Why people who order water with lemon are the worst and other minor (major) server inconveniences

I recently exited the service industry (hopefully for forever), which I have been employed in since I was 18 years old. I like to think that before all of my awful customers made me hate everyone that I was a moderately amicable person. Now, I am good at faking it when I have to and prefer the presence of animals to humans.

Anyway, servers live for complaining about their customers/jobs/coworkers/etc. Like if I can find someone who actually likes listening to all of the crap I have to say when I finish a serving shift (bonus if they agree with what I’m saying and will sit at some townie bar until close with me), I want them to be my new BFF. This blog is aimed specifically at complaining about customers because they are the worst.

Here is a list of annoying things customers do:

1. Get a table when their party is incomplete
When you say the entire party is present and they don’t arrive for 40 minutes, that delays your order for 40 minutes. The server whose time you just squandered could have had an entire table in and out in that amount of time. This means you cost them money. We come to work for the tips, not to wait for your rude family to arrive very late to a pre-arranged dinner that they definitely knew the time of beforehand.

2. Interrupting the server greeting
Me: “Hi, my name is-
Customer who clearly hasn’t been taught manners yet: “Diet coke light ice two limes”
Me: *obnoxiously fake smiles* “Absolutely! Be right back!”
HONESTLY WHO RAISED YOU?! In what realm of the universe did someone teach you that your time is so valued that you cannot muster the patience to allow someone to tell you hello, their name, that they will be your server for the evening, and maybe throw out some specials the restaurant is having for the day? Ugh.

3. Not acknowledging the server when they greet you/drop things off/ask questions/etc.
Eye contact goes a long way. So does the phrase “thank you”. I’m your server, not your servant. Pay attention to me.

4. Ordering “a water AND…”
I really don’t have an explanation for why this bothers me so much other than I don’t understand why you can’t just drink a single beverage. I guess if you drink the water, fine okay I’ll bring you several. I would honestly rather bring this person 17 refills than bring one water to a person that literally does not touch it (which tends to be the more common scenario). Also, this request is a million times worse with a large party. Please just don’t.

5. Ordering a water with lemon
Okay now I really don’t know why this one annoys me. It really doesn’t take much effort on my part to do this for you but I (and all servers everywhere) just hate it. Maybe it’s because I’m a judgmental little B when I’m serving (and most other times) but every time someone orders water with lemon, I want to squirt the lemon juice on their paper cut.

6. Forcing their children to order when they are terrified to talk to me
This makes both me and your child uncomfortable. I understand that you might be trying to teach your kid independence or whatever, but I don’t have time to try to coax them to utter the phrase “mac and cheese with applesauce” for five minutes. The lady at 211 needs her large side of ranch, extra butter, and diet coke no ice and she is staring through me right now.

7. Finishing 4 diet cokes before your salad even arrives
I’m sorry to break the news, but at a certain point your soda is no longer “diet”. This is one scenario where ordering a water AND a diet coke would be appropriate.

8. Getting mad at me for not IDing you when you are clearly old enough to consume alcohol
You and I both know you hit age 21 a decade ago. If it bothers you that much, try botox or something, idk.

9. Asking, “What’s the WiFi?”
There is no WiFi because we don’t want you to sit in the restaurant any longer than it takes you to eat your food/drink your drinks. This is a business, not a library. Talk to your friends while you’re out. Entertain your children. Watch the freakin’ TVs if you must. Just be present.

10. Not bothering to look at a menu/not being able to decide after 15 minutes of being seated
Didn’t you come here because you are hungry? It’s incredibly awkward for me to keep coming back to ask if you’re ready. Also, I assure you that if you accidentally (heaven forbid) choose the thing that you like second best, life will go on and you will be okay. If the hardest decision you make today is mashed potatoes or fries, your life is blissful.

11. Asking what the salad dressings are so I list off all 12 for you, then proceeding to ask me if we have balsamic vinaigrette and ending the conversation by ordering ranch.
If you were looking for something specific, just ask if we have it. Or you could consult the menu because that includes all of the available varieties of dressings as well and it is currently open in front of you.

12. Complaining to me about the menu prices
I am wearing a t-shirt that is full of grease/butter/ranch. Does it really look like I have any influence over the menu prices? Also thank you for warning me prior to even ordering that you will be leaving a maximum 12% tip. I hope you enjoy your mediocre service while I charm the table next to you because the children in the family are all wearing Apple watches.

13. Asking, “Does that cost extra?”
Yes, yes it does. You’re out. Everything costs extra. If $0.99 breaks the bank, McDonalds is right across the street. I suggest you go there next time.

14. Ordering something not on the menu
This covers two separate things:
A. Asking for a side that is clearly not on the list of sides.
If there are 14 sides listed and coleslaw isn’t one of them, guess what, we don’t have coleslaw. We also cannot whip some up quick for you. I know, I know I can’t believe we don’t have it either, it’s a disgrace.
B. Modifying an entree so much that is it no longer a recognizable menu item
If you are that picky or are allergic to butter/gluten/everything else that is good in the world, why are you out? When I put this order in I am going to have to sprint back to the kitchen to apologize for your obnoxious behavior and we literally just met. You’re welcome.

15. Asking me to turn the AC down because you’re cold
Again, I’m a server. I don’t get to make the decisions about the temperature of the restaurant. Sure, I can go ask my manager if he can do that for you, but I can assure you that he will say, “Tell them to f*** off,” or something of that variety, after which I will come back to your table to lie to you. “I let a manager know! He’s looking into it for you; the problem should be resolved shortly.”

16. Shaking your drink at me for a refill
I saw your drink was getting low, sir. Had you waited 90 seconds, I could have wowed you with my prompt delivery of a freshly poured iced tea with sugar on the side (because sweet tea is just too sweet for you), you could have praised me, and I would have pretended to be flattered by your compliment. But now you ruined our sweet exchange and I loathe you.

17. Snapping your fingers, pointing a single finger toward the ceiling and waving it, or grabbing any part of my body to catch my attention
This is just very rude. If you don’t understand why it’s rude, you probably partake in at least one of these actions. Stop it. Also, if you would have allowed me to introduce myself at the beginning of your dining experience or glanced up at me and away from your phone for six seconds, you could have heard me say my name or noticed my name tag. Both of these would give you something to call me (my name…) when you desperately need to flag me down.

18. Telling me everything is great when I check back on you and then complaining about the food to the manager
Please just tell me if there’s something wrong. That (surprisingly) doesn’t bother me at all. I actually want you to like your food and I can fix most of the issues.

19. Asking for one thing at a time so I have to run back and forth to your table nine times in a row
This one really grinds my gears. I have to get table 112 four sides of ranch, my managers are on my butt about not running enough food tonight, and table 131 just paid me with six, twenty dollar bills for six separate checks all totaling $10.64 and I somehow have to find change for all of them. I am always busy. Your table is not my only priority.

20. Letting your children run through the restaurant unattended
There are working people everywhere in a restaurant moving at top speed all of the time. If I trip over your child and spill coffee/drop a plate on his head, I really don’t think that’s my fault considering you decided to disregard the fact that this establishment isn’t a daycare.

21. Licking your plate clean (figuratively, people) and telling me, “Oh it was terrible.”
AWESOME JOKE I’VE NEVER HEARD THAT ONE BEFORE.

22. When I ask if you would like a box/dessert, telling me you’d like to take me to go/have me for dessert
My response: “No I’m sorry I’m not on the menu, would you like any dessert or a box?”
Seriously, isn’t this borderline sexual harassment? Do I look especially easy/desperate/pathetic today? I do not get paid enough to have to deal with comments like that and if it was meant as a joke, I prefer you telling me the meal was terrible. BYE.

23. Fighting over the bill in front of me
I’m way too awk to deal with this. If I don’t choose Carol, she will mean mug me until she leaves, but Carol also complained that her margarita was “too tequila-ey” and has the “may I speak to a manager” haircut. I DON’T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Please work this out outside of my presence.

24. Splitting the bill 47 different ways
Ever heard of VENMO? No? Search on app store, download, pay your friends that way. Thx.

25. Making the joke that I can pay the bill when I drop it off
About 4 years ago, I began telling customers that if I could afford to pay for their meal, I wouldn’t be working this job. Your joke is not original nor is it funny. I’m here to make money to save until the end of my shift when I have to spend my money on alcoholic beverages for myself because I deal with people like you all night long.

26. Tipping on the total AFTER the use of a coupon/gift card/manager discount
We provided service for all of the items you ordered. Unless the manager gave you a discount for “poor service”, a discounted check does not excuse you from tipping on the original bill, ever.

27. Tipping poorly
I’m not even going to bother going into this one because the people who disagree with tipping or feel entitled to not tip because I “chose this job” are ignorant and not worth the precious finger movements I would have to make to type a rebuttal to their (crappy/irrelevant) argument. Tip 20%.

28. Sitting in a restaurant that is clearly on a long wait any longer than 15 minutes after paying your bill.
You are legitimately taking money from a server by doing this unless you tip them for (taking up precious space) staying in their section. A server’s section does not get modified for campers who can’t take a hint. Please just move to the bar to continue your conversation.

29. Leaving their child’s mac and cheese/corn/applesauce ALL OVER THE TABLE
I don’t have kids for several reasons. One of those reasons is because they are disgusting and dirty. At least wipe it up with a napkin and place said napkin somewhere that I will not have to make physical contact with it.

30. Staying in a restaurant past close/coming in right before close
At the very least, order your food to go. We have lives/families/friends/second jobs too.

Thank you for reading. Now apply some of your new knowledge and be better customers please.

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Stronger

We’ve all heard the saying “distance makes the heart grow fonder” and when I began a long distance relationship, I tried my best to believe it. When your normal involves spending so much time together, it’s hard to know how to be apart from your significant other for extended periods of time. After a few months of being in a long distance relationship, I realized distance was not making my heart grow fonder at all.

Distance caused many arguments, fed my insecurities (I had a lot), and made me so lonely. For me, the beginning was the most difficult. I felt so sad and it took a long time for me to be okay with not seeing my boyfriend all of the time. I struggled finding an identity outside my relationship; it was like I had to be with David to feel whole. As I look back on this, I can see clearly how unhealthy this was and see the negative effects it had on both my relationship and self-esteem.

David and I were eventually able to grow separately while still growing together. While this may not be important for some couples, I believe it was very important for us because we are both independent people with strong personalities. Because I met David right when I started college, I never really experienced a life where I was alone and had to fend for myself. When I was able to figure out how to do that, my relationship became more about wanting to be with him than “needing” to be with him, which I consider an integral part of our relationship. We both pursued additional degrees after our bachelor degrees that allowed us to chase our goals separately while still being there to support each other from afar. With this, we made our own friends through work or school that shared our interests and allowed for meaningful relationships outside of our romantic one, another extremely important element in our relationship. I learned how to be okay being lonely sometimes. Eventually, being alone went from something I wanted to avoid to something I needed. I now enjoy the silence of my own company (and Sophie’s) rather than suffering from severe FOMO because of it.

Although I sort of just made 3.5 years of long distance seem super great, it wasn’t always bright and shiny. We had many arguments, many misunderstandings because a majority of our communication was through text message (talking on the phone or facetiming often is a waste of time for people like us when there is the option of texting that allows for multitasking), and missed each other all of the time. It was far from ideal, took a lot of getting used to, and really tested both of us.

Two months ago, we moved into our first apartment together (yay!). We’re still adjusting a little bit because everyone comes with their not so desirable habits (I don’t do dishes and I leave my things all over the place, oops), but it’s great to have your bestie double as your roomie (even if he takes up space in your bed). We finally get to do normal couple things like hitting happy hours, working out together (I’m obviously not going to have the ambition to go alone), and sometimes just enjoying each others’ silent company when we’re both tired and don’t feel like talking. It’s actually cool to be able to appreciate these small things because it wasn’t something we had the option of doing before. My life feels simple now and I know it’s because I feel safe and secure when I’m with David. I’d be okay on my own (because I’m a strong, independent woman, duh), but I 100% prefer life with him. Also, I must mention that any man who puts up with my crazy for as many years as he has deserves a medal. He’s a freakin’ saint.

 

“When two hearts are made for each other, no distance is too far, no time is too long, and no other love can break them apart.”

Leaving People Behind is a New Part of Life

I was talking with my friend awhile ago about how, in this new modern world where people move away from home more, we are constantly making new friends and then eventually leaving them behind. It’s nearly impossible to keep in contact with everyone you meet. For people like Myranda and I, this is difficult because when we spend our time investing in people, it’s hard to let them go.

For me, long distance friendships are more difficult because I only have a few close friends. I like those friends to be updated on my life and I want to know about theirs. Sometimes if I am noticing we aren’t talking a lot, my feelings get hurt. I’ve gotten better at not feeling this way throughout the years because I have realized that people, including myself, get busy. This has nothing to do with how much we care about each other. As long as my friends reach out to me sometimes, I know they’re my real friends.

But what about the people we meet who we don’t get to keep in touch with? I have several friends that I know I will never see again. Thanks to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, I’ll still get to see what they’re up to and wish them a happy birthday. But I won’t get to have late night drinks with them and just chat about whatever life has thrown at us that day, and that’s what gets me down. I get sad every time someone moves away or when I have to leave my friends behind.

As I’ve thought more about this, I am realizing how lucky I am to be sad to leave people behind. I have been fortunate enough to form meaningful relationships with so many different people who have made my life so much better. I really do believe that when you meet and get to know people, your eyes are opened a little bit wider. Because of the different people I have gotten to know over the years, I have become more tolerant of lifestyles different from my own, open to views that do not directly align with mine, and I’ve been humbled enough to realize how lucky I am to have the life I do. I’ve also had a lot more fun.

So although it is a sad part of life to have to move on and say goodbye to the people you have come to love, it’s truly a blessing. I am so thankful for all of the people that have ever made me sad to move on to a new place. After all, it’s the people you’re with and the relationships you have that make life meaningful.

I’ll miss you, Texas Roadhouse

In May of 2013, I began my serving job at Texas Roadhouse. I almost didn’t get hired because the manager thought I was too quiet for the environment of the restaurant. I was shy and timid and a terrible interviewee, and came dressed in business attire which the hiring manager quickly commented was unnecessary. His habit of commenting on my work attire has never faltered in the four years I’ve been working for him.

I was intimidated when I first started the job. The place was crazy busy and all of the girls I worked with were beautiful. I watched hours of YouTube makeup tutorials to learn how to do my makeup for a serving job because of those girls. The managers were loud, crazy, and a little scary, so I just tried to stay away from them unless I really needed their help for something.

I don’t think I really even spoke much to anyone for the first three months of the job. I came to work, made some money, did my closing jobs, and went home. This changed eventually. Turns out all those outwardly beautiful girls were equally as pretty on the inside. I made true college friends for the first time in my life; I finally had a group I fit in with. My new friends showed me it’s okay to just be myself. Turns out there are people in this world who appreciate endless sarcastic sass and can dish it right back to me.

In the countless hours of working together and drinks after work, I made strong connections with some of my coworkers. There’s really nothing like work friends. They understand you on a level some people just can’t. I’ve lived with a few coworkers and have loved them all. Waitresses are the best roommates ever. They’ll wash your hair for you if you have a bad hangover and have to make it to your double by noon (yes, noon is early sometimes) or do your dishes when you forget to for the millionth time. I also met my best friend in the whole world at Texas Roadhouse and for that I am forever grateful.

As the years have gone by, my first roadie friends have moved on to bigger and better things. There have been new roadies, but none will compare to the originals. As the staff changes, so does the restaurant, and I often miss how it used to be. But there is one thing that doesn’t change about this restaurant. We are a big (somewhat cult-ish) family. We work together, complain together, laugh together, party together, and most importantly, we are always there for each other to lean on.

Somewhere in my four years as a roadie, I’ve transformed from the shy, timid little girl who could barely last in an interview into a confident young woman. I can’t even put into words how different I feel about myself now than I did four years ago.

My service manager told me once that when I first started, he didn’t think I would last. Joke’s on you, TK. Roadie 4 lyfe.

Nursing Homes: The Opposite of Boring

These past two weeks, I was given the opportunity to partake in a clinical experience at a nursing home. My first thought about this experience was that it would be boring and gross and thank God it was just my three week experience. I honestly do not think I have ever been more wrong in my entire life.

Anyone who thinks “old people” are boring hasn’t given them the time of day. In my short time at this nursing home, I have talked to WWII veterans, mothers of 8 children, little old ladies with hip replacements, patients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, those who have suffered severe strokes, people with cancer, people receiving dialysis three times each week, and one who passed after I had only known her for 1 week. I have come to love these patients as if I have known them forever and have been anything but bored.

There is something so special about a person with a less than mediocre prognosis who is willing to come to therapy for 3 hours every single day. That’s comparable to 3 hours at the gym on three separate occasions for a regular, healthy, young person. There is no way you could drag my lazy butt to the gym three separate times each day. These patients work so hard, and they let us push them until they are exhausted because they simply want to be able to go home to their loved ones.

Watching the Victoria’s Secret fashion show couldn’t motivate me to go to the gym more than these patients do every single day.

Aside from the obvious work ethic of this population, there is such a positive vibe coming from each of the patients. Despite whatever situation they might be dealing with, they’re okay. If they’re unhappy, I wouldn’t know it because they don’t project their negativity onto anyone. That is so beautiful to me. In a generation full of  nothing but complaining, being with people like this everyday has 100% made me feel more whole.

Working at the nursing home has given me the same feeling I get when I am volunteering at the animal shelter. You get attached to people and you love them so much, and then they get better and they get to go home. This means you won’t see them anymore, and a selfish little part of you wishes they were staying so you could continue to see them everyday. But they’re so excited to leave, and that makes you so happy. It’s so weird to be so sad and happy at the same time, but I want this feeling forever.

There are also the patients who are “long term”, meaning they probably won’t get to go home. My heart aches for them. I wonder if they get daily visitors, if they like their roommate, if they like daytime television shows, what they like to read, if they’re sad or lonely, if they get the snacks they like, or if they have found a friend they can talk to at the nursing home.

I have found that working in a nursing home may not challenge my skills as a clinician in the ways I originally thought I wanted to be challenged. I will not need to think of high level exercises, because standing up and sitting down five times in a row will exhaust my patients. I can, however, be challenged in different ways. I can think of creative ways to gain compliance in patients with Alzheimer’s who are confused or being silly. I can think of ways to keep my patient with CHF awake and engaged during stretches that need to be done but put him right to sleep because he is constantly exhausted. I can really listen to what my patients are saying so I have something besides myself and the weather to talk about each day they come into therapy. I can think of ways to challenge reluctant patients so they don’t realize they’re being challenged. As long as I don’t become complacent, I won’t be bored a single day in my life.

At the end of my clinical rotations, I will only be a PTA. I won’t be able to do everything I want to be able to do for every single patient, but I can assure you that I will do my best every single day to help these people feel whole, happy, and as independent as they can be.

 

“The closest thing to being cared for is to care for someone else.”

Home: Where My Heart Is, But Not Where I Belong

Returning to my hometown is always bittersweet for me. Whenever I come home, I instantly become nostalgic. It really is something to be able to have memories all over a town so no matter where you’re driving, something from the past comes to mind. I love it and I also hate it. I love my little town, but it is suffocating at times.

One aspect of home I will never tire of is my friends and their families. I have a few truly amazing friends that I can go months without talking to and we can pick up right where we left off. Their parents still treat me like I’m their child too; I have a town full of moms and dads. I care about all of these people as much as I did when I saw them everyday, and love hearing how their lives have grown since we parted ways. I wish more than anything that I could have them around forever. They’re my lifelong friends who I know want nothing but the best for me, and I wouldn’t trade them for the world.

Of course my own family is something I miss more than anything on a daily basis. I wish I could live closer to my sister; she truly is my very best friend. I can see my parents and grandparents aging faster than I ever expected, and I long for more years with them. These few people are the gravity pulling me back home.

Every time I have to leave, I want to turn around and go back. I turn on country music for my entire three hour drive back to my new home and think about all of the people I am leaving behind, with my thoughts frequently accompanied by tears. The home-sickness usually lasts for a few days, then I can return my mind to reality. I often think about how this feeling is likely the reason I avoid returning often; I hate the sadness that surrounds me when I return to my apartment alone.

As much as I often wish I could move back and live the rest of my life there, I know I can’t. At home, everyone knows me as I used to be, and I feel like if I were to stay there forever, no one would be able to know the person I’ve become without the old me in the back of their minds. I can sometimes even feel myself becoming the girl I used to be when I am at home instead of the woman I have grown into, which is not something I want for myself.

I no longer feel myself in a small town, and I thrive in new places with new beginnings. I have a love for the ocean and sandy beaches that could not be satisfied by small town Minnesota. While my love for my home is immense, my love for adventure is larger. I know I cannot go back if I want to reach my full potential, even though the pull is so strong sometimes. So while a huge part of my heart will always be back in Chisago Lakes, MN, I won’t ever be able to be.

 

“You’re off to great places, today is your day. Your mountain is waiting, so get on your way.” – Dr. Seuss

Failure: My Greatest Blessing

In September 2013, I got the happiest news of my life. I had been accepted to the Doctor of Physical Therapy Program at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. It was, by far, the biggest accomplishment of my entire life. In May 2014, I began classes. I was tested, stressed beyond belief, and hit with the reality check that I just might not be able to do this. After summer classes, I was put on “academic probation”, which simply means I didn’t have the minimum 3.0 GPA required to continue in the program. I couldn’t believe myself; I had never received less than a “B” on anything in my entire life until this point. After midterms of fall semester, it was clear that while I was trying my hardest, there was no way I was going to get my GPA up to where it needed to be. In January 2015, I was dismissed from the program for not meeting the academic standards required. Although I knew it was coming, I still don’t even have the words to describe how I felt that day.

Two days later, I met a woman who is now one of my biggest role models, and my first words to her were, “Hi, I’m Shannon and I just got dismissed from PT school,” with a shaky voice and tear-filled eyes. I was embarrassed and ashamed of myself, yet she was somehow still able to make me feel comfortable and assured me that everything would be okay. That’s when I decided I wanted to be just like her someday.

Because of this woman, I was able to come into the PTA program as a transfer student in September 2015. After my first day of classes, I went home and cried because the material was so easy. I felt like I was wasting everything I had worked for. Again, I found myself disappointed because I had let myself down.

My classes are in the same building, on the same floor, as my old classes. I walk by my old professors, the ones who deemed me incompetent as a future physical therapist, and my old classmates on a daily basis. In the beginning, it was hard to look them in the eye.

But things got better. Material got harder, and my professors challenged me. The difference from grad school was, if I was wrong or had forgotten something, I wasn’t embarrassed. I just went home and studied more. I learned the material thoroughly, which is a skill I realized I had never learned until this point. In grad school, I was so afraid to make mistakes that I wasn’t even willing to try certain things. Now, I’m different. I’m more comfortable with myself and more importantly, I am confident in my abilities as a care provider. And I don’t care who I have to walk past in the hallway anymore.

My professors don’t know this, but they’re a huge reason I have succeeded in the program. They knew where I came from, and didn’t judge me because of it. They believe in my abilities, which is something I unfortunately didn’t have when I was in grad school. My classmates are also a huge part of my growth. I’m now in a program with people who aren’t even remotely alike. I’ve learned how to work with different people, and also that I actually really like people that are different from me. I am also fortunate enough to be in the program with my best friend, who I absolutely could not have gone through this without.

The most hurtful thing that happens often to me is people asking, “How are you doing…?” with evident pity in their eyes and/or voice. It’s as if I shouldn’t be happy where I am now.

Something I would like everyone to know is that while I will always be disappointed that I was unable to complete my doctorate degree because I expect better of myself, I am in no way unhappy with the way my life has turned out. I needed this experience to grow as an individual and I will be so much happier as a PTA than a PT, regardless of my salary or letters behind my name. I’ll still get to do what I love. I’ll get to work with people who were hopeless like I used to be and help them regain confidence in themselves again like someone did for me, and I don’t care what degree gets me there.

A year from now, I will be graduating from a technical college with an Associate’s degree after receiving my Bachelor’s degree three years earlier. The thing is, I will be so much more proud of myself for this degree than I was for the first one. And honestly, that’s really all that matters.

 

“Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.” – Sumner Redstone

Happy Birthday: Gone But Never Forgotten

Today marks the first birthday of a very important person in my life since her passing. It’s a special day, as February 29th only comes around once every four years. In a way, the day of her birth seems to me to be a symbol of her. This day is rare, as she was. Today is an extra blessing of the year, as she was in my life.

It is outside my literary capacity to explain how extraordinary this woman was. She was graceful, kind, full of laughter, understanding, and one of the best role models I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting. Her love for her family and children was insurmountable, and I can only hope to be half the mother and wife she was.

While my relationship with my own mother struggled, I always had her to talk to. We didn’t have a mother-daughter relationship, but we had one that was unique to just us and that made me feel safe. I trusted her. This is a big deal for me as I am unable to truly open up to many people. She always asked me how I was doing, and followed up on things she knew I had been struggling with. She actually listened, which I am finding to be a rare trait in people. When she passed, I felt like I lost one of my best friends.

The trait that struck me the most about this woman was her never-ending patience. While my time spent with her was limited, I never saw her show anger or annoyance toward anybody. As someone who struggles with this, I think of her often. Even in her absence, she helps shape me into a better woman.

Angie was seen as the glue that held her family together. I see her more as a foundation on which her family was built, as she helped make them stronger. They learned how to care for each other by watching her, and although she is no longer physically present, it is obvious she is with each member of her family every day. She facilitated strong bonds between the members of her family that continue to be just as strong as they were before her passing. I hope they all know that they do a wonderful job of letting her shine through them. It’s hard to see when you’re part of the family, but as an outsider I can see parts of her in each of them.

I think the hardest part about any death is the feeling that you didn’t get enough time with your loved one. That’s how I feel about her; I just didn’t have enough time to learn from her. I wanted to learn how to garden, how to cook, how to be gracious to children, how to be a strong woman, how to love the Lord above all else, and so much more. I wanted my children to have an amazing grandma like I do. I wanted to know more about her, but there just wasn’t enough time.

“When someone you love becomes a memory, the memory becomes a treasure.”

 

I had a really hard time writing this entry. It was hard for me to find the right words to get my message across and I am still not completely satisfied with the outcome. I hope I have done her some justice up in heaven. Love you, Angie.

Social media: An unfortunate impact on society

I have been noticing a trend in many (not all of) the people I’ve met in the recent years of my life. It’s an inability to hear, or genuinely listen to/care about what people are saying, because they are only concerned with what they’re going to respond with or how they can turn the conversation back to something about them. Everyone knows someone like this. It’s the person who will ask you how your day is going and respond to what you said with, “Oh I TOTALLY know what you mean, my day…” and then they go off about how fabulous/horrible/busy their day has been without even acknowledging you said anything about yours.

Sometimes, I wonder if this is just a trend of the era we live in. With social media being such a big deal now, everyone feels the need to post about their lives and show how amazing it is. Everything has somehow been made into a way to make a statement or show yourself in a positive light. The way you tell if people like you or if they like what you’re doing is by how many “likes” you can get on a status update or photo. What’s worse is how not having likes makes us question what we posted. “Was that sarcastic joke lame? Do people think I look ugly in that picture? Are people going to think I’m annoying if I post this?”

It’s pathetic really, how much social media rules our lives now. I heard on the radio (reliable source, I know) a few days ago that the average teenager spends roughly nine hours per day on social media sites. NINE HOURS. That’s 1/3 of the day spent comparing their lives to someone else’s or reading some post that really isn’t at all relevant to becoming a better human being or a useful member of society.

As cliche as this sounds, I’m #blessed social media wasn’t part of my childhood. I would have gone crazy, especially when I was in middle school and deeply concerned with the opinion others held of me. I instead spent my time reading books that helped me learn how to correctly punctuate this blog, unlike many people who have started blogs to share their “fabulous” lives by writing about their fashion and daily lives, as if anyone really wants to read that. Honestly, I cringe when I read half of them.

The biggest problem I see with the social media trends is people becoming self-absorbed, which brings us back to my first point. The internet has become a platform for people to share their opinions on anything and everything, which has potential to be a very positive quality. Only we aren’t really getting it. We are sharing our superficial opinions because we think everything we have to say is important and we think other people will agree with us. If we didn’t think people would agree, we wouldn’t post it because of our need for constant affirmation from others. We write about things that don’t matter, for people who don’t matter, to prove to ourselves that we matter. It doesn’t make sense, and it’s translating to our lives outside the internet. Self-love is important, but humility is too. We need to find a balance.

“Don’t use social media to impress people; use it to impact people.” -Dave Willis

 

Wanderlust: Not all those who wander are lost

It’s hard to explain to people why you sometimes feel like you need to just get away. Whether you’re running from something or simply need a break from reality, sometimes you just need to go. Whether it’s to a big city to get lost in the crowd or just your bedroom where you can find solitude, you need to be anywhere but where you feel stuck right now.

When I was 18 and believed I had my life together, I shook my head at people like the current me. How could they not know who they’re going to marry, where they are going to live, or what their career is going to be? How are they still in school? Why are they taking so many vacations when they should be saving money?

I have come to realize that life rarely goes according to plan, and I am very slowly accepting this fact. Before 2014, my life went pretty much exactly as I had planned it, with some minor road blocks here and there. In just two years, I was humbled and hit with a giant reality check, as my life had been one unexpected event after another.

In this time, I took any opportunity I had to grow as a person or experience life in a way I hadn’t before. I wandered, often not sure where I was going. I took trips I never would have before because, “I needed to save money.” I went out for two different college sports that I “didn’t have time for” when I was in school for my bachelor’s degree. I went downtown with people I wasn’t very close with and allowed myself to cultivate relationships that I was too self-conscious to explore before due to a fear of being disliked. When I took on these experiences, I had no idea what I was doing for myself. I was simply running, throwing myself at every opportunity I had because I didn’t know what else to do.

The most important lesson I have taken from this crazy chapter of my life is that although life hasn’t gone according to plan, I am not a failure. It took me a really long time to realize this, and it’s something I still struggle with. I might not be getting my doctorate degree, married with children, or in the exact job I want by the time I’m 30, but I can assure you that I am in no way unhappy with my life.

Wandering has allowed me to find parts of myself that have been missing. In the time I was “lost”, I asked myself many important questions that often went overlooked and was eventually able to be honest with myself and answer them. I think wandering may begin for someone because they feel lost, but it will ultimately lead to self-discovery, a feeling of peace, and a new sense of purpose. I’m still wandering through life, but I don’t feel lost anymore.

“The greatest challenge in life is discovering who you are. The second greatest is being happy with what you find.”