Things Change, part 2

Four years later.

When I browse through my archives, I feel like I barely know the person who wrote those entries. I have a diary blog on Blogger I haven’t updated since December 2014, but keep around for the sake of looking back when I want to read my old stuff. I pity my younger self for a lot of the hopes and ideas she had, despite I had no way of knowing they’d become a disaster until they did. There have been a lot of changes, big and small. Of course, the one thing I want to change hasn’t and I’m not hopeful it will. But there are many things I couldn’t picture until they happened.

One of the biggest changes is my desire to own a house. On my diary blog, I mention wanting no less than a three-bedroom house, and no less than a five-bedroom house if I have a partner. I even entertained the thought of having a six-bedroom house! Much like my childhood dream of being a veterinarian sputtered out because I grew up to realize how much schooling is needed, my dream of owning a house died because I learned about mortgage, loans, household repairs, property taxes, and most annoyingly, HOAs. Actually, this opinion is seven years old, but at the time, I only knew about HOAs. I am not buying a house, only to be told what I can and can’t do with it! People argue renting is bad because “you’ll have nothing to show for it at the end of your life except a bunch of rent receipts”, but I don’t care about having “to show” for strangers. If how I live my life bothers you that much, that’s your problem. I’d rather not take out a loan for the sake having a boring house to show off either. If I buy a house, I should be able to do what I please with it. If HOAs make that impossible, home ownership isn’t worth it. And no, I wouldn’t care what the neighbors think. They wouldn’t be the ones paying the mortgage or living there. If I want to paint my house with rainbow polka-dots, there should be rainbow polka-dots on the outside paneling! No arguments! I wouldn’t paint my house with polka-dots, but the point is I should have that freedom.

So, yeah, I’m cool with renting for life. May as well with all the restrictions HOAs have.

Something funny I came across in one of my early 2015 posts is referring to my boyfriend as a friend, and insisting I won’t let any more relationships go beyond friend. I sure failed at that! In my defense, I had good reasons. Nevertheless, I have no regrets, but should we ever break up, I will not enter the dating world again. As I said in that linked post, dating sucks.

On my diary blog, I claimed I wouldn’t return to college if I had to take out loans, and when I did return to college, I wouldn’t study IT. Do I really need to say that proved to be a huge falsehood? It goes without saying! No regrets about that one being wrong either. I hate I have loans, but $12,000 is manageable. It was worth that certificate.

Above all, I think what makes me really different from the person started this blog and my old diary one is I don’t feel so hopeless anymore. Perhaps not here, but many of the diary posts and Tumblr posts are about how I constantly feel depressed, hopeless, and want to kill myself. I think that’s what’s really unrecognizable. Of course, I still have bad days and bad times, but I no longer wake up to wish I had died overnight. I travel when I need to, I work, I spend time with people I love when I can, I stay out late, I have money, and I now have a certificate. All of that probably makes a big difference.

Among the smaller changes: I gave up drawing to focus on writing because I never was passionate about the former, I’ve had Cities: Skylines for four years and don’t play it anymore, I don’t care for Pokemon anymore (I didn’t enjoy the Let’s Go games, and the price jump from $40 to $60 didn’t help; I like Pokemon, but the games aren’t worth $60, and I don’t like the eighth generation starters either, meaning the last generation I liked was the seventh), and I refuse to allow my retail job to take over my life anymore. Maybe that last one isn’t a small change, but for me, it was as simple as not going in extra every time I’m asked. I remember when I was so excited to have my first job. Now, I’m yearning to leave it for a higher-paying one that isn’t retail.

I can’t think far ahead, but I look forward to the next changes that will happen over the years, assuming they are positive. I mentioned in a recent post I’m studying to finally get my driver’s license, so that’s one change I have my hopes up for. It’ll still be a long time before I can get a car, but having the license is the first step. I think at the moment, that’s the change I’m looking forward to.

 

Who Has It Harder: Kids or Adults?

My vote? Kids!

Yes, I’m an adult who thinks kids have it harder.

Life is generally hard, no matter what, but if there needs to be a vote, I say kids.

“But kids live and eat rent-free, have no responsibilities, yadda yadda!”

First of all, kids are forced to attend school, which absolutely is a responsibility. Kids have a 40-hour “work” week by the time they start learning how to read. Even my internship – a job I do without pay, so close enough – is only 30 hours a week, and I can choose whether I want to leave at 2:30 or 3:00. I can also take my lunch any time I want. Kids don’t have that freedom.

That’s why I say kids have it harder: they have no freedom. I remember feeling powerless as a kid, having zero say in anything that affected me, no matter how bad it was, being told to “stay in a child’s place”, and being assumed to be stupid because a child couldn’t possiby be right over an adult. As a kid, I could say the sky was blue, an adult could say it was pink, and I’d better not correct them because “I’m an adult and what I say is right”.

Yes, as an adult, I have to pay bills and money is a necessity. But, to an extent, I can choose where to work, and I will be compensated for my time with money. It’s outright illegal if I’m not. While I’m not paid for internship (I presume the laws are different for that), I still choose to be here and I come here because I want to, not because I’ll be punished if I don’t. I’d rather pay bills and have choices – freedom – in my life than give up the latter for lack of the former.

I can travel without supervison, stay out after dark (I go to the gym on occasion in the evening), don’t need permission to go outside, can decorate my room how I like, can buy my own electronics, can watch the shows I want without arguing over the television with my sister, can listen to the music I like, everything in my room belongs to me instead of someone else because “I bought it, so you’re just borrowing it”. I really could go on for a long time. I’ve spoken a lot on this blog about how my childhood sucked and my family is broken, but even if I had the most carefree, idyllic childhood imaginable, I think my feelings would be the same.

  • Kids have to stand for and recite the pledge of allegiance every morning. As a kid, I thought that was stupid, and as an adult, I still do. But I no longer have to do it! (Side note: No, reciting the pledge doesn’t mean someone respects the country. The peers who made my school life miserable recited it. You can’t claim to respect the country when you have no respect for people in the country.)
  • Kids have curfews and bedtimes. I might be tired, but if I want to go to bed at 1am on a “work” night, yay! More internet time!
  • No parental controls! Yes, I understand why they exist. I’m still glad I don’t have to deal with them! And I can lock my devices to keep other people out!
  • “No, you can’t have pizza for breakfast.” I can now!
  • I have a more decorated room now than I did as a kid. Because I buy everything for it, right down to my computer. Though, my favorite thing would be the plethora of stuffed animals on my bed.
  • Want something, but can’t buy it? As a kid, you’re out of luck. As an adult, unless money is extremely tight, you can save up for it. That’s how I got my computer!
  • I don’t get my hair done unless I want to. I admit this one is more personal, but I’m sure I’ve spoken about how obsessive my family is about appearance. My mother forced me to have hair extensions and styles I did not want that took hours, and yelled at me and degraded my appearance when I argued. Now, my family still complains, but I no longer have to abide by them, and they eventually shut up for the most part.
  • Kids wear the clothes their parents buy them. I wear the clothes I buy me. Without getting yelled at for not matching (Fashion rules can kiss my behind!).

I know most of what I listed are small things, but as Pinkie Pie once said, “One small thing can be the biggest thing of all”. Freedom is addicting! I remember when I first got my own room. I haven’t shared a room since, minus the time I lived in a homeless shelter, because after a taste of what it was like to have my own space and privacy (to the small extent I could with a sibling), I could never go back! It’s why my boyfriend and I will have separate rooms when we move in together. He’s never had his own room and I want him to experience that. I know he’ll be as addicted as me!

The only downside is people don’t think adults are cute like they do kids. But I wasn’t a cute kid (regularly got called ugly and was hated solely because I existed in some people’s space), so I didn’t have even that.

I’ll take adulthood and all of its challenges any day. That opinion may vary on some days, but I’d say 80% of the time, it’s a given.

Hard Work… Didn’t Work

I am finished! And I’m surprised at how I did it!

My final assignment was a four-page research paper, and my final exam was one hundred questions. I finished the paper in two hours on the day it was assigned before I left school. How? Regurgitating what was in the textbook, though not verbatim. My effort was awarded with a 95, the highest grade I’ve ever received for an assignment in that class. I was fortunate if I got higher than a 70 for tests I studied for, yet lazy effort gets me my highest score. I was also the only student who turned it in on time. We were given four days to complete it.

Doesn’t end there. For my final exam, I was going the first student finished (a rarity!), and I finished in thirty minutes while the rest of my class took over an hour. My score? 91, the only A I received for a test in this class. Now, I did study for the exam, but not as much as I should’ve. In the end, I looked over my old tests for a few minutes and thought of some tricks to remember the answers to certain questions. That was a lot more helpful than studying.

Ultimately, I finished the entire program with a GPA of 3.41, which amounts to 89%, a B+. That one point will always bother me, but I passed and I’m just happy I did. I take that as proof I’m not so bad at academics. When I’m interested, that is. Not a new discovery, really.

The above said, I do not want to repeat this! These classes lasted for eight months in total, and my internship will take five weeks. I have no idea how people commit to this for years on end! Forget my age! I think I’d shoot myself if I had to juggle school and work for four years! Not to mention I barely kept my head above water with the financial struggle. Yes, it was worth it and I’m happy I did it, but traditional college can kiss my fat behind with its 2 to 4 year schedule of this! The program was fast-paced and hard to keep up with at times, but I am glad I chose a nine-month program instead of a 2 or 4-year one. It would’ve been worse if I chose the evening schedule for this program instead of the day, though still not as bad as community college.

That doesn’t mean I look down on any who goes the traditional college route. It just means I’m glad I didn’t! Eight months and I’m on to internship! I can celebrate!

Portion Control

I’ve been on my diet for a week so far. Not impressive, I know, but I’m surprised I’m doing it at all. I’ve gotten used to being hungry (I’ve read you’re not supposed to eat to get full), and I use water to stave off the hunger to avoid eating too much. To my surprise, junk food wasn’t hard at all to give up. I haven’t had so much as a piece of chocolate, my all-time favorite sweet.

What is hard, however, is eating less when I do eat. As I mentioned in another post, I count the calories in everything to avoid going over my set limit, especially I visit the gym only once a week (and even then, eating too much would ruin my workout). It’s actually easier to not eat at all than to eat less.

It’s not only junk food I’ve had to drop, however. There are even some healthy foods I can’t eat anymore for the time-being because they have too many calories, and I can’t measure out a reasonable portion. Pasta is the biggest example, which sucks, because I like a lot of pasta dishes. One of my relatives cooked rigatoni a week ago, and I ate only eight of the noodles because I could have only five tablespoons to avoid going over my limit. Unfortunately, spaghetti, my most favorite, can’t be measured that way, so I simply to avoid it.

Heck, I’d say I avoid some healthy foods almost as much as junk food due to stay to within my limit. I keep being shocked by how many calories even healthy food has. I have a can of orange juice from school that has 170, and since I can’t have any spaghetti (same relative cooked), I’ve been mentally debating whether or not to drink it to have something for dinner when I do get hungry. The problem is I don’t like to eat or drink anything close to 200 calories, and I already did that during my lunch break (I ate it because it had less than the orange juice). I may just save it for tomorrow or drink it when I get closer to bedtime, so I’m not too close for comfort to my limit with several hours to spare.

I plan to keep this diet up for six months to give any potential results time to show, so I’m hoping keeping my portions small will get easier as time goes on. I would drink only half the can, but I don’t want to throw out the other half (my family throws open cans away if they remain in the fridge for too long).

I think I’m going to have to do a Google search for low-calorie foods. And no, 220 calories is not low! If it’s over 100, it’s not low! I really find it weird some junk food is lower in calories than some healthy food. Isn’t the junk supposed to cause weight gain?

Food, and weight, is weird.

Oh, So That’s The Burn

I mentioned briefly in my last post I started dieting in an attempt to lose weight. Part of dieting is counting calories, so I count the calories in everything, no matter how small. Well, they say small things come in big packages, and counting calories makes me agree!

How many calories are in that apple?! Wait, that banana has how many?? The amount varies by size, which makes sense, but it still surprises me how many calories are small foods. Even if they are healthy, I limit them, so I’m not eating six bananas (630 calories) in one day unless I intend to burn off four of them.

One of my housemates made turkey sandwiches for me to eat later. After a few of counting calories, I knew there would be more in those sandwiches than I expected, so of course, I searched it. 22 (one slice of turkey) plus 158 (two slices of white bread) plus 104 (one slice of American cheese) equals 284 calories total. Yeah, those sandwiches didn’t enter my mouth when I read that. I’ll eat half of one when I return from work, and that’s my sandwich-limit for the day. I’d rather eat the turkey slices single they have the lowest amount and a vast difference to the others.

I went a step further and made a small list of how much of certain nutrients (carbs, fat, sugars, and sodium) is recommended per day and set the limit there. So, I count that in addition to calories. If it’ll put me over one of my limits, it won’t go in my mouth. Water has zero calories, so if I don’t want to eat at the moment, I use that to stave off the hunger until I’m ready to eat. Downside is it makes me want to use the bathroom more than once in a few hours, but they say water is good for you.

So, where’s the silver lining in all of this? The “burn” I reference in the title of this post. Yesterday, I went to the gym. All I did was walk on one of the treadmills for an hour, but in that hour, I burned 340 calories. Before I went to gym, I consumed 365, so burning off 340 left me with 25. According to every weight loss preacher everywhere, you’re supposed to burn more than you eat, so I didn’t do that. But if it means I consumed only 25 calories for the day, I consider that close enough. Of course, I ate when I got home, but I didn’t ruin it by eating 340 calories again. I ate 105, so that left 235 still burned, and 130 consumed for the day. Lovely!

I’ve been at this diet for only five days. I definitely miss soda and chocolate, but I love fruit, so that helps. And it turns out a healthy diet doesn’t mean a lifetime ban of treats and eating out. I love going to restaurants with my boyfriend for holidays, so I’m very glad I don’t have to give that up. Going to have research the calories like crazy, though.