Another Day at the Gym


This is phone man.

Whenever you are a member of a gym, you generally expect to see weird things.  There are always the guys spending more time ogling themselves in the mirrors than actually lifting; the girls trying to be cute while with a guy or trainer; the girls who are tougher than the guys and care about their workout more than the mirror; and of course the guys who bring their moms.

You heard that right.  There is a high school aged guy (at least he looks that young) who brings his mother to the gym with him.  She stands behind him while he presses (not that she could hold the weights if he needed her to) and encourages him while he yells at her to back off.  Sounds like a strange mother/son or coach/athlete relationship?  Yeah, I can’t help but stare at them.

It’s one thing to go to the gym together to help motivate each other, but the mother has never exercised in any way, any time that I’ve seen her at the gym.  She has this protective look, like “Don’t look at my beautiful son!” while he looks around at girls like “Hey baby, wanna see how much I can lift?”  He also yells and spits air while he lifts.

Another strange behavior I’ve seen at the gym is the not-quite middle-aged man who is always on his cell phone.  He’ll sit on workout equipment or in the stretching area, but I’ve never seen him workout.   I like using one of the group class studios for stretching when it’s not in use because it’s quiet and relaxing.  Of course when this guy comes in though, he sits directly in front of the mirror (seriously, like if he sneezed he’d bash his head against the mirror) and starts making calls.

The most notable call was to his cable company, a conversation he started by saying “Yes I’m so-and-so and pull up my file so you can see what I last called you about so I don’t have to repeat myself.  Refresh your memory”.  I kid you not.  Then he talked about how many times he’s called to complain and blah blah blah.  I was like dude, shut up.  I’m trying to finish my workout over here.  He didn’t pay attention to my telepathic messages though and dirty looks because he was too busy playing with his long mane of hair and sitting cross legged on an exercise ball.

I understand the importance of multitasking in this busy world, but why is the gym the only place you can make those calls?  And why does that other guy have to bring his mom with him to make himself feel good?  To each his own I guess. 


Always Look on the Bright Side of Life

This week has been one of perspective shifts and overcoming obstacles. Last week I talked about potential new jobs, and I decided to accept a retail job that starts next month. I’m happy that I will have some money coming in again for bills and to make moving on towards bigger and better things possible. However, I have had some trouble staying positive about the fact that this is another retail job, and one that I am overqualified for.

As a recent college graduate with two degrees, I can’t help but feel that I should be doing something more fulfilling and challenging in terms of a job (and hopefully a career). Unfortunately the opportunity for such a job hasn’t been an option for me yet, not for a lack of trying though. I’m lucky enough to have had one incredibly enjoyable and fulfilling internship already at WGN Radio, and now to have another great experience at Reach Out and Read Illinois. This most recent internship will potentially turn into a paid position in the near future, but the exact date is undetermined.

I have a tendency to not look at the positive side of situations, and have struggled with this bad habit this week as the start date for my new retail job approaches. I am glad I have a job, but can’t help but worry that my co-workers will be like the coworkers at my last job: nice enough but not people that I can look forward to having intellectually stimulating conversations with. I don’t mean that in a bad way, I’m sure my new coworkers will be nice, I just find myself wishing for a work environment that is a bit more challenging.

Thanks to my boyfriend, who reminds me to not worry so much and to look at situations like this in a positive way, I am reminded that there is room for creativity in this position even if it’s not exactly what I want to do. I’ve always struggled with anxiety and nerves and of course experience some of each when I think about starting this new job; but then I’m reminded that because this is a brand new store, all the employees are in the same position: starting fresh.

With these reminders and help shifting my perspective, I’m able to focus on the positive aspects of my currently unemployed situation. I can do what I want with my own time, like read Sherlock Holmes (my favorite), work out (a great way to feel good about myself and relieve some of those nerves), blog and sleep in. When I start my new job, I know I will be tired and will bitter-sweetly think back to this time where I have little to no obligations.


Does it Matter?


Even chipmunks contemplate.

I spent some time catching up with a good friend this week, who is starting a new adventure in her life.  She told me that she was considering starting a blog to document this new chapter, but wasn’t sure if she should.  This conversation got me thinking about how people seem to gravitate towards starting blogs primarily when they are doing some new, exciting, different or temporary thing with their lives.

When friends in college studied abroad, they documented their time in blogs.  When Facebook friends moved to another part of the country—or another country entirely—they blogged about their “new life”.  Even in considering writing this blog post, I wondered if anything I might have to say might be “novel” or “new”.  What it is about people that make us think that documenting our lives is only an option if we are doing something out of the norm?

In thinking further about my conversation with my friend, I thought about how it has been a while since I’ve posted anything on my blog.  There seems to be a constant battle that I fight with myself about whether or not what I have to say is worth posting online.  Not because I don’t feel confident in my thoughts, but I question if others want to read what I have to say.

I lost my job back in December, and have been searching rather unsuccessfully for a full-time, fulfilling job since I graduated college back in May.  I was offered another retail job that I wasn’t very excited about around Christmas time, and didn’t start training until last week.  Then, this week I was offered another retail job with better pay and a nicer work environment.  THEN I was told that the internship site I’ve been working at since October is going to seek additional funding to pay me for the work I do!

Here I am, a TERRIBLE decision maker, faced with the choice between two jobs that I don’t love the idea of (but prefer one over the other), and the possibility of part-time employment at the nonprofit I intern with and love.  Plus I had a first round phone interview with another nonprofit earlier this week.  How is that for almost a year I have had no employment options, and now I have multiple options?  For some, this may not be something that is of any interest.  But to me this is a huge deal.

I debated using my blog as a place to talk about these decisions I have to make now; like I said, to me these choices are a big deal, even if I’m not going to another country or starting some grand new adventure.  If something matters to you though, don’t discount its relevance or worth based on what you think others want to hear.  So, like I encouraged my friend to do, blog about what’s going on in your life, even if you don’t think everyone will find it interesting.  While it’s true that not everyone might not find what you have to say relatable; at the end of the day or end of each “chapter” of your life, believe enough in yourself to talk about what matters to you.