Halloween: Penguin Style

I am not a huge Halloween person. Mostly because my biggest fear in life is mascots, and people in costumes very closely resemble mascots. And that is terrifying.

I can’t begin to explain the origin of this phobia, but it dates back to 1987 and an awkwardly forced photo with Captain Hook at Disney World. He (or maybe it was Mr. Smee?) scratched me. In hindsight, this was a total accident, but I’ve maintained an intense aversion to all things in costumes.

Anyway, Halloween and I don’t always mesh.

But…

This year I decided that if I bought any costume I wanted, overlooking the obscene prices, perhaps I’d have a better time. And you know what? It worked.

It turns out that when you dress as a penguin, there’s no way you’re having a bad night. No way. Because penguins are happy and they waddle and they’re from the Arctic tundra.

My penguin costume was the most comfortable, warm and (in my opinion) age-appropriate costume I’ve had in years. I refuse to wear anything that girls my age are supposed to wear – those that start with the adjectives sexy or naughty. The beauty of the situation is that I can fit into child-sized costumes, which dramatically broadens the selection of non-naughty apparel.

This is what it looks like when you’re almost 30 and dressed as a penguin, enjoying a dance party with your friends:

I win.

pretty damn good

I’m good at a lot of things. And at the top of the list is admitting when I’m at the end of my rope. Ready to throw the towel in. Nearing a cliff.

Friday was one of those days. Nothing went wrong, but everything felt challenging, demeaning or annoying. The frustrating things overpowered the wonderful ones and my patience joined the endangered species list.

But I suppose it’s days like this that build character, by pushing us forward, even when we’d rather have a tantrum.

It’s also on this kind of day that you can be completely turned around by another person’s positivity or circumstances.

In the midst of my pity party, I got an email from my dad that included the excerpt below. This was the perfect reminder that despite the small bumps in the road, life is friggin’ great. Beyond great. It’s incredible, and it’s a privilege to be along for the ride.

“As the world spins further and further out of control, I’ve been reminding myself to pause – at least once every day – to focus and reflect for a minute or two on the now. Regardless of what happens tomorrow, life right now is pretty damn good for me and I believe for you too…”

I love when reminders come at the perfect moment.

being vs. doing

The age-old question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?…gets a little awkward when you’re almost 30. I suppose it’s because by some standards, I already am a grown up – or at least – I’m something closely resembling one.

I think the millennial version of this question should be, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” This is much easier to answer, and I’m willing to bet that if you asked a handful of 20-somethings what their career aspirations were, you’d get some seriously halfhearted answers. But if you asked the same individuals what they wanted to do in life, you’d hear a more passionate chorus of responses.

Needless to say, we don’t always get to spend everyday doing what we love. And that’s ok – it’s life – and there are lots of way to make a full one that exist beyond the world of cubicles, outside of 8 to 5.

Being happy, really happy, means finding a way to do what you love. Whether it’s volunteering, reading, shopping or writing a blog.

One of my favorite writers has found her true calling doing what she loves, which she refers to as truth telling. As I’ve become addicted to her blog over the past year, I’ve started to understand that this is what I want, too. Nothing makes me happier than sharing, loving, crying and growing, and using those moments to forge connections with other people.

So, when I grow up? Not sure what I’ll be, but I know what I want to do. I want to do exactly what Glennon is doing. She’s started an inspiring revolution and I can’t imagine anything more fulfilling.

Her book, Carry on Warrior will be out soon. In the meantime, I seriously encourage every female reading this to read the excerpt  and put this on your to-read list.

I’m serious, you have five minutes. Read it. You’ll feel better.

the wave.

Sometimes I consider how funny it is that thousands of strangers can instantly become part of a synchronized effort at baseball games. Despite the fact that most of us avoid conversations – or even eye contact – with people we don’t know, when we’re all¬†together in a giant stadium, we have no qualms about participating in a strange ritual together.

The way I’ve always felt about doing the wave is a little like how I feel about getting older.

I was thinking about this today when I was with some of my closest friends, celebrating the upcoming birth of one’s first baby. As we painted her nursery and cooed over tiny baby clothes, I had to take a mental step back. How on earth are we old enough for this to be happening? It’s crazy to think that I’m nearing the age my parents were when I was born.

Day by day, nothing seems to change, but then all of a sudden – bang! We’re in our thirties. Getting married. Buying houses. Having babies. Building careers.

I vividly remember all the stages and adventures that brought us to this point, but it’s hard to step back and understand how it all happened so fast. I’m not sad about this – not a bit – I love how life keeps evolving. But it’s funny to think about how these dramatic shifts can creep quietly into our lives without warning to sweep us into a new phase of life.

It’s just like doing the wave.

When you first notice it’s happening, it’s still at a distance. It’s significant enough to catch your attention but far enough away not to cause alarm. When it gets closer, there may be some anxiety. Then suddenly – it’s upon you. You become swept up in the excitement, and before you know it, it’s past you. As it continues, you become accustomed to this strange act you’re performing, and start to relax. Something that initially seemed completely foreign, quickly becomes natural as it gains momentum and repeats.

And while I admit it’s a bit of a stretch in terms of analogies, this is how I can process the fact that if you told me five years ago that right now most of my friends would be married, having kids, living all over the country, etc, I might think it sounded totally crazy. But then again, if I’d never been to a baseball game, and you explained to to me that at some random point during the game, people would spontaneously begin standing and waving their arms in sequence, without words or planning, I would think it was just as insane.