A New Home, A Semi-New Beginning

I was able to get an apartment through my job. One of the wonderful things about working in something like storage is that I have the opportunity to live on property in one of their apartments for basically free (I have to pay for internet).

Usually, the people you’ll find living in these apartments are couples. That’s what these properties are built for, a couple to run the place. But I will have to tell you. You’ll find a whole variety of people living on the properties. As long as they can fit their family or stuff in their apartment.

My situation is an example of this. My co-worker and I had been basically working on this particular property for the company for the past couple of months. It was between managers and they seemed to be having trouble finding a couple to take on the property. In the two months that I’d been working there, I think 2 couples had looked at the property and decided they didn’t want to take it on.

I was wondering why my co-worker hadn’t already taken on the property. He’d been a property manager before. So clearly he was qualified for the job. It turned out that his family was too big to fit into a one bedroom apartment and so he thought he couldn’t fill the position in the way the company wanted him to.

Anyway, I saw that the apartment was empty; no one had taken it yet. I wanted to move out of my parents’ place, so I went for it. I asked to take on the property. Instead of throwing my co-worker under the bus, I proposed to my boss that he and I be co-managers of the property. I wanted to take advantage of having someone experienced to work with so that we could get things done in the way the company wanted us to.

Long story short, my boss gave me the go ahead to move into the apartment and I stayed in my position but with slightly more responsibility. My co-worker got his promotion and, in the end, everyone wins! I don’t have to worry about accepting more than I can handle too early on. And I can take the opportunity of this time as an assistant to study for the GRE during the slow periods of the day/month.

I finally have my own place. I have a beautiful apartment that I’m proud of and am comfortable in. I’ve moved away from my family and the irritations of living with people that I’ve essentially grown out of. I’m taking REAL steps towards becoming an adult and growing in the process.

I’ve been living here a month and I still can’t believe that it’s mine. That I have this giant space to myself and that I don’t have to share it with anyone. Unless I want to share it with someone. And by that I mean having friends over or having guests over.

To be honest, I kind of have become a bit of a homebody over the past month or so because of how comfortable I am. I didn’t realize until I’d moved back in with my parents how much I’d cherished my privacy and independence. And I am really cherishing it now that I live on my own again.

So while I haven’t up and left the state to a place where I don’t know anyone, this is a new beginning in its own way. I have my own place. I’m now breaking away from my family and forging my own path. It’s pretty amazing.

Achieving 10K

10k

 

 

Sometime at the end of June, I ran 10K. I hadn’t signed up for a specific running event. I just set a date that coincided with my training schedule and I said, I’m going to do it.

I decided it was going to be early in the morning. Because running late morning or even the evening in Texas heat didn’t sound too appealing to me. It turned out that I had an interview for a job later that morning so I set my alarm for 6.00am.

For training, I had downloaded this app by Map My Run called the 10K Coach. It was free and it had a nice little calendar where I could see when I needed to schedule specific time for training.

I started the training program twice.

The first time, I stopped because I’d skipped two weeks of running and incidentally fell behind and so I needed to start over. I honestly thought that the regiment wasn’t too hard. In fact, I really liked that it incorporated cross-training and pace running into the program. I was able to really start working on my time while developing and strengthening the necessary muscles I needed to go the distance.

The second time, I made sure nothing would inhibit my training. It would be the first thing I would do when I woke up.  And when I started my job, it was something I made time for before or after work.

I even started attending the gym to cross train.

That day when I ran the 10K, nothing else was going through my head. I had set my runkeeper app for the five minute warm up and cool down with a 10K distance between. The weather actually decided to cooperate. Apart from the humidity, it was actually relatively cool that morning.

It was pretty basic, for me if my GPS chose today of all days to be off. My “track” was my dad’s neighborhood around which I would run 3 laps. I had created a new playlist just for this. I didn’t want to get bored with the music nor did I want anything that wouldn’t inspire me to keep my feet moving at running pace.

I finished 10K relatively easily; I even had a mini-cheering squad consisting of another couple taking their morning walk in the neighborhood. I had told them today I was aiming for 10K, and every time I passed them they would put their thumbs up or tell me I was doing great. It was unexpected but really nice and definitely helped in the motivational part.

It was that last kilometer that I really had to push myself though. I was starting to wane during the 8th kilometer and sometime around that last stretch (comparatively), the song “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen came on on my iPod. And I felt the words rejuvenate me and motivate me. I kept chanting “Don’t Stop Me” and “You can do it” to myself until I felt the energy return to my legs.

I did it. I ran 10K. During my cool down I was beaming, and dancing (as much as you can while walking) and nearly crying out of happiness. This really happened. I did it. I succeeded.

The rest of the day, I felt this high. I could do anything, I’m on top of the world. And very sore in the knees. I could barely bend or straighten them. I later learned that this is a sign that I need to replace my running shoes.

But I did it. I ran 10K.

I’m a Working Woman

GetAJobGoal

Okay, now to actually talk about the job itself. Now that I’ve spent some time with it.

Well, to begin with, it’s a job in storage as a relief manager. Basically I give the property managers of different sites days off. Not necessarily the career I’m wanting to enter, but it’s a job all the same.

I had approached a friend of mine, who was working for the company at the time, if there were any job openings. She told me to email her my resume and I did and she sent it along to her boss, who called me a couple of days later and scheduled the interview with me.

One interview and a few days later, I was offered a job and set to start the following week.

Training was interesting. I trained with a couple in Tomball at their store. The job seemed simple enough, and within a week or so I was feeling confident to take the store on on my own.

After about 2 weeks, I was released out into real time. I guess that’s what you could call it right? No more training days for me. I began to meet other property managers in the company and learned how different each manager likes their store run.

The job is pretty decent. It provides a live-able income and some benefits. During work hours there are stretches of time without anything to do so I can spend that time studying for the GRE or reading a book.

But there’s more to the world of storage than I expected when I accepted the job. Like all the different kinds of people you can meet. And what they’re like just based off of the area of TOWN that you’re living in. And I had to learn how to adapt my approach to things purely based off of how the managers would describe their tenants and the tendencies of the property and the surrounding community.

There are a lot of people with so many different stories that you quickly learn to not assume anything about anyone. And I learned quickly how to be firm yet amiable. I had to in order to not come off as rude when talking to late-paying tenants.

And with regards to those that work in storage. It’s mostly older couples that are retired that you find working in storage as property managers. This is because a lot of facilities have on-site management, managers that live on property, to bring in customers concerned about security. So they always prefer to have couples running the property to facilitate the team work aspect without there being a conflict of interest between two co-managers. Plus the apartments on-site are usually built for couples anyway.

I like my job. It has good days and bad days. Just like any job. But I think what I like most about it is that when I clock-out and lock the door of the front office, I am done for the day. I don’t have any work to take home with me. I don’t have to brood over any significant problems. I lock the door and leave my work inside the office.

It’s definitely nice. Like I’ve said though, it’s not a career for me. But I think I’ve established that this is a good transition job between undergrad and grad school. The main reason that most other employers wouldn’t hire me is because I couldn’t give them a long-term commitment because grad school was become more and more of a solid goal in my near future. They didn’t like that.

Not to mention, this job has been fast-tracking personal growth for me. I’m becoming more apt at handling conflict and confrontation to name the most significant thing I’m getting out of this job.

So I’ll stick with it. I’ve set my deadlines for entering grad school so now all I have to do is prepare.

Soccer!!!

soccerblog

 

 

 

I played my first soccer game this past weekend and I learned a few things that I’d like to share with you all.

1)      I think I’m starting to get bored of running. Though it’s definitely helped with my stamina (I don’t get as tired as some of the others, let me stress SOME), it was a lot of fun doing something BESIDES running down a trail or a neighborhood street. I didn’t realize that I was starting to get so bored with it, though, until I was out on the field chasing a ball. So once I finish that whole 10K deal, I’m going to start looking for alternatives to running. Maybe I’ll do Zumba? Well, I’ll think on it.

2)      I really like my team mates. They’re super fun and friendly. I felt like I was part of the team after five minutes of being there. Not only that, we seemed to mesh very well together. The first half was a little rocky. We were still getting on our feet. It was our first game of the season. And the Texas sun was still out. But even then, we were playing really well and communicating like a team should. The second half we did much better. And even the chemistry picked up a little bit.

3)      I’m a little rusty. I was also a little slow. I will blame this on not being conditioned for that kind of hustling… essentially, I’m out of shape. And the giant meal I’d had only two hours prior. I hadn’t played soccer since October so I need to warm up to the game again. At least it wasn’t as big of a gap like the last one (nearly 8 years).  I know, though, that this will go away the more games I play.

4)      I should probably wear socks under my shin guards. Let me tell you. I LOVE the shin guards I’m using. I’ve had them since middle school and they’re much more comfortable than the hard plastic ones I’ve used before. But I forgot about the part where the foot strap can rub against your ankle a little. So I’m going to remember to bring a pair of socks to wear under the shin guards that are under the soccer socks. If you guys have any other advice on the topic, I’m more than happy to hear it.

5)      90 minutes really isn’t that much time. I didn’t feel the first half go by (though I was definitely gasping for air at the end of it). And the second half felt like it was only 5 minutes long. I can only imagine how pressed professional players feel. That, or they’re so used to it that sometimes it can seem to drag. If I ever meet a professional soccer player, I’ll ask him or her.

The game was so much fun! We lost, rather miserably. I don’t think that really matters, though. I had fun. I walked away grinning and energetic (despite running almost constantly for 90 minutes) and fulfilled. I can’t wait for the next game.

A Day in the Life of a Bench

It sits there silently watching the sky lighten. This particular bench has seen 7,431 sunrises. That’s 20 years, at least. But who’s counting?

A morning jogger plops down on the bench, exhausted from the work-out he’d just completed. This man’s been plopping down on that bench every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for about 3 years. He sits in silence, breathing, watching as the bright rays of morning fold back the dark night sky curtains.

If a bench could sigh, this one would sigh. It was a new day. A new episode in its life full of history.

Music blasted from the headphones of the jogger, quickly changing to a different tune when he clicked on his tiny mp3 player to change the song. The bench was around well before these mp3 players. It had experienced cassettes and CD players. Things have changed—and they changed quickly—in the life of this bench. But the bench hasn’t changed. Not like the music players. It might look a little more worn, but it is still the same bench.

The jogger got up and walked away, leaving the bench alone again as the sun peaked over the trees. Slowly, the streets and sidewalks came alive with activity.

The day had officially begun.

This was the day the old lady would come to feed the birds. And sure enough, her footsteps could be heard as she slowly walked toward the bench with her cane in hand. The bench and this woman were long-time companions. She had been coming since before the bench’s first days in that park. She sat on the bench before it.

The morning passed idly, the woman appeared lost deep in thought as she tossed crumbs at the expectant birds. Occasionally the bench would hear—if it could be called that—the woman addressing a man who wasn’t there. Her late husband, it sounded like. And she seems to miss him so.

As the afternoon hours approached the woman’s bag emptied until there was nothing left to feed the now over-stuffed birds. She sat there, still lost in thought when a woman with a stroller sat down beside her. The child in the stroller struggled to be free as the young mother picked up the child and set him down on the group. The child didn’t wait for any other indications from his mother as he raced to the playground a little ways away.

The mother exhaled, each second of air released the tension from her body. She leaned forward, watching her child scamper about the playground. The bench had never seen this woman before but welcomed her all the same. In its own silent and still way.

The old woman got up to leave after a short while and she returned the way she came from to continue about her day. Both women smiled in polite greeting as she left.

The day was bright and warm. Spring had long since set in and now summer was on the way.

Another woman sat down next to the mother. Their body language suggested that they were familiar with each other. Greetings were exchanged and soon they were in the midst of an animated conversation that spanned many topics.

The bench recognized the other woman. She came irregularly to the park for the past couple of years. Since her child could walk. It soon confirmed that her friend, the new woman, had recently moved to the area.

The bench listened to the stories of their lives. It was a completely different world to the bench who only understood the lives of these people in relation to this park. How they run and play and each day was a day of growth for that human. A day of aging for that bench.

Benches don’t grow. They are created. And they stay just the way they are until they are too old to do so.

It began to grow late, and the two mothers departed, towing their respective children with them.

A moment of peace as activity died down in the park for a short while. People were transitioning from school and work into their afternoon and evening activities. The bench just sat there, absorbing the muffled sounds from the surrounding streets. That’s where the activity was now.

Just as the sun had finished setting behind the bench, a couple walked over and sat on the bench. Their hands were intertwined as they conversed in low voices. It was an intimate moment shared between the two of them, and they were eager to be in each others’ company. It didn’t seem like they would move from the seat of the bench for quite some time.

Even though darkness had blanketed itself over the city, the glow from the street lamps and lamps in the park kept a soft glowing illumination around the bench and the couple seated there. They sat for a short while on that bench, sharing kisses and chatting. It was the finale to their romantic evening, it seemed.

Until the man stood up. He knelt down on one knee and produced a small box from his pocket. His voice shook as he asked the most important, life-changing question of their lives together. The woman sat still for a moment, taking the scene in. She said yes. And for a while longer they celebrated, embraced and laughed on that bench.

Today was a special day, thought the bench as the couple got up and left. This doesn’t happen very often in the life of a bench.

The bench continued to sit there in the quiet of the park, listening to the activity die down once again out in the streets as people settled into their homes and beds. The end of the day always felt so lonely.

The bench doesn’t get many companions when the sun goes down. An occasional homeless person will seek refuge on it, but then the officer patrolling the park would always chase them away. Occasionally the patrolling officer himself would take a seat at the bench, feeling tired for some reason or another, and simply stare at the big moon. But this was a rare occasion. Rarer than the homeless people’s visits.

But the bench knew, every time the stillness of the night settled over the city, that this was temporary. As temporary as many things in the life of those humans. As temporary as its own lifespan in that park.

Soon, the darkness will fade into light. The sun will rise. Another day will begin.

Figuring Out My Future

Since I graduated from college, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about where my future is taking me. You’re probably thinking, why weren’t you doing that in college? And I was. I just had school to distract me from it. Procrastination. I’ll think about that later.

Well, later is here. Has been here for a while. And I still have a lot of questions regarding what exactly it is that I want for myself. Do I want to find a career job and work my way up, do I want to go back to grad school and get a Masters or PhD?

One thing I do know. If I go to grad school, it’s going to be for a PhD. But what would I study? Would it be a continuation of what I’d already begun or would I want to venture into a different area? I’d been thinking about that with regards to my possible future in grad school.

I was talking to a friend of mine about it the other day and she asked me a question that really made me think. “What do you love to do most in the world?” The immediate answer was reading. I love reading and discussing books. And immediately I remembered a moment during my final semester at in school that really drove home the idea.

It was an assignment assigned by one of my professors. A person and his or her partner had to teach the class, essentially. We had to assign homework and then lead a discussion. It turned out that I ended up by myself. When I found this out I got really stressed and frustrated in the beginning.

Some context for this story. During that semester, and even before then, I was mildly depressed. I wouldn’t say I was clinically diagnosed or anything like that, but I realized it well after the fact (a couple of weeks ago) when I was watching one of those commercials for depression and was talking to someone else who had experienced the exact same thing I was going through. Essentially what you need to know is that during that semester I was finding it hard to motivate myself to get anything done for my classes. And

But as I began researching my topic and looking for assignments, I found myself really getting into it and enjoying the time I spent on the assignment. I enjoyed looking at readings and videos and pinpointing exactly what it was that we were going to discuss, creating the questions that would be brought up in class. I felt motivated and excited when speaking to my professor about what how he wanted the presentation to go.

When it came time for my lesson, I felt prepared, I felt confident. I was also nervous. Very much so. And I knew that everything also really depended on how the students would react and participate. And they participated and they questioned and discussed. It was really an amazing experience.

And this was a topic that only mildly interested me. What would happen if I got to do this with a topic that I had a keen interest in?

That’s the tricky part. Figuring out what that is exactly.

But is that the only option I have? Being a professor at a university? No, definitely not. I could again re-assess everything and decide I’d rather do something in a completely different field.

So now that I have some financial security, it is time for me to sit down and really figure it out.

I Got a Job!

GetAJobGoal

 

I’m so happy this happened.

I was starting to get a little worried because it’d already been 6 months since I’d graduated and despite on the fair amount of interviews that I’d had, I hadn’t landed a job.

I know that—facing the economy we’re in—I definitely was part of the lucky number of recent grads to get a job. I’d heard of people applying for a year to a year and a half before finding a job.

But I have a job. And I feel so blessed to have that job.

My days will be fuller and more productive. I’ll have an income, and because I will be living with my family, I’ll be able to save that income for future endeavors. Because it’s looking like I’m set on attending graduate school in the future.

I start tomorrow. I’m excited and nervous at the same time. This is a huge step for me.

Even though I’ll be living under my parents’ roof still, I won’t be financially dependent on them like I was throughout my whole life before this. I’ll be working and I’m working towards my future. Towards my eventual complete independence.

Having this job represents a lot in my life right now. It represents a step towards financial independence, beginnings of the adult chapter of my life, and steps toward my future and my career.

You may argue that I’m doing that my whole life. Working towards my future. But there are times when it feels like I’m sitting still and that what I’m doing isn’t productive for me because it doesn’t lead to where I want to end up. Or worse yet, I don’t know yet where I want to be in life.

With this job, though, I’m really able to sit down and decide if the path that I want to go down is really the one for me. Or if there is another option I haven’t considered yet that I’d enjoy more. I get to decide what I want to do and how I’m going to go about doing it. Because now the major financial burden is more or less taken care of. I don’t have to rush in the decision.

I now have this control over my life that I didn’t feel like I had before. And it feels great! I’m so excited about my future now! I have a timeline of when action will start being made towards professional goals that I’m actively creating for myself starting now.

And on a much more basic level, I’m so happy because someone has decided to finally give me the chance I deserve. It feels like a lot of companies out there are looking for a certain something. People with experience in this and that. It was a catch-22 because I knew that I’d be amazing at the job based off of the description, but the company wasn’t willing to give me the chance because I didn’t have the desired amount of experience. I found myself saying a lot, “How can I get experience if no one is willing to hire me?”

Finally someone is willing to give me a chance. And I think that it will be an incredible opportunity for growth in many aspects of my life.

Time to take advantage of it.