Monday, February 10, 2014

Kailee & Amanda: Pt. 2

Today in my teenage angst, I continue with Life Changing Lessons. I'm 26 now and in my last semester (probably) of undergraduate education. Most of my friends are married with children or have grad degrees by now. I'm not emotionally invested in this fact because I'm doing what I want and am weirdly content about it. None the less, when I meet people who have come to my age and are generally good at life, I am inspired to draw from their awesomeness in hopes of one day becoming a functioning adult. 
Not a good example of a functioning adult.
Amanda is one such person. As a sort of refresher from Pt. 1 of this post, Amanda is an introverted Archivist and one of the smartest people I have yet to encounter. She is also the most functional young adult I know. This inspires me. It's like as a generation, we've taken it upon ourselves to be dysfunctional in most areas of our lives. We might be able to hold down a fulfilling job, or graduate from Grad School, but relationally, we're a mess. Psychologically, we're a mess. Emotionally, we're a mess. Amanda is not a mess. She defies the archetype of the quarter-life crisis; and I am better for having gotten to watch her do it. People say that Amanda was born 40 years old and that is why she's so functional. This is partly true, Amanda is truly an old soul. But I'm also pretty sure it's just because she's Amanda. I want to be Amanda. 
One of our shared great loves.
Life Changing Lessons From Amanda
1. Productivity is normal. Laziness is not.
One of Amanda's favorite phrases is "that's fair." I'm certain it works toward her ability to reamin conversationally objective, but it drives me crazy. Mostly because when I'm being ridiculous in a bad way she'll tell me it's fair to behave that way, but she never does. It's an accepted part of Amanda's life that she will be productive. She is more consistently productive than not. I am never productive. And when I am, I deem it necessary to high five myself about it. Amanda shows me that my laziness, while commonly seen as normal, shouldn't be. Efficiency doesn't have to be taxing, but it tends to be when you aren't consistently efficient and have to cram efficience into an hour. This goes directly into my next life-changing lesson from Amanda.

2. Be better. Work harder. 
Amanda is the kind of person who works full time, goes to the gym five times a week, consistently cleans her house, avoids junk food, and still engages in all the greatest teen obsessions of our time. These things 
(except that last one), she will admit, don't come naturally to her. It's not the funnest thing to clean and eat well. And the gym sometimes sucks. The aim, however, is not to enjoy the difficult things of life, but to do them. In this, she seeks to be better. To be functional. To be healthy. I, in contrast, will skip the gym because a celebrity died and eat a bag of doritos because I haven't in a while. Amanda shows me that the key to being better is to simply be better. Do the stuff you don't want to because it's better for you, and it makes you better. So I drag myself to the gym and I put off watching yet one more episode of FNL to do my stats reading. Because it's better.
We both definitely have holds on THIS IS US, at our respective libraries.
3. Be adventurous. 
Amanda likes to do things. Big things. Not like party-big, but climb Machupichu-big. She picked her University because she could do a semester abroad there. Last year she went to New York just to see The Postal Service play one of the five shows they would ever do together. Later this year she is going with her sister to Peru. To see the sights and clime the aforementioned Machupichu. She likes to do things. She's adventurous. I like to stay home. I really really like my room. I like fictional worlds. And I'm okay with that. But here's the thing: so does Amanda. She likes her space too, and delves into fictional worlds with even more fervor than I do. But she also finds the non-fictional devling into real worlds as compelling. Identifying so closely with Amanda and watching her experience the world, has, out of no where, made me also want to experience the world. In small steps, obviously. I'm going to Ottawa next week and I'm pretty pumped about it. There's a lot to see, you know? I want to be adventurous.    
Speaking of functioning adults who shouldn't be.
I'm not trying to emphasize my weaknesses in these posts. They're not really weaknesses because they're not permanent. I can change. I've spent two semesters now studying the psychological mechanisms behind behavioral change. They exist, dammit!!! The point is rather that these relationships were unexpected, but not accidental. I have a lot to learn from those surrounding me, and I'm pretty grateful for the presence of Kailee and Amanda last year, as instrumental in the development of a (hopefully) healthier, more whole, and functional Hannah. 

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