So What Happened, Reverb 10?

I was really excited to start Reverb 10, but as December has moved along, the questions began to feel repetitive, or at least I felt like my answers would have been, and no one wants to beat a dead horse.  It’s just not as fun as beating a live one (or something, not really sure where this phrase came from).

The other night I was at my parents’ and looking through my mom’s camera.  Every time any of the kiddos are there she asks us how to get the pictures from the camera to the computer and every time we show her.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  So, needless to say, there were a lot of pictures on that camera.

Once it got just a few months back, I was like, “Oh, I remember that!  Oh yeah, and that time we did that thing!”

2010 was a long ass year.  It started with “and then I cried and ate a burrito” (that story comes tomorrow) and I think it will end with “and then I watched my college roommates pass out one by one.”  The moments that define it for me, I kind of laid out here and I have touched on other important things with other Reverb 10 posts, but there were so many little moments that have kind of left me already, which is why I was at a loss at the prompt about joy in the little moments.

I love having my blog and in 2011, I hope to include more of the in-between moments, not just the high-highs and the low-lows.  One of my 101 in 1001 things is to take pictures throughout and make a scrapbook at the end of the 1001 days.  That one is kind of a big fail for the first six months, so in 2011, I’m also going to try to take more pictures. 

With all my other resolutions, 2011 is going to be one busy year!  But first, in the next two days, I still have to work, run 14 miles, bake cookies, pack, clean, fly and party.  Might as well cram it all in and go out of 2010 in style!  Oh, and in 2011, I’m going to sleep…soooo excited, the holidays have worn me out!

When No One is Watching

Reverb 10, Day 25 Photo – a present to yourself.
Sift through all the photos of you from the past year. Choose one that best captures you; either who you are, or who you strive to be. Find the shot of you that is worth a thousand words. Share the image, who shot it, where, and what it best reveals about you.

My sister is the queen of candids.  She might have a future as a paparazzo because she has a knack for capturing truly awful moments (mid-chew, half-blink, disgusted look on my face because I am no doubt judging someone harshly at that exact moment). 

And then she puts every single picture she took on Facebook, even the pictures where right afterward she said, “oh, that’s not such a good one, let’s try again” and then she tries again and I end up tagged in two of essentially the same picture, one where I look constipated and another where I look excessively goofy because I’m trying TOO hard to make it not suck.  Untag, TYVM.

You know in the time-travel Harry Potter movie where future (or past, or whatever) Hermione says, “is that really what my hair looks like from the back?”  The good thing about my sister’s weird obsession is that she provides those moments for me.  Sometimes her happy trigger finger captures a genuine moment and I get all, “is that really what I look like when I’m unaware that anyone is focusing on me, let alone immortalizing this second of my life?”

This is my favorite one of those that she took this year.


The picture was taken on Thanksgiving Eve at a friend’s house.  He got a big group together for a bonfire.  In the cup? Spiked homemade cranberry cider.  Yum.

So why do I like it?  Why is it so me?

I’m surrounded by my closest friends.  I’m enjoying a beautiful Arizona fall night.  I’m listening to somebody tell a story and I’m obviously enthralled and amused.  I always have a fake smile in my back pocket in case I need it, but that is a genuine smile. 

That is the genuinely happy, relaxed and confident woman I want to be all the time.  I imagine if someone caught me off-guard on a regular day, the look on my face would be more of a frown, not because I’m bummed, but because that is the natural relaxed look of my face and I’m usually thinking, which combined, creates a not-so-inviting look, although a look that tend to invite total randos to tell me to smile (they get the fake one). 

The woman in the picture, though…she is friendly and fun and approachable.  She’s the best reflection of inner me I’ve seen all year.

The Turning Point

Reverb 10, Day 24 Everything’s OK.
What was the best moment that could serve as proof that everything is going to be alright? And how will you incorporate that discovery into the year ahead?

On a morning in early October, I felt overwhelmingly happy.  I’m not sure what it was specifically about that morning, mostly just everything.  It felt like things were coming together.  Everything I had been worrying about and upset over had been melting away since about August and I felt like everything was going to be okay.

I wrote one of my favorite posts that morning about just how annoyingly happy and thrilled with my life I was.  When I looked back at the date of that post a little later, I realized that on that fateful day, I met that guy.  The one I fell head over heels for. 

It’s so cliché to say that when you focus on yourself, when you’re comfortable with yourself, when you’re sending out good vibes AND of course when you stop looking, what you’ve been looking for finds you.  But, I kinda found out this year that it’s true.

I’m heading into 2011 focusing on myself, my priorities and my goals.  I’m ready to manifest even more happiness in my life and ready for whatever else comes with it.

Dear Mini-Me

Reverb 10, Day 21 Future Self.
Imagine yourself five years from now. What advice would you give your current self for the year ahead?

Are you ready girl?  It’s going to be a big year.

Pursue everything you want with reckless abandon and continue to amaze yourself.

Put yourself out there – in romantic and platonic relationships, career-wise and with anything that makes you a little uncomfortable.  You can handle it.

Write, write, write.

Take care of yourself.  Working out makes you feel good physically and emotionally.

Floss and take your vitamins.  I know you hate this ritual, but we both know it’s best to keep it up.

Take it easy on the alcohol, chocolate chip cookies and french fries.  You feel and look better without this crap in your system.  And while we’re on it, you don’t need all those chemicals packaged nicely in a can labeled Diet Coke either.  Your ass, skin and digestive system will thank you if you focus on the good stuff this year.

Appreciate and take care of your family.  Be supportive and flexible when it comes to your sister’s wedding.   

I know you want to have a serious boyfriend to take to her wedding.  This may or may not happen (don’t want to ruin the surprise!) but you’ll have a great time either way surrounded by loved ones.  And if you followed my earlier advice, you’ll look fabulous!

Don’t waste more than one date on a bad prospect.  If he’s not the man who is sitting here with you in five years, move on.  He really is an amazing man (and sexy!) and he’s out there making his way to you. It’s never going to happen if you have someone else parked in your boyfriend spot. 

You’re abstaining right now and you should keep that up for as long as you want to.  When you decide you’re ready again, use condoms, girl.  I don’t care how pretty his face is, you don’t know where his shame shame has been.

Another reckless behavior you need to ktfo:  texting while driving.

Don’t forget to take some down time to rejuvenate your spirit.  Life only gets crazier as you get older.  Be selfish while you can.

PLEASE contribute to your retirement fund!

Oh, and 26 is not old and neither is 27.  They’re great ages and lady, you are like a fine wine.

In Which Reverb 10 Makes Me Feel Like a Slacker

Reverb 10, Day 20  Beyond Avoidance What should you have done this year but didn’t because you were too scared, worried, unsure, busy or otherwise deterred from doing? (Bonus: Will you do it?)

Currently my back seat is full with a printer I need to drop off at Goodwill, toys I need to get to a Toys for Tots location ASAP and clothes, shoes and books that I’ve been meaning to clean out.  I have a basket full of magazines to read and too often my laundry piles up or I do a quick pick up instead of taking time to actually clean my house. Procrastination could be my middle name.

I’ve had “roll over 401(k) to a Roth IRA” on my to-do list for about two and a half years since I left my first job.  I actually attempted to do it on Friday to AVOID taking this avoidance into the new year with me, but found out that with my new job (at a financial services company), the regulations are something I was not expecting to have to deal with, so I put it off again. 

I visit the animal shelter more than I’d like to admit because I want to get a pet, but there are many things that have me avoiding it.  I’ve been avoiding getting a bike to run errands.  I’ve been avoiding volunteering.  Wow, way to bring me down and make me feel like a slacker, Reverb 1o! 

On the bright side, 2010 has felt like an accomplished year for me in terms of some big things I’ve been putting off and finally did – completing a race, taking a solo vacation, becoming a personal trainer (well, at least getting certified).  Creating my 101 list helped me focus on the things I’ve always wanted to do and gave me a time frame to help me stop putting them off for “someday.”

Next year, I’d like to be able to say I did all the little things and even more of the big.

Feel Your Feelings

Reverb 10, Day 19 Healing. What healed you this year? Was it sudden, or a drip-by-drip evolution? How would you like to be healed in 2011?

I’ve had a charmed life and no one likes the poor, little rich girl being all “woe is me” about her so-called hardships, but I learned my favorite lesson about emotions back in college when my roommate, another poor, little rich girl, was going through her parents’ divorce.  Her counselor told her that it was okay to feel her feelings. 

Why do women have to be reminded that it’s okay for them to have feelings, feel them, express them, work through them?  Whatever the reason, when I feel like my feelings aren’t valid or that my life has been too sheltered for me to be distressed, I just remind myself it’s okay to feel my feelings. 

I worked through some heartache and relationship and work baggage this year and I was healed in the little moments.  I found comfort in the rhythm of my runs.  I found comfort in slow rituals and taking time for myself.  I created and validated a ritual of staying in bed with my feelings if I wanted to, knowing it would heal whatever I was going through and the next day I’d get up, mental health a little more intact. 

I was healed by confronting some of the shadowy lurkers of my past and by just closing the door and walking away from others.  I got over some things in my past by jumping into new things, which is a good band-aid, but perhaps in 2011, I will work on actually healing them. 

I feel like I’m in a good place right now, but everyone has their days and everyone has things from the past that pop up and pinch them right in that spot that makes it hurt all over again.  When those days come up, I know that it’s okay to feel my feelings and work through them however is right for me.

When Try is Fitting

Reverb 10, Day 18 Try What do you want to try next year? Is there something you wanted to try in 2010? What happened when you did / didn’t go for it?

I don’t really like the word try, I like the word do.  I surprised myself by making a list last month of “things I want to try,” but try really was fitting of the things on this list because they’re things I think would be a fun/nice/good experience, but I’m aware they might be challenging and that I might not like them, either way I want to try them in 2011.

Be a yogini for a month. I’ve never been into yoga, but I’d like to try more than just one class every six months.  One month of practice may not make me like it anymore, but it would make me appreciate it and mixing up my workouts is not a bad thing.

Be a vegan for a month.  I was a vegetarian for about 10 years, now I only eat poultry and fish and it’s not out of the ordinary to go a week or so without meat at all, but I’ve never been a vegan.  I think it would be a good experience.

Zumba and Crossfit.  They are both just so all the rage.  It took me about a year of wanting to try spin before I worked up the balls to do it and found out I loved it.

Sleep for eight hours a night for a week.  Can’t see how I won’t love this, but it will take a concentrated effort to do it.

Unplug for a week. This one might be the most challenging AND rewarding.

As for something I wanted to try in 2010…

I wanted to try one more time with Mr. If-Only-He-Were-Right.  That ended up about as awesome as expected.  Not at all, that is.

I wanted to try to make bread pudding and it came out!

I wanted to try to make sangria.  Worst idea ever.  It was okay, the next day was not.

So I guess, despite my intial aversion to the prompt and the idea of trying, sometime it’s just fitting.

Lessons Lessen the Heartbreak

Reverb 10, Day 17 Lesson Learned What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

I’ve been avoiding writing about this guy, although I do still think about him more than I want to.  He even resurfaced over the weekend, with an innocent, friendly text that turned into a short, “this is SO completely normal” conversation, in which I got to be the one who left the last text unanswered. 

Could he see through that?  Did he know that meant it’s still so painful to talk to him, even via satellites (or whatever technology makes cell phones work that I obviously don’t understand)? Did he know that his text landed exactly one month post-breakup?  It almost seemed too timed, like he decided to give me a month and then raise his little white flag to feel it out, but I’m pretty sure guys don’t actually think about that kind of stuff.  But, if he was feeling it out, I hope he got his answer.  TOO SOON.  Which might always be the answer.

Anyway, that’s not REALLY what my response to today’s prompt is about.  It’s about what I learned about myself from the whole experience.  Ironically, I almost wrote about it yesterday, about how he changed my perspective on dating, but I didn’t want to write about him because I’d been doing so well.  And now here we are.

This year, I learned that I can go all in.  I thought that was for fools, but, this time, this fool rushed in.  And it was fun. I learned that anything BUT something that gets me excited enough to act like that kind of a fool early on is not worth it. 

I learned that being true to myself in relationships works out best and leaves no what ifs (yes, perhaps I’m a little stunted, but better late than never).  I learned that awesome me attracts the quality of guy that I deserve better than half-awesome-trying-to-be-myself-only-in-a-smaller-box me anyway. 

I learned that there are some things I won’t sacrifice and that I can’t change my values any more than a man can change his. 

Finally, I regained my belief that eventually everything I’ve been looking for will find his way into my life and when the time is right, I will be everything to him as well.

I’m definitely ready to take these lessons, which have formed my new outlook on dating, into the new year with me.

The Friendship that Almost Wasn’t

Reverb 10, Day 16 Friendship. How has a friend changed you or your perspective on the world this year? Was this change gradual, or a sudden burst?

One of my 101 goals was to make a new, good friend, the idea being that it’s kind of difficult at this young professional  stage of life.  I was surprised by how quickly I crossed that one off and the number of people I’ve grown close to this year.

One of those friendships did not start well.  In 2009, my good friend’s girlfriend, Kanga, came to visit him for a week in the summer.  They had been dating a while, but I’d never met her since she lived in a different state.  I had met his last girlfriend, however, and on that visit I called Kanga by the ex’s name.  To her face.  Nobody likes that.  I thought she would always think of me as “that girl who called me that bitch’s name,” but in January she moved here and over happy hours, board game marathons and shared love of nail polish, we became friends. 


Kanga recently graduated college and is 22 and sometimes she acts like it and I think that’s why I like her.  Spending time with her is like being an outsider looking in at what I imagine I was like at that age.  She just moved away from her family, got her first apartment, landed her first real job, heck, she even bought a new Toyota when she drove her old car into the ground (yep, did that the summer after I graduated too). 

When I look at Kanga, I see the mix of excitement and apprehension that comes with those big changes.  I see the fierce determination of a woman who has declared herself an adult, although she’s unsure of what all that might mean. 

I see the innocence and bright-eyed, bushy-tailedness of a girl who hasn’t hit her quarterlife crisis.  Maybe she won’t, but I certainly did and now that I’m (maybe) on the other side of it, I see how far I’ve come. 

Through her/22-year-old Emjaye’s eyes, I see that people are truly good.  And, honestly, let’s remember that she’s 22, so I see the drama that I’m glad I no longer have in my life (because I’ve replaced it with OTHER drama, obviously).

I imagine Kanga might be better than the little sister I never had.  She doesn’t need anyone telling her what to expect and how to handle it (she’s a capable chick), maybe just a little guidance and a good listener, who every now and then will offer a , “yep, I totally understand, girl.”  As we continue in our friendship, I’ll enjoy watching her grow into herself as a twenty something, looking back down the path that I’m still on myself.

Five Minutes

Reverb 10, Day 15  5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

The feel of my little cousin’s hand in mine at my grandmother’s funeral.

Running in the rain post-break up.

A girls’ weekend on the beach, that included falling asleep to the sound of the ocean and waking up for a run on the sand.

Dancing at my best friend’s wedding.

Trying just ONE MORE TIME with the absolutely wrong guy, but having a great and crazy weekend in Las Vegas regardless.

Summer night kickball.

Camping with my growing family and being a part of my sister’s engagement story.

A lot of 2010 was spent on job search websites and reworking my resume. Getting a new job was worth all of it.

Stolen moments with TROUBLE.

A solo trip to the beach.

Falling for someone without even considering a safety net.

Hitting the ground.

Running my first 10K and getting race fever.

Slow dancing in a dive bar with someone who makes me smile.