Friday, February 22, 2008

Twenty-Three Years Fly By

* Sorry, I didn't realize how long my ramblings would go on, but you're not required to read it all. You may skim if you wish, however if you do read it in all its entirety, you'll gain better insight into me and my thoughts.

When I get tired and restless, time seems to stand still. To some a week feels it couldn't be longer (hurry and get to Friday already!), a month seems like forever, and a WHOLE year sounds like an eternity! In the life of the world, a lot happens in a year. In the life of a human being, change may not appear to be as obvious, but a lot could change in a year. For some humans, one year does not change a thing. They are still the exact same person they were one year ago, no growth happened. Oh of course events may have taken place in the course of their life that year, but none of it may have fazed them. For those humans whose lives did experience change in some form(s) or another, it's because they accepted whatever circumstance came their way and dealt with it. They live life, not avoid it. Because of it, they grow. And with growth, comes change.

Change often carries a negative connotation. Why? Why do we humans fear change like no other? When change often leads to positive results. In the case of personal growth and birthdays, change is good.

Yesterday, I turned 23 years old. To my wiser elders, I'm still a baby. I have a lot of life to live they would say! "There's still so much ahead of you!" To my younger peers, I'm looked up to (not literally cause I'm still shorter than most of them). Today, one of them, four years my junior, said to me, "man, you're old! I can't imagine what I'm going to be like when I'm 23."

When I was 19, what did I think I'd be like when I became 23?

Essentially, I'm still the same Karen. The one that cries hard-core in movies, makes comments during movies, gives high-fives, takes notes and quotes wherever she goes, befriends foreigners and asks them to teach her key phrases of their language, has a different laugh for different occasions, loves adventure and cultural immersion. Yet, this is also the same person with a lot of flaws and a lot of fears.

The following are some insights I gained while heading towards the age of 23.

1. I found my first two (or is it three) silver-grey hairs. I refuse to pull them in fear of gaining more. Whatever it's not superstition.

2. Wear and tear is starting to show from the permanent pillowy bags below my eyes. Sleeping a full 8 hours/night and drinking plenty of water doesn't seem to make them go away. I've begun to think I was born with baggy eyes (or that's what I like to think). Maybe, it's because I've also developed workaholicism. I'm more like my mother than I care to admit.

3. A dollar goes a long way. I have become more financially responsible and learned the importance of budgeting and adjusting my life to live within my means. In this, I have changed. I no longer throw down hundreds of dollars here, there, everywhere like I once used to in the earlier part of college. For some humans, this financial maturity comes early in their life like when they are six years old and learned that if they eat only half of their cookie today and save the other half, they'd still have something to enjoy tomorrow! For other humans...ahem, me...they learn this important life principle hopefully in their 20-somethings.

4. Mind Over Matter isn't just life-coach psychology advice. It's real life. When my body says, "you've never tried to run 5k before, you're not going to do it now!" The mind says, "yes, you can body. I said so, therfore you will. No choice about it." The mind is a powerful tool. Use it wisely.

5. I realized there is a very real quiet, melancholy side of me. When I met her, I embraced her, welcomed her, and kept her.

6. I learned that THIS is never just IT. Missed opportunities are not the same thing as a Last Chance. It's not a reason to settle for almosts. Just because he almost fits the profile, like 98% close, does not and should not be a cause to settle. God will present THE opportunity in His perfect time.

7. Despite the fact that I've devoted four years of my life to studying theories of communication and learning how to become an Effective Communicator, I still suck. Somehow I still struggle communicating when and why I'm upset with someone. I avoid conflict like the plague. I hesitate and shrink bank at the thought of being 100% completely vulnerable, honest and open. To me, it's the most frightening thing in the world! Slowly but surely, I'm trying. I'm making very small baby steps towards being open and communicative. Why do you think I'm doing this (blogging)? Oh, if it weren't such a complex and painful process, I'd take bigger steps.

8. The metabolism has begun its decent and it requires more work, more effort each year to break through those stubborn fatty deposits. I know it sounds ugly, but I'm learning to bare the truth and come to terms with it.

9. When I was 19, I wanted to be one of the nicest people you'd ever run into. People like to think I'm nice. I was NICE. I don't think I'm as nice today as I was a year ago. Actually, I'm probably four times meaner in general than I was a whole year ago. I used to think that by letting everyone have their way with me even if I didn't necessarily agree, that I was being nice. And then, I'd smack myself upon finding that I'm grumbling and complaining about why I agreed to this or that. How did I allow myself to grow so old and sour? This year, it's time to change that. In the course of this year, I've learned to discern the difference between being a nice person and being a floormat. This floormat has gotten old, dingy, weak, torn up and it's time to finally throw it away! FINALLY! This is year 23 of Karen's life and she is throwing old floormats and no longer buying any new ones!

10. Sometimes I just draw a blank. I like to act like I have all the answers, but I really don't. Not even half. I only know what these T W E N T Y - T H R E E years have brought to my life...and sometimes, I even have to struggle to retrieve and dust off the old cob-webbed archives shoved at the back of what we call memory. I've learned something important: It's perfectly okay not to know-it-all.

I didn't have overly-dramatic epiphanies and discoveries about myself. But I do believe that change did occur in my life. I don't routinely do this after every birthday, but now that I have, I have to say it's been quite cathartic and helpful. This exercise helped me be a little more objective with myself. I encourage anyone who's never tried it, during your birthday (or within close range of it) to reflect on the change(s) you experienced that year.

Monday, February 18, 2008

what's in your bag?

i was tagged by Eri to reveal what's inside my bag. i'm a schoolgirl so you'll find a lot of school related stuff here:

* INSPI(RED) journal
* Andrews mini-notebook/journal
* 2 Andrews folders
* Clear Word Bible
* Andrews 1-subject notebook
* Work/Travel Abroad brochure
* Time magazine
* Pencil case
* yellow highlighter
* 2 mechanical pencils
* Macroeconomics textbook
* Amish country magazine
* C.Bigelow lipgloss
* Carmex chapstick
* Stride Citrus gum
* my passport & case
* my red $3 faux LaCoste wallet
* random mail and bank statements
* yellow Starbucks water bottle (gotta stay hydrated!)
* 30Gb Photo iPod
* LG cellphone
* car keys
* bar of chocolate (bought it to support a fundraiser and has been sitting inside my bag for months now, i'm not a huge chocolate fan)

All inside this beautiful red leather shoulder bag. sometimes, I tote my Powerbook G4 in this bag too. it's all versatile! i use this bag for almost everything

ummm...i'm going to tag Ellen coz she hasn't revealed her contents yet, Tawny, and Matt's Park (you do carry a manpurse, so reveal it)! alright...GO!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Voice for the Uninsured

We all have a voice and a vote, make it count.
Visit the and sign the petition.