Why did I get on that tangent yesterday?
Oh right. My bucket list. I was looking at it. And I realized that I've accomplished a lot of noteworthy things in two years. I crossed stuff off. Go ahead. Hate away. Call me pretentious while I talk about how awesome my life is. Whatever, guys. You all should know by now that despite the cool things I do and the awesome things that happen to me sometimes - I really don't have it all together, and my life is a mess, too. So don't get jealous. You don't really want to be me. I'm up front with the stuff I do wrong so I'll be up front with the stuff I do right, too. OKAY.
What happens when you have a really bad day and you fail a test (Tuesday) is you start grasping for anything that'll make you feel better about yourself. And this helped. So here's a look back on 2 years and Summer 2014. Most of these were on my list and I was able to cross them off. A few weren't, but they were nonetheless bucket list worthy.
So my companions on the
miss mish (I'm REALLY sick of mish always autocorrecting to miss or sometimes mush. Mish is a WORD) would make fun of me for my bucket list. And hey, they should hate away. It's rather extensive.
I've been doing some thinking about bucket lists though. And I've even been doing some hating myself.
I feel like this is such a typical blogger/social media thing. Everyone is soooo into their bucket lists and all it does is make readers roll their eyes at how pretentious the writer is. Sometimes I see trends on Twitter where people are hash taggin' their bucket lists and I'm just like who ARE you people? "I want to take a picture of my outfit every dayyyy" cuz you're rich enough to buy everything from j crew&anthropologie. "I want to learn how to tattoo and tattoo myself" even if it looks like a ten year old attacked you with a crayon "I want to live my life with no regrets and dance in the rain" or whatever that cheesy saying is "I want to blow bubbles with bae" just STOP SAYING BAE THIS DOESN'T NEED TO BE A THING AND THIS IS STUPID. You know what's on my bucket list? Fight a BEAR. And WIN.
Here I am hating on other people's bucket lists, jeez. I really have no room to talk. My own bucket list stemmed from a family home evening activity when I was twelve. In the Mormon-world, Monday nights are devoted to family time in this cute little acronym-ed evening called FHE. These activities were rather sporadic when I was a teen because I was the only child living at home and we were often on different schedules. But this particular night still stands out to me and we (all three of us, baby) sat down and talked about our dreams. I think I love this memory so much because not only did I first begin to open my mind to the potential and possibilities for my life, but I also was able to get to know my parents in a different way by hearing about what THEY dreamed about.
But I've decided not to get hung up on my "list" anymore - and I feel good about this decision. Oh, my list will still be there. But I will not let it detract from that wonderful lil thing called spontaneity. Some of the greatest "bucket-list-worthy" adventures I've been on came from no list, from no pre-planned ideas, just from friends being idiots and wanting to experience life and recklessly discover. I can't write down every single "awesome" thing that I want to experience with my life preemptively. So as great as it is to check things off a list... Sometimes I need to remind myself to just take a step back and remember to experience life as it comes.
I'd heard plenty of horror stories about call centers. And it's not like I was looking forward to making calls straight for four hours. But I was far past the point of caring what kind of work I did as long as it paid. And, well, to be honest it wasn't that bad.
1. It paid decent enough. I scraped in around $10 an hour with opportunities for bonus money every day.
2. It was super easy. I felt like I was as good as any other employee after four days of calling. You pretty much just sit there and wait for the computer to make a call for you and then read a script. And, like, I'm pretty good at talking or something.
3. It was convenient. Close by, the hours fit in well with my other job, and I didn't feel the pressure of staying on into the school year.
4. They generally played pretty good music.
5. It wasn't straight cold calling. The people had at least checked a box online that we could contact them (whether or not they knew they were doing that is a different story - but it's still better than cold calls). And we were providing a good service by telling people about educational opportunities in their area. Anything's better than sales.
6. Pizza Fridays. Also Rebecca Black on repeat Fridays (you win some, you lose some).
People knock on call centers mainly because of the mean people. This part bothered me the least. My coworkers would get down when they just got hang ups all day and I'm like, "Hey, who cares? You get to talk less, ammiright?" Really, it doesn't get all that much worse than a hang up. But, like, I hang up on telemarketers all the time, so who am I to hate? I'll admit, there were days where people were just flat out rude and go off on insulting me and I'm like, "Sir, you haven't even seen my face so how can you know I'm ugly?" Seriously, people need to think through their insults more. But in the end I was mostly just entertained when people got rude. It provided for some great tweeting material and stories to tell at the end of the day.
[Going through qualifying questions]
"How old are you?"
"What year did you graduate high school?"
"Are you currently enrolled in school?"
"Are you a US citizen?"
"Okay, are you a permanent resident?"
"No, I'm here illegally."
"Oh are you?"
"Yeah, I'm from Africa and I'm actually really worried that they're gonna kick me out of the US."
"Sure you are."
"Yeah, I mean like I've got AIDS and I don't know what to do cuz I left my parents back in Africa and they got eaten by lions!"
Of course they did.
Other Call Center greatest hits:
Customer: "Who's calling my damn phone?"
Me: "Hi, may I speak with Angela, please?"
"No you may NOT!" *click*
"No, I don't want any education EVER. I'm stupid and I just want to get belligerently drunk all the time so could you please stop calling?"
75 year old man: "Listen, honey, I don't really care about what you have to say and I don't want to listen. But if no one else has told you yet today, I love you. Bye!"
"Nah, I'm not interested. But listen Lauren, you have a really cute voice. You give me a call when you get off work, okay?"
Me: "Are you just not interested for the moment? Or not at all?"
"Not at all for the moment."
"...That doesn't answer my question."
"Sorry, I'm in the shower."
"Then why did you answer the phone...?"
Me: "We're calling because we saw you were online looking for career and education opportunities..."
"I can't use a computer, I don't even know what offline is to go online!" (someone actually said that once).
"Hi, may I speak with Walter?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Lauren from the blah blah blah center."
"Where are you calling from?"
"We're located in Utah."
"Are you Mormon?"
"Yes, actually I am Mormon."
"Oh, I don't talk to Mormons." *click*
I can never escape that one, I guess.
Freak, I served a mission. I guess the rejection over the phone really never phased me because nothing can top the rejection I got every single day as a missionary in Japan. You can say that I've gone to the big leagues with rejection, you feel me? But in that case, it was something I cared about that I did full time, not something that I did for 4 hours a day to pay rent. Nevertheless, I remember some pretty good, entertaining times I had over there, too.
*sticks hand and waves it in front of their nose and walks away.*
What, do I smell, or something? We dubbed this common "no-thank-you" gesture the shark fin.
"Hey, we're the missionaries..."
"No thank you, I'm busy."
"Oh, will you just take this flyer then, if you don't have time to talk?"
"Hi, we're the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!"
"Oh, I'm not Christian." *walks away*
Obvi you're not Christian, why do you think we wanted to talk with you?
I knocked on a door once and I was greeted with, "Sumisu (Smith)?"
Shocked a little bit I was all, "Um, yeah that's my name?"
She blabs on a little bit about this one time we met and then I remembered seeing her about a week earlier. She seemed excited to see me again, but had no time to talk.
"Oh well, okay, could we come back tomorrow sometime and say hi?"
She BURSTS out laughing at the preposterousness of the proposal and just says, "No no no no." and then closes the door.
"Okay! Just asking..."
Someone comes to the door dripping wet, wrapped in a towel and just says, "Sorry, I'm in the shower!"
"Yeah, you didn't even need to come to the door, lady."
Seriously, why do people do these things? Apparently the shower excuse is universal.
"Hi, we're the Church of..."
"Any talk like that is NO!" *slams door*
"I'm actually just about to leave..." (doesn't)
"I can't speak English!"
"Oh we speak Japanese!"
"Um... I have to go."
We ran into this one man while knocking on doors. He seemed to be in his mid 40's and he seemed to think we were beautiful. I asked if he had a family and he said, "No, they're all dead. Ladies are welcome!"
And my personal favorite:
"Hi! My name is Sister Smith! How are you?"
...no response or any sort of acknowledgment that I exist.
People are hilarious, guyz.
Nah. The bottom line is that despite the ease, despite the convenience, despite how much I loved awkward conversations while waiting for the computer to load and trying to pronounce unpronounceable names, and despite the pizza - YES EVEN THE PIZZA - that job just sucked. It is the epitome of a "staring-at-the-clock-willing-it-to-turn-faster" kind of job. The rejection never phased me, but I think that was why that job was never worth it in the first place. The rejection phased me a lot in Japan, but that's because I was fighting for something I cared about. I was helping people and it made me sad when they didn't want to hear from us. The rejection was worth working through for a year and a half. Not even the funny stories at a call center were worth more than a month's time.
You have funny mission rejection stories? Ever worked at a call center? I'd love to hear about it.
Also, life lessons learned from funny customers at the bookstore.
What's your name? Where are you from? What are you studying? I wish I could count how many times I have asked and BEEN asked those three questions in my collegiate career. I wouldn't be surprised if it reaches the thousand range by the time I leave BYU. I went to my new singles ward last Sunday. After an hour of socializing I could not handle one more awkward handshake, one more awkward conversation with a recent returned missionary and I could NOT stand the "where are you from" question one more time.
So here are my response options:
Back to those pictures up there briefly. Besides the part where I'm super cute (I know, right?) there's something about them that captures a lot of my love for both Minnesota and my childhood. There is something safe and special preserved there. It's just... happy. Happy in a place I loved with great friends, a great school, a great neighborhood, and great snow. I remember my parents telling me that we were going to move to Utah and despite the great prospect of being close to my then newly-wed sister and brother and law, I was devastated to leave. I wasn't just leaving behind a place I loved, but a childhood bliss that could never be equaled in a different location.
But all that emotion/feelings stuff isn't very easy to convey in response to a four-word question, you feel me?
September 5, 2012 feels like a lifetime ago. I'm so different from the person I was then - for better and for worse. I look at these pictures from the beginning of my mission and I'm just like who IS that? And how can I look more like her because she's skinnier than I am! But seriously. It's crazy how much things change over the space of a mission - besides your weight. Anyway, I remember that first day pretty clearly, but it was entertaining to go back and read about it. Here are some first impressions of the MTC according to my beloved journal Theodore (yes, I name my journals. Haters gon hate).
Well I'm in the MTC now. Here's what's up:
- Elders are really young.
- I don't speak Japanese. At all.
- Gym orientation videos are awesome.
- Cannon center food...
- I forgot a towel
- We sang Called to Serve today. Let the tally begin.
- I got lost once.
- And we forgot our scriptures to this one thing.
- Don't compare yourself to anyone, Lauren, STOP IT.
- Be grateful for diversity.
- There aren't enough hangers.
- We did an activity with actor-investigators. I mock everyone silently for their naiveté but I don't know what I'm doing either. (obviously I'm supes humble)
- I keep wanting to speak French.
- I had a 19-year-old call me out when I said "yessir." He said, "actually, you need to call me Elder." PLEASE.
- This is going to be hard.
- I met really cool people today including my companion, Sister Clingo (Julie from Springville whom I had met before), my roommates Sister Peterson and Sister Silva, the one chick who showed me around, and Sister Buhler who is also going to Fukuoka.
- I'm exhausted.
- I hope I can wake up tomorrow.
I turned 23 recently. And by recently I mean two months ago. It's kind of a blah age to turn. I mean Jimmy Eat World wrote a song about it once, so there must be something to it. But other ages have more... presence? I dunno. 21 or 24 just sound like they know more what they're doing. Anyway, with all this growing up I've been doing, I've had a lot of thoughts buzzing around that I've wanted to write about. You know, wisdom-gaining and stuff.
Do you wanna know how many posts I have going on in my drafts folder right now? I don't want to know either but IT'S 14, GUYS. At first they were posts that actually had a point, i.e. "GOBLIN VALLEY" or "JAPANESE SUX" or "I GOT A NEW JOB" or "SCHOOL HURT ME" and then they all just digress to "SORRY I HAVEN'T IN FOREVER" or "WHOOPS IT'S BEEN" or "SORRY" and then just to "................"
Guys let me just say real quick I WROTE IN MY JOURNAL EVERY SINGLE DAY ON MY MISSION. Every day. All the days. I never skipped. I have five huge journals full of dumb musings that I treasure more than anything else from my mission. Want to know how much I've written since I've come home? Yeah, like two pages. Anyway, this whole life-documentation/blogging/i-write-for-fun/journaling/i'm-going-to-write-for-my-career thing just isn't flying for me right now.
But why isn't it? Sure, I've been busy. I was working two jobs, I went on trips, I did school, I... slept sometimes (?), and I had a lot of, like, TV to watch. Friends isn't just going to watch itself, ammiright? But that isn't all that's kept me from writing.
I had a conversation this summer about dreams. I was asked what was stopping me from going after a career in writing. Why not start now? I've thought about this a great deal since. What stops us from doing what we want to do? We do what we have to do, and we do what is easy to do. We need to make money so we work. We need pleasure so we watch movies, spend time with friends, eat good food, because that's easy. But when it comes to things that stretch us, develop our character and push us to be something more, there's a barrier.
It all comes back to fear. Fear and failure. Fear of putting yourself out there. What if I write something and no one likes it? What if I try hard in school but I still fail? What if I fall in love and they don't want me? What if I sell my soul to basketball but I still don't make the team? What if I get that really great job I want but I just can't cut it?
If I keep swimming in mediocrity - doing things I enjoy but never stepping out of my comfort zone - I will remain content, and I won't run the risk of falling too hard. But if I never reach high, then... I won't go anywhere.
Okay, maybe another reason why I don't write as much as I should is because I end up getting too carried away and write way more than I originally intended. Original draft: "Guyz I suck at writing I'm gonna do better now k bye stay tuned xoxo" And then here we are 8 paragraphs later. I really need to learn how to turn the wordiness level down a few notches sometimes.
But with a new semester around the corner and an itch to do better at life, I'm here telling fear to back DOWN and let me try and stretch myself to be something more. I'm going to make 23 an age worth writing about. ✌