Monday, January 25, 2010

Hello there, neighbor.

Last week I discovered that one of my next door neighbors is my age. We both pulled into the parking lot at the same time, then got out of our cars and began to unlock our apartment doors in unison. I looked questioningly in her direction, wondering if I should say hello. At the same time, she looked questioningly at me, probably wondering whether she should say hello or get out her pepper spray. Our eyes met, but no sounds emerged from our mouths. We both stepped into our apartments at the same time.

That night I had a dream that, instead of scurrying nervously into my apartment after making eye contact, I introduced myself to my neighbor. We became good friends and even threw some parties together. I woke up determined that to officially meet my neighbor and to make a new friend.

This is actually a bigger task that you might think. I'm very shy and socially awkward. Not only does introducing myself to a stranger make me nervous, but I also can't figure out how to go about doing this. I've considered everything from just knocking on her door and saying hi to baking her brownies to hiding behind her car and jumping out and yelling "Surprise" the next time she walks by.

Finally, this morning, a legitimate, non-stalker opportunity arose. I was leaving my apartment as she was entering hers. I saw her walking toward her door as I turned to lock mine. At this point, I was both excited and terrified. "Here's my chance," I thought. And then, "Oh, crap. I actually have to SAY something!"

Fortunately, my desire to overcome my shyness beat out my desire to avoid being socially awkward and I managed to squeek out a small, "Hello" and a little eye contact. She said hello back, and rushed into her apartment.

I have spent much of the day pondering the look on her face at that moment. Was she angry? Annoyed? Or equally as terrfied? Is she opposed to being neighborly and friendly, or is she, too, terrified of social interactions?

I guess the only way to find out is to continue my attempts to be friendly. Now that I've said hello, what step should I take next? A note slipped under the door? A invitation to meet my rabbits?

Someone needs to explain to me how this whole "social interaction" thing actually works.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

On Happiness

Someone asked me the other day if I had any advice on how to be happy.

I just tried to write a post about what I've been doing lately that is making me happy, but I was soon stumped. I can't really put into words what's different about my life these days.

I'll keep thinking, though. Because whatever it is, I'd like to make sure it continues!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Room to Read

I stumbled across an organization this week called Room to Read. Their main goals are to develop libraries in poor countries where none exist, to increase literacy rates and provide education as a means for improving the lives of people in poverty, and to provide scholarships specifically for girls. Their mission reads:

We partner with local communities throughout the developing world to provide quality educational opportunities by establishing libraries, creating local language children's literature, constructing schools, and providing education to girls. We seek to intervene early in the lives of children in the belief that education empowers people to improve socioeconomic conditions for their families, communities, countries and future generations. Through the opportunities that only education can provide, we strive to break the cycle of poverty, one child at a time.

Wow!! Using reading to break the cycle of poverty? I WANT IN. I would LOVE to get a job with this organization, but their current openings are scarce so I'm checking out the volunteer opportunities and maybe I can work that into something bigger! Helping to build a library and teaching people to read and traveling to foreign countries (SOUTH AFRICA) sounds like a dream job.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sunday, January 17, 2010

WHY do we "put off until tomorrow what can be enjoyed today"?

"Carpe Diem? Maybe Tomorrow" by John Tierny, for the New York Times

When I first moved to Tucson I made a long list of things that I would like to do in Tucson (hiking, tourist attractions, landmarks, etc). I've been here a year and have barely made a dent in the list, depsite many of the ideas being free and easily accessible.

Recently I've realized that the reason for this is exactly what was described in this article: The belief that I have so much time to do these things and that there will always be a better time to do them.

The truth is, however, that I won't be living in Tucson forever and I don't have all the time in the world to experience what Tucson has to offer. If I want to complete the list, I need to start NOW.

The same can be said about the rest of my life. For years I've wanted to travel the world, to explore, to go on adventures. Like any human, I have goals: publishing a book, owning a hedgehog, getting a tattoo, and learning Spanish, for example. I have the ability to accomplish all of these, yet for some reason I continue to put them off.

I am the only one stopping myself from realizing my goals. It's TIME to save money to travel, to make the flight plans, to start having conversations with people in Spanish, and most importantly, to BE HAPPY. It's possible; I just need to get going.