The Definition of Adventure

A new path in life. A new hope. A new adventure. You think lots of things when you set out on a new adventure. I would apologize for the inelegant language, but in all of its awkward glory, “You think lots of things,” is true. Especially if you’re me.

Whatever that adventure may be, you have all sorts of expectations about this adventure from the get-go. No matter how hard you try to keep yourself from forming these ridiculous notions, assumptions, possibilities, they happen. Positive and negative alike, they run around your brain until you feel like an elephant has been chasing a mouse across every upended, disheveled lobe. They also didn’t mind taking a jaunt down to your swiftly beating heart to run a few laps. Now that I’ve painted you a current status picture, I’ll move on.

I like to play with words. Literally, play with them, like they are puzzle pieces. I’m not sure why. I remember my parents commending me on the use of “big” words as a kid. (“Vociferous” is one of my favorites. It really is widely underused.) For some unknown reason, I looked up the definition of an “adventure” recently. One of the main definitions states: a bold, usually risky undertaking; hazardous action of uncertain outcome. Oh, ok. I thought an adventure meant, “Let’s go have some fun on an adventure!” e.g., See definition of adventure part 1: an exciting or very unusual experience. Whether you set out on an adventure to find an unusual experience, take a risk, or to find some excitement, there’s a good chance you might run into all three during the course of your journey. Count on it. Expect it. Relish it like a string quartet enveloping you in its climactic notes. This adventure is once in a lifetime.

(I had this Phillip Glass piece in mind.)

 

Stifling

I had a realization yesterday morning. I hate to be stifled. I’m sure most of us feel the same way. Or…maybe not? I really don’t know. Maybe for some, being stifled actually feels comforting?

I had this awe-inspiring realization as I was thinking about haircuts. Yes, haircuts. A few months ago I got my hair cut for the first time in almost three years. I hate it. Yes, it looks “better”—well, let’s just hope all haircuts look better, and you don’t ever come home to a mushroom head staring you in the face (this happened to me once). I digress. The ends aren’t split anymore. It’s what you do to have healthy hair. You trim it. It grows more. Your hair breaks less. This is how it works.

Yes, haircuts they may look nice. Yes, people comment on them—”You’re haircut looks great!” But regardless… I really don’t like those stifling haircuts. I don’t like the sharp edges. I don’t like the fact that my hair fits into this “mold,” and it isn’t doing its own thing anymore. Now that it’s been a few months since I got my last hair cut, my hair is starting to feel normal again. It’s telling me… “Ok. *collective sigh of relief* I’m still subscribing to this mold-thing to some extent, but I’ve branched out just a little bit. Just a wee bit. That feels better.” This hair is a tad longer than that hair. This guy over here, I don’t know what he’s doing at all.

My sense of hating to be stifled even transfers to my hair. Huh. I’m definitely not getting it cut before the wedding. It’s decided.

Love,
Amanda Dawn

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” -Flannery O’Connor

The lack of motivation I possess to do the things that I must do as a person who inhabits the Earth sometimes astonishes me. I am most certainly not lazy. Not that I need to prove it to you, but my absurd and uncanny knack for procrastination in my personal life is ridiculous.

When I say personal life, I don’t mean the kind of personal life most people are referring to when they talk about their lives outside of work that include family and friends. I’m not usually lazy in that department. I also dont mean cleaning my house or my cat’s litter box, either. What I’m referring to would be things that are solely beneficial to me. I can look at my blog over the last year and count over twenty posts that I began to write, but never finished. What is that but lazy? As much as I love to write, I don’t make, take, find (take your pick) the time to do it as much as I should, and I’m really perplexed as to why this is.

Something that would incline me to believe my personal, personal laziness is not really laziness at all, would be my propensity for searching for the right book to read, rather than just beginning to read a book. I have almost wasted an entire day searching for the right book, when I could have finished an entire book, plus part of another, in that length of time. The pitiful part is, when I choose a book to start reading, it is usually none other than the one that was on my mind to read in the first place.

I’m not one to make resolutions. New Year’s resolutions, that is. I guess the rebellious part of myself still doesn’t like to follow the norm. But as I continue down the path to year 31, I regularly surprise myself. I bucked at the change of being off on weekends/nights and having a “normal” job at first. It just plain made me feel odd, out of place, and lonely. Now, if I don’t make plans on the weekends, I find myself content with reading by candlelight, spending hours looking at recipes, or cooking. How fast life can change.

I am not restless, and I am not unhappy. I am loved, and I am grateful, so don’t get the wrong idea. I do believe I am a perfectionist in many ways, and I have a tendency to over think things. My lack of personal, personal motivation is a long time companion that I am hoping to kick to the curb, because work/school deadlines and the loyalty we share with family and friends are undoubtedly of paramount importance, but sometimes in those quiet moments alone, I must do more than daydream of what I want to become. I must really live.

On that note, I’m going to do some yoga.

Yours Truly,
Amanda Dawn

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I rose. I roared. I will. I am.

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Sunrise Over J-Town

Unfortunately there are times in life where we feel completely out of place. Ok, I won’t assume, so let’s just say I. I feel out of place sometimes. Disoriented, frightened, and overwhelmed by life, each day is significant, culminating in a lifetime that is incredibly short, but also longer than I can possibly imagine at this 30 year juncture (and that’s not even including what lies beyond my last breath).

I will be cliché here, but it’s true. Take a gigantic puzzle for instance. You sort all of the pieces out, place them face up, find the corners, and begin building the framework for the big picture. It gets a little trickier when you start filling in the inner parts. It may be frustrating when the puzzle pieces don’t fit the first, second, or tenth time, but eventually, with patience, it starts coming together.

Maybe coming to terms with yourself really does take a lifetime. I have surprised myself lately with strength I didn’t know I could muster. Strength to go after my dreams and finally be “okay” with the intensity that makes me, me.

My favorite musician and lyricist wrote a song called Rose that has spoken to me for years. It’s about overcoming adversity, being resiliant, and rising above anything and everything that holds you back from being who you are. I have finally decided (been thinking about getting another tatoo constantly lately) to mark this period of my life with some of Maynard’s lyrics.

I rose. I roared. I will. I am.

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Sunset Over J-town

Love you guys,
Amanda Dawn

The Next Decade

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed my particular affinity for it. Getting older, I mean. It’s kind of a weird sentiment from what I can tell. How many times have you heard a friend fervently wish, “Oh, if I could just go back to being 21 again!”

Bah, I say. I’m not going to lie and tell my youngin friends that things get easier as the years roll by. You just get more used to living. More comfortable in your own skin.

Last night. 11:59 p.m. One minute til I turn 30. One long minute. I don’t know what I expected, but this was the first time I’d had any reservations about this whole new decade thing. Thirty. Whoa. Ok. But the moment passed.

Maybe we make such a big deal about the decade bdays, because it’s like a New Year’s Resolution x 10. Lose the weight, find the right career path, read more, spend more time with family, or more time communing with nature. All are quite respectable resolutions for any new year/decade, but I think I found the best one for me.

I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to force myself into the right body shape, demeanor, or personality (insert personal issue here). I’ve questioned myself, my intensity, passion, exhuberance, loyalty, but sometimes my quiet introversion.  Pretty much, I’ve just worried too much for too long.

I think I’m done. This decade is for being myself and being proud of it. I am always willing to learn, to reflect, and be a better person, but all the little things that make me, me, are just fine. And that’s why I am glad to be 30.

Love Always,

Amanda Dawn

P.S. My phone inadvertently took this picture of me. I thought it was kind of perfect to sum this post up. Cheers.

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Bios and Hope

This is the fifth time I have sat down in the last five months to write to you. Inundated with school, work, and writing for my LocalView internship, I unfortunately let the most important part of my writing journey fall by the wayside- my personal creative outlet. It’s a shame, but I will try to make up for lost time.

It is highly probable that my thoughts on, “Are Writers Narcissistic? ” and “The Proverbial Sadness” (two of my blogs that just didn’t make it out of the gate) will never be published. It’s interesting to see what an incomplete Amanda train of thought looks like months later. When I let the train chug away, the spark disappears, and I was never truly able to figure out what point I was trying to make after the fact.

I am close to embarking on a new chapter of my life. I have two more classes this fall before I will finally graduate. Only eight years after the projected date. Not too bad, huh? 😉 Next week I will start my first paid position in my chosen field. I am obviously a little bit excited, coupled with some intense anxiety.

The people I have met so far at my new job have totally impressed me. I literally couldn’t have felt more comfortable in my own skin during my two hour interview with Julia and Brian. Do I even need to say how ridiculously amazing (though abnormal) that is?

Last week I was asked to write a short bio for myself before my first day of work. I was asked to check out the bios of my soon to be co-workers, then choose whether I wanted to go the more serious route or be completely silly. The choice was up to me. Have you ever tried this? It’s not an easy task to say the least. Though I, nor anyone else for that matter, could possibly sum up their creative, professional, and/or personal lives in a few sentences, this was my shot at it.

Amanda is very passionate about writing creatively. She loves to learn something new every day and would definitely rather get lost in a book than play video games. She is also a bit obsessed with the color green, Harry Potter, pandas, ice cream, and sushi. “Hope” is her mantra, and she tries to spread the word on its benefits.

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Cheers,
Amanda Dawn

Holiday Traditions: Wrapping Paper Roll Sword Fights and Ugly Christmas Stockings

My Mom grew up on a dairy farm, so her family opened their Christmas presents every Christmas Eve. Apparently the cows didn’t care that it was Christmas morning. They still wanted to be milked. Go figure.

I always loved telling this story when I was a kid. Somehow this story made it okay that our family never participated in the traditional Christmas morning depicted in movies; i.e., children wake up early on Christmas morning, shake  Mom and Dad awake, then run down the steps and scramble to open their presents. I liked it this way though. We had our own traditions.

We successfully carried on Mom’s Christmas Eve tradition every year that I’ve been alive until last year. Which I have to say I have no complaints with, since 27 years is a pretty good run to keep a tradition going.

All families grow and change, so those childhood traditions tend to change in turn. Many of us will always hold those favorite memories of holiday traditions close to our hearts as we get older and hope to pass these traditions on to our own children. Here are a few of my fondest memories of holiday traditions with my family.

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Christmas 2012

We always had an open table at Thanksgiving. Our immediate family is pretty small, so we would always invite any friends that didn’t have their own family gatherings to attend to join us for the day. The more the merrier I say– it was fun to have a full house. Anyone was welcome to come give thanks with us and this made me realize at a young age how blessed I am to have such a great family, but also how much it means to others when you reach out and include them on a day where they otherwise may have been lonely.

Dad and I would always go pick out the Christmas tree together at one of those tree farms where you pick out your tree and then saw it down yourself. Well, Dad was the one using the saw for the most part I’d say. We’d bring the tree home and decorate it with Mom. He would help with the ornaments to some extent, but what he really liked doing was putting on the tinsel. Mom would always have to tell him not to put it on in gobs. “One string at a time, Dad.”

My brother is 11 years older than me. Every Christmas Eve he would come home before our family dinner and use Mom’s wrapping paper. (Who hasn’t done this?) We would always save the cardboard tubes from the wrapping paper, tape them up with almost an entire roll of strapping tape (much to Mom’s dismay), and then go outside to duel. I guess you could say whoever’s “sword” stayed in tact the longest won. The cardboard was usually shredded to pieces by the time we were finished though, so it was hard to tell.

I remember Mom making a birthday cake for Jesus when I was four, and we would always talk about the real reason for Christmas being Jesus’ birth before opening presents. I’m pretty sure I understood there was no Santa by the time I was two, but I tried not to ruin it for all of my friends until they got a little older. 🙂 After we opened presents, I always liked to lay underneath the tree and look at the lights through the branches. Sometimes Mom would lay and look up at the lights with me. I never wanted to get up. I could stare at the Christmas tree all night, and sometimes I did.

My nephew, Brayden, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus

My nephew, Brayden, singing Happy Birthday to Jesus

My memories from the holiday’s aren’t of favorite Christmas presents, they are of times spent with my family. I had the ugliest stocking that had my name written on it in black magic marker. Every year I refused to get rid of it, no matter how many times Mom tried to buy me a new, pretty stocking. The ugly red stocking was mine, and always had been, so there was no replacing it.

Happy Holidays,

Amanda