Thursday, February 5, 2015

Valentines Day, 2015, and Where I've Been

Valentines Day is just around the corner again and for the second year, it looks like I will have someone to actually spend it with. I'm now officially 2 for 22 years which is a solid record for my book, V-Days spent with hookups not withstanding. I've made reservations at the Kennedy Center and if things work out, dessert at Ted's Bulletin is on the agenda. I still don't know what I want to do in terms of a V-Day gift. I think I will make a card for him and see if my crafting skills are in any way near as good as my cooking skills.

Speaking of the BF, unfortunately he was sick earlier this week but since then he's gotten better. I made him a batch of matzah ball soup which I will like to imagine has amazing curative properties, but I'd probably bet my money on the Alka-Seltzer Cold Meds I got for him which kicks Tylenol's ass any day of the week. We've been together now for a few months north of a year, give or take a month or so, and things are going pretty smoothly overall. Yeah, we have out spats and he has his annoying habits, but knowing my own stubbornness and faults, I'd say we're even. He's a special guy and we've made it longer than almost all the other gay couples I know have gone, so three cheers to us and many more to come.

In other boyfriend news, we are.....get ready for this.....house hunting. Yup. He's going to be working in the DC area after he graduates school much like I am currently and we're looking  find a place together. I'm a big fan of Arlington and Court House while he is a huge fan of Dupont and being more down town, but that is a bridge we will have to cross when we get to it. I need to figure out my career path and where I want to go once I hit the one-year mark at my current job and if I want to stay or move to a new company at a new location.

Dupont: So Pretty, So Close to Cobalt, So Expensive....

So how is the job going? Well, it got better and worse in a few ways. Ever since I originally posted about my first real job a few months back in September (Holy Shit, that was September...), I've seen myself kick butt in every quarter I've been in my position. I've blown away all standard metrics and I push myself to reach my stretch goals as well. So by most measures, work has been going pretty well. So why did I say that things are also worse? Well, each passing day just makes me realize that I'm not learning or growing in the job I have. Sure, I can talk about tech like few can and the sales skills I have will probably be useful in some way, but I have hit a plateau in my own knowledge, and it sucks. I hit this plateau many months back. After training and everything concluded, I've applied the things I have known and the methodology I learned in a very cut-paste-repeat sort of way. Sure, sales can be rewarding and the money is definitely good, but there has never been a day where I was actually excited to go into work. I want to be thrilled. I want to wake up and be excited to see what the day has to offer. With each passing day, my enthusiasm wanes, and I've been running near empty for a while now. Probably by the end of the month, I will start looking around for what other options are out there.

So 2015: What's on the Agenda?



Well 2015 is off to a pretty docile start to be honest. Maybe it's because I graduated and "the real world" is inherently less exciting, or maybe it's just because I'm tired of a routine which I find draining and dull. That being said, with the prospect of a new job come June and moving in with the boyfriend, there are many big life changing events in the deck of cards.

I hope to travel this year at some point. Mom and I want to take a week on vacation at some point and a cruise is our go-to option. It would likely be towards Fall or late Summer, but I have zero objections.

So where have I been?

I don't think I mentioned this earlier, but I do hope you guys have been well. I've neglected this blog severely and all I can offer is a few explanations as to why.

1. Twitter - A while back I started getting more involved in Twitter and the convenience of quick, snippy posts and interacting with life minded people really appealed to me. I've made some pretty good friends off of Twitter actually even met a few of the people I met randomly on there in person too. A lot of what I originally funneled here now gets pushed there for convenience's sake.

2. I started a new lifestyle blog which has taken over most of my long-writing efforts and time. It's a cooking and food related blog which has become a pet project of mine. I hope it helps inspire new cooks to break out of their shells and see that cooking does not have to be a scary and confusing endeavor. Unfortunately it links to a number of my private accounts so I won't be linking it here. My apologies.

3. I've become more comfortable talking with my friends. My best friend Maria and I have become even closer in the last few months since I graduated and she moved away to attend law school. Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and if anything, our now 18 year friendship only got stronger after we both started on our new adventures. We talk as often as possible, recounting our successes, failures, happy moments, and our pains. We don't bottle things up as much from each other and that has helped me a lot in expressing what otherwise would wear at me.

Balancing all of these things, plus work, plus working out, plus making sure I still make time for my family and my friends has honestly been a struggle. I'm still finessing the balance as I type this and will likely will continue to do so for a while to come. As the handful of you guys who have followed this blog for a few years knows, I really like stability in my life, and uncertainty can throw me for a spin. Once I get my shit sorted, excuse me for the language, I will find a way to make sure I don't neglect things like this blog which I have so much invested so much time into over these past 6 years. I still read every comment, reply whenever appropriate, and catch up with the blogs I follow on here as well. I realized something as I was going through some of my old posts from back in high school earlier this week. For the few of you who still follow this blog and still take time out of your day to read the scribblings of some now 22 year old guy from Virginia whose graduation was chronicled twice in this blog, you have known me longer than many people who I call friends today.

In all honesty, you guys, as loose a connection and however many degrees away we are from each other, are people and friends who I have known and have seen me grow and mature (sorta) for years now. You have given me advice, provided me with support through my tough times, and for that, thank you.

I hope everyone who is reading this has a great weekend and a happy Valentines Day. Even if you are single, take time to treat yourself to a day of relaxation and fun with friends or even just enjoy time with yourself. Love your boyfriend, love your girlfriend, love your friends and family, and love yourself.

All the best,

JP

Monday, December 1, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Update

So it has been three months. I guess I have quite a lot to catch up on, eh?

Lots of things have happened: Halloween, Thanksgiving, getting myself a new car, the BF and I celebrated our one-year anniversary, and more. Plenty of stories to be told and plenty of embarassing and triumphant moments to recount.

While I don't know how many of you out in the blog world still check in on my little corner of the internet, I am working on another post that hopefully will be up in the next few days.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and I look forward to writing up an update soon. To all the people who have left comments and have been checking in on me, thank you. I really appreciate the support and feedback from the people on here.

All the best,

JP

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Hollow Men

"This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
This is the way the world ends
Not with a bang but a whimper."

Ends of The Hollow Men by T.S. Elliot

Some say it's one of the most quoted lines in all of poetry and possibly writing itself. It certainly is one of the most recognizable.

Those words have been applied to many a situation, and here I am doing the same.

When I last wrote, I was still caught in the euphoria that was preparing for my grand entry into the adult world. A land of milk and honey. Lavish corporate spending to make me, to make us, the new hires, feel special. Feel appreciated. Feel like we were the shiniest toys on the shelf of FAO Schwarz with dozens of doey eyed children pining for us. In the weeks since, things have changed. A mere week after I wrote that post, I returned home back East. I was excited. I was going to be joining my peers on the battlefront, courting clients, being the invincible warrior they made us believe we were.

I pined to be back East. The West coast was beautiful. It was fun, it was quirky. Sure, the people were slow and living in a hotel grew old, but now I yearn for those moments back. As much as I hated being in training all day with some questionable people in conference rooms with little real sunlight, it was engaging. It was interesting to learn. And as much as I did not recognize it as much then, it was fun.

Sitting in my cube all day makes me realize just star struck and manipulated my view can become. I lost touch with reality. The real world is not day after day of cater lunches, freshly made beds, clean wash cloths, and perfect 75 degree weather. It's hours on the phone, hours building hideously long excel spreadsheets, hours using software and tools you are told are amazing when in reality they make you angry half the time and work properly even less than that. Sure, the benefits are great and I nearly doubled the household income off the bat, but maybe I should have made sure I kept a hold on my expectations. Training is in no way realistic to the what actually happens on a day to day basis. I am not going to have brilliant conversations day in and day out. I will not have the luxury of having contacts and beautiful information to work with, bequeathed to me from my predecessor. Every day will be spent in the monotonous routine of figuring out what I want to do with limited direction and people who I can almost never reach even if they tell me to call them at any time.

I charged into the battlefield ready to take on the world. I hoped to dive into the fray with a bang, instead, I often find myself questioning and whimpering. Maybe I should have slowed down. Maybe I'm still stuck in the bottom bowl of the U-shaped culture shock curve. Not even three months in to my job and I already feel like I may have made a mistake.

I told myself  and others, "No, no, I like doing this stuff." I believed myself then. I genuinely did. But looking back, I have to think, did I just say that so much that I believed in my own lie? It's hard not to sound like a whiny brat when I'm complaining about a having a job when so many in my shoes are jobless. Thousands of college graduates would probably love to be where I am now - employed, meeting my metrics, and being so close to DC. But I always expected I would do more.

I want my career to be in a field and with me doing something that I love, and in the role I am in and in the industry I am in, that is not the case. Sure, there is plenty of room for career development in my company, and if and when I choose to change my line business, maybe it will all suddenly be better. But as of now, all I feel like I'm counting the days until I can move on to a my next adventure. I will kick ass at whatever job I'm at. The only thing that I fear more than failing others is failing myself. I set the bar high for myself because I know that's when I work best.

So maybe I will have to bite the bullet and go along with the cold routine at least until I reach the one year mark. Maybe then I can move to somewhere new. Maybe then I can find that job that clicks. And maybe then that job will also end up being not what I was hoping to do. I may go through three, five, hell, maybe even ten jobs before I find "the one," but one day I know I will find it.


And I will wake up happy and excited to go to work. 

-JP

Sunday, July 13, 2014

West Coast Best Coast, East Coast Beast Coast [Picture Post]

The last few weeks have seen me staying away from home for the longest period of time since I studied abroad in Denmark. Being in training in the San Francisco Bay area has definitely been an experience. Meeting people from across the US and seeing just how different people are has been thrilling, hilarious, and at times uncomfortable. While long days of sessions, role plays, and readings take their toll and drain you by the time they all end, I managed to find time to still enjoy what the city has to offer.

It had been many years since the last time I had been in San Francisco. I don't recall much in all honesty. I remember driving down Lombard Street with my dad, exploring Chinatown, and being tired constantly from the endless long hills. If I'm going to be in this area for as long as I am, I decided I would do everything right this time.

Here are a few of the things I've been up to the last few weeks:


I met up withMs. X's boyfriend and he was genrous enough to take me around San Francisco and show me some of the beautiful neighborhoods in the city. While the hills are a pain to climb, they defnitely lend themselves to some amazing skylines. 


San Francisco Pride was somewhat of a letdown. I attended DC's pride with my boyfriend and a few other people and that was a blast. Beads and giveaways were being thrown everywhere, people were cheering and excited, and it was a great 4 hours. San Francisco's was also fun, but at 5.5 hours, it defintely felt like it dragged on. Also, I got ZERO beads or cool giveaways. Madness!


Over July 4th Weekend, my boyfriend came to visit. As he had never even stepped foot outside of an airport in California before, I tried to plan everything possible into the time he was here. That meant crash course San Francisco and lots of walking. One thing we did? A ferry cruise around the bay, under the Golden Gate, and around Alcatraz. Tickets onto the island were sold out so I tried to get the next best thing.



If you're going to sail under the bridge, you better believe you're also going to walk on it. We walked/hiked the Presidio area of San Francisco and then walked out onto the bridge. It was a beautiful view, even with the light fog.


A few weeks ago, they closed off Lombard Street to all non-resident traffic. Now it's a pedestrian attraction. Getting up there is a workout for your quads and glutes, but it was worth going up and down the famous winding road. Dodging photo bombing other tourists' pictures was less fun. Many selfies were taken.


Of course you have to go to Fisherman's Wharf if you plan on visiting the city. I took him to a nice steakhouse instead of getting dungeness crab though. I don't think he minded. 



After the BF left, I went to a SF Giants game against the Oakland Athletics with some of my coworkers. We (SF Giants) handily won. It was my first major league baseball game and it was well worth it. I don't know if I will go to another game on my own accord anytime soon, but I can at least sorta see the appeal now.

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San Francisco is a beautiful city with lots to offer. I've taken it its wonder, it's food, it's people, and it's culture. That all being said, I'm ready to start going back home. I have less than one week before I fly back east to Virginia and start working. While the constantly sunny days, mild temperatures, and low humidity have their appeal, I miss the bustle. I miss my dog. I miss my friends. I miss driving. I miss my boyfriend. All of this and many more. I've loved my time here, don't get me wrong, but I don't think I could ever call the West Coast my home. People may say the West Coast is the best coast, but we all the it's all East Coast, Beast Coast.

All the best,

JP

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Adult Life Part 1: Pre and Post Grad Life, Coming Out, and Training

People don't tell you just how quickly the last month of your college experience moves. Since my last post, I've attended Senior Ball, graduated, came out to my mom's side of the family, and started my first (real) job.

Senior Ball: I knew that if I ever wanted to relive a prom night like experience again in my life, this would likely be one of the last chanced I would have to do so. Naturally, I asked out two people to Senior ball - my boyfriend and my mom. Senior ball isn't a true "prom" but more of a last hurrah with friends, family, tuxedos, ball gowns, and over a dozen open bars. The venue was massive, the variety of music impressive, and meeting everyone's parents was a surreal and fun experience. In a cheesy move, I got boutonnieres for my boyfriend and I to wear. That more than cemented the "Jeez, this is prom" idea for him but we got complimented on them the entire night so point for me.

Graduation: The day after senior ball was graduation. It was a truly beautiful yet bittersweet feeling. The playing of pomp and circumstance, standing in long rows in our black gowns, the flash of hundreds of cameras as we walked to the front of the crowd to our seats and then across the stage to meet the school President and receive symbolic "diploma" (plot twist - it's just paper with a ribbon. Your real diploma is too fancy to roll up like that.). There was a keynote speaker who was decent but didn't say anything out of the ordinary but no hat throwing or beach balls being volleyed around like my last HS graduation. In reality, it was a much more somber and reserved experience. That being said, the fact that I was done with my college career didn't hit me until I received that large diploma in my hand. It was in a large white envelope, unwieldy, and was made with some of the thickest grade paper I've ever held. I'm sure I will have a nice frame for it one day. Until then, it shall remain safe and sound in 

Coming Out: So I didn't personally come out to my mom's side of the family. In reality, one of my cousins did the grunt work for me by telling my aunt and explained to her that I was the same person as I ever was and that I did nothing wrong. My boyfriend was by my side the entire post-graduation reception and none of my family members knew then who he was (I think they thought he was just a friend). Since then though, my entire family on my mom's side has since been told that I was dating a guy and I'm happy to report that nothing has changed. Everyone seems to like the BF and this past summer, he's come over to my house for dinner at least twice a week.

See that? I have one now. (Ewww....adulthood)

Work: Much like how graduation snuck up on me, so did work. I began with a week of training at my office and I am currently in training on the West coast for about a month. The process has taken some time to adjust to but I think I have finally gotten more accustomed to it. Training is every day like a normal work day. We're learning about the company, what we will be doing, the industry we're in, etc. People from offices across the US and from a number of prestigious schools have all come to train together and it's been interesting to see the different personality types each group has developed. Since I began work, I have become very tight with the people from my office. I still have many more weeks to go but so far I've enjoyed my time here.

Before I flew west, I did spend one more weekend with the BF up with his family in New York. It was his niece's 2nd birthday and one of his cousin's graduation party. It was nice being able to meet his family mostly because they're a very diverse bunch with some memorable personalities (in a good way). 

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So I guess things are starting to become even more real now. I have a salary, I have benefits, I'll have my own workspace, I have many new suits now. I'm still unsure about how I feel about it. I don't know just how real I want things to be quite yet. 

I hope things are going well in your neck of the woods.

All the best,

JP