Not an Adventurist.

Thoughts of a quixotic weirdo.

Category: Life

Year 2: Lessons Revisited

And just like that, another year has gone by.

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the things I had learned in my first year of college. It’s pretty interesting to read what I wrote then and compare my thoughts now.

This year old post stressed how important it was for me to be happy and came to the conclusion that I was a happy person. I’d love to say that I kept my advice for myself and kept that same attitude for this past school year, but this year went a whole lot differently than last and anything I had ever expected. This year, it was reinforced to me that I cannot have expectations for people or for my life because sometimes those expectations get shattered into a million pieces and there is no way to fix it.

Throughout my second year at college, I feel like I’ve been through every single extreme emotion any person can ever go through. I started fall semester, ready to start my happy journey as a very (obviously) experienced college student. I moved into my apartment, excited to live with one of my best friends, ready to take on the world. The summer had been alright, but I was ready to jump into this school year with full force.

Very quickly, I felt myself slipping into a state of mind that I had never really experienced. I felt incredibly alone. I felt like I had found myself in a situation where I couldn’t connect with people and couldn’t keep my friendships from falling apart. People fell out of my life and I couldn’t bring them back no matter how hard I tried. I started blaming myself for everything. I was in a place where I really thought I was alone.

The feeling of loneliness is terrible. It spirals into deeper emotions and mental problems and I was devastated. My happiness had been compromised and I didn’t know how to deal with it.

At some point in the semester, something changed.

I got at job at the library because I couldn’t sit and sulk in my unhappiness. I got out of the house and strived to immerse myself in my work. This was so, so good for me. In addition to this, I had been struggling with feeling alone and I didn’t know how to combat those obstacles. Miraculously, people came into my life that I couldn’t be more grateful for. Each of them became some of my closest friends — all in a class that I was going to drop but didn’t because something felt so right. I strongly believe that my pleads with the Lord, late at night, were answered. His timing is impeccable and I was amazed when I looked back and realized that each of these individuals were placed in my life at such a critical and difficult time for me. And none of them knew I was struggling.

Throughout this entire process, I was applying for the Media Arts (film) major. Phew — that was fun. I was stressed out about putting in a application for something I loved because I was afraid, after all the hours I put in, I wouldn’t succeed. My emotional state could not handle that. But, again, by some miracle, I received the news that I was accepted and that was another checkpoint for me. I have never felt as comfortable in a class than the ones I’m taking now, with people that I can really connect and be friends with. I have finally found where I need to be.

Winter semester has been a crazy, busy, beautiful nightmare — in the best way possible. I’m gaining my happiness back and I’m so grateful. It’s absolutely great. It’s not perfect, but that will never be.

This year has been a year of many sad nights and lingering doubts But it has also been one of laughter and Sodalicious and new people and a messy room and short films and obnoxious rants and laughing and discovering who I am. I had to go through that dark time because without it, the reward would have been so much less than it was. I had to know how it felt to be alone in order to be overjoyed in new friends and new experiences. During this shifting period, I relied on the constants — like my family — but also on little things like sunsets and the changing of seasons. I made it through — thanks to a long list of people who never left my life. Even when I felt alone, I wasn’t. Last year’s outlook on life was beautiful, but I’ve learned so much more than what I thought I knew in April 2014.

It’s been a wild ride, but I’m excited to see where I go. I’m constantly learning how to cope with different things and deal with new experiences. I feel as though my “life plan” is constantly changing and that is okay — even though in the moment, it seems as though I’m having an existential crisis. Calm down, Rachel. It’s wonderful that we are always growing, even when we feel like we’re in a rut, we will make it through and learn more about ourselves than we had imagined.

So, here’s to the completion of another school year. Much has changed, but it’s all for the better and I’m so grateful.


Brutal and Repetitive Honesty

Honesty is a trait we all say we love, cherish and hold to a high esteem when searching for good friends. We find comfort in knowing that we have put our trust in people that are going to be honest with us. We turn to them when we need an opinion on something because we know they will speak their mind (or at least, we hope they will). Our honest friends will tell it like it is, without trying to hurt us (or not. Let it all out!). However, the only people who can really achieve the highest level of honesty are children.

Children can be brutal when it comes to telling the truth. They tell it like they see it.

I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing by any means, but after a while, it can get repetitive. I’ve realized that no matter how many children I meet or babysit, I will get some pretty honest to goodness comments directed at me.

And at the top of that list: My height. Or lack thereof.

Here are a few highlights from various conversations I’ve had with different children:

“Are you a little grown-up?” Kind of.

“I like you because you’re little like us!” Well, that’s good.

“We need to get that game up there. Oh wait…maybe you can’t reach it.” After 19 years, I think I’ve learned the power of a chair.

“You’re not very big.” I’m not.

“I’m almost as tall as you!” If by ‘almost as tall as you’ means we’re going by your measurements of ‘I’m-going-to-stretch-my-arm-as-far-as-possible-and-say-that’s-how-tall-I-am’, then yes. You are. But also. Yes. You are almost as tall as me.

It’s always a topic of conversation with kids, even if it’s already been discussed at length before. That’s fine. I get it. They probably look at me and think, “Gee. She isn’t much bigger than I am so why does this make her old enough to babysit me?” Or “Maybe, since she’s short, we can get away with murder!” Either way, it sparks a bond. I love it when I have conversations with kids, even if they turn into an incoherent slew of words. They’re so fun, they mean well and I love them!

And I get it. I’m short. I embrace it. I would shout it from the rooftops, but I think that kid down the street already has.

Being Home & Becoming Me

Returning home after being away at school has brought me a sense of peace, along with this weird sense of adulthood and independence.

I’ve been home for a little over a week now and I must say, it’s rather nice to be able to come back to a city that you know and love. It’s great to step out of the car and breathe in that air that is so memorable — and also so terrible. It’s extremely nice to go to a Californian In-N-Out because a cheeseburger and fries just don’t taste the same in a different state. It’s not so nice to go outside and feel your skin begin to sizzle at the summertime-like temperature. But I’ll live.

In addition to these little things, including the relaxing and calming feeling of being home, I’ve begun to recognize my own transition into adulthood. Yes, you “technically” become an adult the moment you turn 18, the day you leave the house to move into your own place, or the day you start college, but personally, none of those things brought me the same sense of adulthood. I was extremely content at doing all these things and I loved every second of them. I was excited and oh-so ready for new experiences — I found them and I am grateful. However, there’s a different stage that people don’t tell you about and that’s coming back home after your first year at college.

Four days after getting back, I started my job. I didn’t really have time to do anything “fun” except for go shopping at Target (I’m not even kidding — that place is the BEST!). I realized that my co-workers are all older than me; there isn’t really anyone my age. It’s a little weird to think that I have a real job in a real company and get to have my own company ID. It really struck me that I was developing my independence even more so now because, even though I’m back at home for the summer, I have responsibilities that I have to do. Nobody is in control of my schedule, I work by myself, I have my own office (for the time being) and I can determine when and what I get to do.

Now, obviously, I had the same mindset when I was at school but somehow it’s DIFFERENT being here. School, classes, college — that’s all fulfilling and you do learn a lot about being independent when there, but even in the week or so that I’ve been back, it’s really all coming together.

When you return for the summer, you are a different person than when you left for school. You’ve developed different skills and strengths. You’ve let things go and moved on. You’ve learned how to deal with different things. You have a different set of friends, along with the few that you’ve still managed to keep in contact with. Your interests may have changed, or they may have been reinforced. You may not know the exact path you want to take for the rest of your life, but you’re a step closer to discovering what it is than when you left. You’re you, but you’re a different you. A good you. A more developed and independent you. Someone you’ve been working your whole life to become and, finally, you’re beginning to see it. And it’s good.

Year 1: Lessons Learned

I cannot believe that my first year in college is wrapping up. I’ve definitely gotten to that point in my life where time is moving fast, almost too fast. Granted, the last few weeks seem like they go on forever, but in reality, they don’t. Approximately seven short months ago, I was pulling up to David John Hall to unload our Honda Odyssey, which was then full of all the things I deemed “essential” for my freshman year survival.

Looking back, I could have done away with some of these “essential” items.

I don’t think I needed 8 packs of index notecards, seeing as though I only used 3/4 of one pack for my astronomy midterm. I probably didn’t need the 20 pairs of shoes I brought with me because out of the 4 pairs of church shoes I brought, I only wore high heels twice. I didn’t need to bring about half the clothes I have here because I basically just rotate a few outfits (but I like the options the clothes give me). I didn’t need to bring a shelf full of books because I have no time to read them, but it makes me feel cultured. Technically, I didn’t need to bring the amount of DVDs I did, but I would never leave those babies behind. I know I didn’t need to bring those flannel sheets “just in case my room got cold” because our air conditioner stopped working after only a week of living here. It didn’t matter the season, temperature, weather, nothing. It has felt like the center of the sun for the past 7 months (minus one week).

Over the past year, I’ve learned a little bit about life, about me and about other people. I’ve definitely been able to grow as an individual. There’s something about going to college that does that to you — who would have thought, right? Not only have I learned what I kind of, maybe, sort of want to do with my life, I’ve figured out what I for sure DON’T want to do. And that would be political science and any of the sciences/engineering. I’ve been able to develop different characteristics that I may have not been able to otherwise (unfortunately, I haven’t learned to effectively study. But, let’s be honest here, does anyone REALLY know how to do that?).

As I reflect back on what I thought college would be like, I can honestly say that I was completely wrong.

College isn’t something that you should come into expecting it to be a certain way. You will be wrong, I guarantee it. Things happen (or don’t happen), circumstances arise, tests are failed, Cannon Center eating can be a burden. Sometimes everything just seems wrong. And what I’ve gathered is that this is normal. But, despite all of this, I have loved my experience at Brigham Young University. I’m expanding my knowledge by taking interesting classes and at the same time, I’m continuing to develop myself, my interests, my testimony and my life.

I think the most important thing that I’ve learned is that I am a pretty happy person.

We all have our rough days, maybe even a breakdown at some point, but overall, I’ve realized that I love my life. I may not know exactly what I want to do, I may not be in my major yet (and am currently stressing out about the application), I may not be the most spiritual person here, I may have days where I just need some space from everyone and everything, but you know what?

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It sounds a little cheesy, but it’s completely true. These things that challenge us also raise us up. Because of these things, I’ve continued to grow into the person I want to be. I have been able to shape and mold myself through these experiences. By being placed in these situations, I can choose to be frustrated, I can choose to be sad, I can choose to be anything I want to be. Ultimately, I do struggle with patience and I recognize that that can deter me from different things, however, I’ve learned that I can choose to be happy. My life goal has always been to be happy. That’s something that I’ve always wanted my future to be. My career goals have changed and I’ve changed but I am constantly working to continue my happiness. No matter the circumstances, the situation, the trial, the consequence, I am the one who is in charge of my happiness. Though I knew this before, it has been reinforced over these past months.

The main lesson that I’ve learned is that I am a happy person because I choose to be happy.

For the Love Of Color

I am overly enthusiastic about the rule of thirds and colors.

My love for color knows no end. I’ve always been intrigued by color, the color wheel, complementary colors, the whole shebang. I struggled with not being able to paint my white walls in my bedroom growing up because I always wanted to paint them. I would go to Lowe’s or Home Depot with my dad and just bask in the display of paint colors. It was heaven. But since I couldn’t paint, I resorted to taking the free color swatches to save for my future home and hang movie posters over every inch of my room. I don’t think my sister appreciated it as much as I did. I guess it’s all worked out now, though. I’m now off at school and Hannah can do whatever she wants with the walls. Last I checked, there was nothing there.

ANYWAY. Back to the main point of this post.

I don’t think there is anything more beautiful than the way colors work with each other. Obviously, there are colors all around us and it is so spectacular! With color, comes life. Each winter, colors lessen and everything becomes almost a variation of the same dullish blue-gray color and each spring, the flowers begin to bloom and sprout as the birds, who have been MIA the last few months, show up again. Life seems to slow down when winter comes; the cold weather, the lack of motivation to do anything but drink hot chocolate, the thick clothing wearing you down, they all add to the winter feeling. Don’t get me wrong; I love winter! I think it’s beautiful in itself and I could write an entire blog post just on seasons.

But I digress.

Colors are easily one of the most amazing gifts our Creator has given us. Through colors, we see the beauty in nature, in our homes, in art, in everything! That’s why I’m so passionate about them! Color brings life and light into our world;  it makes me so happy to be able to go outside in the spring and see the blossoming flowers and trees come to life. It happens almost over night and it’s magical.

One of my favorite things to do is watch the sky transform into a masterpiece of colors during sunrise and sunset. Watching the sunrise is a rare occasion for me, but when I do it, it’s so peaceful and wonderful. I’ve found that the early morning and evening are the best times of the day, at least in my opinion. As the sun rises in the morning, the dark sky turns into a light blue, the birds begin to chirp and the now blue sky slowly integrates more colors into the landscape. Pinks, oranges and yellows begin to appear and the horizon becomes a piece of art. Colors begin to blend and mix as new variations are created. Each morning brings a different coloring and a new day. As the colors are brought to life, so is the day. One of my fondest memories of watching the sunrise was when I was out on Catalina Island with my marine biology class. Early one morning we decided to hike the closest mountain to watch the sun rise over the California coast and the Pacific Ocean. Yes, waking up can be hard to do, but in the end, it was so worth the cold, tiring hike because we were greeted by the colors of the morning. The sky was painted pink and the ocean mimicked the colors of the sky as we gazed out towards the coast. It was peaceful and naturally artistic. It’s moments like that which make me wish I could paint well.

In the evening, the sun begins to lower and the sky darkens but not without its own spectacular exit. The sun lowers in the sky as the colors once again arise, bidding farewell to the day, just as they had said hello. The blues turn into reds, pinks and yellows; the clouds turn purple and the sun lowers beneath the horizon to rest. Once again, the world is placed in a state of peace as the sign of the day disappears beneath us.

These are just two of my favorite things about the coloring of this fantastic and magnificent world we live in. Each day, we get to enjoy the colors of the world outside and see the glory of our God in everything around us. This is why I love nature so much. I am able to see God in everything and be able to enjoy the simplest things the world has to offer.

Colors are spectacular and I hope we all remember to be grateful for them every day.

Blogging: Is it worth it?

I don’t think you understand how many times I’ve actually tried to maintain my own personal blog.

I don’t even know the exact number. Probably up there in the hundreds. Or maybe like 4 times.

I’ve always felt like blogging could be a real adventure, but then I look at my life and there’s nothing really worth writing about. I mean, sure, I have highlights in my life but you have to sift through a whole lot of low points to get some spectacular new adventure. Obviously, some bloggers are successful at what they do and they can blog about how their children drew on the toilet seat or something and get a huge audience out of it.

But, alas. I am just a young college student who has a passion for Netflix and movies. Occasionally, a good book will come along that will suck me into its pages as I explore a new world because it’s as close to traveling as I can get while stuck in a dorm room. I’m a California person who enjoys the sunshine and is so unbelievably happy when I can where flip flops, even if my toes end up freezing. I’m the person who is blasting Billy Joel and Paul Simon as loud as her speakers can go because, why not? I’m the one who is drawing flowers everywhere I go because it’s the only thing I can draw and it makes me feel somewhat artistic. I think that the soundtrack to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty gives me special powers. I’ve learned that I can keep my room clean as long as you don’t count the closet. I’ve learned that the universe has a whole lot of neat things to observe and be amazed at, but I don’t understand them at all — especially black holes. I’ve learned that I really enjoy ballroom dancing and that the waltz is one of the most beautiful dances ever invented.  I’ve learned that keeping a stash of chocolate somewhere in your room is always a brilliant idea. I’m learning that spring is easily my favorite season, right up there next to autumn. I’m also learning that I have too many cardigans, but that isn’t stopping me from getting more.

I’m an 18-year old who likes to get good grades but understands that she can’t always get what she wants.

But if I try sometimes, I’ll get what I need.