. Hopefully it will keep me busy on the weekends. For the sake of honesty, it was a tough adjustment at first, considering I had just come from a very different environment. Last semester anytime I wrote a story it’s focus was holding University administration accountable. So yeah, it was a change to be writing about retired volunteers and fourth-grade tea parties. But it’s also become kind of fun and a reminder that all news isn’t grim.
Not great: Cooking, eating out alone
It’s not that I hate cooking, I’m just not excited about it. I think of it the same way I think of raising children in the sense that I wouldn’t want to do it everyday for the next eighteen years of my life. But what’s the alternative? Eating out alone. I’ve become a weird Yelp addict and I constantly check to see if the restaurant does takeout.
I’ve been eating a lot of yogurt. I promise you I’m not passionate enough about yogurt to be eating the amount of it that I have been.
Also not great: Kansas jokes
I promise you, I know that I come from a flat state. There is plenty of wheat and NO I DON’T KNOW WHERE TOTO IS AND THAT JOKE ISN’T FUNNY. I saw that the Wizard of Oz was playing at a local theater and started hysterically laughing alone on the street. I wish I was kidding.
Great: The scenery
Guys, there are so many mountains and bodies of water here, on top of forests and plants always in bloom. It’s so pretty I can’t comprehend it. I’m trying to spend as much time on beaches and state parks because I’m just really blown away with how incredible it is.