15 February 2014

The Art of Argument

I miss arguing.

And no, not in the Taylor Swift's "I miss screaming and fighting and kissing in the rain, it's two a.m. and I'm cursing your name" way, although as I think back to some of my dysfunctional relationships (see previous posts), that did used to feel like fun to me.

Let me explain.

In college I had the opportunity to be friends with some really amazing people. They were so intelligent, well read, and good-intentioned, and best of all, they cared about things that mattered. And they cared about my soul. And I love them.

The summer after my Sophomore year, I hung around Auburn for the summer. A few friends and I would frequently find ourselves in these deep conversations that would last for hours into the night. We would pull all the couches together in the Lower Center (the Catholic Campus Ministry Building) and sit around talking and debating and arguing and laughing. Sometimes it was very serious and sometimes it was light. We joked around and called our little weekly tradition the Fireside Chats. But there wasn't a fire... I don't think. I remember feeling so intellectually stimulated, even more so than any of my classes at the University ever allowed. I was coming off of this really intense emotional relationship with Jesus. I think it's like that in the beginning for most people. But that was over and I was on to the more serious stuff and I read everything I could get my hands on about the Trinity, the Church, and especially about Theology of the Body. Between encyclicals, Bible Studies, news articles, blogs, etc., I hardly even had time for my literary love: historical fiction.

Sometimes in my job, I miss being intellectually stimulated. I like helping my clients achieve their goals, but often I miss the economic theory behind finance. I also enjoy behavioral finance (studying why people do the things they do in the market) and more big picture questions like "what effect does population have on the economy," etc. Right now my job is such a micro piece of the puzzle, and when it comes down to it, I'm really a big picture thinker.

I also miss the theological arguments that I used to have. From college to FOCUS, most people around me were either right out of college or still in college. I love discussing different literary classics and seeing how someone's worldview can differ based on their circumstances. In the Lower Center all those nights, we argued because we all had something tangible at stake: our own ideas of how the world works. I love people, and I love knowing why they think what they think. No one wants to have an hour long conversation with their financial advisor about why they're making the decisions that they are within their financial plan. Instead they just want to talk to me for ten minutes, ask me what investments they should be in, implement, and be on their way.

I guess really a good solution to this is for me to read more. But there's just so little time, so much to do. And also Netflix. AHHHHH.

St. Thomas Aquinas, pray for us!

10 February 2014

Nostalgia and the Roaring Twenties

I'm sure I've written posts about this before, but I am, without a doubt, one of the most nostalgic people I know. Or maybe I just think I am because I don't know what other people think. But I really think I am.


Lately I, like the rest of America, have gotten on the Netflix Train, no stops in sight. (Cue the song Long Black Train by Josh Turner.) I've been watching Dawson's Creek. I never watched it when it was on television, probably because it is slightly before my time. The Netflix description says that it's about teenagers, drama, and sex. There are discussions about sex, and some of the characters have sex (it is, after all, a show about six teenagers), but compared to the stuff that is on television today, it is totally G rated. Sex is something that they take very seriously and are never vulgar either in speech or deed about it on the show. I respect that.

Watching the show has made me miss my own teenage years. Emotions were running wild and I remember feeling like no one understood me. I, like Joey, one of the main characters on Dawson's Creek, was not having sex, even though a lot of my friends were. I remember feeling the pressure of both my own hormones and whichever boy I was dating at the time to do it, but I had also read that marriages where people wait to have sex statistically show a less than 4% chance of ending in divorce. Coming from a single-parent household (and being the stubborn girl that I am,) I knew that if I ever were to marry, it'd be once, and it'd be for good. And, (by the grace of God) even as a teenager, I was willing to do whatever it would take to make that happen.

I particularly think back to the summer after we all turned sixteen. I had a group of about 7 girl friends and we had so much fun together. We spent so many nights doing crazy things, talking shit about each other, obsessing over the crush of the week, and just being kids. There was no responsibility and really not a whole lot to worry about in general. We would go to the lake or hang out by someone's pool almost every day. There was always some sort of drama going on, almost always involving a boy or a few, haha. I guess it was fun because the drama, although whichever heartbroken girl got burned by it would have disagreed at the time, was always fleeting and never something that we couldn't get past.

It's weird for me to think back on those days with such fondness. Because of my nostalgic personality, even at the time I knew I wanted to be sixteen forever. The weirdest part about it is that I can't believe I loved my life so much before I really knew Jesus. But man, I loved my life back then.

When I was a missionary, I couldn't understand how people could even be happy without knowing Jesus. The world is a fun place though. I guess it's like an amusement park, it's super fun while you're there, but it isn't full-time reality. Even the world which we know isn't that real compared to eternity with the Good, True, and Beautiful. Unfortunately for me, I am just sanguine enough to be content with the things of the world... or at least I was back then.

There's a really weird thing that our generation is going through right now. At no point in the history of humanity has it been common for people to marry after age 25. I wrote about marrying young in my last post, and still, I'm wondering how this shift is going to affect the future. It's like our generation is pioneering this period of limbo. In the age of the "man child" and  with most twenty-somethings owning colossal amounts of student debt, we have to think about these consequences. It may be becoming the new normal, but no other generation has ever had to deal with this.

When I was in high school, one of the reasons I was so nostalgic (especially towards graduation,) was because I loved life so much that I couldn't imagine it ever getting any better. I went to college and found out pretty quickly that it could, in fact, get better. As I graduated from college and joined staff with FOCUS, again I thought it could never get any better than college. Wrong again! FOCUS at Auburn was amazing and knowing Jesus and sharing the Gospel is one of the most important things that I will ever do. When I left Auburn, again, I was so sad because I didn't think it could ever be better.

Now, as I sit here almost two years later, I still wonder if it ever will get any better than that time in my life. I'm sure, when I marry and have children, that I will be the happiest I've ever been. But for now, I'm in limbo, waiting for God to prove me wrong again. The human race isn't used to facing the real world alone. In generations past, people were married by the time they got to the point where they were saving for retirement and choosing cutlery. No wonder everyone feels so overwhelmed! God said it is not good for him to be alone!

Scoreboard, right now:
Real World, 1, Brittany, 0.

A lot of people have opinions on regrets, etc., and I don't think this has a whole lot to do with that. But if someone asked me if I could go back to those summer nights, to tell you the truth, I'd probably say yes.

Blessed John Paul II, pray for us.

02 February 2014

Hopes & Dreams

Do you ever just get so swept up in your thoughts about the future?

There are SO many things that I want to do. Sometimes it is overwhelming.

When its cold outside, I long for warm nights outside when the sun goes down around 9pm, and when it's hot I can't wait for sweaters and pumpkin flavored things and leaves changing.

When I'm sick of my routine, I think about traveling to see sweet friends that I miss, and when I'm away from home I can't wait to get back.

When I get on a health kick I crave junk food, and when I get off my health kick I feel like crap.

There are always so many ways I want to improve myself. I want to learn so many things. I want to play tennis, I want to read more, I want to start riding again, I want to pray more, I want to learn to quilt, I want to be a better cook, I want to play the piano, I want to speak more spanish and paint more.

Not to mention, right now I'm working 48-50 hours per week and I'm studying for the CFP about 10 hours per week. There's only so much time, you know? I feel like the only solution is to just sleep less.

I really don't know how people do it! Sometimes it seems like there just aren't enough hours in the day to do all of the things I want to do.

Our Lady of Expectation, pray for us!