On Voicemails

Voicemails.

You either love them or hate them.  And honestly, most of the time I hate them.  They are bothersome and annoying.  I also find the little blue head and shoulders icon that my phone uses to alert me to a new voicemail hideous and intolerable.  That means that I check my voicemail very quickly upon receiving a new one or simply clear the counter just to make the icon disappear.  Most of the time, the voicemails that I receive are requests for me to call someone back without much other information.  Those are the voicemails that perpetually exasperate me.  Either leave some information or don’t leave a message.  I will call you back if I see that I missed your call.  It is just that simple.  No need for me to go through the process of checking my voicemail and being required to either save or delete all of my previously ignored or saved messages just so that I can hear, “Rachel, call me back.”

However, there are voicemails that I have come to appreciate and even love.  These are typically voicemails from people I hold dear to my heart.  And they are either hilariously entertaining or heart-warming.  I have several voicemails from some of my closest and dearest friends that just make me smile when I listen to them.  They remind me that I am loved, and sometimes, that I would be missed if I were gone.  These voicemails have the power to touch my heart.   I have learned to appreciate them and love them, especially when those close to my heart cannot be physically close to me.  I try to save at least one endearing voicemail from each friend I am close to.  You never know when you can just use a smile from hearing your best friend.

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On One Week

One week.

Seven days.  Sunday.  Monday.  Tuesday.  Wednesday.  Thursday.  Friday.  Saturday.  Then it is over.

Seems simple enough.  Even brief.  Seven days.  That’s all.  Over in an instant, before you can even blink.

Or…

It can seem like forever.  The days drag by, despite being busy.  So much can change in a week that it can feel like a lifetime – ok… maybe not a lifetime, but certainly like a very long time.

Time is such an interesting concept, never ceasing to amaze me.  It is so incredibly relative to circumstances and perspectives.  If I am enjoying a moment, it is over before I know it, evaporating like my breath on a frosty winter morning.  But if I am dreading the moment I am in or anticipating a moment to come, the present feels infinitely long.  It also astounds me that a moment in the past can feel both forever long ago and as if it just happened yesterday.  I met my best friend a year ago – sometimes it seems as if I have known him forever; I can’t wrap my mind around the concept that he has only been in my life for a year.  And sometimes, I feel as if time has flown by, and I have only known him a short while.  I cannot wait to see what happens in my future.  But I am also sure that tomorrow, I will wake up, and it will be December.  Or at least in December, yesterday will feel like today.  For now, I just simply cannot wait for Friday.  It really does need to be here tomorrow.

On Mocha Cheesecake

My friend Lo and I have taken to researching grad schools and studying for the GRE at Myle’s Baker Street.  It has an amazing atmosphere, free internet, and excellent coffee and baked goods.  My favorite in the past week has been the mocha cheesecake.  Let me tell you… the cheesecake is beyond delicious.  The combination of chocolate and coffee flavors blended to perfection has sometimes been the only thing I have been able to stomach in the past week.  It is the perfection of comfort food for me, since coffee and chocolate solve the world’s problems with me… or my problems with the world, whatever the case may be.  So longish story short, mocha cheesecake is superb.  Try it.

On Moments Alone

There is nothing quite like a moment alone after a long, busy day.  Those precious moments of stillness and serenity that are oh so sweet after being bombarded with life and people non-stop for quite a while.  Maybe it’s just because I’m an introvert, but I tend to cherish those brief reprieves from all cares before my mind gets lost in my own thoughts.  Those moments  are a refreshing deep breath.

When I don’t want to deal with life, especially emotions, I become extremely efficient and business-like and find anything and everything to keep me busy.  This weekend has been a perfect example.  In an effort to not be alone with my thoughts, I have gone to Findlay with a friend, cleaned my room to immaculate perfection, decorated, done all of my dishes, washed my laundry before I desperately needed to, worked more than necessary, posted on multiple blogs, and run errands with another friend.  I even stayed on-campus long after I got off of work.  Somehow, I managed to stay busy for over 12 hours today.  All just to avoid my own thoughts, realizations, and emotions.

But when I finally came home, I was able to enjoy one of those tender moments of reprieve.  That moment alone, isolated from everyone else, including myself.  I was able to just relax.  And then begin to think.  To become absorbed in the endlessly tangled web of my thoughts – something I truly enjoy.  I was able to free myself enough to actually become really real andvulnerable with myself.  And it was exhiliratingly liberating.  Being real is ridiculously incredible.  But before I can be real with the world, I must first be real with myself.  And it all starts with those moments alone.

On Cleaning

Most people typically dread cleaning.  It is a chore, a dreaded task that must be done.  However, I enjoy cleaning.  It helps me clear my mind.  I have trouble organizing my thoughts if the space I am in is cluttered.  There is something to organizing that enables my mind to organize itself and think clearly and coherently.  I have often taken precious time to clean my room while cramming a paper because I typically wait until the night before it is due to even begin writing it.  I promise you, cleaning helps.

Also, cleaning and organizing help to alleviate my stress.  The state of cleanliness in my room can be directly correlated to the amount of stress I am feeling.  The more overwhelmed I am, the cleaner my room will be.  If I feel as if my world is collapsing or ceasing to exist as I know it, my room will be immaculate.  I have often come home from a long day of class and work to go directly to the kitchen and thoroughly clean it and wash both my dishes and those of my roommate.  Needless to say, she enjoys when I am stressed.  Cleaning just has a way of helping me collect my thoughts and focus that calms me down when I am freaking out.  I enjoy it.

On life identity crisis… aka the search for what to do after graduation

I am a control freak planner.  I will admit it.  I like to think through every single possible scenario so that I know how to react to whatever happens.  I also love to plan in advance.  It is September 19th, 2009.  I graduate on May 8th, 2010.  And I am freaking out.  I have so many, seriously fabulous options of what to do with my life.  I just don’t know which one to pursue first.  In all honesty, I will most likely pursue many different paths in life.  The decision lies in which path to pursue first. . . and yes, it will probably be the one less traveled by.

While attempting to focus my search on what to do with life, I visited the Career Center at my university.  While I doubted that this would actually help, my advisor and parents really encouraged me to visit.  Wanting to attempt to do anything that could potentially help so that I wouldn’t be scolded later for not trying everything, I dutifully scheduled an appointment and spent a delightful hour listening to my career advisor talk about her experience and tell me that I would be extremely good at whatever path I pursue.  She also mentioned that having many paths to pursue was quite excellent, which I found ironic since my purpose in visiting was to gain clarity as to which path to pursue first.

I still don’t know.  I want to be a professor.  I want to work with a social justice organization.  I want to travel.  I want to work in publishing.  I want to write.  And eventually, I know that I will most likely pursue all of these dreams in one form or another.  For now, I am keeping my options as open as possible.  I have scheduled to take my GRE so that I can keep the grad school option open for the next 5 years.  And I am researching jobs and organizations.  I am also attempting to blog and write more.  This coming week I have more free time than usual, so I will hopefully post more and be able to work on all of my blogs.  And so… the search continues… and I still don’t know who I am or what to do.

On Simple Thoughtfulness

This morning I arose an entire half an hour early.  Why you might ask?  Simply to love and encourage a friend.  He was going to Starbucks around 8 am to get coffee before he had to be at work on campus by 8:30 am.  It was his first day at a new job that he felt totally unprepared for and was therefore nervous.  The small, insignificant catch is that I work at my internship for the Mid-American Review from 8-11 am on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

So, when falling asleep last night, I had the brilliant idea to set my alarm a half hour early so that I could go to work at 7:30 then duck out for coffee from 8 to 8:30.  Mind you, I don’t particularly enjoy getting up before 7 am.  And before I leave for work, I have to make coffee, shower, and pack my lunch and snacks for the day.  So it takes me about an hour or so to get ready.  That being said, I set my alarm for 6, 6:15, and 6:30 this morning.  I got up, got ready, and actually was at work by 7:30am.

When 8 am rolled around, I wrote a quick note to my boss, in the off chance that he decided to show up before 10, and went to Starbucks.  My friend didn’t know that I was going to be there.  So when he walked in, he was pleasantly surprised to find me sitting there, waiting for him.  He asked why I was there, and I told him that I was there to give him an encouraging hug before work.  We chatted for a few minutes, then we each headed to our respective jobs.

Later that morning, I got a text saying that he really appreciated the encouragement and my thoughtfulness.  I was so glad that I had been able to be there for him and encourage him.  It was totally worth dragging myself out of bed early.  And it wasn’t even really that difficult.  Show up for a cup of coffee, which I always enjoy, and give a friend a hug.  Sometimes, it is the simple gestures that mean the most.  The everyday, common, little things that touch someone’s heart.  And the best part of it all?  It is really easy.  Just think of little ways that you would love to be encouraged and do them for the people you care about.  Simple thoughtfulness can make someone’s day.