I read these articles on the Daily Dish (here and here) and I’ve been thinking a lot about the post I was going to write in response to those.

I can definitely say that I fully agree with those articles. I believe friendship is the key to happiness– Yes, finding a romantic connection with someone for life is great, but if you’re lacking strong friendship connections, you will feel a lack of something in your life. A single romantic relationship is not enough to make you feel fulfilled or dynamic. Everyone needs more people in their life than their significant other.

Not only do I seek out new friends on a regular basis, I strive to be the best friend to people that I can. I have learned the value of friendship, especially as I went through my divorce, and want to be the kind of friend to people that I want them to be to me.

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had me make (or offer to make) food for you for a birthday, a new baby, a celebration for something awesome happening, to meet new people, to make new friends, for a holiday… or even heartache. Yeah, that’s most of the people I know. Food is definitely one of my “love languages,” which I don’t hear anyone complaining about 🙂

What that shows is that I want to be there for people in the most fundamental and connecting ways possible– over a shared meal. But a night of talking over drinks is also a great way to spend my time!

All of these thoughts I’ve been formulating in my head for this post came to a complete collapse today when I realized I had let down a friend in a pretty substantial way. Thankfully (OMG, am I thankful), no one was hurt or harmed, and my friend will probably never know what happened. But I let her down and I was on the verge of being labeled “the worst friend in the world.” As I was wiping tears from my eyes on my way to her house, I had an epiphany:

I really do value friendships over all other relationships. The verythought of letting down a friend was sending me into hysterics, but I’ve been in romantic relationships where I act cold and calloused about how my actions effect them. I (hopefully) never do that any more, but I know that the thought of an upset or angry friend makes me more anxious than the thought of an upset lover.

Maybe it has something to do with the fact that friendships are truly a choice. There’s a great quote that I have framed on my wall that says:

“Friendship is the only relationship that you have because you really want it, there’s nothing keeping you together other than that you want to be.” — Jean Theisen

Finding great friends is rare, and the idea of losing any of them makes me sad and anxious. As much as I’m a believer in fate, I have a harder time believing that any friend can be replaced, that they wont leave a giant hole if they ever weren’t part of my life in some capacity. For romantic relationships, it’s the ol’ “plenty of other fish” mentality that doesn’t have me so concerned. I think finding those friends who “just get you” is rarer and more precious than romantic relationships. So no wonder I value them so highly.

I’m always so thankful when I’m able to help and be there for friends in their moments of need. Yes, being there during the good times is great as well– don’t get me wrong– but it’s during the hard and difficult times that true friends show their true colors. And when I can be one of those friends who people can call when they need help, are in a bind, or need a shoulder to cry on, I love it. I know how refreshing it is to have those people in my life and comforting it is to have someone(s) in the world who isn’t blood related to you who will come to your aid at the drop of a hat.

So during this time when I am wishing I had a boyfriend, I sit back and marvel at the wonderful friends I have. I have the overwhelming honor of being in their lives, and I would hope they feel the same way about me.

Friends are so precious and I hope and pray I can continue to be the best kind of friend to everyone that I meet. I love you all!

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I spent my Saturday helping D with her graduation party, buying and making tacos to celebrate her graduation AND Cinco de Mayo! She’s now Dr. D with her PhD in physical therapy! CONGRATS, D 🙂

As I was sitting chatting with her various friends and family at the party, I started chatting with D’s sister and her husband. He is from Loveland, Colorado (not to be confused with the ski resort), which is only a few miles south of Fort Collins, and he was telling me about a scandal that happened at his high school with the football team.

Apparently the football players would spray their jerseys with PAM so no one could grip them to tackle them. As he was talking, I realized I’d heard that story before– straight from the source of one of the players who had done that… my ex, Voldemort.

Whenever I ask people if they know someone just because they went to the same high school, I hold little hope because I’m useless when it comes to other people asking me to play the the “do you know ___” game. I casually asked him if he knew “Voldemort” and his reply was “he was one of my best friends in high school!”

I then replied that he’s my ex!

He then told me “I friended him on facebook and found out he was getting divorced that week because he posted about having to go pick up the papers.” “Yup, that was me!” I exclaimed. I couldn’t believe it– someone else who knew Voldemort from a different time. Of course, they didn’t stay actual friends, but that didn’t surprise me in the least– Voldemort dumps friends faster than you can say “friends.” There was ONE person at our wedding that he invited who wasn’t related to him– because he didn’t have any friends from his past. (Major red flag #738 ignored!)

I then found out that he recently got married, which didn’t bother me at all. I’ve known Voldemort was engaged (and has been for a long time), so it was pretty inevitable that he would finally tie the knot. Now the clock has started to tick down until he does the exact same thing to this girl that he did to me. It’s his nature– it’s the way it continues to be modeled for him by his mom, so there’s no hope for redemption. I already pity the woman he just married…

It was quite the eventful graduation party! It also says a lot that finding out my ex got remarried didn’t bother me and I didn’t give it a second thought– except to tell all of you about it, of course. I’m always relieved that my heart has moved far past the hurt and pain that he caused me almost 3 years ago.

According to WordPress, this is my 100th post (including both private and public posts)! Thanks everyone for reading and commenting!

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Living in Denver increases one’s probability in owning a dog by about 537%… or so it seems. I think I know about 3 people who don’t own a dog (I count my BFF as having one because one of her cats acts like a dog).

In case you were wondering, I do not own a dog.

BUT…

I own a toad.

That’s right, a toad. Dogs and cats are WAY too high-maintenance.

Because of his dedication to me and ability to not die after a week (or more) without eating (because I’m neglectful), I want to tell you about him.

First off, I should expose my extreme lack of creativity and tell you his name: Mr. Toad. Completely original, I know.

This is pretty much what he looks like (minus the leaves– he lives in a plastic cage with moss):

(Source)

Mr. Toad has stuck by me through countless boyfriends, about a dozen of houses/apartments, a husband (who?), and even flaky friends.

He also seems to be the invincible toad. Christmas this past December marked his 7th birthday with me! (His friend, Pickles, only lasted about 3 years to give you some perspective).

I got him as a Christmas present from my mom to have in my dorm room– she claimed, rightly so, that fish were boring. Little did she know that this toad would still be around over 7 years later.

I am too busy and lack the desire to commit to taking care of a pet that has much more maintenance than Mr. Toad. I clean his cage every couple of weeks, add water when needed, and feed him LIVE crickets every few days. Best. Pet. Ever!

Most importantly, I don’t have to pet him, hold him, or interact with him physically for any reason.

And that’s the best arrangement for both of us. He clearly loathes being held (as has been shown by him leaping out of my hands and behind a small bookcase when I was in college… what a brat!)

If you ask any of my friends who have dogs (or dog-like cats), my tolerance for them is very low. I will pet them once (if at all) and then wash my hands immediately. Except for my friend E’s dog– that dog is awesome. But she’s also really old and extremely low maintenance, so she isn’t coming up to me every 30 seconds wanting to be petted and drooling all over me.

Anyway, Mr. Toad sits happily in his cage, untouched by my hands, and I just say “good morning” to him every day in what The Roommate has deemed my “Mr. Toad voice” and that’s about the extent of our interactions. When he has been fed, I’ll watch him leap at the crickets, but he gets distracted by me and even after all this time, still thinks I’m food…

I never said he was the smartest toad.

He’s the perfect pet for me and I strangely love him. I had a complete and utter meltdown when I thought I had accidentally killed him when I thought the cage lid had squashed him– yeah, that was not the birthday phone call my dad thought he was going to get. Thankfully he came away unharmed.Whew!

Mr. Toad has been through everything with me and is one of those constants that I know I take for granted. That strange, slimy, erratic toad is one great pet.

Plus, he’s way more interesting of a topic instead of being just like everyone else by owning a dog. So even more bonus points for him!

My favorite story to tell about Mr. Toad is this one:

I got him my freshman year of college and I lived with a sorority girl (who I’ll call Pi Phi for no reason whatsoever ;-)) who I did not really get along with. We coexisted– she and I werenothing alike. So one day I came back to the room after class and Pi Phi said to me, “your toad was barking.” I looked at her like she was insane. I thought she was hearing things, and just brushed off her weird comment.

That night, I was laying on my bed watching some tv show, with Mr. Toad in his cage behind my head on my desk, and I swore I heard the a chiwawa in the room across the hall barking up a storm. “Why do they have a dog in their room?” I thought to myself. And then it hit me. I slowly sat up and turned to look at Mr. Toad. There he was, head up, and making a faint barking noise. It sounded like a small dog barking behind a closed door. I laughed and laughed and when Pi Phi came back, I told her I finally believed her. So maybe she wasn’t as crazy as I thought. The End.

Oh, and if you ever call him a “frog” I just might punch you in the face. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

I love you, Mr. Toad. I just wish you didn’t eat live crickets–they’re really disgusting.

I fully plan on waking up that way in the morning! If only I could find someone like Marshall who would give me a tiara and breakfast in bed…

I have a birthday coming up (and when I say coming up, it’s not for another month…), and the weeks leading up to it always send me into more of an introspective state of mind– much more than any New Years eve ever has.

The “birthday resolution” that has been spinning around my head for a while is this:

Don’t continue to do something if it doesn’t make you happy.

This is especially important in regards to drinking wine 😉

Of course, having to do things like pay bills is non-negotiable, but otherwise, most things are up for discussion. I spent the last year of my life at a job I hated, I was in a relationship at the beginning of the year that I was bored out of my mind about, and I went running even though I dreaded it.

So instead of spending my time lamenting about things that are fully within my power to change, I just need to change them. As I’ve mentioned before, I thrive off change, so I took the initiative to change the things that were making me unhappy. I hated my job, so I started looking for a new one (my bosses beat me to the punch before I could quit), I ended the relationship with the bore, and I stopped going running– with every good intention of doing something else instead… still working on that one.

This “resolution” is especially important in regards to romantic relationships. I’ve dated a lot and have been unhappy/disappointed more times than not. So, this year is going to be not only about being happy in all aspects of my work and social life, but I fully intend for my romantic life to follow suit.

I already started to implement this “resolution” last year but I was not fully committed to it. So being intentional about choosing happiness and taking the risk to change the things to make that possible is what this “birthday resolution” is all about.

However, it does get awkward when the change that is required for my happiness relies on having to break things off with someone I’m dating– but in the end, it’s better for everyone. Yes, having to call a guy and say “I’m no longer interested in seeing you” is incredibly uncomfortable, but boy does it take the load off.

I’ve tried to do the teenager-maturity-level-approved method of just trying to ignore the guy and hope he gets the hint. It doesn’t work that way, and then I just spent my time being annoyed every time they’d try to contact me, frustrated they didn’t just go away. I’ve also had guys treat me that way, so I know how shitty it feels when you know you’re being ignored. That method doesn’t make it easier on anyone.

But the times I was up front about what I was thinking and (not) feeling, they took the news with grace and I haven’t heard from them again. No one likes getting broken up with, but when the other person is honest, at least there is closure and mutual understanding about where the relationship stands.

Relationships and change are scary. There are so many things that have kept me from embracing a new life– and with that, a new happiness. Since I’ve been single I’ve realized something: once I didn’t let those things stand in my way, I ended up so much happier than I could have imagined. The unknown is scary, but every time I’ve been brave enough to embrace the unknown (there’s not much more of an unsettling change as a divorce), I’ve ended up exponentially happier than I could have even begun to imagine.

And that’s the happiness I want to harness this year, and all my years to come. By doing things for myself and keeping my happiness my central focus, I know I will be more satisfied with life and will enjoy my life, friends, work, and beaus that much more.

I want to be happy and fulfilled and I will do the work to be that way. That is going to be my present to myself this year… Well, that and some super-cute boots!

(And how interesting! I wrote this post and then the very next blog I read was Britt’s post about this very thing: Go here to read her thoughts on choosing happiness.)

I started my new job this last week and it was so nice to get back into a routine. I’m excited to get back to work (not just because I need the money, but I was becoming one with my couch cushions), and I am really excited about the potential that my job has for my success in my job. It’s going to teach  me a lot and I’m going to be at the ground floor of implementing procedures that will be used for the company’s future. I’m highly organized (when it comes to data– my desk on the other hand…) so this kind of stuff really interests me.

But the best thing so far– my coworkers!

To say that my old job was “toxic” would be an understatement. The VP of land is the boss from hell and even though he really holds no seniority over any of the other management (or anyone not in the land department), everyone catered to his every whim and temper-tantrum. I had a couple of friends in the office, as well as some allies, but to say I enjoyed my job or where I worked would be a lie.

The breath of fresh air that my new coworkers bring is so incredibly rejuvenating, I can’t even begin to describe how amazing they are. I had to pick my jaw up off the floor after the simple act of one of the upper-management guys joining my other coworkers in taking me out to lunch on my first day. It’s small things like that which shows the true character of an office and people in general.

It’s a VERY small office, but everyone seems to get along and like working together. And that is so foreign to me– it’s taking me a while to get used to it. I never realized how closed off and stuffy my old office was until I started at my new job.

I’m now looking forward to going to work and seeing my coworkers (instead of counting it a good day if I only had to interact with the VP of land once that day).

This new chapter is going to be AMAZING!

Before I get into my love life, which is enough for a post itself, I have some excellent news:

I GOT A NEW JOB!

After being unemployed for a month and a half, I was offered a job at a start-up oil and gas company in Denver.

I am slightly hesitant to be at another small company– 6 people to be exact– because working at a  small company was what screwed me over. But even in my initial interview, I was told that they were trying to do something different.  The HR woman told me that they even get the input from everyone about new policies, just to make sure everyone has a voice and feels included. That’s a huge step up from my old company who didn’t even have a maternity-leave policy in place and made it up on the fly as soon as one of the young female employees got pregnant (and it’s one of the worst policies I’ve ever heard… big surprise).

I’m very excited about this opportunity, and I know I will learn a lot. The engineer at my old company, who I owe getting this job to because of his recommendation to the operations manager, told me there was so much more he wanted to teach me if I had been able to stay at my old job AND they had promoted me to a tech like I asked. So this will be a great opportunity to learn those things and increase my understanding and skill-set for the future.

I start on January 23. I can’t wait for that day to come– I am so tired of sitting at home on the couch!

It’s a new year, so new and great things are going to happen! It’s only January 10 and I already know this year is going to kick 2011’s ass.

In light and celebration of my new job, I will leave you with this video– possibly my favorite song ever. (Could there be a more appropriate song?)

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