And In the End, The Love You Take, Is Equal To The Love You Make

Ah, February 14th – truly one of the most manic, bipolar days of the year.  It seems that every year, as we inch closer to the second week of February, the world becomes split into two distinct, rival camps – the ridiculously over-the-top, scream-it-from-the-rooftops-that-I-am-in LOVE couples and the cold cynics who hate any display of warmth, affection, good manners, or kindness on any day even nearing the 14th.

When it comes to my views on Valentine’s Day, I agree with The Oatmeal – the worst part is not all the reminders that you are alone and unloved (because you aren’t!  I love you, readers!) but the people who feel the need to shout their distaste for love in your face and remind you incessantly that they hate Valentine’s Day.

I get it – for many people, it’s not fun to be reminded that you be missing something in your life that you want or need, but to be honest, I think it’s nice to have a day out of the year where we can be reminded of the power of love.  I like to embrace the universal feeling of love – the kind of love that not only comes from a romantic relationship (or at least the pleasing euphoria of lust) but the love that is borne out of kindness, consideration, and respect for others.

I spend a fair amount of time on this blog complaining – and while I know that I have an amazing circle of family and friends to help me through what is turning out to be a pretty insane decade of my life, I’m not always as vocal or appreciative of how much love I have in my life and how lucky I feel to be surrounded by such a loving group of people.  In that spirit, here are a list of things I love on this Valentine’s Day:

  • I love my mother for coming into town quarterly to help me shut down bars and go shopping for ridiculous fragrances
  • I love my father for email bombing me with on-line petitions and sneaking in the occasional “women’s issue” email because he “knows it’s important to me”
  • I love my baby sister, for always making me laugh both intentionally (parental imitations, mocking me, wordplay) and unintentionally (tipsy tweeting)
  • I love my friends, for indulging in my 1,000 word emails, usually sent in multiple throughout the day, and generally responding with advice like “let him put it in you” or “it’s not too late to run away to the circus”
  • I love that, even in 20 degree weather and with less than a few hours notice, I can get together a fairly impressive trivia team
  • I love my co-workers, especially the ones who keep candy trays on their desks and never even raise an eyebrow if I make a half-dozen visits during the day
  • I love the guy at the Metro Station, who hands out the WaPo Express and never fails to compliment my smile or my outfit or my manners, and manages to always boost my spirits without being creepy
  • I love the doctors I work for, who dedicate every minute of the day to caring for others, to putting their needs second always to the needs of the patients, and for still managing to be friendly and warm to the staff
  • I love how nice people in the District can actually be, especially if you flash them a smile
  • I love that I have a little corner of the Internet to write and muse and complain and be silly and that you guys actually come here and read it and write me and make me feel less alone

Sure, there are things I would probably love to be able to list (I’d love having no financial woes, I’d love to help make my friend’s troubles disappear, I’d love to be able to tell my heart exactly what to feel) but all things considered, there is a lot of love in my world – and hopefully in yours!

Happy Valentine’s/Anna Howard Shaw Day!

Post-script:  Speaking of love, I love love love our fearless post-collegiate for this week!  Be sure to check back in the next day or two for our in-depth interview – it’s going to be a great one!

Friday Frivolity: Girls

Quick post today as I am gearing up for ringing in the New Year this weekend but I meant to share this great preview last week.

One of my favorite movies of 2010 was Tiny Furniture, written, directed and starring the brilliant and witty Lena Dunham.  While I haven’t always been a mumblecore fan, Tiny Furniture just nailed postcollegiate female malaise perfectly.  Of course, how thrilled was I to learn that Ms. Dunham has created a new show for HBO called Girls!  Produced by Judd Apatow (which certainly can’t hurt the funny), Girls looks like it will be a delightfully droll comedy about the challenges of life in your 20s.

Check out the trailer.  If you don’t say “that is my life” at least once, you’re probably too mature and responsible to be reading this blog anyways.

Happy New Year and I’ll see you in 2012!

Friday Frivolity: Job Cannon

Oh, Friday, how desperately I need you!  I realize that a lot of this week’s posts have been about a lot of first world problems, so just to remind you all that I know how tough it is, take to heart this advice when someone tries to push you into finding a job:

Strap on your weekend helmets and have a great weekend!

Are We Having Fun Yet?

I’m a big fan of the television show Party Down.  It features a great cast, clever dialogue, and a rotation of guest star performances that rivals anything on TV right now.  If you’ve never seen it, check it out on the Starz website or you can stream both seasons on Netflix Instant.

The second season started shortly after I found myself unemployed and a little lost.  While I loved the show from the get-go, I found myself really drawn to it as workplace dramedy.  While it has a lot of hilarious moments, it’s also a very bleak and realistic representation of what the working world is like for a lot of people in their 20s.

Take a look at the characters and tell me if you don’t see yourself in one or two of them:

  • Henry – Gave up on his dream job when he encountered one too many hurdles.  Sets his expectations drastically lower and finds a small amount of satisfaction from a minor leadership role
  • Casey – Pursuing her dream job but finding herself jaded and hurt by the frustrations she keeps encountering.  Toils away at a meaningless job to pay the bills.
  • Kyle – Desperate for anything closely resembling his dream job.  Willing to degrade himself and sell out if it means financial wealth.
  • Roman – Stubbornly pursuing his dream job in the strictest sense possible – refuses to compromise in any way, which finds him left behind by others
  • Lydia – Working hard at a job beneath her skill set to support the dreams and ambitions of another person [in this case, her daughter, but substitute husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend and this describes several of you who have written to me]

I’ll tell you exactly where I fall.  I relate best to Henry – the idealized version of my career path that I had when I graduated didn’t work out as planned.  I became disenfranchised with the plan I had created for myself.  So, I’ve taken a step back, juggling a few jobs that are not exactly what I had in mind when I took out student loans to pay for a college degree.

I don’t necessarily think being a Henry is a bad thing.  I won’t spoil the show for those of you who haven’t watched, but the trajectory that Henry is on is one that ultimately I think is healthy and normal for someone in their 20s dealing with career changes and shifts in perspective.  When I watch the show, I’m not only laughing at that week’s ridiculous party concept or rooting for the Henry/Casey romance to work out but I’m also hoping that each character makes that dream job a reality.

[Note:  The day after writing this entry, I learned that Party Down has been canceled.  I think this proves two things – one, most people watching television are idiots.  Secondly, I think the show was actually a little too honest and true to life for people to watch comfortably.  Nevertheless, le sigh.]