So I decided this week that I wanted to do something a bit more interactive with my post this time around. I’ve been using Padlet (formerly Wallwisher) at work and I’ve gotten totally obsessed with it. I was really excited when I found out they support WordPress embeds, but less excited when I found out I would have to be hosting my own blog. So I did the next best thing: I’m posting a screenshot of the padlet and making it a link to the page itself. I really recommend you click on it and go to the padlet itself, because it’s super cool and very interactive.
I was working on figuring out a theme for my padlet, and since it’s been a very complicated week with many mixed emotions, I decided to try to use this format to represent everything I’ve been thinking about. If it seems cryptic, that’s because it is, but it’s the best I could do. Hopefully you all still find it interesting.
Maybe it’s something about me and my friends. Maybe it’s a fact of being in your early 20’s. Maybe it’s the human experience. But it seems like every one of my friends has experienced some kind of tumultuous or haphazard relationship situation in the past 6-12 months. I’ve been trying really hard to avoid writing about relationships here, but I suppose there’s a time and place for everything, so here goes.
We talk a lot about these experiences, as friends do, and compare notes, listen, ask questions, give advice, commiserate, hug, and distract ourselves. In all of the confusions, frustrations, and hopes, I’ve noticed a few things:
1. We suddenly know everything when it’s someone else’s problem. The most confused of us can have an extraordinary amount of clarity when it comes to looking at someone else’s problems. It can seem so obvious what needs to be done and why. Not that it seems any easier to deal with. Plenty of my friends are struggling with challenges much bigger and gnarlier (not a word? well, it should be, so hush) than my own, and I don’t envy them for having to deal with them. But I feel so much less confusion looking at their problems than my own. Which brings me to…
2. We know a lot more than we think we do about our own problems. I’m not sure if I can speak for anyone else, but I walk around feeling so confused about my own situations regarding relationships. As soon as I start to talk about them, though, I begin to realize that the solutions were already in my head, waiting to be articulated. As far as I can tell, asking for advice is more an admission that we feel confused than it is a real lack of direction. It’s also a check and balance on our own judgment. I think whether we admit to it or not, most of us maintain the secret fear that somewhere along the road we accidentally hopped on the train to Crazy Town. Getting advice from a good friend is just a form of checking with the conductor that you’re on the right track.
3. Life doesn’t give a rat’s ass what you know. You can have all the answers. Seek all the advice. Listen to your parents. Do everything you’re told. Do everything on your own. Have great mentors. Read biographies of inspiring people. Pray. Meditate. Read WikiAnswers. Read WebMD. See a therapist. Learn cake decorating. Feng shui your house. Write spoken word poetry. And sometimes life still makes no sense.
It’s been a big week (sorry for being late on the post, by the way), which included a somewhat disappointing Super Bowl, starting a new job (which I’m enjoying a lot), and Bad Video Game Movie Night. Pro tip: syncing up Prince of Persia with songs from Aladdin is hi-larious.
Another big part of my week that got me thinking was Friday night when I went over to my friend Paul’s place to help him install his new motherboard and processor. This was the second time I built a computer with Paul. The first time was when he helped me build my computer.
It takes a true friend to be a good computer-building partner. When I built my computer back in October, it was the first PC I had ever put together from scratch, and Paul was really great about it. He explained it all to me, showed me how each component fit together and then had me put each piece together after he had shown me. He didn’t treat me like I was dumb for not knowing everything, but he also made sure that I knew what I was doing.
On Friday I learned something about trust and friendship. Paul asked me to place the brand new i7 Processor into the Asus Z77 Deluxe motherboard. I said there was no way I could do that. I hadn’t bought them, and I didn’t want to be responsible if I screwed something up. But he said he wanted me to do it. A true friend trusts you to do the things you yourself don’t believe you can do.
And I screwed it up. Not bad, but it didn’t go in right and I freaked out and said I couldn’t do it, that he should do it instead. But he had me stop, pick it up, breathe, and put it back in. And I did it right the second time. A true friend also sees you for not just the person you are now, but for the person they know you have the potential to be.
I’m really lucky to have such a great friend (and a great computer).
Living back at home for the first time since I left for college, and for the first indefinite time since I went to Spain after my sophomore year of high school has been a completely new experience for me. I’ve been working on re-aclimate myself to these familiar surroundings. The biggest project I’ve been working on to do this is to redecorate my room. I haven’t lived in it for such a long period of time since I was 16, and it’s been decorated the same way since I was about 13, so there’s plenty of work to do.
The other day I decided to do what I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time: take down my bulletin board. When I was in middle school I decided it would be great to buy a huge bulletin board and post items to it that were significant in my life or that I related to. Over the years, I’ve been looking back at everything I had posted, thinking “why is that still up there?” or “I can’t believe I used to think that was cool!” Finally I decided to take the whole thing down. But I didn’t expect it to be so unsettling.
It felt like dismantling someone else’s past. I was pulling down clipped out New Yorker cartoons with jokes that I didn’t even understand when I had put them up. Quotes that I had printed out in huge word art, that have no relevance to my life now, much less any relevance to my life in middle school. Ticket stubs from movies I barely remember seeing. It was a perfect illustration of how much I’ve changed in the last 10 years.
It might well be the same feeling I experience when I go back and read this blog, years from now. And it made me think about how we change. Changing little by little, and occasionally in huge leaps and bounds, it’s hard to be aware of the changes without the ability to hold ourselves up to our past for comparison.
This opportunity to look back and compare was odd and a bit disconcerting, but I’m grateful for it. It was a reminder that I’m grateful for where I’ve gotten and who I am now. It was also a reminder that I’m grateful for who I was then, because she made the choices that got me where I am now. I can’t claim to have “made it” (not even a little), or to be exactly who I want to be or where I want to be just yet, but for now I’m happy to be here.
So thanks, Old Me, you were a bit weird and I still don’t totally get what you were thinking… but we’ve had some good times.