Everything Happens for a Reason

I know it’s debatable, but that’s the motto I’ve lived by for quite a long time now, and for me, it has proven to be pretty foolproof.  I mean, no doubt that there are long bouts where I think to myself, “What is the lesson here?  How can I get anything beneficial out of this process/experience/struggle?”  But whenever I look back at these times, I always find the answer.

Just a couple months ago, I was on a mission of resurrection.  I was ready to dive head-first into my future, without really knowing what that was actually going to entail.  Specifically, I was desperately hunting for my ideal career path, one that would set off excitement and curiosity and dedication in every part of me.  Well unsurprisingly, this goal was a lot easier said than done.

While I did end up finding a focus fairly quickly, the attainment of it proved to be full of too-close close-calls, and near-celebrations met with disappointments.  I always thought I had a keen sixth-sense when it came to reading people, getting good vibes about situations, and feeling positive about an outcome considering the prior circumstances leading up to the result; but amid this process, I encountered successive unexpected letdowns, whether it was pure unresponsiveness or plain old rejection.  Just when I thought my searching stresses were about to cease and I was on the path towards professional success, I would get smacked in the face with personal defeat.

Of course, with all of these micro-focused imperfections, negativity began leaking out and permeating other orifices of the hours, days, and weeks, infiltrating elements that were going completely well, but became tainted by my search-for-a-calling fixation.

And then, it happened.

On a typical job-seeking afternoon, I came across an ad for a position that consisted of everything I desired in a potential role, and more.  After sending out my specifically thought-out application, I hoped for the best, expected the worst, and waited with bated breath (all at the same time) for a response.  Fortuitously, I endured less than three days of this triple action discomfort before hearing back from the Vice President of my dream-job, and we scheduled an interview date for a day soon after.  Following the long Labor Day weekend and an immediate additional meeting with the CEO, I was offered the position(!!!)

So now, I would like to formally introduce my(professional)self:

My name is Jenny Smith and I am the Marketing Coordinator for—

It’s a pleasure to meet you 🙂

Conclusion/lesson learned:  Sometimes it takes a little bit of patience and a lot of perseverance, but in the end, it’s all worth it.

*Smile Tip #8:* Being relatable to a potential employer is essential, and you appear so much less desirable with a stoic, lackluster demeanor.  By brightening up your appearance, the likelihood of scoring the position will increase tenfold, cause really, who wants to work with a Debbie downer (or Barry bummer)?

I’ll Give You a Megaphone…

Sometimes it’s the little things that make the biggest impact.  Have you ever been suffering from a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, and then just as it hits the apex of dreadfulness when your heavy Trader Joe’s bag bursts open at the bottom, and your groceries crash onto the pavement, a kind man comes over to help gather the mound, and suddenly everything seems okay?

We’ve all been there, and we all appreciate it when there’s some spark of hope to allay the bad, or even just blah, spells.  This is why I absolutely love Improv Everywhere’s “Say Something Nice” campaign.

Created as a part of Guggenheim Museum’s stillspotting nyc exhibition, “the project [that] takes the museum’s Architecture and Urban Studies programming out into the streets of the city’s five boroughs…using ‘stillspots,’ which are identified, created, or transformed by architects, artists, designers, composers, and philosophers into public tours, events, or installations.”

Though the hustle-and-bustle of city-living can be exciting, it can also take its toll on both sightseers and natives alike.  This particular crusade offers a small yet curious release from the typical hullabaloo, and if nothing more, gets people talking:

Side note: if anyone can tell what the little boy is saying from 1:44-1:51, please let me know.  That’s probably my favorite part just because it’s so funny and cute, but I keep replaying it and still for the life of me cannot make out his little yelp!

*Smile Tip #7:* You don’t need a megaphone to announce your message – if you pass a stranger on the street, someone in class, or a fellow employee that looks (or even doesn’t look) like they could use a little pick-me-up, shoot them a thoughtful compliment.  You’ll have them smiling in no time.

Resurrection

After exactly 3 years and 2 months, I’ve decided to breathe life back into this neglected little creation.  So much has happened since its inception, and with my newfound stimulation, now seems like the perfect time to find little bits of inspiration to further me (and others) on the path of growth and discovery.

I guess this entry calls for a little update; an official introduction, even.  When I first approached the idea of having some sort of online written identity, I was an aspiring magazine editor.  I was obsessed with the idea of one day having a byline in an Oprah’s magazine (or the likes of), and thanks to tons of networking within the field and various internship experiences, I was on an effective path to one day reaching my goal.  However, somewhere along the way—okay, I can pretty much pinpoint that it was between the time I graduated and the time I met my now roomie/boyfriend of 3+ years a few weeks later,  my path sort of took a detour.  I fell out of dreams of freelancing from my bedroom and fell into concocting fun flavor twists for bejeweled walls of frozen yogurt.

Yes, self-serve fro-yo shops became the center of my existence.  I mean, it was pretty perfect – I got to cut up deliciously fresh fruit all day, be around some ridiculously awesome people, and delay growing up for little while more.  Really, I wouldn’t take any of it back for the world.  Though, after three years of being in food management, and even considering the idea of birthing my own “Simple Sweetness for the Soul” yogurt shop, I realized I was finally ready to dig back into my bag of passions and move on.

Actually, that’s been the trend for a little bit now—in addition to acquiring a male sidekick, I have apparently developed the ability to become a world traveler—or even just a national wanderer.  I’ve moved more than halfway across the country from my comfortable little bubble in New Jersey, and after a semi-short stint near the Rocky Mountains, journeyed a bit back east, now residing in the Windy City.  I suppose I’ve really adapted to this whole “change”  thing fairly seamlessly, with only a handful of bumps and scrapes along the way (which, of course, is inevitable).

So what now?  I guess we shall soon find out.  I came back to this because it felt right, just like the search for happiness should be!  And now, being just a bit older and wiser (at least I’d like to think so), I’ll probably be adding a bit more dimension to the simplicity of this blog’s theme—while still keeping it filled with positivity and butterflies and flowers, naturally 😉

I look forward to the journey ahead, and hope you will join me!

*Smile Tip #3:* This might be TMI and slightly off-topic, but I am finally becoming accustomed to, and oddly sort of enjoying, my newly fitted mouthguard.  I’m a gum chewer – it helps me focus, though I realize it could be a not-so-great habit – so I’ve started substituting it with some daytime molded plastic clenching instead—I know, I told you it was weird.

Apparently I may grind my teeth while I’m asleep, according to the dentist I acquired while living in Boulder, which is why I had a succession of fillings (whose cost could have easily gone towards a used craigslist car, if I needed one), and he suggested I get a mouth guard to prevent my teeth from developing any more holes/grinding-related erosion that may happen overnight.  Just the idea of that freaks me out, since I literally have nightmares about my teeth falling out; so I invested in a really expensive plastic molding of my teeth, even though I thought the whole thing was kind of ridiculous (mind you, this is coming from a girl who never had to wear braces, or a retainer, or any sort of foreign metal in my mouth through my awkward pre-teen years).

It was super uncomfortable at first, and I really thought I didn’t even need it (wouldn’t the guy who sleeps next to me every night notice a funny noise coming from my side of the bed?  I mean, I know he’s practically a brick when he’s asleep, but still…).  Though, I was told it needed to be broken in like a new shoe, so I wore it around our Colorado home while reading, watching TV, and packing for our second move.  In between departing and settling more into or colorful Lincoln Square apartment, I took my first visit back to New Jersey since leaving in the winter.  It was then that my rigid mouth contraption had a little tune-up by my childhood dentist.  Soon after, it finally felt right, and I was hooked.

In conclusion, if you cherish your teeth as much as I do, make sure you see a dentist before a small problem gets significantly worse and much more exorbitantly priced.  Your smile is precious—make sure it stays brilliant and strong for a lifetime!

Embrace change

Change can be scary.  Yes, I know, I am stating the obvious, but for someone who thrives off of order and stability, this scariness is maximized to the nth degree (depending on my frame of mind on the chosen day and what subcategory the particular change falls under).

I will consciously admit that sometimes (okay, often times) my meticulousness can be overkill, but it provides a certain comfort, a safety, that nothing else can guarantee.  Any sort of diversion from the confines of the “known” creeps into the realm of the “unknown,” and that is where things begin to get nebulous.  If I had to choose between the clearest of clear-blue skies and a hazy, mysterious twilight, I’d pick the former any day.

Now don’t get me wrong, a little mystery can be fun, even exciting; though I prefer my fun and excitement in small quantities (boring much?).  Despite this obsession with certainty, I have recently been guilty of overdosing on the not-so-certain—but only because it just happens to be unavoidable.

I’m a graduate.  I have officially moved onto the next stage in life.  My life; my choice…but how do I choose?

On 43 Things a community-based site dedicated to making lists of goals and getting inspiration from others to find the best way to achieve them, 225 people want to “change” and only 2 people want to “stay the same.”  I know that going through change is very different than changing who we are, but the question is: doesn’t being in a state of flux eventually lead to this anyway?

That proposition is probably the scariest part of all.  I know myself to be who I am right now, this second.  Of course, over the years the Jen in me has gradually metamorphosed into more of a Jenny, and the girl behind the name will always continue to do so.  But being at this current juncture on the journey in this thing called life, I feel like I’m at my last bout of the cocoon stage, and soon enough, I’m going to be this colorful creature with wings, except I have nowhere in particular to fly.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    
      
Then I think to myself: embrace it—no expectations necessary, and suddenly, all (alright, maybe 75%) of the worries melt away.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          *Smile Tip #2:* “Change is the elixir of life.  Stating a simple truth, happiness is ours when we respond and adapt with enthusiasm to change when they appear.”