Monday, June 30, 2008

The Perfection of Imperfection

Life really is an interesting rollercoaster ride, isn't it? Yesterday I slept in till 1 p.m., watched a movie until 3, then proceeded to wile away the rest of my hours reading, writing and playing videogames. Not such a bad day! I was content with what I was doing, knowing that I was doing what I loved (the reading and writing part, anyway).

I walk into the office today and my computer's fried. Hmm...interesting start to the day. I have days of work assigned to me at the moment and I know my day's going to be filled completing the tasks at hand. I failed to realize at that point that my day, rather than completing the tasks at hand, would be filled with trying to complete the tasks at hand. I had two big projects I was working on. I made zero headway on one and very very limited headway on the other. I billed seven-and-a-half hours to work that I didn't even complete!

It's ironic. During training for intramurals one quarter we had this activity called "True Colors." Four colors - orange, green, yellow and blue - represented four different personality types. I can't remember what the other colors were, but I was a green. One of the traits of the greens was that we hated incompetence in our co-workers. It sounds high-ended, but I felt I could relate to that characteristic more than anything else on the board. I can't stand when people I work with don't know how to do their jobs when they should know. Now if the person's learning or in training, that's a different story. But when the person is in the position where they should know what they're doing and don't - whether out of laziness or sheer incompetence - I can't stand working with the person.

And so today, I was the incompetent one. At least I felt like it. More than I hate incompetence in those around me, I despise incompetence in myself. But as much as today sucked and I feel like I got nothing accomplished, this was actually probably one of the most productive days I've had at SBC. I learned a lot about my position and what my responsibilities entailed. And I learned a lot about what I was researching. I never realized how many fire stations were in one city alone! I also realized that I've been living a pretty easy life for a while and I need days like this to try me. For what kind of person am I if I go through my life without trials? If I walked on cake all my life, as many people do, I would be a pampered, ignorant, inexperienced buffoon (what a great word). But because I've faced trials in life, however relatively trying they may have been compared to others, I've turned into the person I am today.

I once told a friend when they were going through a rough spot, "Just remember that the tough times are what really temper the spirit and make you into a stronger and better person, getting you ready for those good times that will inevitably roll around." That's the thing, really. If life was filled only with good and favorable times, we wouldn't know the value of them. We wouldn't really appreciate what they meant. I mean, did we really appreciate when gas rose above $2.00? I know I was pretty pissed, myself. But hell, I'd give anything to get gas down to even $3.00! Well, not anything...maybe one of my testicles - you really only need one - but you get my drift.

It helps you to realize what you have right in front of you. While it may not be perfect, it can be perfect so long as you learn to appreciate it. The perfection of imperfection...an interesting concept. I first noticed this concept when it came to women - should I still refer to them as girls? I mean, I'm 22 now so I feel that my peers are women now....how about ladies? Yeah...ladies. So let's start that over...I first noticed this concept when it came to ladies. OK, now it just sounds like I'm a chauvinist.

ANYWAY! I first noticed the perfection of imperfection in my first serious girlfriend. She was, and still is, an amazing person. She was beautiful, full of vigor and just excited to live life every day. She had a few "character flaws" - I use that phrase loosely - that would normally drive me crazy in other people. But for some reason, her flaws only made me more attracted to her. They enticed me more, knowing that she wasn't perfect, yet knowing that this fact made her perfect. She farted. She burped (louder than I could). She was too shy much of the time. She was blunt to the point of being rude - a quality that I pride myself on now. In short, she was amazing. She had a few physical imperfections that served the same purpose as her personality ones - they only made me more attracted to her.

She helped me to realize that I don't want life to be perfect. I always want something to throw me off and help me realize the stark beauty in the rest of the world around me, and even in the one thing that's throwing me off. When I'm driving in a car, windows down, feeling the wind rush past my forearm and slap the side of my face, I want to get sunburned on my left arm. I want to miss a phone call (I hate missing phone calls). I want to have pools of sweat soak my back and give me swamp ass. Who really wants to use the air conditioner anyway? All the imperfections make life more fun. It becomes a guessing game, one that "Clue" and "Guess Who" couldn't hope to replicate.

So next time your computer's fried in the morning and you lose hours of precious time you could be doing work...next time you stick that stiletto heel in between the cracks of Court Street and bite the bricks...next time you wake up after a night out with the boys and realize you crapped in your desk drawer and notice a strange smell of urine in your laundry basket...learn to appreciate it. It helps you appreciate when everything is in order and on the "right track." Appreciate the small imperfections - because that's what makes life beautiful.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Here I Stand

Here I stand, a college graduate; a blurry past, a promising future - or so they tell me. Finally, after four long years I've escaped. I've broken free of my bonds and cast them down as I walked across the bright stage with the cameras flashing, the families cheering and the announcers rapid-firing every name in the most monotonous tone one can imagine. I was just another name on a list without an asterisk next to it.

Here I stand, grateful to have finished my four years. Grateful to my parents for lending such a helping hand, enabling my experience at OU. Grateful to the friends who supported me throughout the college experience and who helped me remember the nights I couldn't. Grateful to my mentors who guided me the best they could and told me it would all be worth it in the end. The end...what an interesting and contradicting phrase. I have so much to be thankful for I don't think I could even attempt to write it down - in a blog post, a journal, a book, anywhere. But I am grateful to everyone who has played a role in my life thus far, for good or for ill, because I am who I am today thanks to you.

Here I stand, wobbling on the precipice over the great chasm they call reality. I knew after I walked off that stage that nothing was guaranteed anymore. Yes, I have a "job" lined up - a three- to four-month stint, anyway. But what about after that? After four months is up I have nothing but Red Robin - yes, I'll be working at one in Columbus again. Although this time it's on my own terms, finally. But essentially my life is my own now. A bit scary, I can't lie. For four years I've wanted nothing more than to be on my own, supporting myself and not having to financially rely on anybody. For four years I've wanted to escape the system of college, making my own path without having to pay $60,000 for a piece of paper that says I'm qualified to do a job I could have learned on my own. Well, four years are up. Now what? Less than a month ago I assumed I was going to graduate jobless. I became resigned to the fact, accepted it, and then for some reason got really excited about it! I was going to take two weeks off for no one but myself, then go back to Red Robin and work 30-40 hours, taking it easy and pursuing my passion of becoming a writer. I convinced myself that was going to be the life I wanted to live - at least until I got published. I was happy with what my future held for the first time in a long time. Then I get a phone call Monday, June 2, telling me I've been offered a temporary full-time position with SBC Advertising in Columbus. At first I was ecstatic. I had gotten an offer! What every college kid dreams of getting before they graduate so they can call home and tell their friends and family that it was worth it! That their education was paying off! I was sure I was going to take it. Later that afternoon I came to the slow realization that this might not be what I want.

I would have to take on another job to pay the bills - SBC was only going to pay me hourly. I would be away from my family and best friends with whom I saw myself spending a relaxing summer. Granted, I have friends in Columbus who will be here this summer. But they pale in comparison to what I have back in Cleveland - no offense :). I wasn't going to be able to pursue my passion as much as I had hoped to do after graduation. I wasn't going to be able to get back into the martial arts as soon as I had hoped. And I wasn't going to have as much free time as I had hoped. All signs pointed to declining the offer.

On June 4 I accepted the position. It was my only hope at the time to stay in the field and make a decent living for myself until my writing career takes off. It was a rational decision. I do enjoy the agency and the work I do, but I had to sacrifice much to do it. Will it be worth it? Call me in September and I'll let you know.

Here I stand, my first day of the rest of my life, even though I hate that phrase. The beginning of the end is more like it, haha. 22 years down. ?? more to go. Should be a good ride.

I'm going to try to put up a post a week. Hopefully I can get another one up tomorrow with some pictures and updates about the new job and the new place.

Be sure to keep checkin it out!