Wrong Place at the Right Time

Funny story time (I mean I did name this blog smile, right?) Last month, a Michael Bublé Instagram post catches my eye mentioning something about a one-time-only, yet nationwide-in-select-theaters movie. About his tour. And his face. And voice. And a total of $15 per ticket at a nearby theater. And then somehow ten minutes later I have a new flagged email in my inbox with two purchased tickets for my sister and me.

The countdown ends last Tuesday evening. It’s 6:45pm and the two of us pull in the parking lot ready for some Bublé, and we notice this long line outside the theater.

“What? Wait is this movie that big of a deal?”

“I didn’t think so! Are they all Michael Bublé fans?” (paraphrased remarks)

In our confused state, we get in line. We get in line behind four women probably in their 50’s who casually mention Michael in their conversation. We must be in the right place. Three younger men get in line behind us. “They have great taste!” I think. Actually, I think I say that aloud. We take a selfie just to remember our disbelief of the long line (yep, it’s the cover photo of this post). My sister and I are busy catching up, laughing, sharing sarcasm, sharing our excitement for this random film, watching the sunset, laughing some more – when a security woman comes outside to tell us we cannot have our phones in the theater. We must put them in our car.

…Huh? The women in front of us yell “But the tickets are on my phone!!!” Okay one – settle down ma’ams. Two – same here. The security then say we can scan our tickets and then put our phones in the car. We must be in the right place. Finally the line begins to move. The four women in front of us have disappeared. My sister and I think they just bolted off in their angered phone-less haste. Everyone holds out their phones/tickets for scan (no not with a device, just a glance from the employees) and an usher is counting us as we walk by. “Theater to your right, please.”

“Oh my gosh, what if he’s HERE” we say in hopeful sarcasm. I run out to my car to stow away our phones. We must be in the right place. When I return, we go through another line of security to check our purses. Geesh, we took our phones into his actual tour two years ago! We walk into the packed theater. Wedged between a young couple who snuck in their phones and a family of at least four children. We must be in the right place. Wait, why is that Mark Wahlberg poster up on the screen? What is Deepwater Horizon? My sister and I laugh it off, poke fun at the theater, share more stories of our days and lives and boys and – security interrupts with one final message about “premieres” and “safety” and the screen goes dark. And it’s still dark. Where’s the jazz chords? Some whispered dialogue begins that is sentimental, somewhat unnerving, and DEFINITELY not Bublé.

It hits us at once. We are not at all in the right place. We stumble out of the theater, past the family of six, down the stairs, and out to the security team (seriously, how much security is necessary?!)

“Where’s Michael Bublé?”

“We have no idea what you’re talking about.”

We’re in a bit of a daze and trying not to get upset, pacing towards the front desk.

“Where’s Michael Bublé?”

“Uhh…umm…uhh…theater to your left. All the way left. Down the hall.” We’re literally sprinting down the hall now. What time is it? How much have we missed? Michael we’re coming for you!! – now that I definitely say aloud. Too loud for the movie theater hallway probably.

We stumble in, giggling, out of breath, hearts racing, and easily find a seat with only 15 or so taken. Now this makes much more sense. There’s his beautiful face. And voice. Who knows how much we’ve missed, but the last hour is FANTASTIC. And it is extra special because of our adventure leading up to it. Isn’t it so funny how the unplanned moments make for the best memories? That whole wrong place at the right time thing. We’ll be laughing and treasuring this moment for probably years.

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Challenge Accepted.

Who here loves the smell of a new car? You know, that rich, leathery, soothing-yet-overpowering scent that oozes when you stick your head inside a brand new car for the first time? …It just might be the best. So it’s no surprise it’s one of the reasons I absolutely love driving my first ever, month-old new car around town. One of many, but it’s definitely up there.

I know I’m not alone in this because when I shared with friends and coworkers about my new wheels, many paused for a second to ask with a smile, “Does it smell like a new car?!” But I’d barely get an answer in before they’d respond, “You’ll get used to it.”

“You’ll get used to it.”

Okay technically they are correct. We are habitual creatures and our senses quickly adapt to our surroundings. We live in routine and we like routine. Some time ago, I heard it only takes two weeks for something to become a habit. (Who knows if that was a trusted source but it sounds right!) But what if we – what if I – do not wish to “get used to” the smell of my new car? Each time I heard this response, the stubborn part of my personality switched in gear. I won’t get used to it! I’ll show them! Challenge accepted.

And sure enough, I am making more of a conscious effort to really breathe in each time I sit behind the wheel, and take a moment to enjoy, well, the moment. I can’t say it happens every time, but even on short trips to Kroger or driving the extra block to park in German Village during Sunday brunch hours, I’ve forced my thoughts to come back to the smell, the car, the engine, that minute. Someday, it won’t be the same as it is right now.

And this doesn’t stop with the divine smell of automobile materials. Let’s not get used to the feeling of coming home after a long day, wherever that may be. Let’s not get used to the smiles we share with coworkers each morning on our way for more coffee. Let’s not get used to summer nights, sunsets from patios, good morning texts, laughter at the family dinner table, kisses from grandma, hugs from our very best friends. Someday, it won’t be the same as it is right now.

Is it possible to break our human habits? Think outside of daily routine? Breathe in the moment for just one second? I’m up to the challenge.

Go Ahead

I’m not sure if this has ever happened before.

This morning, I’m standing on the corner waiting to cross the street to work and humming along to the song I’m listening to. And then the lyrics that happen to include “go” play in my ears at the exact moment the walk sign changes to the ever-familiar man, arms and legs outstretched. I mean, seriously, the timing could NOT have been more in sync.

“Go.”

And as I stepped onto the pavement, I stopped for two thirds of a second, I grinned right then and there, looked up in the middle of the street, bangs tangled in the humid morning air, trying not to drop my lunch/coffee/purse for the day. I felt like spinning around. I looked up to see 10 seconds on the timer, so I went with my better judgement.

But that tiny fraction of a moment stuck with me all day. I tried to think of what this ‘symbol’ could mean, just for fun. Go for it? On the go? Let go? I experienced feelings relating to each of those phrases today, and each time I again remembered that small but powerful and inspiring coincidence this morning.

What is inspiration? One definition I like is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.” It does not have to be drastic, but just a thought that you want to do something with, to act upon, to wrestle within your mind. Sometimes we search for inspiration, sometimes we just come across it, and sometimes we get to go ahead and create our own.

ˈtwen-tē : ˈthrē

Just today I’ve experienced so many small, happy, incredible, fleeting moments, let alone this week so far. This month? Too many to count. This past year? It’s been one heck of an amazing ride, that’s for sure. I am incredibly blessed by so many friendships, experiences, and new beginnings. My heart is full.

Almost exactly one year ago, I wrote this blog listing a few goals I wanted to accomplish while 22. And reading these now, it’s most definitely been a year of growth…let’s see what we checked off, shall we?

1. Pursue the next step in my career path. Whatever that may be.

If I told myself a year ago where I’d be now – within an amazing company surrounded by many wonderful leaders and friends – well, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.

2. Keep planning for my own business. Don’t be afraid for an idea to change and grow.

Still working on this one, but I’m much closer than before to an idea I love enough to put in every extra bit of time and effort I have.

3. Make my biggest adult purchase yet. I’m thinking a new car is what I’ll most likely need this year. (No, Dad not a sports car…)

The car is on my radar for fall. But so far my largest purchase has been furnishings for my new apartment. Wait – my plane trip to Vegas last fall may have been more.

4. Try out a new hobby. This past year was blogging.

Hmm…hobby. Still don’t totally get what all falls under the word hobby. I started playing softball through work, does that count? Also finally found an awesome Columbus volunteering group that I absolutely love.

5. Stick to a new workout plan for a week, change it up and stay with that for a while, mix it up again, repeat.

I could amp up my morning workouts for sure. We’ll get there.

6. Eat very healthy for one week (I’m talking no “bad” foods) and see if I can really tell a difference in my physical/mental/emotional health.

Honestly I could probably never eat everything “good” for an entire week. But thanks to new friends and no more college and living on a budget, my diet has improved (at least M-Th) and I am honestly happier for it. I like being healthy and I also still really like cake and wine.

7. Eat only junk food for a day. Or only cake. And wine. It can be more than one day. The possibilities are endless.

Check. Check check check check. See point above^

8. Join a community choir. I miss singing!

I have my eye on a few! Maybe this year I’ll push past the waitlist(s).

9. Visit my grandparents. Help them out when I can.

I absolutely love you three and this goal will never be checked off.

10. Go on as many adventures as possible with my best friends and roommates. Who knows where we’ll be in a year.

Times change and friendships change with it. They either strengthen and grow or fade to make room for new ones! I could not feel luckier for the downright awesome people I’ve grown to love over the past few months or many years – and the adventures we’ve shared.

11. Track above adventures somehow. Journal? Scrapbook? Collection of snapchat stories? Whatever works.

…Does my mind count?

12. Be a little more religious. Maybe go to church more, maybe sing Christian songs in my free time, maybe learn a new religion.

I walked into a new church I’ve never been to just two months ago and it already feels like home. I have a feeling this is going to stick.

13. Channel that sorority girl I attempted to be the last 3 years and paint something for my apartment. Something cute and cliché. And if it doesn’t look good, stick a print-out of Johnny Depp’s face on it. Problem solved.

Now that I have my very own place, I can see this happening soon 🙂 (I did paint an owl that looks a little devilish and named him Lou but I’m not sure if that counts).

14. Travel. To see all 40 states I haven’t yet by the time I’m 30 means 40/8 years = 5 per year. So look out, 5 new states!

I believe 2 new states are checked off so far. Stay tuned for more to come!

15. Build my collection of items from each new place I visit. I’m thinking coffee mugs.

Check on the coffee mug collecting. Probably cliche on one hand, but on the other, they never go out of style.

16. Take classes (possibly online?) about things I didn’t learn in college like app development.

Finished one web development class a week ago!! I mean beginner of all beginner levels. Actually, I should probably retake it…

17. Keep on keepin’ in touch with all my professional contacts and friends from places I’ve worked.

Um, DUH. You guys rock and are some of my greatest role models and friends.

18. Read at least one book. Even if it’s written by Jim Gaffigan. (Yep, I’m not the world’s best reader)

Reading is not on the top of my list yet. Is there a “How to get back into reading?” class? If not, this goal may just keep continuing. Wait! I did read a memoir written by my grandma this year!

19. Force myself out of the house 5 nights a week…even when Netflix is calling my name.

Haha, try 7. I’m the farthest thing from a homebody.

20. Grow closer with my sisters. Set lunch dates with mom at least once a month. Have dinner with dad more often or at least call him just because instead of when I have a problem.

Check (but maybe ask them too). Check, but lunch with mom is more often wine with mom. And check – Dad and I have a place in mind already for our next dinner! Family means a heck of a lot to me.

21. Leave time for me. To go on random solo trips or start projects or lay around and do nothing.

Always! Aimless walks with headphones just a bit louder than necessary is my go-to.

22. …I can’t think of a 22nd goal at the moment but it’ll come to me! Maybe later today, maybe later this week, maybe later this year ~

Goal for this year: end blog posts better than the above^

That, and to follow each day Georgia Byrd’s unfailing advice (from the classic movie Last Holiday ©2006): “We will laugh more, we’ll love more; we just won’t be so afraid.” AMEN QUEEN LATIFAH.

 

May the Force be With You

Today a usual half-smile, polite “how-are-you” exchange with a coworker became an enthusiastic, wide-smiled “Hi!!” And it was awesome.

What changed? We still sit 15 offices away from each other, in completely separate departments, with entirely different daily routines. Answer: we both attended a voluntary work function last evening. It was just a couple hours and a few shared laughs, and now we’re no longer strangers.

Human connection is mysterious, incredible, a truly powerful positive force.

I often like to think about someone who is incredibly special to me in this very moment and think back to when we were strangers. Initial impressions to first conversations to inside jokes and time spent together enjoying mutual interests. And now it may be the case that we can’t imagine when they weren’t a part of our lives. It reminds me of a quote by C.S. Lewis: “Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: “What! You too? I thought I was the only one.”

Now not everyone we meet becomes a close friend, but that simple transition from strangers to two people who cheerfully greet one another is still amazing. Previous judgements fade, smiles are brighter, spirits lifted even just for a moment.

Like I said, human connection is a positive force. And we have the power to use it for good. Any time, any day, anywhere. It’s almost too fitting that it’s May 4th – Star Wars Day. May the force be with you, today as well as each day ahead.

Click.

Around 2pm today, gathered around a restaurant table with one great friend I’ve known for 17+ years and three individuals who were complete strangers just a few minutes ago, a beer in one hand, a pair of dice in the other as I laugh off the fact that I’m terribly losing this board game we’re playing…click.

Tiptoeing around browsing customers in order to leave a bookstore this morning because my sister and I are probably a bit too loud catching up on random stories we haven’t had time to tell each other…click.

Driving excitedly to see two wonderful friends last evening, turning up the radio to blast “Funkytown” above the hail storm…click.

Enjoying a movie theater yesterday afternoon, looking over to see Grandma laughing so hard she’s crying…click.

These are just four of many many favorite moments this weekend. Moments I don’t have real photos of but compiled candid snapshots in my mind. Moments I want to remember, most of them simple, random, happy.

After taking a Cognitive Psychology class in college, the human mind makes even less sense to me so I’m not sure if these mental photos are forever in my long term memory, or only reachable again through future connections, or (most likely) will fade out slowly. But I guess that’s not the point. I don’t need to remember every detailed time I was happy in the past two days, or weeks, or months, and so on. What I want to remember is that I consciously took notice of the times I was genuinely happy – and that it was too many to count.

Moments can pass by too quickly and time is far too often taken for granted. At 22 I already feel like time is flying and I don’t intend on wasting it. I want to remember that I was aware of the happy times spent with wonderful people and on my own, in simple occasions and great adventures. Not every moment is good and not every thought is positive, and this makes it all the more important to take a mental note of when they are. So the next time authentic happiness strikes…smile, click, save, return.

It Takes 2 to Tango, But 1 to Polka

I have this sweater. I’ve had this sweater for many years now. It’s one of my favorites. It’s comfy but dressy if I want it to be, and best of all it has these big turquoise polka dots on it. It’s great for a quick outfit because, well, it makes the outfit. Knowing me I’ll probably throw another pattern with it but the polka dots still take precedence.

So naturally I reached for it yesterday morning because I’d slept in a little too late to sift through my closet, and it was Monday, and sometimes you just need a bit of an extra boost in addition to that first cup of coffee. 

Fast forward to about 2pm as I’m headed towards the break room at work singing Viva La Vida in my head (because what better playlist to listen to on a Monday than one titled “Uplifting Pop Motivation”). While fighting the urge to hum along to Coldplay and filling my tumbler with 75% ice/25% water, a coworker of mine breaks my concentration to say that she loves my sweater. I smile and say thanks and explain that it’s a bit aged, but she continues to express her love for polka dots. She says that without fail polka dots brighten her day.

I’m thankful for her compliment, but more than that her comment makes me think. What is my “polka dot?” What is something that always, hands-down, no matter what makes me smile? Do I have more than one? Does it vary per day? Is it something or can it be someone?

There are so many moments I love in life. But most of the time I’m smiling – and I mean the authentic, eye-crinkling, cheek-burning kind of smile – it’s in response to one of the many amazing people I’m honored to know. New goal? Each day to be a polka dot for someone else. To brighten a moment without fail, without expectation, without an angle •