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Quality Over Quantity

So recently there have been some events in my life that have led me to ponder about friendships and those that I have and have had in the past. I was in a sorority in college, so I made loads of acquaintances, and also made some true friends, those “sisters for life” per say. Of course, now that I’m out in the real world, I’m also making some of those friends now, plus I had a few from high school. The difference that I’m finding is that, it is much harder to hang on to those friends from college. Even my old roommates are harder and harder to keep in touch with; and this idea defies all logic with all the ways we to communicate with one another.
Before I graduated, I could tell you everything you wanted to know about one of my friends. Her favorite color, what foods she loved, her love life, etc. I really thought that friendship was one that was going to last forever, we had become so close in such a short amount of time. Instead, what I found was that we had a harder time staying in touch when we weren’t living in the same city, let alone having chapter together once a week, and Starbucks at least that. It’s not like this friendship dropped off rapidly either. It was a slow end, eventually the daily texts turned into weekly, efforts to get together and hang out were depleting, and eventually all communication on her side just stopped. I would still do absolutely anything for her, including give her a piece of my liver if she needed it. Sadly, I don’t know if I could count on her to do the same, and that’s the worst part of this lost friendship. I’ve tried to keep everything good and somewhat the same despite the distance between us, but like all things, it is a two way street. One person can’t keep a friendship alive, no matter how hard they try.
Yet, there’s another girl, my Big sister from my sorority, who is still my best friend to this very day. She knows everything going on in my life, and I know the same in hers. We have Facetime wine nights to catch up and talk about anything and everything (the wine helps with the anything part). The bottom line, is that I know when my world crashes to the ground, I have this girl to turn to and I know while she can’t necessarily be right there since she’s in another state, she will drop everything to talk to me on the phone and help me through it. When she needs it, I will absolutely do the same for her. I’ll be there for you, since you’ve been there for me…Friends theme song says it all.
The point of all of this is that as we grow older, we come to realize that those quality friends we thought we had, my first example, were actually meant to be in the quantity list. What I mean by this, is that she is one of those acquaintances, of which I have many. On the other hand, my quality friends are few and far between. I can probably count them on one hand. These are the friends who call me to check in, who schedule time to come visit, and take valuable time out of their busy schedules to spend time and stay involved. Now, I’m not saying that the quantity friends are bad, they’re great to have for a big group night out, or to attend a social function with. However, they’re not that person that you’re going to call at 2 am and actually get a response from. They’re not the person that is going to take your phone call while they’re at a party, or who will ditch work to help you through a crisis; at least, not in my experience.

We all know how important our support system is to our success in life; it’s a basic psychological fact. I’m not saying that you should get rid of your quantity friends, I’m saying you shouldn’t try so hard to make them quality, when they clearly belong in the quantity group. I’m guilty of this, and all it results in is heartbreak for me. I honestly couldn’t tell you if they even realize what they’re doing or if they know where they lie in the grouping, and some I don’t think care at all. Hang on to those friends who care. Those who will read every single rough draft of your blog before you post it, or those who are willing to meet for a drink for an hour because you really just need a break from reality and want to spend time with a loving friend. Those are the friendships you truly need in your life. The others are just a bonus, those who are only around when the skies are sunny and when it’s convenient for them. 
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Dating Rules for an Old Soul

Over this past weekend, I had a realization when it comes to dating and romance. I am in the wrong time period. I mean it. I’m an old soul trapped in a 22 year old body. I need to live in the same time period that Elizabeth Bennet (one of my personal heroes) and Cinderella lived in. Now, yes I understand these are fictional characters, but I’m using them to help you guys realize what time frame I’m talking about. I mean the time when men courted women, not just dated.
Over the years, dating has taken on a whole new meaning, and quite frankly, I want us to revert back to the time when we were courted by men. Lately it seems like dating ultimately just leads to the guy trying to get the girl in bed. And when he fails, that relationship ends; sometimes that ends the minute he succeeds as well. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all relationships are purely physical, I’m just reporting what I’ve found and the luck I’ve had with guys. I’ve tried the dating scene that is modern dating, and I’ve found it just isn’t for me.
I want a first date to be more than going out to a club or meeting at a bar. I don’t want him to try to kiss me after the first date, he should wait a little longer. I also don’t want it to just be physical, I want a relationship on an emotional level. He should know me for me, and I should know him for him. All this physical stuff just gets in the way of actually knowing your partner. Hence, why I am an old soul living in the wrong time period. I want him to be nervous to take my hand, and not get physical quickly while dating. This also ties to my religious beliefs, but it also definitely ties to my love of Elizabeth’s time. Courting was so different. You would meet at a ball, maybe dance a few waltzes, and then talk. You were able to get to know one another without the distraction and pressure of wondering when he was going to make a move or if he was going to try to kiss you. Also, in this time period, men wanted to court to marry these women. Yes, marriage was used as a social ladder, but in my two examples, we see that marriage was also a tool for love. It could be that was just the fantastic imagination of the authors, I’m not sure, but I do know that is where I get my high expectations of romance.

In my last relationship, which I feel was a good learning experience; I sacrificed what I know I’m looking for in a relationship to try this modern dating. It wasn’t something that made me happy in the long run, and I hated that most of our conversations occurred through a text message rather than face to face. However, like I said, it was a good learning experience for me to know what I don’t want in a relationship. I’m looking for that old school love. Now, I may never find it, and if so, I guess that’s ok with me. Because I at least know that I won’t sacrifice my idea of romance for this modern day dating. Simply put, if he wants to treat me like a princess and respect me and my beliefs, then I will treat him like the prince charming he is and do the same. Dating shouldn’t be just about the physical aspects of having someone to make out with and sleep with. It should be about sharing your life with another person who understands and supports you. The other is just a bonus.

Wanderlust

Spring is in the air. Everyone is becoming “twitterpatted” (thanks Disney), schools are nearing the end of the semester, and summer vacations are looming. Now, whether you are able to go on a short weekend vacation or you’re one of the lucky ones who can take 9 days off to explore other areas, I highly encourage you to get out there and get away from your house.
Traveling is one of those experiences that no one can take away from you. You will always have the memories, the pictures, and those ticket stubs. But more than that, you will have the experience. This experience is that of meeting people from all over the world, seeing different cultures, and eating different foods. Again, you don’t necessarily have to spend thousands on this vacation, nor do you have to go all over the world. However, if you get the chance at European travel, I highly suggest it.
Two months ago, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel to Berlin, Germany for a few days. It was for five short days, and there was so much that I needed to see; the Berlin wall, the majestic cathedrals that littered this city, and some other beautiful sights. This city has so much history surrounding it, and was such a different culture. Even though it is a tourist destination, there were quite a few locals, and with that, there was also quite the language barrier. I never took German, I only know about five words, and they can’t even be strung together to make a logical sentence. My family was no better with German, so it was very different. Thankfully, most of the signs were in German and English, so navigating was a bit easier. Even with the language barrier, we were able to converse with different people around the city, and with the help of our fantastic hotel staff, we were able to easily get around the city and see everything we needed to.
While going to a country where your language is not the primary language spoken is scary, it’s also very thrilling in a good way. You are given the chance to pick up on different words, and to see a whole new culture, one you would never find in America, not even Epcot. It’s just not the same, sorry to break it to you.
Now, what can sometimes be scary is trying new food. And of course, this is another huge part of traveling. We don’t go to different countries to eat the same food that we can get at home. It’s another part of the experience! In the travel mindset, I even found myself trying new things, including duck. I’ve never had it before, but our first night in Germany, it was served at dinner. While I would have never dared to try duck in America, I was traveling, so in my mind it just made sense to try it. And I’ll be honest, it was one of the most delicious meals I’ve had. Same thing with the beer in Germany; their breweries are something of a legend. Once again, when in Germany…The beer was very different from anything I’ve had in America. It was one of those things that I will never find anything comparable unless I go back to Germany. And because of that, it made my travel bucket list. The food there was richer, and even items that I thought I knew, like au gratin potatoes, had a different, delicious spin in Germany.
More important than anything I listed above though, was the ability to see a brand new culture. I got to see people in their daily routines, heading off to work or out shopping with their families, living in this city that is foreign to me, but to them is home. Where everything takes on a new meaning, where driving is a little bit scary, but to others, is just a part of daily life. When traveling, you get to see a new side to even something as mundane as travelers on the bus on their way to work or heading home. It allows you to see and go a little deeper in your own life when you return home. Yes, you know this culture, you know these streets that you’re driving on, you know what’s around the corner. But returning home from travel allows you to really treasure the fact that you’re back in your home culture. You know what is going to be served at the restaurant you frequent, you know you generally don’t find ping pong tables in a park in your town. But you can see how your mundane life isn’t so mundane to those visiting. That your culture is so drastically different, and that while you feel it’s a part of every day life, there are others visiting who think your everyday commute is extremely relaxing, or that you live in paradise, where tropical drinks are served in coconuts, while they have never even seen a coconut in real life.

Traveling opens your mind to not only new cultures, but it also brings you closer to your home culture. So I challenge you, to travel. Save up, spend a week traveling around Europe. Each country has a different culture, from Germany to Italy. They all have different aspects, and different sights that make them special. Enjoy trying new foods, hearing new languages, and enjoy the fact that not everyone knows what you mean. Let it give you a new perspective on your life and on others. Allow the experience to fill you with a gratitude towards the place you call home, and allow you to see our differences, as well as our similarities. Even if you can’t go to Europe or another country, go out west, see the difference in lifestyle! You’ll be hard pressed to find Southern fried chicken in California, and enjoy that fact. Enjoy that their everyday aspects of life are very different from your own.

Snap Back

With the rise of social media, it is made easier each day to stay in touch with those we don’t see much. We have email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and, of course, Snapchat. Now, while these social media devices were originally created to bring us closer together, they are used in lieu of proper face-to-face communication. A great example of this is Snapchat. I know that I am a user of Snapchat, and reality is, I don’t use it to keep in touch with people from school or from my past. I use it to send goofy pictures to my close friends. Those friends that I could call up on my phone, or send a text to see in person. Rather than experiencing life, we are demonstrating our experiences to others, and ultimately missing out on life.
Now, the original purpose behind Snapchat, aside from the ability to sext and not have any evidence of that, you dirty minded people, was to send some cute spur of the moment picture to your friends. Instead, Snapchat is a carefully orchestrated device to send selfies or some crazy videos. I know I rarely get snaps from my friends of something cool they saw that they just had to share. Instead, it’s some mundane part of their life, like their morning coffee or a selfie while driving their car. Now, maybe your friends are adventurers who send you pictures of mountain ranges they climbed and gorgeous sunsets on the water. That’s not the case for the majority of us.
Don’t get me wrong, morning coffee is very important, for me it’s a lifeline to help me survive the day. However, it’s not something I need to send to people. I may not climb a mountain every day, but when I’m busy snapping selfies and my Starbucks order, I miss out on beautiful aspects of daily life. I may miss out on the beautiful bird that’s sitting on the tree next to me, or maybe I miss a random act of kindness from a stranger. And for what? A picture of my face. Not exactly an important thing.

If I get a snap from someone, I want it to be of that beautiful bird, or of that mountain that you climbed. I guess what I’m trying to say, is that while I love keeping in touch with friends and seeing that their Starbucks order matches mine (I’m talking to you, my Little), I’d much rather be living and experiencing life. My generation is seriously missing out on the important things because we have our phones in our faces. So I’m challenging myself and others, put the phone down and live. Say hi to a random stranger in the coffee shop, notice the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you. You may just find it’s even better than that cute selfie you just sent your crush.
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