Reflections of my Twenty-Second Year

Hello World Wide Web! It has been a while since I have visited these parts of the bloggosphere, and a lot has changed since we last met. I apologize for being absent for several months, but I cannot make any promises that I’ll make a triumphant return to blogging once a week… because let’s face it, that didn’t happen in the first place. However, I would like to make a visit at least once a month. I think that’s reasonable. Wouldn’t ya say? 

Hmmm… where do I start? Well, I recently (and by recently, I mean 3.5 months ago) started a new job. I am the “Online Marketing Strategist” for the Florida Department of Health. That’s just a fancy way of saying I’m their Social Media Guru. Like us. Follow us. Be friends with us. :)

Um… well… I… don’t know what else has happened recently. Oh, I had a birthday! It didn’t even feel like it. Came and went with a blink of an eye.

Although, it was enjoyable. My man treated me to a fancy dinner at the Melting Pot. We started with Spinach and Artichoke Cheese Fondue, which filled me up immediately (had a birthday burger for lunch… not a good choice). It was delicious though, and a person only turns 23 once so I ate as much as I could. Then we did the Land, Sea, and Air option. AKA chicken, shrimp, and steak cooked in some sort of citrus-y goodness and a million different sauce choices. We finished it off with chocolate fondue for dessert. Don’t ask me what kind. I don’t remember… but it was DELICIOUS. Oh, and of course we had my favorite kind of wine: New Age White. I can drink it by the bottle. He also gave me a gift card to my favorite store in the WHOLE world… Hobby Lobby. Yeah, that sucker was gone not even a week later. :)

Guess that’s it for now. Sorry for the misleading title. There were no reflections. I’m really sick, so the bed is calling my name. Goodnight world. Thanks for stopping by. 

Clarity

It’s no secret that we live in a chaotic world. From the time we wake up to the time we go to bed we are attached to something, whether it be our smartphone, computers, tablets, or televisions. Technology is a part of the American way of life. Don’t believe me? Check out this infographic.

In addition to technology, there is work, school, family, friends, and a demand to have a social life. Since graduating from college, I have felt a growing need to get involved in more organizations, to continue networking, and grow myself as an individual. Don’t get me wrong. I really enjoy this process, and I definitely enjoy social media. Turning off my phone and disconnecting from the world is incredibly difficult for me to do. Sometimes, though, I just have to.

It is important, maybe even necessary, for the one to step back and disconnect from everything even if just for a couple of hours. Lately I have been making an effort to go running. Yes, I listen to music and have my Couch to 5K app to keep me company, but still… running makes everything better. I can reflect on the events of that day and clear my head from the frustrations of work.

Another way I enjoy clearing my head is going on a long drive. Somehow I always end up near Carrabelle, an unsuspecting fishing town on the Forgotten Coast of Florida. I have a history with that town that I promise to share in a future post.

How do you find clarity in a chaotic world?

A Letter to My 10-Year-Old Self

Dear 10 year old Hannah,

It’s the first year of the 21st century and you are one of the most awkward little 5th graders at Schwarzkopf Elementary School. You have knobby knees, and poufy hair. Your best friends are Sarah and Michelle and you think your little sister is incredibly annoying.

You don’t know it yet, but the next couple of years are going to be difficult. You will lie in bed some nights and think about running away. You wonder who would miss you and you wonder why you don’t have any friends. Going to school will be tough; riding the bus to school will be tougher, but you’ll make it. I promise. The bullies will go away, you’ll make new friends, you’ll grow out of your awkward middle school self, and you’ll turn out to be a pretty good kid.

You’ll have your first “boyfriend,” Tony Eagan, at the age of 14. He’s your first kiss and your first Valentine. On your first date, he picks you up in a limo and you go to the movies. He dumps you three weeks later and you find out that he was cheating on you with the girl that set you two up. It’s okay though, because you soon find out Cody O’Loughlin has liked you for a while and you two start dating just a few months later. Cody’s a couple inches shorter than you; your sister makes fun of him by calling him a “shrimp” behind his back. You two date for 8 months, but he dumps you for your friend Caitlin… and somehow you and Caitlin remain friends through it all. You break up with (almost) every other “boyfriend” after Cody because you don’t like the feeling of heartbreak. You figure that it’s better to end the relationship before you get too attached. Dating isn’t worth while until you’re an adult, anyways.

In high school, you will fall in love with politics and have some pretty cool experiences. At the age of 16 you will be a co-author of a Florida law and meet the Governor of Florida, Charlie Crist (he’ll come back for round two as a Democrat when you’re in your twenties… he’s confused). Try not to get arrogant. You have a tendency to be proud when something good is happening in your life, which is fine but there is such a thing as being too proud. You have to remember your friends have done good things too.

When you’re 16, your family opens a Beef ‘O’ Brady’s. You’ll think it’s fun and exciting, but you’ll soon change your mind.

You’ll go to the Florida State University in 2008 and eventually decide to major in history. You might want to re-think that one. While history is really interesting, your real passion is communications.

While in college you make friends, but you also lose friends. Your second year you develop gallbladder disease and take several trips to the emergency room. Needles don’t scare you anymore. You rush a Christian sorority and it changes your life. You work your way through school and you think that’s one of the best decisions you have ever made. Meet as many people as you possibly can.

Your last year of college, you find out your dad is having an affair and the business is hanging on by a thread. Mom and Dad get separated, but you knew it was coming for several years. Your world falls apart for a little while and you have no idea what will happen tomorrow. You’ll want to yell, scream, and cry. Do it. You’ll feel better after. Your friends will stand by your side, even when you slam your door in their face. It’s okay to be hurting, Hannah, but it’s not okay to hurt the people who love you.

Right around the same time, you’ll meet a man. He helps you set up your computer the first day at APD. You think he’s “dreamy,” and you’re dead set on your friend Emma setting the two of you up. She tries, but you soon find out he’s kind of a loser. You don’t care though. You still think the two of you are meant to be.

Little do you know, there’s another man who has his eye on you. The two of you have been hanging out in the same circle since you started working at APD. Lunch a couple times a week and Happy Hours on Fridays are about the only times you really hang out, but he’s funny and seems to be a good guy. He’s a bit older than you, making you think that he’ll only ever be a friend.

Then one Friday after a long night at Finnegan’s, you two are the only people left in the group. You’ve had too much to drink and can’t drive home, so he offers to give you a ride. You’re paranoid about your car being towed overnight, so you insist in sitting in your car until you sober up. He’s not leaving until he knows you’re okay. You think it’s cute, but you’ve also had one too many. He sits in the passenger seat of your 2006 Corolla and listens to you ramble on about who knows what. When you’re okay to drive, you say goodbye. He leans over and kisses you on the cheek. This is the first time you really think about the idea of him as more than a friend.

A couple months go by but nothing really happens. In June, he has a bad day and you invite him to hang out with you at Emma and John’s house while you dog sit their massive Great Dane. You get locked out of the house with the dog, and you two sit outside in the summer heat waiting for a locksmith. You watch the movie “Kick-Ass.” At first you think this is stupid, but later you cherish it. Who else can say they got locked out of the house and watched a movie about incredibly violent super heroes on their first date? You two kiss that night… a lot. (Gross, I know.)

The relationship moves a little slow at first, but eventually you realize that you’ve fallen in love. He’s not who you expect to end up with, but the thought of being with anyone else doesn’t make sense… and it makes your heart hurt. People question the validity of your relationship with Matt, but don’t listen to them. No one knows anything about how you feel or how he feels besides you and Matt. Your roommate says he’s a “sarcastic… bad word,” but you know otherwise. He gives you hope simply by holding your hand.

The most important piece of advice I can give you is this: Never shy away from an opportunity to make yourself a better person, and whatever you do… do it good.

Life gets tough, but you’ll be tougher. Keep your chin up, and stick to your guns. Love your family and friends. Accept their faults, and know you have faults yourself. Surround yourself with good people, people you can look up to and people who can look up to you. Pray every day, eat healthy, and don’t lose yourself.

With love,
Twenty-two year old you

Kid President is my hero.

Okay, so I’m sure the majority of you have heard of Kid President by now. However, I feel the need to continue to share the love. This is perhaps one of my favorite YouTube videos of all time, and not just because it is artistically made.

Kids have a certain way of both entertaining and inspiring me. Having been a babysitter and childcare worker for a good chunk of my life, I’ve heard them say some funny things. My favorite is still when Max (age 4) told me I was hairy. Thanks, Max. You sure know the way to a woman’s heart.

For those of you that don’t know, Kid President’s real name is Robbie Novak. He has something called Osteogenesis Imperfecta which, in his words, “just means he breaks easily.” Despite this fact, he talks (and shows) how much he loves dancing… and he’s good at it!

His message is simple: If it doesn’t make someone happy don’t do it. His catch phrases are inspirational: “Be more awesome,” and “Don’t be in a party. Be a party.” Lessons we adults tend to forget sometimes.

With that being said, take a moment to enjoy a pep talk from Kid President.

2012: The Year of the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Well December is here. Everyone has their Christmas lights up, the stores are filled with “blowout sales,” and Christmas music floods the radio. There are only a few more weeks left in the year. Naturally, this seems like the perfect time to reflect back on the happenings of this year to remember the good, the bad, and the ugly.

A friend recently asked me to pick the best and the worst moments of 2012. It was sad that the first memory that popped to mind was the worst day of this entire year. I won’t go into the gory details, but thinking back to the day my parents separated still brings pain to my heart. What made me sadder is that I had to probe for the happy memories. For those of you that know me, you know that’s odd. I’ve always had a way of finding the brighter side of things.

When my friend and I sat there in silence for a few moments, with a few “uhs” and “ums” mixed in between, she told me I could have a tie. And finally one after another came to mind: MATT (my wonderful boyfriend… seriously, he’s the best). Graduating college. Getting a job.

Then I started to think about how much I have grown-up this year, and how many lessons I have learned. It’s a weird transition from college to the not so magical grown-up land. You have bills to pay, bedtime moves from 3:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., and you work 40 hours a week. I’ve become a homebody of sorts. I have a budget, and think about nice things to furnish my new apartment (a Kitchen Aide mixer, an internet enabled TV, and a Blue-Ray Player are first on my list).

I will admit that it has been a bit of a struggle maintaining relationships. You get so wrapped up in an adult-like mindset dealing with real world problems all day that you forget to chill out. In fact, I’ve even struggled with maintaining a relationship with myself… does that even make sense? I have lost friends, but I have gained many more. That’s just a part of life, and there’s not much you can really do about it except try. One of the biggest lessons I have learned this year is this: at the end of the day, the only person who is really looking out for you is yourself. You can hope and pray that you have surrounded yourself with people who love and care about you just the same. When it comes down to it, though, you are the only person responsible for your decisions. It’s your life. Don’t let anyone else live it.

2012 has brought heartbreak, stress, and tears; it has also brought me a college degree, a job, new friends, and love. I hate that bad things happened this year, but I don’t regret the lessons I have learned from those experiences. While looking at 2012 as a whole, I’m thankful. It has given me a new perspective of the world, and I have learned to be more accepting of other people and their faults (and even my own). We can’t be sure what 2013 will bring, but we can be ready with open minds and open hearts.

I wish you all a Merry Christmas. May your holiday season be filled with many blessings and joy.

With love,
Hannah

Hello! Bonjour! Ciao! ¡Hola!

Hi there! My name is Hannah, and welcome to my new blog, “Taking Flight!” I am not new to the blogosphere (check out my old Tumblr), but I thought it might be good to start fresh. There seems to be a lot of that going on in my life as of late, but more on that later. First, allow me to share a little bit about myself:

I’m a 22 year-old recent graduate of The Florida State University (Go Noles!), and I’m currently living in Tallahassee, Florida. While my degree is in History, I somehow found myself working for the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation in the communications office (I wonder who manages that beautiful website).

I enjoy my job, and it’s taught me a lot of valuable information that will be useful when I buy my first home, a new car, life insurance, and all that other grown-upy stuff that I get to do now. However, this is merely a stepping stone to bigger and better things. Since I work full time for the State of Florida, I will have the wonderful benefit of earning my Master’s for virtually nothing. That’s right. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Don’t ask me what area of study I want to earn my Master’s in, though. I can’t answer that one just yet.

My hobbies include crafting, reading, cooking, writing, entertaining, hanging out with friends, spending time with my gigantor boyfriend Matt (seriously… he’s 6’8”), and traveling. The last one is only when I can afford it, though. If anyone has any tips for poor people traveling, send them my way. Please, and thank you. I am also a huge movie buff, and I absolutely ELL-OH-VEE-EE (love) rooting for the Seminoles and the Tampa Bay Rays.

Currently I am living in a friend’s house while she is traversing the continental United States in her RV (lucky retired people), but this past weekend I put down a security deposit on a new apartment: 750 square feet to make a haven for myself. Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to not having to live out of boxes. I’m very much excited to slowly build a home for myself piece by piece. Thank goodness I have a pretty eclectic taste and a knack for Do It Yourself projects. An empty apartment to furnish and decorate is a crafter’s best dream (…or worst nightmare?).

“So what’s the purpose of this blog,” you ask? Well, I’m not quite sure yet. I can tell you this: my muse will be the struggles and joys of adjusting to the real world. Other young adults just getting out of college will understand me when I say the transition is hard. Moving from the bubble of college to the harsh realities of the real world ain’t easy. I have already learned from many mistakes, and I expect to make many more. But that’s what this chapter of our lives is all about.

As a wonderful woman and one of my role models, Eleanor Roosevelt, once said: “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

Sometimes I feel just like a baby bird taking flight and leaving the nest for the first time (see what I did there?). All it takes is a little faith and a little courage to spread your wings and fly. It’s my turn to do the things I think cannot do. I expect many tears and frustrations, along with much laughter and many happy memories over the next year. I am thankful to have the love and support of friends and family; people to nudge me along as I find my way in the world, and I look forward to helping my friends who are on their own journeys do the same.

So, friends. It’s time to take flight. Join me?

-HV