My Own Best Friend

It’s not something I do normally, get deep and philosophical on this blog. Sure, sometimes I agonize over sort-of-big decisions (like, “should I get a new apartment?“) but things like that don’t mean much in the long run.

Yesterday’s pot on Girl’s Gone Child entitled “Be Your Own Best Friend” really inspired me. I’ve spent a lot of time in the past couple years thinking about what it means to befriend yourself. I distinctly remember sitting at work two years ago reading an article about bullying and realizing that for my formative years, I was my own worst bully.

Your skin is a disaster. You’re not creative enough. You are only a “second-string” friend. Your teachers probably don’t even remember who you are. Your taste in music isn’t cutting-edge enough. You don’t care about the world’s problems enough.

I don’t really remember when I came up with the title for my blog, My Friend Staci, and for a long time I’ve gone back and forth between thinking it’s brilliant (when other people use the title when talking about me/the blog, it’s brilliant) or stupid (it’s a bit clunky, and when I talk about it or refer to it, it’s kind of awkward). Β In a moment of clarity I realized, though, that I can and should be my own friend, and while it doesn’t make it any less awkward to have my own name in my blog title, I’ve decided that I do like it after all.

What do you do for your friends? Support them, encourage them, compliment them, give them advice, spend time with them… shouldn’t these be things we do for ourselves regularly as part of our self-care?

Your sales numbers were really good today. I think that recipe you tried from Bon Appetit will turn out better next time. I like your shoes. Go ahead and stay in on Friday night, you could use the rest. You have good taste in books.Β You look nice today.

When you think about it… is my blog really me? In some ways, yes, but in other ways, no. I share my home here, when my camera cooperates. I share things I’m into, and what I’m thinking. If you follow me on social media you get even more tidbits; I love sharing pictures on instagram or thoughts on twitter. What you don’t see is the mess in my bedroom closet (it’s like a game of Tetris in there) unless I decide to let you see it. You don’t see how many stalemates my husband and I get into about who took the dog down three flights of stairs last time… and therefore who should take the dog out at 2 am. You don’t see my missteps unless I want you to. So my blog is my best me.

Sometimes I feel like there are two of me–the optimist and the pessimist. It has taken years of practice to let the optimist win out the majority of the time. The pessimist is still there but I’m learning that she keeps me realistic but doesn’t have to hold me back. The optimist is My Friend, who encourages me to keep going even though I only blog once a week these days. Who knows that tech issues are annoying but I should just keep pushing through anyway, and who reminds me to take a personal day when I have a blog post I “need” to be working Β on but I just worked five long days on my feet at my retail job.

I hope this post resonates with a few of you. At some point, I felt like I was just rambling, and this little essay of sorts does not in any way fit the “beginning, middle, end” English class formula. It’s more like beginning, middle, and ellipsis…..

I like to try to be, whenever possible, My Friend, Staci.Β Have any thoughts? Are you a friend of yourself or a bully to yourself?

Introspection on a Friday

Has it been two weeks since I last posted? Work has been keeping me very busy. It’s chilly days that make me more thoughtful… so here are some thoughts.Β 

In late July I went from a schedule of 15-25 hours a week at work, to (suddenly) a solid 40 hours a week. 40 hours a week sounds like “the dream” to many who (like myself recently) are underemployed, but 40 hours a week in a retail environment is very taxing. I have to be just as upbeat, informative, and charming to a customer who walks through the door fifteen minutes into my shift, as I am to the very last person I help when my feet are aching eight hours later. I can’t close my office door to catch up on work or get a jump start on projects at home….

Here’s the thing though: I like my job.

A year ago, I sought a retail job because we had just moved into town and needed money to pay rent. Retail jobs aren’t hard to find as long as you have open availability. They’re willing to train on the job. I was coming from an office job that seemed more “grown up” and appropriate for a college grad, but really didn’t make me happy at all. My current job is at an up-scale shopping mall, which makes me put more effort into (gasp) actually wearing makeup to work and generally presenting myself to the public in a put-together manner. I get to talk to all kinds of interesting people all day long (even the weird or upset ones).Β I’ve learned so much about cookware and cooking tips from coworkers and customers. And I love my coworkers! I have fun joking with them even on hard and stressful days.Β 

I don’t see this job as a long-term plan, but the weird thing is that the year I’ve spent is longer than the time spent at my last two jobs. I got a promotion and I feel like I’m good at what I do! I hate that when I talk to my friends I’m so self-deprecating about my work. “It’s just retail.” Why do I feel the need to say that? Because I went to college? Because I’ve been out of college almost four years (say it isn’t so). I am keeping my mind open to new opportunities and now that I’m closer to 30 than I am to 20 I am thinking hard about a long-term plan. It’s just that I want to do so many things I can’t decide. Use this retail experience to open a business of my own? Try networking and join a smaller up and coming company? Or something more traditional…

I really miss blogging. I miss interacting with other bloggers, working on projects, and coming up with new and exciting content. I’d like to write freelance for other San Diego blogs — food or travel writing perhaps? I want to do so much more, but I’m so tired on a daily basis.Β 

I think I’ll get the balance figured out; after Christmas my hours should lessen. I am taking this opportunity to sock away money– so I am working towards one of my goals–buying a house/condo/whatever in maybe a year. Once my hours die down I’ll have more time to think about what I really want to do.Β 

Slow Down

Last week was this crazy, dissonant mixture of fast and slow. With my main blogging machine out of commission, it forced me to unplug, more or less, and focus on life around me. I had a light work schedule so I took the opportunity to piggyback on my sister’s spring break!

Remember Spring Break? Don’t you wish you were back in college?Β 

Anyway, I spent Monday and Tuesday up in my hometown of Temecula making major strides towards wedding preparedness with my sis and my mom. Then, Steph came down to San Diego to hang out and unwind a bit. Then, it was back to Temecula on Thursday to celebrate an early Easter and my dad’s birthday, then it was back to SD for two good work days. Being on the freeway that much (two round trips, an hour each direction) can make any week seem harried, I think.

This week, back to reality. Β I know I’m going to want to blog so I’m going to have to call around and get some quotes for a mac repair.Β For now, though I have my laptop and iPhone, and I shall press onward using what I’ve got!

CD Changer

Saturday, as I loaded my CD player’s five-disc changer, I remember feeling like that was a task that took forever! Then I snapped myself out of it. Ejecting 5 CDs and inserting 5 new ones must have taken two minutes– 120 seconds– tops. If I’m so rushed and harried that that seems like forever, I need to stop and smell the roses! I am surrounded by instant. I can listen to almost anything I want to on Spotify instantly. Our three-year streak sans microwave has ended since the apartment came with one installed. My iPhone can instantly Google any trivia tidbit that I need to know, anytime, anywhere.

What do I lose with each of these instances of instant gratification? Sound fidelity (I mean really. Nobody should listen to music on laptop speakers, ever). Nutrients (I still try not to microwave things, if I can help it). The pursuit of wondering and learning organically.

Siri, can you get me a couple synonyms for “slow down?”