Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What Now?

For so long my life has been a series of dreams followed by a carefully designed justification for why letting them go was easier than actually trying. I have been consistently running away from creating dreams simply because that's been easier than facing the thought that they might end up in failure. As I started my third year at Ohio State, I vowed to change that attitude.

Maybe a lot of the things I have managed to do this year weren't on my "dream" list exactly, but I don't think I would be taking my dreams seriously without them. Becoming co-president of a club has inspired me and taught me how much I enjoy being in a leadership role. Blogging has not only given me a place to enjoy writing, but it has even helped a few of my followers. I even got my license recently which just proves that no matter how long something takes it's still worth doing if you want it badly enough. It's amazing how just a few changes in my life have made such a difference, and it only makes me more hopeful for the challenges and opportunities I will face in the coming years.

As I approach my last year of college I can't help but think of the obligatory "What now?" question that eats away at so many graduates. It sneak-attacks at family gatherings, floods the conversation at dinner, and crushes you each and every time you hear someone else answer it when you still have no idea. But while some kids take an unnecessary fifth year or start working at the only job they could find, I think I'd rather start pursuing dreams instead of settling just to avoid failing.

Lately I've been hooked on this idea that I want to move to California. I've been considering it for about a year or so, but I always follow up the thought with a "yeah, right," but I think it's time I start taking it more seriously. A lot of people think it's crazy and expensive (which it is), but I think it's something I need to do for myself.

Maybe by the time I graduate I'll completely change my mind, but I think from now on I'm done putting my dreams on some fear-induced back burner. This last year has taught me that avoiding failure is the same as avoiding a chance to succeed and find happiness. It's time that I stop letting the idea of failure stop me from actually facing it once in a while because if I don't it's only going to keep me from being satisfied with my life.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Confessions of a Chronic Overthinker

"He told me he likes me. Finally! This is wonderful! But wait... what if he just means like a little bit? What if by "like" he just means "tolerates"? Or what if he just meant that he liked me in that moment but as far as actual feelings go, he really doesn't like me? But then why would he tell me he likes me? He probably meant he likes pizza... Yeah, that's it. Oh god, he doesn't like me. I should have seen this coming. Where's the ice cream?"

Honestly, I am the queen of overthinking. You could tell me something and over the course of 5-10 minutes I could go from believing you to fabricating some sort of alternate statement that means completely the opposite of what you had intended to say at all. My personal favorite is when I overthink the words between the lines because not only did I infer what you were thinking while you were talking, but I also sat there and twisted around both my inference and what you actually said out loud. 

I won't lie. Working on this bad habit has been a personal struggle of mine. It's taken me years to realize that if you really trust someone then you should believe them when they tell you something. You shouldn't sit there and come up with reasons why what they're saying can't possibly be true. And if you feel like there is something you need or want to know that isn't being said, rather than assuming what they are thinking, ASK. If they seriously get mad about that then you deserve better. If they would really rather have you sit there in your own assumption-induced agony than tell you the truth, then they obviously don't care enough about you. 

The reality is, overthinking pisses people off. And for good reason. That same crappy feeling you get while you're sitting there second-guessing is the same thing they feel when they know they've been second-guessed. No one wants to feel like everything they say is being over-analyzed, and the more you do it the less they are going to want to talk to you about anything. It isn't fair to either of you, and it sure as hell isn't going to make the situation any better. 

Sometimes you have to take a step back and as yourself if the thoughts you are having are justified. Have they actually said or done something that you honestly think is evidence to support what you're thinking? And if so, approach them about it. Odds are it could all just be a misunderstanding. And if you are honest with the person about your tendency to overthink they will probably understand, so long as you don't do it so frequently it drives them insane. So give your brain a rest and stop overthinking. And if you're currently overthinking about overthinking as a result of reading this post - contact a medical professional immediately because you've got bigger problems honey. 

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Season 6 Episode 21

Lately I have been sucked into watching the show House. After the first season or so you start to notice a pattern. The team decides on a diagnosis, then they're wrong, and then this repeats until there's roughly about 5 minutes left in the episode and they finally get the diagnosis right. You'd think that something so repetitive and predictable would get old, no matter how many different medical stories they could come up with, but you'd be surprised what you can learn and it can keep you on the couch for hours at a time (Also, comments on how to cure a Netflix addiction are welcomed - asking for a friend).

The more I've watched the show the more it's made me realize not only how exaggerated and dramatic it is, but it's somehow applicable to the way we approach life. Every step we take that leads us somewhere we didn't want to end up is like a misdiagnosis. We think we've found the problem so we make a change and suddenly our situation either stays the same or worsens. Every relationship we enter, every job offer we take, every decision we make in our lives can somehow seem so right in that moment yet sometimes backfire moments later.

If we know that each step could possibly end up making us worse off, then why keep walking? Why keep hoping that one day one all of these steps will actually pay off rather than settling for where we are now? This is where the repetition comes in. We allow ourselves to make mistakes and take poorly calculated leaps through life because deep down beneath how angry we are when they don't work out we are thankful and hopeful that they will lead us somewhere better.

For instance, some people say they stay out of relationships because they don't want to get hurt. I don't think it's the pain of little heartbreaks along the way they're really afraid of at all. If you ask me, they're just afraid of  finding someone who makes them genuinely happy because the possibility of finding that and then losing it is something not even the bravest of us want to face. But the reality is, without pain, disappointment, failure, and all those other nouns we're so afraid of, we wouldn't even know what the good ones really mean to us.

So take that step you've been avoiding because even if it's the wrong one you are still capable of moving forward from it. Don't let an episode (life) full of misdiagnoses (mistakes) keep you from finding your cure (happiness). I promise you that even though it might seem like things will never look up, eventually they will, but they'll never get there if you refuse to keep trying.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Big Mouth

I can't tell you the number of times I have been asked the following questions...

"Do you realize how much you talk?"
"Do you hear how loud you are?"
"Do you ever shut up?"

Typically, after someone asks one of these I just sit there in silence - mostly because my chest sinks so deep in embarrassment that I find it hard enough to breathe, let alone speak. But after many years of hearing them and still suffering every time someone asks them - I'm finally answering. No, as a matter of fact, I don't. And to be quite honest, even if I did I would not reduce the amount or volume at which I speak just to please you.

Call me whatever name in the book you want. Hit me with that "your name suits you" and continue on your way. Try to rain on my verbal parade with "shut up" and "keep it down." And toss in a "do you ever stop talking" just for good measure. Go for it, I dare you. But no matter how many hurtful things you want to say to me about my talking, I'll still keep doing it.

When something bugs me, I speak up about it. When I have an opinion, I want it heard. When I think something is funny, I burst out in laughter. If you want to go through life constantly reducing who you are just because other people are intimidated, annoyed, or simply want you to be like them then go for it, but I won't. I will not minimize who I am to make others feel better about who they are.

If you're a talker like me - don't change. Don't let the people around you make you feel like your voice is too much just because they're probably paranoid that theirs will never be enough. And don't feel like you need to walk around with a constant filter. I am proud of myself for always being the one to tell it like it is, and if you were blessed with this talent then you should embrace it too. Be your loud, obnoxious, blunt self and don't apologize for it. Just don't be hurtful because then you're just like the people telling you to "shut up."

People won't ever silence me, no matter how badly they want it or how determined they are to do it. I have always been and will always be a big mouth. And to be quite honest, I wouldn't want to be anything else. My name is Gabby, after all.